Monthly Archives: April 2011

“Play Ball” — It’s Softball Season (And A Mention On The Radio)

Last Thursday, I was sitting at my desk working and listening to the Twins radio broadcast over streaming audio. As Dan Gladden prepared to give John Gordon and the radio audience the trivia question, which they do every game, I entered the email address in my browser window and waited for the question. “Which player holds the Twins record for HRs in their rookie season?” I entered “JIMMY HALL!” in the subject line and hit the send button.

Several minutes later, I received this reply:

Congratulations, you are the winner for today’s US Bank question of the game! Your name will now be entered into a drawing for a pair of Twins tickets.

You will be notified should you win the drawing.

I wasn’t really sure that I was the sole winner, so I didn’t think too much of it, but a few innings later “Dazzle” was going to give the answer, and he mentioned my name as the winner of the day’s contest. Half an inning later, he repeated my name as the winner as they continued to discuss the answer. A few of the gang at WGOM heard him mention my name, which was pretty cool.

And in case you haven’t heard of Jimmy Hall, here’s his baseball-reference webpage. He had an outstanding four years for the Twins, and his 33 HRs his rookie 1963 season was an MLB record until Mark McGwire shattered it.


Tonight is the first softball game of the season; I put a couple bucks into the batting cage last week, but whether I’m ready or not is up in the air. Being the oldest on the team (by only a few days) I get to play first base again; I have a pretty good stretch and scoop, but for many years I had to run like a madman around the outfield.

When I first moved out to LA in the mid-80s and got on a Hughes Aircraft league team, I bought a glove to replace the one I grew up with. It was a Rawlings “SG” 95 hybrid first baseman/outfielder glove, which I love dearly, and it’s served me well ever since then.

inside view of glove, with a mockingbird egg for scale

The glove requires the two smallest fingers to be in the same hole, which also makes it easier to snap the glove closed around the ball. Besides being great for extending skyward for a fly in the outfield, it is excellent for shoestring grabs. And of course low and high throws to first.

inside view of glove, with a softball, for better scale

I always store the glove with a softball in the palm and a softball in the pocket, sometimes with a rubberband around it, although at this point it isn’t needed.

exterior view of glove

How does it continue to look so good? Well, I use brown shoe polish in areas where the finish is wearing, and because my hand isn’t all that large I always wear a batter’s glove inside it, which incidentally also keeps skin oil off of it.

The Kindness of Strangers

Okay, the last thing I want to do is imply that T. from Wax Pack Relapse is a stranger. After seeing several slick cards at his website, I dropped a line asking what he collected and if he was up for a trade. Well, instead of trading, he just up and sent me “something off your wantlist that I don’t want/need” — holy cr@p!

clockwise, from top left: 2008 Bowman Draft Picks Gold #BDP28 Matt Macri; 2010 Bowman Prospects Black #BP76 James Beresford; 2010 Bowman Platinum Prospects Refractor #PP28 Miguel Sano [922/999]; 2010 Bowman Platinum Refractor #14 Joe Mauer [938/999]; 2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects Refractor #BCP127 Andrei Lobanov [434/500]; 2009 Bowman Orange #78 Glen Perkins [047/250]

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I received an email a while back from the proprietor of everyone’s favorite four-player trade blog (no, not Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz, that’s only three players), Garvey Cey Russell Lopes, warning me he was going to send me some Twins cards. Well, I got the jump on him and sent him some Dodgers first, and his package just arrived Friday. After filtering through the junk wax that he just had to pass along, I noticed the three 2008 Topps commons were numbered with “MIN” — team set singles! Well, here’s the other highlights:

clockwise, from top left: 2007 Bowman blue border #117 Carlos Silva [401/500]; 2000 Pacific Vanguard #27 Corey Koskie; 2008 Topps Team Set #MIN11 Kevin Slowey; 1999 Upper Deck MVP Silver Script #122 Corey Koskie

Thanks for the trade, gcrl, and let me know when you finally get your blog name alphabetized 😉

Play At The Plate Plays The Middleman

A while back Play at the Plate from his eponymous website snagged the Twins on the cheap from one of flywheel’s group breaks, probably thinking at the time that he could trade them away (and I find out, Joe Mauer is one of his PC’s, too). I had eyeballed the particular group break, but since it wasn’t the best match to my wantlists, I passed…but I did let him know that I was at least interested in the 2005 Topps Total Twins. Well, he traded me a slew of those, plus several other Twins cards as well.

clockwise, from top left: 2007 Upper Deck Elements #150 Glen Perkins [090/550]; 2000 Upper Deck Ultimate Victory #34 Matt Lawton; 2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP202 Kyle Gibson; 2005 Topps Total Silver #575 Nick Punto

Thanks PatP, and best of luck for your boy’s recovery.

“Rental Center? I’d Like To Rent A Forklift.”

My work takes me to Omaha frequently, for a couple days at a time. The last couple of trips, it seems like all the pending trade packages arrive while I’m out of town, and I joke with Mo that she needs to take the wheelbarrow out to the mailbox with her. Well this week was no different.

I came home to FIVE packages; a couple quickie trades of 2-3 cards, one trade of a couple dozen cards each, another about the same size (which I’m in the midst of completing my return package), and one very large package totally unexpected. Here are the first three:
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Back last summer, Ryan’s blog Trader Crack’s Fun in Collecting caught my attention. Not only is the website nicely laid out, but his trade lists were well organized, and I was able to find several Twins cards that I had been looking for. Plus, I had several Expos cards needing a good home.

Various events conspired to thwart our trade, including a move, email problems, and a San Francisco World Series championship (no, not really), so it was several months before we finally pulled the trigger.

clockwise, from top left: 1997 Donruss Signature Series Todd Walker; 2005 Donruss Leaf Certified Materials #205 Dave Gassner [427/499]; 2005 Topps Gold #562 Michael Cuddyer [1037/2005]; 2006 Topps Updates & Highlights Gold #UH328 Johan Santana/Francisco Liriano [0476/2006]

Besides a couple auto cards and a handful of s#’d cards, I was especially happy to see that Ryan had some older O-Pee-Chee and pre-2000 Bowman cards, plus several 2000 MLB Showdown Twins.
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A Coot Reboot

When I came up with a Miguel Cabrera dual jersey card (with Michael Young) the other day, I couldn’t help but think of Dustin from Coot Veal and the Vealtones, who I had just sent some Cabrera cards recently. Now, either that card (and a couple others thrown in) means a whole lot to Dustin, or he can get cool Twins cards for a reasonable price, because what he sent back was a nice bit o’ finery:

clockwise, from top left: 2008 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects blue border #BDPP95 Luke Hughes [277/399]; 2006 Topps 52 Chrome #TCRC28 Jason Kubel [0664/1952]; 2003 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites Chrome #146 Bert Blyleven [092/299]; 2007 Allen & Ginter mini (Ginter back) #61 Justin Morneau; 2010 Topps 206 mini (Piedmont back) #218 Joe Mauer; 2001 Topps Traded #T235 Justin Morneau

Thanks again, Dustin. I’m already starting a new pile for you…