Saturday, November 18, 2017

2017 MVP Award Winners: J.Altuve & G.Stanton

     Congratulations to the 2017 MVP Award Winners.  The official announcement was made on Thursday, November 16th. 

     The A.L. award went to Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros with 405 points.  Runner-ups for the award include Aaron Judge NYY with 279 points and Jose Ramirez CLE with 237 points.

     The N.L. award went to Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins with 302 points.  Runner-ups for the award include Joey Votto CIN with 300 points and Paul Goldschmidt ARI with 239 points.

2017 Cy Young Award Winners: C.Kluber & M.Scherzer

     Congratulations to the 2017 Cy Young Award Winners.  The official announcement was made on Wednesday, November 15th.

     The A.L. award went to Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians with 204 points.  Runner-ups for the award include Chris Sale BOS with 126 points and Luis Severino NYY with 73 points.

     The N.L. award went to Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals with 201 points.  Runner-ups for the award include Clayton Kershaw LAD with 126 points and Stephen Strasburg WAS with 81 points.

2017 Rookie of the Year Award Winners: C.Bellinger & A.Judge

     Congratulations to the 2017 Rookie of the Year Award Winners.  The official announcement was made on Monday, November 13th.

The N.L. Award went to Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers with 150 points.  Runner-ups for the award include Paul DeJong STL with 56 points and Josh Bell PIT with 32 points.

     The A.L. Award went to Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees with 150 points.  Runner-ups for the Award include Andrew Benintendi BOS with 75 points and Trey Mancini BAL with 31 points.

2001 Topps Traded #T157: A.J. Hinch, Kansas City Royals, C

     Considering only the number of games played (117/350=33.4%), A.J. Hinch spent more than a 1/3 of his playing career between 1998-2004 as a Kansas City Royal in 2001-2002.  As a long-time fan of the Royals team, I couldn't help but notice the 2017 World Series Champion Manager in a Royals uniform while upgrading my 2001 Topps baseball card set.  I just notice an error on this card.  He was born in Iowa, not Texas.

Friday, November 10, 2017

2017 Topps Gold Glove Award Winners

     Congratulations to this year's Gold Glove Award Winners from the American and National Leagues.

Update:  I used the same 9-pocket pages from the previous Silver Sluggers post to make this post.  Originally, I forgot to replace the pitchers spot, and have since corrected this post.  Thanks, Brett Alan, for noticing and pointing this out.

2017 Topps Silver Slugger Award Winners

     Congratulations to this year's Silver Slugger Award Winners from the American and National Leagues.

Last of the '70s Babies in the 2017 Topps Update set

     In a previous post, I listed all 20 of the 2017 Topps Base set cards featuring players born in the '70s.  The 2017 Topps Update set includes new teams for 5 of the 20 players featured in my previous post.  It's too bad that Topps decided to include only the 5 years of career statistics, since most of these players were drafted more than 20 years ago. 

My 2017 Topps Integrated Master Base Set

     I finally received my 2017 Topps Update set yesterday 11/9 after placing my pre-sell order on 10/12.  It took 22 days after the release date of 10/18 to finally get my set.  That would typically be understandable for me, but when I noticed that a majority (more than 50%) of the cards in the set were dinged in the lower-left corner, I was upset.  From what I can tell, the damage did not occur during shipping, but seemed to be uniform throughout large consecutive groupings--meaning that I think the seller dinged them one large chunk at a time.  I thought about what I should do about this one for about half a day before contacting the seller about it.  He responded back with a request to see a few scans.  Unfortunately, my scans aren't really picking up the textured ripple effects of the dinged corners.  I sent a few scans that at least showed the paint breakage in the creases of the dings.  We'll see what happens.

          The good news is that my 2017 Topps master set is now complete, with the Update set (x300) now integrated into my Base set (x700), Rookie Bonus set (x5), and All-Star Bonus set (x5) for a grand total of 1,010 cards.

     Depicted in these scans are the 2017 World Series Champion Houston Astros team set of 39 cards  (23 Base, 15 Update, and 1 Rookie Bonus).  As usual, my team sets are organized by player age from oldest (Carlos Beltran) to youngest (Francis Martes).  Of course the team card leads off the team, while mult-player cards go with either the youngest (for rookies), or the more popular player (for veterans).  Confusing yet?  Well, I spend a lot of time organizing and re-organizing my set binders.

      When a conceptual change to the way I organize my sets comes up, it usually causes a chain reaction that leads me on a time consuming quest to update all affected sets in this manner.  For example, while integrating my 2017 Update set today, I developed a change to the way I organize the rookie debut cards.  Rookie debut cards came out around 2013 to commemorate the first appearance of a rookie player.  The player might have base set cards prior to the rookie debut card coming out, so which one comes first?  I used to make the rookie debut card the oldest card, which was deceiving because the Base set is obviously older than the Update set.  Today, I started making sure that all of the base cards went after the Update cards--even if the Update card is a Rookie Debut.  The 3 Alex Bregman cards below demonstrate this theory.  The newest Bregman (Update: Rookie Debut) is in the front.  The next newest Bregman (Base: Rookie Bonus) is next.  The oldest Bregman (Base: Series 1) is last.

     Anyways, that was probably much more than anyone wanted to know, but this is a blog about collecting Topps baseball cards, and this is one of the topics I face when integrating my collection.  In short, congratulations to the Houston Astros team that overcame a devastating hurricane to lead it's city to victory. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Gurriel's Curse Broken

     Baseball is a superstitious sport.  That's not new.  On Friday 10/27, the Astros were back at home for Game #3 after a travel day, and were on fire.  After going 1 for 7 in the first two WS games, Gurriel hit a solo HR off of Yu Darvish in the bottom of the 2nd inning to start a 4-run rally.  Players were rubbing their hands through Gurriel's hair for good luck after that, and ended up winning the game 5-3.

     In the evening after Game #3, the news reported Gurriel pulling his eyes slanted in mockery of Japanese pitcher, Yu Darvish, which was obviously a racist gesture.  Even though I'm sure Gurriel is aware of the sensitivity of the racial controversy in existence in America these days,  I don't really think he realized that his gesture fell within that category, being from another country.  Reports came out that he really felt bad about it, and I certainly believe him.  I also think that the shame and embarrassment that he and his teammates felt led to their offense coming out like a deflated tire the next day for Game #4.  Instead of coming on to the field grabbing their crouch like they had the day before, the Astros seemed to come out onto the field with their tail tucked between their legs.  The Dodgers didn't even pitch very well at all, but the Astros couldn't do anything on offense.

     The Astros came into Game #5 deflated again, while the Dodgers took a 4-0 lead.  I had been telling the people I was watching the games with that the Astros were temporarily cursed because of Gurriel's shame, and that the only way they were going to start hitting again was if Gurriel broke that curse.  After going 12 scoreless innings since news came out of Gurriel's gesture, he finally came up to bat in the 4th inning of Game #5 and hit a 3-run HR.  The Astros and Dodgers have been back to their back and forth scoring tactics ever since.  It all seems real enough to me.

Update:  During his first plate appearance in the 1st inning of Game #7, Gurriel tipped his cap to Darvish in sincere apology. 

2018 BBWAA Hall of Fame Ballot

     There are 43 names on the potential BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot for 2018.  Here's the list in order by Baseball-Reference's Hall of Fame Career Standards (HOFS):
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Chipper Jones, Manny Ramirez, Gary Sheffield, Vladimir Guerrero, Larry Walker, Jim Thome, Mike Mussina, Sammy Sosa, Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Curt Schilling, Johnny Damon, Omar Vizquel, Scott Rolen, Jamie Moyer, Johan Santana, Carlos Lee, Andruw Jones, Chris Carpenter, Billy Wagner, Carlos Zambrano, Hideki Matsui, Kevin Millwood, Aubrey Huff, Trevor Hoffman, Orlando Hudson, Livan Hernandez, Jack Wilson, Adam Kennedy, Scott Podsednik, Kerry Wood, Ben Sheets, Brad Lidge, Francisco Cordero, Brian Fuentes, Jeff Suppan, Jason Isringhausen, Guillermo Mota, Carl Pavano, Miguel Batista.

     Since I started using past HOF ballot results to help me make determinations on which players are commons, minor stars, semi-stars, and super stars, I've become a supporter of using up all 10 selections allowed.  Here's 9 of my selections (in order) for this year.  Of course, it only proves why I haven't been given the right to vote on the BBWAA ballot.

     The Modern Era Committee (1970-1987) will also meet for the first time this December, but I haven't seen that ballot yet.    

Saturday, October 21, 2017

2017 ALCS Game #7: New York Yankees vs Houston Astros

     The question of who will be playing in the 2017 World Series will end today, with the Yankees and Astros getting ready to start game #7 in Houston at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.  A Yankees win would create a rematch of the 1981 World Series with the Dodgers.  An Astros win would create a rematch of the 1981 Northwest Division Playoff Series (before the creation of the NLDS in 1995 and the Astros moved to the A.L. in 2013).  Either way, the theme this year appears to be 1981.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Dodgers back to World Series on Enrique Hernandez's 3 HR's

     Enrique Hernadez hit 3 HR's including a Grand Slam with 7 RBI's to tie the Major League record for a postseason game in both categories.

Kershaw only gave up 3 Hits, including a HR against K.Bryant in 6 innings pitched, with 5 strikeouts and a walk for a 2.45 ERA and another postseason win.