Wednesday, January 30, 2013

1997 Leaf. Drugs for Suckcess

TodayMLB kept reminding everyone that they have the toughest drug policy in North America. However, tabloid journalists brought the latest debacle to us - not failed drug tests. Perhaps these new events will have MLB institute lifetime bans for offenders. Would baseball suffer if Alex Rodriguez, Nelson Cruz and Gio Gonzalez were no longer playing?

Anyhow, Leaf in 1997 decided to make a gimmick card out of Nylon material. A little known fact - Nylon is not a chemical name for the material made. It is a compound name made up of the corporate offices of DuPont, which were located in New York and London.

Dress for Success was an 18-card insert set of the who’s who of baseball. Actually Leaf went out on a limb with card #14 Brian Jordan. Each card was serial numbered to 3500. I don’t know how many came pre Series 1 box but I’d guess 2 per box. The cards have a nice feel to them. By the late 1990s there were literally hundreds of insert sets and these cool cards lost in the shuffle.

Friday, January 25, 2013

To Peel or Not to Peel

Starting with 1995 Finest, Topps decided to put a protective coating sticker over the front surface of the card. What reason you ask? For no reason I answer. The Ultra Violet coating that had been applied to premium cards when not fully dried had tended to make the card stick together. Instead of drying the cards properly Topps decided to apply a sticker.

Now the purist will tell you that the sticker is now part of the card but the practical collector will tell you that the sticker is nothing more than part of the pack – an individual wrapper.

When it comes to grading it is best to remove the sticker because BGS and PSA will consider the sticker part of the surface. The problem with that is that the stickers then to be filled with minor air bubbles.

The other reason to remove is in terms of value. The (eBay) market has not put any premium on cards with peel intact.

About The Card

This 1995 Finest Cal Ripken is the same card with the peel and without. I will be subbing this in the future. It appears to be in Gem Mint Condition.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

But there is no joy in Mudville.

Written plainly in Exodus 23:2 it states, “You must not follow a crowd in wrongdoing.”

By all accounts Barry Bonds stayed away from performance-enhancing drug usage until 1999. He followed lockstep with the rest of the juiced crowd and threw away his reputation and legacy by destroying the record book for wads and wads of cash.

I was fortunate to have followed Donnie Baseball in his prime daily.
And Barry Bonds was still the best player I ever watched play the game.

When I look back on Bonds there is nothing that you can point to that makes you happy anymore.
Mattingly on the other hand has his stature intact.

When McGwire and Sosa where chasing Maris I remember people telling me “Thank God it’s not Bonds.” 
That's because his lifelong mercurial angry black man persona made it impossible to root for him outside of Pittsburgh and San Francisco.

At the time, Bonds was still playing the game on his natural ability, which were still light years ahead of everyone not named Junior Griffey
But even Griffey didn’t take his plate appearances as deadly serious as Bonds. Bonds had the superior baseball intellect along with the superior talent base.

In 2004, Barry Bonds was walked 232 times. Officially he was intentionally walked 120 timesand with guys pitching to him carefully he still managed to hit .362 with 45 home runs.
Even if an extremely conservative 25% of the league was using PEDs no one comes close to Bonds accomplishments.

It can't possibly be all attributed to a drug but that is the narrative history will repeat, as it should be.

Poor Barry Bonds. He followed the wrong crowd.

About the Card.
In the entire Barry Bonds baseball collection this one stands because he allowed himself to be photographed. Others have described that scenario as pulling teeth. I love the photo but I don't understand the composition. Why did topps leave some much negative space above his head?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Hall of Fame. Preserving Revisionist History.

Well I guess I wasn't watching legendary players the past twenty years. When Mark McGwire revealed his usage of androstenedione he had already hit 53 home runs. For a quick refresher andro was banned by the NFL, NCAA and the IOC but was allowed by MLB. At this point all the suspicions were confirmed - Mark McGwire was a steroid user. But did anyone care? He went on to blast 17 more home runs to put America into a baseball frenzy. He wasn't breaking any rules so everyone enjoyed the spectacular displays of absolute freakish hitting. It wasn't until six years later when Jose Canseco pulled back the curtain to reveal his own self as 'The Great and Powerful Wizard of Steroids' that people decided that the ride wasn't all that fun because we've been duped! But where is the same outrage concerning the corrupt political and financial systems? With that being said the Hall of Fame has lost its sense of humor today. Isn't this the same museum that houses Phil Rizzuto? The Hall of Fame is a museum dedicated to...a game. It's not a place of judgment. Steroids warped the record books but not the wins and losses. Babe Ruth warped the record books just as much by refusing to play against the very best black ball players. So today we discovered there is a group of men who write about baseball for a living that have decided to right a wrong by trying to cover up their own error of not taking a stand against these drugs in the first place. 

Here is a link to a sports illustrated article by Tom Verducci. It's the absolute epitome of turning a blind eye to steroid use. It directly celebrates it and shows it being the cause of the greatness. Mr. Verducci never once mentions there is something odd about these circumstances. It comes complete with the classic and laughable cover up of "protein shakes".