Wednesday, October 25, 2017

2017 Sportlots purchases: Rich on the Hill (and other guys)

For a huge number of baseball fans like myself, Christmas came early this past Saturday when the World Series-bound Houston Astros gave us all the gift of Yankees Elimination Day!  Houston celebrated its fifth year in the AL by taking home the pennant, largely thanks to this here blog's namesake, Justin Verlander.

But I don't have any cards of him to show off today, and as a matter of fact I'll be pulling for JV's opponents, the Dodgers, this Series--even though they (rightfully) left former this here blog namesake Curtis Granderson off the roster.  Why?  Just look at L.A.'s starter for game 2--one Rich Hill, he of the incredible comeback a couple seasons ago that culminated in consecutive playoff appearances with his latest team.

In his first taste of the postseason since 2007, Hill went 1-1 in three playoff appearances last year, winning his lone start--game 3--of the NLDS to the eventual champion Cubs.  Now he's taking the mound for the favored Dodgers in game 2 of the Fall Classic--crazy!

That made me do some quick digging to find out the last time a Michigan alum

  • ...made it to the playoffs (Hill, 2016 Dodgers)
  • ...made it to the World Series (Barry Larkin, Hal Morris, Chris Sabo, 1990 Reds)
  • ...won a World Series (that same Reds group)
  • ...participated in the World Series as a pitcher (Steve Howe, 1981 Dodgers)
  • ...won a World Series as a pitcher (Howe, 1981 Dodgers)

So this is a pretty significant game for one of my favorite PC guys and you know I'll be watching!  To celebrate, I have some Sportlots pickups of both Hill and Howe, plus some of a few other guys who came in at four or fewer cards in my enormous 1000-ish card haul from the site:
In grabbing these flagship and Archives issues I finally got my first 2017 cards of Hill, and therefore my first of him in a Dodgers uniform, because why would Topps have done that in last year's Update set?  Or even Series 1 this year?  God I miss those idiots having competition.  I'm back up to around the 2/3 mark of his run though that doesn't include his Chrome Sapphire releases, which I haven't been able to checklist yet.
While filling my cart with loot of the other PC guys you'll see in this series, I dug deep for everyone I collect just in case, hence the appearance of a few guys today such as Dransfeldt, the former Texas farmhand.  I turned up a couple minor league issues from 1999:  Baseball America Diamond Best Gold and Just.  Both were decent products and I've always liked the look of the BA set (not to mention the magazine and its excellent prospect coverage).
Here's the other World Series-winner I mentioned (as a Dodger!), Steve Howe.  Throughout this post and the rest of the series you'll see a good number of oddball items, mainly from the 80s and early 90s, after I let loose and grabbed almost literally everything of my PCs that was $0.20 or under.  Such is the case here as we have a couple 1983 Fleer offerings:  a Star Stamp (you can kind of make out the perforations in the scan) and a Sticker as well.
Getting back to mainstream issues for my supercollections, here's my favorite card of the post:  David Parrish's 2001 Topps Chrome Retrofractor.  A parallel of a RC he shared with fellow catching prospect Scott Heard of the Rangers, this is one of the best Refractor-type cards Topps produced, and that's saying something!  It features the typically excellent parallel finish, which looks great with that shade of green, plus it includes an old-school cardboard texture on the back to give it that "retro" feel.  My 20th card of the son of former Tigers backstop Lance leaves me just two shy of his run!
I belatedly discovered that Powell was a Michigan alum around this time last year, and in the roughly 12 months since, I've tracked down all but one of his seven cards.  The '94 Score Gold Rush parallel on the right was no problem as I could have nabbed it several times if I didn't mind paying more, but the Pinnacle Artist's Proof from the same year is one of those issues I was beginning to think didn't exist!  I was so shocked when it turned up that I immediately made sure to buy it before it disappeared, either in a sale or as a mirage.  Now I'm just left chasing his '94 Score Boys of Summer insert, a copy of which I've seen online so I know it's extant!
Just as I was happy to see Rich Hill finally appear in 2017 flagship Series 2, I was also pleasantly surprised that injured White Sox RP Zach Putnam also gained admittance, his first in a flagship product, not to mention his first mainstream issue since 2010!  I now get to chase his rainbow from that set while I try to lock up the final three cards I need from his earlier cardboard appearances.
By my reckoning Putz is the made the next most recent appearance by a Michigan alum in the playoffs, Arizona's 2011 NLDS loss to the Brewers.  As with Putnam I only tracked down one card of the former closer, a 2014 Topps Wal Mart Blue parallel made the same year as his sunset season.  It's my ninth from that rainbow with a good number of parallels still to go.
Howe's not the only player for whom I went all oddball, all the time.  I'd long since completed the checklist of Sorensen, a late 70s/80s pitcher for seven different teams, when I managed to come up with these fun additions:  another 1983 Fleer Sticker (we're not done with those yet!), another sticker from Topps' 1984 version (shared with Royal Larry Gura), and a standard-sized 1990 Swell Baseball Greats.  Man did people in the 80s look weird....
We'll finish at the end of the alphabet with another pitcher whose checklist I've had completed for a while:  Geoff Zahn.  Another former Dodger, Zahn appeared in the 1982 postseason with an Angels squad that lost to Milwaukee, who'd lose in seven to the Cardinals.  I added three more stickers to my collection in the form of Zahn's entries from 1983 Fleer and Topps and 1985 Topps.  Then I went big--literally--with Geoff's 1985 Donruss Action All Stars, a large 3.5 x 5 inch release from a 60-card set.  Adding these four boosted me to a nice even total of 40 Zahn cards.

And with that I'm off to watch two of my favorite PC pitchers duke it out on baseball's grandest stage!  Good luck to both in what I hope continues to be a classic Series.


  1. I don't think Yankees elimination day is a good holiday

  2. Last night must have been tough for you - Verlander against Hill in the WS. I like JV but I felt bad for Hill; Dave Roberts pulled him too soon. Three Michigan alums (or alums of any school) on the same MLB team at the same time sounds like a rarity. You're right on about people looking odd in the 80's - I've often thought that ball players don't look nearly as goofy as they used to.