Wednesday, December 30, 2009

R.I.P. Dr. Death

I regret to inform readers that Dr. Death Steve Williams has passed away after a long battle with cancer last night at the age of 49. At this time no further details are available.

Williams was considered one of the top wrestlers in the world throughout the 80's and early 90's. He was recruited into pro wrestling by Bill Watts and was named PWI 1982 Rookie of the Year. Watts discovered him at the University of Oklahoma, where he was a star lineman on the football team and a four-time All-American Heavyweight wrestler. Many of his peers in wrestling over the years believed had he not played football and focused solely on wrestling he would have been a strong candidate for an Olympic Gold medal in either 1984 or 1988.

While never garnering the respect he deserved in pro wrestling in the States, Williams was a big success in Japan. Eventually earning a worldwide reputation as one of the best ever to grace the squared circle.

I have met a lot of wrestlers through the years, unfortunately I cannot say I had the privilege of ever meeting Steve Williams. He was an extremely talented individual and will certainly be missed. I want to send my condolences out to his family and friends.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

TTM - Mark Williamson

Today I have a new TTM for my list, former Baltimore Orioles pitcher, Mark Williamson. Thanks Mark.

Mark was born July 21st, 1959 in Corpus Christi, Texas. He was originally drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 12th round of the 1981 amateur draft. He did not sign with the club. He was drafted again the following year in the 1982 draft by the San Diego Padres in the 4th round.

He played in the Padres minor league system before being traded to the Baltimore Orioles with Terry Kennedy for Storm Davis in October, 1986. Mark was called up to the majors the following year at the age of 27. He played in his first major league game on April 8, 1987 taking the loss 6-4 against the Texas Rangers. Williamson pitched 1.2 innings giving up 2 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks with no strike outs. He went on to finish the year with a record of 8-9 with a 4.03 ERA.

Mark had his best MLB run from 1989 to 1990. In 1989 he finished the season with a 10-5 record and a 2.93 ERA. In 1990 he came back and ended the season with a 8-2 record with a 2.21 ERA.

Mark played his entire MLB career with the Orioles from 1987 - 1994, finishing his career with a record of 46 - 35, an ERA of 3.86, and 397 strike outs and 21 saves. The highlight of his career occured on July 13, 1991 when he pitched a combined no hitter with Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, and Gregg Olson against the Oakland A's.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

2004 Topps Crack Jack

Let me start off by saying I love this set. About a year ago I bought a 5,000 count box from my local card shop. It had a bunch of commons from this set and that was my introduction to it. As much as I like it I have never purchased any additional cards for the set. However, I decided as a personal Christmas present to myself I deserved a box of these. So onto E-bay I went and won an auction. After I was done with the box I am now 62 cards away from finishing this set. I will post the remaining cards on here and I have updated my want list. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Please help me finish this one off.

Thought I'd start first here with a man who ended his career with the Mets. Mr. Alou. Was very happy to see Alou in Mets uniform. Alou was a big presence in the locker room and I hope we can find someone to take his place. As much as I love Reyes and Wright at their age they just can't seem to take control and become the leader the Mets Locker room needs. Have a good retirement Alou.

Ahh Cliffy. I always loved Cliff Floyd as a Met. I was lucky enough to actually see the Mets play on my birthday, sorry cant remember who they were playing, but Floyd won the game himself 2-1 with 2 solo home runs in the game. Another good locker room guy.

The last Mets game I went to was Glavine's first game after he won his 300th game. One heck of a standing ovation for him when he took the mound. I have to say I was very selfish. I had the tickets about a week in advance and knew Glavine would be pitching so the day he won his 300th I was rooting against him so I could see it in person. Does that make me a bad fan?

I had to put this one up because Luis Castillo was considered the Mets MVP last year for one reason and one reason only, he was the only opening day position player who didn't go on the d/l. How sad is that? And what's even funnier is we're trying to trade him. The best player for the 2009 Mets and we throw him on the trading block? Don't get me wrong, would I rather have Orlando Hudson playing 2nd base for us, maybe, but last year he actually looked like he deserved the contract we gave him. With the current issues the team has, I think trading Castillo should be the least of our concerns.

Alright, lastly we have Gary Sheffield. The Doctor's nephew. Gary Sheffield has wanted to be a Met his entire career thanks to Dwight Gooden. It was nice seeing him in a Mets uniform and I think he did a much better job in the field then most people thought he would. Sorry you wont be back next year, good luck elsewhere Gary.
Here's a list of the remaining cards I need:
1, 3 (Albert Pujol's swinging), 13, 20, 30, 34, 49, 51, 57, 60, 80 (Sammy Sosa), 80 (Felix Pie), 86 (Burt ShottEn), 95 (Gary Sheffield, Yankees), 98, 100, 104 (Edwin Jackson), 108, 109, 124, 126, 127, 140 (Curt Schilling, Red Sox), 145, 150, 151, 163, 166, 167, 173, 179, 182, 184, 185, 186, 190, 191, 192, 194, 195, 196, 198, 200, 203, 204, 206, 209, 214, 216, 217, 218, 220, 222, 224 (Ivan Rodriguez, Tigers), 225, 228, 229 (Jason Giambi fielding) 231, 232, 233, 236 (Jorge Posada)
Again, any help you can give is greatly appreciated. Help me finish this one off and knock it off my list.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

What a Christmas

Just a quick post today but it's important. I got a new computer for Christmas, with a scanner of my very own. I can finally focus a lot more on the blog. I have a lot of good posts coming up. Today is just a quicky.

I also got about 15,000 cards in random lot boxes. Wish me luck on those, it's gonna take me forever to organize them. Random cards from the 70's up to today. Of course a lot of them are from the 80's card boom. Which by the way means if you have a list of late 80's/early 90's give me a head's up and i will definitely check it out and see what I can do 4 U!!!

Happy Holidays

Friday, December 25, 2009

Silent Night Deadly Night

Merry Christmas All. As a horror fan I have to make mention of one of, if not the, most controvesial movies of the 1980's, Silent Night Deadly Night. Was happy to add this to my collection and give it a watch prior to this festive holiday. Let's start with a brief synopsis of the movie.

A young boy watches his parents killed by a thief in a Santa suit. He spends his youth in an orphanage, staying quietly to his self, but his mind is further bent by an ironhanded Mother Superior. He finally gets a job at a local store, where he finally snaps when he is required to wear a Santa suit, and goes on a killing spree that leads him slowly back to the orphanage.

This movie created quite the stir in 1984 when released due to the killer being dressed as Santa Claus. The PTA fought the release of this film due to it's subject matter and it's Christmas release. Siskel and Ebert even went as far as to read the film's production credit's on the air and saying "Shame, Shame" after each one. Large crowds (mostly angry families) formed at theaters and malls around the nation to protest the film. TriStar Pictures, its original distributor, pulled all ads for the film six days after its release (November 15). The film itself was also withdrawn shortly thereafter due to the controversy.

It was later re-released by an independant distributer, Aquarius Films, beginning in Spring of 1986, with an ad campaign which replaced the original "Twas the Night Before Christmas" audio track with a new one that centered around the controversy surrounding the film and edited out all the close up shots of Billy in the Santa suit with weapons.

Despite the controversy, it became a cult classic among horror fans. Myself on the other hand, I thought it was just okay. The movie is very tame by today's standards. Not that that is a big issue with me. Some of my favorite films are old school B & W films. But to be honest I personally felt sorry for the character of Billy.

As much as I love horror and the more gore and craziness in a horror movie the better. Just seeing someone in a Santa suit shooting someone or chopping them up with an axe actually did disturb me, and that takes a lot. It is a decent movie but just a little disturbing at the same time. The acting is so-so and the story does actually seem like it could happen. Overall it gets 3 burning skulls out of 5. Please enjoy the trailer below and again, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ryota Igarashi

Just thought I would do a quick post today on the newest NY Met, Ryota Igarashi.

Ryota was born May 28, 1979 in Chiba, Chiba, Japan. He was drafted by the Yakult Swallows of Nippon Professional Baseball in the 2nd round of the 1998 draft. He pitched for the Swallows from 1999-2009 when he became a free agent and signed with the Mets.

I have to say I'm interested to see what Igarashi can do in MLB. I worry a little with him having had Tommy John surgery and missing the entire 2007 season. But he came back in 2008 and pitched well in his return. Plus for a 2 year, $3 million deal, you really cant complain. There's a lot of upside there.

His stats through 10 years in Japan consisted of a 44-27 record, 3.26 ERA, with 51 saves. He has a fastball that has been clocked at 98 mph and some very nasty off-speed stuff. Check out the video below to see him strike out the side. Wish I could translate for you all but I'm still in the process of trying to learn Japanese.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

TTM- Ron Darling

First things first, I am sorry for my absence from the blog for so long, but I am back and hopefully better than ever. Hope I can still have some readers. As my welcome back post I want to speak about one of my favorite autographs that I have ever received back. Mr. Ron Darling!!!

Ronald Maurice Darling was born August 19, 1960 in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was selected by the Texas Rangers in the first round (9th pick) of the 1981 MLB Draft. In his first year with the Rangers Minor League organization he put up mediocre numbers which led to a very ill advised trade in which both Darling and Walt Terrell were traded to the Mets for Lee Mazzilli. For the Mets, Darling and Terrell combined for seven double-digit win seasons. They traded Terrell three seasons later for Howard Johnson. Which by the way, when I was a kid playing baseball with friends, oddly enough, if I was pitching I would scream I'm Ron Darling, and if I was playing the field (no matter where I played) I screamed, I'm Howard Johnson. Wow, that was a run-on sentence. ANYWAY....

Darling was called up to the majors in late 1983. The Mets had the worst record in the National League and second-worst in the majors when Darling debuted on September 6, 1983. He was impressive in that start but left the game down 1–0 and the Mets lost 2–0. The Mets were also last in offense in the N.L. (Boo) Darling's 0–3 start were all in decent pitching performances that season. He finished his season with a complete game victory and was in the majors for good. Ron Darling threw five pitches, a slider, "drop" curve, circle change, splitter, and four seam fastball.

As a Mets fan, I would have to mention his performance in 1986. In 1986, everything came together for the Mets and Darling was no exception. He finished with a 15–6 record and posted his career-best 2.81 ERA which was third-best in the N.L. He also received the only Cy Young Award votes of his career, finishing fifth behind Mike Scott who had his best season. (Ball Scuffer!!!) The Mets led the way most of the season and their top four starters all received Cy Young votes. On May 27, Darling tied his career-high with 12 strikeouts in a five-hit complete game victory which, despite a poor April, raised his record to 6–0. He was good on the road but even better at home with a 10–2 record at Shea. His worst blemish was off the field when, on July 19, he and teammates Bob Ojeda, Rick Aguilera, and Tim Teufel were arrested outside a bar in Houston, Texas for fighting with security guards (who were also off-duty police officers). All four were released in time for the following game and the worst results were $200 fines but the incident fed into the Mets' reputation as a rowdy crew that season. Despite the run-in, Darling was featured on the cover of the August 25 issue of Sports Illustrated magazine. If you would like to read more about this incident, as well as more about the 1986 NY Mets, I highly recommend the book, The Bad Guys Won by Jeff Pearlman. An awesome book about the 1986 Mets. After reading it I can't believe my mother let me root for them at 6 years of age!

In his career he pitched for The New York Mets (1983-1991), The Montreal Expos (1991) and The Oakland A's (1991-1995). He finished his career with a 136-116 record, a 3.87 ERA and 1,590 strike outs. He was selected for the 1985 All-Star Game and was a Gold Glove winner in 1989. His last MLB effort was on my 15th birthday, August 15, 1995.

Since his retirement he has been a broadcaster for the Oakland A's, had a FOX show called Baseball Today and has appeared on The Best Damn Sports Show Period, as well as providing baseball analysis for the YES Network (EVIL) and Fox Sports Net. He currently works as a color commentator for the New York Mets on SNY with Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez.

Because of their popularity, Darling along with Cohen and Hernandez have created a website, Pitch in For A Good Cause, where the net profit from the merchandise sold by the website goes to charity; specifically, the Cobble Hill Health Center, Juvenile Diabetes Research Center, and The Danbury Women's Center. Please check out the website.

I have to say I was absolutely shocked to receive these autos back in the mail. Sure I mailed them, but I didn't really expect them back. This was one of, if not the, biggest surprise I've ever received in the mail. I even gave Steve, formally of The Easy Life, one of them (not pictured here).

Mr. Darling, thank you so much. I am honored to add you to my collection.