Archive for San Francisco Giants

Rest easy, my friend. Thanks for the memories.

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , , on August 3, 2018 by Cardboard Icons

When I started high school some 25 years ago I had a fear that I would be hunted down like the freshman that I was and subjected to torture by the upperclassmen.

I feared being shoved in lockers, mocked by girls whom I thought were cute, and then left on an island — a castaway, a friendless forgettable face.

None of that ever happened. And part of me credits a friend named Eric, who sadly passed away this week from health complications. He left behind a wife, an unborn child that is due in just a few months, a sister and many relatives.

I came to know Eric very early in my freshman year of high school. He was a senior who had a sister the same grade as me, and Eric and I had two classes together, Geometry (vomit) and bowling (hell yeah!).

Eric was a cool guy who shared same interest as I. He collected basketball cards — I did too at the time — enjoyed wagering a few dollars on various games, and loved sports in general. He wasn’t Mr. Popular, but he was well-known and liked, and being around him in those first few days and months of high school seemingly made me feel at ease. I was no longer worried about the problems listed above — well, save for the girl thing. I always believed that to be the case.

I digress. At the end of Freshman year Eric graduated from high school, along with a few other upperclassmen friends I made, and off he went. I wasn’t sure when I would see or talk to him again.

Remember, this was several years before social media gripped us and ensured that we’d know everything about everyone at all times.

Many years later, we found each other again on Social Media and the friendship was rekindled.

I knew Eric to be a big Giants fan, but I’d come to learn that his fandom was on a different level. He went to Giants games all the time and no longer collected cards, but instead he’d turned his attention to bobbleheads, more specifically those that were given away at the stadium.

Eric and I texted, spoke and messaged each other fairly often in recent years, particularly when it was related to the Giants or collectibles. He wanted my opinion on moves the Giants made, wanted tips on what Giants rookie cards he should collect, and as usual, I was always on the lookout for bobbleheads that he needed for his collection.

Several months ago we met up briefly and he gave me a small box of baseball cards, items he didn’t want anymore. They weren’t rare or even worth a lot. But it was an unsolicited gift, a generous offer that he told me might be fun for my kids and I to go through.

It was after that meeting that he disclosed some health issues but he assured me he was on the mend.

It’s been several months since I’d seen Eric, but we still messaged often. In fact, we spoke just last week.

And then news came down just two days ago that Eric had taken his last breath. He was 41.

Devastating news for sure. And while the shock and pain I feel is real, I can’t imagine the feelings that his family have. Eric you’ll be missed. Thank you for the memories and for having a positive impact on my life. I shall think of you every time I see a San Francisco Giants bobblehead.

2016 Stadium Club Clayton Kershaw is my new favorite card

Posted in Misc., Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , on July 8, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

Being a card collector, new cards releases of my favorite players always bring joy into my life.  Roger Clemens will forever be my favorite player, but Clayton Kershaw is my second favorite. And his 2016 Stadium Club card is now my new favorite card.

 photo E627F927-9C01-4B83-85D6-F142AAD04695_zps0fximurf.jpg

Take a look at this card and you see Kershaw celebrating with catcher AJ Ellis.  A keen Dodger fan knows this exact moment when the two embraced at the conclusion of Kershaw’s one-hit, 13-strikeout performance against the San Francisco Giants on Sept. 30, 2015, to clinch the National League West title on enemy territory — at AT&T Park.

I am not a Dodger fan. I am a Red Sox fan. But why is THIS card my new favorite?

Because I was there. And I also captured this moment from near the Giants’ bullpen along left field.

 photo D08D9497-9BE8-43FA-97A6-408D4F735140_zps3klw24ax.jpg

It was a magical performance by Kershaw, who got the best of the Giants who were led into the game by their ace Madison Bumgarner. It was billed as a pitching classic from the start and while Bumgarner wasn’t great that night, Kershaw definitely was and now I will not only remember the performance based on what I saw, or the pictures I took, I will remember it with the assistance of this Topps Stadium Club card.

Thrift Treasures 100: Foul Ball! 50-year-old Game-Used MLB ball

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , on December 11, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

  
Well, I made it to the century mark for Thrift Treasures posts.  Honestly, I’ve been slippin’ in terms of posting these.  Such is life I suppose.

Anyhow, today I present to you an item I unearthed in a antique store in San Jose, Calif.

  
Tucked in a bucket of baseballs within a locked showcase was this Pres. William Giles Spalding baseball with the side panel inscribed “St. Louis Ball Fouled in LF Stands Sept. 29, 65.”

  

Such an inscription is one that is typical of an era gone by when people physically wrote in their memorabilia in stead of writing the details elsewhere.  Does it devalue the item? That’s a personal preference I suppose.

Anyhow, I saw the inscription on the ball and decided to make the ball mine, without even checking the box score for the game the ball is associated with.

After buying the ball I started my research. 

First off, Warren Giles balls sell for a decent price, so I was already pleased with the fact that au could add such a cool ball to my collection at $35, which seemed like a steal.

But the game is what adds intrigue.  The Cardinals played the San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park that day, and the Cardinals went on to win the game.

Hall of Famer Bob Gibson started the game and earned his 19th win of the season. In the game Gibson also hit a GRAND SLAM off Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. Let THAT sink in.

Anyhow, it’s unclear what St Louis player supposedly fouled this ball into the stands, or at what point the play occurred. 

As for the ball itself, it’s in great shape and has a scuff, probably from when the ball was struck with a bat, or when it bounced in the dirt before getting into the stands.  

On a side note, there was a piece of paper in the bucket that listed the details of the ball and the prices. The list showed that there had previously been for sale a ball struck by Giants player Frank Linzy. 

Total cost of this Treasure: $35

You can see more Thrift Treasures post Here.

HOF Rookie Card: 1933 Goudey Carl Hubbell BVG 4

Posted in Hall of Fame Rookie Cards with tags , , , , on November 18, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

Perhaps the biggest PC addition to come out of my most-recent COMC Mailday was this 1933 Goudey Carl Hubbell rookie card graded a 4 by Beckett Grading.  

  
The centering is amazing. The back is clean. The surface is fantastic. The price was unbeatable.

Hubbell was a two-time NL MVP, nine-time All Star, a World Series Champion and hurled a no-hitter.  He was elected to the Hall of Fame on his third ballot and has his number 11 retired by the Giants organization.

Welcome home, Mr. Hubbell.

Baby born at San Diego’s Petco Park the second coming of “Prince?”

Posted in Card of the Day with tags , , , , , , , on September 27, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

Earlier this week there was a child born at San Diego’s Petco Park, the first to have come into the world at the Padres’ home stadium.

Surely this is not the first kid to be born at a stadium, but there was once a baseball player/entertainer who claimed to have been born in the same exact spot where “The House That Ruth Built” once stood in New York.

  
The man on this 1939 Play Ball card is Al Schacht, a former pitcher/coach/entertainer who thrilled crowds during the early part of the 1900s. And as it would have it, the rear of this card furthers Schacht’s claim to have been born where the original Yankee Stadium stood.  

Schacht was born in 1892, some 30 years before the original Yankee Stadium — which was demolished in 2010 — was erected at present day West 161st Street and River Avenue.  

Schacht spent much of his life in baseball, although he actually only played in the Majors for a handful of years with the Washington Senators. He’s better remembered as the “Crown Prince of Baseball,” due to his comedic acts on the field as a third base coach — nonsense that flew during the period but would have no place on the game today.

The child born this week in San Diego reportedly is a boy named Levi, who arrived just outside the gates of Petco Park during the fourth inning of a contest between the Padres and division rival San Francisco Giants.

In this piece at “The National Pastime” Schacht is documented as not only having been born where Yankee Stadium stood, but also notes that Schacht spent his youth sneaking into the Polo Grounds to hang out with players, particularly one Christy Mathewson. Mathewson of course pitched for the New York Giants, the team that ultimately would move to San Francisco, the same franchise that played in San Diego this week when baby Levi was born. 

Perhaps baby Levi is the second coming of Schacht and he was “sneaking” into Petco to see the Madison Bumgarner, the team’s modern day ace who just happened to be starting that game. 

(Side note: The NEW YORK Giants played the WASHINGTON Redskins on this night as well in a Thursday Night Football contest.)

Or maybe it’s just a coincidence.

Regardless, it’s a fun narrative to consider. After all, this is baseball. Romanticism is part of the lore of the American Pastime.

Update to Carlos Gomez-Madison Bumgarner used ball from 8/11/15

Posted in Baseball Games with tags , , , , on August 18, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

   So last week I posted about a game-used baseball I bought at the San Francisco Giants game in 8/11/15. The ball was thrown by Madison Bumgarner in ye first inning and was singled to right field by Astros outfielder Carlos Gomez. The piece can be seen here.

While doing some research for a friend it dawned on me that I should check Getty Images to see if there are any picture of Bumgarner throwing the ball.

I didn’t find one. BUT, I did find a very cool picture of Gonzalez making contact with the ball.  This picture can be seen Here the caption notes that the picture of of Home singling off Bumgarner; it was his only hit of the night. 

    

I’ve always wanted to … 

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , on August 12, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

  
I go to a fair amount of baseball games.  Not a lot by any stretch of the imagination, but I go to four or five a year.  Over my 30 years of baseball fandom I have always wanted a game-used ball.

  
I’ve never caught a home run ball, not a foul ball, not a ball tossed to me by a player between innings. None.

In recent years MLB stadiums have begun selling game-uses items and I’ve always dreamed of buying something.  The items always seemed too expensive or I simply hesitated.

Well, Tuesday night, all of that changed.

My wife and I got free tickets to the Giants-Astros game in San Francisco.  They were 10 rows from the field, a gift from my sister, who has gotten them from a co-worker season ticket holder who couldn’t make it.  As it happened, Giants stud Madison Bungarner was on the mound.  Tickets for his starts are always at a premium.

What we got was an absolute gem from Bumgarner, who hurled a 5-hit, 12-strikeout complete came to earn his 13th win of the year; his 80th career victory.

It was probably the second most dominating pitching performance I had seen in person. It rivaled a game in 1999 in which Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez struck out 12 Oakland Athletics.  And it slightly edges out a Curt Schilling performance about a half decade ago in which he nearly no-hit the A’s. Schilling lost the biggest-hitter with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

I digress. After the game I went to check out the game-used merchandise and there were four used balls from the game left for sale.  Two were thrown by Astros pitcher Scott Kazmir and two were thrown by Bumgarner.  One was a foul tip that Jed Lowrie got a piece of in the second inning ($40) and the other was the ball that Houston outfielder Carlos Gomez singled to right on the ninth pitch of the game.  The Gomez-Bumgarner ball was originally $150, but had been marked down to $69.

  
I took the Gomez-Bumgarner ball. True it was more expensive. Yes, it was a hit and not a strike. But I liked that it was a star versus star and ultimately I could pinpoint exactly which play the ball game from.

As it turned out, it’s a pretty neat piece of “history.” Tuesday marked the first day in Major League history in which ALL 15 home teams won their games. The FIRST TIME EVER. 

After the game I caught the replay on TV and archives the video showing the entire at-bat, and the specific pitch in which this ball was thrown.  That was kind of fun.

Some other facts about the ball and game:

*This was Carlos Gomez’s 883rd career base hit.

*The ball was used for one play, handed from umpire Dana Demuth to catcher Buster Posey then tossed to Bumgarner who threw the pitch. Gomez then hit it to right and it skipped to Hunter Pence who then threw it to all-star shortstop Brandon Crawford, who then threw the ball out of play.  It was later authenticated by MLB — customary practice for game-used items being sold at stadiums.

*The ball was thrown during Bumgarner’s 80th career victory.

*Bumgarner struck out seven batters in a row, tying the Giants record.

*The picture below is a screen shot of Gomez on third base later in the first inning after the single.  My wife and I are in the shot. 🙂