I spent the last few days anxiously waiting to get home from work (I work away from home 4 days at a time) and when I got home today my first stop was the mailbox. In it I found a package with my Topps San Francisco Giants Team Sets (1975-2014) . . . 900+ plus cards to add my collection.
In addition I bought a 1974 (the year I was born) San Francisco Giants Team set on eBay from another seller.
Time to start sorting my cards and getting them into page protectors and into folders. I think I will start featuring some of the San Francisco Giants teams of the past through their Topps cards starting with 1974 (1973 season) soon.
I have always loved the Topps All-Star Rookie Trophy cards. After coming across some older ones while searching through a few boxes I had in the closet I have decided to start a mini collection based of these cards. In the 2014 Topps Series 1 base set there are six of the 2013 Topps All-Star Rookies featured –
#40 Hyun-Jin Ryu, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
# 110 Wil Myers, OF, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
#157 Matt Adams, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
#181 Jim Henderson, RP, Milwaukee Brewers
#275 Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies
#331 Yasiel Puig, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
The remaining 2013 Topps All-Star Rookie team members that should be featured in 2014 Topps Series 2 are Evan Gattis, C, Atlanta Braves; Jedd Gyorko, 2B, San Diego Padres; Jose Iglesias, SS, Detroit Tigers; Christian Yelich, OF, Miami Marlins; Jose Fernandez, RHP, Miami Marlins. I have all the above cards for this year and stay tuned for my updated checklist of all my other Topps All-Star Rookies.
I didn’t want to post anything until I was sure the cards were mine. While checking out eBay I came across an auction for a 1980-2014 San Francisco Giants 35 Years of Complete Topps Team Sets. The bidding started at $50.69 and I put a bid on it and last night I won the auction!
I also bidded on a 1975 San Francisco Giants Team Set from the same seller and won that one. After contacting the seller to see if shipping could be combined he told me he also had the 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1979 team sets if I was interested . . . of course I was if the price was right.
Cards: 40 Years of Giants Team Sets
Total Cost: $86.25 (shipping included)
That comes out to $2.15 per team/year which isn’t bad at all. Time to start working on 1973 and before which could get expensive once I start getting to the Willie Mays years! The cards should arrive middle of next week and I will definately be posting some more!
Every so often I will highlight a Will Clark card from my collection. It will usually be a card that I just received or bought but will also highlight some of the cards I already own. I have had this card in my collection since around 1987, almost 30 years.
From the back of the card – The San Francisco Giants had great expectations for Will Clark when the 1986 season began. They had after all, selected the strapping 6-1, 185-pound lefty-hitting first baseman No. 1 in the June ’85 free agent draft. Clark, an All America selection at Mississippi St. where he hit .420 with 25 homers and 77 RBI in 65 games in ’85, spent just 65 games with the Giants’ Class A Fresno farm before convincing the brass he was ready for the big time. After a productive spring training in which he hit .297 with 5 homers and 16 RBI in 2 games, Clark was in the Giants’ opening day lineup against the Houston Astros, April 8. On his first at-bat against Houston’s legendary fireballer Nolan Ryan, Clark hit a home run and the Giants went on to win 8-3. Clark thus became only the 53rd player in history to hit a homer in his first big league at-bat.
ABOUT THE SET (www.baseballcardpedia.com) – 1986 Donruss Highlights is a 56-card set released late in 1986. Like the previous year’s set, Highlights commemorates the events of the 1986 MLB season, as well as players and pitchers of the month from each league. The set was distributed in its own red, white, blue, and gold box along with a small Hank Aaron puzzle. The design is identical to that of the 1986 Donruss set except that the borders are in gold instead of blue, and the fronts of each card has a glossy coating. Some cards exist that have the word Highlights written in white instead of yellow. No further information about these white-letter variations is available at this time, however, they appear to be rare.
Along with finishing up the 2013 Topps Series Two set (I got distracted late last year) I am going to start putting together the 2014 Topps Series One set. I bought my first Jumbo Pack (36 cards) at Wal-Mart the day they came out. Here are some of the highlights from that first pack –
BASE SET CARDS
#267 Ryan Vogelsong, San Francisco Giants
Ht: 6’4″ Wt: 215 Throws: Right Bats: Right
Born: 7-27-77, Charlotte, NC Home: Atglen, PA
Drafted: Giants #5-June, 1988 Acq: Free Agent, 1-14-11
For those that do not read the back of the cards – Ryan supplied one of the great October performances in 2012. He went 3-0 with a 1.09 ERA, including an NLCS victory in which he was the first Giants pitcher since 1924 to rap a postseason extra-base hit.
ROOKIE FACT: 62 percent of Ryan’s pitches in 2000 were strikes.
#136 Will Middlebrooks, Boston Red Sox
Ht: 6’3″ Wt: 220 Bats: Right Throws: Right
Born: 9-9-88, Greenville, TX Home: Texarkana, TX
Drafted: Red Sox #5-June, 2007 Acq: Via Draft
For those that do not read the back of the cards – Will put together some monstrous games in 2103 – a sign of things to come for the young masher. In one, he came up with three homers; in another, he drove in seven runs with a grand slam and a three-run trip.
ROOKIE FACT: Will tied a record with 9 RBI in his first four Major League games.
#56 Taijuan Walker, Seattle Mariners
Ht: 6’4″ Wt: 210 Throws: Right Bats: Right
Born: 8-13-92, Shreveport, LA
Drafted: Mariners #1-June, 2010
For those that do not read the back of the cards – Roughly 40 friends and family members turned out for Taijuan’s first Major League start at Houston on August 30, 2013, and he did not disappoint them. Showing off the mid-90s fastball that prompted Baseball America to name him the No. 2 prospect in the Seattle system, Walker allowed just two hits, one walk and one unearned run over five stellar innings.
ROOKIE FACT: At 21, Taijuan became the youngest Mariners pitcher to win his debut.
#133 Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox
Ht: 6’3″ Wt: 185 Bats: Right Throws: Right
Born: 10-1-92, Oranjestad, Aruba
Signed: Red Sox-2009 as Free Agent
For those that do not read the back of the cards – By the time USA Today named Xander its 2013 Minor League Player of the Year honoree in September, the affable Aruban was impressing Red Sox teammates in the Majors. “He’s a great athlete,” Dustin Pedroia says. “He’s got a ton of ability.” The slick-fielding, power-hitting Bogaerts played well enough in 18 games to make the postseason roster.
ROOKIE FACT: Xander’s 2013 promotion made him the youngest Red Sox rookie since 1972.
#281 Robbie Erlin, San Diego Padres
Ht: 5’11” Wt: 190 Throws: Left Bats: Right
Born: 10-8-90, Oakland, CA
Drafted: Rangers #3-June, 2009
For those that do not read the back of the cards – Summoned to San Diego early in 2013, Robbie warmed up for possible relief appearances three times before finally getting in a game on April 30. There was no such uncertainty near the end of the season once he’d cracked the rotation. Erlin closed the campaign with three straight quality starts, including 7 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dodgers.
ROOKIE FACT: Robbie earned his first Major League win at Toronto on June 1, 2013.
PARALLEL SET CARDS (I am not collecting the Parallel set cards so if you need these let me know.)
#192 Pedro Alvarez, Pittsburgh Pirates
Ht: 6’3″ Wt: 235 Bats: Left Throws: Right
Born: 2-6-87, Santo Domingo, D.R. Home: Bronx, NY
Drafted: Pirates #1-June, 2008 Acq: Via Draft
For those that do not read the back of the cards – Pedro led the NL in 2013 with what ESPN Home Run Tracker calls “No Doubts” – 11 long-gone bombs. There also in no doubt that the young third baseman is now among the most fearsome hitters in Baseball. Alvarez topped the League in fewest at-bats per jack and was Pittsburgh’s only player of the season to go deep in four consecutive games
ROOKIE FACT: Pedro drove in a run in seven straight games, August 4-11, 2010.
#193 Ricky Nolasco, Los Angeles Dodgers
Ht: 6’2″ Wt: 235 Throws: Right Bats: Right
Born: 12-13-82, Corona, CA Home: Rialto, CA
Drafted: Cubs #4-June, 2001 Acq: Trade with Marlins, 7-6-13
For those that do not read the back of the cards – Shoring up the rotation after his acquisition from Miami, Ricky won eight of his first nine decisions in Dodger Blue. He is one of only 10 pitchers with double-figure wins totals each of the last six years.
ROOKIE FACT: A home run off Tom Glavine was the first hot of Ricky’s career.
#15 Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
Ht: 6’3″ Wt: 245 Bats: Right Throws: Right
Born: 9-10-87, Wilmington, DE Home: The Woodlands, TX
Drafted: Diamondbacks #8-June, 2009 Acq: Via Draft
For those that do not read the back of the cards – Paul strapped his team on his back during a phenomenal 2013 campaign in which he led the League in RBI and OPS. Teammate Aaron Hill calls his work ethic “by far the best I’ve ever seen in a guy.”
ROOKIE FACT: Paul’s late tie-breaking triple on 9-23-11 clinched the NL West Division.
#221 Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins
Ht: 5’11” Wt: 190 Bats: Right Throws: Right
Born: 5-15-87, Tupelo, MS Home: Fulton, MS
Drafted: Twins #8-June, 2009 Acq: Via Draft
For those that do not read the back of the cards – Brian crafted a marvelous transition from shortstop in 2013, leading AL players at all positions in assists with 461 – fifth most ever by a Twins second sacker. His 18 homers were second among AL keystoners
ROOKIE FACT: Brian came up with at least one hit in 14 of his first 18 MLB games.
1989 TOPPS DIE CUT MINIS
#TM-49 Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
Ht: 6’2″ Wt: 230 Bats: Left Throws: Right
Born: 10-16-92, Las Vegas, NV Home: Las Vegas, NV
Drafted: Nationals #1-June, 2010 Acq: Via Draft
For those that do not read the back of the cards – In 2009, Bryce launched the longest home run ever hit inside Tropicana Field – a drive that would have measured 502 feet had it not hit the back wall of the dome. He was 16 years old. By 20, Harper had twice been named to the NL All-Star Team.
THE FUTURE IS NOW
For those that do not read the back of the cards – A “Welcome to the Majors” Moment: On May 3, 2012, Bryce was the youngest three-hole hitter in the Major Leagues since Andruw Jones in 1996. Harper embraced the challenge by driving in the winning run with a double in Washington’s 2-1 defeat of Arizona.
#UC-9 Roberto Clemente, Pittsburgh Pirates
For those that do not read the back of the cards – Rookie Season Superlatives: Hit safely in his first seven and 17 of his first 19 games . . . Tagged 11 triples – the first of nine times would reach double figures . . . Went 5-5 with three doubles, 5/29/55 vs/ Phillies . . . Logged 18 outfield assists (second in NL).
More packs coming soon!
One of the bigger snubs from the 1985 Topps Olympic Baseball team was Will Clark (read on to see who the other snubs were). The Clark card pictured on the left is a USA Olympic Sponsor Card according to the back. Not sure who produced them or when they were produced, I came across this one on eBay and purchased it for relatively cheap. If anybody knows more about these cards it I would love to hear about it.
In the hectic exhibition schedule (35 games in 33 cities in 39 days) leading up to the 1984 Olympic Games, Clark batted .393 with 13 home runs and 35 runs batted in. During the 5 game pool play and medal rounds, Clark went 9-21 (.429 – led team in average and hits) with 5 runs (tied for team lead), 2 doubles (tied for team lead), 3 home runs (tied for team lead) and 8 runs batted in (led team). He showed up on most of the Olympic offensive leader boards, tied for 3rd in runs (5), tied for 2nd in hits (9), tied for 1st in home runs (3) and tied for 2nd in runs batted in (8). The United States went 4-0 in the White Division pool and won their semi-final game 5-2 against Korea. In the final game against Japan, the USA team lost 6-3 with Clark going 0-4.
1985 Topps Olympic Baseball Team Cards
#389 – Rod Dedeaux (Head Coach)
#390 – Sid Akins (P)
#391 – Flavio Alfaro (SS)
#392 – Don August (P)
#393 – Scott Bankhead (P)
#394 – Bob Caffrey (C)
#395 – Mike Dunne (P)
#396 – Gary Green (SS)
#397 – John Hoover (P)
#398 – Shane Mack (LF/RF)
#399 – John Marzano (C)
#400 – Oddibe McDowell (CF)
#401 – Mark McGwire (1B)
#402 – Pat Pacillo (P)
#403 – Cory Snyder (OF)
#404 – Billy Swift (P)
Olympic Baseball Team members who did not receive a 1985 Topps card include Will Clark, Chris Gwynn, Barry Larkin, B.J. Surhoff and Bobby Witt. In the 1985 MLB Amateur Draft the first four players chosen were B.J. Surhoff (Brewers), Will Clark (Giants), Bobby Witt (Rangers) and Barry Larkin (Reds) with Chris Gwynn (Dodgers) drafted at the #10 spot. All five of these players had careers that lasted 10 + years. There were also some notable players cut just prior to the Olympics including Ken Caminiti, Norm Charltom and Greg Swindell.
Welcome to The Will Clark Project. I started another blog called Back in the Card Game last year, family and work took over and time for that site dwindled. I have moved on from BitCG and decided to go in another direction and concentrate on collecting my all-time favorite player. I will have a few other side projects, Milestone Collections, San Francisco Giants team collections (concentrating on Topps) and collecting the current Topps set and working my way back.
My favorite player growing up in the 1980’s was San Francisco Giants’ first baseman Will Clark. Clark attended Mississippi State University and played for the 1984 U.S.A. Olympic Team (where I first saw him) before being drafted by the Giants in the 1985 amateur draft and making his major league debut in 1986. He was the main player I collected in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s before giving up on the hobby but since getting back into it last year I have started to add the many, many cards I was missing from my original collection and the ones that have come out since then.