Sunday, April 22, 2018

Manaea Mania - Baby Giraffe Avoids Bat Gaffes

DATELINE APRIL 21, 2018 -- Oakland, CA 
Sean Manaea, a flamethrowing southpaw on the left coast, has made quite the impression on the visiting Boston nine this evening, setting down the Americans in rapid succession. The giant Athletic twirled scoreless baseball for the full nine rounds, without surrendering a single hit. Nine of the final ten Bostonians went by the way, with only a pass on balls marring perfection.

Manaea came to Oakland via Kansas City, traded to the Golden State along with Aaron Brooks (now pitching for Milwaukee's AAA affiliate) in exchange for the 2015 World's Series Hero Ben Zobrist.

2018 Looks to be a big year for the young portsider - His 2017 contributions were tops among his teammates. The big question surrounding the one they call the "Baby Giraffe" - can he repeat the feat?

It was not that long ago now that Johnny Vander Meer set down two consecutive teams without a base hit, in June of 1938. Can Manaea match the mark? Both lefties are a bit under the radar. Both blanked Boston in their first no-nos. Before the first no-hitter, Manaea had never thrown a complete game, let alone a no-hit shutout. Johnny had thrown his first career shutout earlier that season, and had pitched three complete games in the starts before, including 10 innings against Saint Louis. All of those starts, and the three starts after the feat resulted in wins for the Redlegs.

Manaea's next start figures to be Friday night against the defending champs, the Houston Astros. A Tall task indeed for the six foot five lefty. 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Turning Over A New Leaf

In news that is fascinating only to me, I added a long sought after black & white whale, a short printed 1960 Leaf Elmer Valo. Valo was towards the end of his 20 year major league career, and landed in New York with the Yankees for Spring Training. He only played in 8 games for New York before being released, but he quickly caught on with the Senators and played 2 more seasons moving with the Senators to Minnesota, and finishing his career right where he started in Philadelphia, playing 50 games for the Phillies.

The back referenced his time in the Pacific Coast League playing for the Seattle Rainiers in 1959. Now that I've found this card, I'm down to a handful of rare regional issue oddballs to complete a collection of all of the cards from his playing days.

Monday, April 16, 2018

NOW things are starting to heat up

Topps NOW is back and testing my wallet already. Topps has added a "Moment of the Week" and the Topps Living Set in addition to the daily Topps NOW offerings and weekly TBT (Throwback Thursday Offerings). I will still be picking up the Twins as the days go by, and I will tell you right NOW that they are going to have at least one if not two or more cards this week with their historic trip to Puerto Rico vs Cleveland. Jose Berrios is a beast, and if it weren't for Mauer's 2,000th hit, he might have been featured again last week. He hurled a 3 hit shutout against the Orioles on April 1st, but his start against Chicago was also impressive.

I don't go outside of Twins cards too often for Topps NOW, but I saw this one and had to make an exception. Ichiro has been one of my favorite players for over a decade, and he's still making plays.

Here's a peek at the card backs. in 2017, Topps added a glossy refractor coating to the backs of Topps NOW, this year's version is a little more subtle. The "Topps" logo catches the light as the card is tilted, but at other angles, it is almost invisible. This is their "Upper Deck Hologram" security feature, which I assume is more flash than substance.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Happy Jackie Robinson Day!

 Jackie should speak for himself - "At the beginning of the World Series of 1947, I experienced a completely new emotion, when the national anthem was played. This time, I thought, it is being played for me, as much as for anyone else. This is organized Major League Baseball, and I am standing here with all the others; and everything that takes place includes me."

"[ . . .] to myself I can say that, because progress is unalterable, many of today's dogmas will have vanished by the time [my children] grow into adults. I can say to my children, there is a chance for you."
"There is no Middle Ages logic so strong that it can stop the human tide from moving forward."
"I do believe - and with every fibre in me - that what I was able to attain came to be because we put behind us (no matter how slowly) the dogmas of the past: to discover the truth of today, and perhaps find the greatness of tomorrow."
"I believe in the human race. I believe in Man's integrity. I believe in the goodness of a free society. And I believe that a society can remain good only as long as we are willing to fight for it -- and to fight against whatever imperfections may exist."

Friday, April 13, 2018

Time to Celebrate a Dime Box Delivery

Nick from the fantastic Dime Boxes Blog sent over a mailer full of gems - as always, great care went into this eclectic mix of cardboard greatness!

Every era of Twins baseball was represented, and every level of the organization, including this great Denard Span minors card that I'd never seen before!

While I will talk incessantly about Joe Mauer's 2000th hit last night, the other storyline was Jose Berrios making the White Sox look silly for seven shutout innings. Berrios struck out 11 batters and allowed just three hits. After three super long marathon games against the Astros, it was a welcome change of pace for Berrios coming in and blowing through the Sox lineup in a couple hours.

I'd never seen this Puckett Glow Stars Sticker before either - and both Carews are new to me.

Nick brings the new hotness with cards from 2018, Kepler was the Hero on Wednesday, hitting 2 loud line drive home runs including the game winner.

Some horizontal heroes! The Killebrew card is embossed / 3-D with his floating head sticking up and jumping off the card.

There were of course tons of parallels too! I love the foil palm trees jutting out over Cristian Guzman's head.

And some vintage too!

Whenever I get cards from Nick, I see stuff I've never seen before. It's always a treat! Thanks so much Nick, I should have some cards headed back your way soon!