Friday 27 November 2009

Project Cobb and the History of baseball in the UK.

I found a fascinating collection of archive footage of baseball in the UK. It includes newsreels of games played in the UK and visiting teams from the 1930's.

Rather than steal their footage. Have look here at Project Cobb.

Thursday 26 November 2009

Trade with Drew from Drew's Cards

There are very few baseball fans here in the UK. There was a small rally of fans while a particular television station broadcast live games, although they were shown very early in the morning.

The free to view station called Five screened MLB on Sunday and Wednesday which usually starting at 1 a.m. British Time. It was recently presented by Johnny Gould, a bog standard UK TV presenter and Josh Chetwynd, a retired Great Britain baseball player. The show started on the channel's opening night in 1997, until it became economically unsustainable to show games and it was cancelled for the 2009 season. Incidentally it is the first time since 1997 that the World Series wasn't shown live in the UK. As for 2010, no decision has been made by Five as to whether they will show any MLB games.

The show actually developed a band of hard core followers which helped the number of UK baseball leagues. Have a look at the British Baseball and Softball Federation's website for more details.

I wasn't aware that during the 1930's there was a thriving baseball league through-out the UK and it was only the outbreak of World War Two that ended its rising popularity. There is some speculation that baseball would be as popular as football is now.

Which leads me into the trade I completed recently with Drew from Drew's Cards. I joined the large trading ranks that Drew has developed.
Drew sent these Red Sox cards over 'The Pond';

2008 Allen + Ginter #10 Manny Ramirez mini
2008 Baseball Heroes #33 Carl Yastrzemski blue 055/199
2008 Documentary #4815 Daisuke Matsuzaka
2008 Goudey #HPC-7 Carl Yastrzemski
2008 Masterpieces #13 Curt Schilling
2008 Starquest #SQ-18 Many Ramirez
2008 Topps #TS-13 Manny Ramirez
2008 Topps #AR61 Hideki Okajima
2009 Allen + Ginter #7 John Smoltz
2009 Allen + Ginter #223 Jason Bay mini
2009 Allen + Ginter #303 Rocco Baldelli mini
2009 Bowman #43 Justin Masterson
2009 Godwins Champions #3 Jon Lester
2009 Icons #28 Daisuke Matsuzaka
2009 Icons #47 Jason Varitek
2009 O-Pee-Chee #180 Josh Beckett
2009 O-Pee-Chee #AW20 Dustin Pedroia
2009 Starquest #SQ8 David Ortiz black ultra rare
2009 Topps #RH24 Curt Schilling
2009 Topps #RH56 Dustin Pedroia
2009 Topps Heritage #216 Terry Francona

A massive thank you to Drew for this awesome selection of cards. Although there was a great mixture of cards, Drew sent a card from the 2008 UD Documentary set. A set that has thus far alluded me, which would appear odd as there was so many of them.

Saturday 21 November 2009

Trade with Brian from Play at the Plate

I took my two daughters to the Roman Museum in Canterbury today. They are studying the Romans at school, so I was being a good father and giving them some hands on experience. There is a whole section of 'hands on' being an archaeologist and handling Roman objects. Every time someone digs in Canterbury they discover artifacts related to the Romans and the Iron Age. Most of this museum is underground and the centrepiece is the intact remains of the hypocaust room and patterned mosaic floor. They loved it. When you leave the museum, to your right is Canterbury Cathedral looming above you.
While we were walking the quiet corridors I met Doug. I usually keep pretty much to myself but my wife says whenever I hear an American or Canadian accent I am like a bee to honey. I introduced myself with the usual politeness of 'Where are you from?' This is always a good opener for me as I can then say 'So are you a Phillies/Yankees/Braves/insert team here fan?' Doug is from Austin, Texas, or close enough to, he said. However he is the first person from the Americas that I have met that had no interest in any sport. He finally seceded that he should be a Rangers fan. We chatted a little while about sports, Barrack Obama, why he was travelling; the usual sort of stuff you discuss with strangers.
So it is fitting that I share this large brick of Red Sox cards sent from Dallas in Texas from Brian at Play at the Plate. He is a Texas Rangers fan and immensely proud of the fact. Brian sent along roughly 70 Red Sox cards from a variety of years. The pick for me was these Dick Perez cards inserted in 2008 Topps Chrome. I had yet to add the Jacoby to my collection.
Another highlight was these three numbered cards.
2001 Fleer Focus #235 Paxton Crawford 0933/4999
2002 Donruss Elite #151 Jorge De La Rosa 0254/1500
2002 Fleer Diamond Standouts #10/10 Nomar Garciaparra 0623/1200
And finally, 13 2009 Topps Chrome cards. This not only took a large bite out of the wants list but, oh how I love shiny...

Thank you Brain. The pile of Rangers grows gradually and I will send it when it is worthy of the selection you have sent me.

Sunday 15 November 2009

Cards from the Alley family

Recently when I posted about the huge UK phenomenon that is Match Attax Football, I was contacted by a reader in the US of A who asked if I wouldn't mind sending her son some cards. He is a big Evertonian and Premiership Football fan. They would be happy to send some baseball back my way. I have no absolutely no problem with this, in fact this is the sort of trade I was trying to encourage. I sent a Match Attax magazine, some other football magazines that had promotion packs attached and a number of Match Attax packs.
The Alley family were more than generous in their return package, five packs of baseball cards, and a Sweet Spot tin filled with roughly 50 Red Sox cards, including the Papelbon Jersey card. I will crack the packs in Pursuit of Red Sox but here is a selection of the cards they sent my way;

2007 SP Authentic #59 Jonathan Papelbon
2007 Fleer Ultra #22 Josh Beckett
2008 Sweet Spot #29 Daisuke Matsuzaka
2008 Sweet Spot #50 Jason Bay
2008 Bowman Chrome #147 Kevin Youkilis
2008 Bowman Chrome #189 Jacoby Ellsbury
2008 Goudey #206 Fred Lynn
2008 Topps Co-signers #19 Curt Schilling
2009 Bowman #BP6 Stolmy Pimentel
2009 Bowman #26 Tyler Yockey
2009 Bowman Chrome #BDPP25 Christian Vazquez
2009 Bowman Chrome #BDPP35 Tim Federowicz
2009 Goudey #24 Justin Masterson
2009 SP Authentic #15 Dustin Pedroia
2009 SP Authentic #31 Jon Lester
2009 SP Legendary Cuts #111 Carlton Fisk #345/550

A huge thanks to the Alley family as they went all out to send some great Red Sox stuff. I have collected a few more Everton items (and Match Attax cards) for their son and they are keeping an eye out for Jacoby Ellsbury cards at their local card shop. Sounds like another trade in the making.

Saturday 14 November 2009

Trade with Derek from Hey That's Mine

Many of us have returned to card collecting after a break. For me it was getting married and having children. Less time, less disposable income and just being plain knackered. Now my children are at an age where collecting can be a shared experience, there is a little left over at the end of the month and well frankly sleep is overrated.
So it was great to find the blog Hey That's Mine. Derek returned to card collecting after a 25 year break and made up for lost time by arranging many trades. Like Derek I started blogging not just to keep a record of my collecting but to meet fellow collectors and arrange a few trades. A quick e-mail and a positive response set the wheels in motion.
I sent Hey That's Mine these and now for me to share the return.
Derek sent these Red Sox from Grand Prairie Texas but the package was postmarked Dallas, which is so cool;
2001 Donruss #23 Manny Ramirez
2001 Upper Deck #34 Carlton Fisk
2002 Donruss #9 Manny Ramirez
2002 Donruss #12 Nomar Garciaparra
2002 Fleer Tradition #312 Jason Varitek
2003 Fleer Hot Prospects #28 Manny Ramirez
2004 Donruss World Series #24 Curt Schilling
2004 Donruss World Series #25 Dwight Evans
2004 Donruss World Series #27 Jason Varitek
2004 Donruss World Series #28 Jim Rice
2004 Donruss World Series #29 Johnny Damon
2004 Donruss World Series #31 Manny Ramirez
2004 Donruss World Series #33 Pedro Martinez
2004 Topps Bazooka #154 Johnny Damon
2005 Leaf #30 Curt Schilling
2005 Leaf #32 Doug Mientkiewicz
2005 Leaf #34 Johnny Damon
2005 Leaf #35 Manny Ramirez
2005 Leaf #36 Pedro Martinez
2005 Leaf #37 Trot Nixon
2005 Leaf #64 Victor Martinez
2009 Upper Deck X #10 Jonathan Papelbon
2009 Upper Deck X #11 Jacoby Ellsbury
2009 Upper Deck X #13 David Ortiz
2009 Upper Deck X #14 Daisuke Matsuzaka
2009 Upper Deck X #X-KY Kevin Youkilis

Thank you Big D for the trade and yes I did like them.

Monday 2 November 2009

Trade with Big B from Waxaholic

Brian from Waxaholic and I have traded cards across the pond for a good 12 months now. The package that arrived from Brian the other day contained cards that recognised that I have more than one pursuit.
Firstly he sent these 4 Jacoby Ellsbury cards for Pursuit of Jacoby.
This chronicles my attempts to collect all the Jacoby cards with no specific print runs from 2005 to the present.
Secondly 2 Junk Wax packs for Pursuit of Red Sox.
Any packs I manage to beg, borrow or buy are opened here in search of Red Sox.
And lastly 4 cards for the Pursuit of 1980's Topps.
This was my first and a long term pursuits, but thanks to Brian and a host of other generous collectors might be coming to an end very soon. There are now only 3 cards I need to collect the whole 726 set. In an era that was devoid of short printed, different coloured parallels and mini refractor relics, it has been a quest that was attainable.
Many thanks to Brian for this much appreciated package.

Sunday 1 November 2009

Big League Baseball card game

I need some assistance with this set of cards, there is very little in way of explanation on the interwebs. When I first collected baseball cards in the early 80's, rather than just admire them I invented a game using a spinner. I kept detailed records of the statistics and players averages. I'm sure I am not alone. There must be many variations on the theme.
I bought The EXCITING and SENSATIONAL Game of 'BIG LEAGUE BASEBALL' on ebay out of curiosity. The copyright is 1949. The seller stating in the advert, that he thought this was probably a reprinted version as it was in such excellent condition.
A search of 'Big League Baseball', 'State College Game Laboratory' and 'Robert L. Arble' directed me to similar items on e-bay, an empty Wiki entry and a query as to whether I wanted Robert Marble instead. So I am none the wiser.
The seller was correct it is in excellent condition, untouched hence un-played, which is a travesty. The contents of the box includes 36 playing cards, which are the same size as regular playing cards, two score sheets and a rules leaflet. Simple and easy to play. Its compact size makes it convenient to carry for amusement at any time.The opening paragraph of the rules leaflet goes like this.
'The game is played according to the rules which exist for the major league baseball games. Any one who is not familiar with baseball rules can obtain a baseball handbook from any sporting goods store.'
Then follows an explanation of some of the cards that are turned up. A very clear description of a double play is given.

'Batter and runner on first base are out. If first base is unoccupied, batter and runner on second base are out. If first and second base are unoccupied, batter and runner on third are out. If bases are unoccupied batter is out. If there are no outs, runners not involved in double play advance one base.'

This is a small selection of some of the playing cards. Wild pitch looks interesting and is the home run card modelled on the Babe and single on Ted Williams? The simplicity of this particular games puts the recent Topps Attax game in the shade.

Have you ever played this game or a variation of it?