Thursday, September 24, 2015

Wonder Water to the Rescue

On Tuesday, the Daytona Tortugas posted on their Instagram account an image announcing a celebrity softball game to be played at their home stadium, Jackie Robinson Ballpark.
Seeing Rollie Fingers on there piqued my interest. I immediately e-mailed my brother to let him know about the game and he got back to me right away letting me know that he wanted to go.

On Saturday we'll be making the 155 mile trek from the west coast of Florida to the east coast.
I contacted the organizer of the game to find out who the "many more" are going to be. He was nice enough to e-mail me the full list of participants.

  • Rollie Fingers
  • Jim Leyritz
  • Darrell Evans
  • Tim Foli
  • Jon Warden
  • Mike Torrez
  • Oscar Gamble
  • Jeff Nelson
  • Roger Maris, Jr.
  • Andy McGaffigan
  • Butch Benton
  • Jim Perry
  • Mark Whiten

The bad thing about finding out about this game so late was that I have no time to order any cards of players I need cards of.

I'm lucky enough to live near a baseball card shop, but I would never suspect that I could find a card of Butch Benton there. On a whim, I checked to see if they had a Facebook page, and they did, which really shouldn't have come as a surprise, but their personal website listed on there was a Beckett Marketplace site. I checked it out and started typing names on the list. I was shocked that most of the players I needed were available with multiple cards to choose from. Thankfully, Wonder Water was still open, so I called them to see if I could come into the store to pick these cards up in person rather than ordering and having them shipped. I was told "yes, just bring your list."

With list in hand, I walked in today. Unfortunately, my list was a little long (I also was buying cards for my brother and his son), so I was told next time to just e-mail it to the store and they could have the cards already prepared for me. Made perfect sense and I will definitely do that next time, but he was nice enough to pull all the cards from my list and it only took about 10 minutes.

I was surprised that I didn't have a card of Jeff Nelson, so I bought this 2002 Fleer Tradition.
I also didn't have a card of the aforementioned Butch Benton. Knowing my brother didn't have one, I bought him one as well. I would have bought 3, but the store only had 2. Butch didn't have any official MLB cards, but I was able to get 2 of these Senior Professional Baseball Association cards. What store has SPBA cards in stock? I feel very fortunate.
I also picked up cards that I felt would look better with autographs than the cards I already had.
I'll be replacing these:

With these:

The 1984 Topps card of Oscar Gamble is nice, but I have never gotten a 1983 Fleer card signed, so I decided to go with that one.
I wanted to get the iconic 1976 Topps card.
Photo courtesy of
Sadly, it was not to be found on Wonder Water's site.

I'm very happy with the cards I bought and grateful for Wonder Water for helping me out.
I spent under $4 for 13 cards. I certainly would have spent much more than that had I ordered from Sportlots or COMC. From now on, Wonder Water will be the first place that I check when I need certain cards.

The only player they didn't have a card of was Jon Warden. He has a 1968 and 1969 Topps card and they both look nice.
Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of
I may just order one of those cards from another dealer and hope that I get to meet Mr. Warden at a future event.

If you're ever in the Tampa Bay area, be sure to visit Wonder Water. I first started going there in the early 90's. It only took me 20+ years to realize I could buy random commons from them.
They're also on Twitter@WonderWaterSpts.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Charlotte Stone Crabs, 2015 Florida State League Champions

The Tampa Bay Rays affiliate, Charlotte Stone Crabs, won the 2015 Florida State League championship tonight, defeating the Daytona Tortugas (Cincinnati Reds).

In a best of 5 series, Charlotte won the first two games on the road. The series then shifted to Port Charlotte, where Daytona pulled out a win in a must-win situation. However, in game 4, with Charlotte leading the series 2-1, it took 13 innings for Charlotte to come out victorious. With 1 out and the bases loaded, Stone Crabs second baseman, Kean Wong (brother of Kolten) walked on 4 pitches, forcing in the winning run.

Charlotte were a fun team to watch. I even got to see a no-hitter thrown by Buddy Borden. They had the best record in the first half of the Florida State League season, going 45-25, but after some key players were promoted to AA, they ended up with a terrible second half with a 24-41 record.

I did manage to get some great autographs from this team.
Manager, Michael Johns
Pitching Coach, Steve 'Doc' Watson

Willy Adames
Kean Wong

Buddy Borden
Taylor Guerrieri

Jake Bauers
I was even lucky enough to attend a game where 2 Tampa Bay Rays' roving coaches were a part of the field staff.

Chad Mottola
Skeeter Barnes

Congratulations, Stone Crabs on your 2015 FSL championship!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The End of the 2015 Florida State League Season...Well, for Me at Least

Last night I attended game 2 of the Florida State League North Division Championship between the Daytona Tortugas (Cincinnati Reds) and Clearwater Threshers (Philadelphia Phillies).
It's a best of 3 series, which Daytona was leading, as they shutout the Threshers at home in game 1 by a score of 3-0.
The series then shifted to Clearwater, playing at the ballpark which I frequent the most since I live closest to it.

I am far from being a Phillies fan, but I was hoping for their FSL team to advance, only so that I could see a championship series take place, but alas, it did not happen. Daytona won game 2, 2-1, thus ending the Threshers season, and mine as well.

Daytona will face the South Division Champion, Charlotte Stone Crabs (Tampa Bay Rays), in a best of 5 series for the Florida State League Championship.
Game 1 is tonight in Daytona.

It was a fun season for me. My first full season of regularly attending games since 1999.

I visited 6 different stadiums, saw some impressive looking prospects, got to see Major League players working their way back from injuries, and of course, got a whole bunch of autographed cards to add to my collection.

It all started when the Lakeland Flying Tigers visited Clearwater in early April. My first autograph of the season was Scott Fletcher, the Detroit Tigers Minor League field coordinator.
The final autograph of the season came from Clearwater Threshers pitcher, David Whitehead.
In between those 2, I amassed 140 autographed baseball cards and 2 8x10 photos.

The two 8x10's were of New York Mets who were both on rehab assignments, Vic Black and Dillon Gee. Sadly, both of these guys seemed to have been ostracized by their club.
At the time I didn't have cards of them, so I opted on the photos.
Vic Black
Dillon Gee
It was good to be back to watching the FSL on a regular basis and returning to a hobby that I enjoyed so much.

Best of luck to both the Daytona Tortugas and Charlotte Stone Crabs.

Only 7 more months until the start of the 2016 Florida State League season.

Monday, September 7, 2015

2015 Clearwater Threshers Team Set

Issued late in the 2015 Florida State League season, the Clearwater Threshers released their 29-card team set. I didn't finally get mine until yesterday, the final day of the regular season.

It was a great year for the Clearwater Threshers, the high A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. They were first half champions, and yesterday, with a win over the Dunedin Blue Jays, they clinched the second half. A feat that hasn't happened since the Fort Myers Miracle (Minnesota Twins) did it in 2009.
On Tuesday, the Threshers begin a best of 3 playoff series against the Daytona Tortugas (Cincinnati Reds).

As for the set, here they are in the order of how they were packaged. I did get 4 of the cards signed, so those will be mixed in.

J.P. Crawford

J.P. card back

Greg Legg, 2015 FSL Manager of the Year
My only complaint about the set is with the Matt Imhof card. The same image was used in the 2015 FSL Top Prospect set, which came out in June of this year.

Matt Imhof
Matt Imhof, Top Prospect Card

Steve Schrenk, Pitching Coach

Ricardo Pinto

Chase Harris

Miguel Nunez

Zach Green

Rob Ducey, Batting Coach

Mark Leiter, Jr.

Carlos Tocci

Brandon Leibrandt

Drew Stankiewicz

Angelo Mora

Jesen Therrien

Mitch Walding

Cody Forsythe

David Whitehead
Chace Numata

Victor Arano
Dylan Cozens

Edubray Ramos
Andrew Knapp

Willians Astudillo, 2015 FSL Batting Champion
Aaron Brown

Ulises Joaquin
Colin Kleven

Andrew Pullin, 2015 FSL Homerun Leader

Yacksel Rios

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