Tag Archives: Topps

CSI: Duryea, PA [2019 Topps Stadium Club]

Time to take another dive into the ongoing baseball card detective work that I’ve posted on this site. Topps has been sticking the Twins with the standard garden-variety card photos for a while now, but this year’s Stadium Club changes that. Here are two Twins cards where the exact play can be identified.

Card number one has Willians Astudillo making a tag at home against a sliding opponent:

2019 Topps Stadium Club #108 Willians Astudillo

Turns out, it wasn’t even a challenge for MagUidhir at WGOM.

First off, the visible clues:
1) Twins are in away uniforms.
2) Player sliding into home has a name starting with “O” and a uniform number starting with “6”
2) Opponents are wearing blue helmets.

The player is the Royals first baseman Ryan O’Hearn, #66. Willians Astudillo caught a limited number of games in 2018, and only two of them were in KC. This game last year at Kansas City on September 14th featured O’Hearn trying to score in the bottom of the 8th on a double by Jorge Bonifacio to Kevin Grossman, with Jorge Polanco cutting off and throwing home, and he was…out! Here’s the video.

It was a pretty sad ballgame, with the Twins taking a 4-3 lead into the 9th, only to have Trevor Hildenberger give up the one-out tying run and then a grand slam to Salvador Perez.

The second card features Jake Cave reaching over the outfield wall:

2019 Topps Stadium Club Red Autograph #SCA-JCA Jake Cave

This time around Beau nailed the play, and I don’t even know what clues he worked off of.

Visible clues:
1) It’s at Target Field.

On the very first pitch of this game against the Orioles on July 6th last year, Tim Beckham lifted a drive to centerfield of Lance Lynn. Video (spoiler alert: he caught it)

The Twins won the game 6-2 on a well-pitched game in which the Twins scored three in the first, Kepler went deep in the fourth, and they never looked back.

Well done, Topps, you really nailed it with Stadium Club this time around. Here are a couple other really fine photos from this year’s set:

2019 Topps Stadium Club #128 Jose Berrios

2019 Topps Stadium Club Red #179 Max Kepler

CSI: Duryea, PA [2018 Topps series 1]

Topps has been a disappointment regarding quality in-game action photos of Twins players in which the exact play captured by the photo can actually be identified. We’ve had lots of great baseball card photos in the past to work with (we’ve been doing this for over seven years!), but not recently.

On a whim, I chose a card of Brian Dozier from 2018 Topps series 1; while it does I nice job of capturing a play in the field, I didn’t harbor hope that the gang at WGOM could uniquely identify it:

2018 Topps #130 Brian Dozier

Remarkably, they did it again.

First off, the visible clues:
1) It’s a day game.
2) With this being Series 1, the photo is most certainly from a 2017 game.
2) A play at third, quite possibly a triple given the arm covering and helmet.
3) Most likely Target Field, given the home white uniform and the location of the distance marker on the outfield wall.

A lot of the discussion centered around the visiting team’s uniform, particularly the dark top and the single stripe on the gray pants:
– there are several teams who have a uniform variant that at least somewhat resembles that of the baseball card: Indians, Mariners, Padres, Brewers, etc.
– Dozier runs the bases with helmet and arm protection, at least some of the time, so he isn’t necessarily advancing to third base on his own at bat.

Given the above and some digging through Baseball Reference website, it was determined that this play was the sixth pitch in the bottom of the first of this game against the Mariners on June 15th. Dozier opened the home half of the first inning with a double to right, and the play captured here was his advance to third on a wild pitch to Eduardo Escobar, Kyle Seager being the third baseman in the photo. Escobar subsequently homered, so he could have taken it easy on second base and avoided the faceplant (see photos below).

The Twins won the game 6-2 on a well-pitched outing from Jose Berrios, and Dozier went 1-for-3 with a BB and HBP, scoring once. Chris Gimenez homered twice in this game, which is much rarer than games in which he ended up pitching.

Well done, everyone! And two bonus screencaptures of the play:

NCIS Doubleheader: Duryea, PA [2014 Topps Update]

The new Topps 2014 Update set just came out, and of the dozen Twins cards in the set two are nice NCIS-worthy horizontal action shots. Let’s see if we can use the clues in the photos to nail down the exact plays they captured…

2014 Topps Update #US-230 Kurt Suzuki

So, what do we have here? Well:

  • Looks like a day game
  • Runner looks safe
  • That’s obviously not Tom Nieto scoring; looks like Adrián Nieto of the White Sox

The usual gang at WGOM made the observation that all the players pictured are wearing long sleeves, indicating a good chance that the game was played early in the season; this also makes sense given Topps’ timeframe for the set release. Knowing that, there really is only one game he has a sniff of home plate against the Twins before the end of July.

On April 2nd in the second game of the season, in the 9th inning while Glen Perkins is in the process of blowing a save, Nieto comes in as a PR for pinch hitter Paul Konerko. He takes second on a single, and then scores on a single to left fielder Jason Kubel. Sox go on to win 7-6 on a 11th inning walkoff BB/WP. Easy peasy.

2014 Topps Update #US-125 Jason Bartlett

What can we tell about this photo?

  • Another day game
  • Bartlett scores on the play

I’m afraid this one’s going to also be an easy one — Jason Bartlett played in three games during the 2014 season (why Topps has to include him in the set, I don’t know). Based on the catcher’s uniform, it’s got to be Yan Gomes of the Indians waiting on the ball. Well, Bartlett only played in one game against the Indians this season.

On April 6th, in the top of the 6th in his third AB in the game, he is HBP to load the bases. Chris Colabello, the next batter, hits a deep fly to the LF gap to clear the bases, Bartlett scoring all the way from first. The Twins would go on to win the game 10-7, and that at bat would be the last of Jason Bartlett’s career.

CSI: Duryea, PA [2009 Topps Update & Highlights]

More detective work! Topps in 2009 sets the scene for us:

2009 Topps Updates & Highlights #UH126 Matt Tolbert

Matt Tolbert’s card showed up as an afterthought in the Updates & Highlights set; can we identify exactly when this play took place?

Well, here are some clues:
1) Gabe Kapler is barrelling into second
2) appears to be an indoor ballgame, in 2008 or maybe early 2009 since this is from an update set
3) Matt’s probably the shortstop, and it looks like a DP attempt

The guys at WGOM took it and ran. They discovered:
– In 2008, Gabe Kapler was a Brewer and played in uniform #33, so this is definitely an early season 2009 game against the Rays at The Trop.
– Gabe Kapler played in three home games versus the Twins. On May 29, Kapler’s only AB is a walk followed by a caught stealing.
– May 31, Tolbert isn’t in the lineup. That leaves…
– …May 30th, when Tolbert comes in as a replacement at short in the 4th inning. Kapler immediately walks, then is forced out in a 4-5-3. Kapler doesn’t reach base the rest of the game.

The Twins lose 5-2, Francisco Liriano picks up his seventh loss against two wins, and Joe Mauer’s only hit is a double, lowering his BA to a miserable .414 — booooo!

CSI: Duryea, PA [2011 Topps series 2]

Time for another case of detective work, this time from 2011 Topps series 2:

2011 Topps #501 Tsuyoshi Nishioka RC

Series 2 Topps finally has Nishi’s rookie card, and it features a play at the keystone. Can we tell exactly when this play occurred?

Well, here are some clues:
1) Twins are playing the Blue Jays; Jose Bautista is bearing down on second
2) Away uni, so they are playing in Toronto, and this is Nishi’s first year, so the photo is from early this season
3) Most certainly an attempt at a double play. From Alexi Casilla’s position in the background, it looks like he may have originally fielded the ball.

Once more I posted this at WGOM and the investigation was a no-brainer. In summary:
– while the Twins opened the season against the Blue Jays, the third game Bautista did not reach second base during the time Casilla played as a late defensive replacement, leaving April 1st and April 2nd as possibilities
– On April 2nd, Bautista was not involved with any plays at second base, leaving…
– …April 1st (no, it’s not an April Fool’s Joke) — in the bottom of the 6th inning, Adam Lind grounds weakly to short, and Bautista is the lead out in a 6-4-3 DP to end the inning.

The Twins lost the opening day game in a Pavano-fuelled HR-fest, 13-3. Thank goodness things have improved since then :/

NCIS: Duryea, PA [2011 Topps]

This has got to be one of the best card photos from 2011 Topps series 1:

2011 Topps #181 Magglio Ordonez

I pulled this from the four rack packs I picked up last weekend. What can we find out about this particular photo?

Well, a three things immediately jumped out at me:
1) it’s at Target Field in Minneapolis
2) it’s a day game
3) it is not Joe Mauer behind the plate
The lack of “knee blocks” behind the catcher’s knees was the giveaway to me that this was a backup catcher. Gardy likes to use a backup on day games following night games, so this is consistent, too.

Well, the gang at WGOM has taken the investigation further. To summarize:
– the Twins played the Tigers in only two day games at Target Field, May 5th and June 30th
– it’s not Jose Morales catching; he uses a hockey-type mask
– it’s not Wilson Ramos catching; he uses an UnderArmor chest protector; here he is on May 5th
– the mystery catcher is Drew Butera! “Butters” caught the June 30th game; here he is that day
– umpire is #52, Bill Welke
– the Twins won by a 5-1 score; Slowey gets his 8th win, and Morneau his 16th HR

Andrew and everyone, you’re dogs with a bone on this one — way to go. And judging from the photo, it looks like Magglio got under it and pulled it to left, which (assuming it’s not a foul ball) means it was his single in the 4th inning. Here’s another photo of that AB (from ESPN):

PS: if you really want to see Mauer on a 2011 Topps card (he’s scheduled for series 2) I suggest this one.

Garry Roggenburk, ftw

Stumbled across a vintage Twins card in eBay the other day that caught my attention:

1966 Topps #582 Garry Roggenburk

Garry card is known in the baseball card world as a “common”, but this card is more than that.  At the time Topps was releasing these cards, the final “set” of cards (the highest numbers) for the year always ended up with fewer cards printed, and therefore their value was higher, since they are rarer.  #582 is the highest Twins card from 1966, so even as a common, its value is relatively high.

On the back, it says, “[in 1964], the southpaw developed a sore arm in the spring and wasn’t able to throw a single pitch for the entire campaign.”  Now days, it would instead say something like “doctors found a partially torn anterior cruciate spheriod ligament” and after getting three opinions, complicated laser/nuclear microsurgery is performed; back then the team trainer would just rub dirt on it and hope for the best.

Still have three more high cards from 1966 to pick up, but nice to have this one in the fold, and at a reasonable price, too.