Dan Briggs – 1977 Topps

November 18, 2011

It’s A Great Day!

It’s my birthday! (Didn’t want to leave you in suspense.) In fact, it’s my Doug Plank birthday! (You should know what that means!) (It’s also Nachos Grande’s birthday too, but I think I was here first. Not on the ‘net, but, here here. Which isn’t always the best thing ever…)

Whilst I know there are a couple of players that are born on my exact day, I don’t know if I have cards for them.

I do know I have (or had) this one, because he was the first player that I knew that shared my birthday.

When I first went through my cards to find players with my birthday, I was hoping for someone with pizzaz. But, I got Briggs.

Through history, my day hasn’t been loaded with stellar players. Oh, some players were notable, like Deacon McGuire, Colby Jack Coombs, Gene Mauch (ok, he was a stellar manager,or stellar enough), Roy Sievers, and Steve Henderson. Hey, Steve Henderson was part of the Tom Seaver trade. Wasn’t that stellar?

Jay Hook, noted engineer and frustrating pitcher, was born on my birthday.

But then, after I stopped collecting (in fits and starts) my birthday started to shine: Jamie Moyer, Dante Bichette (ok, a cubic zirconium), Tom Gordon, Gary Sheffield, David Ortiz (Papi!) and C. J. Wilson. Not bad, not bad at all.

(These are for CJ):

Briggs, though, was kind of a dud. He was part of that 1976 Angels team that was put the ‘a’ in anemic. (He also split time at first base and center field – which is a very odd combo.) Briggs did his part for California, notching an OBP and SLG under .300.

After the Angels gave up on him, he went from town to town, bat in hand. He was traded notables like Mike Champion and Mike Griffin, and was part of the Dave Cash deal with Bill Almon. I do recall the Cubs giving him his last shot in 1982, and he rewarded the North Siders by going 6-48 with NO walks. NONE! Yick. He did hit in the minors, in the usual places (El Paso, the PCL and Denver) but it didn’t translate.

He spent two years in Japan, and later was head coach at Denison. Denison is in the same athletic conference as my alma mater, Wabash.

So there circle is complete.

Jo-Jo Reyes, Your Life Is Calling!

Oh, wait, that’s Jo Jo Dancer.

It could have been Jo Jo Starbuck, or Mrs. Terry Bradshaw (for a while).

Actually, my life is calling. Work has been quite busy. I have some early morning calls to our development team in India coming up. I’m learning a new process and product, and there’s some, well, discussions about money and deliverables.

Fun. So that’s why I haven’t written much.

I can say that Mr. Troll sent me a few cards I needed and I’ll return the favor soon! Thanks, my friend!

As for Mr. Reyes, his career is calling. Well, what’s left of it.

Last year, he was 7-11, 5.57 (76+ ERA) with Toronto and Baltimore, and for his career, he’s only 12-26 with a 6.05 (70+ ERA).  He was the bad part of the trade that saw the Jays steal Yunel Escobar from the Braves, and Toronto just waived him on to the Orioles. Well, it’s not like the O’s had any better alternatives at the end, trotting out folks like Matusz and VandenHurk.

Jo Jo needs to step up, or he’ll be gone gone.




Frank Wills – 1986 Fleer

November 11, 2011

“Wrong Number, Meat”

Frank was a loner during his year with the Mariners.

You would be an angry man if you went from spending 1984 with a perennial contender, the Royals (don’t laugh please) to spending 1985 with the laughing stock of the American League.

You would be an irate man if you only went to the Mariners after spending the spring with the Mets, who were very much on the rise. (Wills was part of a four-team deal also involving the Royals, Mets, Rangers and Brewers also involving Danny Darwin, Don Slaught, Tim Leary and Jim Sundberg.)

You would be a furious man if you went 5-11, 6.00 (ERA 70+) with more walks than strikeouts and earned a trip to the Great White North (Calgary) for a stint.

And you would be an irascible curmudgeon if some nosy photographer wanted to snap your picture while stewing over your last outing and watching Mark Langston or Jim Beattie also getting their head caved in.

So, yeah…shut up meat.

Donnie Hill – 1987 Topps

November 6, 2011

A Dilemma. Also, Most Inexcusable Air-Brush Job Ever.

The dilemma is this, my friends.

I finally got all of my keepers located and put into containers where I can locate them, and store them in the garage. I posted on my Facebook page (which you can find if you know me name) that I couldn’t locate my Misc. Fleer binder, but it was under a pillow on the love seat (which mostly collects things right now). Also, I just tweeted (which you can find if you think about it a bit, especially if you’ve received email from me) about my dilemma.

Which is…

I don’t know what to do with my doubles. I gots some good doubles for trade, but I also have a scad of junk waxes that I somehow didn’t get rid of in spring cleaning / grab bags. And now I don’t have anything to store them in. I went to a LCS yesterday but arrived too late. I consolidated on the move and just don’t want to dump these things into boxes.

I wonder, WONDER, mind you, if I should just recycle cards like the above Donnie Hill. It’s against my manifesto – and I probably could just donate them to Goodwill. (Actually, that’s what I’ll do probably.) It’s more of a storage thing than anything. But then I remember I was the loony who wanted to try to get those sets and, well, I want to perform the same service.

Think, think, think. Oh, bother.

At any rate, I’ll sort this thing out soon.

But now onto Mr. Hill.

The scan doesn’t do the card justice.

(Nor does the knife feel like justice, really…)

It’s just electric green and the A’s had is definitely plunked onto his head. I don’t think he was wearing a hat in the shot.

The question is why was Mr. Hill subjected to the treatment given to those who were traded or signed as a free agent or rushed up to the minors in a huff?

You look at the back of Hill’s card, he doesn’t have his minor league stats printed. So he wasn’t a rookie or a noob.

In fact, he played two full seasons and two mostly full seasons in the bigs. He was the regular second sacker in 1985 and in 1986 split time with Tony Phillips and then filled in quite a bit at third for Carney Lansford.

No star he, but he had played 357 big league games for Oakland. And Topps gave him the electric green airbrush treatment.

Some things I just don’t understand. But maybe I’m not supposed to.

Bobby Brown – 1983 Topps

November 4, 2011

Which Bobby Brown Is This Not?

That’s a silly question.

We know he is the outfielder that floated through several teams in the late 70’s and early 80’s. He was quite peripatetic, playing for the Blue Jays, Yankees, Marines and Padres (with a side note of a Rule V spring training with the Mets).

He was originally an Orioles farmhand, was released, signed by the Phils, traded to the Yanks with Jay Johnstone for Rawly Eastwick, then Rule V to the Mets. The Blue Jays offered him back to the Yanks, and he was a rarity – a rule V returnee that played in the majors the same year he was returned to the team that lost him in that draft.

Bobby had a good run, and retired after 1985 when he realized that it was over. Of course, a .390 OPS had a lot to do with that decision.

Bobby Brown, of course, is quite a common name, especially in sports and entertainment.

In baseball:

There’s Dr. Bobby Brown, former Yankees pitcher and AL President.

There is Bob Brown, who had an *interesting* career. Lifetime he was 16-21 with an 85 ERA+, but had one awesome year in 1932 at age 21 (14-7, 3.30 ERA, 114 ERA+ and finished 11th in MVP voting). It had to be arm issues, but he wasn’t work especially hard in either the minors or his big year for the Boston Braves.

There are six Bob Browns that played in the minors, and five Bobby Browns who never hit the big time either.

You also know Bobby Brown, R & B singer:

Of course, I prefer him in New Edition:

(If I like the girl, who cares who you like)

But there’s one other Bobby Brown, and the lyrical content is NSFW:

I’d knew you’d be surprised…



Brian Wilson – 2011 Topps

November 3, 2011

“Cabin Essence Timely Hello”

Yes, this is a baseball card blog. And yes, this is a baseball card.

Brian Wilson, you know, he’s a ninja or something or other with tacos.

He’s also another nutty relief pitcher. I think pitchers, especially relief pitchers, are very much candidates to be nutballs.

Much like auteurs.

Like Brian Wilson, genius musician.

SMiLE came out, finally. The story is, well, too complicated to get into on a simple blog. But to be concise. Wilson wanted to top “Pet Sounds”, and add on to the legacy of “Good Vibrations”. The album never got finished, but some of the sessions were released, and some of the other songs were re-done (in inferior fashion). I had a bootleg of the sessions and there was a lot of potential, though unrealized and probably over-ambitious.

Anyway, the quote at the top is from my favorite track “Cabin Essence” (or “Cabinessence” as it appeared on the “20/20” album in 1969. They needed that track to fill out an album, though I don’t think Wilson approved.)

“Cabin Essence” is not a typical Beach Boys song. It’s all about the production and the arrangements. When you listen to it, it’s best to listen with headphones as loud as you can so you can hear everything.

Anyway, here’s to SMiLE. And nutballs in every profession.