Thursday, August 28, 2014

My kind of 1/1


I have just one 1/1 card in my collection. I don't think you can even call it a card. It's this printing plate of Wilson Betemit here.

Although 1/1s are mildly interesting to me, I've never made it a priority to try to find any. I couldn't even tell you what the lowest serial-numbered cards are in my collection without looking them up.

I'd like to find one or two someday, but I don't think I'll ever get to it on my long list of card priorities.

And I think that's because I've experienced plenty of a 1/1s in my card collecting history, although they're only 1/1s by my definition.


This is my kind of 1/1.

This is the only 1978 Topps card of Tim Hosley that you can find. That you will ever find.

There is no gold parallel Tim Hosley
There is no tiffany Tim Hosley
There is no no-numbered Tim Hosley
There is no cracked-ice Tim Hosley
There is no chrome Tim Hosley
There is no black-bordered Tim Hosley
There is no superfractor Tim Hosley
There is no mini Tim Hosley
There is no Polar Bear-backed Tim Hosley
There is no mini, chrome, black-bordered, variation-backed Tim Hosley.

This is the only 1978 Tim Hosley you get from Topps (go to O-Pee-Chee if you want variations). This is it. Even though there are probably infinite versions of this exact same card, it is a 1/1 to me because each one of those cards is essentially the same card.

This doesn't exist in collecting anymore.

Virtually every single card is paralleled in a dozen ways or more. And it's been that way for a long time.

Take these cards I received from Ryan of "O" No!!! Another Orioles Blog recently. No reflection on the cards he sent -- I like them all and need them all -- it's just that they're from a certain time period when we weren't content to look at just one card of the same guy.


That's a Clayton Kershaw 2014 Allen & Ginter card. It's the mini version of the Kershaw base card (By the way, in 1978, there was no need to say "base card". It was just "card").



That's a Tom Lasorda 2014 Allen & Ginter card. It's also the mini version of the Lasorda base card.



And both of them are A&G-backed versions of the mini card. A version of a version.



That's a gold-bordered version of the Orlando Hudson Season Highlights card in 2009 Topps Updates & Highlights.


And that's a gold-bordered version of the three-legged Manny Ramirez card from 2009 Bowman.



And there's a gold-borderd version of the 2007 Topps Updates & Highlights all-star card of Brad Penny.



And, of course, each set has multiple versions of different versions. In 2007, we had red-letter backs to go with the very pedestrian white-letter backs.



Chrome has hit the streets. And, of course, Chrome is just one giant-paralleled set. And there's two different versions of it, too. Topps and Bowman.



Here, there is a slight difference in the cropping between these two cards. But that's not enough for me not to consider it the same card. Different border, different crop, same damn photo.



Here is a set known for its parallels and variations. Topps Stars featured one-star cards and two-star cards and three-star cards ... of EACH PLAYER. In 1997 Stars -- which these are all from -- it was a relatively staid foil (front-and-back) parallel card.


Finally, here is a card that I don't think had a parallel. 1998 Pinnacle Plus featured Artist's Proof parallels for only some of the cards in the set, Roger Cedeno not included.

It was also the last set that Pinnacle ever produced. No doubt because people frowned on not being able to find a variation for EVERY CARD.

And that brings up the question:

Would people collect a set that featured no parallels, no variations today? Will they ever again?

I would.

I admit, I love certain kinds of parallels and I'm a sucker for a lot of them. But if they all disappeared tomorrow, I could collect a set with my kind of 1/1s.


Because for the first 10 years or so of my collecting journey, that's exactly what I did.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The card after: just one of the guys


All right all you people who look at card blogs only to find out how much your rookie cards are worth -- BOOM! -- it's one of them rookies that actually retained at least a little of its value! You can sell this and not even have enough money to buy a case for your iphone! Yay, inflation! Yay, gadgets! Yay, nobody cares about cardboard anymore!

Anyway, this is the best rookie card of Mike Piazza. It's beautiful. The Fleer Update rookie Piazza may cost more, but it's ugly sherbet green, the photo's scrunched, and Piazza is running out of the box in a painfully awkward way like he's a 10-year-old geeked up on Sprinkle Spangles. Also Update came in a limited box set and we all know real cards are issued in packs, during the season, out in the wild, in the midst of rabid, drooling collectors. There's also the Donruss Rookie Phenoms Piazza, which is both black bordered and shiny, but again you can hear the desperation on this late-breaking card if you hold it up to your ear. Issue your cards of Mike Piazza BEFORE you know who the dude is, like the Home Of The Rookie Card does, gentlemen.

The '92 Bowman Piazza is a pretty, pretty card. And '92 Bowman is a pretty, pretty set. It's the first Bowman set, since its return in 1989, that didn't look like grandpa was its primary target market. Issued for the first time on white card stock, with a sleek, spare design, and bold white-frame borders, this set has kept its value for almost 25 years.

For proof, I still don't own all of the '92 Bowman Dodgers, while I think I finished the 1989-91 Bowman Dodgers in 1977.


Bowman updated its backs, too. Full color photo, full color graphics. And yes, Piazza wasn't drafted No. 62 overall in 1988. That's ROUND 62. Piazza came from ALL the way back. He was a beast.

But, I'm getting too caught up in the rooooooookie card. This is actually about The Card After, too. It's about the Bowman Piazza card that came AFTER the rookie card. This is how the game goes.

So, let's play that game.


THE ICONIC CARD:


Please meet: 1992 Bowman Mike Piazza

Why it's iconic: I addressed some of this up top. But there's more. Still considered one of the top rookie cards of the 1990s, I submit it is far better than any of the many significant rookies in the '92 Bowman set. Mariano Rivera's rookie may sell for  more now, because of course appearing in one inning a game is far superior to squatting behind a plate for nine innings while wearing a couple dozen pounds of equipment, bracing your face for whacks from a wooden weapon and runners who don't know their ass from a running lane. Yeah, one inning of throwing a ball is soooooo draining. But, also, Rivera's card looks like this:


And Manny Ramirez's rookie card -- another valued rookie card in this set -- looks like this:


None of what you've seen on the previous two cards is baseball. But there's a space waiting for them in mom's Sears catalog.

Let's see the Piazza card for a third time:


Not once did I wish that Piazza was wearing a green-striped shirt instead of a Dodger uniform. I can't think of anything more baseball than the picture on this card.

That "nuclear moment": I don't know when exactly Bowman decided to call itself "The Home Of The Rookie Card". If it was in '92 then that's the nuclear moment. Otherwise, it's when Bowman realized that it was the '90s and cards should be printed on glossy white stock. It also foisted foil, in all of its rainbow paralleled glory, on its collectors. 2013 had twerking. 1992 had foil. Foil doesn't seem so bad now, does it?

This card's impact today: It's one of several cards in the '92 Bowman set that combined makes the set one of the most coveted of the '90s. Personally, I'll never collect it. I've seen the Chipper Jones card. But Piazza helps at least alleviate all of that '90s fashion.

Something about this card that I think no one else has ever said: The star on the ankle of the right shin guard means that Piazza apparently broke into the Dallas Cowboys equipment room.

On the 1-25 iconic scale: 22.


THE CARD AFTER:


Please meet: 1993 Bowman Mike Piazza

Why it's not iconic: It's not a rookie card, for one. We all know that rookies cards are the only thing that matters in collecting. But I refuse to call it terrible. 1993 Bowman isn't 1992 Bowman, but it's one of Bowman's better-looking sets. And I appreciate that Piazza is featured in action. Yet, the deflated body language, the look of exasperation on his face, the ball in his hand, the fact that an Astro -- An ASTRO -- appears to be exalting in the background -- does not make this a positive experience for anyone (except for the headless Astro ... or maybe it's a Brewer. I don't know. Brewer. Astro. Either way, neither one knows how to be in the right league).

This is Piazza as a veteran. He's not a rookie anymore. He knows the deal. There are bad times in baseball. And this is one of them. He's just one of the guys.

What Bowman was doing here: Obviously moving on -- to the ROOKIES OF 1993! (*commence parade*) Derek Jeter! Andy Pettitte! Jose Vidro! Derek Jeter! Andy Pettitte! Preston Wilson! Derek Jeter! Andy Pettitte! So Piazza looks sad in his photo because nobody cares. Derek Jeter! Andy Pettitte!

Something I can say about this card to make it interesting: This is one of the few Piazza cards from 1993 in which you can see Piazza's new uniform number, #31. (the '93 SP Platinum Power insert, Topps Finest and the Pinnacle Home Run Club insert are others). Some cards in 1993 still feature him in No. 25.

Does "the card after" deserve to be iconic?: No. It's a dollar card.

On the 1-25 iconic scale: I give it a 4.

Like most cards in the 1990s, the '93 Mike Piazza was lost in a deluge of Piazza cards issued that year. I own around 30 different 1993 Piazzas and I'm sure some Piazza collector just posted something derisive on Twitter about the dude he read about who has only 30 1993 Piazzas.

Sorry. 1993 Piazza. It sucks to be just one of the crowd.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Why you won't see me at the National for a number of years


The National has come and gone for another year and it still doesn't know me.

I've never been and, realistically, I don't see myself attending for a long time.

It doesn't have to do with location. Sure, if the National came to Syracuse or Buffalo, I wouldn't hesitate to zip over there for a day. But even Cleveland, Baltimore or Atlantic City are not far enough to be a deterrent.

It doesn't have to do with cash. Even though I never have money in August, I could save up if I knew I was attending a year in advance.

It doesn't have to do with work. Yeah, I have a limited amount of vacation time, but it's not so limited that I couldn't take off for a couple of days during the slowest part of the year.

No, it has everything to do with family.

I am married. With children.

If you are married -- with children -- then you know where I'm going with this.

When the summer comes, each member of the family wants to do certain things. There are negotiations and arrangements and budgets. But the key above all of this is that we must make contact with other people in my extended family. This is especially important to the extended family. They are keeping track and counting the days. Mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles, aunts, cousins, cousins' friends, nieces, nephews NEED to be seen.

The summer is the time to do this. So appointments are made and vacations planned and we try to schedule the fun stuff in the same general area as where we're making the necessary family visits.

If I had family in, say, Cleveland, Baltimore, Atlantic City or Chicago, then I could make a side trip to the National. No one would mind. But to suggest we take a few days out of the vacation time that I have so that I can travel to the National JUST for the National? I have no willpower for the kind of conversation that would erupt. A conversation that would be repeated several times, by the way.

If my kid would have gotten in line a long time ago and picked up a card collecting addiction by now, I could use her for an excuse. But that didn't happen, and now everyone is taking a number this summer to see her. I should have thrown more packs at her when she was 3. Then I could whisk her off with a single "GOTTA GO TO CLEVELAND! SHE COLLECTS, YOU KNOW!"

So this is where it stands.

I will not be able to travel to a National as long as my kid is under my roof. After that I could possibly make arrangements with the wife, but that's a very large gray area as well.

Best guess?

You'll see me at the National in 2021.

As long as it's somewhere in the Northeast.

Heh.

You single people have no idea how fortunate you are. (Disclaimer: I love my family. HI, HONEY!).

Anyway, Robert of $30 A Week Habit is one of the fortunate few who was able to zip off to the National for a day. My guess is close proximity was why he was able to get away.

He spread around his fortune by sending out cards that he found in Cleveland to various bloggers.

The Steve Garvey Bellbottomed Bashers card at the top of this post was one of those cards (I really need to start concentrating on the 2001 UD '70s Decade set).

Here are the other cards he sent:



I still need the base cards for both Ellis and Wilson. I've been such a slacker on Series 2.

The Ethier Lineage also came from the National. It's a card that makes me smile because the summer of 2011 was a wonderful time of chasing fake 1975 cards and Ethier could actually hit then, too!

Thanks, Robert, for thinking of us folks who can't get to the National themselves.

Every year, especially when I hear that the National is taking place in the eastern half of the country, I think "this will be the year." "I might be able to swing it this year!"

And then the spring comes and the "When are we going to SEE you?" questions hit.

But I'll get there. You wait.

2021.

They'll still have cards then, right?

Monday, August 25, 2014

My glee in list form


I knew that when I compiled a list of the pitchers who had owned the Dodgers during their careers that I wouldn't be able to resist putting together a list of the pitchers who were tormented by the Dodgers.

It was easy to do. Just turn the result that I found through baseball-reference on its head. Voila! Pitchers whose career was one big #fail when it came to throwing against the Dodgers.

A lot of these pitchers that struggled against the Dodgers were a surprise. Unlike the last list, I don't spend a lot of time thinking about pitchers who bombed against L.A. I suppose it's just a natural part of my make-up -- or any fan's make-up -- to focus on the negative and not the positive.

Again, I based this list on career earned-run average against L.A. And I limited it to pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched against the Dodgers. Unlike the last list, I expanded it from 30 pitchers to 40 pitchers. That's because I lot of the pitchers on this list are no-names (chances are if they were lit up by the Dodgers they might have been lit up by a lot of other teams, too). I wanted to get at least some names of pitchers that people knew.

So here are the top 40 pitchers who were a train wreck against L.A.:


THE DODGERS OWNED THEM

1. Bubba Church (1950-55, Phillies, Reds Cubs): 6.92 ERA, 108 IP, 27 G, 3-10 W-L
2. Claude Willoughby (1925-31, Phillies, Pirates): 6.57 ERA, 109.2 IP, 27 G, 3-11 W-L
3. Roy Parmalee (1929-37, Giants, Cardinals, Cubs): 6.34 ERA, 149 IP, 29 G, 6-9 W-L
4. Phil Collins (1923, 1929-35, Cubs, Phillies, Cardinals): 6.32 ERA, 193.2 IP, 43 G, 13-15 W-L
5. Les Sweetland (1927-31, Phillies, Cubs): 6.31 ERA, 165 IP, 34 G, 10-13 W-L
6. Bill Werle (1949-52, Pirates, Cardinals): 6.09 ERA, 112.1 IP, 29 G, 7-8 W-L
7. Howie Fox (1944-46, 1948-52, Reds, Phillies): 5.94 ERA, 163.2 IP,  35 G, 3-17 W-L


8. Wade Blasingame (1963-72, Braves, Astros): 5.64 ERA, 103.2 IP, 27 G, 5-8 W-L

9. Ken Raffensberger (1939-41, 1943-54, Cardinals, Cubs, Phillies, Reds): 5.47 ERA, 268 IP, 54 G, 8-33 W-L


10. Jeff Fassero (1991-96, Expos, Mariners, Rangers, Red Sox, Cubs, Cardinals, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Giants): 5.43 ERA, 104.1 IP, 37 G, 4-7 W-L

11. Max Butcher (1938-45, Phillies, Pirates): 5.35 ERA, 131.1 IP, 24 G, 3-10 W-L
12. Bob Klinger (1938-43, Pirates): 5.34 ERA, 116.1 IP, 27 G, 5-13 W-L
13. Dick Errickson (1938-42, Braves, Cubs): 5.31 ERA, 105 IP, 23 G, 5-7 W-L
14. Frank Smith (1950-56, Reds, Cardinals): 5.30 ERA, 105.1 IP, 48 G, 6-6 W-L


 15. Shawn Estes (1995-2006, 2008, Giants, Mets, Reds, Cubs, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Padres): 5.26 ERA, 169.1 IP, 30 G, 6-9 W-L

16. Max Surkont (1950-57, Braves, Pirates, Cardinals, Giants): 5.26 ERA, 191.2 IP, 36 G, 8-16 W-L
17. Ray Benge (1928-32, 1936, 1938, Phillies, Braves, Reds): 5.21 ERA, 121 IP, 26 G, 6-8 W-L
18. Hugh Mulcahy (1935-40, 1945-47, Phillies): 5.16 ERA, 148.1 IP, 30 G, 4-14 W-L


19. John Denny (1974-79, 1982-86, Cardinals, Phillies, Reds): 5.14 ERA, 129.2 IP, 23 G, 4-7 W-L

20. Whitey Glazer (1920-24, Pirates, Phillies): 5.13 ERA, 124.2 IP, 20 G, 4-6 W-L
21. Al Javery (1940-46, Braves): 5.12 ERA, 165.1 IP, 34 G, 7-12 W-L
22. Jim Wilson (1951-54, Braves): 5.12 ERA, 116 IP, 19 G, 3-8 W-L
23. Jim Konstanty (1944, 1946, 1948-56, Reds, Braves, Phillies, Yankees, Cardinals): 5.10 ERA, 100.2 IP, 58 G, 5-9 W-L
24. Herm Wehmeier (1945, 1947-58, Reds, Phillies, Cardinals): 5.08 ERA, 324.1 IP, 66 G, 13-18 W-L


25. Dick Ruthven (1973-86, Phillies, Braves, Cubs): 5.04 ERA, 168 IP, 31 G, 6-15 W-L

26. Ernie Johnson (1950, 1952-58, Braves): 5.03 ERA, 111 IP, 54 G, 7-6 W-L


27. Ron Bryant (1967-75, Giants, Cardinals): 5.01 ERA, 106 IP, 26 G, 5-12 W-L

28. Russ Ortiz (1998-2009, Giants, Braves, Orioles, Astros): 4.98 ERA, 130 IP, 24 G, 9-9 W-L
29. Johnny Klippstein (1950-58, 1962-64, Cubs, Reds, Phillies): 4.97 ERA, 259 IP, 69 G, 13-16 W-L
30. Steve Renko (Expos, Cubs, 1969-77): 4.97 ERA, 108.2 IP, 18 G, 6-7 W-L
31. Warren Hacker (1948-58, Cubs, Reds, Phillies): 4.95 ERA, 234.1 IP, 49 G, 9-19 W-L
32. Don Cardwell (1957-70, Phillies, Cubs, Pirates, Mets, Braves): 4.92 ERA, 228.2 IP, 49 G, 8-24 W-L
33. Karl Drews (1951-54, Phillies, Reds): 4.91 ERA, 117.1 IP, 34 G, 6-10 W-L


34. Larry Christenson (1973-83, Phillies): 4.84 ERA, 115.1 IP, 20 G, 5-6 W-L

35. Percy Jones (1920-22, 1925-30, Cubs, Braves, Pirates): 4.84 ERA, 187.2 IP, 38 G, 8-15 W-L
36. Tony Kaufmann (1921-28, 1930-31, 1935, Cubs, Phillies, Cardinals): 4.84 ERA, 128.1 IP, 26 G, 8-7 W-L
37. Bud Podbielan (1952-55, 1957, Reds): 4.82 ERA, 106.1 IP, 24 G, 4-9 W-L


38. Dock Ellis (1968-75, 1979, Pirates): 4.80 ERA, 116.1 IP, 20 G, 6-10 W-L

39. Vida Blue (1974, 1978-81, 1985-86, A's, Giants): 4.75 ERA, 119.1 IP, 21 G, 5-12 W-L
40. Murry Dickson (1939-43, 1946-57,  Cardinals, Phillies, Pirates): 4.75 ERA, 413.1 IP, 81 G, 18-28 W-L

Those are the worst 40 against the Dodgers. I tip my hat to them and say "thank you".

Some quick observations:

1. I actually expanded this list out to 50 pitchers, but don't have time to add the others. Pitchers of note: Livan Hernandez and Mike Hampton.

2. You may have noticed that a lot of the pitchers had careers during the 1940s and 1950s, when the Dodgers' hitting prowess was at its height.

3. Lots and lots of pitchers with connections to the Phillies. They were so bad for so many years. And then, later, when they were good, they couldn't beat the Dodgers (until '83) in the postseason.

4. I noted how many Padres pitchers were on the previous list as owning the Dodgers. There is only one pitcher on this list with any time with the Padres (Estes) and that was at the very end of his major league career. Once again, if the Padres tried as hard as they did against the Dodgers, they would have won seven World Series by now.

5. My good buddy, Frank Smith, who I talked to several times is on this list. I knew I liked him for another reason besides being a great guy.


It's good to know the pitchers who don't do well against the Dodgers.

Now if we can get a few active pitchers on this list.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Next


A couple of months ago, I finished up all of the Topps sets of my childhood (1974-83). With that, I figured I'd take a crack at the non-Topps sets of my childhood, beginning with 1981 Donruss.

I hold no real attachment to '81 Donruss. It was the least desirable set of the three available when I was buying Topps, Donruss and Fleer at the corner market that year. But since then I've come to enjoy it for the exact things that I disliked at the time, the thin card stock, the static photos, the errors, the miscut cards.

It's a misfit set and I like those kinds of sets now.

But still, there's a "meh, why am I collecting this thing now?" kind of feeling. My true set-completion devotion is to the 1975 Topps mini set and 1972 Topps. That's where the excitement is. 1981 Donruss is just here to help me finish off something a little easier.

So, to get myself in the set-collecting mood with ol' thin-skinned Donruss, I requested a few dupes from the set from Bo at Baseball Card Comes To Life! Seeing cards issued during my childhood that I have never seen before will always spark me into action.

Here are the cards he sent (along with redhead Howell up there). Get ready for some bats on shoulders, some Blue Jays and a whole lot of mustache:


That was kind of fun. And it was enough to get me to compile a want list.

To put together that list, for the first time in my life, I assembled my '81 Donruss not in order by team, but by number. I discovered a couple of interesting things doing that (along with noticing that not all '81 Donruss cards are the same size). But I'll save those observations for when I have a lot more of the set.

Now, the moment you've been waiting for, my 1981 Donruss wants:

#1, #2, #3, #4, #7, #8, #9, #14, #15, #16, #17, #18, #19, #24, #25, #26, #27, #28, #29, #34, #35, #36, #37, #38, #39, #42, #44, #45, #46, #47, #48, #52, #54, #55, #66, #67, #71, #75, #76, #78, #81, #84, #87, #91, #93, #94, #96, #97, #99, #101, #104, #105, #107, #108, #112, #114, #116, #117, #120, #125, #128, #131, #141, #153, #154, #157, #162, #163, #164, #171, #173, #181, #182, #183, #185, #187, #190, #191, #192, #195, #199, #201, #202, #205, #207, #211, #216, #217, #220, #222, #226, #231, #232, #236, #241, #244, #246, #247, #248, #249, #250, #251, #252, #257, #258, #259, #260, #261, #262, #267, #269, #271, #274, #276, #277, #278, #279, #280, #281, #282, #283, #284, #287, #288, #289, #290, #291, #292, #293, #295, #296, #300, #301, #302, #303, #304, #305, #306, #307, #309, #310, #311, #312, #313, #314, #317, #318, #319, #320, #322, #323, #324, #325, #326, #327, #329, #330, #331, #332, #333, #339, #341, #342, #343, #344, #345, #346, #347, #348, #349, #350, #351, #352, #353, #354, #355, #356, #358, #359, #360, #366, #371, #372, #373, #374, #381, #382, #402, #403, #406, #419, #420, #423, #424, #440, #444, #445, #455, #459, #460, #465, #466, #470, #471, #472, #475, #480, #486, #487, #503, #507, #508, #514, #526, #529, #530, #531, #533, #534, #544, #547, #550, #553, #557, #568, #571, #590, #591, #600, checklist #2, checklist #3

As you can see, I had a frustrating time attempting to complete three different sets in 1981.

I will be moving this want list to my want list page. But I don't expect anyone to run right out and ship a package of '81 Donruss to me, especially with my card-sending embargo still in effect (hopefully just one more week or two). I don't have an urgent need to cross 1981 Donruss off the list quickly.

In fact, I plan to enjoy every single blurry photo, ivy wall background and red-ribbon back as they come to me.

You don't truly appreciate misfits until you really get to know them.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Heading east


There was a story out of Oklahoma City yesterday that the Dodgers are moving their Triple A affiliate from Albuquerque to Oklahoma City for next season.

The Dodgers have been affiliated with Albuquerque for the last six seasons, and before that, the city and the Dodgers were together from 1972-2000. I grew up thinking that Albuquerque had been the top affiliate for the Dodgers for forever (although most of those great '70s Dodgers actually played Triple A games in Spokane, which was L.A.'s top affiliate throughout the '60s through 1971).

Even though I've never been to Albuquerque, I don't like that the team is moving from there. The word is that Dodger management wants a better place to evaluate talent. Albuquerque, with its high altitude ways, has always been known for inflated batting stats, and that often doesn't translate to the majors.

Of course that was an issue the first time the Dodgers were in Albuquerque (see Greg Brock/Mike Marshall), which makes me wonder why they returned in 2009 if it was such an issue.

But I understand the Dodgers are under new management and one of their objectives is to shore up the minor league system.

And with the move to Oklahoma, it will be the closest the Triple A Dodgers have been to me since the Dodgers' top prospects came out of Montreal in the 1950s (and it wasn't even Triple A then).

But to say farewell to the Dodgers in Albuquerque, I thought I'd count down the top 10 successful players that went through Albuquerque during their second stint with the Dodgers, which would be 2009-14 (when they were known as the "Isotopes", not the "Dukes").

I'm using the minor league cards for this countdown and most of those come from 2009-11. So you won't see Paco Rodriguez, Scott VanSlyke or Tim Federowicz here.

You may be asking yourself "why would THOSE guys be in the top 10?"

Heh, you don't know the Dodgers' farm system in the last 10 years, do you?

Presenting the top 10 major league "successes" of the Albuquerque Isotopes:


10. Trayvon Robinson: Robinson spent 90 games with the Seattle Mariners in 2011 and 2012, mustering a .215 batting average. He is now an Albuquerque Isotope again, with absolutely no chance of cracking the Dodgers' outfield.


9. Chin-Lung Hu: If you were to believe Topps in 2008, Hu was going to be a superstar. I have 40 cards of Hu from 2008. I have 10 cards of him from any other year. Hu managed to last five years in the majors, batting .176 in 118 games for the Dodgers and Mets.


8. Jerry Sands: The great hope for Dodger fans right around 2011, Sands fizzled pretty quickly. He was dealt to Boston in the big Adrian Gonzalez-Carl Crawford-Josh Beckett deal to the outrage of several prospect-loving fans. But he never played for the Red Sox big league team and hasn't hit above .200 since.


7. Josh Lindblom: I don't like it when the Dodgers trade relievers who appear to have talent because L.A. has so many who don't. But the Dodgers sent Lindblom to Philadelphia for rent-a-player Shane Victorino. I feared that Lindblom would make L.A. pay. But after stops with the Phillies and Rangers, he's now a minor leaguer for Oakland. He owns a 3.82 ERA in 110 big league games.


6. Jason Repko: With the exception of 2005, which was a bizarre year in Dodgers history, Repko never received regular playing time. But from 2005-12 he managed to appear in 360 games for L.A., the Twins and the Red Sox. With a scorching .224 batting average.


5. Xavier Paul: Another outfielder who couldn't crack the wall of Dodgers all-stars, Paul was moved to Pittsburgh in 2011. He's bounced around with the Reds, Orioles and most recently, Diamondbacks, batting .251 in 346 games between 2009-14.


4. Blake DeWitt: I don't know if anyone actually thought Blake DeWitt would be the successor to Adrian Beltre at third base, but I'm sure for a period in 2008, armed with my autographed cards of DeWitt, I hoped it might happen. DeWitt was traded to the Cubs for Ted Lilly (and Ryan Theriot -- gah!) in 2010. He finished up in 2013 with the Braves, with 426 total games and a.257 average.


3. James McDonald: I really wanted McDonald to crack the Dodgers starting rotation in 2009. But his appearances with L.A. were borderline horrifying. And then he was dealt to the Pirates in a trade that actually was horrifying at the time (McDonald and hyped prospect Andrew Lambo for -- what? -- Octavio Dotel). McDonald did have an OK season with the Pirates in 2012. He signed with the Cubs as a free agent, but got injured in spring training. So far he's pitched in 131 games, including 82 starts.


2. A.J. Ellis: The surprise starting catcher for the Dodgers in 2012 with a solid .270 season in 133 games, he's been on the decline lately, especially this year with injuries. But I'm not ready to give up on him yet. He's smart, funny as hell, and if this catching gig doesn't work out, he'll be a broadcaster easily.


1. Dee Gordon: One year ago, I would have never placed him on this list. He might not have even made the top 10. But this year has been a revelation. I'm counting on him to reach 70 stolen bases in a season, which would be the best damn stolen base season since the 1980s. Gordon is a comfort at No. 1 in the order, a throwback. And most of the problems he had last year seem to have been worked out.


So that's the top 10. Not exactly a stellar group. And after wincing through all of that, both you and I know now why the Dodgers are moving to Oklahoma City.

Hopefully, now they can really find out whether Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, Julio Urias, etc., are actual future major league stars.

Because after what I've seen out of the last six years in Albuquerque, I don't think I should believe anything that happened there.

Go RedHawks.