Friday, October 16, 2009

2008 RobbyT Cards

2008 was my first year living in Chicago and I was able to go out and catch a bunch of Tigers games. I went to 7 games here against the White Sox, as well as trips to New York and Detroit. I also started blogging for the first time in '08, so the Tigers' last place finish notwithstanding, it was a great baseball season for me.

This was my biggest set to date, checking in at 73 cards. I really like the look of the base cards, but I'll admit I mailed it in on the Highlights, Down On The Farm, and Negro Leagues Tribute Cards. The cards of Ordonez and Verlander are my favorites, as I was at both of the games pictured. The Ordonez pic was from my only trip to Yankee Stadium. The Verlander pic was from a cold, rainy, nasty Saturday afternoon game against the White Sox early in the season that I went to with a bunch of great friends (the game where Gavin Floyd took a no-hitter into the 8th inning).

The 2009 RobbyT Detroit Tigers:
1 Denny Bautista
2 Yorman Bazardo
3 Francis Beltran
4 Jeremy Bonderman
5 Eddie Bonine
6 Miguel Cabrera
7 Brent Clevlen
8 Francisco Cruceta
9 Freddy Dolsi
10 Jeff Farnsworth
11 Casey Fossum
12 Armando Galarraga
13 Freddy Garcia
14 Gary Glover
15 Curtis Granderson
16 Jason Grilli
17 Carlos Guillen
18 Mike Hessman
19 Mike Holliman
20 Brandon Inge
21 Jacque Jones
22 Todd Jones
23 Matt Joyce
24 Chris Lambert
25 Gene Lamont
26 Jeff Larish
27 Jim Leyland
28 Aquilino Lopez
29 Zach Miner
30 Magglio Ordonez
31 Placido Polanco
32 Ryan Raburn
33 Wilkin Ramirez
34 Clay Rapada
35 Edgar Renteria
36 Nate Robertson
37 Fernando Rodney
38 Ivan Rodriguez
39 Kenny Rogers
40 Dusty Ryan
41 Ramon Santiago
42 Dane Sardinha
43 Bobby Seay
44 Gary Sheffield
45 Marcus Thames
46 Clete Thomas
47 Justin Verlander
48 Dontrelle Willis
49 Joel Zumaya
50 Highlights Dontrelle Willis
51 Highlights Curtis Granderson
52 Highlights Carlos Guillen
53 Highlights Todd Jones
54 Highlights Miss America
55 Highlights Tigers Meeting
56 Highlights Tigers Win
57 Highlights Adopt A Hottie
58 Highlights Mickey Lolich
59 Highlights Booblehead
60 Highlights Carlos Guillen All-Star
61 Highlights Jim Leyland All-Star
62 Highlights Farewell Tiger Stadium
63 Highlights Magglio Ordonez
64 Highlights Placido Polance
65 Highlights Ozzie Virgil
66 Highlights Mike Hessman
67 Highlights Gary Sheffield
68 Down On The Farm Ryan Perry
69 Down On The Farm Rick Procello
70 Down On The Farm Ryan Strieby
71 Down On The Farm Dontrelle Willis
72 Highlights Todd Jones
73 Negro League Tribute Bobby Seay

It was a great year for me as a collector. I went to 4 card shows here including the National. I also bought my last pack of cards in September, making it over a year now since I've bought any packs/boxes. I had a lot of fun at the card shows picking up old Tigers cards that I didn't have before. I also bought alot of oddball 80's stuff that I enjoyed collecting when I was a teenager: Topps Stickers, Fleer 44 Card Box Sets, and Donruss Action All-Stars.

Monday, October 12, 2009

25 Years Ago Today

It was on this night 25 years ago that a 15 year old RobbyT went to the greatest game I have ever seen in my life, Game 3 of the 1984 World Series. My brother and I pitched together the money we'd made from cutting grass that summer and sent in for tickets the day it was announced in the paper that they were going on sale. A couple of weeks later we'd scored four tickets to Game 3 of the ALCS and four tickets to Game A of the World Series. (Which would've been Game 1 had the Cubs just beat the Padres, but alas, it wasn't meant to be....)

I still remember October 12, 1984 like it was yesterday. I could hardly sit through school that day I was so excited. I remember us parking on one of the side streets in the Corktown neighborhood and the huge crowd of people lining up outside the stadium. It's an overused cliché by announcers, but for the first time I understood what they meant by "the electricity in the stadium." It truly was electric.

I took my little cheap ass Kodak 110 camera to the game, but we were so far away I couldn't get any good pics. The only decent one I got was before the game when Sparky, Dick Williams, and the umpires were walking around going over the ground rules of Tiger Stadium.

I remember screaming at the top of my lungs as Marty Castillo's HR sailed over the left field wall. I also remember Chet Lemon making a catch off of a Terry Kennedy shot right at the warning track in dead center that would have been a HR in any other park in baseball. We sat about 10 rows back.

Oddly, my most vivid memory to this day is from the ride home, when the news came on the radio at the top of the hour with the broadcast that the Tigers had beaten the Padres 5-2 to take a two games to one lead in the 1984 World Series. I didn't know what surreal meant when I was 15, but when I learned what it meant, I knew I had experienced it in that moment.

Hard to believe it's been 25 years. That was such a special summer in my life. Ah, what I wouldn't give to be 15 for one more summer.

Bless You Boys.

Bless You.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The New Blog

I've started a new blog which is solely dedicated to RobbyT Cards. I didn't want to "soil" this blog by posting cards of other teams here and since I've now got two full season's worth I thought it was time to start getting some of them out there.

I'll be posting my cards from 2008 and 2009 over there for the next few months. I'll debut the 2010 cards sometime around Opening Day.

Please check it out and enjoy!

P.S. Pictured here is a 2009 RobbyT Justin Verlander. Once the season ends I'll do an entry here on the entire team set.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

1996 Topps Gallery

Ok, last one of the night I promise. But it's felt good to get back into the rhythm of sitting down and blogging. I've been pretty busy for awhile, but I am hoping to get back to a somewhat more regular pace blogging about long forgotten Tigers cards and players. I know, I've said it before, but last year I really started picking up the pace around this time, so I'm sure I can do it again this year too.

I've admitted before, I love bagging on Topps but that I'll give credit where it's due. This is one of those times.

This is a pretty nice looking set. The concept was right on, even if the execution was a little off. The idea of cards with paintings was not new, but the added matte effect of the background was new. Too bad Topps didn't think to add that effect to the player so that it doesn't look like the background was photoshopped, but they would. The Gallery cards in years to come would be among the best issues Topps released.

The 1996 Topps Gallery Detroit Tigers:
32 Travis Fryman
85 Chad Curtis
123 Chris Gomez
138 Tony Clark
160 Cecil Fielder

1996 Topps Chrome

I imagine it went something like this:



Topps Guy #1: You know what? (Unwraps tuna salad sandwich and smells it)

Topps Guy #2: What? (Picks his nose)

Topps Guy #1: You know how those Finest cards are one of our most popular sets? (Talking with a big glob of mayo stuck to his mustache)

Topps Guy #2: Yes. (Notices tomato soup has dripped on his shirt and tries to wipe it off)

Topps Guy #1: Well maybe we could make another set just like them, but instead just use the design of our base set? That way we really wouldn't have to put any extra work into them. (Wipes off glob of mayo with his bare hand and wipes his hand on his jeans)

Topps Guy #2: Ok. (Wipes booger behind ear)

The 1996 Topps Chrome Detroit Tigers:
60 Travis Fryman
157 Cecil Fielder

1996 Topps Finest

The mediocrity of Topps Finest continued in '96 with a slight twist. This was their first issue that was numbered by Calculus majors. There were three different types of cards in the base set, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. These were not parallels, but actual separate cards. Then from these, the backgrounds were then again divided up into subsets such as "Prodigies" or "Franchise" just to name a few. Each card therefore had two numbers. It's number in the base set, and it's number in the subset.

Stupid I know. I will not attempt to list both numbers here (especially since my source for checklists did not number both and I do not own all these cards), but I can provide the G, S, or B designation.

The 1996 Topps Finest Detroit Tigers:
S84 Cecil Fielder
S127 C. J. Nitkowski
B138 Phil Nevin
B152 Travis Fryman
B172 Chad Curtis
S223 Kimera Bartee
G290 Cecil Fielder
B336 Justin Thompson
B344 Cecil Fielder
B356 Tony Clark

There were also the refractor parallels of each card too. Yippee!

1996 Stadium Club

I was one of those folks who went out and bought all the new Beatles reissues last month. I already had all their stuff on iTunes that I'd acquired from here and there over the years, but I'd never actually owned any of their stuff, so I decided what the hell, they're remastered and each has a nice little documentary and booklet included.

I've managed to plow through about half of them now. I'll grab one and listen to it for 2-3 days on my commute. So far my clear favorite is Revolver, followed by Rubber Soul and Please Please Me. It has certainly been a worthwhile purchase in that it's getting me into The Beatles in a way I never had before. I would listen to the songs when they came on shuffle, and I know the hits, but actually listening to the album several times repeatedly and then reading wiki and watching the mini-documentaries on each cd has really been enjoyable.

The 1996 Stadium Club Tigers:
21 Chad Curtis
42 Tony Clark
60 Phil Nevin
84 Sean Bergman
95 Cecil Fielder
145 Chris Gomez
234 Bobby Higginson
302 Felipe Lira
337 Alan Trammell
397 John Flaherty
431 Travis Fryman
445 Steve Rodriguez
170 Bobby Higginson

The "shark's tooth necklace" set. These are awful. These are Stadium Club. I guess there was some sort of parallel set that was a game card that you could fill in the back and send away for a chance to win something. Long story short, I have the Bronze version of Chad Curtis's card.

I have a couple other insert cards too. Whoa boy.

Bash & Burn
9 Chad Curtis

Power Packed
8 Cecil Fielder

After several days of listening to Let It Be, I listened to Let It Be...Naked, which was the original album before Phil Spector doctored it up. Trust me on this one. Don't buy the Phil Spector version. Go get the Naked version. Much better. The Long And Winding Road on the Naked album is fantastic.

1996 Topps

So the Tigers are up by 2 games with 3 games to play. The 2009 season is coming down to the wire and it's nail biting time for Tigers fans. What better time than to look back at 1996 Topps?

This Tigers team was one of the worst teams of all time. Just look at that list of players below. 109 losses. Team batting average of .253. Team ERA of 6.38. No, that's not a typo. 6.38!

Topps pretty much mailed it in that year too. At around 450 cards, this was their smallest base set since the 50's. There was nothing special about the design. There was nothing special about the player selection of Tigers either (although I guess that's not really Topps' fault....). There was nothing special about 1996 period.

The 1996 Topps Detroit Tigers:
42 Sean Bergman
71 Felipe Lira
98 Bobby Higginson
134 Chris Gomez
190 Travis Fryman
202 Chad Curtis
244 Brian Powell
291 John Flaherty
337 Tony Clark
348 Phil Nevin
366 Jose Lima
393 Cecil Fielder
398 C. J. Nitkowski
425 Daryle Ward
429 Clint Sodowsky
431 Brandon Reed

Add Brian Powell and Brandon Reed to the list of Tigers I absolutely have no recollection of. I wish I could add Sean Bergman to that list too.

I have a single insert card from a set called ProFiles by Kirby Puckett. The back of the card features "Insights" about the player by Kirby. It sounds cheekier than it actually is. There's a nice little story by Kirby about Big Daddy hitting a HR over the 440 sign at Tiger Stadium. Sorta cool I guess.

AL-04 Cecil Fielder