Braves Card of the Day: 1963 Topps Ron Piché #179

Lew Burdette is not the only player whose name Topps screwed up in the “vintage” days of collecting. Piché was a French Canadian who spent parts of six seasons in the majors in the 60s. On all of his Topps cards, they neglected to include the accent mark on the last letter of his last name. Of course, Baseball Reference and Fangraphs both leave it off too. No matter. They are all wrong.

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1963 Topps Piche 179b

Braves Card of the Day: 1998 Topps Michael Tucker #19

It’s not Michael Tucker’s fault that the Braves traded Jermaine Dye for him, but I’ve always held it against him.

I blame Schuerholz. I’ve never liked him, even when he was making GOOD decisions.

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Braves Card of the Day: 1996 Topps Marquis Grissom #297

Uniform dirty, cloud of dust in the air, and looking at the umpire to see the call? Yes, that’s how I remember Marquis Grissom.

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Braves Card of the Day: 1960 Topps Johnny Logan #205

Sometimes, I wish I could complete an entire vintage set with cards in this condition. I love cards like this: poor condition but without missing paper.

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Braves Card of the Day: 1981 Topps Atlanta Braves Team Card #675

If I were to make a long list of the problems with the flagship Topps set, the lack of good team cards would be near the top of the list.

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Braves Card of the Day: 1980 Topps Rowland Office #39

I’m lazy, so I need to ask for your help. Can someone find a public domain picture of Rowland Office with the Braves and switch out the damned Yankees picture from his Wikipedia page? Please.

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Braves Card of the Day: 1967 Topps Tony Cloninger #490

If you want to see a truly great Tony Cloninger stat, check out this tweet from @obxleatherman.

Braves Card of the Day: 2018 Bowman Ozzie Albies ROY Favorite

Is Topps even trying?

Albies had 217 at-bats last year.

Amed Rosario - 165.

Clint Frazier - 134.

Dominic Smith - 167.

Nick Williams - 313.

Rafael Devers - 222.

Rhys Hoskins - 170.

130 is the cut off for ROY eligibility.

Another Topps failure.

I did something rare today. I went to a card shop with my Father-In-Law. He was picking up a few cards from his LARGE Mantle collection they sent to have graded and I picked up three 1955s and nine 1959s for my sets. I haven’t seen vintage in shops in a long time. Had fun!

Braves Card of the Day: 1962 Topps Roy McMillan All-Star #393

According to Baseball Reference, Roy McMillan was not an All-Star in 1961. I thought Topps All-Star cards matched up with actual All-Star game experiences. I’m a little embarrassed to admit I’ve never actually checked to see if this was the case. I’m also a little too lazy to check now. I have less trouble admitting that.

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Braves Card of the Day: 2015 Bowman Chrome Autograph Mike Soroka

Welcome to the Big Leagues young man. That was a quality debut last night. I’m looking forward to watching @Mike_Soroka28 pitch for years!

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Braves Card of the Day: 1954 Bowman Andy Pafko #112

Andy Pafko was an excellent player with a long and productive career in the big leagues. He spent the last seven years of his career with the Braves. All that, but the only fact I had at hand about Pafko is that he was pictured on the first card in the 1952 Topps set.

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Braves Card of the Day: 1949 Bowman Earl Torgeson #17

A rather large number of my 1949 Bowman Braves team set consists of cards with tape on them. I can only assume that a previous owner had them taped down on a page. I’m happy to provide these cards a home in my collection, but for the life of me, I don’t understand this as a method of putting cards in an album. How do you look at the backs?

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Braves Card of the Day: 1979 Topps Dale Murphy #39

To the Veteran’s Committee by the Baseball Project (Written by R.E.M.’s Mike Mills @m_millsey)

If you don’t like Dale Murphy, there’s something wrong with ya.

Braves Card of the Day: 1997 Topps Fred McGriff #352

Crime Dog got it!

Braves Card of the Day: 1996 Topps Mark Wohlers #49

Wohlers was a good closer, until he wasn’t. His is not an unusual story for a reliever.

He’s also one of two former Braves players who has blocked me on Twitter, at least from his old account.

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Braves Card of the Day: 2010 Topps Update Jonny Venters #288

In all the excitement over the debut of Ronald Acuña Jr. for the Braves last night, it was easy to lose track of one of the better baseball stories of the day. Jonny Venters, former ace reliever for the Braves who has undergone 3 and a half Tommy John surgeries, returned to the big leagues yesterday pitching for the Rays. It was his first major league appearance since the 2012 NL Wild Card Game. Jonny was lights out his three years with the Braves and is one of the game’s good guys. This is exciting and welcome news.

Braves Card of the Day: 2017 Bowman Chrome Ronald Acuña Auto

If he goes 0 for 4 tonight, I can’t wait to read the panicked reactions of Braves fans on Twitter.

Braves Card of the Day: 1974 Topps Paul Casanova #272

I ain’t much on Casanova

Me and Romeo ain’t never been friends

Can’t you see how much I really love ya

Gonna sing it to ya time and time again…

Ohh Casanova

Casanova

Ohh Casanova

Casanova

Blog Bat Around: My All-Braves All-Autograph Team

Blog Bat Around

Bat around header

Over at Torren’ Up Cards, a new Blog Bat Around was proposed. Here’s the summary straight from the source:

About two years ago my collector friends in Japan did a fun little challenge where they constructed a starting nine/10 lineup with their best MLB/MiLB autographs at each position. Now “best” is subjective. Some people went with best in terms of the best on their favorite team at the moment, or possibly the best at the position in franchise history, or just go with the best in general regardless of team. In my case I went with players who were my favorites in general (so Luis Torrens was at every position).

This variety is what made the challenge so fun and gave people a chance to flex and show off some of their autographs.

I know that not everyone on our corner of the blogosphere is an autograph nut, but if you’re in this hobby long enough you’ll accumulate a decent number of them for one reason or another (usually because of the kindness of strangers). Anyway I wanted to revive this fun little challenge for my friends here on the blogosphere as my first Bat Blog Around.

This is a great idea and I’m glad I got off my ass to participate, even if it meant I spent a week NOT posting my Braves Card of the Day.

My Autograph Collection

I’ve never concentrated on collecting autographs, but two things have increased the number of autos in my collection: I buy into a number of group breaks and I try to get a single autograph of every player that comes through Atlanta. Of course, this has led to a ridiculous number of Hector Olivera, Christian Bethancourt, and Mallex Smith autos sitting in top loaders in my boxes.

That said, I believe I have an autographed card for every Braves great from the Milwaukee years on. Unfortunately, I can’t just pick one player for each position. So, I’ve got my winners and my runners up. Let’s dive in.

First Base

Winner: Freddie Freeman

The card you see below is Freddie’s first Bowman auto. It’s a beautiful signature from the Braves best player. From his first game in Atlanta, he’s been the favorite of Braves fans. I hope, I hope, I hope he plays for Atlanta his entire career. I hope he stays healthy. He’s in his prime. He’s a joy to watch.

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Runner Up: Fred McGriff

It remains remarkable to me that the Braves were able to get to two straight World Series before Maddux and McGriff wore the Tomahawk across their chest. The mid-season trade for McGriff is the greatest mid-season trade in Braves history and without it, the Braves would not have been able to keep pace with the Giants in the West in 93.

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Runner Up: Bob Horner

Bob Horner was fat. Bob Horner was often injured. Bob Horner was lazy. I loved Bob Horner.

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Second Base

Winner: Mark Lemke

Here are a few of the falsehoods you will hear from Braves fans about Mark Lemke. “He was a clutch hitter.” “He was an underrated bat.” He was neither. Every ounce of value provided by the Lemmer came from his glove. When his decline came, it came rapidly. No matter. Like every Braves fan of a certain age, I love Mark Lemke and I’m so glad that he has several auto cards.

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Someday: Ozzie Albies

I’m calling it now. Albies will be the greatest Braves second baseman ever. He’s terrific in the field and his bat is legit. He’s one of the most fun players to watch in baseball right now.

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Shortstop

Choice: Andrelton Simmons

Simba is not only my favorite shortstop in Braves history, he’s my current favorite player in all of baseball. Watching him field his position is enough to get me to turn on a baseball game. His web gems are baseball porn and I have a number of his autohraphs from his time with the Braves. I don’t believe he’s had a single auto in any set since his trade to the Angels.

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Third Base

Sometimes, you just can’t choose between two great baseball players.

Co-Winner: Chipper Jones

Chipper Jones is arguably the 2nd greatest Atlanta Braves offensive player. The only third baseman in baseball history that you can definitively say was better, without any controversy, is Mike Schmidt. Getting to watch him hit, year after year, is one of the singular joys I’ve had as a Braves fan. I can’t make this list without Chipper Jones.

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Co-Winner: Eddie Mathews

Eddie Mathews is arguably the 2nd greatest Atlanta Braves offensive player. The only third baseman in baseball history that you can definitively say was better, without any controversy, is Mike Schmidt. It’s hard to believe that he was merely the second best player on those great Braves teams of the 50s. I can’t make this list without Eddie Mathews.

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Runner Up: Terry Pendleton

It pains me to no end when I hear people dismiss TP’s 1991 MVP award as undeserved. (It was, but it still pains me.) I know this however, if the Braves don’t sign Terry Pendleton, they don’t make their miracle runs to the World Series in 1991 and 1992. They don’t sign Greg Maddux before the 93 season and they don’t trade for Fred McGriff during the 93 season and they don’t win 14 straight division titles. He’s one of my all-time favorites.

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Catcher

Winner: Brian McCann

This is one of those guys that no fan of the Braves ever wanted to see wear another uniform, even though we all new the Braves were right not to sign him to a big free agent deal. It tickles me to no end that he got a World Series ring with the Astros. I hope that last few years of his career are spent with the Braves. (As a backup, I hope.)

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Runner Up: Javy Lopez

For many of those years the Braves won with Lopez behind the plate, Eddie Perez was the backup catcher. If I would turn on a game in progress, I would always have a hard time telling who was behind the plate until the catcher would stand up. Javy Lopez was a big, big man.

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Outfielders

Winner: Hank Aaron

Hank Aaron is the greatest of the Braves and I’m thankful for the group breaks I occasionally participate in, and my father in law, otherwise, the only Aaron auto I’d own is a rather shitty in-person auto on a shitty K-Mart card from the 80s.

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Winner: Dale Murphy

What Aaron was to the Braves in the 50s and 60s, and what Chipper was to the Braves in the late 90s and 00s, Dale Murphy was to the 80s. He was the best player on the team and he was the most popular player on the team and he was on every milk container for sale in Columbus, GA.

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Winner: Andruw Jones

He’s the best defensive player I’ve ever seen, with the possible exception of Andrelton Simmons. On a team with Chipper, he was the most exciting player to watch week in and week out.

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Runner Up: Tim Raines

One of my rare autograph purchases for no reason other than he’s one of my all-time favorite baseball players. He doesn’t make my list though because he wasn’t a Brave.

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Runner Up: Stan Musial

Musial is one of my favorite “historical” baseball players and this card was a rather ghoulish purchase made within minutes of his death.

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Runner Up: Tony Gwynn

Another favorite and another ghoulish purchase.

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Runner Up: David Justice

I wanted to put Justice on the list above. He hit, after all, the home run that was the only run scored in the World Series clinching victory of Game 6, 1995.

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Someday: Ronald Acuña Jr

I’m ready for the Acuña era to start.

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Starting Pitchers

Look at the name of this blog. I couldn’t include just one starting pitcher. I need a rotation and, as it turns out, I have a card for the five greatest pitchers in the history of the franchise that weren’t named Kid Nichols.

Winner: Greg Maddux

The best I ever saw.

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Winner: Tom Glavine

Tom Glavine was a steely eyed son of a bitch. He was always my favorite and he pitched my favorite game of all time, the 1995 World Series.

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Winner: John Smoltz

My opinions about Smoltz are complicated by the stupid shit he will occasionally spout, but he was so good, and he spent so much of his career throwing every pitch in pain. Terrific announcer too.

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Winner: Phil Niekro

The only pitcher that mattered when I moved to Georgia and became a Braves fan.

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Winner: Warren Spahn

Owning this card makes me so damn happy.

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Runner Up: Steve Carlton

Before I got to see Maddux pitch every 5th game for a decade, I believed that Lefty was the best I ever saw. I loved those Phillies teams of the late 70s and he was my favorite player on those teams.

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Closer

Winner: Craig Kimbrel

This guy is far too cool to be a damned Red Sox. This is one of the few Braves autographs I pulled directly out of a pack.

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