Baseball Legends: Mickey Mantle

I never thought that I could like a Yankee as much as I like Mickey Mantle. From an early age my father would tell me about the exploits of ‘the Mick.’ He explained how he was a power hitter, but would also bunt his way on. He used him as an example of a player that could have been so much more. If not for injuries and his partying he could have been the greatest to ever play the game. He still was one of the greatest. Part of my journey this summer to Yankee stadium will be to visit the place that both he and ‘the Babe’ suited up at. It will be an honor to walk in monument park. Then I will spend the rest of the day rooting against the Yankees.
The circumstances surrounding his death have also made him a hero. He came out in the press stating that his lifestyle may have led to his early demise. He said that he was not a role model, and that we should not be like him. He then went on a crusade for the rest of his short life trying to bring awareness to organ donation. He turned a negative into a huge positive.
To see my article on the Mick go to the Baseball Legends website.

Carlton Fisk Countdown: Aftermath

You thought the countdown was over? It’s never over. I started this countdown with great enthusiasm. I thought that I would find the 72 best Fisk cards, and chronicle them. What I found was that over the countdown I even disagreed with myself. Cards that I thought were great at the beginning lost their value to me even in that short of a time span. Cards like the one to the left that for some reason I like were left off. I really have a soft spot for oddball cards that I haven’t seen too many of. With the internet I have found out that cards that I thought had to be rare really were not. Anyway the countdown is over, and the discussion can begin. What really is the best card of Carlton? I would like to hear some responses to this. I am sure that everyone does not share my memory of a day that would make the ’84 Team Checklist card the most valuable to them. Is it the rookie card? Could it be a relic card? Let me know what card that you like best.
Like I said yesterday. When things slow down, and summer is gone I will start the countdown of the worst Carlton cards. I am not saying that the cards are bad, but sometimes they seemed to catch him in bad positions or at a bad time. I would guess that countdown will be a while in coming. Then again after writing something everyday for this long I may miss the daily typing and start it sooner rather than later. I already have a few in my mind that will more than likely make the cut.
In the next couple of days I will take a look at some cards/sets that I have received during this countdown, but did not want to clutter the site with. I can now get back to some of the daily posting that does not involve Fisk. I am sure though that in some way it will end up involving him. I found a youtube video that I will post below that recaps Carlton’s career. While I was watching it I was laughing at how the moments shown recap the countdown as well.

More Semi Lewd Material

Today seems to be the day for posting inappropriate material on this site. A couple of weeks ago one of my friends posted an article talking about his trip to Tropicana Field. Today I found a video showing exactly how good the experience can be at the ballpark. This was taken off of last nights NESN broadcast. Things definitely are different in Florida. Something like this would never have happened today in the rain and cold in Chicago. Enjoy.
For another good story about the Red Sox check out the one on Roger Clemens and a 15 year old country singer here.

A Look at the White Sox After the 1st 25 Games (Postponed)

Today I was going to do a report on the first 25 games of the Sox season. Then Bobby Jenks blew the save, and the game was called after 11 innings. The game was a microcosm of the Sox season. They just could not capitalize on the chances that they were given. They had multiple chances to score, but did everything that they could to piss them away. They also had a shot at getting a lead in the Central, but they are allowing the Tigers and the Indians to get hot. After today’s game I am not too happy with my team so I am going to focus my rage on the Cubs. Actually I saw on Comcast during a rain delay that it is the 25th anniversary of the Lee Elia rant. I did not know what that was until I found it on youtube. I posted the video below for your viewing pleasure. Warning: Do not click on the link if you don’t want to hear the F-bomb. He drops the F-bomb 33 times in this short clip. Bobby Knight has nothing on him here.

Carlton Fisk Countdown: #1

Today is the last card of the countdown. I know someone is probably saying “That card?” This countdown was never about the most valuable, rare, or fancy cards. Some may have beat out others because of those qualities, but it was always about my favorite Fisk cards. This one tops the list because of how I feel whenever I see it. I have already talked on this blog about my first ever Sox game and how I was able to meet both Fisk and Dotson. This card ever since then has become a reminder of that day. This was part of the first Sox cards that I ever got a hold of as well. I had all of the guys from that 1984 team. I also tried to get the players that were listed on other teams, but actually were on the Sox. Tom Seaver was a great example of this. When I first traded for this card I did so because it was a Sox card, and also because it was a checklist. I started crossing off the players that I had until someone told me that you were not supposed to write on cards. I still have that card in with a partially crossed off checklist on the back.
Going through this countdown I had to leave off a lot of cards that I liked. I never thought that I would find 72 cards worthy of the list. What I found was that I had many more than that. I could have probably done the 144 best cards of Fisk. Maybe I will do a countdown of the worst cards that were produced of him later on.

2008 NFL Draft Recap

As promised here is my recap of the 2008 NFL draft from my point of view. I follow three teams that were affected by the draft the Green Bay Packers, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and the Purdue Boilermakers. The picture above is of pick #86 Tom Zbikowski taking the ball away from pick #30 Dustin Keller. The following is how each of the teams did in the draft.

Green Bay Packers:
The Packers traded their first round pick (#30) to Arizona for picks #36 and #113 in the draft. They also received pick #56 from the Browns from the Corey Williams trade. This meant that they had three second round picks. Nelson was a great receiver at Kansas State. He left the school as the second leading receiver in Wildcat history. With the offense that the Packers rrun they can never have too many receivers. It would be nice to see him make a difference this year. With their second pick the Packers took former Cardinal quarterback Brian Brohm. Brohm never really lived up to the hype at Louisville. He was good, but never the savior that they thought he would be. He will now try and battle Aaron Rodgers to fill the void left by the retirement of Brett Favre. They are also without a pick in the sixth round because that was given to the Giants last year for Ryan Grant. I would say that Grant was well worth a sixth round pick. With the two schools below I have watched the players, and know what to expect. With these Green Bay picks I am in the dark right now. All I can say is that they grabbed a couple of QB’s to fill some roster spots, and three receivers for them to throw to. They also bulked up on the O-line as well. Time will tell who will contribute from this group. Brohm is the name quarterback, but maybe we can catch lightening in a bottle with Flynn.
#36 Jordy Nelson – WR – Kansas State Wildcats
#56 Brian Brohm – QB – Louisville Cardinals
#60 Patrick Lee – CB – Auburn Tigers
#91 Jermichael Finley – TE – Texas Longhorns
#102 Jeremy Thompson – DE – Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#135 Josh Sitton – OT – Central Florida Knights
#150 Breno Giacomini – OT – Louisville Cardinals
#209 Matt Flynn – QB – LSU Tigers
#217 Brett Swain – WR – San Diego State Aztecs

Notre Dame Fighting Irish:
Gone are the days of the multiple first round picks. Notre Dame players are now just hoping to be drafted. According to the ESPN rankings they had the #54 and #55 best players in the draft. Far from first round talent. For some reason though they were picked far ahead of the rankings at #38 and #47. Trevor Laws is pictured to the left(#98) tackling Korey Sheets at the Purdue – Notre Dame game. Out of the Irish players chosen I think that Laws has the most potential. He is non stop on the line never letting up, and he also seems to get his hand on a large amount of kicks. Carlson is a good tight end that could prosper in the right system. He made the big plays when called upon to do so in college. Zbikowski has some work ahead of him. He really needs to make his mark on special team I think to stick with a team. He is a tough player that should have no problem running down the field on coverage teams. He may be too slow to return kicks in the pros, but he does understand the concept of running to the hole with no dancing. Sullivan is a good center is another fifth year senior that was drafted. He never missed a game in college until his last two. He has an uphill battle ahead of him to make his mark in the pros. He was part of the O-line that did not help the Irish quarterbacks the last few years. That will not fly in the pros. Here are the Irish players who were drafted in the last two days:
#38 John Carlson – TE – Seattle Seahawks
#47 Trevor Laws – DT – Philadelphia Eagles
#86 Tom Zbikowski – S – Baltimore Ravens
#187 John Sullivan – C – Minnesota Vikings

Purdue Boilermakers:
For the second straight season Purdue had a player drafted in the first round. Yesterday I posted on here how Dustin Keller was picked by the New York Jets with the #30 pick overall. Dustin quickly became a favorite of mine with his tough play, and determination. He was hard to bring down. Hopefully the Jets will use him to his abilities. Pictured to the left is former Purdue defensive end Cliff Avril who was taken late in the second round by the Lions. Avril was a running back when he came to Purdue, switched to linebacker, then in the middle of his junior year switched to defensive end. He learned the position quickly, and helped keep the ‘Den of Defensive Ends’ going. Keglar started every game last year for the Boilers, and was a very adequate linebacker. Sometimes he seemed to get lost on the field though. He will have the most work of the Boilers chosen in order to stay in the pros. I hope he proves me wrong. Here are the Boilermakers who have been drafted over the past two days:
#30 Dustin Keller – TE – New York Jets
#92 Cliff Avril – DE – Detroit Lions
#134 Stanford Keglar – LB – Tennessee Titans

Baseball Legends: George Brett

George Brett was a fiery player that gave his all every day on the field. I am probably like most people that have the image of Brett storming out of the dugout after being called out during the “pine tar incident” ingrained in my mind. That one incident gave him the reputation of a hot head. He just did not like losing anything. I am one person that can relate to that. I read a quote of his online while researching the article that I completely agree with. He said, “If a tie is like kissing your sister, losing is like kissing your grandmother with her teeth out.”
The picture to the left was taken in 2005 of the Brett statue at Kaufmann Stadium. I was there to see the Sox take on the Royals, but still took some time to honor Brett. That same year I met Steve Garvey at the Bob Feller museum, and had him sign my little league bat which was a Garvey model. The handle of the bat had split, and Garvey asked me what happened to it. I told him that I was pretending to be George Brett that day. That sparked a small conversation that upset some of the other people in line. I have always admired Brett for his will to win.
As you can tell by the amount of posts the last couple of days I have not been feeling very well. I must have caught whatever is going around lately. That along with the sub par weather has given me time to write a little. Why don’t you go visit the Baseball Legends site? Are you going to deny a sick man his request? Visit the site already.

Baseball Legends: Steve Carlton

I have yet to write about a lasting member of the White Sox for the Baseball Legends site. I have just concentrated on some players that had a cup of coffee with the team. Steve Carlton is another one of those pitchers. In 1986 the Sox realized that they had traded an over the hill pitcher in Seaver so they picked up another one in Steve Carlton. Both pitchers were great, but well past their prime when they joined the Sox. Steve did go on to pitch with the Twins the next two seasons, and even got another World Series ring for his troubles. I never really was able to see him pitch in his prime, but it was great to see him pitch for my team. He was 4-3 in the ten games that he appeared in for the Sox. He will never lead the club in wins, but he used up his best stuff in a Phillie uniform.
Why haven’t you gone to the Baseball Legends site and registered yet? Don’t you know what you are missing? Well it is never to late to sign up.

Carlton Fisk Countdown: #2

Two more cards to go. Today’s card is the 1972 Topps Red Sox Rookie Stars card of Carlton. This card was signed with the previous two cards on the countdown. I used to have two of these, but one of them was stolen by someone who was a good friend at the time. Needless to say I do not talk to them anymore. They stole some other cards that were worth some money, but it really burned me that he would take my favorite players rookie card. That one was not signed, but it still meant something to me. I picked this card up at the Shipshawana flea market in Nappannee, Indiana. The guy just had a shoebox full of cards from the seventies very cheap. I picked up this card and the 1978 Topps card from him. Towards the end my collecting days this card went from booking at around $10 to being worth anywhere from $150-$200. Now it is worth about $80 according to the books. It sells for much less on eBay though.
Carlton appears with two other players on this card. The first is Mike Garman. Garman appeared in 303 games in his career over nine years for five teams. Mike pitched for the Red Sox, Cubs, Cardinals, Dodgers, and finally the Expos. He was 22-27 in his career with a 3.63 era. Except for a couple of years in the middle of the decade with the Cardinals he just hung on with a few teams to stay in the show. Cecil Coooper is a little more well known. Currently he is the manager for the Houston Astros. His career spanned from 1971-1987. I knew him best as a Brewer because that is where he spent the majority of his time. He was drafted by the Red Sox, but taken in the Rule 5 draft by the Cardinals. In 1971 he was given back to the Red Sox. He played there until after the 1976 season when he was traded to the Brewers for George Scott and Bernie Carbo. He was a five time all-star who did most of his damage in the early 80′s. He was a solid first baseman for the Brewers. The third guy on the card is the one that has been talked about on here for the last month and a half. You might have heard of him.
My guess is that unless you have read this blog and know baseball cards you will never guess the number one card. I would venture to say that you will not guess the card anyway. If you can guess the number one card, you can have one of them. There is a story on the blog that corresponds to the card that sits at #1. I would be shocked if someone guesses it. Like I said though, if you guess it you own it.