Thursday, September 28, 2017

Mystery Boxes From a Mystery Yard Sale (continued)

As promised in Tuesday's post, here's the continuation of the cards from the mystery yard sale boxes with my favorites of the 90s cards I found in the haul.

With the 90s cards, Dime Box Nick would've had a field day with some of these. Some cool double play cards and Trevor Hoffman fiddling with a camera.

Some nice rookie cards and early career cards. Ramon Hernandez might be someone I eventually add to my player PC as I always liked him when he was with the Reds. Finding a Konerko Dodgers card was a treat as well although I'm not a big fan of Pacific.

Eric Davis and Joe Oliver are two former Reds shown here with two teams they definitely don't belong with. Davis spent two seasons as a member of the Orioles, 1997 and 1998. The 1997 season wasn't all that great, with him only appearing in 42 games. However, he had a bounce back season in 1998 with the last great year of his career hitting .327/.388/.582 with 28 homers and 89 RBIs in 131 games. He even finished in the top 20 of AL MVP voting that season.

Joe Oliver spent one season as a Brewer in 1995 after playing in only 6 games with the Reds in 1994. He had a nice season appearing in 97 games hitting .273/.332/.439 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs. After the season, he signed again with the Reds as stayed with them for another two years.

More "short term stops" cards including Tom Candiotti as a member of the A's, Joe Carter as an Oriole, and Eddie Murray as an Angel. Terry Steinbach spent three seasons at the end of his career with the Twins, so that doesn't count as short term but I didn't remember it at all until I saw this particular card.

I thought Sportflix cards were just a fad of the 80s, turns out they lasted until the mid 90s. In case you can't make out the players pictured, left to right its Pedro Martinez, Don Mattingly, and Jeff Bagwell.

A couple of neat Jim Thome cards for my collection of his.

Oooo! Shiny cards!!! I really like the Delgado card but the Kenny Lofton All-Star credentials card is really a cool looking card.

These cards scanned like absolute crap but there were a boatload of Roger Clemens Blue Jays cards in the boxes. Juan Guzman is a press proof card numbered 1 of 2000. I'm not sure if that holds much weight but here's the proof ...

Again, not sure if it holds weight like numbered parallels in today's world. Regardless, it's still a nice card.

I wasn't expecting to find Devil Rays cards in here, especially not first year Rays cards. Seeing Wade Boggs in a Rays uniform is still a weird sight.

Diamondbacks cards were in more supply than Rays cards. I don't have many early cards from either team so these definitely will fit in nicely.

Nearly time to wrap this up so I'll show some stuff rapid fire .... first, some Pinnacle Xpress Peak Performance cards of Randy Johnson and Mike Piazza.

Two Pinnacle Mint Collection cards of Cal Ripken Jr. and Andruw Jones.

And I'll put a bow on this treasure trove of a yard sale haul with some 1997 Fleer.

For three bucks, I'd say that I definitely got more value than that out of this, especially due to the sheer number of 90s cards I found that I didn't already have. I really appreciate my step mom picking these up for me. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Mystery Boxes From a Mystery Yard Sale

A few weeks ago, my step-mom dropped by for a few minutes on her way to some sort of wine tasting deal and dropped off the mountain of card boxes seen above. She said she was at a yard sale a while back and purchased these from some withered old man for the paltry sum of three dollars. After about a half hour or so, she headed off to her event and I did a quick peek through the boxes. It was too late at night to pull everything out and go through them so I left them on the kitchen table for the next day. The next afternoon, I started digging through the boxes. Yes, there was junk wax but not as much as I thought. Then, I did what any rational human being would do when presented with three well worn boxes of cards ... I sorted them!

As you can clearly see, there were cards from all different years and sets included. There was a lot more variety than I though there would be as I was expecting boxes filled with 1990 Donruss and 1989 Topps. Yeah, there was a lot of 1989 Topps, but it didn't phase me at all. After I sorted, I pulled the dupes and loaded some into the trade box and the rest went into the donation bag for Goodwill. After that, I went back through, pulled out the highlights and put the rest into my sorting box to await their turn to be put into pages and loaded into a binder (that reminds me, I need more binders).

Despite the influx of Donruss and Fleer in 1981, I still dig cards from the early 80s. There was a good amount of 1981 Fleer in the boxes so I scanned in some of the highlights. I about flipped when I saw the Jerry Koosman and Ron Cey cards, although I think the Cey might be a duplicate. There's just something about the Koosman card though, mainly because I'd forgotten he was still kicking around in the early 80s and there's also that awesome power blue Twins roadie.

1981 Topps is one of those sets where if you were to ask me what it looked like, it'd take me a while to try to remember it and at that point, I'd have to Google it. I feel it's often a forgotten set, overshadowed by the shiny new Fleer and Donruss sets (well, maybe not shiny on Donruss' part but definitely new). There were mostly commons from the set I found but a few minor stars from the time such as Randy Jones, Dave Cash, and Rick Sutcliffe.

A batch of cards from both 1982 Fleer and 1982 Topps. There weren't a lot of major "star" cards in these early 80s batches but still, there were minor stars, fan favorites, and some really fun photography.

Base set cards weren't the only thing in the boxes, there were some curiosities and randomness as well. Take these two 1984 O-Pee-Chee cards for example. Of all the O-Pee-Chee cards, somehow someway these wound up in a box in a dirty garage in southwest Ohio. As I was sorting through the cards initially, I hit a stack of 1984 Topps. I thought to myself "wouldn't it be something if there were some OPC cards in here?" Lo and behold the next cards were O-Pee-Chee. It's as if the cardboard gods were listening. (PS: Never mind the funky lines, my scanner decided it wanted to mess with me).

My curiosity was peaked with these cards as well. I've never seen cards from the 87 and 88 Topps sets that had the "now with ..." printing on them. I've only ever seen that with O-Pee-Chee cards. After doing a quick search on the Trading Card DB, it turns out that these are just standard old base cards, nothing special. However, to me they're pretty unique.

There were also a bunch of the glossy All-Stars and Rookie sets from the mid-80s. The Clemens All-Star card reminds me of something you might see from the early 70s with the palm trees and cars in the background.

Not to be outdone, Score joined the fun on the All-Star cards as well. The Mike Schmidt card looks like someone trimmed a side off of it with some scissors at some point.

One box was nothing but 87 and 88 Topps. I know everyone is probably sick of 87 Topps by now but these are a few of my favorites, especially the Jose Rijo A's card and the Langston M's card.

Some late 80's randomness including a Royce Clayton minor league card and a Tom Glavine RC.

Now a few of my favorites to wrap up the 80s, first this Randy Johnson 1989 Topps RC.

Some cards for the Eckersley collection.

And my favorite from the 80s cards .... Reggie as an Oriole!!!!

Ok, it's going to be hard for the 90s cards to top that. But that's to be continued on Thursday afternoon ...

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Say It Ain't So, Arroyo

This must be the year for retirements. First there was Shane Doan of the Arizona (nee Phoenix) Coyotes and now Reds fan favorite Bronson Arroyo has officially hung up the spikes after 16 seasons and a valiant comeback attempt earlier this year.

1995 Topps Traded and Rookies #47T

Arroyo was drafted by Pittsburgh in the 3rd round of the 1995 Amateur Draft out of Hernando High School in Brooksville, FL. He made his major league debut during the 2000 season and started 12 of the 20 games he appeared in during that season. His years with the Pirates were very uneventful, going 9-14 with a 5.44 ERA in 53 games over three seasons.

Just before spring training in 2003, the Red Sox claimed him off waivers. His season that year wasn't much but  he did get to pitch in the ALCS that year out of the bullpen. The 2004 season though is where he really started to blossom with Boston, going 10-9 with a 4.03 ERA in 29 starts. While his playoff performance wasn't great that year, he did win his only World Series ring as the Red Sox beat the Cardinals to break the curse.

He had another stellar campaign in 2005 going 14-10 with a 4.51 ERA over 32 starts. His lone appearance in the ALDS against Chicago that year did him in though as he came in relief in Game 1 an he promptly gave up 2 hits, 2 walks, and one homer over 1 inning for an overall ERA of 18.00 in a game where the Red Sox lost 14-2.

2007 Topps #30

Towards the end of spring training in 2006, the Reds pulled off a coup, acquiring Arroyo from the Red Sox for slugger Wily Mo Pena. That proved to be one of the most lopsided trades ever for Boston as Pena never really panned out but Arroyo would go on to be a mainstay in the Reds rotation through the 2014 season. In his first season with the Reds, he made his only All-Star team and finished 23rd in MVP voting. He threw a career high 240.2 innings over 35 starts and compiled a 14-11 record with a 3.29 ERA. 

2007 Ultra #43

Over the next 7 seasons, he never missed a start for the Reds and never landed on the DL once. He also threw over 200 innings every season except for one (2011) where he threw 199 innings and made over 30 start every season from 2006-2014. In 2010, he won a Gold Glove and finished 12th in Cy Young voting for a Reds team that surprised everyone and made the playoffs. For as surprising and memorable as that 2010 club was, they were unceremoniously bounced from the playoffs by the Phillies via a three game sweep in the NLDS.

2009 Topps #513

The Reds would return to the playoffs in 2012 in season where the steamrolled the NL Central and won 96 games. That season Arroyo went 12-10 with a 3.74 ERA over 32 starts. Then the playoffs started and despite being only one win away from their first NLCS since 1995, the Giants rattled off three straight wins and surprising knocked the Reds out in the first round. That was the downfall of the Reds as they could only muster a wild card berth the next season, which would be Arroyo's last in Cincinnati.

2014 Topps - Red Foil #78

He signed as a free agent with Arizona that offseason and only managed 14 starts before landing on the DL with arm trouble which ultimately led to Tommy John surgery. While injured, the D'Backs shipped him off to the Braves in June of 2015. He never made an appearance for the Braves and just over a month later, was sent to the Dodgers as part of a massive three team 13-player trade, which included future Reds teammate Jose Peraza. At the end of the season, he was granted free agency by the Dodgers. 

2015 Topps - [Base] #596.1 - Bronson Arroyo (Base) - Courtesy of
2015 Topps #596
Image from

In 2016, he signed with the Nationals reuniting himself with former Reds skipper Dusty Baker as part of a comeback attempt but had rotator cuff problems resulting in him not getting a roster spot. He was released by Washington after the season. On Valentine's Day this year he signed a minor league deal with the Reds with an invite to spring training. 

2017 Topps Heritage #598
Image from

Surprisingly, he made the team and made his first start on April 8th of this year in a 10-4 loss against the Cardinals in a 4 inning effort. It was obvious from the start that he wasn't the Arroyo of old as his fastball had lost a lot of zip and he was forced to rely mainly on breaking pitches and finesse. His last start before arm troubles resurfaced was June 18th, Father's Day, at home against LA where he threw three innings giving up 7 hits, 5 earned runs, and one homer over 16 batters faced. His final stats for the season were 3-6 with a 7.35 ERA. His final career stats came out to be 148-137 record with 4.28 ERA, 1,571 career Ks, 2,4335.2 IP, one World Series ring, and one All-Star appearance.

And so ends the career of one of my favorite players and someone I'm glad to have on my player collection list. I've got a decent start on my Arroyo collection but I'm always on the lookout for more.

Congrats on a great career Bronson. Hope to see you again soon in a few years for your induction into the Reds Hall of Fame.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

2017 Halloween Mood Display

The last three weeks have really put a damper on my Halloween enjoyment due to the stress of not knowing if I would have a job come the end of October. At the end of last week though, that stress finally went away as I was offered a new position in my current department and it would be considered a promotion. That instantly helped my mood and this weekend I've felt like I can finally get back to my Halloween enjoyment ... and with that enjoyment comes the annual Halloween Mood Display!

If you've been following this blog for any amount of time, you know how this works. Every year I take the mantle between my living room and kitchen and load it up with miscellaneous Halloween/fall stuff. It really helps lift my spirits (no pun intended) when I've had a long day a work or if I just need something to stare at blankly for a few minutes. This year I went for a simplistic theme, completely different from the pop culture-esque stuff from years past.

Here it is ...

Behold! This year's Halloween Mood Display! Let's explore from left to right ...

First, we have a partially burnt Trick or Treat flavored (is that even the right word?) candle from Yankee Candle. The smell of candy corn and buttercream is completely gone but the ambience when it's burning and the lights are off is really cool. Plus, how can you not have a candle with the name "Trick or Treat" in a Halloween display?

Next is the Mysterious Mansion from this year's Lemax Spooky Town collection. I bought this piece at an early fall season sale at Michaels when they were running a 40% off promotion back in mid-August. I wasn't too impressed with the selection this year but this was the best of the lot. Plus, the damn thing makes noise!!

The orange trees, bone bridge, and creepy road sign were picked up at Michaels last year and are just little accent pieces to accompany the larger buildings. I've deemed this light up pumpkin simply "Great Pumpkin".

Here's last year's major addition, the Spooky Town Gas N' Ghoul. While it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of its counterpart, it's still a very fine piece because of all the detail involved.

Finally, we have another buttercream candle from Bed, Bath, and Beyond in an awesome black jar that says "Eat, Drink & Be Scary". Certainly those are great words to live by during the Halloween season. Also, there's a Zombie Kenny Funko figure and a Charlie Brown Halloween themed piece.

So, there you have it, this year's Halloween Mood Display. I challenge you to build your own and get out there and make it the best Halloween season you can!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

2011 Dayton Dragons Team Set - Part 2

Continuing on from yesterday in the 2011 Dayton Dragons team set. I can't guarantee I won't be long winded again but hopefully I won't have to split this into a third part.

Devin Lohman was an infielder who was actually drafted twice, first by the Rockies out of high school in the 43rd round of the June 2007 draft, then again by the Reds out of CSU Long Beach in the 3rd round of the June 2010 draft. In 2011, he started at Dayton for 62 games before being demoted to Billings for 29 games, and then getting promoted again to Bakersfield to end the season. In those 62 games for the Dragons, he hit a paltry .208 with one homer and 31 RBIs. After Dayton, he made it as high as Triple-A Lehigh Valley for 10 games in 2015, his last season in the minors.

Besides being the first German developed player to play in the majors in the modern era, Lutz became something of a world traveler in recent years. While his 2011 season in Dayton where he hit .301 with 20 homers along with recording the first cycle in Dragons history was impressive enough to earn him a spot on the Reds 40-man roster, he struggled in the majors. In 62 games over parts of two seasons with the Reds (2013 & 2014), he only mustered a .211 average with 1 homer and 9 RBIs. After the 2014 season, his world travels began in abundance with Obregon in the Mexican Winter League, then back to Triple-A Louisville for 13 games before getting injured. This was followed by an offseason stint in the Australian League with Brisbane, back to Louisville, then Pensacola, followed by another stint with Brisbane and finally resurfacing this year with Leon of the Mexican League. I think I need a passport after writing all that.

The career of Jaren Matthews lasted all of four seasons, with 2011 being his most prolific. In 66 games with the Dragons that year he hit .217/.272/.364 with only 5 homers and 21 RBIs. He was out of the Reds system after spending 2012 with Bakersfield and out of baseball entirely after spending 2013 in the Independent Leagues.

In 5 seasons in the Reds system, Daniel Renken never made it above Double-A. A 25th round pick our of Cal State Fullerton in the 2010 Amateur Draft, he saw action in 20 games for Dayton in 2011 amassing a 6-8 record and 3.89 ERA. That was good enough for him to get a late season promotion to Bakersfield where he finished out the season by going 2-0 with a 4.80 ERA for the Blaze. He hung around in the minors until 2014 and was out of baseball after that season.

I remember hearing a lot about Tanner Robles during this time frame, about how he's a promising left-handed pitching prospect and all that mess. The problem with that is that despite all the hype, he never made it past A-ball and a 7-9 record with a 5.40 ERA doesn't exactly blow the doors off, if you know what I mean. He bounced around the low minors in 2012 and 2013 and after his ERA ballooned to 10.57 in 2013 after 6 games, he was promptly shown the door.

The only major league action Yorman Rodriguez has seen to date was 11 games as a September call-up in 2014. Aside from that, he's been toiling in the minors since 2009. I couldn't find any record of him playing this year, so it appears that the last season he had in the minors was 2016 with Daytona. Back in 2011 though, he was a promising outfield prospect that hit .254/.318./393 in 79 games with the Dragons.

Chad Rogers, so far, is the first player I've come across where 2011 was his professional debut. Over 37 appearances, mostly as a reliever, in his debut season he racked up a 6-4 record with a 2.99 ERA over 69.1 innings. He maneuvered through the minors over the next few years, getting as high as Triple-A Louisville but he never made it to the majors. His most recent appearance came with Triple-A Gwinnett in the Braves system in 2016.

Besides having an interesting spelling of the name "Jeffrey", Sierra didn't have much of a career. Dayton in 2011 was as high as he got in the minors. It was also his best season appearing in 105 games while hitting .234/.270/.297. After 71 more games for Dayton in 2012, he was out of baseball except for a brief time in 2014 where he resurfaced with Billings for a 20 game stint.

Josh Smith is the last player of the bunch to make it to the majors. He's also still currently active, having split this season between Nashville and Oakland. Over parts of two years with the Reds (2015 and 2016) mostly out of the bullpen, he had a 3-7 record with a 5.46 ERA. In 2011 though, he was a starter with the Dragons going 14-7 with a 2.97 ERA in 142.1 innings. Aside from Tucker Barnhart and Billy Hamilton, I believe he is also the only other person still active in the majors from this team.

A 5th round pick out of high school in the 2009 Amateur Draft, Daniel Tuttle was out of the minors by 2012 after 8 games with Dayton. The season prior however, he split between the rookie level ARZ Reds and the Dragons. Over 11 starts with the Dragons, he went 4-3 with a 4.87 ERA.

I was surprised to see that David Vidal is still kicking around in 2017, having spent this season in the Marlins organization at both the Double-A and Triple A levels. In 2011, though, he was the primary third baseman appearing in 127 games and putting together a more than respectable season at the plate hitting .280/.350/.498 with 20 homers and 85 RBIs.

And we've finally reached the last player to be represented in the set, one Daniel Wolford. He was drafted in the 14th round of the 2010 Draft out of UC Berkeley and lasted all of three seasons in the Reds system. He saw action in 43 games for the Dragons in 2011, all in relief, with a 1.46 ERA and a 7-1 record in 67.1 innings. He was promoted to Bakersfield in 2012, saw his ERA balloon to 6.38 over 68 innings and was out of the Reds system following the season.

Wrapping up the set we've got the coaches and mascot cards. The mascot cards are cool but I'm not really sure I need a card of the Dragons hitting coach.

There you have it. An exhaustive two-part look at the 2011 Dayton Dragons team set. I need a nap after writing all this.