Thursday, September 29, 2011

2002 UD Piece of History - First Complete Page of Phenoms

Today marks a milestone in my quest to collect all of the 2002 UD Piece of History Phenoms. The Phenoms subset was a short printed insert set in this set. All of the Phenoms were serial numbered cards with print runs of either 625 or 950. Either way they are not as readily available as the base set cards. Today I filled out my first page in the ring binder. Only thirteen more pages to go.

I now have all three of the Phenom cards for Corey Thurman, Reed Johnson and Gustavo Chacin. I have already posted about Thurman and Chacin and will complete the posts for with one about Reed Johnson within a few days.

2002 UD Pice of History - Phenom #103 Doug DeVore

Doug DeVore was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 12th round of the 1999 MLB Draft. He had just concluded his junior year at Indiana University, where he hit .360 with 19 HR and 65 RBIs. DeVore was also named to the All Big Ten team. His university time is of interest to me because I am an Indiana University graduate. Of course, I graduated from IU about seven years before DeVore was born.

Doug Devore made his major league debut on May 6, 2004. During 2004, he split his time between the Diamondbacks and Tucson of the PCL. He played 61 games for Tucson hitting .269 with 14 HR and 43 RBIs. With the Diamondbacks he appeared in 50 games hitting .224 with 3 HR and 13 RBIs. Devore did not play in the major leagues after 2004 but played in the minor leagues through 2006.

More recently he has been playing in the Columbus (Ohio) Men’s Senior Baseball League.

Friday, September 23, 2011

2002 UD Piece of History Phenom #94 Corey Thurman

Corey Thurman was a 4th round pick of the Kansas City Royals in 1996. Thurman has played in 14 minor league seasons for many different teams. In 2002, Thurman played the entire season with the Toronto Blue Jays as a relief pitcher. He also played for Toronto during part of the 2003 season. During his short major league career, Thurman appeared in 49 games with a record of 3 wins and 4 losses. His major league ERA was 4.75.

Thurman played for several different major league organizations through 2007 but has not appeared in the majors since 2003. In 2008, Thurman joined the York Revolution in the Atlantic Independent League. It seems that he has found a home in York. He has become a fan favorite and an effective pitcher for the Revolution. In 2011, Thurman was second in the league in Wins (13), Strikeouts (111) and ERA (3.33). He was selected to the league all star team and was the starting pitcher for the Revolution in the Divisional Playoff series against the Lancaster Barnstormers. He tossed 5 2/3 innings in the playoff game but did not get a decision. York came from behind in the last two innings to win the game 3-2.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Childhood Memories

I think I will take a day off from the 2002 Piece of History set and write about the card that I got at the Redford, MI card show Sunday. I have been looking for this card off and on for several years because for me it represents collecting baseball cards during my childhood. I would guess that most of us have particular baseball cards that are more meaningful and that bring back strong memories of our childhood.

Like many of us, I am in my second round of baseball card collecting. My first collecting period began about 1955 and lasted until about 1963. If I had known back then what I know now, I certainly would have kept all those Mickey Mantle cards in mint condition. I remember having multiple copies of the 1957 and 1958 Mickey Mantle cards. I gave all of my baseball cards away when I was no longer interested in collecting.

But when I think back to my childhood baseball card collecting days, there is one card that brings back strong memories. Memories for me are of buying packs of cards at Ollie Limp’s Hilltop Grocery in Delphi, Indiana and sitting on the porch at David Issac’s house trading cards and playing Ed-U-Card baseball games.

The card that brings back these memories is a 1955 Topps card - #57 – Billy O’Dell. I am not sure why this card is so meaningful. Billy O’Dell was not a major star. The 1955 card is actually his rookie card. The Baltimore Orioles were not my favorite team. In those days I liked the Chicago White Sox. He was not even from my home state of Indiana. O’Dell lived in Newberry, SC. I clearly remember having this card and liking it even back in the 1950’s.

Billy O’Dell was the Orioles first “Bonus Baby” signing for a huge sum of $12,500 in 1954. O’Dell never played in the minor leagues. After playing in 7 games in 1954, O’Dell spent most of 1955 and 1956 in the military. After returning from the military in late 1956, O’Dell was a solid pitcher for the Orioles, Giants, Braves and Pirates in a career that lasted until 1967. He won 105 games while losing 100 during his career.

Now that I have this card, I think I will frame it and hang it on the wall of my baseball room.

Friday, September 16, 2011

2002 UD Piece of History - Early Wynn

The 2002 UD Piece of History set features about 30% Hall of Famers and other old timers.These cards are always bound to bring back memories of when I was younger. I picked several of the cards that have the strongest memories to post over the next several days. The first card that I selected is #10 Early Wynn.

Early Wynn was one of baseball's most feared pitchers. Wynn learned how to pitch back when pitching inside was just a basic part of the game. Mickey Mantle once said that Early Wynn was so mean that he would knock you down in the dugout.

Wynn was stubborn. He pitched for 23 years, refusing to quit until he had won his 300th game. At age 43, the Cleveland Indians signed Wynn to give him a chance to win his 300th game. After several failures, he finally won number 300 with a 5 inning outing against Kansas City.

My memories of Early Wynn are from 1959. I have posted some time ago that I was a big Luis Aparicio fan in the late 50's and early 60's. In 1959, Aparicio and the White Sox won the AL pennant and went to the World Series against the Dodgers. Early Wynn was the stopper for the White Sox that year. At the age of 39, Wynn won 22 games and was named the winner of the Cy Young Award. He shut the Dodgers out in game 1 of the series but his arm stiffened and he was not effective during the rest of the Series. I will always remember Early Wynn as a part of the magical Go-Go-Sox in 1959.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

2002 Pice of History Insert Set - 500 HR Club

The 2002 Upper Deck Piece of History set had several insert sets that are quite interesting. Each of the insert sets followed along with the historical theme. The first insert set that I want to talk about is the 500 Home Run Club set. The front of the cards in this insert set showed an picture of the player. 8 of the nine pictures showed the player‘s home run swing. The only exception is the picture of Jimmie Foxx. The back of each card featured a short home run history of each player. This set featured 9 of the 16 members of the 500 Home Run club as of 2002.

Of course, I am always looking for Cubs cards for my collection. The 500 Home Run Club set featured one Chicago Cubs – Ernie Banks.

The other players in this insert set were Mickey Mantle, Eddie Mathews, Harmon Killebrew, Jimmie Foxx, Mark McGwire, Willie McCovey, Reggie Jackson and Mel Ott. Other members of the 500 Home Run Club that were not included in this insert set were Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Mike Schmidt, Ted Williams, Barry Bonds and Eddie Murray.

Monday, September 12, 2011

2002 UD Piece of History Phenom - #115 Jamie Cerda

Jamie Cerda was a left handed relief pitcher for the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals. He played parts of four seasons in the majors. Cerda debuted on June 28, 2002 for the Mets. In his debut, Cerda pitched 1 2/3 innings in an 11 to 5 loss to the Yankees. Cerda faced 5 batters in his initial outing. He did not allow a hit and struck out three in the game.

During Cerda’s short career, he compiled a 3 W and 9 loss record with a 4.26 ERA. He pitched in 132 games and logged 122 2/3 innings. In addition, he collected 2 saves.

Cerda was traded to the Royals in January of 2004 for Shawn Sedlacek. He appeared in 73 games with the Royals before he was selected off of waivers by the Rockies. He was later signed as a free agent by the Mariners but never played in the majors for either the Rockies or the Mariners.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

2002 UD Piece of History Phenom - #120 Cliff Bartosh

Cliff Bartosh was a left-handed pitcher who played for the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs. He was originally selected by the Padres in the 1998 Baseball Draft.

His debut was on May 15, 2004 for the Indians. During 2004, Bartosh played in 34 games for the Indians. He posted a record of 1-0 with and ERA of 4.66 during 2004. He only logged 19 1/3 innings of work as he generally was brought in to face only one or two batters.

He was traded to the Cubs in 2005 for Ronald (Bear) Bay. The Cubs were looking for one more lefty for the bullpen with this trade. Bartosh proved not to be the answer for the Cubs as he posted an 0-2 record with a 5.49 ERA. After appearing in 19 games, Bartosh was sent to the AAA Iowa club and did not play in the majors after June 18, 2005.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

2002 UD Piece of History Phenom - Gustavo Chacin

I currently have 4 different complete sets of Phenoms from the 2002 UD Piece of History set. Each complete set includes three different serial numbered cards.

The first complete Phenom set features Gustavo Chacin. Gustavo Chacin is #96 in the 2002 Upper Deck 21st Century Phenom set. In 2002, Gustavo was in the Toronto Blue Jay organization. He was signed as a free agent by the Blue Jays in 1998. He worked his way up through the Blue Jay organization and made his MLB debut on September 20, 2004. Chacin started 2 games for the Blue Jays and finished 2004 with a MLB record of 1 win and 1 loss. His best year for the Blue Jays was 2005. He started 34 games and pitched 203 innings. His record for 2005 was 13 wins and 9 losses with an ERA of 3.72. He played in the Toronto organization through 2008 when he was granted free agency.

Chacin’s career seemed to start in a downward direction after he was arrested in Tampa for DUI. Since then he has been in the Nationals, Phillies and Astro organizations. He appeared in 44 games as a reliever for the Astros in 2010. The Astros released him in July 2011 and he was immediately signed by the Mets. The Mets assigned him to their AAA Buffalo team. 2011 has been a rough year for Chacin. He has a minor league record of 3 wins and 7 losses with an ERA of 6.39.

As a side note, I saw Chacin pitch on August 24 of this year. I was at a Toledo Mudhens game. Toledo was playing the Buffalo Bisons and Chacin was brought in as a relief pitcher. Apparently, that night was typical of his 2011 season. He pitched 1 1/3 innings and gave up a grand slam home run to Danny Worth. Worth’s HR gave the Mudhens the victory and Chacin got a blown save for his work.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

2002 Upper Deck Piece of History

I think it is interesting that some baseball sets may be a favorite to one person while another person may completely dislike the same set. One baseball card set that has always been a favorite of mine is the 1975 Topps set. This set features bright colors leading to a party like atomsphere. The 1975 Topps set is a favorite of many people.

Another set that has been a favorite of mine is the 2002 Upper Deck Piece of History. This set has a very serious and professional look. It is a small set with just 90 cards in the base set with 42 additional cards that are a subset of rookies called 21st Century Phenoms. The first 90 cards in the set feature a nice mix of current (2002) players and some old timers. There are 10 short printed cards among the first 90 cards.

The Phenoms sub set features 42 different players each with 3 serial numbered cards. Two these phenom cards came in hobby boxes and were numbered to 625. The third card came in retail boxes and was numbered to 950.

To build a complete master set of the Piece of History set, one must collect the entire 90 cards of current and old timers including the 10 short prints. Then to collect all of the Phenom cards one must assemble an additional 126 cards.

Of course, I was originally just collecting the Cubs in the base set. This include 4 cards including one SP. The Cubs in this set include Billy Williams, Andre Dawson, Ernie Banks and the SP, Sammy Sosa.

As time goes on I will talk more about this set. It also has several interesting insert sets and jersey -jersey/autograph variations of the insert sets. It is still possible to get reasonably priced boxes of these cards.

I currently have 67 of the 126 different Phenom cards. I am actively working on the 59 Phenom cards that I am missing. I plan to use this blog to track my progress on completing the entire Phenom set. All in all, the 2002 UD Piece of History set is a fun and challenging set to collect.