Archive for May 2011

Custom Card of the Day: Alex Gordon 1993 Donruss   2 comments

Alex Gordon 1993 Donruss custom cardThis is a card I made a while ago. I made it the same time I created the  “missing link” George Brett card from the same set. This card was made simply because I thought the picture was great.

Quick thoughts on the Royals; They won today breaking a tough couple game losing streak where Soria was horrible. Billy Butler continues to hammer the ball and not get enough credit. Chris Getz gave a glimpse of what the Royals hope he can be, great defensively and use his speed at the plate. Alex Gordon looks to be growing into a comfort zone in the leadoff spot. I think Gordon in the leadoff spot could be really interesting for the rest of this season.

History of Joakim Soria: 2001 Topps; What’s wrong with Joakim Soria?   4 comments

History Of Joakim Soria 2001 Topps custom cardAlright, I have avoided this long enough, it is time to talk about what is wrong with Joakim Soria. I have posted several Joakim Soria cards without really discussing his terrible year to this point. The truly sad thing is that the bullpen for the Royals has far exceeded expectations except for Soria.

Aaron Crow has been so good this year that people are starting to talk about making him the closer. This is a bad idea in my opinion. Crow is the logical “backup” for Soria but I really think he needs to stay in the setup role. If Soria struggles through the entire season, then you can talk about making him the closer in 2012. That being said, that won’t happen. Joakim Soria is not right right now, he just isn’t and hasn’t been all year. I think it is a problem that will go off like a switch someday, hopefully soon.

He will recover from this. Right now he is unreliable though. I don’t know what the Royals should do but I don’t want him to lose his role as closer. If he keeps blowing saves and losing games that the Royals have fought hard to be ahead in what else can you do? I still believe one day he will come out of the bullpen and be the Joakim Soria we all remember and we can concentrate on the Royals real problem; starting pitching.

Now that is done. This card is from the 2001 Topps set and I really think it is a good one. The design itself is not one of my favorites but for some reason this card really works for me. I have a hard time showing gold foil many times but I think I found a good mixture for this 2001 card.  The picture is from early in the season in 2009 when it was really cold and one game actually ended with the Royals closing it out while snow was falling. I believe that is the snow you can see in the background of the picture. It could be rain but if memory serves it is snow. This card added a little extra challenge in re-creating it. Topps did a “50 years” logo and I had to do it instead of the traditional Topps logo. It was much easier to do than the “40 years” logo I recently had to do for the 1991 Topps card I posted.

A Look at the 2010 St. Joe Mustangs   Leave a comment

Many of the 2010 St. Joe Mustangs have moved on and a few have returned. The team had a high return rate from the 2009 team but brought back fewer players this year. Of the 29 players on Mustangs roster, only 8 players were previously Mustangs. Of those 8, only 4 were members of the inaugural season of 2009. Those 3 players are Ben Baker, Brent Seifert, Drew Garwood and Landinn Eckhart. Eckhart played in 2009 but not in 2010 when he was Matt Johnson’s bullpen coach.

In 2010 I didn’t have a blog to put up Mustangs pictures and summaries but I did do a custom baseball card project with the Mustangs players. These never got posted during that season but I will post some now as a look back at the 2010 Mustangs. I am planning on doing another set for the 2011 season so as soon as I decide on a design for the cards I will begin to post them, most likely with my game summaries.

For the 2010 Mustangs custom card set I decided on the 1980 Topps baseball card design. I ended up with an 18 card set, I will post them all but here are a couple of them in honor of the Mustangs starting their official season this Wednesday at Nevada. I chose to do the 3 players that are entering their 3rd season playing for the team; Ben Baker, Brent Seifert and Drew Garwood. Most of the pictures I took myself but there were a couple I didn’t, Drew Garwood’s picture below was not taken by me, it was posted on the Mustangs facebook page and I wanted to include the local favorite in my set so I used the picture. I would be glad to give credit if anybody can direct me on who to give credit to.

1980 Topps Mustangs Drew Garwood custom card

1980 Topps Mustangs Ben Baker custom card1980 Topps Mustangs Brent Seifert custom card


Custom Card of the Day: 1985 Topps Josh Hamilton, Just Fair Josh Hamilton   7 comments

Josh Hamilton 1985 Topps Football custom cardRangers Josh Hamilton 2011 Just Fair custom card

Josh Hamilton is back! This guy really changes the way the Rangers lineup looks. I saw the Ranger play in Kansas City a couple weeks ago and both Hamilton and Cruz were hurt and their lineup was not near as scary. Both are back now and Hamilton will try to drive toward another MVP season. He has won one MVP even after being injured a month, why not do it again? He can flat out hit, he is at .339 in a small sampling of games but who know what he can do playing at the Ballpark at Arlington.

I wanted to do something different today so I went with a custom card of Hamilton and one of my Just Fair cards of Hamilton. Ironically both have black borders, not planned I promise. The custom card is not only an old design, it is a football design. This was 1985 Topps’ version of a football set. I posted a bunch of Kansas City Chiefs from this set a while back. I think it is interesting seeing the Rangers in both their blued and red uniforms side by side, they look like completely different teams.

St. Joe Mustangs review: game #3 5/28/11   2 comments

The St. Joe Mustangs improved to 3-0 on the season with a 12-3 win over Regal Plastics on Saturday. The Mustangs don’t play at home again until next Saturday the 4th against MINK south rivals, the Sadalia Bombers. I could not stay for the entire game this Saturday but I still got to see my share of action.

Kris Koerper hit another long ball in the bottom of the first to give the Mustangs a lead they would not relinquish. Koerper has now hit 2 home runs on the young season an both have went the other way. The first was a moonshot down the left field line and this long ball was an absolute bomb to the deepest part of the ballpark, center field. It was slightly to the left side of center field but still appeared to fly over 400 feet.

Mustangs first baseman Kris Koerper crosses home plate after hitting his second home run in two days.

Mustangs first baseman Kris Koerper crosses home plate after hitting his second home run in two days. The shot was a solo home run in the first inning and flew 400+ feet.

Ben Baker got the start for the Mustangs on the mound after starting in left field the last two nights. He struck out 6 through 5 innings while allowing 2 runs. Baker was effective on the mound but was a little wild, he walked four and let one walk score on a costly wild pitch with 2 outs in the inning. He would also impressively pick-off one his walks on first base. I know I have seen the Mustangs long-stay pitch before but I’m not sure if I had ever seen him start or not. He had the Regal Plastics over-matched for much of his time in the game except for a line drive solo home run to left field hit by catcher Michael Wasche.

The Mustangs were running a lot as they have so far this year, the stolen bases in the first few innings against Regal Plastics included Landinn Eckhardt, TJ Daily, Alex Heideman, Patrick Burkhart, Jake Kretzer and even big first baseman Kris Koerper. I would like to see the team stay this aggressive and give their pitching staff good run supports throughout the year.

History of Joakim Soria: 1991 Topps   4 comments

History Of Joakim Soria 1991 Topps custom cardHere is 1991 Topps, a good looking card. This is one of the many designs I never really appreciated until I tried to re-create it. This is another History of Joakim Soria project that Goose Joak has already tackled. In fact he has done several of them including Brayan Pena, Mike Aviles, Zack Greinke and most recently Eric Hosmer. I think he has the better Soria card, I’ve got to give credit where credit is due. Look at his card here.

2011 Just Fair: Buster Posey, Wilson Valdez and Ricky Romero   Leave a comment

Blue Jays Ricky Romero

Giants Buster Posey custom cardPhillies Wilson Valdez

A lot of Royals stuff lately so it is time for a couple Just Fair cards to make an appearance. Here are a couple guys whose names have popped up in the sports section this week. Buster Posey got hurt in a home plate collision and may be done for the year. I chose to display him in a picture other than the collision. Wilson Valdez was the first position player to get a pitching win in a game in something like 20 years. I also chose him to not be pitching, maybe decisions like this will lead to this set having a little more of a timeless quality, probably not. One interesting thing is that this set has 2 Philadelphia Phillies second basemen in it and neither one of them is named Chase Utley. Ricky Romero is include by chance. Blue Jays get no love, they are in last but are just a couple games under .500.

St. Joe Mustangs review: game #2 5/27/11   Leave a comment

The Mustangs played host to their second consecutive non-conference team on Friday night. This time it was the North Kansas City Apartments coming to Phil Welch stadium. Another strong pitching performance was turned in by the Mustangs for the second straight night. The Mustangs took the game 8-3 to improve their young season’s record to 2-0.  It was Cody Cunningham pitching 6 innings while only allowing 1 run on 4 hits. He also struck out 5 while walking 1 and hitting three batters. Overall, another great starting pitching performance from the Mustangs. If the pitching continues on this pace the team could win a lot of games this year.

The night belonged to new first baseman Kris Koerper though. On the night where he would turn 23, he would get serenaded by a crowd of about 800 people singing “Happy Birthday” lead by Mustangs General Manager Rick Muntean. Koerper would finish his night 2-5 with a rocket single in his first at bat of the day and a towering 3-run home run in the 5th inning that broke the game open. His home run was a high shot the other way that the outfielder misjudged but the ball sailed out of the park in the left field corner anyway.

Kris Koerper and teammates celebrate after Koerper's 3-run home run

Kris Koerper and teammates celebrate after Koerper's 3-run home run, the long ball made the score 6-0.

Koerper’s home run seemed to break the spirit of the visiting team as they would go on lose the game 8-3. The defensive play of the night came from an unexpected source; catcher TJ Daily. Daily got the start in right field and made a fantastic throw to second base in the 3rd inning to cut down NKC’s leadoff man TJ Brewer trying to stretch a hit into a double. Daily also had a great day at the plate reaching base all four times he came up with 2 walks and 2 singles. The Mustangs only have four outfielders listed on their roster officially but tonight had both Ben Baker in left(listed as a pitcher) and TJ Daily in right(listed as a catcher) playing.

Daily and Koerper both hit the ball very well but another player that impressed me was Mark Robinette. Robinette has played third base both games this season. Robinette is new to the team this year but has done well at the plate going 1-4 with a RBI on opening night getting and robbed by a great defensive play once. He would be 2-5 in the second game with a double but has hit the ball hard consistently and played very good defense as well.

So far two games and two wins for the Mustangs, they take the field on Saturday the 28th against Regal Plastics.

Posted May 28, 2011 by VocalsOnTop in St. Joe Mustangs

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36 Greatest Royals: Dennis Leonard   Leave a comment

Royals Greats Dennis Leonard custom cardDennis Leonard was an absolute beast. He won 20 games 3 times in his 13 years pitching, all of which were in a Royals uniform. Those 3 20 win season came in a span of four years as well. He won 20 in 1977, 21 in 1978 and 20 in 1980. He averaged just under 19 wins per season over that span.

In what was likely his best season, 1977, he threw an astounding 21 complete games, one more than his amount of wins. He would register 9 or more complete games for 6 straight seasons. 9 is now a more common number for a team to throw complete games than an individual.

One more thing, look at those sideburns! Dennis Leonard is possibly the greatest Royals pitcher of all-time. The Late Paul Splittorff would give him a strong run for his money though.

St. Joe Mustangs game #1 review 5/26/11   5 comments

As a huge baseball fan and a resident of St. Joseph, MO it is only natural that I would follow the St. Joe Mustangs closely. They are an unaffiliated college level wood bat league. The Mustangs are made up of mostly local college baseball players participating in this summer league. They play at historic Phil Welch Stadium where several Hall of Fame baseball players have passed through over the years. This is the Mustangs third season as a franchise, last year they took a run deep into the postseason tournament before taking 4th place.

A shot of the St. Joe Mustangs playing at Phil Welch Stadium from 2010.

A shot of the St. Joe Mustangs playing at Phil Welch Stadium from 2010.

Gone are the two local favorites from the last two seasons, Johnny Coy and Ryan Hook. Back are two other great holdovers for the team, pitcher Adam Maddox and infielder Brent Seifert. The Mustangs had a huge roster turnover this off-season so there are many new faces in St. Joseph.

Tonight was the first game (5/26/11) a non-conference game against UMB. The Mustangs started with a solid win by blanking UMB 3-0. The most credit for the game belongs to left-handed starting pitcher Andrew Polly who looked dominant. Polly tossed 7 shutout innings while allowing no runs and just 3 hits. He also walked 2 and struck out 5.

The offense was sparse in the game. The Mustangs were only able to get 5 hits but it was enough to get 3 runs along with 6 walks and an error that led to a run. The only extra base hit of the day was a 6th inning double by Alex Heidman. Heidman scored on a sacrifice fly by the game’s offensive star, DH, Landinn Eckhardt. Eckhardt went 1-3 with a perfect bunt down the third base line for a hit. His 2 RBI would come in productive at-bats where he made an out, the aforementioned sacrifice fly and a fielders choice.

The big guns were on hold for the Mustangs tonight, both Maddox and Seifert did not play in the non-conference game. I will try to post several reviews this year of this local team. It is hard to access information on the team through limited local media outlets so I hope some local fans will follow the site to get a summary of hopefully most home games.