Friday, July 27, 2012

$50 well spent

Back when showcasing my Buster Posey rookie cards, I mentioned that two of those cards (the National Chicle and Bowman Chrome Draft) cards came as part of a much larger lot of cards.  I ran across a seller on Sports Card Forum that had tons of card listed for sale.  He had them grouped in buckets like 4 for $1, 2 for $1, etc.  At first I noticed quite a few Barry Bonds cards at very reasonable prices then noticed the two Posey rookies I needed.  I decided to go through the entire list and see what I needed.

In the end I needed 55 of the cards which based on the sellers prices came to about $60 plus some shipping.  I dropped him a quick note asking his best price (it never hurts to ask even if the prices are good) and he came back at $50 delivered.  I jumped at the deal.

I was going to show the highlights in addition to the Buster cards but decide to scan almost all of them.  I will add a little commentary but primarily let the cards do the talking.  I think that even if you aren't a Giants fan, you will have to appreicate the diversity of the cards and the deal I got.  I think the "book value" of the top 4 or 5 cards get to the $50 mark with several cards at $10 or more.

Without futher ado, here a bunch of Barry Bonds cards:
 The eTopps card looks great in person as does the Dennys Sportsflix card.  The textbook excellence at the bottom is die cut.  Great group of cards.
 Not sure what is going on with the Griffey card above, I guess Barry is telling the photographer to talk to the hand.  The Luminaries card is sweet, the Heritage an SP and the Get a Grip is another die cut.  I now have 3 or 4 of the Race to 70 cards after not having one for some time.  Won't go for the entire run, but would like to get to 9 to fill up a page.
Some more sweet Barrys.  I like the Superstar Summit credit card looking card the best although I still like getting cards on cardboard stock like the Vintage inserts.  The Pirates card was on my checklist as a Giant, not sure if I will keep it or put it in the trade stack.

Next up are quite a few serial numbered cards:
 I like the Triple Crown parallels and JT is one of my favorite Giants of his era. The Donruss Champions is the lowest numbered at 30/75 while the Pedro Feliz Fleer Glossy is 0794/1000.

Six more serial numbered cards, actually it is 5 serial numbered and one vintage card stamped with a 50th Anniversary stamp.  The lowest serial number here is Aurilia Stat line at 235/283 and the highes is the Kurt Ainsworth 1033/1500.

Here are some misc cards:
 Love the Thrill die cut and picked up a couple rookies of the one that got away, Francisco Lirano, I am sick of hearing about that horrible trade each year at the trading deadline.  The bottom row has some serious star power with a couple Mays reprints and an Archives reprint of the 1967 HR leaders.  I have a copy in my Willie Mac collection but needed one for the Giants binders.

I saved my favorite two cards for the end.  First is this Barry Bonds insert, I will show the front and back:

This is a pull out insert out of SP.  I sure wish there were cards like this being produced today.  You have two nice, shiny sides to the card with different photos and the pullout gives a nice narrative about "one of the most feared and respected hitters in the Major Leagues" then flip it over for some recent stats and a blurb about Barry being "an aspiring actor and member of the Screen Actors Guild" - you learn something new every day!  This is a high quality card and great addition to my collection.

Finally, my only "hit" that I picked up.  It too is a Bonds card but this time Bobby Bonds.

I was very happy to add this card to my collection.  I already have a version with a jersey in it.  Don't you love the old school baseball diamond at the bottom of the card?  I like the number 25 on the front as well, the number he eventually shared with his son.  I was thinking strongly of going after a player collection of Bobby Bonds a couple years back, I went as far as making a checklist.  Then I decided to only focus on his Giants issues and that really helped spark the passion and obsession that has evolved into my Giants collecting.

Hope you enjoyed the cards, I am very happy with the deal I scored!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I recently picked up this 1961 Topps NL Strikeout Leader card:

 I picked it up for my Giants collection as it features Sam Jones in 3rd place in the NL with 190 strikeouts.  Obviously the two starts of the card are the Dodgers Duo of Koufax and Drysdale.  Drysdale beat out the competition by almost 50 strikeouts, very impressive.

I really enjoy the back of this card showing the leaders all the way back to the turn of the century.  When I started looking at this more closely I found it something that stood out as somewhat odd to me.  Take a look at the total for the league leaders prior to 1958. There are only 16 total seasons of 200 or more strikeouts by the league leader.  In the stretch from 1929 to 1957 there are only 2 seasons where the leader was over 200 Ks.  Now, starting in 1958 we have 3 straight years.

I started to think through my baseball history knowledge to see if I could recall anything that could have made the strikeout become more prevalent.  First I thought, maybe it is just Don Drysdale, 2 of the 3 years were his seasons, maybe he was starting on a streak like Christy Mathewson in the early 1900s.  We all know that 200 Ks is fairly common now so it couldn't just be Don.  Maybe it was the expansion of the schedule, I recall that sometimes in the late 50s or early 60s baseball went to to the 162 game schedule from 154. I thought that would be about 2, maybe 3 starts, I guess that could push some of the 180s and 190s into the 200 range but then I looked it up and the change didn't take place until 1962 in the NL so the change had already started.

Thinking of how many starts that extra 8 games would equate to for a starter reminded me that in this era, most rotations were only 4 deep and now they are 5.  That coupled with more relievers in today's game should reduce innings counts and therefore strikeout totals.  I decided to look at the K totals for the league leaders in the NL since 1960. Here they are:

 Only 2 seasons since 1957 has the league leader been under 200, 1981 when Fernando had 180 in the strike shortened season and 1994 when Andy Benes has 189, again a strike shortened season.  Pretty easy to assume both would have gotten over the 200 mark if the strikes had not intervened. 

For some reason, strikeouts started to increase in the late 50s and continue at a high level today. I haven't been able to find any explanation other than just evolution of the game.  Anyone out there have any ideas of what has driven the increase in strikeouts?  Rule changes?  Pitching training?  Approach to the game?  More power hitters?  If you have any insight that could help put the wheels that are cranking in my head to rest on the subject, I would be interested to hear your theories.