Minnesota Twins Collection

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bert Blyleven's Take on Curt Schilling and the Hall of Fame

Just read the RandBall blog on the Star Tribune web site discussing an interview with Bert Blyleven about Curt Schilling and the Hall of Fame. A very candid and interesting take from Bert.

Blyleven's take: He, Jack Morris and Mike Mussina all have better numbers than Schiling. He and Morris are both waiting for their calls. No one has mentioned Mussina as a possible HOF candidate.

My take: If you consider World Series victories, Morris' 10-inning shutout outdoes a bloody sock every time.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Topps Factory Set Rookie Bonus Cards

I found the above Jason Kubel card at the Valley West Card Show earlier in March. Although it was priced at 75 cents, the dealer gave it to me free with the load of Torii Hunter and Topps Heritage SP's I bought.

A few thoughts:

* The Jason Kubel card is labeled as a Rookie Card. Kubel had his first cards produced in 2003, so here is a Rookie Card three years later. Of course, 2006 was the first year the MLBPA began applying a Rookie Card rule for baseball cards. While I do think the Rookie Card rule is a great idea in the long run, it brought a lot of confusion that first year.

* Technically, Jason Kubel was a rookie in 2006. He made his Major League debut in 2004 with a small number of at bats to remain under the rookie requirement and missed all of 2005 because of knee surgery. It still puzzles me to this day why Gardenhire would use Kubel to pinch hit in the ninth inning against Mariano Rivera with runners on in the 2004 ALDS.

* I first saw the design of this card in 2006 Topps Chrome. A card was sent to me by a fellow team collector and I thought at the time that I had missed the base version.

* While I cannot possibly collect all of the Twins cards from every year, I, at least, try to get every base Topps card. It hadn't occurred to me, until I got this card, that the Factory Set Rookie Bonus cards would be great additions to the Twins collection. The Factory Set Rookie Bonus cards are only found inserted into Topps factory sets, thought not all bonus cards are in every Topps set. Some of the cards are inserted in the Hobby factory set, others are inserted in the Retail factory set, and yet others are inserted in the Holiday set. If you are a Topps completist, good luck getting these cards if you don't want to buy and open three different factory sets.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Baby Boy Ready to Play Ball!

With the Team Collectors group, I've traded many nice cards and I've received many nice Twins cards in return. Sometimes, I receive something extra special. Aaron, the Dodgers collector, sent a very nice gift for my son.

Here is my one month old modeling his gift.

Thanks, Aaron!


Monday, March 16, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Baseball

Yesterday, I finally had my first look at the Twins in Spring Training. (I only have basic cable so I am only able to catch Twins games when they are broadcast on local WFTC 29. Sunday afternoon games are normally broadcast on local TV while the majority of games are broadcast on cable Fox Sports. Not sure how many Spring Training games have been broadcast, but this was the first one on local TV.)

The Twins have just been one big winning machine all Spring Training, but I happen to watch the one game they get beat... and to the Yankees. Even in Spring Training, the Twins can't beat the Yankees.

Just some thoughts about the game:

* The Twins have been given Brian Buscher playing time at first base. He had a couple of miscues defensively, including a dropped ball to first. Since the signing of Joe Crede, I think the Twins are trying very hard to find a place for Buscher. It's not so much of an issue with Brendan Harris, who is a pretty flexible back up at third, short and second.

* Nick Blackburn looked very solid in relief. He pitched the fourth and fifth innings. I guess he hasn't pitched much in Spring Training because of an injury.

* Denard Span seems to be playing left field well. He's now hitting half a Menzoda line this Spring.

* I finally got to see a view players that I've only seen on Bowman baseball cards. Luke Hughes started at third. He had become a home run threat in the minors last year, but has struggled defensively since changing positions. He will start the season at Rochester.

* Trevor Plouffe, another player I've only seen on Bowman cards, played at short. He will probably start in Rochester also.

I think I may head to the Twins Pro Shop during my lunch break and get tickets for Opening Day.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

2009 Topps Heritage - Box 2

Now for Box 2.

Base Set: 177/500
SP's: 7
New Age Performers:
Manny Ramirez
Dustin Pedroia
Then and Now:
Baseball Flashbacks:
Brooks Robinson
Bobby Richardson
News Flashbacks:
Fifty-Star Flag
John F. Kennedy
Nick Markakis
Mat Gamel
Jay Bruce
Carlos Zambrano
Brad Penny (refractor)
Clubhouse Collection Relic:
Dustin Pedroia


As one of my team collector buddies had described his box, I would compare this box to a $70 blaster. While I do like the Flashback Relics, I don't really care much for the Clubhouse Collection Relics. The Clubhouse Collection Relics have no theme: just random jersey and bat relics from random players. One thing I do like about this year's set is that the SP's are easy to identify: all SP's are numbered 426-500 and all have brown backs. With the second box, I did end up with about 90 doubles.

I'm trying to remember from the checklist, but Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau are both short prints, meaning they will be a lot more difficult to obtain than the other cards. All of the Twins cards in this set, except for the extra Delmon Young, will be going towards building the box. I'm sure I will get Twins card as I continue buying more cards and also from trading with the team collectors.

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2009 Topps Heritage - Box 1

I bought my first two boxes of 2009 Topps Heritage more than a week ago and now I've finally gotten around to posting the results. One of the things I've wanted to do on my blog was to share box breaks. This is my first one, it may take some time to figure out a format, but I'll give it a shot. Since this is my Twins collection blog, there will be a special emphasis on Twins.

I will start with in this post with the first box and then start a second post with the second box.

Base Set: 176/500
SP's: 7
New Age Performers:
Mark Teixeira
Ryan Braun
Then and Now:
Baseball Flashbacks:
Bill Mazeroski
Ernie Banks
News Flashbacks:
Aswan High Dam
Weather Satellite Tiros-1
Jonathan Papelbon
Kosuke Fukudome
Kila Ka'aihue
Carlos Quentin
Gio Gonzalez (refractor)
Flashback Relic:
Luis Aparicio
Box Topper:
1960 Topps Al Smith


Topps Heritage is always fun to open every year and challenging set to try an build. I do love the look of this year's set (based on the original 1960 Topps set) and I do not see any glaring errors so far. I like box toppers that are included in every other box (an original 1960 Topps card), although I wish Topps would not foil stamp them. The Luis Aparicio Flashback Relic (a relic from Briggs Field) is a fun card to have; I have grown bored of non-themed relic cards, but I like the Flashback relics with pieces from past stadiums. Overall, a good start for the set.

Box 2 coming next.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Four in the Outfield

With my blog, I also wanted to write, not just about baseball cards, but about the team. This post will be a first in a number of season previews. Though, the preview will not be about where I think the Twins will stand in the Central Division after Game 162 (because we all know I'm going to say they will be first), but just some of the aspects about the team.

First, we have four starting outfielders where there is room only for three: Michael Cuddyer, Carlos Gomez, Denard Span and Delmon Young. Cuddyer is coming back from injuries that caused him to miss most of last season. Gomez at first surprised opposing teams with his quickness off of bunt hits and his range in the outfield, but was figured out when teams figured out he would swing at every bad pitch. Span, who started last year in Rochester, but was called up after Cuddyer's injury and secured a spot on the Twins roster. Young, the former #1 pick traded from Tampa Bay, disappointed in the field and at the plate early in the season, but established himself later on. There has been talk of simply rotating all four equally throughout the season, but I'm not sure any player, or fan, wants to see a rotating outfield.

I am most anxious to see how Delmon Young will bounce back from his first season in a Twins uniform. Part of the reason was because I was at one of the games in 2007 when the Twins played the Devil Rays. The Twins won that game 12-5, but Young was a beast in that game. He hit 2 for 4 with a double. But, from right field, he has a cannon for an arm making triples into doubles and doubles into singles. During this series, Young his .294 with a HR and 2 RBI. Young was third in the American League in outfield assists in 2006; Michael Cuddyer was first.

After, Young was traded to the Twins, he became the starting left fielder. Despite the slow start at the plate and a number of blunders in left, Young ended the season with a .290 average and lead the Twins outfield with 11 assists.

However, I'm hoping comments made by manager, Ron Gardenhire, in the offseason has lit a fire under him. Young is having a hot spring and it's looking like he is ready to earn a starting outfield spot.

Michael Cuddyer, of course, is coming back from injuries and is looking to get back into form. Some fans and sports writers have suggested moving him back to third to clear up the outfield, but I don't know how you can see how well he plays in right and how horrible he was at third in 2005 and say that with a straight face. However, since his breakout 2006 season in which he drove in for than 100 runs, we haven't seen that production in 2007 or 2008. I really like Cuddyer, I even had an autographed Michael Cuddyer baseball, and I would like to see him get back to his form.

Carlos Gomez was exciting to watch at the start of last year with the Torii-esque plays in the outfield and those bunt hits that would catch pitchers by surprised. However, teams started to figure him out and found out he chased about every bad pitch. Still, he has a lot of upside. If he can get past the mental lapses in center, Gomez can become a Gold Glove outfielder. If he can start watching his pitches, he can become one the leagues best lead-off hitters. There's also talk that he has home run power to harness. Gomez is also off to a hot spring hitting .313.

Denard Span, the Twins #1 pick in 2002, was called up to the big leagues in 2008 after the injury to Cuddyer and showed that he deserved a starting spot in the outfield. While he played right field and center field last year, he has been playing some in the left field this spring. However, Span has been pretty cold at the bat hitting only .111. Did we see the best of Span last year or is this only a minor slump?

However, the outfield turns out, I'm hoping all four can improve from last year.

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

1962 Post Baseball

Last week, I bought these cards from my local shop. I am not sure if I paid too much or too little, but I was happy to add a couple of vintage cards to my collection.

Baseball cards from the 1962 Post set were distributed as cards on the backs of cereal boxes with a version of the Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris cards having been distributed in the April 13, 1962 edition of Life magazine. The set consists of 200 cards with 9 of those belonging to Twins players. I did not know much about the 1962 Post set before buying these cards, but there is an allure about adding cards that are older than myself to my collection.

For me, there is an allure about anything vintage. Although, now vintage is a matter of opinion. While many consider 60's and 70's cards as vintage, many others only consider cards older than 1961 as vintage. Regardless, there is just a different feel about the older cards. Maybe it is the way the cards look or how they were made or maybe it has more to do with how baseball cards were treated: as a hobby for the love of the game and not an investment for a big payout.

With Killebrew and Lemon down, I would have seven more Twins left in the set.

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Monday, March 2, 2009


This is the first entry in my new Minnesota Twins Collection blog.

My Minnesota Twins Collection site came about as a by-product of a group of collectors with which I trade cards. I became a member of the Team Collectors who were posting on the messages boards at the Beckett Media site. I had collected baseball cards for many years and was looking for a focus for my collection. The Team Collectors provided that opportunity. The group needed a Twins collector and I needed to get rid of boxes of extra cards. Not only did I join a group of collectors, but I've joined a group of generous friends with whom to talk baseball and life, as well as trade cards.

As my card collection grew, I wanted to find a way to show off my collection... many of those cards sent to me from the other team collectors. One of my team collector buddies was using his web site to show off his collection, so I thought I would do the same.

As I continued to build the site, I realized that this site could be an opportunity to post about other interests, such as baseball cards and the Minnesota Twins. I have tried other blogs in the past and had been unsuccessful. However, this time there is a purpose and I hope to keep the topics more focused.

Thanks for reading and I hope you continue to read and post comments.



The Team Collectors