Grand Cards: December 2009

Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Great Grand Cards Anniversary Contest!

I've been traveling over the last few days and have been occupied spending time with family and friends, leaving little time to blog at all. WIth that, the one year anniversary of this blog passed unceremoniously at 11:59pm last night.

But no worries! I don't have a anniversary post planned, but I have something better. Last night, when we arrived to visit our friends in Ohio, I was greeted with this Christmas gift from my friend Mike:

That is TWELVE boxes, of varying sizes, of baseball cards (with some basketball/hockey etc. thrown in. Much of it is as you expect--there is your metric ton of early 90s stuff--including a fabulous starter set of 1992 Stadium Club, but I've also seen some pre-1980s Topps stuff, some neat minor league and oddball cards etc.

Here's the catch. 1) I can't transport all of them home and 2) I can't necessarily keep all that I bring home. That means these boxes need to be combed through to find the things I want and the rest left for Mike to do as he pleases. Which brings me to the contest.


Contest Rules
1. Become a follower of this blog (if you are already a follower, just let me know in the comments
2. Guess how many DIFFERENT Detroit Tigers cards I pull from these boxes to bring home
3. Guess how many OTHER cards I decide to bring home with me.
4. Post about this contest on your blog (and provide a link) to get a second guess of each.

Two people will win--The person who most closely guesses the number of Tigers Cards and the one who is closest to the overall number of cards that I keep (Closest, overall--not Price-is-Right rules). The Winners will receive all the cards of their team of choice that I can find. YOU MUST INCLUDE YOUR TEAM OF CHOICE WITH YOUR ENTRY.

January 1st, 8pm Eastern Time.

We are leaving here on the 2nd, so this will give me just enough time to count my cards, find the winners and pull all the cards of the winners. Because of this very tight time frame, I will bypass a winning guess that does not include a team of choice in the comments.

That's it. The Clock is Ticking so GO GO GO! Feel free to comment with any questions.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Grand Scheme Envies The Gentiles

Christmas has come and gone and that can only mean one thing: card bloggers from around the globe can showcase their take.

Tradition...tradition! Tradition! Christmas traditions, that is. This is more pre-christmas, I suppose, but Thorzul has the whole Card-Vent Calendar filled in beautifully. Game-worn Rick Majerus anyone? Over at Cardboard Junkie, dayf completes the 12 Days of Cardmas in macabre fashion.

Having Pun With The Holiday White Sox Cards does it very nicely.

The Christmas Story as told by Wrigley Wax makes me think that Jesus was a little more robust than your average child.

Under The Tree... were many, many nice things. Allow me to selectively envy a few:

Dinged Corners

Sooz and Marie at A Cardboard Problem:


Also, White Sox Cards got a bevy of packs, Mark's Ephemera got a bevy of Bernie's, and Baseball Dad comes away with a beautiful signed magazine from the Original Rocky. More wonderful gifts can be found around the card blog world.

The Ho Ho Holiday Contest Beardy's pet project yielded some outstanding custom cards. Go there now to vote for your favorite. I didn't participate so allow me to bias you by showing you my choice.

Misc. Seems to me that there was a disturbing absence of Hannukah posts this year. I may need to figure out something to remedy that next year. Is anyone else feeling unfulfilled by this baseball offseason? Old English D needs something more. Oh please oh please let These Elves build us something good next year. Please. Obligatory Curtis Granderson post: Bless You Boys asks whether the hitting coach in Detroit was to blame for his struggles. Also, a long time ago, Jake Fox was traded. Then the "hot stove" world collapsed around me and I forgot about it. Mind now clear, I'll try to get an "M in the MLB" post up at some point. Also x2: Wednesday is the one year anniversary of this blog. I currently have nothing planned so I better get the mind gears turning.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tigers Checklist: 2009 Upper Deck Icons

Ok people, Christmas is over time to get back to work. Not really, but seeing as how I don't have a Christmas-related post in mind, I'll get back in the swing of things with another standby--the Checklist Galleries. This one is of 2009 UD Icons, a set that I once said would be classified as UDOK because the cards are, well, fine but nothing to speak of. Nothing like some effusive praise to get everybody pumped for the gallery! Woo! Icons!

Base Set The base set is small and not-unspectacular, but really nothing to write home about. I think that they're bland, but when in hand the cards are perfectly nice. Big action photos and non-offensive color scheme are the norm here. There is a red parallel set that is only available in retail packages. They look like this, which is actually an over-reflective downgrade if you ask me. The regular cards line up thusly:

#27 Curtis Granderson
#67 Justin Verlander
#73 Magglio Ordonez

#80 Miguel Cabrera
#102 Rick Porcello RC (#/999)
#129 Ryan Perry RC (#/999)

Inserts There's a straightforward "Icons" insert set that also suffers from mirrorboarditis. Too shiny. Too hard to see even in the right light. If somehow you are a scanner whiz and can make it look like Justin Verlander here, then they are a sight to behold. Unfortunately, they don't really look that good in person. The four cards are numbered to 999, with a nicer, green parallel version numbered to 125.

#IC-CA Miguel Cabrera (#/999)
#IC-GU Carlos Guillen (#/999)
#IC-VE Justin Verlander (#/999)

#IC-JZ Joel Zumaya (#/999)

Relics Ugh. These cards aren't bad, but they sure do look familiar. Yep, they are exactly the same as the regular insert cards, just with a jersey piece where the team logo once was. That's a net downgrade in my eyes, but oh well. Regular versions aren't numbered, but there are Gold Parallel Jersey Cards that are numbered to a cool 25 copies.

#IC-CA Miguel Cabrera
#IC-GU Carlos Guillen
#IC-VE Justin Verlander

#IC-JZ Joel Zumaya

Autographs Only one true autograph in the set. Remember this? That's from back when this set first came out and was a big ol' OOPS on Upper Deck. Sure enough, the only autograph in the set is of uber-rookie Rick Porcello, beautifully signed on-card, and featuring a picture of...Ryan Perry, the Tigers' other rookie pitcher. Ouch. That would have been the first Autographed RC for Porcello too. Sadness. Here it is again to refresh your memory.

#154 Rick Porcello (#/100)

Manufactured "Lettermen" Patches: I tend to not like manufactured patches. I'll admit that the cards can actually look quite nice in person, so I see their appeal, but I would much prefer that they not exist instead of spelling out things like nicknames or "Rookie" or what have you. The Al Kaline manufactured patches in this set spell out "MR TIGER," which is all well and good, but really pointless and kind of dumb. Patch letters are numbered to 60 versions each, except for the autographed versions, which are only numbered to 4 and look mighty fine. This particular one ("M") came from one of I Am Joe Collector's Group Breaks (I didn't get it, but it is still an excellent pull).

#IL-AK Al Kaline "M" Auto (#/4)
#IL-AK Al Kaline "R" Auto (#/4)

#IL-AK Al Kaline "T" (#/60)
#IL-AK Al Kaline "I" Auto (#/4)
#IL-AK Al Kaline "G" (#/60)

#IL-AK Al Kaline "E" (#/60)
#IL-AK Al Kaline "R" (#/60)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Trails: Fernando Rodney

2009 OPC #234 Fernando Rodney

Merry Christmas for Fernando Rodney. I've actually always liked Fernando, as frustrating as he could be to watch. When he was on, he was untouchable. He was cool looking. Oh, and my brother-in-law met and talked with him and Ramon Santiago at a restaurant in Mexicantown a few years ago and said that they were quiet, down to earth and really nice guys. So, in that sense, I'm sorry see Fernando go. Also, If not for Fernando Rodney, what would I have done on this blog? There would have been no "Poor Fernando" no WBC Card giveaway and no general chances to reference Thelonious Monk in a baseball context. But, all things must end. We knew that Rodney was a free agent and was looking for a payday. Bless You Boys points me to the facts that say he got one...not as big as he would have liked, but nice nonetheless.

So, with Fernando an Angel, we see another of the familiar faces fall off the roster. Certainly, this seems for the best--the Tigers don't have to pay $5.5M for each of the next two years for the pleasure of being given heart attacks every few games. I'm sure we have plenty of young arms that can do that for (almost) free. The Tigers also get a compensation draft pick, which is excellent and will further help the rebuilding process.

Obviously, the loss of Rodney and Lyon leaves the Tigers without a proven closer, but you know what? I'm kind of ok with that. There are a lot of young arms that can throw fire in the system (both in the Majors already and in the high minors). Let's go with it and see what develops. The A's didn't have a closer last year and a kid named Andrew Bailey came out of nowhere and won the rookie of the year. Can the Tigers catch the same lightning in a bottle? I guess we'll see.

/unintended christmas eve post. Continue enjoying the rest of your day.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Programming Note

You know the drill--9 hour drive back to Michigan, Christmas etc. I'll actually be gone until January 4th, but I'm sure there will be plenty of downtime to allow for ample posting. After all, the blog was originally started while I was on this break last year! Safe travels and happy holidays to everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Card Cameos

1991 Topps #170 Carlton Fisk featuring Cecil Fielder & Dave Bergman
1988 Score Rookies & Traded #11T Bud Black featuring Luis Salazar
1999 Topps Stadium Club #41 Deivi Cruz featuring Bill Ripken
2000 Topps Chrome #140 Roberto Alomar featuring Frank Catalanotto
2009 Upper Deck #636 Clete Thomas featuring Marcus Thames
1994 Topps Stadium Club #236 Juan Bell featuring Lou Whitaker
1993 Upper Deck #117 Lance Parrish featuring Cecil Fielder
2010 Topps (Silk Parallel) Jason Bartlett featuring Curtis Granderson
2011 Topps #128 Manny Ramirez featuring Will Rhymes
2011 Topps Update #US320 Russell Martin featuring Will Rhymes

Card Cameos: 1991 Topps Fisk, Fielder & Bergman

Inspired by Night Owl's inclusion of this card in his Cardboard Appreciation Semifinal, and his original post on the card, I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to start a new feature on the blog. Card Cameos. I'm sure you're familiar with the concept. A card of player X happens to feature, by virtue of action photography or someone in the background or what have you, another, uncredited player. The catch is this: The non-named card player must be identifiable by virtue of 1) Name/Number on the back of the jersey or 2) Face. That mean's severed legs, backs of helmets or detached arms of a player do not count as a cameo. At least not to me.

Oh, and one other thing. I will only be looking at Cameos of Detroit Tigers, as if that wasn't something that you would have guessed in the first place. Maybe, just maybe, as a gift back to the baseball card community as a whole, I will highlight the cameos of non-Tigers that appear on Tigers cards, but we'll just have to see about that.

So, if we're starting a new feature, why not kick it off with a bang?


Does he score? Isn't that the question on everybody's mind? Here in this 1991 Topps #170 (a card which a random Bleacher Report post lists as the best card of the set and of which GCRL is a big fan) We see one thing: Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk preparing himself for a play at the plate with Cecil Fielder.

Easy. Cameo 1: Cecil Fielder

Oh, but there is so much more. The Tiger in the on-deck circle is screaming at Cecil to slide. Now, at first glance, I thought that this was none other than former Catcher Mike Heath. However, comments on Night Owl's post suggest that it is Dave Bergman. "Hmm..." I thought, "Where's the Stache?" A closer review at the image blown up, indicates that it could be Bergman--perhaps his whiskers are caught up in the out-of-register grain of the photograph.

So let's go a step further.

I'm going to assume that photographs for the 1991 set were taken in 1990. Seeing as how this game takes place in Chicago, perhaps we should harken back to that season. A quick glance shows the two Tigers/White Sox series that take place in Chicago:

May 18-20
July 2-4

Boy, how awesome was the balanced schedule back then? I wish they would make things a little less unbalanced these days, but I digress...

Ok, two series to choose from. Looking at the pictures again, I'm seeing long sleeves all around. Is everyone ok assuming that's not in the middle of July? Ok good. Box Score Time.

On May 18th Cecil Fielder went 3 for 3 with a run and 2 RBI. Is this it? Nope. Cecil's solo home run (15!) accounted for his only run.

On May 19th Cecil was 2 for 4 and scored two runs. No Home Runs here--this could be the game.

On May 20th Cecil was 2-4 again, with another Home Run accounting for his sole run and rbi.

(Aside: good lord did Fielder have an incredible series. By the end of it he was batting .326 with 16 home runs and had an OPS of 1.170!)

Ok, back to the May 19th game. Game time temperature is 68 degrees, which seems a little high for long sleeves, but given the night game and the propensity for the midwest to cool down when the sun is down in May, I think we can accept the plausibility of this being the game, in principle. We need to see if there was a scenario in place in which Cecil Fielder would have scored, in a situation that may have warranted a play at the plate, and confirm or deny that Dave Bergman could have been on deck. Cecil was only on base twice in the game. Let's go to the play-by-play:

Cecil Fielder singled to Right Field to lead off the second inning. After a Larry Sheets flyout, Catcher Matt Nokes (which means that Mike Heath wasn't in the game then!) is hit by a pitch. Fielder to second, aka "scoring position." I put this in quotes, because Cecil was not particularly fleet of foot, so a base hit that might score your average player could turn into a play at the plate if, say...Gary Ward singles to Center Field. Which he did. Rounding Third, Fielder keys in on the on-deck batter--Dave Bergman--and as the throw comes in from the outfield Fielder slides and is...

Safe. 1-0 Tigers.

Fielder is again driven in by Ward in the 6th, but was on third base with the bases loaded after a double and two walks. Ward's single scores two runs, the first of which was Fielder, meaning that he would have easily trotted home on that play, making for a much less interesting baseball card.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Grand Galleries: 2001-2005

Full Checklist of Granderson Cards is here. Links will activate as galleries are posted. Some galleries will be added to existing posts about a card or set.

Mankato Mashers Team Set

Bowman Chrome Draft
Bowman Draft
Topps T206
Upper Deck Prospect Premieres

Grandstand (Lakeland Tigers & FSL Top Prospects)

Eastern League Top Prospects
Erie Seawolves Set

International League Top Prospects
Topps Total
Fleer Tradition

Sunday, December 20, 2009

This Is Nothing

Ok, it's not actually nothing, but it isn't really anything. Is it?

If it is, in fact, something, then this is the something that it is. Which is nothing.

Don't be confused. It's just that somebody took a Rookie Card of Curtis Granderson, got it signed in person or through the mail, butchered it by removing any picture of Curtis Granderson, doesn't mention on the card that it is Curtis Granderson, fails to remove the "D" which is the only reason I can imagine cutting up the picture (to try and capitalize on his new Yankee-ness), and then puts it a frame and calls it a one-of-one.

Nope. Nothing.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Grand Scheme Is Snowed In

Egad 15-20 inches? I'm not sure what the final total is going to be, but today in Baltimore it snowed like it has never snowed before. Literally. 14 and change was the record for a single day leading up to this. Of course, this meant that we were snowed in, which meant watching some movies, cleaning things up and taking the dog for an hour and a half romp in the park in the middle of the storm. Unfortunately, it did not mean taking pictures of baseball cards, as I have no idea where our battery charger is and the camera went dark when we were out in the snow. Hmm...

A few people I talked to, who knew (or found out) that I was from Michigan, said things like "oh, then you're used to this," which is not the case at all. Sure, it snows more in Michigan in general, and will maybe have multi-inch snow days for a number of days in a row, but both my wife and I agreed, that we have never been a part of a storm this big. So there we go. It was kind of neat.

Time Heals All Wounds I first saw this picture on Thursday, thanks to a link from the Spot Starters

That's from a NYDaily News article welcoming Granderson to the club. I find it to be wrong and disturbing on multiple levels. For whatever reason, I don't think Granderson will look good in pinstripes, may these press conference photos serve as a taste of things to come. Also, was the NY on the hat always that big? Geez, settle down guys. Nope, I don't like it one bit.

However, whereas this picture nearly inspired the post "The Grand Scheme Is Nauseous" on Thursday, just a two days removed and I am resigned to the reality that Granderson is a Yankee and that is that. It also makes me feel good about continuing to catalog his cards as he moves forward with his career. Sure, he's on a different team, and no, I won't be continuing to collect his cards, but for me baseball cards are about following the history of a team (or player), and that is something I want to keep doing with Curtis.

Of course, hearing the gals at Dinged Corners say the same thing never hurts. He is still Curtis, after all.

Grand Galleries Which leads me to the new thing that I'll be doing. The Grand Galleries will be the follow up to the original "Ultimate Checklist" posts that I started doing on the site. The plan is this: digitally catalog every Curtis Granderson card ever produced. Yes, I realize that this is impossible. But it should be fun. The cards will be showcased by year and release, just like how I do my Tigers galleries and will include all known cards and parallels in thumbnail form, enlarged when you click. I think I'll start with 2002 and move up from there, but who knows--I might jump all over the place to keep things interesting.

Welcome To The Mix Oh, in case you didn't know, I keep the Tigers galleries updated when new stuff becomes available. For example, let's say I post a checklist gallery that mentions a card that I can't find a picture of. Well, you'll see this:

That is, until that card actually surfaces, like, say, this one did the other day:
2009 Sweet Spot #SS-AK Al Kaline Green Ink

Neat, no? So that means if you go down to the Sweet Spot gallery, the new Al has replaced the old logo. Remember, clicking on the thumbnails makes them big.

Hmm I guess that's it. Here I was thinking that I had more to talk about, but I guess not. With the juiceless camera, I'm going to have to figure out ways to post new content tomorrow, also I need to figure out how to split up this Granderson collection, and I got some nice vintage cards from Greg, formerly of Lake Effect Cards, which reminds me that I need to highlight my older cards sooner rather than later. Sigh--so much to do. I guess that's what holidays are for!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tigers Checklist: 2009 Topps Heritage

Let's say so long to glum front page articles and go with something nice. Topps Heritage is nice. In fact, Topps Heritage is so nice that I've been compelled to start collecting it, so, woo. The 2009 Set is full of wonderful landscaped images, bright colors, a big checklist and some hilariously bad photoshop jobs (I'm looking at you, Edwin and Gerald).

Let's take a look at your 2009 Topps Heritage Tigers (feel free quietly lament--or celebrate--how few of them will actually take the field in an Old English D in 2010):

Base Set The wonderful landscape base set would look great in the old-school 8-card binder folders from the 50s. As it is, these are normal sized cards fit in the 9 page binder, but you have to deal with them looking sideways. Not here though--yeah it take more rows, but I prefer the landscaped style. The "High Numbers" update set starts at number 500--the Tigers' first high number card is #505 Adam Everett--and goes through the end, but I'm including these all as part of the same set.

#6 Brandon Inge
#50 Curtis Granderson
#68 Edwin Jackson
#72 Detroit Tigers
#85 Justin Verlander
#118 Chris Lambert RC
#186 Joel Zumaya
#221 Jim Leyland
#245 Carlos Guillen
#361 Gerald Laird
#396 Gary Sheffield
#400 Magglio Ordonez
#414 Miguel Cabrera
#418 Armando Galarraga
#443 Marcus Thames SP
#452 Placido Polanco SP
#461 Tigers Coaches SP
#505 Adam Everett
#510 Alfredo Figaro RC
#526 Brandon Lyon
#573 Fu-Te Ni RC
#618 Jarrod Washburn
#663 Wilkin Ramirez RC
#672 Aubrey Huff
#676 Ryan Perry RC
#718 Rick Porcello RC SP

Inserts Not much in the way of Tigers inserts in Heritage. I'm going to call the Chrome cards inserts, even though they are kind of like parallels. What's your vote? I say insert since the numbering system is different, they don't include the whole set and they have their own parallels. Speak of which, the Cabrera and Verlander are regular chromes numbered to 1960, the Porcello (High Number) shown is of the refractor variety and is numbered to 560. The Fu-Te Ni (High Numbers) shows the last chrome variation, a Black Refractor numbered to 60. All four cards exist in all three versions. The last insert, also from the High Numbers set, is a Rick Porcello "Rookie Performers" card:

#C53 Miguel Cabrera Chrome
#C66 Justin Verlander Chrome
#CHR171 Rick Porcello RC Refractor
#CHR184 Fu-Te Ni RC Black Refractor
#RP-4 Rick Porcello "Rookie Performers"

Autographs Never the strong suit of the Heritage set are the "hits." In this case, the autographs are of Three Tigers featured in the 1960 set. Blue and Red Ink (#/60) versions of the regular autographs exist, and auto/relic cards of Groth and Wilson are numbered to 25. There's also a 1/1 cut signature of Eddie Yost, which I haven't yet seen, hence the substitute picture.

#ROA-JG Johnny Groth
#ROA-JG Johnny Groth Red Ink /60
#ROA-JP Jim Proctor
#ROA-JP Jim Proctor Red Ink /60
#ROA-RJW Red Wilson
#ROA-RJW Red Wilson Red Ink /60
#FBA-JG Johnny Groth Flashback Auto /25
#FBAR-JG Johnny Groth Flashback Stadium Auto/Relic /25
#FBA-RW Red Wilson Flashback Auto /25
#FBAR-RW Red Wilson Flashback Stadium Auto/Relic /25
#HCS-EY Eddie Yost Heritage Cut Signature (1/1)

Relics Dontrelle is your featured relic in the regular series (boo), along with an Al Kaline "Flashback" Tiger Stadium Set (yay). In the High Numbers set, Miguel Cabrera is your only Tiger relic. Kaline shares rare (#/10) cards with Mickey Mantle and Brooks Robinson that I'd love to get my eyes on.

#CC-DW Dontrelle Willis
#CC-MIC (High #) Miguel Cabrera
#FR-AK Al Kaline

#DFR-KM Al Kaline/Mickey Mantle /10
#DFR-RK Brooks Robinson/Al Kaline /10

Advertising Panels These Box Toppers are essentially three cards in one, that don't look different from the regular cards. There are a bunch of Tigers in the set, both regular and high numbers, none of which have numbers. I'll show what I've seen, but I'll refer you to the checklist for the full list of what I've seen listed/mentioned/listed on Beckett. As I find more, I'll grab some shots and add them here.

Bard/Greene/PERRY RC (High #)
Hernandez/LYON/Uehara (High #)
NI RC/Young/Bastardo (High #)