Thursday, December 8, 2011

BINDER #5: Houston Astros

The Houston Astros. I can't think of much to say about them right now. Let's face it; they're not the greatest team at the moment. But their binder in my collection is filled with goodies!

We'll start out with the portion of the post that I'm going to start calling "The Funnies". Funny pictures, interesting pictures, just some things you don't generally see on a baseball card.

2010 Topps Wal-Mart #311 Jose Valverde
2004 Topps Gold #594 Morgan Ensberg /2004
1965 Topps #389 Don Larsen

That Valverde card is one of the most intriguing in my collection. At the same time, it kinda creeps me out. It's like the beginning of a bad horror movie. Darkness...and all of a sudden...VALVERDE!!! Look out behind you! Don't move, or he'll start to dance!

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's...Morgan Ensberg? You can see how fast he's going; look at how blurry that Marlin in the background is! All kidding a side, it's one of my favorites in the '04 Topps set, and the Gold Parallel is even better.

Don Larsen looks angry that his card got creased. Or maybe he's mad that he went 4-9 despite having a 2.45 ERA in 1964. 

"Short Term Stops":
2009 Topps Heritage #297 Aaron Boone (Astros: 1 year)
1992 Upper Deck #25 Kenny Lofton (Astros: 1 year)
2001 Topps Archives #339 Robin Roberts (Astros: parts of two years)

Aaron Boone came back from open-heart surgery, yes, let me say that again, open-heart surgery to play in ten games for the Astros in '08 before calling it quits. One of my favorites from the '09 Heritage set. My favorite "short-term stops" Astros card.

One of my favorite players of all-time is Kenny Lofton. Later in his career, he'd go on to play for almost every team that existed. But he only played for three teams from 1991-2001. A lot of people forget he started with the 'Stros. Played for them in '91 and then got traded to the Tribe for Willie Blair and Eddie Taubensee. Advantage: Indians.

Robin Roberts. Boy, do I wish I had the actual 1966 Topps card of his. Oh well, I'll settle for his 2001 Topps Archives issue (my personal favorite set of the last decade). Roberts played with the Astros for parts of '65 and '66, and his '66 Topps is the last issue of his playing career.

"Best Of":
1967 Topps #73 Rusty Staub
1977 Topps #260 J.R. Richard
1971 Topps #565 Jim Wynn
1971 Topps #264 Joe Morgan

The "Fab Four" of the Astros binder, if you will. Normally, I like to put both modern and vintage cards in the "Best Of" section, but there just weren't any recent issues that could compete with these.
First, we've got Rusty Staub. Looks like the Topps photographer caught him a bit off-guard there. Then we have THE BEST J.R. Richard card. In his prime. It's really not even close.

The pair of '71's stand out to me. The Jim Wynn (a high-number!) is my favorite of his, just edging out his '73 Topps issue. The Joe Morgan is one of the best action shots of the '70s. Coupled with the famous black border of the 1971 set, it makes for an almost perfect shot.

Prices, you ask? Staub: $1 (I think, I've had this one for a while). Richard: 25 cents. Wynn: 25 cents. Morgan: 50 cents. All found at my local flea market. (I'll be mentioning the flea market quite a bit in my posts, I'll argue that it's one of the best for cards!) All for $2. Ah, the joys of discount vintage!

Best of luck to Astros fans in 2012, you'll probably need it. Hopefully the move to the AL in 2013 will turn the club around!

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