Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Who's the face of the team - American League Central

Only two divisions left! 

Between Spring Break and coaching baseball, life has been a little busy. It's taken me longer to get this post written than I had hoped. It was difficult to  find the time to just sit and write.  With that said, I'm just going to jump in and give you my picks for the face of the team - American League Central.

Just for a quick reminder, my definition of the face of the team revolves around who is the one player that first comes to mind when a team is mentioned. I decided that I'd do my all-time faces of the teams, as well as the current face of the team.

Chicago White Sox

Larry Doby, Carlton Fisk, Luke Appling and Joe Jackson are just a few of the great players who have played for the White Sox. I've always loved reading about and learning about the those guys from early years of baseball like Doby, Appling and Joe Jackson. Despite my love for the history of the game, I feel as if my choice had to be someone more recent and that is Frank Thomas. When I think of the White Sox, I think of Big Frank Thomas. That is one huge man. I remember watching games when he came to bat and thinking he looks like he's swinging a toothpick because he was so big. 

The current face of the team is Luis Robert Jr. I was trying to decide between Robert Jr and Dylan Cease and then Cease was traded so it made it easy.

     

I chose the 2004 Topps of Thomas because I always seem to remember him with that picture of the follow through of his swing and leaving the box. 

I went Luis Robert Jr's rookie card because I like the design and colors of the card. It's a clean looking card.

Cleveland Guardians

Picking the all-time face of the team for Cleveland was extremely difficult. Not because I didn't know who it could be, but because there were so many choices. Player-manager Nap Lajoie, such a major influence on the team they were actually called the Naps; Larry Doby, who broke the color barrier for the American League and Hall of Famer Tris Speaker roaming centerfield. Cleveland was also the stomping ground for a number of great players like Shoeless Joe, Gaylord Perry, Satchel Paige and the more recent Hall inductee Jim Thome. My choice for the all-time face of the team is Bob Feller. I struggled choosing between Thome and Bob Feller. I went with Bob Feller he always seems to come to mind first when I think of the history of Cleveland and I always seem to remember Thome with other teams like the Phillies and White Sox. 

Jose Ramirez has played his 11 year career with Cleveland and has become the current face of the team.

     

 I am a big fan of the 1953 Topps set. I don't have many and doubt that it is something I will ever collect, but I really like the cards. The Bob Feller is one of my favorites. 

I have to be honest, I don't know that much about Jose Ramirez. I just know he is a 5 time All-Star and 4 time Silver Slugger winner. I need to pay a little more attention to Ramirez and the Guardians for that matter.

Detroit Tigers

When I think of the Tigers, two players quickly come to mind. Denny McLain and his 31 game win season and Al Kaline. 18 time All-Star and 10 time Gold Glove winner, Easy choice. I also remember players like Mickey Lolich and Norm Cash and Miguel Cabrera, but they aren't as memorable to me as Mr, Tiger, Al Kaline. 

I got the current face of the team down to two players; Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene. I'm going with Spencer Torkelson because I think he has a higher upside. I know it wouldn't take too much to get me to switch to Greene though.

     

I've always liked the '56 Topps cards, but over the years they've lost a lot of their luster for me. I used to think if I ever were to collect a vintage set it would be '56 Topps, but now I'm pretty sure I'd choose something else. All that to say, I do really like this Al Kaline card. I wouldn't mind having this one in my collection.

Spencer Torkelson doesn't have a lot of choices seeing how his rookie card was 2022. The thing is, I like the '22 set so it was easy to pick this card.

Kansas City Royals

Out of all of the teams in the American League Central, this one is the absolute easiest one to do. George Brett is the all-time face of the Kansas City Royals. No discussion needed. 

The current face of the team is just as easy. Bobby Witt Jr. Next. 

     

The 1980 set has always been one of my favorites. Probably because that was the year that I first got into collecting. To be honest, There aren't a lot of George Brett cards that I really like the design and the picture on the card. I started to go with the '75 Topps card, but that one always gets used, so I went with what I think is the second best.

This is my favorite Bobby Witt Jr. card to date. The action shot of him diving to a base is greatness. 

Minnesota Twins

This one is a little more difficult than the other teams of the AL Central except Cleveland. Bert Blyleven, Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, Joe Mauer, Torii Hunter and Justin Morneau always come to mind when I think of the Twins, but the number one player for me is always Kirby Puckett. Kirby played his whole career with Minnesota and was a 10 time All-Star, 6 time Gold Glove winner, 6 time Silver Slugger and a career .318 hitter. I could have easily picked any of those other players and would have been able to defend my choice pretty easily, but when I sat down to write this, it was always Kirby.

I have to admit that I don't know much about the Twins. They faded into the background for me after the Joe Mauer-Justin Morneau era. The current Twins have a pretty young roster and there are several options for current face of the team. I went with Royce Lewis. I could have gone with Carlos Correa, but I think Lewis is the one fans would rather see. 

     

I love this 1991 Topps Kirby Puckett. I remember him as always smiling. He seemed to really love playing the game. He was fun to watch and boy, could he hit.

Royce Lewis is a player that I'm going to keep my eye on. I chose the '23 Topps card because I like seeing that Future Stars on the card to remind me to keep watching for him.

Well, that's it for the American League Central! Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Up next, the American League West. Home of the World Series Champion Texas Rangers!

Peace,

Michael

Isaiah 40:31


Sunday, March 17, 2024

Who's the face of the team - American League East

Being a fan of an American League team, I thought that this would be easier than the National League. I think overall, it has been. There are a few teams that I'm not as sold on as to who the face of the team is, but for the most part I like my choices. 

Just for a quick reminder, my definition of the face of the team revolves around who is the one player that first comes to mind when a team is mentioned. I decided that I'd do my all-time faces of the teams, as well as the current face of the team.  

Baltimore Orioles

This was a little difficult to decide who is the all-time face of the team. It came down to two players, Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken Jr. Both Hall of Fame players and both definitely the face of the team during their playing days. I went with the player who first came to mind when I was making my list and that is Brooks Robinson. Trust me when I say that is no slight to Cal Ripken Jr. I'm a huge fan of Ripken, but when I think of the Orioles, the first to my mind is Brooks. Maybe it's because I'm older or because I actually got to meet him, but Robinson is always first in my mind. 

The current face of the team also came down to two players. Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson. Another tough call, but I really feel as if Henderson has surpassed Rutschman as the face of the team. I'm not sure that he'll hold the title long though. Feels like real soon it will be Jackson Holliday.

     

I'm not sure when, but I've become a big fan of the '69 Topps set and I really like this Robinson. Reminds me of when I was blessed to meet him. He was older then, but the smile was the same. Once again when the face of the team is a rookie and since I'm sticking to Topps flagship, you get his rookie card.

Boston Red Sox

With such a storied history, there are a ton of great ballplayers who have been associated with the Red Sox. Bobby Doerr, Tris Speaker, Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz, Jim Rice, Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs and Carlton Fisk to name a few. However, none stand out more than the great Ted Williams. Besides hitting .406 in 1941, he won 8 gold gloves and 3 MVP awards. He is considered one of the top 3 hitters of all-time. How could he not be the all-time face of the team?

The Red Sox are transitioning and choosing the current face of the team is a little more difficult. I went with Rafael Devers. I think it could be Triston Casas soon, but for now, it's Devers.

      

I like this '54 Topps of Williams. I think it's the yellow background. It's the same close up on the '55 and '56 cards which makes me feel as if Topps cheated. I know it's not the only instance that Topps did that, but come on, how hard can it be to be a little more original? I like the shot of Devers on the '19 Topps card. I'm not a huge fan of the '19 design, but I like the pic on the card.

New York Yankees

There are so many possible faces of the team for the Yankees. From old school Ruth and Gehrig, through the years of Mantle, Berra and Ford to the modern times of Jeter. I polled several of my baseball fan friends and a few collectors and got a wide variety of answers. Because this is also a baseball card blog, I have to go with Mickey Mantle. To me, Mickey is the first player I think of when the Yankees come up. After he retired, at some point, he relocated to my home town of Dallas and I actually spotted him around town once or twice. Plus, if you consider his impact on the card collecting world I don't see how it could be anyone else. 

The current face of the team is an easy one. Aaron Judge. I think the big thing for Judge to stay the face of the team is going to come down to his health and being able to play. Now that the Yankees have added Juan Soto, I don't think it would take too many trips on the injured list for that title to shift.

   

This is one of my favorite Mickey Mantle cards. He seems relaxed in the picture and I like the colors on the card. I had a hard time picking out an Aaron Judge card. I really don't care for any of them, so I went with his rookie card.

Tampa Bay Rays

When I think of the Tampa Bay Rays I think of Evan Longoria. There have been several players who gone through the Rays organization like David Price, Fred McGriff and Wade Boggs, but those names aren't the first to come to mind for me, its Longoria.

The current face of the team has to be Randy Arozarena. The Rays have some good young talent but Arozarena definitely leads the pack.

     

This is one of my favorite Longoria cards. I'm a sucker for an action shot with the baseball still in it. I know Longoria can hit (he always seemed to do that against my Rangers), but my first thought is of him and his glove. Arozarena on the other hand I think of him hitting and that's why I chose the '21 Topps card.

Toronto Blue Jays

This has been the hardest one out of all of the teams I've done so far. There have been some great players that been through Toronto. Halladay, Alomar, Delgado, Carter, Clemens, Wells, and Stieb to name a few of those players (okay, they weren't all great, but they were players I thought of when thinking about the Blue Jays). It came down to 3 players for me. Roy Halladay, Roberto Alomar and Carlos Delgado. I eliminated Halladay, because when I think of Halladay I always go to Philly in the playoffs. I eliminated Alomar simply because of the way he left Toronto. He didn't want to be in Toronto anymore and got out as soon as he could. If you don't want to be there, how can you be the face of the team? By default that leaves me with Delgado. By default...that sounds bad and I really don't mean it that way. Delgado had some really great years in Toronto. It's not like he's a bad choice. 

The current face of the team has to be either Vlad Guerrero Jr, or Bo Bichette. This one is really close and I think that I could make a solid argument for either one. I'm going with Bo Bichette. No, I'm going with Vladdy. Heck, let them share it!

    

When I think of Delgado, I think of the bombs he hit and that's why I went with 2000 Topps card. I really like the '22 Bichette card. Action shot, ball in the pic...wonder if he got the out? Same thoughts for Guerrero Jr that I have for Delgado. It's all about the bat.

That wraps the American League East. Let me know what you think! I expect a few comments disagreeing with my picks and that's okay. I welcome them. Up next, the American League Central.

Peace,

Michael
Isaiah 40:31



Saturday, March 9, 2024

Rambings of an old collector

 I'm taking a one week break from the faces of the team posts before I start the American League to ramble on about some things. 

-I think I can say I've finally made it in the blogging world...I got a great random act of kindness package from none other than Johnny's Trading Spot. Almost all of the blogs that I've read at some point got cards from John which I thought was so cool. I kept looking at his want list hoping that we'd be able to trade or send him something, but I haven't been able to match anything up yet. Before I find anything, he sends me this...





Unbelievably blessed! Thank you so much John for the cards and making me feel part of the blogging world family!

- Once again, if you haven't seen the movie "The Hill" you are missing out. Great movie about faith, passion and baseball. You can find it on Netflix or Amazon Prime. 

- I started looking at different posts on Facebook, videos, blogs and such that had '23 Stadium Club cards. I thought those looked pretty good. I was at my friendly Walmart and saw a blaster box and said why not? I didn't get any big hits, but I really liked the cards. Couple of weeks later, same thing. I got to looking and saw that the set was only 300 cards, so yep, I decided to put the set together. I swore I was going to stick to just Topps and I've already broken that rule by collecting '23 Heritage. Now, I'm adding Stadium Club. I need professional help. 

- There are 3 subsets from 2023 that I started to try and complete. I still need 23 All Aces and 29 Father's Day patch cards. The third subset is World Baseball Classic USA team and I am down to one card... WBC-27 Kyle Tucker. Only 3 traders on TCDB have the card and there is no match. If someone has an extra one, let me know and hopefully, we can work something out.

- Getting excited for Opening Day and my World Series Champion Texas Rangers to defend their title.

-I've had a hard time finding '24 Topps at retail stores. Found it pretty easy early on, but it's been pretty scarce ever since. 

- Went to a wedding reception in Austin, TX and had a four hour layover between wedding events. What do you do when you're a card collector and time to kill? You find a card store to visit. Found one that was actually in an industrial park. I picked up some cards on a really good deal. A few star players from the '23 Stadium Club that I needed for my new set, a '24 Evan Carter and Mike Trout, '24 Blue print Kershaw and an Ohtani. 



- Shout out to RonE, Chris Cheatle and Poison75 for calling me out on my mistakes in my Faces of the team-NL West. I should have spent a little more time in my research. Thanks for holding me accountable.

- I'm not a graded card collector, but thought I'd weigh in on SGC being bought by PSA: I can't see how this is a good thing for those that do graded cards. Removing competition is never good for the consumer.

- One of my goals this year is to complete some sets. Well, I finally completed my 1984 Topps set with a TCDB trade with hershey for #144 Brian Harper RC. Now all I need to do is put in a binder. 

- I saw the best baseball game in a really long time two weekends ago. Okay, it wasn't really baseball, it was T-ball and my 4 year old grandson. It was so much fun watching the joy these kids had playing the game. 

Well, that's it for my ramblings. I'll get back to Faces of the team - American League East for my next post.

Peace, 

Michael

Isaiah 40:31








Sunday, March 3, 2024

Repost and edited: Who's the face of the team National League West

Have you ever thought that you know you did something and come to find out you didn't? Well, that was me on this post. Either that or I deleted part of it as I was finishing it. I mean seriously, this auto saves for you! How did I mess it up? 

Well, I fixed it, so here's the corrected one. My apologies to the Giants. 

Up next for the face of the team, the National League West. 

Once again, determining the all-time face of the teams in NL West, was pretty easy for me. Choosing the current player for the NL West was much easier than the NL Central except for one team. Here's my choices for the National League West. 

Just for a quick refresher, my definition of the face of the team revolves around who is the one player that first comes to mind when a team is mentioned. I decided that I'd do my all-time faces of the teams, as well as the current face of the team.  

NL WEST

Arizona Diamondbacks

When I think of the Diamondbacks my first thoughts are of Randy Johnson. Even though he started his MLB career with the Montreal Expos and changed teams 7 times, including 2 stints Arizona, I always seem to picture him in either a Seattle uniform or a Dbacks uniform(I'm pretty sure we all know who the face of the team will be in Seattle). It may be because he won his 300th game with Arizona. 

The current face of the team is another one of those no doubters in Corbin Carroll. I really don't think it will take long for Carroll to be the guy that everyone thinks of when talking about the Diamondbacks. 

     

Not a huge fan of the blue border of the 2003 Topps, but the picture of Johnson pitching is how I remember him throwing on the mound.  Sticking to Topps flagship, the '23 Topps Corbin Carroll is the only option. I could see, if he continues on his current path, that Corbin Carroll could be the All-Time face of the Diamondbacks.

Colorado Rockies

If I'm doing the Immaculate Grid and there's a Rockies hitting question, my first thought goes to Todd Helton. Unless I'm mistaken, Helton will be the first Colorado Rockies in the HOF. I think that pretty much seals the deal as far as being the all-time face of the Rockies. 

I went with Kris Bryant as the current face of the Rockies. I think this was pretty easy only because he was the only one that really stood out to me. The sad thing is I had to go and scour the Colorado roster to come up with Bryant.

     

Los Angeles Dodgers

There are so many great players who have worn the Dodgers uniform. Koufax, Reese, Sutton, Drysdale, Campanella, and Snider to name a few. For me, the only one it could be was Jackie Robinson as the all-time face of the Dodgers. 

My first thought for the current face of the team was Clayton Kershaw, but that was because I'm a fan of guy from my hometown of Dallas, TX. Before I could even type a word on the Dodgers, I was reminded of the $700 million contract of Shohei Ohtani. That pretty much sums it up. It's Ohtani.

     

San Diego Padres 

All-time face of the Padres is one of the all-time greatest hitters, Tony Gwynn. Interesting fact about Gwynn; including the postseason, he faced 18 Hall of Fame pitchers for a total of 541 plate appearances. That is equivalent of a full season of only HOF pitchers. Gwynn hit .331 in those plate appearances. 


Current face of the team goes to Fernando Tatis Jr. After winning his first Gold Glove after a position switch to the outfield, if he can get his bat going again, he'll be in the MVP talks for 2024.

     

San Francisco Giants

One of, if not the greatest players of all-time, Willie Mays, is the all-time face of the Giants. If you haven't read his book, 24 Life stories and lessons from the Say Hey Kid, you are missing out. 

Finding the current face of the team for the Giants has been the most difficult of the ones to figure out. There's no current real star power. I could have gone with Jorge Soler, or maybe Michael Conforto. I almost said there wasn't one, but I finally settled on Mike Yastrzemski as the current face of the team for me. Honestly, this came from card collecting. Seems like every time I open a pack of cards I pull one of his cards.

     

The '56 Willie Mays is on my bucket list. I love the smile and the action picture in the background. '56 Topps is one of my favorite sets because of the design.

I chose the '20 Topps Yastrzemski (I almost wrote Yaz, but I can't do that, that's his dad!) because, once again, I'm a sucker for an action shot. I like this pose and that you see his eyes following the ball. 

That does it for the National League West. Time to move on to the American League. Please don't hesitate to to leave a comment or two about my choices, especially, if you disagree.

Peace,

Michael

Isaiah 40:31

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Who's the face of the team - National League West

Up next for the face of the team, the National League West. 

Once again, determining the all-time face of the teams in NL West, was pretty easy for me. Choosing the current player for the NL West was much easier than the NL Central except for one team. Here's my choices for the National League West. 

Just for a quick refresher, my definition of the face of the team revolves around who is the one player that first comes to mind when a team is mentioned. I decided that I'd do my all-time faces of the teams, as well as the current face of the team.  

NL WEST

Arizona Diamondbacks

When I think of the Diamondbacks my first thoughts are of Randy Johnson. Even though he started his MLB career with the Montreal Expos and changed teams 7 times, including 2 stints Arizona, I always seem to picture him in either a Seattle uniform or a Dbacks uniform(I'm pretty sure we all know who the face of the team will be in Seattle). It may be because he won his 300th game with Arizona. 

The current face of the team is another one of those no doubters in Corbin Carroll. I really don't think it will take long for Carroll to be the guy that everyone thinks of when talking about the Diamondbacks. 

     

Not a huge fan of the blue border of the 2003 Topps, but the picture of Johnson pitching is how I remember him throwing on the mound.  Sticking to Topps flagship, the '23 Topps Corbin Carroll is the only option. I could see, if he continues on his current path, that Corbin Carroll could be the All-Time face of the Diamondbacks.

Colorado Rockies

If I'm doing the Immaculate Grid and there's a Rockies hitting question, my first thought goes to Todd Helton. Unless I'm mistaken, Helton will be the first Colorado Rockies in the HOF. I think that pretty much seals the deal as far as being the all-time face of the Rockies. 

I went with Kris Bryant as the current face of the Rockies. I think this was pretty easy only because he was the only one that really stood out to me. The sad thing is I had to go and scour the Colorado roster to come up with Bryant.

     

Los Angeles Dodgers

There are so many great players who have worn the Dodgers uniform. Koufax, Reese, Sutton, Drysdale, Campanella, and Snider to name a few. For me, the only one it could be was Jackie Robinson as the all-time face of the Dodgers. 

My first thought for the current face of the team was Clayton Kershaw, but that was because I'm a fan of guy from my hometown of Dallas, TX. Before I could even type a word on the Dodgers, I was reminded of the $700 million contract of Shohei Ohtani. That pretty much sums it up. It's Ohtani.

     

San Diego Padres 

All-time face of the Padres is one of the all-time greatest hitters, Tony Gwynn. Interesting fact about Gwynn; including the postseason, he faced 18 Hall of Fame pitchers for a total of 541 plate appearances. That is equivalent of a full season of only HOF pitchers. Gwynn hit .331 in those plate appearances. 


Current face of the team goes to Fernando Tatis Jr. After winning his first Gold Glove after a position switch to the outfield, if he can get his bat going again, he'll be in the MVP talks for 2024.

     

San Francisco Giants

One of, if not the greatest players of all-time, Willie Mays, is the all-time face of the Giants. If you haven't read his book, 24 Life stories and lessons from the Say Hey Kid, you are missing out. 

     

That does it for the National League West. Time to move on to the American League. Please don't hesitate to to leave a comment or two about my choices, especially, if you disagree.

Peace,

Michael

Isaiah 40:31

The Seventies-My favorites Round 1

The Seventies were my youth. The movies "Jaws" and "Star Wars" came out. Disco was king. The A's and Reds dominated ...