Saturday, January 30, 2016

Canadians in the Majors: Steve Wilson

Another installment of Canadians in the Majors.. This time is about left-handed pitcher Steve Wilson from Victoria, British Columbia.

He started out actually getting ready to play hockey once he left high school and would have but for a chance meeting with a scout/coach from the University of Portland. He agreed to a scholarship and went to school, eventually getting drafted in the 4th round by the Texas Rangers.

He was a member of the Canadian Olympic Baseball Team in 1984, then was drafted by the Rangers in 1985. He made his major league debut in 1988.

Jim Shearon recounts an interesting story in his book Canada's Baseball Legends about Wilson holding up a game briefly because he was negotiating the return of a home run ball hit by teammate Kevin Reimer.  He ended up getting the ball back between innings.

In December of 1988, he was traded with Paul Kilgus, Curt Wilkerson, Mitch Williams, and two minor leaguers to the Chicago Cubs for Rafael Palmeiro, Jamie Moyer, and Drew Hall.

In September of 1991, he was traded to the Dodgers for Jeff Hartsock, basically because Chicago had a number of left handed relief pitchers, and Wilson would not be used as much in Chicago. In fact, in 1991 he spent more time in Iowa, pitching 19 games between the Cubs and Dodgers.

1993 was his last year in the Majors, spending 1994 and 1995 in Triple A before going over to Taiwan. He played in Taiwan in 1997 and 1998 before retiring.

He now runs an English language elementary school in Tainan City, and scouts the Pacific Rim for the Cubs.



Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Canadians in the Majors: Bill Atkinson

Part of the reason I set out on this journey was to feature Canadian born players. I've tackled a few so far, with Kevin ReimerKirk McCaskillDave McKay, and Terry Puhl being previous subjects.

Being a baseball card blog, I prefer to show cards I own, meaning that for now, a couple players I really want to showcase are pushed to the side.

All that said, I have a new one to feature today. His name is Bill Atkinson. He from the same town as Hall of Fame pitcher Ferguson Jenkins, in Chatham, Ontario.

Chatham is 53.2 miles (85.6 Km) from Detroit, in the southern end of Ontario.

Here's a map (thank you Google Maps!!) showing where Chatham is according to Detroit.

And Chatham compared to Toronto. 

The funny thing is, according to Canada's Baseball Legends by Jim Shearon, Atkinson and Jenkins lived on the same street, and would talk whenever the latter would come home in the offseason. 

Atkinson signed a contract with the Montreal Expos in October 1971. He was discovered when he and a group of friends went to Windsor, Ontario for a tryout camp the Expos were hosting. He did well enough to be asked to attend a prospect camp in Montreal in September. 

From 1972-1976, he played in Jamestown of the New York-Penn League, West Palm Beach of the Florida State League, Quebec of the Eastern League, Memphis of the International League, and Denver of the American Association before making his major league debut. 

1977 was his first and only full year in the majors. He went 7-2 3.35 ERA in 55 games. 
In 1978 he split between Denver and Montreal, going 2-2 4.37 ERA in 29 games in Montreal. 
In 1979 he split between Denver and Montreal again, starting in Denver, but relieving in Montreal. He ended up only pitching 10 games in Montreal in 1979. 

In 1980 he was purchased by the Chicago White Sox, playing for their American Association Iowa team. 1981 was spent in Edmonton. 1982 in Glens Falls as a player-coach. 1983 in Appleton as a player-coach as well. and Denver. 

By the end of 1983, he was faced with the choice of becoming a coach or going home. He chose to go home to spend time with his family. He works with minor baseball in the Chatham area still and is a member of the Chatham Sports Hall of Fame. 

Here is the one card I have of the gentleman. 1980 Topps. His O Pee Chee card has him listed as a member of the White Sox already. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Mail Days

I've been under the weather for the last week or so, hence the lack of updates..

I've gotten some cards in the mail over the last week so I figured I'd write up a post about them tonight.




 Some 1980 Topps. I got more but these were the ones I needed out of the batch I received.

I have my 1980 list down to 8 wants.

70 Gary Carter
125 Tony Perez
147 Terry Puhl
235 Andre Dawson
375 Ross Grimsley
390 Fergie Jenkins
479 Montreal Expos Team Checklist
577 Toronto Blue Jays Team Checklist




1989 Topps. I've always liked and hated this set at the same time. Oddly enough, for the same reasons..

I'm still over half way from completing this set. 47.1% now






Finally, 1990 Topps..

Friday, January 15, 2016

10 Favourites 2

As I started with the 1993 Upper Deck set, I'm going to give my 10 favourite cards from a set I own.
This time, I'm looking at 1993 Studio

First is Moises Alou. The photo looks like he was sitting on the bench in the dugout and a large Expos hat logo is photoshopped behind him.

This is generally how they all look. They have a couple different backgrounds for each team. Usually the Hat logo, the Uniform, or the team logo

Next is Terry Pendleton looking like he's about to start into an Evil Laugh.

In a way, I almost expected the next frame to be him bringing his pinky finger to his mouth and asking for "One Million Dollars" Maybe this was mid contract negotiations??

Now we have John Wetteland. Here we have one of the logo backgrounds.

Wetteland was one of the better closers in Expos history, until he moved on as most of the players did in the 90s.

The obligatory Ken Griffey Jr. backwards cap photo.

Griffey, a newly minted Hall Of Fame member, shown as a Mariner and smiling as usual.

Next is Mike Lansing. Now, Lansing as a player was nothing really special, but he does have a stadium named after him in Wyoming.

This one is one of the uniform backgrounds, where the uniform shirt is magnified.

I can't have a post without some sort of Blue Jays connection, can I?

We have Joe Carter in the ol' blue and white of the Jays.


This is a Front/Back combination. In a way, Larry Walker is showing a Canadian stereotype, saying he would be a Lumberjack if he wasn't an athlete. Mind you, one of the major logging centres in Canada is British Columbia. 

Next is Bobby Bonilla. I was just reading one of the yearly articles about deferred contracts and of course, Bonilla is the first person mentioned, as he's getting paid from the Mets for a few years still, despite not playing since 2001.

I like these Mets uniforms. Shortly after this they started adding black and soon wore more black than anything.

The final card front I will showcase is the recently departed Dave Henderson. Just something about the smile you get the feeling he really enjoyed his job.

Finally, we have the back of Jeff Bagwell's card. I found it funny that each Astros infielder stated their Pet Peeve was Casey Candaele.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Cards: The Finale!

So the final grouping is from 2000 to now.

Shawn Green, Carlos Delgado and Kelvim Escobar. The Green shows the old OPC trick of stating a trade. I find the Escobar hard to read.

Two League Leaders cards from a very intrusive Fleer Tradition set. 
I like that Gonzalez card.
Joe Lawrence, not to be confused with the actor of the same name, played 55 games for the Jays in 2002. That ended up being his Major League career.
The Batista is interesting as well.

I don't remember the Jays wearing the uniform shown on Delgado here. I think it was a Negro League appreciation thing.. 

The team Heroes set was an interesting concept. I have some of the 2004 set. 

They had a variation of the Bazooka Joe card made for each team. 
Gabe Gross bounced around. Toronto, Milwaukee, Tampa and Oakland

A couple of the Upper Deck 40-Man set. 
Diegomar Markwell had played for the Jays in the minors before going back and playing in the Dutch Leagues
Francisco Rosario played two years in the Majors before going to the Dominican Leagues

Josh Phelps, Josh Towers, and the Chulkster. 

The Inscribed set is a nice looking one. Until I got these cards, I never knew it existed, 
I also didn't know about the Authentix, though I don't think I missed much there.

I love these cards. I don't know why. I guess they just look nice to me. Here, we have Wells, Delgado and Roy Halladay.

Now a break to play Find the Number! It looks better in the scan. 

Not really much to say about these cards. Not really a fan of the Heritage or Faux Vintage sets,.

So two AJ Burnett cards and a Trystan Magnuson. 
Magnuson ended up playing 9 games in the Majors for Oakland. He last played in 2013. 

2009 Topps. I never saw these cards before. Here we have Travis Snider and Jesse Litsch. 

Here are the backs of the 09s.. In hand, the card numbers are hard to read. Also, an interesting 6 degrees involving Cito Gaston and Mickey Mantle.

Another Snider and Scrabble.. 
Marc Rzepczynski got the nickname Scrabble while a Jay. 

Here's Edwin Encarnacion throwing to first or doing the Muppet dance or something. 

You be the Judge