Archive for Cleveland Indians

When your friend says he brought you two balls…

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

“Hey, I placed two balls in your mailbox.”

That’s an actual quote from a co-worker.  Fortunately the co-workers is a good friend, and the balls were in fact baseballs, not something else.

This friend is a guy whom I’ve written about before. He has an extensive game-used NFL jersey collection, and sometimes dabbles in game-used baseball items.  I assist him occasionally in photo matching items and he sometimes randomly surprises me with gifts.

Today was one of those days. The gifts included two baseballs, both of which he wanted me to guess the signature before he told me.

The first ball was inside a red Rawlings brand cardboard box. I opened the box and instantly recognized the poorly faded chicken scratch as that of Red Sox legend Jim Rice. What’s cool is the ball is inscribed with “MVP 78.”  The ball is authenticated by Celebz Direct, which is a company from which I have purchased before, they contract with players to do signing, and from time to time sell collections acquired from the player.

The second ball stumped me initially, but I was able to figure it out with the assistance of the Internet.  Not only is the ball signed, it apparently is the ball that Cleveland Indians closer Michael Jackson used to shut down the Detroit Tigers on July 25, 1998. It was Jackson’s 25th save of the season. The signature is again authenticated by the aforementioned Celebz Direct.

Neither of the balls would fetch big money on the open market, but neither of them are intended for the market – they’re heading into my show case to go with other signed and game-used baseballs I’ve acquired over the years.

Thanks for the baseballs, friend.  Can’t wait to see the new loot you picked up.

Rookie Card Upgrade: 1976 Topps/OPC Dennis Eckersley

Posted in Rookie Card Upgrade with tags , , , , , , , on December 19, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

I’ve owned quite a few Dennis Eckersley rookie cards over the years, all of which are not as good as this raw copy. Kind of sad.

Well, thanks to the Internet and a certain card site, I was able to upgrade to a clean PSA 8 O-Pee-Chee rookie. This will also get converted into a BGS/BVG slab at some point.


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.

IMG_9945 IMG_9946IMG_9948IMG_9949

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.


To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE




Rookie Card Upgrade: 1948 Bowman Bob Feller

Posted in Hall of Fame Rookie Cards with tags , , , , , , , on June 8, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

I collect rookie cards.  Some of them look awesome, some of them look awful.  But my philosophy is that it is better to own one than to not.  That said, I’ve been fortunate enough to upgrade some of the awful ones to copies that look awesome.

Here is the upgrade for my 1948 Bowman Bob Feller rookie card.




See more Hall of Famer Rookie Cards here.

Rookie Card Showcase: 1981 Topps Tony Pena

Posted in Rookie Card Showcase with tags , , , , , , on November 1, 2009 by Cardboard Icons



These three played a combined 40 years in the Major Leagues, that's pretty solid.

This post is kind of out of the blue, right? Not really. Recently, the MLB Network showed the classic 1995 ALDS Game One between the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians. The game ended in the 13th inning on a homer by guess who, Tony Pena.


I realize that there probably will be five people who read this, myself included since now one seems to give a crap about Tony Pena. But Pena has always been one of my favorites, even if he did hand the Red Sox — his former team — a loss during that playoff game.

When I was a Little League catcher, I liked to imitate Pena’s one-leg crouch stance, and once tried that funky deke move he used on base runners. Sometimes when a ball was thrown in the dirt, he’d pick it but then make a move toward the backstop as if he missed it. Sometimes it worked, other times it didn’t. When I tried it, the base runner didn’t fall for it, so I guess my intuitiveness went unseen. Did I mention I was 11 years old.

Anyhow, Pena’s sole rookie card is this 1981 Topps card, which he shares with two other players you probably remember: Vance Law and Pascual Perez. Not exactly the kind of card someone usually admits to owning, but I’m proud to say it is in my personal collection. That’s just how I roll.

This is the part 10 of an ongoing series. To see other parts in this series, click here.

Topps’ replacement package, teen melowdrama, and trade list

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , on August 17, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

This is just wrong ...

When I stay home sick from work, there are a few things that are a given: I’ll check my work e-mail even though I don’t have to, I’ll watch a few episodes of Saved By The Bell or Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and I’ll probably find time to write one quick blog post. I’m now on the last leg of this trio of activities.

As it pertains to the TV shows, how on earth did TBS manage to run two of the most serious episodes of these two series on the same day? Freakin’ AC Slater couldn’t play in the home coming game he was hurt during a drunken crash after a toga party; and the topic of the episode of Fresh Price revolved around Ashley losing her virginity. WTF, dude! Where’s the comedy here? A good laugh always makes me feel better, not this teenage melowdrama.

Whatever. On to more serious matters like baseball cards.

Last Friday I received a replacement package from Topps that included corrections for a pair of collecting violations committed by the card giant.

A little background. A month ago I received 2009 Topps Ser. 1 WBC redemption card of Gift Ngoepe. The card was late, and it was off-center so I was pissed, which I chronicled in this post.

And then about a week later I purchased my second and final Topps Allen & Ginter blaster from Target. The box is supposed to have eight packs, but only contained six. The shortage of packs pissed me off and pretty much sent me into a three-week card buying strike. OK, maybe strike is the wrong term. I kind of wised up to the fact that there was nothing on the shelves that would make me happy.

Anyway, so I sent a pair of letters to Topps along with my off-center Ngoepe and the wrappers from the Blaster, and on Friday — less than 10 days after I mailed my package — I received my replacements. That is what I call service.

The Ngoepe is in good shape, nicely centered. I’m also happy to report that Topps used a penny sleeve in the top loader, unlike the fulfillment company that initially sent me the card.


And Topps also sent my two packs, which broke down as follows:

Pack 1) Gavin Floyd, Felix Hernandez, Mini Justin Verlander, Edgar Renteria, Anna Tunnicliffe, National Pride Robinson Cano

Pack 2) Elvis Andrus, Alex Rodriguez, Mini Simpson/Bunker, Dexter Fowler, Jay Bruce, National Pride Felix Hernandez, National Price Jake Peavy


Topps is back in my good graces, but there is still nothing on the shelves worth buying at the moment. Hell, I even resisted a trip to the card shop this weekend. One of Mario’s posts at Wax Heaven a few days ago kind of made me think about what I am doing, which has aided in my actions, or lack thereof. My collection isn’t nearly as big as the one pictured, but it is in a disorderly state. For the last several weeks I’ve been working on putting an extensive tradelist in an Excel spreadsheet, and documenting my Red Sox collection in the same way. This process is lengthy, tiresome and tedious, but must be done.

800+ cards posted


Note that the spreadsheet is sorted three ways:

By year, player’s last name and team.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be looking to make some trades with team collectors who are looking to dish their Red Sox cards for cards from their favorite teams. The cards I have to offer pretty much cover the last four decades. Speak up now  if you’re interested.

I’ve already got people lined up for Dodgers and Orioles. I’ve got a sizeable lot of Cleveland Indians ready to roll now.

Card of the Day: 1993 Upper Deck “On Deck With …” Albert Belle

Posted in Card of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

albertfrontLast week I learned something new about Hall of Famer George Brett, a fact that apparently has been common knowledge for nearly three decades. I’m embarrassed for not having known the info. But then again, should I be? I mean we’re talking about hemorrhoids.

Well, while flipping through my Albert Belle collection, I came across a 1993 Upper Deck insert card from the same set I learned about Brett’s pain in the ass. You know this one will be enjoyable.

Up front, I’ll say this: Albert’s card is not that controversial, but it is interesting. Continue reading