Friday, February 27, 2009

Birth of Superman for Auction - Action Comics #1

You can start placing bids for Action Comics #1 starting today! This is to comic books what the Honus Wagner card is for trading cards.

Action Comics #1 first introduced to Superman and is estimated to be worth over 100K. The seller bought it in 1950 for 35 cents.

How much will Todd McFarlane bid on this?!

Check out for more on the comic's relevance in the hobby.

Update: As of Monday, March 2: the bid is up to $276,000! The auction ends on Friday.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mets Spring Training Watch: Daniel Murphy and Eddie Kunz

Like all fellow Mets fans, I'm tracking the games, reading the box scores and following my favorite team during spring training. However, there are two players I'm really watching: Daniel Murphy and Eddie Kunz.

I think DMurph could be the gamer the Mets are looking for. He's going to get plenty of opportunities to shine in spring training and to start the season. Jerry Manuel even said this week he's "a better hitter than Ryan Church." I know Church isn't Tony Gwynn, but he is a .280 hitter with 5 years of experience and Murphy hasn't played a full season yet.

Murphy played well for the Mets last year following his minor league call-up. He was the spark-plug the Mets needed. In 49 games and 131 at bats, DMurph hit 9 doubles, 2 home runs, had a .313 average and finished with 17 RBIs. He's a former 13th round draft pick (2006) that never had all the hype, but worked liked like he was full of expectations.

I'd like to see Murphy batting in the #2 spot behind Jose Reyes and in front of Carlos Beltran. (Jerry Manuel's been talking a lot of garbage about the batting order lately though.) Murphy is left handed and will serve as a great visual shield to the catcher when Jose Reyes is leading off first base. He should also get a solid diet of fastballs with Reyes on first and Beltran hitting behind him. Pitchers are less likely to throw off-speed pitches when Reyes is on the bases and they don't want to risk walking Murphy and having two guys on base for Carlos Beltran, David Wright and Carlos Delgado.

Like most young hitters, Murphy's a good fastball hitter. This will give him a great shot at skipping a hit through the hole on the right side of the infield.
Daniel Murphy will get his first spring training games as the starting left fielder for the Mets Wednesday, Feb. 25 against the Baltimore Orioles.

Eddie Kunz has all the stuff of a first round draft pick (2007), but without the control. Kunz had a chance to impress the Mets during his call-up last year, but he seemed to catch the same control virus that spread through the entire bullpen last season. In only 4 games, Kunz pitched less than 3 innings, but found a way to compete the stat sheet! He gave up 5, hits, 4 earned runs, 1 home run, 1 walk, 1 strike out, 1 player hit by a pitch, two wild pitches, an era near 14 and a 2.25 WHIP. Whew!

Kunz doesn't have much of a chance to make the club out of spring training, but he has a great opportunity to push last season's control problems out of the minds of Mets management. And when you consider the arm problems in JJ Putz's past and the workload history of KRod, Kunz could find himself back in the arms of Omar Minaya. Eddie Kunz will get his first chance Thursday, Feb. 26. He's scheduled to be the 5th pitcher in a spring training game against the Florida Marlins.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Top 10 Reasons I Like Baseball Cards

10. They bring you back to your childhood. You feel like a kid on Christmas opening a pack or getting a new card.

9. You learn something new all the time.

8. Each card tells a story about the player.

7. Opening baseball cards in the winter makes you feel like spring training is just around the corner.

6. They conveniently fit in a coat pocket which makes it easy to hide a new pack of cards from your spouse.

5. You are never as big a geek as the next to you at the National or Hobby Shop.

4. They are easy to destroy if your favorite player pisses you off.

3. It's cheaper than collecting cars.

2. Handling them delicately teaches you how to hold a baby.

1. A sense of accomplishment when you complete a set or get another new card from your favorite player.

Josh Hamilton Topps 2009 Auto Jersey

I don't collect too many current cards, but the kids have started getting into the Topps 2009 set. I think it's a good starter set to get them going.

Right now, we're just collecting the Mets team set.

This weekend we... err, they received a pretty good pull. This is a Josh Hamilton autograph and game used jersey. I'm a sucker for the autographs... not so much on the stickers, but still a cool from a $1.99 pack.

I read yesterday that Josh Hamilton has kicked another bad habit. Chewing tobacco is no longer stuffed into the cheek of the Texas Slugger. First he stops drugs/alcohol, now he stops tobacco... what's next year?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Emmitt Smith Leaves ESPN and Saves the English Language

Sigh... Emmitt's one of my favorite Dallas Cowboys. I have several of his rookie cards, but haven't forked over the money for his autograph just yet.

His gutty performances helped Dallas win three Super Bowls in four years. He could carry the offense for stretches of a game and was the best at picking up the blitz allowing Troy Aikman time to complete passes to Michael Irvin. He was fun to watch (not counting his Arizona seasons).

As great as his NFL career was, his broadcasting career may be the worst since Magic Johnson's crapfest in the booth after his first retirement. It was fun (and sad) to watch Emmitt make up words and phrases during the football season.

But all good things must come to an end. I read on the Awful Announcing blog this weekend that Emmitt and ESPN are parting ways. Here's AA's top 10 Emmittisms and some honorable mentions.

10. "Last year there was a lot of things the Colts had to address. They couldn't stop the run, and all those. That was one of the biggest things they had to address."
9. "You have to have the personality to match up with the Patriots."
8. "He's giving them all the confidences they need. He giving them the confidence that he need."
7. "They do a very good job of flying around the Football field and carousing the Football carrier."
6. "Don't worry about the game you just won or the team that we just blew out. Uhhh... blown. Blown out. Let's think about what we need to do going forward, and they had blown out."
5. "Eli Manning has been given the rites of patches."
4. "This kind of inconsistency, against a team like New England, will get you completely blowed out."
3. "You cannot change the stripes of a leopard."
2. "Go to Arizona, sharp as a whistle, and do some finishing touches, so we can go down in the Super Bowl and play our best football of the whole entire season."
1. "The strength of the Patriots, their offense, got debacled."

Honorable Mention:

  • "The NFC West is probably one of the weakest conferences in the whole NFC."
  • "The leadership definitely have to come from the leaders."
  • "I think it's his self-confidence in himself that make him so confident when it get down into the crunch time."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Football Spectacular Show Affected by Sagging Economy

Triumph Sports has canceled all of their 2009 autograph, card, and memorabilia shows. The Football Spectacular shows are typically held in Edison, NJ but have also done some in Dallas, TX.

Their shows attract the biggest names in football including Adrian Peterson, the Manning family, Joe Namath, Dan Marino and others. They began promoting the (now canceled) 2009 show in December with a "potential guest" list. Calling it a "potential show" makes a little more sense in retrospect.

Their web site said everyone who ordered tickets should have received their refund by the first of February and they are planning a 2010 event.

Hopefully Triumph's move to cancel shows isn't a trend.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mark the Shea Moments in the Citi Parking Lot

Yesterday I commented on Steve Popper's Amazin' Stories blog about the last pieces of Shea Stadium falling. The site of so many Amazin' moments in Mets history is about to become a dark sea of asphalt.

It's not practical for replaced stadiums to remain in place (for long) while the nails, bolts, and memories begin to fade. However, the Mets can at least preserve some of the history by marking the locations of historical Mets moments.

The Phillies and White Sox mark the homeplate and pitching mounds of previous stadiums among their parking places. There is still part of a wall on the Univ. of Pitt grounds where Forbes Field once stood and there is a pitching mound and home plate to mark the first World Series where Huntington Avenue Grounds was hosting to the Boston Red Sox.

The Wilpon family need to do something similar in the Citi Field parking lot. They need to follow the pattern of their NL East rivals, the Atlanta Braves. The Braves do a real nice job of marking home plate, the bases, pitching mound, and of course the site where Hank Aaron's 715th HR flew over Fulton County Stadium fence.

I'd like to see the Mets mark the plate, bases, and pitching mound. More importantly I'd like to see the mark the location of Cleon Jones making his famous last out catch of the 1969 World Series in the left field of Shea and a spot where Mookie Wilson's ground ball rolled beyond Bill Buckner and first base during Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. Lets add a marker on the location with the exact quotes from Vin Scully's great call on NBC, "Little roller up along first... here comes Knight and the Mets win it!"

I ask the Mets organization and the Wilpon family to preserve these moments of Mets history by marking the locations in the new Citi Field parking lot.

UPDATE: Thanks to Steven Popper for presenting the idea to the Jeff Wilpon Wednesday night, Feb. 18.

1971 Topps Team Set Complete

I completed my 1971 Cowboys Team Set this week with a purchase on eBay.

Cards in the team set include: Walt Garrison, Lee Roy Jordan, Duane Thomas, Ralph Neeley, Mel Renfro, Bob Lilly, Billy Truax, Craig Morton, Bob Hayes, Calvin Hill, and Chuck Howley.

That's three Hall of Famers, multiple Super Bowl starts, a Super Bowl MVP, and four Ring of Honor players.

I like the trivia on the back of the cards, "Walt Garrison's hobbies include going to rodeos!" Yee haw.
I'd like to see some of these players come up to Canton for Bullet Bob Hayes' induction into the Hall of Fame. I'm sure it would be a nice touch for the Hayes family to have some of his former teammates in attendance.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Last Piece of Shea Stadium (sigh)

All that is left of Shea... a ramp. OK, so it's not as depressing as the Tiger Stadium demolition, but still weepy.

Thanks to Metsheads for the picture.

I just watched the A-Rod Press Conference

... and this is how I felt.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ricky Williams - 2nd Minor League Card

The other minor league baseball card I have of Ricky Williams is the Upper Deck: SP Top Prospects card from 1999.

Williams still played for Batavia at the time of this card.

Earlier this month I blogged about another minor league baseball card of Ricky Williams.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Florida Marlins Baseball Stadium Vote Today

Update: The vote was postponed on Friday, 2/13.

Miami-Dade County Commissioners and Miami City commissioners are voting today (Friday the 13th) on the proposed new baseball stadium.

It's a tough time to allocate public funds to a baseball stadium in today's economic times. From what I understand, this is a tough call because a lot of people aren't happy about the proposed location and the funds involved.
A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the new stadium and linked to a good Biz of Baseball article on the vote.

Pete Rose Please Stop Talking

Should one disgraced star speak out against another? I don't think so, but it doesn't stop people in sports from doing it and didn't stop the Hit King.

During an interview with WIP's Howard Erskin, Pete Rose questioned why we should believe that Alex Rodriguez stopped taking steroids.
Pete makes the point, "I just wonder if a guy making $250 million is going to go into the commode at the ballpark and put a blindfold on and say, 'Go ahead hit me in the ass, with whatever you want to hit me in the ass with.'"
While Pete may have a point, he doesn't have a leg of credibility to stand on here. Hey Pete, here are my talking points for you:
1. Shut up
2. Shut up
3. Shut up

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Meet the Mets: Roberto Alomar AIDS and Art Shamsky Lifestyle

It's rough to be married to an ex-NY Mets player these days.

First Art Shamksy is getting sued by his ex-wife and stalked by her in Manhattan restaurants.
Today we find out that the former girlfriend of Roberto Alomar is suing him for $15 Million dollars. His ex-girlfriend is claiming that Alomar knowingly gave her AIDS. According the lawsuit, Robbie has fought numerous health battles lately and doctors have informed him of AIDS.
What is Mary Pierce doing these days? Her and Robbie shared a home in the Cleveland area and were engaged for a time.

Oh and Page six of the NY Post has excerpts of Darryl Strawberry's booking coming out this April where he talks about his 1980s days in NY.

"Meet the Mets . . . bring the kiddies, bring the wife... guaranteed to have the time of your life!"
thanks to baseball think factory for alerting me to the Alomar story

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Pete Rose vs. Alex Rodriguez - Breaking Rules vs. Cheating

Pete Rose broke the rule, "no gambling on baseball." Alex Rodriguez cheated by taking a drug to make him play better, but that wasn't an official rule at the time.

Rose's actions never changed the result of a game, the final score, or the history of the game's statistics. ARod put up bigger numbers, altered final scores, and probably changed the final results of some games. How much did steroids help him? No one can really tell. However, he didn't break a baseball rule.

Which is the bigger crime? Is one player more deserving to go into the Hall of Fame?

Alex Escobar 1999 SP Top Prospects

The news of Fernando Martinez's injury has me thinking of Alex Escobar. I hope F-Mart doesn't turn into another "Escobar."

Alex was the jewel of the Mets farm system in the early '90s. I was so sure Alex Escobar was going to be the next Darryl Strawberry (sans drugs) that I bought this 1999 Autograph SP Top Prospects card.
Escobar was said to have speed, defensive, power and was supposed to be the centerpiece of the Mets rebuilding project. After a September call-up in 2001, Escobar was the key trade-bait that brought Roberto Alomar from Cleveland to the NY Mets.

During the 2002 Indians spring training, Escobar blew out his knee which cost him the 2002 season. Since the Escobar has been with Cleveland, the Chicago White Sox and Washington Nationals fighting injuries every step of the way.

Can F-Mart get healthy enough to have a good showing for the Mets this spring training? I hope so - I'd like to see what he can do during spring training against major league pitching.

Monday, February 9, 2009

1985 Topps Pete Rose Set - My Own DaVinci Code!

Maybe it's not Dan Brown quality, but I'm totally geeked about the Pete Rose 1985 Topps image that is created with the back of the cards.

I was going through the 1985 Topps Pete Rose set I bought from the good people at the Project '62 Blog when I noticed the background was different on some of the cards. (I know, I'll never be confused with Dr. Robert Langdon.)

I pieced together cards #91-120 to get this image. Pretty cool! If you have the set, the cards should be placed right to left: 91-96, 97-102, 103-108, 109-114, and 115-120.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

101 ARod Rookie Cards at Beckett 10 Months Later

Remember Beckett bragging about this guy coming into their offices with his 101 ARod Rookies? I hope this guy was able to sell them!

I said at the time that I think Graded Card Investing makes zero sense. Pepper (at Beckett during the time) tried to convince me otherwise, but as you'll read here, he wasn't able to provide any examples of where someone made retirement on "graded card investing."

When you dip your toe in the graded card investing, you have a limited audience. Only so many people are going to want to buy those cards no matter what the latest Beckett magazine says. Now factor in a recession and a steroid drama . . . I think you're taking a hit on that investment now. At least if you invest in stocks/bonds/mutual funds you can always find a buyer and your investment doesn't hinge on the stupid actions of a baseball player.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Baseball Author Lee Lowenfish Book Event

Lee Lowenfish is a carrier of baseball history. His fourth book, "Branch Rickey: Baseball's Ferocious Gentleman," was on my summer reading list already, but has now been pushed to the front of the list. I found out this morning that Lowenfish is going to be doing an event at a local book store next month.

I'm assuming Lowenfish is doing the book event in this area since Branch Rickey was an Ohio Wesleyan Alumni.

Book events can be great because they can provide an opportunity to share your thoughts with the author, learn more about his/her background and get a better understanding of their mindset when writing the book.

Lowenfish has been doing baseball research and teaching history since the '70s and Branch Rickey is a great topic. Rickey is a baseball pioneer that who brought Jackie Robinson to the majors while he was a Dodgers GM and started the modern-day farm system when he was with the St. Louis Cardinals.
I'll see if I can find out more tonight about the event. If you're the Central Ohio area, let me know if you're going to attend. Or if I can, let me know if you'd like me to pick up an autograph book for you. I'll see what I can do.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ricky Williams Minor League Baseball Card

I almost forgot I had this one! This is a 1998 Minor League Baseball card of the Batavia Muckdogs.

In '98 the Muckdogs were affiliated with the Philadelphia Phillies. During that season, Williams played in 13 games, hit .283 and stole 6 bases. He only had three RBIs though and didn't get an extra base hit in 53 ABs. Williams struck out 16 times and walked twice.

The 1998 season was the last Minor League baseball season for Ricky Williams.

I was a huge Ricky Williams fan when he came out of college. I really thought he'd have a great NFL career. He seemed to regain his focus this year, but he's not nearly the player I thought he would have been.

Other football greats who played minor league baseball:

  • John Elway
  • Brian Jordan
  • Deion Sanders
  • Drew Henson (ha)

The Detroit Tigers Will Win the AL Central

In 2008, the Tigers got away from what made them successful, pitching and defense. I think this off-season they've made moves to improve themselves enough to win the AL Central.

Their middle of the field defense will improve a ton with Adam Everett at SS and Gerald Laird behind the plate. I know, Pudge was there last year, but lets be honest, he was a shell of himself.

I think the pitching will improve with a healthy Zumaya and Rodney in the bullpen and bounce-back years from Verlander, Robertson, Bonderman - they can't have back-to-back horrible seasons can they?!

I see Detroit winning the AL Central followed closely by Cleveland, Chicago and Minnesota all in the mix.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Are the Mets and Citi Breaking the Naming Deal?

According to Fox Business News, Citi is rethinking their $400 billion naming rights deal with the New York Mets. Citi is under contract to pay the Wilpon family $20 million a year for 20 years.
The report claims that "Citi likely won't be able to back out of the naming-rights agreement immediately..."

If the Mets and Citi break the deal, can we get rid of the stupid Dominos Pizza Patch?

One benefit of this recession could be the stupid naming rights! Remember when ball parks were named for pioneers of the club, the area where the stadium was built, or to honor veterans of the Armed Forces? Now we have no idea where FedEx Park, Fifth Third Field, and AT&T Stadiums are located.

I'd like to see us go back park names like Veterans Stadium, Dodger Stadium at Chavez Ravine, and the Polo Grounds.

Has the Value of the Phelps Card Dropped?

To the 18+ crowd the Michael Phelps' hippie lettuce hit doesn't seem to be a big deal. Mario @ Wax Heaven had a good discussion about it yesterday. The parental crowd and 10-17 age demographic probably has another perspective.

How long until Phelps is on Barbara Walters, The View, and The O'Reilly Factor explaining this poor decision on the heels of his previous DUI poor decision?

I'm not playing a "better than thou card." Personally I don't care what he does in his spare time behind closed doors. All I'm saying is that when you're paid millions of dollars to be a good person, hard worker, and "boy next door" to little kids, then it's stupid to experiement with mary jane around other people. Maybe this the SI Sportsman of the Year Curse?

So will the value of his card drop?

Is now the time to buy this card before the next summer olympics?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Can the Tampa Bay Rays Repeat as AL Champs?

As if playing in the AL East and being outspent on payroll nearly 3-1 isn't enough, recent history isn't on the side of the defending AL Champions.

The last three teams to lose the World Series, failed to make the playoffs the next year. The Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers, and Houston Astros couldn't regain their form to play baseball in October after losing the World Series the previous year.

However the Rays have youth on their side. BJ Upton, Evan Longoria, Scott Kazmir and David Price should have their best years ahead of them. For the most part, the Rockies, Tigers, and Astros were veteran teams.

If Upton cuts down on his strike out totals, heals his shoulder, stops battling with the coaching staff and if Kazmir finds a way to complete 6 innings in under 100 pitches then the Rays will be there in October.

My biggest concern with the Rays is their bullpen. Do they have the arms in the 7th, 8th and 9th to stop the big power hitters in the Boston and NY line-ups?

I think three of the top 4 teams in the AL are in the Eastern Division. Two of them should reach October. My prediction... Tampa repeats as AL East Champions. I think the Red Sox will finish 2nd and will be the wild card team. The Yanks will finish third.

Having fans like her doesn't hurt the Rays either.