Thursday, July 2, 2020

Dragons Are Real

I needed a new baseball hat. 

I'd lost my only Dayton Dragons hat several years ago and I've wanted a new one since then. I had a coupon code for the Dragons online shop so I took a look through the hats and, lucky me, I managed to find the exact one I'd lost. 

While I was on the site, and to justify paying the shipping costs for them to literally send it 45 minutes down the freeway, I did a bit more browsing. I happened to noticed that all the team sets from 2017, 2018, and 2019 were on sale, some of which they were pretty much giving away. The discount from my coupon code took even more off of the already discounted sets (it came out to about $10 for the three sets). The sets and my hat arrived pretty quickly soon after.

I thumbed through the sets and had thought about doing a full post on each one but realized that'd be a lot of work and a lot of time to look up each player. So instead, I'll run through all three sets here and touch on the highlights of each one. I won't show every card, otherwise, we'll be here until next baseball season.

2017 Dragons

1- Jesse Adams
2- Brantley Bell
3- Michael Beltre
4- Cassidy Brown
5- Andy Cox

6- Aaron Fossas

Fossas is the nephew of former MLB pitcher Tony Fossas. 

The design of these cards is okay. I like the black and green but there's nothing in the background except for black. The player's name is easy to read in the scan but in real life, the green blends in with the black. Also, why is there a giant empty grey space in the middle of the card? I'm guessing it's for signatures as these are called "Signature Series" cards. 

7- T.J. Friedl

I've heard a lot about him and he could be in the majors in the next year or so.

8- Luis Gonzalez (no, not that Luis Gonzalez)
9- Ryan Hendrix
10- Brian Hunter
11- Andrew Jordan

12- Joel Kuhnel

Saw action with the Reds last year as a reliever appearing in 11 games.

13- Scott Moss
14- Patrick Riehl

15- Wennington Romero

Check out the awesome orange jersey!

16- John Sansone

17- Tony Santillan

One of the Reds top pitching prospects.

18- Jose Siri

Now with the Mariners organization. Had a Midwest League record 39-game hitting streak in 2017.

19- Jesse Stallings

20- Tyler Stephenson

The Reds first round pick in 2015 and was added to the Reds 40-man roster after the 2019 season.

21- Taylor Trammell

Started last year in Double-A Chattanooga and was part of the three-team trade in July 2019 that netted the Reds Trevor Bauer from Cleveland.

22- Hector Vargas
23- Bruce Yari
24- Luis Bolivar MGR
25- Darrin Ebert (Coach card)
26- Kevin Mahar (Coach card)
27- Daryle Ward (Coach card)
28- Gem (Mascot)
29- Heater (Mascot)
30- Checklist

So that's the 2017 set, the design leaves a bit to be desired but there's a ton of notable prospects in there.

Moving on now to 2018

2018 Dragons

These cards are not numbered so I'm going in order (alphabetical by last name) according to the TCDB checklist. I will number them for the sake of sanity.

1- Wendolyn Bautista
2- Michael Beltre

3- Luis Bolivar MGR

Each set came with manager and coach cards and in each set Luis Bolivar was the manager. This is the best of the three by far.

4- Tyler Buffett
5- Hendrik Clementia
6- Narcisco Crook

7- Jeter Downs

Part of the trade in the winter of 2018 that netted that ridded the Reds of Homer Bailey and netted them Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood, Matt Kemp, and Kyle Farmer (who is the only one of the four still with the team).

This set looks a lot more lively than its predecessor. I love the action shots, the green banner with the players name and uniform number. These cards are just fun to look at in general.

8- Seth Etherton (Pitching Coach)

9- Stuart Fairchild

I've heard his name mentioned during Spring Training games and so far he's made it up to Double-A Chattanooga. I could've sworn he saw action with the Reds last year but I was wrong.

10- Jose Garcia

11- Gem

I love how mascot cards are included in these sets.

12- John Ghyzel
13- Miles Gordon

14- Hunter Greene

And here we are ... Hunter Greene the Reds #1 pick in the 2017 draft. He missed the 2019 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery and with there being no semblance of a minor league season this year, it'll probably be 2021 before he's back in some sort of game action.

15- Heater

The other mascot.

16- Mark Kolozsvary
17- Morgan Lofstrom
18- Kevin Mahar (Bench Coach)
19- Montrell Marshall
20- Tyler Mondile
21- Dauri Moreta

22- Packy Naughton

That's a fun name to say.

23- Ryan Nutof
24- Sarkis Ohanian
25- Austin Oreweiler
26- Connor Ryan
27- John Sansone
28- Leandro Santana
29- Mac Sceroler
30- Cory Thompson
31- Daryle Ward (hitting coach)

That's the 2018 set. I really like the design, plus there's some more up and coming prospects like Jeter Downs and Hunter Greene. The mascot cards are super cool too.

Onwards to the last set ...

2019 Dragons

1- Mariel Bautista
2- Connor Bennett
3- Luis Bolivar MGR
4- Justin Bucko (Strength and Conditioning Coordinator)
5- Andrew Cleves (Trainer)

I'd just like to note that the mascot cards in this set were replaced by cards of the Strength and Conditioning Coordinator and the team Trainer.

6- Andy Cox
7- Jerry D'Andrea
8- Eddy Demurias

9- Mike Devereaux (hitting coach)

Yes, that Mike Devereaux who played in the majors for 12 years, most notably with the Orioles from 1989-1994. Now, he's the Dragons hitting coach. Did you know he finished in the top ten of MVP voting in 1992? A slash line of .276/.321/.464 with 24 homers and 107 RBIs will do that for you.

10- Alexis Diaz

Let's check out the design here. This is a really, really nice set. Gone is the nasty great box and it's replaced with a minimalist lower third with the players name, position and the Dragons logo. Plus we get a full bleed photo. Definitely my favorite set of the three.

11- Seth Etherton (pitching coach)

Another former major leaguer and a former Reds player as well. He pitched a grand total of 7 games for the Reds in 2003.

12- Dylan Harris
13- Miguel Hernandez

14- Morgan Lofstrom

Pretty cool card here of the catcher in action with all his gear on.

16- Carlos Machorro

I dig the orange uniform top with black undershirt. I might have to try to pull that off around Halloween sometime.

17- Pabel Manzanero
18- James Marinan
19- Juan Martinez
20- Shard Munroe

21- Reniel Ozuna

There were several night cards in this set and this is one of my favorites. It's such a bizarre card too, the stands are completely empty aside from one dude who looks bored to death.

22- Matt Pidich
23- Lyon Richardson
24- Carlos Rivero
25- Adrian Rodriguez
26- Eduardo Salazar
27- Ricky Salinas
28- Jay Schuyler
29- Michael Siani
30- Jared Solomon

According to TCDB, the Jared Solomon card is an uncorrected error card where his last name is spelled wrong.

31- Bren Spillane
32- Jonathan Willems

Whew, that was a lot of cards and a lot of typing! The 2019 set was light on players I knew but the design is definitely spot on.

These cards were definitely worth the ten bucks or so I spent on them. Minor league team sets are always fun to go through and I say if you can find discounted card sets on a team website like I did, go for it.

Monday, June 29, 2020

They Played for the Reds?

I was thumbing through my Reds binder the other day and got inspired. I found several ideas for posts and started immediately pulling and sorting cards out for posts. The biggest thing I realized is how many people have played for the Reds that I forgot played for the Reds, like Dan Straily shown above.

That's what this post will be about.

It's also inspired by the "Short Term Stops" and "Zero Year Cards" series posted by Nick over on his Dime Boxes blog. To avoid him coming after me with a copyright claim, I'm going to lump those types of cards into one group I'll call "Unfamiliar Uniforms".

This may or may not be an ongoing series with other teams. I'm not sure yet. What this will be is several players that either I forgot played for the Reds, didn't know played for the Reds, or had a super short stint with the team.

David Wells joined the Reds from the Tigers as part of a 1995 trade deadline deal that sent C.J. Nitkowski and Mark Lewis to Detroit. He complimented an already strong Reds pitching staff and went 6-5 in 11 starts. In the playoffs, he went 1-1 beating Hideo Nomo in Game 3 of the Division Series. After the season, he was traded off to the Orioles around Christmas.

Another pitcher the Reds got via trade was Lee Smith. He arrived in Cincinnati around Memorial Day 1996 via exchange with the Angels who got Chuck McElroy in return. Smith appeared in 43 games for the Reds, going 3-4 with a 4.06 ERA. 

Speaking of closers, Jeff Reardon spent the 1993 season with the Reds sans his trademark beard thanks to a long-standing team policy of no facial hair. The 1993 club was a last place team and Reardon led the relief corps in appearances with 58 games and finished second in saves on the team with 8.

Joining Jeff Reardon on the 1993 Reds squad was longtime Phillies infielder Juan Samuel. Until I found this card in the binder, I had no idea he even played for the Reds. He and Bip Roberts split time at second base for the season, after which Samuel departed for the Tigers.

Did you know Ruben Sierra played for the Reds? Don't worry ... I'd forgotten that too. It was a brief 25-game stint at the beginning of the 1997 season. He was released in mid-May after only hitting .244 in 96 plate appearances.

The Reds must've been hurting in 2007. That or I wasn't paying much attention because I don't remember either Jeff Conine or David Ross playing for the Reds. Conine played most of the season as the primary first baseman and a few appearances in the outfield before being traded to the Phillies in August. Ross spent parts of three seasons (2006-2008) as the primary backstop for the team sharing time with other luminaries as Javier Valentin, Paul Bako, and Chad Moeller.

I'll close with this Vince Coleman card. I found this in a dime box at a flea market several years ago and my mind was blown. I had no idea Coleman was ever a Red but apparently it was for the first part of the 1996 season (what is it with the Reds and aging outfielders in the late 90s). His stats were nothing notable (.155 batting average) and was released in mid-June after only 33 games.

As I mentioned, not all encompassing and there are tons more cards I found in my Reds binder that fit this category. Maybe there will be a part 2 coming soon.

Friday, June 26, 2020

What I Collect

I'll be honest ... I haven't spent money on baseball cards since Thanksgiving last year.

Since I put my old blog, Cardboard Clubhouse, on ice last fall due to family reasons (aka new baby), baseball cards were the last thing on my mind. I did, however, purchase quite a few cards during the annual COMC Black Friday sale last fall.

Over the past few months while my collection grew dust, I could count on one hand the number of times I thought about these cards I'd ordered. Now, since I'm getting re-acquainted with everything and getting this organized again, I thought I'd start with these since that's about where I left off last year.

Along with the super shiny Hank Aaron card above, I purchased a number of other baseball cards, along with miscellaneous cards for my other collections. Seeing as I'm trying to keep this blog (and my collection) limited to just baseball, that's all that I'm planning on covering.

My collecting interests are really varied. I don't really focus on one thing in general when it comes to baseball cards as I'd get pretty bored of that pretty quick. I'm not really a team collector either. I mean, if I had to pick one team to collect, it'd be the Reds. I had a lot of fun watching Nick Senzel play center field last year and that's why I nabbed this Donruss Rated Rookie card. I can't really say that the Donruss designs this year and last year are all that enticing but I felt this was worth picking up.

Another thing that I like collecting are "unfamiliar uniform" cards as I call them. These typically fall into one of two categories ... "short-term stops" or "zero year" (trademark to Dime Box Nick) but on this blog they'll be referred to as "unfamiliar uniforms" because that's what they are. Take Steve Carlton here for example. Most everyone will think of him as a Cardinal or a Phillie but I'll bet you didn't know he pitched for the White Sox as well. The South-Siders were one of three stops of a whirlwind tour Lefty had in 1986. 

I know I mentioned that the non-baseball content will be next to nothing. I intend on sticking to that but it's cards like this from Allen & Ginter that fall into that grey area. Technically, this is a baseball card as it came from a baseball product but obviously Tiger Mask is not a baseball player. Along with baseball, pro wrestling is another big interest of mine and to see the legendary Tiger Mask featured on a card is pretty cool. On this card, it says "1st Tiger Mask" and that would be Satoru Sayama who portrayed the character until 1983 when he left New Japan Pro Wresting. Since then, several other wrestlers have portrayed the character, the most notable being the legendary Mitsuharu Misawa.

This card certainly checks off several things I like to collect ... oddball? Yes. Defunct retail? Yes. Defunct team? Yes. Hall of Famer? Yes. There's just something about these types of cards which is just fun. Maybe in the future I'll do a blog post on cards from defunct retail chains. Not sure yet but it's an idea I'm kicking around. 

Here's another card that would qualify as an "unfamiliar uniform" card. When I first got into collecting as a kid, I always thought it was weird to see former Reds players in a different uniform. That's exactly what's happening here as Hal Morris is shown in a Royals uniform. Despite being the first baseman for the Reds from 1990-1997, Morris left as a free agent and signed with the Royals for the 1998 season. He would return to the Reds the next season (1999) and stayed with the team until midway through the 2000 season when he was purchased by Detroit. I'd always found that one year in Kansas City a curiosity and now I finally have a card to document it.

Another big thing I like to collect is vintage cards. Typically if I'm at a show or browsing online, if I can find cool vintage cards for a reasonable price, I'll jump on it. This 1961 Topps card shows the Reds outfield trio of Vada Pinson, Gus Bell (grandfather of current Reds manager David Bell), and Frank Robinson. That trio, along with fellow outfielder Wally Post (shown in the 1962 Topps card), would help the "Ragamuffin Reds" get to the World Series in 1961 where they lost to the Yankees in five games.

One of the last big things I enjoy are cheap relic cards. I'll be honest, I'm not a the kind of person who would buy packs of cards and get disappointed there was no relic or anything. If I get one, great! If not, fine too. Products like Topps Tribute, Museum Collection, and all that are way out of my price range and I'm fine with that. It's not like I'm exactly their target audience anyway. That being said, if I come across cheap relic cards from those sets or just cool looking ones in general, I tend to jump on them. Take this Bruce Sutter card for example, it's a dual-jersey card of him with both the Cubs and Cardinals and it was a steal at under five bucks. 

I'm in the process of updating my want list to be posted on the blog soon after I update my lists for Pilots cards and 1984 Topps along with several other random things. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

You Might Remember Me From ...

Hello there!

No, I’m not famous Simpsons character Troy McClure and you won’t remember me from such episodes as “A Fish Called Selma” and “Saturdays of Thunder”. (Admit it, you read that in a Troy McClure voice too.)

I’m Adam! And you might remember me from such card blogs as Cardboard Clubhouse and the SABR Baseball Cards Blog. And I’m happy to say that after a long hiatus … I’m back! As you’ve probably noticed, this is also a brand new blog!

Welcome to the Epic Baseball Card Adventure blog!

What you will find here are several things but mostly baseball cards and fun! Oh, did I mention baseball cards? 

You’re probably wondering why I didn’t just pick up from where I left off with my other blog, Cardboard Clubhouse. Well, truth be told, I felt like I’d gone pretty much as far as I could with that blog. Not to say I didn’t enjoy writing it, it just felt a bit stale. Since I’ve been away for so long (probably 8-9 months I’d say), and I’m slowly getting back into collecting, I felt it was probably a good idea for me to start off with a new blog.

I also have several fresh ideas for posts that I’ve been keeping an ongoing list of in my notebook.

I don’t know about you but to me that looks like some pretty interesting ideas. I’ve added to the list a bit also since I took this picture but I’m really excited to share all of these ideas with you. (Credit to Nick from Dime Boxes for the zero year cards and the unfamiliar uniforms. I’ll be putting my own spin on those as I can).

I’m really trying to focus my collection to mostly baseball since that is my favorite sport. I do dabble into other things like football cards, old hockey cards, and other miscellaneous stuff, but baseball is my number one priority. As I’ve been re-organizing my collection in advance of this relaunch, I scaled back my non-baseball card collection and now everything fits neatly into one binder. 

That being said, baseball cards is what you’ll find here and pretty much nothing else. I’m not one who’s able to show off the most recent high-end relic card or bust boxes of the most recent product. I just don’t have the money for all that. That means for the most part, I’ve got to work with what I’ve got. That’s ok, I’ve got a lot to work with.

In closing, I appreciate everyone who I traded with and interacted with over at the old blog. Now I hope that you’ll join me on this Epic Baseball Card Adventure!

Dragons Are Real

I needed a new baseball hat.  I'd lost my only Dayton Dragons hat several years ago and I've wanted a new one since then. I...