Monday, June 29, 2020

They Played for the Reds?

I was thumbing through my Reds binder the other day and got inspired. I found several ideas for posts and started immediately pulling and sorting cards out for posts. The biggest thing I realized is how many people have played for the Reds that I forgot played for the Reds, like Dan Straily shown above.

That's what this post will be about.

It's also inspired by the "Short Term Stops" and "Zero Year Cards" series posted by Nick over on his Dime Boxes blog. To avoid him coming after me with a copyright claim, I'm going to lump those types of cards into one group I'll call "Unfamiliar Uniforms".

This may or may not be an ongoing series with other teams. I'm not sure yet. What this will be is several players that either I forgot played for the Reds, didn't know played for the Reds, or had a super short stint with the team.

David Wells joined the Reds from the Tigers as part of a 1995 trade deadline deal that sent C.J. Nitkowski and Mark Lewis to Detroit. He complimented an already strong Reds pitching staff and went 6-5 in 11 starts. In the playoffs, he went 1-1 beating Hideo Nomo in Game 3 of the Division Series. After the season, he was traded off to the Orioles around Christmas.

Another pitcher the Reds got via trade was Lee Smith. He arrived in Cincinnati around Memorial Day 1996 via exchange with the Angels who got Chuck McElroy in return. Smith appeared in 43 games for the Reds, going 3-4 with a 4.06 ERA. 

Speaking of closers, Jeff Reardon spent the 1993 season with the Reds sans his trademark beard thanks to a long-standing team policy of no facial hair. The 1993 club was a last place team and Reardon led the relief corps in appearances with 58 games and finished second in saves on the team with 8.

Joining Jeff Reardon on the 1993 Reds squad was longtime Phillies infielder Juan Samuel. Until I found this card in the binder, I had no idea he even played for the Reds. He and Bip Roberts split time at second base for the season, after which Samuel departed for the Tigers.

Did you know Ruben Sierra played for the Reds? Don't worry ... I'd forgotten that too. It was a brief 25-game stint at the beginning of the 1997 season. He was released in mid-May after only hitting .244 in 96 plate appearances.

The Reds must've been hurting in 2007. That or I wasn't paying much attention because I don't remember either Jeff Conine or David Ross playing for the Reds. Conine played most of the season as the primary first baseman and a few appearances in the outfield before being traded to the Phillies in August. Ross spent parts of three seasons (2006-2008) as the primary backstop for the team sharing time with other luminaries as Javier Valentin, Paul Bako, and Chad Moeller.

I'll close with this Vince Coleman card. I found this in a dime box at a flea market several years ago and my mind was blown. I had no idea Coleman was ever a Red but apparently it was for the first part of the 1996 season (what is it with the Reds and aging outfielders in the late 90s). His stats were nothing notable (.155 batting average) and was released in mid-June after only 33 games.

As I mentioned, not all encompassing and there are tons more cards I found in my Reds binder that fit this category. Maybe there will be a part 2 coming soon.

Friday, June 26, 2020

What I Collect

I'll be honest ... I haven't spent money on baseball cards since Thanksgiving last year.

Since I put my old blog, Cardboard Clubhouse, on ice last fall due to family reasons (aka new baby), baseball cards were the last thing on my mind. I did, however, purchase quite a few cards during the annual COMC Black Friday sale last fall.

Over the past few months while my collection grew dust, I could count on one hand the number of times I thought about these cards I'd ordered. Now, since I'm getting re-acquainted with everything and getting this organized again, I thought I'd start with these since that's about where I left off last year.

Along with the super shiny Hank Aaron card above, I purchased a number of other baseball cards, along with miscellaneous cards for my other collections. Seeing as I'm trying to keep this blog (and my collection) limited to just baseball, that's all that I'm planning on covering.

My collecting interests are really varied. I don't really focus on one thing in general when it comes to baseball cards as I'd get pretty bored of that pretty quick. I'm not really a team collector either. I mean, if I had to pick one team to collect, it'd be the Reds. I had a lot of fun watching Nick Senzel play center field last year and that's why I nabbed this Donruss Rated Rookie card. I can't really say that the Donruss designs this year and last year are all that enticing but I felt this was worth picking up.

Another thing that I like collecting are "unfamiliar uniform" cards as I call them. These typically fall into one of two categories ... "short-term stops" or "zero year" (trademark to Dime Box Nick) but on this blog they'll be referred to as "unfamiliar uniforms" because that's what they are. Take Steve Carlton here for example. Most everyone will think of him as a Cardinal or a Phillie but I'll bet you didn't know he pitched for the White Sox as well. The South-Siders were one of three stops of a whirlwind tour Lefty had in 1986. 

I know I mentioned that the non-baseball content will be next to nothing. I intend on sticking to that but it's cards like this from Allen & Ginter that fall into that grey area. Technically, this is a baseball card as it came from a baseball product but obviously Tiger Mask is not a baseball player. Along with baseball, pro wrestling is another big interest of mine and to see the legendary Tiger Mask featured on a card is pretty cool. On this card, it says "1st Tiger Mask" and that would be Satoru Sayama who portrayed the character until 1983 when he left New Japan Pro Wresting. Since then, several other wrestlers have portrayed the character, the most notable being the legendary Mitsuharu Misawa.

This card certainly checks off several things I like to collect ... oddball? Yes. Defunct retail? Yes. Defunct team? Yes. Hall of Famer? Yes. There's just something about these types of cards which is just fun. Maybe in the future I'll do a blog post on cards from defunct retail chains. Not sure yet but it's an idea I'm kicking around. 

Here's another card that would qualify as an "unfamiliar uniform" card. When I first got into collecting as a kid, I always thought it was weird to see former Reds players in a different uniform. That's exactly what's happening here as Hal Morris is shown in a Royals uniform. Despite being the first baseman for the Reds from 1990-1997, Morris left as a free agent and signed with the Royals for the 1998 season. He would return to the Reds the next season (1999) and stayed with the team until midway through the 2000 season when he was purchased by Detroit. I'd always found that one year in Kansas City a curiosity and now I finally have a card to document it.

Another big thing I like to collect is vintage cards. Typically if I'm at a show or browsing online, if I can find cool vintage cards for a reasonable price, I'll jump on it. This 1961 Topps card shows the Reds outfield trio of Vada Pinson, Gus Bell (grandfather of current Reds manager David Bell), and Frank Robinson. That trio, along with fellow outfielder Wally Post (shown in the 1962 Topps card), would help the "Ragamuffin Reds" get to the World Series in 1961 where they lost to the Yankees in five games.

One of the last big things I enjoy are cheap relic cards. I'll be honest, I'm not a the kind of person who would buy packs of cards and get disappointed there was no relic or anything. If I get one, great! If not, fine too. Products like Topps Tribute, Museum Collection, and all that are way out of my price range and I'm fine with that. It's not like I'm exactly their target audience anyway. That being said, if I come across cheap relic cards from those sets or just cool looking ones in general, I tend to jump on them. Take this Bruce Sutter card for example, it's a dual-jersey card of him with both the Cubs and Cardinals and it was a steal at under five bucks. 

I'm in the process of updating my want list to be posted on the blog soon after I update my lists for Pilots cards and 1984 Topps along with several other random things.