Friday, February 28, 2014

Ralph comes through again, Part III

Remember those Iowa Energy shorts I won a few weeks ago at a D-League basketball game? Selling them on E-Bay enabled me to add a whole mess of Padres cards to my collection, thanks to my buddie, Ralph.
Of the 60 cards I got from Ralph, 12 were game-used memorabilia. Even though I'm not a huge fan of game-used (I'd much rather take an auto over a game-used card any day, as an auto is a much more personal investment from the player), I'll take them. As an avid Padres collector, it's an actual card of my beloved Padres and how can I not like that.
First row - 2008 Topps Highlights Relics Jake Peavy, 2006 Upper Deck Ovation Apparel Khalil Greene and Ryan Klesko. Second row - 2004 Donruss World Series Material Fabric AL/NLRyan Klesko S/N 202/250, 2003 Upper Deck NL All-Star Swatches Ryan Klesko, and 2009 Upper Deck UD Game Jersey Kevin Kouzmanoff. Third row - 2002 Sweet Spot USA Jersey Xavier Nady, 2003 Fleer Authentix Game Jersey Sean Burroughs, and 2007 Upper Deck Goudy Memorabilia Brian Giles.
Can you see a trend here? Other than Xavier Nady, who was offered a minor league contract, none of these players are current Padres players.
2004 Reflections Jersey Phil Nevin, 2001 Leaf Limited Lumberjacks Ryan Klesko S/N 157/500, 2004 Leaf Certified Materials Mirror Bat Red Brian Giles S/N 106/250. The two bat cards are rather nice, but the Klesko lumber piece seems like a mere splinter, more card then game-used. For that matter, the Giles bat piece isn't really much bigger. It just looks a little nicer where it's been placed.

Once I sent Ralph his payment, I couldn't wait to actually have these cards in my grubby little hands. How can you not like getting 60 cards of autos, refractors and game used for about 60 cents apiece. I'm going to have to hit him up again later in the season to see what new Padres may be lurking within his lists.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ralph comes through again, Part II

Remember those Iowa Energy shorts I won a few weeks ago at a D-League basketball game? Selling them on E-Bay enabled me to add a whole mess of Padres cards to my collection, thanks to my buddie, Ralph.
Of the 60 cards I got from Ralph, 17 of them were autographs. While there's no superstar player autos like Adrian Gonzalez or Trevor Hoffman, the Padres signatures I did find really help build my player collections. Another added bonus - they're not just Bowman Chrome signatures, either.

First row - 2005 Fleer Showcase Autographed Legacy Jon Knott S/N 135/420, 2006 Topps Autographs Craig Breslow, and 2006 TRISTAR Prospects Plus Farm Hands Autographs Kyler Burke. Second row - 2000 Skybox Autographics Mike Darr, 2004 Donruss Elite Freddy Guzman, and 2006 Upper Deck Future Stars Ben Johnson. Third row - 2005 Topps Chrome Update Josh Geer, 2007 Bowman Sterling Prospects Nick Schmidt and 2003 Bowman Signs of the Future Khalil Greene.

When they first came out with the 1996 Leaf Signatures Extended Autographs, I wasn't totally impressed. However, perhaps due to the fact they didn't produce as many autos as they do today, you have to admit these are some crisp, clear, LEGIBLE, autographs. Another bonus - these were actually signed onto the cards - there's no stickers! This batch includes Sean Bergman, John Flaherty, Doug Bochtler, Craig Shipley, Archi Cianfrocco and Luis Lopez.
Closing out my autograph lot are a 2007 Bowman Prospects Autographs Matt Antonelli, and a 1999 SP Authentic Chirography Gary Matthews, Jr.

It's indeed interesting to see how sloppy today's chicken-scratch autographs are getting compared to those of the early- to mid-90s. But then again, there may not have been as many autograph cards back then, so they could take their time and sign legible signatures.

Next, I'll post my game-used Padres cards?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ralph comes through again, Part I

Remember those Iowa Energy shorts I won a few weeks ago at an Iowa Energy D-League basketball game? They quickly sold after I put them up on E-Bay, so I had a fistful of Paypal to spend. If you add the fact that my fingers were itching to add even more Padres cards to my collection, you can see where this is going.
I have a friend, whose name is Ralph. Every now and then, Ralph will post up a boatload of cards for sale at totally unbelievable prices, such as autos and game-used for $1, or refractors for .25 as well as other cards at 5/$1, or $6/$1. 
It's been about three to four months since I've last bought cards from him, so I figured he's probably acquired a few more Padres cards by now. As you can see, he didn't disappoint me. While he lamented about the recent snow in Pennsylvania, he was more than happy to oblige me. And, like most of us, he's anxiously looking forward to the start of baseball season and his beloved Phillies. 
I ending up getting more than 60 cards and spending about 60 cents apiece when all was said and done. This was such a great buy, I'm going to stretch posting these cards over the course of three days. I will, however, start out with some of the prettiest and shiniest. 

First row - With St. Patrick's Day less than a month away, I'll start our with a trio of 2013 Topps Update Emerald cards, with Ian Kennedy, Chris Denorfia and Alexi Amarista. Second row - 2010 Bowman Prospects Blue Allan Dykstra S/N 139/520, 2007 Bowman Draft Blue Kevin Kouzmanoff S/N 71/399, and a 2006 Bowman Prospects Blue Dale Thayer S/N 242/500. Third row - A 2013 Topps Chrome Orange Refractors Chase Headley, 2006 Bowman Chrome Prospects Refractors Chris Kolkhorst S/N157/500 and 1999 Bowman Chrome Refractors.
First row - Here's three 2007 Bowman Chrome Refractors, with Adrian Gonzalez, Marcus Giles, and Jake Peavy. Second row - 2006 Bowman Chrome Refractors of Jake Peavy, Mike Cameron, Brian Giles. Third row - A pair of 2007 Bowman Chrome X-Fractors beauties, consisting of  Marcus Giles S/N 146/250 and Chris Young S/N 4/250. Finally, how about a 2008 Bowman Chrome Refractor Jake Peavy.

For many, seeing Rickey Henderson in anything other than an A's uniform is a sacrilege. However, I like seeing Henderson sporting the Padres colors. Here's five cards of Henderson as a Friar - 1996 Leaf Preferred, 1997 Stadium Club, 1996 Leaf Limited, 1996 Select Certified, and 1997 Upper Deck.
My next post will feature Padres putting pen to cardboard (or in some cases, stickers), as I highlight a whole bunch of Friars autographs.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A great package from that cool Northwestern cat

Trompsing out to our mailbox following one of our recent bouts of snow (snow in Iowa? Go figure...) I found a few of my favorite things -- A Videomaker magazine and a package full of baseball cards. Not only was it a package full of baseball cards, it was a package full of PADRES cards, courtesy of Zenus over at The Prowling Cat.
As usual, Zenus is one cool cat who has a definitive nose for finding some rather interesting stuff. If you haven't yet, please take the opportunity to read about some of his fantastic flea market finds throughout the Pacific Northwest in his The Prowling Cat blog.
Do you have any sixes? GO FISH. Here's a few cards from the 1992 U.S. Playing Cards Baseball Aces set. He included a Tony Gwynn 3 of Diamonds and a pair of Fred McGriff's. If I were playing poker, I'd say this was a definite betting hand.
Being a photographer myself, I've never been a huge fan of staged photos on cards, as this 1994 Upper Deck Melvin Nieves demonstrates. You almost have to chuckle at the back of this card, though, as he displays his "guns." My first 2014 Topps Padres card of the year comes courtesy of Zenus, a very nice Wal Mart Blue Border Robbie Erlin. I haven't bought any packs of 2014 Topps this year (I'm not too sure if I really dig this set yet, or not), but if I don't get another card from this year's Topps, you absolutely can't go wrong with this Erlin.
To me, Goose Gossage, who pitched for the Padres from 1984-87 was one of the most intimidating pitchers I'd ever seen (the Mad Hungarian, Al Hrabosky was pretty intimidating as well). Plus, you have to love that furious Fu Manchu moustache sported on his 1986 Topps and 1987 Donruss cards. Eric Show, pictured here on his 1984 Fleer card is another player that I enjoyed watching pitch.
And finally, one of Zenus' aforementioned amazing flea market finds. In 1987, Bohemian Hearth Bread of San Diego, in conjunction with Mike Schechter Associates, issued this 22-card Padres team set. Zenus was fortunate enough to find not one, but three of Benito Santiago's Bohemian Hearth Bread Cards. This particular card, he said, was the best one available. So, let's enjoy the front and back of Bentio Santiago's Hearth card.
I always enjoy it when I get a package from Zenus. We both share a great sense of adventure in finding the odd and the arcane when it comes to sports cards and memorabilia and truly enjoy the thrill of the hunt. 
The ball (or in this case, package) is now in my court.  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I'm still diggin (and disc'n) on Randy Jones

When we lived in San Diego, one of the players I really enjoyed watching play was pitcher Randy Jones.
A fifth-round pick of the 1972 draft out of Chapman University in Orange County, Calif., Jones won the 1976 Cy Young Award, with a 22-14 record and a 2.74 ERA, while pitching 316 innings and 25 complete games. The California native is still the Padres’ leader in innings pitched (1,765), starts (253), complete games (71) and shutouts (18).
He was named to the National League All-Star team in 1975 and 1976, recording a save in 1975 at Milwaukee’s Count Stadium and was the starting and winning pitcher in the 1976 contest at Philly’s Veterans Stadium.
In December 1980, he was traded to the New York Mets for Jose Moreno and John Pacella. Jones pitched his final game on Sept. 7, 1982, throwing 2.1 innings while giving up two earned runs in the Met’s 9-2 loss at Pittsburgh.
On May 9, 1997, Jones’ #35 became the second Friars number (following Steve Garvey’s #6) to be retired by the San Diego organization.

Today, Jones is often seen at PETCO Park, where he runs his popular Randy Jones Barbecue. Even though I've been to PETCO a few times, I've never had the opportunity to try his BBQ. I have heard its quite tasty, however.
Which leads to  yet another interesting group of San Diego Padres collectibles I've found - Randy Jones discs.
While the disc fronts look all the same, the backs are all quite different, representing a wealth of snacks featuring the Padres hurler.
Isaly’s was a chain of family-owned dairies and restaurants which began in Mansfield, Ohio and rapidly spread throughout the Midwest until the mid-70's. Dairy Isle was another Ohio-based ice cream chain, this one in Wooster. Orbakers was a drive-in located in Williamson, N.Y., and best known for "serving extraordinary food and ice cream since 1932."  Buckman's is another ice cream shop and bakery located in Rochester, N.Y. The final disc was a blankback, but it's been stamped with information for Lexington, Ky.'s Carousel Snack Bar at the Fayette Mall.

 Not to be outdone, here are three more Randy Jones discs.

Crane Potato Chips of Decatur, Ill. (Crane released a 77-disc baseball set that year), Zip'z and the 1978-79 Wiffle Sports Spectacular (one disc included inside each wiffle ball box, 188 discs in the set).
According to Beckett's, there are 22 Randy Jones discs:
1974 Padres McDonald Discs #7
1976 Dairy Isle Discs #23   
1976 Safelon Discs #23
1976 Red Barn Discs #23
1976 Blankback Discs #23   
1976 Buckman Discs #23 
1976 Crane Discs #23 
1976 Orbakers Discs #23 
1976 Towne Club Discs #23
1976 Carousel Discs #23
1976 Isaly Discs #23 
1977 Chilly Willie Discs #34
1977 Dairy Isle Discs #34 
1977 Detroit Caesars Discs #34
1977 Customized Discs #34
1977 Holiday Inn Discs #34
1977 MSA Discs #34
1977 Saga Discs #34
1977 Wendy's Discs #34
1977 Zip'z Discs #34
1977 Burger Chef Discs #134 
1978 Wiffle Ball Discs #33
Of those 22, I now own nine of them.
The nice thing is, I think it's a very doable possibility of getting all 22 discs. It'll be interesting to see how many of these I can attain over the course of 2014.

Monday, February 17, 2014

February's Urbandale American Legion Card Show

This month's Urbandale American Legion card show was rather ho-hum, to say the least. There were probably about three of the regular dealers who were missing, and a first - I don't think there were any tables with dime boxes. Unfortunately, I didn't have a great amount of time in which to look to be totally sure of that fact.
Due to time constraints, I had only an hour to shop. I'm a track and field official, and we had our officials training for April's Drake Relays set up for that afternoon. It was originally scheduled two weeks ago, but a rather nasty winter snowstorm forced cancellation. There are other track meets I work, but the Relays are always special, due to the world-class athletes we always attract.
Like my wife joked, God forbid I'd miss the monthly card show.
Trying to shop smartly, however, I did find some nice Padres cards within the many 25-cent boxes found at most of the dealers' tables. One dealer had a $1 per card box marked down to four-for-a-dollar. Through these, I was able to find a few Padres bargains, as well as pick up some nice Jedd Gyorko cards. 
Let's start out with a little color, like a 2013 Bowman Gold Casey Kelly, 2013 Topps Chrome Orange Refractors Jedd Gyorko, 2012 Topps Chrome Orange Refractors Cameron Maybin, 2011 Bowman Prospects Purple Nate Freiman, 2013 Bowman Prospects Purple Max White  (oops, actually a Colorado Rockie, scanned by mistake and headed to a certain Rockies collector), and a 2009 Topps Unique Mat Latos S/N1275/2999.

And then there were the hometowners, die-cuts, serial number cards and of course, another Gyorko. 2013 Bowman Prospects Hometown Matt Stites and Matt Wisler, Elite Extra Edition Aspirations Mallex Smith S/N 75/200, 2008 Topps Moments and Milestones Adrian Gonzalez S/N 110/150, 2013 Topps Making Their Mark Jedd Gyorko, 1999 Topps Power Brokers Greg Vaughn.
As I'm digging through the boxes, I find, "squirrel"...2012 Topps Gold Sparkle Brad Brach, 2007 Topps Chrome Refractors Brian Giles, 2011 Topps Update Cognac Diamond Anniversary Anthony Rizzo, 2007 Topps Chrome White Refractor Brian Giles S/N 490/660, and a 1982 Donruss Diamond Kings Ozzie Smith.

Lastly, I was able to find a 2013 Topps Chrome Rookie Autographs Jedd Gyorko at a very nice price. These 2007 Fleer Crowning Achievement cards of Greg Maddux and Trevor Hoffman were the first I've seen of these, and I must say I rather like them.

By the way, did you know that "If a javelin breaks during the throw, or in the air, it shall not count as a trail and a replacement throw shall be awarded."

I am so ready for spring, spring weather and track and field season.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Kudos and an apology to All the Way to the Backstop

Us Padres bloggers are a relatively close-knit fraternity. We know what we like, who we like, and share a wealth of knowledge and experiences regarding our brown and gold, and now blue-clad, ball players. We also share all those wonderful memories of having lived in "America's Finest City," even to the point of discussing which is better, In-and-Out Burgers, or Hodad's.
Marcus, over at All the Way to the Backstop, was the first blogger I contacted, once I decided to start up Bleedin' Brown and Gold. Since then, we've had some really wonderful trade opportunities.
What's funny, is the first time I received a package from Marcus in the mail, he listed his name on the return address as "M. Pond." My wife (who's been a Dr. Who fan since the David Tennent-era), said, "Ooh, you got a package  from Melanie Pond." If you're a Dr. Who fan, you'll get this.
Unfortunately, while I'm usually well-organized when it comes to my card cataloging system, whenever I get a package from Marcus, I set it aside with the best intentions of getting the cards inventoried, scanned and put up on my blog. In reality, with his last couple of packages, the cards have gotten mixed into my huge general Padres stack and I have a hard time telling which is which.
However, I recently received another wonderful package from Marcus, with yet another awesome stack of Friars. This time, rather than do Marcus a great injustice, I actually got them inventoried and scanned and here they are.
Let's begin with some sweet 2004 Upper Deck Sweet Spot, LF/1B Ryan Klesko (he's now a pre- and post-game analyst with the Atlanta Braves), Utilityman Phil Nevin (manager of Arizona's AAA affiliate Reno Aces), and OF Brian Giles (can you say "naked Padres hug?" and no, that's not a Valentine's Day reference). While this set is best known for its red and blue, and black-stitched autographed cards, I like the base card design. There's something about the "broken mirror" design that's kind of catchy. Their one drawback, they were about $9.99 a pack when they first came out.
What can you say about the great 1995 Flair cards. Do you like them because the 432-card set was designed as a horizontal card? Do you like them because the fronts featured an etched foil surface? Or do you like them because they had two player photos, one of which is an action shot, on the front. I like them because of all of the above. Here's Padres pitchers  Donnie Elliott and Bryce Florie, as well as catcher Brian Johnson.

Here's 2001 Studio Rickey Henderson, 2001 Topps Gallery Trevor Hoffman (Did you know he had a kidney removed when he was a newborn) and a 1995 SP Foil Raul Casanova. I really like the "painted" card sets such as the 2001 Topps Gallery and today's Allen and Ginter cards. I like the die-cut Casanova card, plus what better name to display for Valentine's Day.

2008 Topps Heritage Tadahito Iguchi, 2007 Bowman Heritage Prospects Cedric Hunter, 2002 Upper Deck Year of the Record Rickey Henderson 2,248 runs scored. Of his many records, the one gracing this card was from 10/4/01, against the Dodgers, when Henderson passed Hall of Famer Ty Cobb on the all-time runs list. Henderson smacked a third-inning round tripper and slid into home for the 2,248th run of his career. He also erased Babe Ruth's record for career walks earlier that season.

2011 Topps Heritage Corey Luebke RC, 2002 Donruss Best of Fan Club Phil Nevin, 1989 Topps Cap'n Crunch Jack Clark. I really like the "oddball" cards for some odd reason, and this Cap'n Crunch really fits the bill.

Again, I want to thank Marcus for a really wonderful bunch of cards. And I also want to apologize for not giving your past great contributions the merit they truly deserve.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Just my luck to win NBA D-League shorts

While I await the glorious start of baseball season (Padres pitchers and catchers report Feb. 13), we still have the winter sports (as well as the Olympics) to occupy us.

There's a dozen games left with our Iowa Wild before the AHL playoffs begin. Currently they're five games behind Rockford for the final playoff spot in the Midwest Division. Sometimes it's a close race between which sport I like best -- baseball or hockey.

And then there's basketball. My wife won a pair of tickets from a local radio station to attend an Iowa Energy basketball game at Des Moines' Wells Fargo Arena, The Energy, which plays in the NBA's Developmental League, are affiliated with the Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans and the Washington Wizards. The team actually won the NBA Developmental League Championship in 2011.

As I've stated before, I'm not a huge basketball fan, especially when it comes to the pro game. The tickets were free, however, so I figured "what the heck," lets see how the other half lives.

I can sum up the NBA Developmental League in one word -- "Booooooooooooooooooooring!"

If they tried to work the ball inside, the defender would literally lay on top of the offensive player's back with his forearms. The home team missed three lay-ups and a pair of dunks, even with the refs letting them take four steps without a dribble. Rather than work the ball inside, it was mostly three-pointers, with hardly any of them going in.

Needless to say, we left before the start of the fourth period.

Like most organizations, the Energy had drawings for giveaways. Even though it's basketball, I can't pass up a possible freebie. I joked with my wife that I'd probably win season tickets or something.

Actually, I won a pair of Iowa Energy player shorts.

They're just like the Energy away shorts, except for the team logos on the right leg, and the "NBA D-League" stitching on the back. They even have the drawstrings and the rubber waistband to keep their jerseys from pulling out. Oh, yeah, it even has the 2+ inseam, so they go below your knees. To me, those aren't shorts, just short pants. I'll NEVER wear them.

So, what do I do with them? I'm thinking about putting them up on E-Bay, but they're not cheap shorts, they're a NBA-quality uniform piece. If anyone is interested in these, please let me know. I also thought about having a buddy get them autographed, if it'd help me to get rid of them.

Thank goodness, baseball season is almost upon us!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Let's start a new Christmas tradition

While I personally feel it's better to give than to receive, I did get a couple of nice thank you gifts in the mail this past week. These have been largely a result of my sending Christmas cards with sports cards to my fellow bloggers over the holiday season.
According to the personal note I received from Chris, over at Nachos Grande, "Thanks for the Christmas card and the LEGO mini figure! It was a fun surprise and I ended up with one of my most wanted figures. I found a couple of Padres for you..."
While I'm glad I was able to help Chris with his Lego collection, it was fun picking out specific baseball and hockey cards (as well as a bobblehead) for my blogging "family" over the Christmas holidays. I was just taking part in what I believe is the true spirit of Christmas.
But back to Chris. Among the goodies he sent, was this 1997 Collector's Choice Jason Thompson with its ubiquitous surfboard (so far, I've found three Padres cards with surfboards on them. In fact, when Mark Kotsay retired, one of his parting gifts from the Padres was, you guessed it, a surfboard). Also included was this pair of Tony Gwynn cards, his 1998 Sports Illustrated and 1995 Collector's Choice cards. While it's always nice to see Gwynn prowling the outfield at Jack Murphy (he was a five-time golden glove winner, after all), it was at the plate where he truly excelled, as evidenced by his sweet swing on the Collector's Choice card.
In the spirit of Fuji at The Chronicles of Fuji, Chris added a custom card that a buddy of his made for him. I really need to get me one of these custom cards with my little toad on it. Hey, it could happen.

I also received a nice stack of cards from Bill at Thorzul will Rule.
Include in his package was a 2010 Lance Zawadzki Topps Chrome Rookie Autographs, a 2013 Carlos Quentin Topps Gold S/N 767/2013, and a 1995 Homer Bush SP Top Prospects. Even though Bush had the opportunity to play football at Missouri, the 2B Homer (what a great first name) was a seventh round pick by San Diego in 1991. Despite earning minor league player of the year honors for the Padres organization (1993 at Low A Waterloo), Bush never played a game for the parent club. He was traded to the Yankees in 1977, along with P Hideki Irabu, for OF Ruben Rivera and P Rafael Medina. Bush would earn a World Series ring with the Yanks, and later played with the Blue Jays and Marlins.
And how about some sweet early Padres, circa 1976 Topps -- P Dave Freisleben, 2B Hector Torres, P Alan Foster, P Randy Jones, P Dave Tomlin and OF Wilie Davis.
While I want to thank everyone who's sent me some rather nice thank you gifts as a result of their Christmas cards, it's really not necessary. I would, however, like to see a few more of my blogging brethren continue this custom during the next Christmas season,
I did participate in a blogger Secret Santa,  and it was indeed a hoot, but I really had the most fun in picking out specific cards and gifts for my fellow bloggers, and it's been great reading your reactions once you received your card.
Next holiday season, remember, it's better to give, than to receive. Especially when it comes to Christmas cards. Let's start a new tradition.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Another oddball find -- 1983 San Diego Padres sticker set

Well, I managed to find yet another oddball San Diego Padres set. This time it was the nine "card" 1983 Topps Baseball Stickers San Diego Padres set.
The 1983 set consisted of 330-stickers, which included 28 foil stickers, record breakers, playoffs and World Series stickers. The stickers, which cost a quarter for a pack of six, were 1-15/16-inches wide by 2-9/16 inches tall.
You could also purchase a separate sticker book to place your stickers in. Topps first began printing baseball stickers in 1981. 
An added bonus, at least to me, was the fact the Padres players were photographed in their yellow and brown uniforms. Say what you will about them, I'm still in love with those unis and am awaiting their glorious return as the San Diego home and away colors.  
Top Row -- P John "The Count" Montefusco, RF Sixto Lezcano, P Eric Show. Middle Row -- CF Ruppert Jones, a foil C Terry Kennedy, OF Gene Richards. Bottom Row -- SS Garry Templeton, 1B-RF Broderick Perkins, and P Tim Lollar. Unfortunately, there's no Tony Gwynn, but he did start the '83 season on the DL after injuring his wrist in Puerto Rico playing winter ball.

One thing I found rather amusing on the back of the stickers, is the phrase, "Topps Baseball Cards, The Real Ones -- a baseball tradition." While Topps is indeed an American institution, why are their 1983 baseball stickers then "Made in Italy?" By the way, you earn an extra point if you deduced these same stickers were produced by Panini under a sub-license from Topps.

As you can probably tell, I really dig these oddball sets and have been going out of my way to find the odd, the unusual and the arcane when it comes to Padres collectibles. Who knows what I may find next week?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Diamonds in the rough from a 2008 collector

I got a great package in the mail this weekend from Larry over at 2008 Topps Set. And no, they didn't include a bunch of Padres cards from the 2008 Topps set. Judging from this package, I'd say that Larry was a well-rounded connoisseur of exemplary cardboard goodness.
Let's start out with a 2003 Bowman's Best Bernie Castro RC (#BC), a 1999 Flair Showcase Row 1 Ruben Rivera (#90) S/N 1924/3000, and a 2002 Finest Xavier Nady (#100). Nady, the Pads first position player since 1989 to go directly into the Majors following the draft, signed a minor league contract with the Padres. It'll be interesting to see how that turns out. An OF-1B, he's not a bad insurance policy and will, more than likely, be the first one in, should the injury bug hit the Friars again this year.
A 2002 Donruss Rookies Jake Peavy (#26), 2001 SP Top Prospects Dennis Tankersley (#77), 2002 Upper Deck Ovation Phil Nevin (#53). I like the border on those SP cards and the raised surface of the Padres logo really makes that Ovation card pop.

2001 Royal Rookies Barnstormers Junior Herndon (8), 2001 Upper Deck Minors Centennial Jake Gautreau (#2), 1996-97 Score Board Ben Davis All Sport (#67) (How can you not like catchers, especially when wearing full regalia). Davis may be best known, however, for his drag bunt against Curt Schilling and the Diamondbacks on May 26, 2001. Schilling had a perfect game heading into the eighth inning, when Davis bunted. Despite the fact the D-Backs went on to win 3-1, it generated a bit of hate and discontent between these two teams during the next couple of years.

Another career Padres minor leaguer in three flavors. Kevin Eberwein's 1999 RC in Topps Traded (#T41), Bowman (#405), and Bowman Chrome (#405). He had a strange career progression, moving to A, A+, AA (2 years), A+, AAA, A+, AAA, and then released. He's  now a Mortgage Consultant/Team Leader with FirstCal Mortgage in Las Vegas, Nev.

And finally, a parade of brown of yellow from 1979 and 1982. Top Row -- 1979 Topps P Mickey Lolich, OF-1B Gene Richards and OF Oscar Gamble. Bottom Row --  1982 Topps P Juan Eichelberger, P John Littlefield and C Steve Swisher.
Thanks for a great package, Larry. I hope you enjoyed your goodies as much as I did mine!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

We'll miss you Bill Center

While I’m not a huge San Diego Tribune fan (I do follow my Padres through them, though), there is one facet of the paper I’m definitely going to miss.

After 47 years at the San Diego paper, Padres beat writer Bill Center officially retired on Friday.
Besides his great Padres articles, he provides an insightful two-hour chat every Friday.

Friday’s chat began, “I'd like to start today's chat by saying thank you to every last one of you. Since we started doing the chats in 2008, these two hours each Friday have been some of my favorite times. For the moment, the chats and some other things will continue. Officially, this is my last day with the U-T . . . ending an official 47-year run. Again, thank you.

I loved these Friday afternoon chats and actually began following them about two years ago. They usually began about 2 p.m. San Diego time (4 p.m. Iowa time) and I’d follow them at work. If I wasn’t able to catch it on Friday, you can always go back and catch the transcripts of it.

I think I even had one of my questions answered, about the Padres catching situation with Hundley and Rivera and the inevitability of Grandal’s return.   

Where else can you gain such tidbits of knowledge and first-hand experience about our beloved Pares? Especially from such a font of knowledge.

After joining the San Diego Union staff in 1967, Center began his Padres coverage in 1983, serving as the team’s number two writer from 1906 until he became the lead Padres writer midway through the 2009 season.

A San Diegan since 1950, as well as a San Diego State alum, Center admits to being one of the 23,000 fans in the stands for the Padres first major league game. Among his many Padres highlights was viewing a Padres game at Lane Field, the Padres first game at Westgate Park, the last game at Westgate Park, the first and last Padres games at San Diego Stadium, the first and last major league Padres games in Mission Valley and the first Padres game at Petco Park.

“I must admit I am a Padres fan,” Center said. “I once sold popcorn, ice cream and sodas while walking the stands as a concessionaire at Westgate Park. I don't regret a minute.

Thanks for a great career, Bill. Hopefully the Tribune will let him continue these chats for many more years to come.