Archive for Oakland Athletics

Newest Hall of Fame autograph has arrived (Thanks, Topps!)

Posted in New Addition with tags , , , , , , on September 7, 2013 by Cardboard Icons

RickeyIt pretty much goes without saying … WE ALL DISLIKE REDEMPTION CARDS.

Notice I didn’t say Hate.  It’s too strong of a word.  I think dislike is more apt because I think deep down there is some joy that some of us get from these cards.

While we’d all like to have the card fresh in-hand from the pack, redemption cards do present a great opportunity to those who are willing to wait out the redemption process.

On Saturday I received my 2012 Topps Five Star Rickey Henderson autograph card, which was the result of a redemption card I purchased on eBay about a month ago.  The good news was when I bought the redemption card, there was already word that the cards were already live, so I figured I wouldn’t have to wait that long.  From start to finish, it took about three weeks to turn the redemption card into the live card, which is shown here.  In the end, I saved roughly $35 and received a gorgeous card.  Thank you, Topps.

Thrift Treasures 59: Game-used bat at flea market; used on two baseball cards?

Posted in Newspaperman, Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , on August 8, 2013 by Cardboard Icons

ThriftTreasuresLogoImagine, walking through a flea market held at an abandoned drive-in theater. There are loads of tools to the left, tons of kids clothing to the right. Behind you are some sketchy electronics that likely were stolen from someone’s car. And then, in front of you, beneath the rubble of “junk” is a wooden gem, staring at you.

Any time I see a full-size baseball bat, I stop to see what the deal is. Is it softball bat? A store-sold player issue? Some generic piece of wood fashioned into a baseball bat? Regardless, I stop to look. And 99 percent of the time I keep moving.

But recently, while inspecting a piece of wood buried beneath the junk, I uncovered a game-used bat of Major League veteran (now retired) Mike Aldrete.

Yeah, I know, you’re rolling your eyes. It’s Mike Aldrete. Not exactly someone who you’d expect me to be writing about. But understand that we’re talking about a game-used bat used in a Major League Baseball game. And it cost $5.

The first thing that caught my attention was the bat knob. It has the number “43” and “T153″ written in ink, which I assumed was a player number and the model number. Then I saw the handle was taped with batting tape, and lastly I saw the barrel, which had Aldrete’s name and the team he was playing for at the time, the Cleveland Indians.

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A little research shows that Aldrete played for the Indians for one season: 1991.

And here is where things get even cooler.

Do a quick internet search for “Mike Aldrete” and “Indians” and what pops up? Two images: Aldrete’s 1992 Donruss and 1992 Fleer cards. Now look closely.

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Something there look familiar?

While I can’t say for sure that the bat I found at the flea market is the same bat used in the images shown on the cards, let’s consider a few things:

The bat was found in Santa Cruz, California. Aldrete lives in Carmel, California.

The images shown on the 1992 Donruss and 1992 Fleer card were either shot by the same photographer or by two photographers in the same photographer well, while covering an OAKLAND ATHLETICS, which is like 60 miles north of Santa Cruz, Calif.

The numbers written on the bat knob look almost identical to that of the one used by Aldrete on the cards.

The tape job on my bat look almost identical to the one used by Aldrete on the cards.

That’s the extent of the evidence I have to this point. We can’t see the barrel of Aldrete’s bat to see if there are any other distinguishing characteristics. And best I checked on AP Photos and Getty Images, there are no other images of Aldrete at the A’s game shown on the cards.

While the actual link between the bat and the two cards is merely speculative and circumstantial at this point, it’s still a neat story and a possibility.

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To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE

 

 

 

2012 Bowman Baseball: Home of the (Oakland A’s) Rookie Cards

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , on May 9, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

2012 Bowman Yoenis Cespedes rookie card #193

I saw a slew of 2012 Bowman baseball opened this week and it instantly came to my attention that Bowman is not only “Home of the Rookie Card,” but more specifically home of the Oakland A’s rookie cards.

The Bowman set features a whopping seven legitimate rookie cards of Oakland Athletics players, and this does not take into account the multiple prospect cards that some people sometimes consider rookies.

We all knew that one of the big draws of the Bowman set was the first pack-seeded rookie card of Yoenis Cespedes wearing a Major League Baseball uniform.  But what I didn’t realize, and likely many others, is that there are a half-dozen other Oakland players who call the 2012 Bowman set the home of their first “official” rookie card.

Guys like Tom Milone and Brad Peacock were in 2012 Topps, but they were pictured as members of the Washington Nationals.

Take a look at this:

2012 Bowman Tom Milone rookie card #196

2012 Bowman Brad Peacock rookie card #216

2012 Bowman Jarrod Parker rookie card #213

2012 Bowman Jemile Weeks rookie card #61

2012 Bowman Michael Taylor rookie card #206

2012 Bowman Collin Cowgill rookie card #201

It should be noted that while these seven cards are considered rookie cards, four of these other players have appeared on Bowman branded baseball cards in recent years.

*Michael Taylor appeared in 2007 Bowman as a prospect card when he was with the Phillies. (2007 Bowman products)

*Jarrod Parker also appeared in 2007 Bowman as a prospect when he was in the Diamond Backs organization. (2007 Bowman products)

*Brad Peacock was in 2008 Bowman products as a Washington National.  (2008 Bowman products)

*Collin Cowgill appeared in 2011 Bowman Sterling as an autographed prospect card while featured in a Diamond Backs unform.  (2011 Bowman Sterling)

One of the greatest baseball days ever …

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , on October 7, 2011 by Cardboard Icons

My neighbors must think I have split personalities.  One day they see me wearing a Red Sox shirt, the next day it’s a Giants shirt.  And on Sept. 7, they surely saw me wearing an A’s hat.

Such is the life of a baseball fan who chooses an east coast team as his favorite, yet grew up watching — and supporting — local baseball teams, specifically the A’s.

One of my favorite memories s a kid was going to my first baseball game.  I was 8.  My father took me to an Orioles-Athletics game in 1988.  I have two distinct memories from that game — Cal Ripken hit a screaming homer run to left field, and my father bought me an A’s hat, which I wore to sleep.

Being a father of two now, I’d been contemplating taking my own kids to their first baseball game.  But I didn’t want to take them when they were too young to remember.  Lots of kids go to their first games when they still have pacifiers in their mouths.  Being a baseball fan, I know how special that first game is.  And I want/wanted each of my kids to remember their first experience.

Well,  Sept. 7, 2011, was the day … for my daughter, anyway.

My daughter is almost three.  She’s still young and impressionable.  She still tells me that she loves me, and she’s not just saying it to get into my wallet.  Does she love baseball?  No … well not yet, anyway.

But that Wednesday seemed like the perfect opportunity.  The Oakland Athletics run a ticket special for many of their day games where they sell tickets near Mt. Davis for $2 each.

Are they “good” tickets?  No.  Are they tickets to a Major League Baseball game for the same price as a pack of 2011 Topps Baseball?  Yep.

So the decision was made.  We would ride BART to the game and soak it all in.  The goal was to expose my daughter to baseball and show her that it was a fun time — the outcome of the game really wasn’t all that important.  Plus, I bought her a puppet of the A’s team mascot Stomper about a year earlier and we played with it just the night before the game.  I sold her on the idea that we might see Stomper.

Just before leaving the house, I posted on my Twitter account that I was headed to the game with my daughter. I mentioned that it was her first.  Within minutes, I got a message from the Oakland A’s twitter account asking where I was sitting.  I sent a message back, not really sure why they were asking.

So we ventured out … we caught a train in Fremont, Calif. and started the journey to the old, dilapidated facility that is the “O.Co Coliseum.”  My daughter was excited not only for the game, but her first train ride.

When we arrived at our destination, my daughter was excited to be there.  We quickly found our seats to catch a few moments of the A’s and Royals players stretching.  And then we ventured to the concession stands to grab some treats — popcorn and a hotdog.

When we returned to our seats, my daughter dove into her helmet full of popcorn.  Seconds later I was greeted by a representative of the A’s.  They said they heard it was my daughter’s first game and presented her with a certificate commemorating the occasion.  And then they upgraded our seats from the foot of Mt. Davis to field level seats near the A’s dug out.

With the game underway, we made the trek to our field level seats.  And let me tell you, it’s not easy totting around food and a 2-year-old at a baseball game. By the time we got to our seats we missed an inning of baseball and my arms were dead, but I knew it would all be worth it as we surely would get to see Stomper from our new location.

And just minutes later we did …

“Look, honey, it’s Stomper,” I told my daughter.

She grabbed her puppet — which we brought to the game — and stood up.  I offered to take her to see him up close, but she froze.  She didn’t want to go.

For several minutes she watched him from a distance … and then he was gone, moved to the other side of the Coliseum to meet other children.

About 5 minutes later I received a direct message on Twitter from someone who knew I was at the game.  That person showed me a Tweet contest from Stomper. 

When I received the message, I could see Stomper clear on the other side of the stadium.  I thought about grabbing my daughter and racing to him to say the phrase.  But my daughter was reluctant to see him when he was nearby, so I didn’t want to scare her off.  I figured if he came back to our area, I’d hit him up then.

We watched a few more innings of baseball and then I heard a magic phrase …

“Daddy, I need to go to the bathroom.”

My blood pressure went through the roof because I knew we had to gather everything up and find a somewhat sanitary place for my daughter to do her deed.

Needless to say we made it to the restroom in time and she was relieved.  But as we exited the bathroom, who do you think we saw?

This was our chance.

I raced over to the mascot, who was posing for a picture with some fans.  When he was done, I said the phrase …

“Zazzy!” 

He pointed to me and his handler handed us our prize. We’d won the signed hat … and my daughter got to meet Stomper, all at the same time.


With the loot in hand, we returned to our seats for another inning or so, until my daughter seemed to be running out of steam.  It was the sixth inning and Guillermo Moscoso had a no-hitter going, but none of that mattered. We’d had a good day and I was not going to have it ruined with a public toddler meltdown in a baseball stadium.

So we packed up our stuff, got back on the train and headed home.

It’s been a month since that day.  The season has ended, the League Championship Series are about to begin and Fall has arrived.  But even to this day,  my daughter still says a magic phrase to me:

“Daddy, remember when we went to the baseball game?  I got to meet Stomper!”

Of course I remember, honey.  Of course I do.

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