Jun 30, 2009

Halos From a Friar

With only a couple of days to go until I head off for a family vacation, I’ve got to kick the lazy habit for at least a few days and get some writing done. What better to inspire me than the kindness of other bloggers. Over the last few days I have been the very fortunate recipient of some great cards.

Today’s cards come from Rod of Padrographs. This is the second package that Rod has sent me and as always the card choices are well thought out. Rod is extremely generous and his packages are always filled with fun. This one included a postcard that scared the crap out of my daughter and a book survey/questionnaire/autograph holder that I completely misread and thus flubbed. My students would be thrilled. So here’s a small sampling of what the man sent along.

First up from the faithful Friar fan, a few 2009 Upper Deck cards. I chose these two to show off, because they both deserve a little love.

Mike Napoli

Naps is having a great offensive season, splitting time as the DH and catcher. You gotta love Napoli because he rarely has his jersey buttoned above the first three buttons and just looks like an 80s power hitter. Love his offense, wish some of it would rub off on Jeff Mathis, he of the better defense, but toothpick bat.

Kendry Morales

Much of the Haloverse was up in arms when Mark Teixeira bolted for the cash. I had a feeling from day one that he would be headed to the highest bidder, so even last August I was thinking about our future replacements. I’m a big Kendry Morales fan. Kendry hasn’t hit for a great average this year, although he’s hovering around .280. What’s been nice is that his power is definitely coming around and he’s on pace to hit somewhere in the high 20s. Not bad for a guy getting his first real run in the majors. And while few if any first baggers pick it like Tex, he’s been pretty steady in the field.

Next up, a current Halo, making his way back from injury.

Vlad’s struggles the last couple of years can be frustrating, but when he’s on, there’s very few players that are easier to root for. When Vlad finally busted out of a slump last week, hitting his second home run of the season, he entered the dugout to no fanfare. Instead, every player and coach was sitting quietly on the bench. Vlad proceeded to head right down the aisle towards the clubhouse, cracking all of his teammates up as they chased after him. He returned to smiles, backslaps and camaraderie. Gotta love baseball.

From the current right field sensation, to the old right field sensation.
Timmy Salmon.

I never get tired of receiving Salmon cards in trades, etc. Salmon became the biggest of Angel stars during a time when I had quit collecting, so I’m seriously deficient in the cardboard of Mr. Salmon. For Angel fans, Salmon could do no wrong and it’s just enjoyable to have a player in your team’s history who never played for anyone else and never brought any kind of shame or shadiness to the team.

Going back a little further, just an 18-time all-star, no biggie.
Rod Carew.

1. This photo is just perfect for the card.
2. All of Rod’s career stats are on the back. Love it.

Now, it’s not a package from Rod if it doesn’t include some Padres, but they do serve a purpose.

Mike Scioscia

When looking at Scioscia’s career, it’s easy to remember his days as a gritty catcher with the Dodgers, or as the World Series winning manager of the Angels, but it’s about time Mike gets some love for his time with the Pads. Well, maybe not. The photo on this card is one of the few featuring Mike during his Padre days, as he tore his rotator cuff in spring training and never played with the Pads.

And of course, the highlight of any Rod package for me are the Bips!

Shiny Bip.

What’s shinier than this card? Only the infamous Bip smile. You gotta love this guy.

Tiny Bip.

On the right, regular sized Bip. On the left, tiny 1991 Cracker Jack Bip. This card is ridiculously small and is without a doubt in my top 5 favorite Bip cards of all-time.

Autographed Bip.

Just freaking sweet. Any cardboard featuring Bip is awesome, but a piece signed and touched by the man himself…LOVE IT!

Thanks a ton Rod. This package came out of nowhere and I’m thrilled to add all the cards to my collection. While I’m somewhat hard on the Pads, I do appreciate their shutting down the Rangers twice this weekend and helping my Halos get back into first. I guess the Pads do have a few redeeming aspects.

Go Halos!

Jun 24, 2009

Meandering Thoughts from a Man of Leisure

Combine a scanner that's schizophrenic, with a man who is well in to summer and all of its lazy charms, with a budget that has left him with very few baseball cards coming in and you would have the portrait of me. The inattentive blogger and man of leisure.

So what you get instead of daily posts and musings about various Angels cards and players, is a guy who's enjoying the physical vacation as well as the mental vacation that is upon him. Rather than actually organizing my thoughts and giving you a coherent post, I will instead just put down my thoughts as they come to me.

I remember when the College World Series took a week to complete, not the month it seems to be now. Everything seems so drawn out, but even so, I would loooove to go to Omaha within the next couple of years and experience it first hand. Just give me 2 days on the first weekend and I'd be a happy man. Go Horns, by the way.

For Father's Day I got a box of Goudey...it was cheap. The ugly of the set has been well discussed and I don't disagree one bit. My "hits" were pretty atrocious up until the final pack. Within the first 3 packs I got my autograph, a backup catcher, and my jersey was the Giambino with full mustache. That was pretty disheartening, but then in the final pack I got an autograph of Jim Palmer. Not terribly valuable, but pretty cool to get an autograph of a Hall of Famer.

The Angels are finally back in the first place mix with the Rangers in the AL West. Injuries to the pitching staff have been troublesome as has the bullpen's reliability. I think the most intriguing part of this season going forward and into the off-season, is what the Angels are going to do with Vlad. He's been hampered by injuries and his pitch selection has gone from terrible to atrocious. I'm really interested to see in the Angels make a move to replace him near the trade deadline and then let him walk after the season. It's hard to picture the current Halos without Vlad, but it seems like a very real possibility.

Completely off the topic and in no way baseball related, I'm currently reading Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child. It's the 13th book in his Jack Reacher series. This is easily one of my favorite series of books that my dad turned me on to a couple of years back. They read so effortlessly, without just being breezy junk. I always have the urge to read them in as few sittings as possible, but have to stop myself so I can enjoy them for a little longer. Just a great series of books about a lone man, always wandering the nation, always kicking ass.

The U.S./Spain soccer match today in the Confederations Cup was one of the most enjoyable soccer games I've seen in a while. I'm still not sure how the Americans pulled it off, but they did. The Spanish offense was relentless, but they just couldn't get anything past Tim Howard. I can't having the gnawing feeling in my stomach that the U.S. would blow it, but they pulled off one hell of a victory for a nation that could care less.

Ok, that's enough of me. I sincerely doubt many if any of you made it to the end, but I commend for sticking with my wandering mind if you did.

Go Halos!

Jun 18, 2009

The Battle of the Angels: 1975 Topps BATTLE ROYALE!!!

Yes, the time has finally come. You've waited all of June for this moment to finally arrive, the 1975 Topps Angels Battle Royale. The anticipation has been building as the winners of the preliminary bouts have been talking trash and making their threats. I'd like to believe that as former teammates, these guys would play nice, but this is a battle for 1975 Supremacy and when it comes to '75 Topps, friendships mean nothing.

We're doing this one, WWE Royal Rumble style, one combatant enters the ring every couple of minutes.

Let the mayhem ensue.

As the lights dim here at the HaloDome, you can feel the tension and the buzz in the air. Rumors abound to who may show up at this event. Sources tell us a former Angel may be back to settle a grudge.

As we get underway, our first combatant comes down to the ring, accompanied by the tune of "La Cucaracha"...it's Horacio Pina!

Horacio may not look like much, but he's a scrappy competitor, known for his endurance, witness his 414 innings pitched in 1967 for various teams. It's tough being first up, but Horacio may just be the guy to pull this off.

Following Horacio into the ring as entrant #2, accompanied by the theme to The Bad News Bears, no it's not Engelberg and the crew, it's the 1975 Team Card!

Oh poor Horacio. This hardly seems fair. 35 men in uniform, accompanied by the man in the plaid blazer, all staring down Horacio who is cowering in the corner. His pleadings of "por favor, no!" have left the team a bit puzzled and they seem to be reticent to attack. As the man in the blue blazer makes his way over, Horacio drops to his knees and begs...but what's this? Out of nowhere Horacio with the lowblow and this battle royale is officially on.

The man in the blazer is down, but the entire team is now descending on Horacio, including Horacio's doppelganger, who oddly enough is part of the team card. This is getting ugly. Plaid blazer man is back on his feet and it looks like he'll do the dirty deed, tossing a lifeless Horacio over the top rope, ending his bid for stardom.

As the team celebrates, the music hits and our next entrant is on his way. The sounds of "Livin' La Vida Loca" can only mean one thing, Winston Llenas is slowly making his way to the ring.
Needless to say, Winston is wary about making his way up into the fray. I think I see what he's doing, a masterful stroke of strategy. He's stalling in hopes of the next competitor making his way down to lend help. Sure it's not the most courageous move, but it's smart, and that's what you need to survive this war.

As Winston drops to one knee to tie his shoes, the crowd is becoming restless, but the seconds continue to tick off. It looks like he may just pull this off, despite the pleadings from the referee.

As the clock hits zero, the sounds of LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out" start to blare which means Big Bobby Heise and his intense stare are about to hit the ring.

Winston couldn't have hoped for a better fighter to team up with. Bobby is known for that icy stare and that intensity will be needed for this fight. Winston is trying to convince Bobby to hang back and wait with him for reinforcements, but Bobby will have none of that. Both men hit the ring and this promises to get ugly quick.

You gotta love the determination of Bobby Heise, but this isn't going well. Both men are being pummeled in the corner and you can't help but think that barring a miracle, the '75 Team card is going to be unstoppable. Before the two men even have a chance for more help, the are unceremoniously tossed from the ring and we're left waiting for our next competitor.

Ahhh, the soothing sound of the Carpenters "Close to You". If birds are suddenly appearing, that means the goofy innocence of John Doherty can't be far behind.
There he is, kissing babies and shaking hands, John Doherty. The fans love this young man and for good reason, he's always got a smile and loves the game.

There seems to be some sort of disturbance in the crowd...my GOD! someone's hopped the railing...could that be? NO! It's Mark Teixeira!
He has attacked John Doherty from behind. We knew he was a jerk, but this is going a step too far. Mark seems to be screaming something about being the only true Halo first baseman. Obviously he's never heard of Wally Joyner. As Teixeira pummels Doherty the '75 team seems to be getting upset...wait, what's this? The team card is emilinating itself from the battle royale in order to help out Doherty. Gotta love that camaraderie.

The team descends on Tex and in just a few seconds they are walking away. Dear God, is that...is that...Wow! I think Teixeira might be...

All I can say is wow. He certainly deserved this thrashing. Let's go in for a closer look.

Well, I can't say this is a surprise. Apparently, Mark Teixeira doesn't bleed blood like the rest of us, instead money oozes out of this greedy bastard. Needless to say this is now the greatest Battle Royale in Angels history.

John Doherty makes his way over to spit on Tex and then drags his body into the ring. James Brown's "I Feel Good" has hit the speakers and you know that means it's Mickey Rivers time.

Mickey is an early favorite for this fight and with the team card now out of the way, this is anyone's ballgame. Mickey strides into the ring as Doherty attempts to pull himself to his feet. He was battered by the cowardly attack from Teixeira, but he's still got heart. Mickey has yet to pounce, seemingly a show of respect for the beaten Doherty. Mickey instead is choosing to play to the crowd and the fans are loving it.

As "Rock You Like a Hurricane" hits the eardrums, Andy Hassler makes his way down to the battle.
Mickey Rivers appears slightly annoyed by the spotlight being stolen from him and now looks to be all business. Doherty continues to slump in the corner as Hassler and Rivers lock horns. Hassler's southpaw stance seems to have Rivers confused briefly, but Mickey's speed appears to be too much for Hassler. A fake left, followed by a nifty dropkick has Rivers clearly in control. He glances over at Doherty and just smirks. Hassler jumps onto Rivers' back, only to be tossed away like yesterday's trash.

As the theme song to "Underdog" hits the arena, we're about to be joined by Rudy Meoli.

Rudy is going with a stealth approach and sneaks into the ring alongside the still ailing Doherty. Rudy is well aware of his underdog status and appears to want no part of the Hassler/Rivers shenanigans. Rudy and Doherty seem to be plotting some sort of alliance, while Rivers continues to beat on Hassler. It appears Rivers has had his fun and yes, yes he is now tossing Andy Hassler out of the ring and out of this competition.

As Hassler hits the ground, Olivia Newton John can be heard and apparently, she wants to get physical, which means Dave Chalk is on the warpath.

Chalk is darting into the ring and going right after Rivers, while Rudy and Doherty continue to sit out this action. Chalk means business, but Rivers is just too talented. A kick to the gut, a body slam here, a DDT there and Chalk is a beaten man. With much disdain, Mickey lifts the young shortstop and tosses him out, ending his brief run.

Rivers begins to finally turn his attention to the two hiding in the corner when the undeniable music of Bruce Bochte is heard.

Yes, the Doors classic "People Are Strange" accompanies perhaps the oddest of oddballs in this competition. Bruce refuses to conform for any man and that can be seen by his ring attire. Unlike our other combatants, Bruce has decided to make his way down in a tuxedo, far from the clothing one would expect in this venue. As he gets to the ring it's apparent that Bruce has no interest in fighting, instead he makes his way to the microphone.

"I Bruce Anton Bochte, will fight no man. Instead, I have chosen to dedicate myself to one mission. I will save the Mother Earth from humankind's destructive ways. Thank you for your support."

And with that, Bruce has left the building.

While Rivers is distracted by the message of Bochte, Doherty and Rudy attack. They're all elbows and kneecaps, but it seems to be working. Rivers already worn down by the multiple beatings he has given out, seems ready to be tossed. oooh, it looks like they're going to go with the ever popular, one guy kneels down behind the victim while the other guy pushes. Yes, they have pulled it off, and Rivers has tumbled over the top rope and onto the floor. He's furious, but put up a valiant effort.

As Rudy and Doherty exchange an awkward high 5 in the ring, the shrieking of Axl Rose can be heard. It's time to Welcome Frank Tanana to the Jungle!

Rudy and Doherty are coming up with strategy as the Golden Boy makes his way down to the action, carrying his Topps Rookie Cup in hand. The underdogs immediately rush Tanana and this fight is underway. Tanana is taking a quick beating, but he's back on top in moments. He's showing what has made him a star even early on in his career. This back and forth action is getting intense. The buzz around the arena howver is for who hasn't entered the fray yet. These fans know that with only 3 competitors left to enter the ring, Nolan Ryan still looms out there.

Make that two competitors left, as Europe's "Final Countdown" is playing and Morris Nettles is making his way down to this fight.

Morris goes right after Tanana, apparently there's some bad blood stemming from their days back in the minor leagues. Morris is relentlessly attacking Tanana as Rudy and Doherty go into their familiar position of cowering in the corner. Tanana looks like he may be on his way out. Morris lifts him over his head and is about to make the toss when Tanana begins to rake at his eyes. Morris drops Tanana and Frank scrambles for the corner. He reaches outside the ring to grab, yup I should have known it, Tanana is grabbing his rookie cup. As Morris Nettles staggers to his feet, still rubbing his eyes, Tanana smacks him in the back of the head and Morris is out cold.

The audience is stunned, their golden boy has turned on everyone and as Bob Marley's "Buffalo Soldier" begins to play, Leroy Stanton rushes down to the ring.

The crowd is in a frenzy as they wait for Leroy to hit the ring and exact revenge on Tanana. Leroy makes his way in and stares down Tanana, still clutching his trophy. Morris Nettles is trying to struggle to his feet and now Tanana may just be in trouble. The crowd is at a fever pitch and they want blood. Rudy and Doherty continue their strategy of staying out of the way. Leroy and Tanana are now face to face, the epic showdown is upon us. Wait, why is Tanana smiling? He's handing his rookie cup over to Leroy Stanton. I don't understand...Leroy whirls around and again lays out Morris Nettles. OH MY! Leroy Stanton and Frank Tanana are working together. With a simple toss, Morris Nettles is eliminated and the duo of Tanana and Stanton looks unbeatable.

The fans are in shock as two of their heroes have gone rogue and become cheaters. This just isn't right. Rudy and Doherty continue to cower as the chants of "Nooo-lan! Nooo-lan!" fill the arena.

Finally the music hits, Rage Against the Machine's "Bulls on Parade". Nolan Ryan enters the arena and the roof is being blown off of this place.

Ryan hasn't even entered the ring yet and both Rudy and Doherty have jumped over the top rope and eliminated themselves. Apparently wanting no part of the big Texan.

Tanana and Stanton look slightly worried, but they're still clutching the rookie cup, hoping to perhaps intimidate Nolan. As Ryan makes his way into the ring, Stanton slowly begins to back away. His confidence has been shattered by the mere sight of Nolan. As he backs up to the ropes, Morris Nettles comes out of nowhere to pull him out from behind. Sweet revenge for Morris.

Now we're down to two, Tanana with rookie cup and Nolan Ryan. Tanana charges and just like that Ryan has him in a headlock and proceeds to beat Tanana mercilessly. Blood is streaming down Tanana's face and it's evident he wants no more. He drops the rookie cup and with a simple flick of the wrist, Tanana goes sailing from the ring, making Nolan Ryan our 1975 Topps Battle of the Angels Champion!

This was a battle royale we will never forget Halo fans. Another Nolan Ryan victory, the backstabbing combo of Frank Tanana and Leroy Stanton, the scrappy yet cowardly actions of Rudy Meoli and John Doherty, the oddity that is Bruce Bochte and of course, the death of Mark Teixeira where we learned that yes indeed he does bleed money.

This is truly a historic day in Angels history and one that will forever live in infamy.

Go Halos!

Jun 16, 2009

Interleague Bonanza

I remember way back in 1997, when this whole Interleague thing was new and exciting. The Angels gave away commemorative tickets for each of the series and I was lucky enough to attend Halos vs. Giants and see my team get shellacked, behind 2 home runs from Jeff Kent.
The ticket is actually massive. If I wasn't so lazy I'd measure it, but I'd say a good 9 inches by 4 inches.

The real beauty of this Interleague ticket is that it is also topical for today, as the Halos are battling the Giants in San Francisco. It put me back in 2002 to see big John Lackey mowing down Giants hitters. Anything that can remind you of your team's lone championship run, is definitely a positive in my book.

Tonight the Angels will be relying on a pitcher making his major league debut, Sean O'Sullivan, as he takes on Los Gigantes. O'Sullivan began the year at AA and posted an ERA over 5, moved up to AAA and his ERA grew to over 6, now he's headed to the big club. Does this trend disturb anyone else? To say our pitching health is a problem this year would be an understatement.

Oh well, they can never take away 2002.

Go Halos!

Jun 12, 2009

The Battle of the Angels: 1975 Topps Pt. 4


The battle royale looms on the horizon, but first we must complete round 1 of the Battle of the Angels. We've had some spirited competition and today should be no different.

Matchup #1:
Skip Lockwood

Bobby Heise

The goofy grin of Skip Lockwood stands in stark contrast to the steely eyes of Bobby Heise. Both players spent only 1974 with the Halos and neither was worth a crap as an Angel, so this one is all about the cards. Heise gets the advantage for look of determination and purple/green/pink combo. Skip's sole saving grace is that on the back of his card you learn why he goes by Skip. His real name is Claude Edward Lockwood. Sorry, Claude, it's just not gonna happen. Bobby and his stare take this one.

Matchup #2:
Ed Figueroa


A battle of two beautiful purple/green/pinkers. Doherty was the 7th pick in the draft back in 1970, but unfortunately only played in '74 and '75 for the Halos and then it was career over. Figueroa was also a Halo for those two seasons only, but he went on to pitch well for the Yankees in the late '70s. While the Figueroa card has no major flaws and does include stats for 12 different years/teams in the minors, his best performances came as a Yankee and we can only tolerate that once per battle (Mickey Rivers). Combine Doherty's doe eyed innocence with his excessively foamed helmet and you've got a winner. Sure, he was a disappointment as a first round pick, but he has redeemed himself with an appearance in round 2.

In our next matchup we have the man himself...

No one was willing to step in against Mr. Ryan so he gets an automatic birth in the battle royale.

Matchup #3:
Rudy Meoli

Charlie Sands

Do I really have to write much about these? Umm, Charlie was one of about 8 catchers on the Angels in 1975 and he wasn't too good. His card is brown. Rudy on the other hand is pictured hitting a mile high pop up to the catcher, which fits nicely with his career as a lifetime .212 hitter. I'm a sucker for a lovable loser. This may be Rudy's finest moment, congrats little fella.

Matchup #4:
Orlando Pena


Orlando takes an early lead with his thoughtful look to the heavens, but Winston gets right back in the game with the always popular fake bunting pose. This one's gonna be tough. Orlando gave up 40 home runs one season for the Royals, but zero as an Angel in 11 games. Hmmm, not bad O-Dog. Winston will need to step up in this clutch situation, let's flip to the back of the card. "Winston's first major league Homer came at a crucial time. In pinch-hitting appearance, he walloped a 3-run Homer as Angels defeated White Sox, 3-1, 6-19-73. Good clutch hitter." This is huge for the lifetime Halo. 3 career home runs and one of them is a game winner. It gets no more clutch than that. Winston Enriquillo Llenas (Davilo) you're moving on!

The final first round matchup:
Morris Nettles

Chuck Dobson

Let's just say the 1970 draft wasn't a shining moment for the Halos. Second round pick Morris Nettles spent just as much time in the majors as first round pick Mr. foam helmet, 2 seasons then out of the league. This one comes down to putting myself into the 1975 young collector mindset. Which would I have preferred, aging pitcher on his way out or young rookie who is described by the Topps copy writer as "One of Angels' fine rookies of 1974"? It's a no-brainer, always go for the young outfielder who shows promise but ultimately flops. Morris, you're moving on. Watch out for Nolan in the battle royale.

So there it is, the first round is complete and the battle royale is upcoming. 14 combatants remain and it's an impressive bunch.

Go Halos!

Jun 10, 2009

The Battle of the Angels: 1975 Topps Pt. 3


< sarcasm >As I can tell from the plethora of comments and praise, this new series of posts is a huge hit, so I'll make today's edition short and sweet.< /sarcasm >

Matchup #1 Bobby Valentine vs. The Angels Team Card
Pros: Bobby V will forever be an icon for his masterful disguise after being ejected from a game. He's rocking the flapless helmet, always a nice look. He appears to be taking this photo at a high school football stadium.

Cons: The green on green border lacks the pop of many of the cards in this set.

Pros: It's a whole lot of Halos. With a magnifying glass, Nolan Ryan can be found. There's a guy wearing a plaid blazer!

Cons: The Angels weren't exactly a powerhouse in the '70s, so a lot of Halos isn't necessarily a good thing.

The Verdict: I thought Bobby V. would take this one, but the hideous blue blazer just barely pulls this one out for the Angels Team card.

Matchup #2: Andy Hassler vs. Ellie Rodriguez
Pros: On the back of the card, we learn this bit of trivia: "The only NLer to hit 2 grand slammers in one game" was Pitcher Tony Cloninger. Andy pitched 9 years for the Halos.

Cons: In those 9 years, Hassler had a 21-46 record.

Pros: Ellie was twice an all-star, not sure how. I appreciate the faux catching stance.

Cons: Ellie only played 2 years for the Angels and according to baseballreference.com his most similar player by age in 1975 was Kirt Manwaring.

The Verdict: Thanks to longevity, Hassler pulls this one out, but his future chances are dim.

Matchup #3: Joe Lahoud vs. Leroy Stanton
The Pros: The green, yellow, red color combo looks really nice on this card. He hit a "grand slammer" in 1973, which was his biggest hit of the season.

The Cons: The "grand slammer" came against the Angels, while he was a Brewer. The guy sucked.

The Pros: He's got the sweat bulky windbreaker look under his uniform. His name is Leroy. He's only wearing one batting glove. His biggest hit wasn't a "grand slammer" against the Angels.

The cons: I'm not a fan of the green on green.

The verdict: Screw you, Joe Lahoud. Leroy takes it in a first round KO.

Matchup #4: Ken Sanders vs. Bruce Bochte

The pros: Windbreaker collar poking out of jersey. Hat appears airbrushed. He once saved 31 games in a season.

The cons: He only pitched in 9 games for the Angels. His back of the card factoid, "Ken once accepted 13 chances". Ummm, ok. Was this on the field, at a bar with sleazy women, what?

The Pros: Began his career as an Angel. His signature looks like that of a young child, especially since he's not one for capitalization. I respect his need for non-conformity.

The cons: He became an all-star for the Mariners. His shaggy hair can't compete with the locks of Mr. Sanders.

The verdict: While I respect Ken Sanders and his choice of undergarment, bruce bochte and his eschewing of capital letters takes today's final matchup in a walk.

4 more battles down and just 5 remain. With a little bit of energy, all 5 will be knocked out tomorrow and we can commence the battle royale! Over the top rope, only one man will survive!

Go Halos!

Jun 9, 2009

Random Draft Thoughts

1. I've never been more annoyed by how someone pronounces words than I am listening to Bud Selig. Sin-sin-nata. Los Angeleez. Go away Bud.
2. Is it necessary to mention the "signability" of players after every choice.
3. This draft is clearly the largest crapshoot of any, why are we pretending that these "experts" can tell us who will succeed. Let's just agree that no one will know until they get to majors and leave it at that.
4. Does anyone get excited about their teams pick? Really? Maybe due to all of the hype surrounding Strasburg, Nationals fans feel excitement, but the rest of us? Haven't we learned our lesson by now?
5. I'm ashamed that I've been watching this for the last hour and a half.
6. Does any of this really matter? Any player worth a crap taken by one of these small market/low revenue teams is just going to end up with the Yankees or Red Sox eventually anyways.
7. I predict the Angels will select a player I've never heard of, I'll read up on him, watch videos and begin to think he's the future. 5 years from now I'll be cursing the Angels for such a dumb pick and wondering why they passed on player X who was drafted 10 picks later.

Go Halos!

The Battle of the Angels: 1975 Topps Pt. 2

After yesterday's decisive victory by Frank Tanana, we're back with three slightly tougher to judge battles. Let's get right to the action!

First up, we have Dave Chalk, a 170 pound shortstop out of Del Rio, Texas.

Facing off against Dave, we have catcher Tom Egan, straight outta the city of Angels.

These two cards feature players at different points in their careers, as 1975 would be the last season of Tom Egan's career, while Dave Chalk was entering the 3rd year of a 9 year career. 2 all-star appearances as a Halo gives Chalk the early lead in this one.

Egan however is able to counter with some seriously sweet 70's sideburns, made all the more impressive that he was entering his 10th MLB season.

Chalk gets the advantage on card color combination and another added boost by having the stadium in the background.

In the end this one was tight, but Dave Chalk, sans sideburns, is able to pull out a slight victory based on his success as an Angel and relative youth at the time this card was produced.

Next up, we have a battle of right handed hurlers from different countries. Yup, international battle!!

Representing the good ol' U.S. of A. Dick Lange.

And supported by his brothers down Mexico way, we have Horacio Pina.

It's clear from their photos that Dick Lange is ready for the matchup, while Horacio seems a bit confused by it all and perhaps annoyed by the close proximity of his photographer.

Lange played in parts of 4 seasons, all with the Angels and all pretty unimpressive. Pina on the other hand was journeyman, not just coming from Mexico, but playing for 6 different teams, pitching only 11 games for the Halos, all in 1974.

My instincts are telling me to give this one to the lifetime Halo, Lange, but then I flipped the cards over. The factoids at the bottom of the card tell me that Lange had his first complete game victory against the White Sox on 9/10/73...yawn. We learn some fascinating info on the back of Pina's card, however. "Horacio hurled in 3 leagues during 1967 and totalled (Topps spelling) 31 victories, 18 defeats in 414 innings and 67 games." 414 innings! This man was on a mission to play baseball! I can't pass up that tenacity and while Horacio's photo is one of confusion, maybe it's just the look of a man who doesn't have time for photo shoots, he needs to get on a mound ASAP.

Congrats Horacio, you earned it.

Our final matchup should be a doozy.

First up, a man who made his biggest impact as a Yankee, Mickey Rivers.

His opponent, had his greatest season in 1975, Denny Doyle.

2 cards featuring very similar poses and unfortunately 2 guys who had their greatest success outside of the Big A. After being traded to the Yankees in 1976, Mickey finished 3rd in the MVP voting behind Thurman Munson and George Brett. Doyle on the other hand was traded to the Red Sox for cash and a player to be named, and in 1975 finished 23rd in the MVP, not as impressive as Rivers, but still a decent effort.

As for their Halo careers, Rivers played in parts of 6 seasons with the Angels, leading the league in triples both of his final two seasons in Southern California. Doyle, played in just 155, mostly uninspired games for the Halos, with no notable achievements.

Rivers was clearly the superior player and Bill James ranked him as the 59th best center fielder of all-time, not too shabby. Doyle was blessed with the perfect baseball name for a 70's second bagger, but that's about where his legacy dies. Denny does stage a slight comeback with his card back trivia that informs us he has twin brothers playing in the minors, but it's just not enough. Had I been 10 years old in 1975 and pulled both of these cards, Rivers would have been the one getting pinned to my wall, while Doyle would go in the bike spokes. Advantage Rivers, with a TKO in 3rd round.

So there we have it, 3 more winners that are moving on in the Battle of the Angels.
Congratulations to Dave Chalk, Horacio Pina and Mickey Rivers, you'll need to bring your A game in the next round.

Go Halos!