Monday, February 29, 2016

Card of the Day: 2/29/16

2011 Topps Lineage '75 Mini Relics Chris Carpenter

I can only control what I can control and that's go out and try to make pitches and keep my team in the game and give them a chance to win. So that's all I'm going to do. -Chris Carpenter

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Card of the Day: 2/28/16

2007 DAV Tony LaRussa In-Person Autograph

     When I first became a manager, I asked Chuck (Tanner) for advice. He told me, "Always rent." 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Card of the Day: 2/27/16

1992 McDonald's/Pacific #10 Terry Moore

     Terry Bluford Moore was born in Vernon, Alabama on May 27, 1912. He spent his entire eleven-season career with the Cardinals. Terry compiled a career .280 batting average and was a four-time All-Star. In addition, he was a member of the 1942 and 1946 World Series Championship teams. Moore passed away in Collinsville, Illinois on March 29, 1995.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Card of the Day: 2/26/16

2011 Topps Lineage Diamond Sparkle #189 Jaime Garcia

     Jaime Omar Garcia was born in Reynosa, Mexico on July 8, 1986. He was drafted by the Cardinals in the 22nd round of the 2005 draft. In his seven seasons with the Cardinals, Jaime has been a solid, left-handed pitcher when he has been healthy. During the 2011 World Series, Jaime posted a 1.8 cumulative ERA through 10 innings over 2 games, but received no-decisions in both games.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Card of the Day: 2/25/16

2001 Fleer Tradition #290 Garrett Stephenson

     As a dad, the most important thing to tell your kid, and I tell mine, is that when you make a choice, whether it's baseball, chess, soccer or band, you do it 100 percent to the end, and you as a parent back your kid 100 percent. -Garrett Stephenson

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Card of the Day: 2/24/16

1982 Donruss #217 Jim Kaat

     James Lee Kaat was born in Zeeland, Mighigan on Novermber 7, 1938. Kaat got his start with the Senators, but finished his career by pitching his final four seasons (1980-1983) in St. Louis. As a Cardinal, Kaat did his work out of the bullpen, pitching 292.1 innings. 

     During his career, Kaat won 283 games, was a 2-time All-Star, and a member of the 1982 World Series Champion Cardinals.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Card of the Day: 2/23/16

1959 Topps #137 Dick Ricketts RC

     Richard James Ricketts, Jr. was born in Pottstown, Pennsylvania on December 4, 1933. The Cardinals signed Ricketts as an amateur free agent in 1955. Subsequently, he was also drafted #1 overall by the St. Louis Hawks in the 1955 NBA draft. Dick played three years in the NBA before retiring from the sport due to witnessing the injury of a teammate. 

     He made his debut for the Cardinals on June 14, 1959 and pitched in twelve games for the Cardinals during that season. Unfortunately, Dick didn't have much luck as a Major League pitcher. His rookie season was his last season as a big leaguer, posting a 1-6 win-loss record and compiling a career 5.82 ERA. Mr. Ricketts passed away in Rochester, New York on March 6, 1988 as a result of renal cancer.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Card of the Day: 2/22/16

2007 Topps 2006 Highlights Relic Albert Pujols

     In 2006, Albert led the Major Leagues in home runs during the month of April. August, however, tends to be the month when Albert really comes alive. Of his 560 career home runs, Albert has tallied 106 during the month of August. That's slightly better than the month of May which accounts for 100 career home runs and is at least 10 homers better than he has hit in any of the other months of the baseball season.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Card of the Day: 2/21/16

2014 Donruss Signatures Kolten Wong

     Although rumors of a potential trade involving Wong going to Colorado and Carlos Gonzalez coming to St. Louis were abundant this off-season, our guy is still with the team. He'll have some competition at second base, though, since the Cardinals traded for Jedd Gyorko. A true platoon may develop with Wong starting against right-handed pitchers and Gyorko against left-handed pitchers. Both are capable of hitting with power and providing solid defense in the middle infield. A platoon situation may just push both these young players to discover their true potential. If all goes well, Wong and Gyorko could develop into a long-term, middle infield combo after Peralta's contract expires.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Card of the Day: 2/20/16

1992 McDonald's/Pacific #8 Whitey Kurowski

     George John Kurowski was born in Reading, Pennsylvania on April 19, 1918. He played his entire nine-year career for the Cardinals from 1941-1949. Kurowski was a three-time All-Star, four-time NLCS pennant winner, and three-time World Series champion. He passed away on December 9, 1999 in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Card of the Day: 2/19/16

2006 Topps Chrome Refractor #138 David Eckstein

     David Mark Eckstein was born in Sanford, Florida on January 20, 1975. He was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 1997. The Cardinals signed Eck as a free agent on December 23, 2004. He played three seasons (2005-2007) with the Cardinals and was the 2006 World Series MVP. Before it happened, no one would have thought the 5'6" shortstop could achieve such an honor, but perhaps that's how he earned the nickname, X-Factor. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Card of the Day: 2/18/16

2001 Fleer Tradition #234 Eric Davis

     Eric Keith Davis was born in Los Angeles, California on May 29, 1962. Known as Eric the Red, due to being drafted by the Reds and in reference to the viking explorer Erik the Red, Davis played his first eight seasons in Cincinnati. The Cardinals signed Eric as a free agent on November 19, 1998. He played two seasons with the Cardinals and was a big player in getting them to the playoffs in 2000. The Cardinals released Davis to free agency after the 2000 season and he played one more year in the Major Leagues with the San Francisco Giants before retiring.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Card of the Day: 2/17/16

1982 Donruss #9 George Hendrick DK

I don't think you'll find a better hitter in the National League with men on base than Hendrick. What makes George so tough is that he hits all kinds of pitching so well. If an adjustment has to be made between pitches, he'll make it almost without thinking about it. -Red Schoendienst

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Card of the Day: 2/16/16

1959 Topps #135 Gene Oliver RC

     Eugene George Oliver was born in Moline, Illinois on March 22, 1935. In 1956, he signed with the Cardinals as an amateur free agent. Oliver spent 3+ seasons (1959-1963) with the Cardinals. 1962 was his best season when he played in 122 games, batting .258 while hitting 14 home runs, posting 45 RBI and scoring 42 runs. The Cardinals traded Gene to the Milwaukee Braves on June 15, 1963 along with Bob Sadowski in exchange for Lew Burdette. He played six more seasons in the Major Leagues with minor success. Mr. Oliver passed away in Rock Island, Illinois on March 3, 2007 at the age of 72. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Card of the Day: 2/15/16

2010 Peak Performance Relics Rick Ankiel

The frustration that built up, it seems like it was really eroding my spirit and starting to affect my personality off the field. It just became apparent that it was time for me to move on and pursue becoming an outfielder. -Rick Ankiel

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Card of the Day: 2/14/16

2013 Bowman Sterling Autographs Oscar Mercado RC SP

     Oscar Mercado was born in Tampa, Florida on December 16, 1994. For the past three seasons, he has been working his way through the Cardinals farm system. In 2015, Mercado played for the Peoria Chiefs, a single-A affiliate, batting .254, scoring 70 runs, and stealing 50 bases. If he continues to progress, Oscar could be the long-term solution to the shortstop position for the Cardinals.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Card of the Day: 2/13/16

1992 McDonald's/Pacific #5 Miller Huggins

     Miller James Huggins was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on March 27, 1878. The Cardinals received Huggins along with Rebel Oakes and Frank Corridon in exchange for Fred Beebe and Alan Storke. Huggins played the final seven seasons of his career (1910-1916) with the Cardinals. He was a player/manager for the team from 1913-1916 and stuck around after retiring to manage the team during the 1917 season. As manager of the team, Huggins won 346 games, but lost 415. He went on to manage the New York Yankees and had a bit of success. His Yankees teams won six AL pennants and three World Series. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1964. At the age of 51, Huggins passed away in New York City on September 25, 1929.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Cardinal Sauce: 2/12/16

2000 Fleer Showcase Consummate Prose #CP11 Rick Ankiel

     Richard Alexander Ankiel was born in Fort Pierce, Florida on July 19, 1979. The Cardinals drafted Rick out of high school in the 1997 free agent draft. Rick spent seven seasons (1999-2001, 2004, and 2007-2009) with the Cardinals. Ankiel began his career as a pitcher. He appeared to be on the fast-track to a promising career, winning 11 games and striking out 194 batters during the 2000 regular season. Unfortunately, the pressure became to much for Rick to bear during the 2000 NLCS. He posted a horrid 20.26 ERA, throwing 4 wild pitches in 1.1 innings of a crucial game for the Cardinals. The Cardinals lost the series and Rick was never the same. He pitched a few games in 2001 and 2004, but it was clear that Rick's career as a Major League pitcher was over.

     In 2007, Ankiel made a comeback as an outfielder. Over the next three seasons, Rick bashed 47 home runs and drove in 224 RBI. Once again, Rick suffered turmoil in his career. Surrounded by implications of PED use, the Cardinals granted free agency to Ankiel after the 2009 season. He played four more seasons in the Major Leagues, but never reproduced the run production that he displayed in St. Louis. He spent his last season, 2013, with the New York Mets, but was released on June 11, 2013.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Card of the Day: 2/10/16

1981 Topps #586 Silvio Martinez

     Silvio Ramon Martinez was born in the Dominican Republic on August 19, 1955. The Cardinals acquired Martinez in a trade with the Chicago White Sox on November 28, 1977. He pitched four seasons (1978-1981) for the Cardinals. During that time, he posted a 31-32 win-loss record in 87 starts and compiled a 3.88 ERA. The Cardinals traded Silvio to Clevland in a three-way deal that brought outfielder and fan-favorite Lonnie Smith to St. Louis via Philadelphia. After leaving St. Louis, Silvio never pitched in another Major League game.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Card of the Day: 2/9/16

1959 Topps #75 Sam Jones

     Sam Jones was born Daniel Pore Franklin on December 14, 1925 in Stewartsville, Ohio. He played three seasons (1957, 1958, and 1963) with the Cardinals. Sam compiled a 28-22 win-loss record during his time as a Cardinal and struck out 417 batters. 
     On a side-note, Sam became the first African-American player to throw a no-hitter in 1958 while he was with the Cubs. The Cubs traded him two seasons later to the Cardinals for a handful of whoz-its. 
     Jones led the National League in strikeouts during the 1958 campaign with 225. The Cardinals traded him the following off-season to the San Francisco Giants for Bill White and Ray Jablonski. Sam passed away on November 5, 1971 in Morgantown, West Virginia. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Review: 2016 Topps Series 1 Jumbo

     It's been a while since we've been excited about an upcoming release. Perhaps it is the full-bleed design on this year's cards or just the fact that Illinois basketball is terrible this year and has left us poking around the house, staring out the window, and waiting for spring, but whatever the reason, the three weeks leading up to Topps' flagship release seemed nearly unbearable.

     We'll start with some background. Topps Jumbos include 10 packs with 50 cards per pack. The checklist sports 350 cards plus several photo variation short-prints and super short-prints. In addition, the product includes rainbow foil parallels, gold parallels, black parallels, vintage stock parallels, and clear parallels. A variety of insert, game-used, and autograph sets are thrown in as well. Each Jumbo box contains at least 2 relics and 1 autograph. Plus, Topps inserted original buybacks stamped with the 65th Anniversary logo.

Let's start with the base:

Collation: 350 out of 350 (100% completion) plus 80 duplicates

It's always good when you can get all the cards you need for the set out of one box. We have to admit that we snaked the Cardinals for our PC and only got duplicates of the Lance Lynn so we're still eight cards short of the set.

Design: Full-Bleed

     We love the full-bleed design. It's clear that Topps is riding the success of 2015 Stadium Club by incorporating the full-bleed into their 2016 flagship set. They feature great photography and crisp logos.

Cardboard Quality: This year's Topps are still a little flimsy, but for the price and taking the photography into account, we don't think it detracts much from the overall product.

Next up, let's have a look at the parallels.

Rainbow Foil (6)

     The Rainbow Foil cards aren't much more than shiny, unnumbered parallels.  For the most part, our rainbow haul was less than impressive. We received Nathan Eovaldim Mike Zunino, Luke Gregerson, Chris Coghlan and Alcides Escobar. Our standout rainbow foil was this Chris Davis/Nelson Cruz/Mike Trout card:

     We'll follow up with the Gold parallels which weren't any more impressive.

Gold Parallels (4)

     We received four gold parallels which are base cards stamped with a gold honeycomb on the edges and numbered to 2016 on the back.

     Besides the Wainwright that we unveiled in yesterday's Cardinals post, we missed on these as well. The names Marcus Semien, Justin Turner, and Chad Bettis inspire fear in the hearts of no one.

Our vintage stock parallel pull wasn't any better.

Vintage Stock (1)

     Don't be disheartened by the lack of star power surrounding this Chris Colabello parallel numbered 92/99. As retro product connoisseurs, we appreciate Topps' effort with these parallels. The fronts feature the glossy base design with an old-school Topps logo. The backs have no gloss cardboard. There's nothing like the feel of a vintage baseball card. These are numbered out of 99.

Once again, the Topps brand is heavy with insert sets, many of which we didn't get our hands on. Nonetheless, we were more than satisfied with the insert designs and the players we pulled from the box.

First Pitch (5 and a duplicate)

     We know some people like these First Pitch inserts, but if asked, we would leave them out of the lineup. Not to mention, it's irritating when we pull insert duplicates from the same box if we haven't gotten the complete set. With that said, it's still pretty cool to see Bill Withers on a baseball card.

Wacky Packages (1)

     How bout some New York Deli Mitts? Granted, they aren't Cardinals Eggs, but we love this product. What can we say? We grew up in the 80s hoarding Garbage Pail Kids stickers. We're sad that we only pulled one of these promos.

Berger's Best (10)

     Berger's Best is a collection of 65 reprints. One for each year of Topps beginning in 1952. Rather than reprinting the card backs, Topps included a short essay regarding the player. Once again, we pulled a duplicate without completing the set.

     Fortunately, that player is Willie Mays on the 1952 Topps design so it didn't sting all that much. We think we did pretty well with the Berger's Best. We pulled these active players:

     How can you go wrong with Kris Bryant and Clayton Kershaw rookie reprints? We also pulled a slew of Hall-worthy players:

     Bench, Ricky, Murray, Smoltzy, and Piazza. Not too shabby. We've loved Topps reprint issues since 2001. These make the grade.

Pressed Into Service (6)

     Sure, it's fun to know that some of these guys appeared on the mound, but did they really require their own insert set? At least it added another Musial card to the checklist and to the Cardinal Sauce collection.

100 Years at Wrigley (6)

     The 100 Years at Wrigley insert set is fun although we take issue with non-cubs being included in the set. Especially since we didn't pull the Musial. The Cubs have gotten so little over the past 100 years that we just think it's twisting the knife a little to include The Man and The Babe in this set. 

Perspectives (10)

    Besides some of the autograph and relic cards, we think Perspectives is the best offering in this product. We managed to land some up-and-comers, some HOFers, and even a couple Cardinals. Perspectives is a big win for Topps this year.


The Hits (2 relics and 1 autograph)

Scouting Report Relic CC Sabathia

Commemorative No-Hitter Pin Clayton Kershaw

Scouting Report Autograph Kurt Suzuki

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 

Concluding Thoughts: As always, Topps' flagship product was fun to bust. It is neither overwhelming nor underwhelming, it just is what it is. Overall value for the money spent is pretty close to even and the variety of parallels and inserts make for an interesting break. We do admit that it is a bit disheartening when a manufactured pin is the best card in the box. Luckily, the collation was great and we won't have to crack another one open until Series 2 is released.

In the meantime, Collect Hard!


Card of the Day: 2/8/16

2008 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes Relics Mark Mulder 49/50

     Mark Alan Mulder was born on August 5, 1977 in South Holland, Illinois. The Cardinals acquired him from the Oakland Athletics on December 18, 2004 in exchange for Dan Haren, Kiko Calero, and Daric Barton. Mark was a solid pitcher during his first year (2005) in St. Louis when he won 16 games and posted a 3.64 ERA while striking out 111 batters. The next three years were plagued by injury and he won only 6 games while losing 10. Mulder retired during the 2008 season due to seemingly insurmountable injuries.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

2016 Topps Series 1 Jumbo Break: The Cardinals

     2016 Topps released on Wednesday. We have to admit that after seeing the mock-ups we were pretty excited about its release. Full-bleed layout, plenty of parallels and inserts, buybacks, and quality relic and autograph checklists, what's not to like? We'll be publishing a review of the full box, but as with any product, we're mostly concerned with the Cardinals inclusions.

Cardinals Base

     We managed to pull the entire Cardinals team set. This year's Topps Series One includes: Matt Carpenter, Yadi, Waino, Lance Lynn, Stephen Piscotty RC, Jordan Walden, Kevin Siegrist, Peralta, and Holliday. It was nice to knock out all the base in one box. Now we just need to round up the parallels and inserts.

Gold Parallel #/2016

     We only snagged one of the Cardinals parallels: Topps Gold Adam Wainwright. This particular card is numbered 1995/2016. With only receiving this one parallel, it leaves us needing a whole lot more. Any help is appreciated.

Berger's Best

     The are sixty-five different Berger's Best inserts. Out of those sixty-five cards, three feature Cardinals players, We were lucky to find this 67 Topps Steve Carlton reprint. Once we find the Pujols and Molina inserts that lurk within this set, we can mark it finished,


     This is the first of two Musial inserts we received from the box. It features Stan and Red and is the only card in the Back-To-Back insert set that includes Cardinals players.

Pressed Into Service

     Here is the second Musial that we received in the break. Pressed Into Service cards feature position players who were called to the mound. Musial is the only Cardinal in this ten-card insert offering.


     Perspectives are the nicest inserts in the product. They feature stunning photography and three-dimensional effects. Peralta was a good warm-up to the second Perspectives Cardinal that we pulled:

     The Wizard went straight onto the Wall of Cards. It's the only card from the box that made the cut. Yadi is the only Cardinal that we didn't get from the Perspectives set.

     We didn't get any Cardinals hits from the box, but that isn't too surprising. Pulling Cardinals from packs and boxes is usually like pulling teeth for us. As a result we're thrilled with all the Cardinals base and inserts that we did receive. 

     We'll have a full product review posted tomorrow and we'll see how the overall box shaped up. In the meantime, Collect Hard!