Sunday, December 18, 2011

Binder #13: St. Louis Cardinals (Vol. 2)

This binder features my cards of Cardinals shortstops, third basemen, outfielders, and team/manager cards.

It's definitely going to be weird seeing Albert Pujols in a non-Cardinal uniform next season. Luckily, he ended up with my favorite non-Chicago baseball team in Anaheim (or Los Angeles, whatever the heck they are nowadays). I've always liked the Cards; I even attended a game of theirs in the old Busch Stadium when they played the Cubs in '05.

They're still my favorite to win the NL Central this year, only because there's not going to be much competition besides the Reds. If the Brewers end up without Fielder and Braun (for the first 50 games), Milwaukee probably doesn't have too good of a chance.

For this edition of the "binder post" (and for all forthcoming ones), I've split up the scans into two and three cards apiece. The scans with four cards a piece didn't look very good all squished together. So without further ado, here's some of my personal favorites from the Cardinals, volume two.

"Cardboard Fun":
2007 UD Masterpieces #19 Ozzie Smith
2009 Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee #137 Rick Ankiel
Usually, I'm not a huge fan of paintings comprising an entire set of baseball cards. UD Masterpieces is one of the few exceptions. This portrait captures Ozzie in the middle of one of his famous backflips. I'm pretty sure that it's the only upside-down card I've got.

"Hey, wake up! This one's gonna be for your baseball card!" Looks like somebody forgot to drink their coffee that morning. I'm a fan of the 2009 Upper Deck OPC set, but some of the backdrops are, how do I say it, questionable. It looks like Upper Deck hired a failed high school yearbook photographer for some of these. A blue backdrop for a St. Louis Cardinals card? No wonder Ankiel looks so dreary.

"Cardboard Fun"...continued:
1994 Conlon Collection #1060 Rabbit Maranville
1972 Topps #200 Lou Brock
I had to include the Maranville card here. The back has one of the most EPIC sentences ever written on a baseball card:

"He [Maranville] was also able to wiggle his rather large ears."

I think you could get quite a wind gust going when he wiggled those gigantic ears.

Someone must've really not liked Lou Brock. It looks like someone took a BB gun to this one. On a different note, does anyone know why a bunch of these '72 Topps photos have that awkward tilt to them? I feel like Brock's about to fall over any minute now.

"Short Term Stops":
1981 Topps #635 Bobby Bonds
1988 Fleer #37 Lance Johnson RC
2009 Topps Heritage High Numbers #708 Mark DeRosa SP

The entire second half of Bobby Bonds's career belongs in this section. He played for seven different teams from 1975 to 1981, including a stop with the Cardinals in 1980. This Bonds card is probably one of the last representations of the Afro on a baseball card. Glad to see it made it out of the '70s, though.

I remember Lance Johnson from his days with the Cubs in the late-90's. It took me a while to find out that his career started in 1987 when he played in 33 games with the Cardinals. He was traded to the White Sox in February of '88.

I think Mark DeRosa got sucked into some kind of baseball black hole. I was pretty angry when the Cubs dealt him to the Indians before the '09 season because he was a solid hitter who could play almost anywhere. Turns out the Cubs got one right for a change. The Indians dealt him to the Cardinals at the 2009 Trading Deadline. He'd sign with the Giants a free agent in 2010. He's played in just 73 games the past two years in San Francisco.

On a different note, bring back the Heritage High Numbers, Topps! None of this "Topps Heritage Minors" junk. I've never even heard of 95% of the guys in the Minors set, and I don't really care about the remaining 5% anyways. Topps Update is always my favorite release of the year. And Heritage High Numbers was right up there with it in '08 and '09. End rant.

 "Best Of":
1994 Conlon Collection #1170 Daffy and Dizzy Dean
2003 Topps Heritage "Flashbacks" #F-4 Stan Musial

Few things in my collection beat this card of the Dean brothers. Two of my favorite icons from pre-World War II baseball featured on the same card. I told you those Conlon Collection cards were great!  

Ever since I began reading Night Owl's "Awesome Night Cards" series, I've kept my eye out for night cards in my collection. It never dawned on me to actually look for something like that, but it certainly makes the card look a whole lot better. This Stan Musial card is one of the best I've found. He's pretty much engulfed in darkness, save for the lone camera flash going off. It's a testament to Musial's hitting prowess that he could see the ball in that much darkness. Plus, my guy Hoyt Wilhelm gets a nod on the back of this card. (Two of Musial's five homers in a 1954 doubleheader came off of Wilhelm.)

"Best Of"...continued:
1959 Topps #353 Curt Flood
1966 Topps #125 Lou Brock

How could anyone not like these two cards? There's some wicked vintage goodness going on here.

I'm not entirely sure where I first got the '59 Flood. Probably a card show. Of course, we know Flood set the precedent for the banishment of baseball's reserve clause after being dealt to the Phillies in 1969 (even though he lost his case). I'm getting a little sick of people calling Albert Pujols greedy. It's a free market, and the Angels offered him that money. No one put a gun to their heads. Don't get me wrong, I was hoping that Pujols would stay in St. Louis, but it's his decision. I'm all for guys staying in one uniform their whole careers. But it should be the player's choice, not the owner's. 

The '66 Lou Brock card was involved in one of the greatest trades I ever made. Back when I was still avidly collecting game-used cards, I found myself with a bunch of extra ones (guys like Juan Encarnacion, Shawn Green, etc.). I managed to deal about ten or so of them for a handful of poor-condition vintage. Among the handful were goodies such as the '66 Brock pictured above, a 1965 Topps Roger Maris, 1964 AND 1965 Topps Willie McCoveys, a 1959 Fleer Ted Williams (from the ill-fated "All Ted, All the Time" Fleer set), and many others that I can't remember off the top of my head. So, yeah, that was quite the trade.

And thus ends my plunge into the Cardinals (Vol. 2) binder. On that note, let's get in the Christmas spirit! (In honor of their recent American Pie baseball card release!) Okay, I just wanted the first video I showed on my blog to be a Ramones one. Sue me.

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