29 October 2019

We shouldn't be here. Should we? WILD CARD EDITION

WOW! We shouldn't be here. Should we?
Tuesday 01 October 2019

The Nationals sneaked into the playoffs. They may have lost the NL East Division to the mighty Braves, but they managed to get into the Wild Card game. To be painfully honest, the Nationals should NOT be in the position they wound up in. They started off the 2019 season dismally in what looked like it was going to be another sub par season, maybe even a losing season (which they haven't had since 2011 when they went 80-81 missing a rained out game that wasn't vital to any post seasons for anyone). After 50 games and some early injuries always the injuries at inopportune times, they were a measly 19-31. Hardly a team that could make it to the playoffs. Then...

They started following skipper Dave Martinez's policy of going 1-0 every game. Don't worry about last night's loss or bask in the glory of the win the day before, don't anticipate tomorrow's win just concentrate on the here and now one game at a time and "Stay in the Fight" and have fun. From mid May to the end of the season (and into the Playoffs) the Nationals got RED Hot and finished the regular season 93-69 and got the number one Wild Card spot with a 4 game lead ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers who finished 89-73.

So they play the Brewers in the one game "win it and you're in it" Wild Card game. During the regular season the two teams met six times and the Brewers  bested the Nats 4-2. The Wild Card game would begin in a similar fashion. The Brewers scored a two run homer in the first adding another homer in the second to bring them quickly up 3-0. Bottom of the 3rd the Nats answer back with a solo homer by Trea Turner making it 3-1. The score would remain there 4 solid innings and on through the top of the 8th.

Then came the crazy bottom of the 8th. Center fielder Victor Robles strikes out swinging. Then comes in young pinch hitter Michael A. Taylor hitting for the pitcher Stephen Strasburg. Taylor gets hit by a pitch. Next batter Trea Turner strikes out swinging. One on and two out the face of the franchise Ryan Zimmerman pinch hits and gets a broken bat single, speedy Taylor reaches 3rd. Zimmerman is lifted for pinch runner Andrew Stephenson. Next batter Tony "Two Bags" Rendon draws a walk, Stephenson goes to second, bases are loaded. 20 year old Juan Soto comes to bat. On the count of 1-1 Soto hits a single. Taylor scores easily, Stephenson also scores, Rendon reaches 3rd. The Brewers fielder makes an error lets the ball get by him and boots it some, Rendon scores, Soto reaches second then gets caught in a rundown, Nats pull ahead 4-3.

Top of the 9th Brewers strike out swinging, single, foul out, and line out to end game. Nats win 4-3 and advance to the NLDS to face the Los Angeles Dodgers.

2019 NL Wild Card Game
Another YouTube Video

30 September 2019

Senators Singles: Royal Rendon

A Royal Rendon

As the Nationals prepare to sneak into the playoffs via The Wild Card play-in game, I am casually hunting down purple parallels and other interesting inserts that strike my fancy.

This one I got from Sportlots I think for the 25¢ opening bid with some kind of shipping cost. It arrived early Sep (Turs 5th)

2012 Bowman Baseball: BP88 Anthony Rendon Nationals Purple Parallel

31 August 2019

Expos Extra Episode 3: A Die-Cut Rock and an Unexpected Buyback


Been a while since I've done a dedicated Expos Extra post. I really should have been doing several per month since this is the 50th Anniversary of the franchise. It looks like at one time I was trying to keep the Expos posts as a special series so I will try to continue with the theme and try to catch up with the appropriate numbering of episodes.

Here's a story of a lovely lady couple of cards that came in a package of Expos cards that I had purchased from a fellow collector. Actually I'm not sure exactly which package of Expos cards it came from whether it was from a blogger or a collector from one of the forums, or from a blog reader. They were in a package I had gotten sometime late last year (2018). As I said I'm not sure exactly which one. I just recall that when I was doing my mail-day catch up posts at the end of last year or beginning of this year (OH Jeez I need to do one for this Year mid Jan through now UGH) I later noticed these two cards by themselves out of an envelope or box.

Normally I'm not too fond of the type of cards these are; a die-cut, and a stamped Topps Buyback. I make a big exception with these since they are Expos, although not players who ever played in DC, they retired before the move from Canada to Washington DC. When I first started this blog I wouldn't have mentioned them here. One of them is a Hall of Famer and PC player even if he never had been a part of the Expos/Nationals Franchise.

The Players Tim "Rock" Raines and Andres Galarraga both cards are of the 1989 Topps design, the Raines is a 2014 Topps mini '89 and the Galarraga is an original '89 but STAMPED "buyback".

In 2014 Topps inserted special mini 1989 design cards to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of those cards. I'm not to thrilled about minis anymore and even worse they decided to make the minis die-cut cards. The cuts follow the border of the design so they aren't too bad, but I am just tired of these specialty cards. So here is Tim Raines 2014 mini die-cut using the 1989 design card number TM-5 (TM=Topps Mini)

2014 Topps: 1989 mini die-cut: TM-5 Tim Raines Expos

Another specialty aka gimmick that Topps has been doing lately is stamped buyback cards. These are real vintage cards that made their way back to the Topps factory and years later Topps decides to include them as inserts for newer sets but they make a special value/condition damaging stamp to let you know your buyback "vintage" card is now worthless. Except to collectors who are chasing all buybacks. Some buybacks are given special logo stamps this one is one of those trickier "Rediscover Topps" buyback stamp.

 1989 Topps: 590 Andres Galarraga Expos: Stamped "Rediscover Topps" Buyback

OK so I had to make the Raines mini image medium sized to sort of keep the size difference perspective. After making this post I am a little softer on die-cuts like this one that make sense and aren't too outrageous. I am also a little kinder to buybacks as well. However I'm still not 100% sold on either "gimmick"

31 July 2019

Senators Singles: 2018 Topps Now Ryan Zimmerman Career Hits

2018 Topps Now Ryan Zimmerman Career Hits

For this episode of Senators Singles I have a Ryan Zimmerman 2018 Topps Now card celebrating his 1,696th career hit. The hit broke the Expos/Nationals franchise record previously held by Tim Wallach

I got the card from Ebay for $6.64 Free Shipping.

 2018 Topps Now Baseball: 535 Ryan Zimmerman

30 June 2019

Throwback Threads: 50th Anniversary Style

Franchise 50th Anniversary

I don't recall when this retro "throwback threads" trend of MLB teams wearing retro versions of vintage uniforms from the team's past began, but ever since the Montreal Expos moved to become my beloved Washington Nationals they haven't worn any Expos throwback uniforms... Until now. On Saturday 06 July 2019 The Washington Nationals are going to be wearing Montreal Expos Throwback Uniforms vs the Kansas City Royals who will also be wearing retro throwback uniforms. The Nats will specifically be wearing The Expos 1969 powder blue road unis. Huh? Road Jerseys at home? According to the Washington Post article it is because the road uniforms are more striking than the home whites. I am a little sad we won't see Bryce Harper in an Expos Uniform even though there are mockups of him in one on the internet.

So a card that was made almost 10 years ago showing Face of The Franchise Ryan Zimmerman in an Expos Uniform will turn from fantasy to reality. I just hope Ryan doesn't get back on the Injured List between now and then. The card is a 2010 Topps Chrome National Chicle card. Why they didn't have a regular version of this card I'll never know. I am bummed it is only in the Chrome version as I have a strong aversion to Chrome cards. Not as bad as my anti-relic cards stand but sometimes pretty darn close.

2010 Topps Chrome - National Chicle: CC49 
Ryan Zimmerman Nationals/Expos

So it took the 50th Anniversary of the Franchise for them to finally wear RexTros Uniforms. I plan on at least watching Saturday's game. At one point I thought about going to the park and getting a ticket. I'm not sure if the game is sold out or not. If I find the energy and a VHS tape I might record the thing. Not sure if I'll go that far or not.

31 May 2019

Senators Singles: Robles First Career Homer


This month's quick and dirty blog entry to get under the wire of my self proposed posting minimum is from an Ebay purchase of a Topps Now card yadda yadda yadda. It is a rookie card the commemorates one of our young outfielder's first MLB career Home Run.

2018 Topps Now: 738 Victor Robles RC Washington Nationals
Mammoth 1st Career HR is a 427-Foot Shot

I mentioned on my regular blog that I really hate when the Topps Now card backs don't give any more info on the event being commemorated. Sometimes you need more than just a front of card headline. For instance it would have been nice for them to mention this HR was hit in Miami off of Trevor Richards.

30 April 2019

Rookie Duo of Juan Soto

For this quick and dirty end of the month post I am showing two cards from one player. Not my normal sneaky Senator's Singles end of the month post. One of the Nats hot youngsters currently Juan Soto. Juan made his Major League debut on 20 May 2018 vs The Dodgers and unfortunately struck out. However he would start the next game knocking in a 3 run homer his first at bat bottom 2nd, and go 2 for 4 vs The Padres in a 10-2 win for the Nats

Here are the cards both are from the 2018 Topps Baseball Update Set: I got these from Sportlots one seller two auctions (Rookie Debut for 25¢ and the other for 75¢ plus $3.98 shipping for both)

2018 Topps Baseball Update: US104 Juan Soto RC Rookie Debut 20 May 2018

2018 Topps Baseball Update: US300 Juan Soto RC

05 March 2019

Bryce Harper Gone: Eating Cheese Steaks

Photo of Bryce Harper as Phillie from Sports Illustrated dot com

And the Winner of the 2019 Bryce Harper Free Agent Sweepstakes is the ...Philadelphia Phillies! For only $330 Million over 13 years the biggest contract in MLB history and of all sports for that matter. No Opt-Out Option and a No Trade clause. He will finish out his career as a Phillie at age 39. So sadly for us Nationals fans that may mean if he does make the MLB Hall of Fame he would most likely go in as a Phillie since he would have been with them for almost twice as long as he was a Nat (13 years vs. 7)

I am very mixed on the news. As a fan of Hawper as a player I am glad he will still be playing, however he is playing for Philly which is a division rival. The closest division rival geographically.

Does the addition of Harper to Philly's line-up insure them championships? Maybe. It certainly puts them in the running to be contenders to be the National League East Division Champs. Some have said it practically insures them to get it, others say it doesn't guarantees but does increase the possibility. I agree it will help them in the long run to continue to be contenders. That is if Harper stays consistent and/or actually improves during his career. He is the all time leader in slugging percentage at their park.

I think I will get used to the situation. I won't like it but I will have to get used to it.

When I got a notice that there was a Topps Now card of Bryce in his new Phillies Uniform (The first official card of him in a Phillies Uni) I decided to jump at it. I ordered two copies of it today (Monday 04 Mar 2019) from the Ebay seller toppsnow for $5.99/each Free Shipping. I got a discount of 60¢ off so the total was $11.38 normally it would be $11.98 The estimated arrival date range is April 16-29 often times things will arrive a bit early. I hope so. Well since I was wondering what sort of Harper card I would show for this post I'll show the card images from the Ebay listing I am expecting to receive it from.

2019 Topps Now: ST-3 Bryce Harper Phillies

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26 February 2019

Senators Singles: Another Bob

Another Bob: 1958 Topps

OK so here is the Bob card I was going to post about last month when I was looking to see if I had scanned the card in preparation to make a post about it. As with many Senators that played with the club way before I was born I don't know much in the career specifics of this player.

The player for the card of this post is Bob Malkmus who began his career with the Braves in 1957 they were still in Milwaukee then. This boy is All American being born on the 4th of July in 1931 in New Jersey. The autumn of '57 he was sent to the minors by the Braves and picked up by Washington for the Rule 5 Draft. Then at the end of the '59 season he was once again put in the Rule 5 Draft and picked up by The Phillies. His playing career ended in 1962 with Philly. He was a scout for a few clubs and also managed a few farm teams including the Expos. His career batting average is .215 with 8 Homers and 46 RBIs.

 1958 Topps Baseball: 356 Bob Malkmus

Interestingly his Minor League lifetime stats on the back of the card look a bit better than his overall Major League stats.

30 January 2019

Senators Singles: 1955 Bowman Style

1955 Bowman Bob Porterfield

Some readers may have already seen this card when I showed it on my regular card blog for reference while showing some retro Rams football cards that used the 1966 Topps Football design which in turn is an homage to the original 1955 Bowman Baseball design. I'm not sure why I chose this particular card for that other post when I really should have reserved it here were it belongs.

1955 Bowman Baseball: 304 Bob Porterfield

Upon studying this card the blurb on the back is awesome. It reads: 

by Bob Porterfield
Baseball is a game of many thrills, but my own came on May 5, 1953. You know how they always say a pitcher remembers his hits, well, this was the day I hit a home run, and with the bases loaded. Not only was it a thrill hitting my first homer, but there was also the added thrill of having it a grand slam. I'll never forget it.

Wow! Awesome achievement for any player, but remember Bob was a pitcher in the AL years before the designated hitter position was created. Extra awesome.

By the way, I was going to scan and show a completely different card for this Senators Singles post. Oddly enough it was another Bob. In searching my scanned baseball cards folder looking for the other Bob card to see if I had scanned it (I had not) I came across the '55 Porterfield. I then checked my blogs to see if I had posted that card already, or if it was a waiting to be blogged scan. It had been posted already on my regular card blog, but not here.