Tag Archives: 2004

Ryan Zimmerman GU, Auto, and Chrome Collection Part 1

This is by no means a comprehensive posting of my collection of Zimmerman GU & Autos, just to let you know up front. These are all treasured pieces to my collection, so I thought I’d start collecting them all into a series of ongoing posts. I think I’ll do one for Jordan Zimmermann soon, as well.

2004 SP National Honors

2006 Topps Chrome Blue

2006 eTopps

2006 Upper Deck Special F/ X Materials

2007 Upper Deck Artifacts

2007 Upper Deck Exquisite

2010 Triple Threads

2010 Topps Tribute

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Trades with Rhubarb Runner and BA Benny

Apologies guys for combining both trades into one post, but I’ve run late on this one long enough. My first trade was with Rhubarb Runner from e Reyhahn, Reyhahn, a blog I’ve enjoyed for quite awhile now. He contacted me with a trade proposal, and we worked something out, with an eye toward a future, larger trade, I hope (the holiday season is just kicking me around timewise). Here’s a sample of what he sent!


2009 Topps Traded Gold


Very cool, goes straight into the Zim collection. I dig it.


2009 Topps Gold


And then here’s that OTHER Zim. I’m always happy to get Jordan’s cards, and I like this one a lot – I feel the photo works a lot better with the gold borders than the white ones.


2010 Topps Opening Day Blue


I think this was my first Opening Day blue card for this year, and I like it a lot. I may try to collect the entire team set.

And the centerpiece of the trade on my end. Everts never really panned out to be much, but I’ve been trying to get his autograph and GU for awhile now; I like obtaining stuff like this from obscure players almost as much as the All Stars, and it’s a nice addition to the collection. Thanks, David! I still plan to dig through that

Okay, now to Mike’s trade. Mike, of course, runs BA Benny’s Baseball Card Buffet and Pack Rip Cafe, both of which are great blogs worth checking out. This was actually our second trade, a follow-up to our previous trade. This began when I saw he had broken a box of 2010 Topps Update and scored some Nationals and Senators that I wanted. Let’s look at the targets first:


2010 Topps Traded Gold


Well, duh. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to part with this one, but I appreciate that he did. It’s definitely going to occupy a cherished spot in my collection, especially as it has both Stras and Zim on the same card. Very cool.

That coloring job is horrific, but I will always ALWAYS want a card with The Big Train on it. Walter Johnson was the man.


Original Back


I’ll also always want cards with Killebrew as a National/Senator. He was in Washington for such a brief time that these cards, even reprints, are always a treat.

There were a few other update cards, but that was the core of what I wanted. Of course, it wouldn’t be a trade without a few throw-ins, and he threw in a LOT of cards. My favorite, and what turned out to be my favorite of the package even ahead of the Strasburg, is this:

Detwiler will likely not become much, but this is cool because I have the non-gold edition of this card…putting the gold next to the regular is incredibly sweet. Like I said, sometimes it’s not about the player’s star power; there are lots of other factors.

1999 Bowman Chrome International

The 98 and 99 Bowman Chrome International cards are AWESOME, and this one is no exception.

2006 Topps Own the Game

2006 Topps Stars

A couple of cool 06 Topps inserts.

2006 Topps Trading Places

Another insert that seemed highly appropriate next to Soriano.

2007 Bowman Heritage Refractor/Rainbow

Are these refractors or rainbow cards? I’m never quite sure. Either way, love the set, and I like Jesus Flores. I keep holding out hope he’s not injured again.

There was a lot more stuff, but this is all I really have room for. Thanks a lot, guys! I hope you enjoy what I sent your way.


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Expos and Nationals All-Bust Teams 5: The Showdown – Pitchers

Pitchers present a special problem, as the MLe calculator does not work for pitching stats, so I decided to just compare stats from a comparable level (i.e., A-ball, AA-Ball, etc.). It’s not as precise but it’s the best I can do.

Clint Everts Vs. Josh Smoker

Everts numbers (A Ball, Sally League): 17 G, 7-3, 2.49 ERA, 90.1 IP, 1 SH, 21 BB, 103 K

Smoker numbers (A Ball, Sally League): 23G, 3-10, 7.07 ERA, 84.0 IP, 50 BB, 82 K

I think we know who wins this one.


Clint Everts

Tavo Alvarez Vs. Colton Willems

Alvarez numbers (A Ball, Sally League): 25 G, 12-10, 2.49 ERA, 152.2 IP, 1 SH, 58 BB, 158 K

Willems numbers (A Ball, Sally League): 20G, 5-9, 3.70 ERA, 109.0 IP, 31 BB, 60 K

Another clear-cut winner. Wow, didn’t realize Alvarez was that good.


Tavo Alvarez

B.J. Wallace Vs. Mike Hinckley

Wallace numbers (A Ball, Florida State League): 25 G, 11-8, 3.28 ERA, 137.1 IP, 65 BB, 126 K

Hinckley numbers (A Ball, Carolina League): 28 G, 6-8, 5.52 ERA, 148 IP, 63 BB, 79 K

Wow, didn’t expect Wallace to win this one. Who knows what could have happened with him if he hadn’t gotten injured?


B.J. Wallace

Josh Girdley Vs. Glenn Gibson

Girdley numbers (A Ball, New York Penn League): 14 G, 5-0, 2.94 ERA, 79.1 IP, 28 BB, 70 K

Gibson numbers (A Ball, New York Penn League): 12 G, 4-3, 3.10 ERA, 58.0 IP, 15  BB, 58 K

Finally, one that’s a little closer. I’m going to give Gibson the edge for having a much lower WHIP, though (1.069 to 1.109).


Glenn Gibson

Don Levinski Vs. Yunior Novoa

Levinski numbers (A Ball, Midwest League): 21 G, 12-6, 3.02 ERA, 1 SH, 119 IP, 55 BB, 125 K

Novoa numbers (A Ball, Sally League): 25 G, 5-12, 4.22 ERA, 117.1 IP, 35 BB, 94  K

Novoa has slightly better control, but I think we know who wins here.


Don Levinski

Nate Minchey Vs. Zech Zinicola

Minchey numbers (A Ball, Midwest League): 28 G, 11-12, 4.79 ERA, 150 IP, 87 BB, 63 K

Zinicola numbers (A-AA): 27 G, 4-1, 1.65 ERA, 32.2 IP, 15 BB, 31  K

Tough comparison here, as the smaller sample size of IP for Zinicola will give him an edge, but I’m still going to give it to him for superior control, if nothing else.


Zech Zinicola

So the Expos win this round, but I suspect there’s the same effect as the outfield going on here…with the high level of success in Nationals pitchers the chaff tends to really be the chaff. Not to mention that with what we know about pitching injuries now, there’s less flameout physically.

Thus, our final team:

  • 1B: Larry Broadway
  • 2B: Henry Mateo
  • SS: Hiram Bocachica
  • 3B: Boi Rodriguez
  • C: Nelson Santovenia
  • OF: Justin Maxwell
  • OF: Frank Diaz
  • OF: Kory Casto
  • SP: Clint Everts
  • SP: Tavo Alvarez
  • SP: B.J. Wallace
  • SP: Glenn Gibson
  • RP: Don Levinski
  • RP: Zech Zinicola

The Expos end up with eight representatives and the Nationals six. I’m not sure which team comes out as superior, then, but it’s at least an interesting exercise. Hope you’ve enjoyed it; one of these days I’ll compare the best on both teams, but we’ll save that for another week.

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Expos and Nationals All-Bust Teams 4: The Showdown – Outfield and Catcher


Glenn Murray Vs. Justin Maxwell

Murray Mle numbers (best season): 19 hr, .195 BA, .226 OBP, .375 SLG

Maxwell Mle Numbers (best season): 17 hr, .213 BA, .264 OBP, .373 SLG

Murray has the slightest of edges in power, but Maxwell wins out on BA and OBP and has a higher OPS, especially weighted toward OBP.


Justin Maxwell


Chris Schwab Vs. Frank Diaz

Schwab Mle numbers (best season): 5 hr, .194 BA, .250 OBP, .312 SLG

Diaz Mle Numbers (best season): 10 hr, .230 BA, .246 OBP, .349 SLG

The OBP is close, but Diaz has a clear advantage in BA and SLG. I think this one’s obvious.


Frank Diaz


Josh McKinley Vs. Kory Casto

McKinley Mle numbers (best season): 11 hr, .203 BA, .261 OBP, .315 SLG

Casto Mle Numbers (best season): 14 hr, .217 BA, .289 OBP, .361 SLG

Clear-cut victor here. Casto’s numbers are better in every category.


Kory Casto


Nelson Santovenia Vs. Erick San Pedro

Santovenia Mle numbers (best season): 14 hr, .231 BA, .290 OBP, .369 SLG

San Pedro Mle Numbers (best season): 0 hr, .138 BA, .172 OBP, .181 SLG

When I said San Pedro was terrible, I meant it. Santovenia keeps the Nationals from sweeping this entry.


Nelson Santovenia

1989 Toys R Us Rookies

I was surprised that the Nationals overall won in the outfield, but when I think about it, most of the great Expos outfield prospects actually made an impact in the majors, so the chaff wasn’t that great. Here’s how things are shaping up now:

So, let’s look at how our combined team’s infield is shaping up:

  • 1B: Larry Broadway
  • 2B: Henry Mateo
  • SS: Hiram Bocachica
  • 3B: Boi Rodriguez
  • C: Nelson Santovenia
  • OF: Justin Maxwell
  • OF: Frank Diaz
  • OF: Kory Casto

So we’re all tied up with four representatives each.  Tomorrow we’ll finish things off with the pitchers and look at our franchise all-bust team.


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Expos and Nationals All-Bust Teams 3: The Showdown – Infield

Okay, so I had to figure out a way to weight these players against each other, given that the older players had more of a chance to pick up some WAR in the majors. So I decided that taking the overall minor league numbers and putting them through a major league equivalency converter would be the best answer. So, let’s take a look…


Thomas Pittman Vs. Larry Broadway

Pittman Mle numbers (best season): 12 hr, .195 BA, .216 OBP, .302 SLG

Broadway Mle Numbers (best season): 11 hr, .194 BA, .253 OBP, .320 SLG

I’m surprised it was as close as it was. The HR and BA are virtually identical, but Broadway has a slight edge in OBP and SLG. Even more interesting is that both of their best seasons were played in the Sally league. So Broadway wins…but it’s not a clear-cut victory.


Larry Broadway


Henry Mateo Vs. Seth Bynum

Mateo Mle numbers (best season): 3 hr, .209 BA, .245 OBP, .272 SLG

Bynum Mle Numbers (best season): 15 hr, .189 BA, .234 OBP, .325 SLG

Whew. That’s almost a push. Bynum has the advantage in power, but falters greatly when it comes to the batting average and OBP. I’m going to give Mateo the slight edge for his speed and stolen bases.


Henry Mateo


Hiram Bocachica Vs. Esmailyn Gonzalez/Carlos Lugo

Bocachica Mle numbers (best season): 14 hr, .263 BA, .331 OBP, .453 SLG

Gonzalez/Lugo Mle Numbers (best season): 2 hr, .228 BA, .275 OBP, .302 SLG

Easy victory.


Hiram Bocachica


Boi Rodriguez vs. Jake Smolinski

Rodriguez Mle numbers (best season): 8 hr, .187 BA, .239 OBP, .307 SLG

Smolinski Mle Numbers (best season): 4 hr, .188 BA, .241 OBP, .280 SLG

Wow, they’re pretty close to the same player, but Rodriguez had a little more power, so he gets the nod.


Boi Rodriguez

So, let’s look at how our combined team’s infield is shaping up:

  • 1B: Larry Broadway
  • 2B: Henry Mateo
  • SS: Hiram Bocachica
  • 3B: Boi Rodriguez

The Expos are solidly beating the Nationals so far in the infield. Tomorrow we’ll examine how the outfielders and catchers stack up.

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Expos and Nationals All-Bust Teams 2: All-Failure Nationals

Okay, so we’re back for da sequel! A reminder of the rules:

The guidelines for this battle:

  • Player must have either been a hyped player or selected in the first three rounds.
  • Not going for a full 25-man staff. Five starting pitchers, but max three relievers. They’re already kind of failed prospects in some respect as most are converted starters.
  • I don’t have to own the key cards (yet). In fact, some may not be available. But I will make an effort to obtain them.

On with the show…

  • 1B: Larry Broadway – How I did not want to call Larry a failed prospect. I tried and tried to avoid it, but in the end, I have to admit it. I blame the Nationals for his status, though. They frittered away a guy who consistently OPSed 800+ in the minors, never even giving him a shot. Makes me sad. Key Card –2002 Bowman Draft Gold

  • 2B: Seth Bynum – I covered Seth as a prospect last year, but I think we can officially say he’s a failed prospect. Sigh. Key Card – 2008 Bowman Chrome

  • SS: Esmailyn Gonzalez/Carlos Lugo – This guy is a can of worms and represents the worst of the Bowden era. His numbers would be great for a teenager in A-ball, but he’s much older than that. Key Card – 2008 Bowman Chrome Prospects

  • 3B: Jake Smolinski – I meant to cover this guy forever, but never got around to it. He’s now in the Florida system and has never developed power or even made it past A-ball as a 21-year old. He could theoretically still develop, but as a Nats prospect, he’s a goner. Key Card – 2008 Tristar Auto

  • C: Erick San Pedro – A 2004 second rounder, I’m not sure how much was ever expected of Erick, but he never lived up to being a second rounder, barely struggling to stay above the mendoza line in the minors and having absolutely zero power. He’s currently in the White Sox system. Key Card –2004 SP Prospects Link to the Future Dual Autographs

  • OF: Justin Maxwell – It looked for awhile like Justin might be a serviceable fourth outfielder, but I’m ready to call him a bust after this year. He looks sunk out there in the field, and he can’t hit water falling out of a boat. At 26, he’s just not going to get any better. Key Card – 2008 Upper Deck Premiere Gold Auto

  • OF: Frank Diaz – I lump Frank in with Larry Broadway, another player who was a victim of the organization. I know these sorts of injustices happen, but it’s frustrating. I covered him in May of 2009. Key Card – 2005 Bowman Draft Futures Game Used Relic

  • OF: Kory Casto – Poor Kory. He looked like he was going to be another organizational victim, but then he just looked completely inept once he got his shot. Overmatched in every sense of the word, he ended up posting a career 43 OPS+. He’s currently playing in the Arizona system. Key Card – 2004 Topps Chrome Auto

  • SP: Josh Smoker – Okay, this might be a little premature, as he’s only 21, but he hasn’t shown much in the minors. And I write this having ordered both his autographed card and Colton Willems’ autographed cards yesterday. I’ll just say that so far his career BB/9 is 4.4. Sure, his k/9 is 8.0, but given that he hasn’t even hit high-A yet, I’m not optimistic. Key Card – 2008 Bowman Chrome Prospects Auto (this is the one I ordered)

  • SP: Colton Willems – Willems has possibly been worse than Smoker. He was okay up until 2009, when his ERA and WHIP blew up. There had been some warning signs previous to that, with a high WHIP and H/9 despite his relatively low ERA. He does seem to have better control than Smoker, but I’m going to guess his velocity is much lower and he isn’t able to compensate with his other pitches. I’d be very surprised if he ever makes it to DC. Key Card – 2007 Bowman’s Best Prospects Gold Auto (also ordered this)

  • SP: Mike Hinckley – Mike got as high as #29 on the Baseball America Prospects list (2005), but he has only had a cup of coffee at the majors so far. Everything seemed to fall apart that year, as he went back to A ball from AA and faltered at Potomac. Since then, his bb/9 increased and SO/BB dropped dramatically. I don’t know what happened, but he’s bounced from the Washington system to the Texas system to Baltimore. Will he ever make it full-time in the majors? Who knows, but he’s 27 now, well past prospect status. Key Card – 2003 Bowman’s Best auto

  • SP: Glenn Gibson – Glenn and Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler were the 2008 version of Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen. Their careers have taken wildly divergent paths, but Glenn got dealt to the Rays in 2008 before returning to Washington this year. He’s only 22 still, but his SO/BB has been incredibly bad so far his career, and he’s looked nowhere near where people thought he would be; he hasn’t even made it out of A ball. Disappointing. Key Card – 2007 Bowman Heritage Signs of Greatness

  • SP: Yunior Novoa Yunior was a ballyhooed international signing by the Chicago White Sox who ended up in the Nationals system in 2006, showing some flashes of brilliance. I think he may eventually end up in the majors, but he really needs to get his WHIP down before he can make it. Key Card – 2008 Choice

  • RP: Zech Zinicola -I covered Zech as a prospect back in May 2009. At the time I was hopeful he would be a contributor as a Nationals reliever one day. Since then, he’s been mediocre to downright awful, and while he may eventually make it, I don’t think he’ll ever be a star reliever. Key Card – 2007 Justifiable Autograph

  • RP: Josh Wilkie – Josh was another highly-touted reliever who actually hasn’t done badly in the minors, but for whatever reason has not made the majors yet and missed his window. Key Card – 2009 Harrisburg Senators Team Card

    That’s our all-failure Nationals team. Let’s recap:

    1. 1B: Lance Broadway (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    2. 2B: Seth Bynum – (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    3. SS: Esmailyn Gonzalez/Carlos Lugo – (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    4. 3B: Jake Smolinski – (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    5. C: Erick San Pedro – (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    6. OF: Justin Maxwell – (Made majors as a National) Career WAR: 0.2
    7. OF: Frank Diaz -(Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    8. OF: Kory Casto – (Made majors as a National) Career WAR: -1.8
    9. SP: Josh Smoker – (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    10. SP: Colton Willems – (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    11. SP: Mike Hinckley – (Made majors as a National) Career WAR: 0.7
    12. SP: Glenn Gibson – (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    13. SP: Yunior Novoa – (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    14. RP: Zech Zinicola – (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    15. RP: Josh Wilkie – (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0

    Wow, I did not expect Mike Hinckley to be the star of this team. Maybe the guy will live in the majors yet.

    Next we’ll compare these two teams head-to-head. Looking at career ML WAR isn’t really fair, since a lot of these guys are younger and haven’t had a chance to make it. I have a different plan.

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    Expos and Nationals All-Bust Teams 1: All-Failure Expos

    This is an idea that’s been kicking around in the back of my head for awhile, and, as I’ve now reached the 500th post, I thought it was time to do something special.

    My plan is to separate the two eras, as it wasn’t fair to either team to lump them together. Entry 1 is the Expos; Entry 2 the Nationals; Entry 3 a Battle Royale determining who is the “better” (worse) failed prospect. When that’s done, I’m going to try to acquire some of these key rookie cards that I don’t already have.

    The guidelines for this battle:

    • Player must have either been a hyped player or selected in the first three rounds.
    • Not going for a full 25-man staff. Five starting pitchers, but max three relievers. They’re already kind of failed prospects in some respect as most are converted starters.
    • I don’t have to own the key cards (yet). In fact, some may not be available. But I will make an effort to obtain them.

    Without further ado…

    • 1B: Thomas Pittman – A Supplemental first rounder in 1997, Pittman was a high school first baseman who started with a .152/.264/.196 line in rookie ball and never progressed past High A. His career ended in 2001 with a .244/.301/.373 line. Yuck. Key Card: 1996 Roox Prep Stars. I was unable to find a picture of Pittman, so here’s a sample Roox Prep Star card.

    • 2B: Henry Mateo – He was seen as the heir apparent at 2B in Montreal behind Jose Vidro. I don’t think he was ever seen as a phenom or anything like that, but the thought was that he would be a serviceable middle infield guy, and it didn’t pan out. Not a giant disappointment like some of these other guys, just a mild blip. Key Card: 2004 Upper Deck pro Sigs auto

    • SS: Hiram Bocachica – Boy, did this guy have high hopes behind him. I’ve already covered him. Key Card: 1997 Bowman Chrome.

    • 3B: Boi Rodriguez – My description of Rodriguez when I reviewed 1990 Best: “Boi Rodriguez was someone who could do a convincing impersonation of a prospect, but never really hit enough to get a cup of coffee in the majors. It also didn’t help that as a corner infielder he never slugged above .446 in full-time action.” Key Card: going with the 1990 Best card here.

    • C: Nelson Santovenia – Hard to believe, but this guy was a touted prospect at one point. I always thought of him as a guy who took up space in my junk wax packs, but he was a highly drafted catcher that just never lived up to the space Gary Carter left. Key Card: 1991 Topps Desert Shield

    • OF: Glenn Murray – Another guy I’ve already talked about. Key Card: 1995 Signature Rookies Auto

    • OF: Chris Schwab – Chris was the very first failed prospect covered on NatsTown! You can view his story here. Key Card: 1994 Bowman

    • OF: Josh McKinley – Another one I’ve already covered: “McKinley was the Expos’ first choice in the 1998 draft, so big things were expected of the guy. It seems he was a pretty well-regarded amateur player who played with Austin Kearns and Michael Cuddyer in the 1997 World Junior Championships. Unfortunately, it seems that he couldn’t hit in the minors. At all. His highest OPS was a SLG-heavy .834 in 2003.” Key Card: 2004-05 USA Baseball National Team Alumni Sig

    • SP: Clint Everts –Everts was picked in the 2002 draft ahead of Prince Fielder, Scott Kazmir, Nick Swisher, Zack Grienke, Cole Hamels, and Matt Cain, just to name a few. To this day he has not made the major leagues. He’s still 25, so I’m sure it will happen eventually, but he amply demonstrates the risks of picking a high school pitcher so high. Key Card – 2003 Topps Blue Chips Autographs

    • SP: Tavo Alvarez – Already covered him as Failed Prospect #6. Key card- Tough choice. Nothing really stands out; ended up going with his 1993 Fleer Ultra.

    • SP: BJ WallaceFailed Prospect #17. Not sure if he was a bad choice or bad luck. Key Card- 1993 Bowman

    • SP: Josh Girdley – The failed prospect so nice, I’ve featured him twice, once as a Failed Prospect, and once as an autograph. Key Card – 1999 Topps Traded Autograph

    • RP: Don Levinski – I never even realized Don was an Expos prospect; I remember him as an Orioles relief prospect in 2004, but sure enough, he was a 2001 second-rounder who got dealt first to the Marlins, then the Orioles. I only ever had one card of him, but I saw him pitch for Frederick in 2004 during what would be the beginning of the end of his career. Key Card – 2004 Bowman’s Best auto

    • RP: Nate Minchey Failed Prospect #11. He did at least make the majors for awhile, I suppose. Key card – 1988 O-Pee-Chee Draft

    So that’s our all-failure Expos team. Let’s recap:

    1. 1B – Thomas Pittman (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    2. 2B- Henry Mateo (Made majors as Expo) Career WAR: -0.7
    3. SS- Hiram Bocachica (Made majors as Dodger) Career WAR: -1.1
    4. 3B – Boi Rodriguez (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    5. C – Nelson Santovenia (Made majors as Expo) Career WAR: 0.8
    6. OF – Glenn Murray (Made majors as Phillie) Career WAR: -0.6
    7. OF – Chris Schwab (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    8. OF – Josh McKinley (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    9. SP – Clint Everts (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    10. SP – Tavo Alvarez (Made majors as Expo) Career WAR: -0.3
    11. SP – BJ Wallace (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    12. SP – Josh Girdley (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    13. RP – Don Levinski (Never made majors) Career WAR: 0.0
    14. RP – Nate Minchey (Made majors as Red Sox) Career WAR: -1.0

    That’s right, Nelson Santovenia is the MVP of this sad squad. We’ll look at the Nationals soon.

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      Post 500: Game-Used: Livan Hernandez

      2004 Studio

      I believe this was a cheap eBay pickup late last year. I liked it then, and I love it now. Say what you will about Livan Hernandez, I’ve always liked him as an Expo, a National, and now his second stint with the Nationals. Sure he can be a garbage day pitcher, and his stats aren’t that great, but I have a fondness for him. I guess it has to do with nostalgia for that unexpected 2005 season. I also think this card is pretty cool for that hint of a blue stripe in the “1”. Would I have preferred it be in the middle? Sure, the placement could have been better, but the tease of what could be behind that carboard in the middle is kind of fun. Sometimes I wonder if I could bring myself to rip it out and just make it a normal swatch. I think not, though. My only other complaint would be that they could have shown him in the striped homes if they were going to include a striped jersey swatch. Something like this:

      I still think it’s a worthy addition to my collection, however.

      Also, this is my 500th post! I’ve decided to celebrate it with a special that will appear tonight, but I can’t believe I’ve reached this milestone and still have a long way to go. Here’s to another 500.

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      Finds From The National Part 7: The Aughts

      Good lord, even I didn’t realize how much I found at The National, and these posts are just scratching the surface, really. Let’s take a look at a sampling of the Expos and Nationals from the aughts.

      2004 Diamond Kings

      I really liked this series. I remember scooping up a bunch of these at a card shop back in 04, but the only one I can still find these days is Rafael Palmeiro. Maybe I traded some away, I don’t know. Either way, I was quite happy to find this O-Cab. The 00’s Diamond King issues were such an improvement on the ones in the 80s and 90s, there’s really no comparison. No offense to Dick Perez, but whoever was doing the art here was much better. Unless it was Perez and his style changed?

      2004 Donruss Classics

      I remember this set being lauded for its hits when I got back into collecting in 04, but I only ever managed to snag base cards. That’s fine by me, I like this design a lot. Very classy.

      2004 Topps Gallery

      04 Topps Gallery will always be near and dear to my heart because I pulled one of my favorite cards from it (I’ll be featuring it soon), and I was glad to come across an Expo from the set. They don’t quite get to the level of Upper Deck’s Masterpieces set, but I enjoy the Gallery issues nevertheless.

      Remember that 04 Just Minors set? Here are the Expos:

      2005 Sweet Spot Classic

      This is another set that I remember having great hits at the time; I have a Reggie Jackson GU from this set that I cherish, so it was cool to be able to pick up some of the base cards. I also scored a Frank Howard that I’m sure will come up sooner or later.

      2006 SI For Kids

      These remind me of the Donruss Triple Play and Upper Deck Fun Packs concept. The back is Randy Johnson making a face, with an empty balloon so the kids can make their own caption. Meh. But I didn’t have it.

      2006 SPx

      I never had any 06 SPx, so I was pleased to come across this one. There must be a Ryan Zimmerman from this set, but I haven’t found it yet. With so many other cards out there, it’s hard to prioritize it, but I’m sure I’ll find it sooner or later.

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      Finds From The National Part 5: Non-Nationals/Expos

      There’s at least one more post coming detailing my 00-10 Expos/Nationals find, but I wanted to take a break in all that to look at what else I managed to get.

      1987 Topps

      I found this in a stack of graded cards for $2.00 not far inside the door. I’ve said before that I’m generally not a fan of the whole graded card phenomenon, but I have to admit seeing this absolutely perfect specimen of a card from my childhood (and it is damn fine, I’ve never seen one like this) was enough to get me to plunk down a couple of dollars. Palmeiro’s career is one of the greatest disappointments of my baseball fandom; I think in a different world, one where he didn’t juice, something like this would be more treasured. As it is, it’s just a nice “get” for me.

      1970 Topps (the sticker is on the sleeve)

      This is a classic. An absolute classic. Remember when I talked about the 1970 set and its role in my childhood? Well this card was iconic, as it would be accompanied with a “LOOK AT ME. HOW DARE YOU DOUBT ME. MY NAME IS CESAR. CESAR TOVAR. I AM A LEGEND.” and so on. It might be one of those things you had to be there to appreciate, but the expression just killed us, and I had to have it.

      2009 StarQuest Emerald

      I had promised myself I wouldn’t break any wax because it always ends up being a money sink that doesn’t result in many interesting cards, but when I saw Dave and Adam’s setup, I ended up splurging after all. Just…sigh. I bought a box of 2009 Upper Deck Series 2 because it was damned cheap. I broke it and got two Super Rare Emerald StarQuests and a Jake Westbrook GU that is marked for TribeCards. The StarQuests are available by trade.

      At least I got a lot of Nationals in the box.

      I also got a set of 2004 Just Minors for 5 bucks at Dave and Adam’s. I got it because a. I’m a sucker for minor league cards, b. there had to be some Expos in there I didn’t have, c. it came with two autographs. Little did I know they meant two of the exact same autographs! That’s right, I got two of these:

      Oh, I also got two hobby packs of MLS soccer as a prize from that purchase, but I know nothing about the cards I pulled.

      Stay tuned for one more entry of non-Nats/Expos!

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