One Man's Thoughts on Sports Card Collecting

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Wright Stuff

I can probably count on one hand the number of cards I have that are numbered to 10 or less.  Oddly enough, two of the cards I do have are from the same player - Mets favorite David Wright.  Even odder, both are #8 out of 10!

2013 Allen & Ginter Silk

2008 UD Masterpieces Gold Frame

A lifetime .298 hitter with 231 HRs, 910 Runs and 943 RBIs, Wright has been among the better players of the last decade. Not a bad guy to pull a rare card of!

I absolutely LOVE those gold framed-Masterpieces.  I've been trying to add one of each color frame to my Griffey set, but unfortunately they don't seem to come up very often on eBay.  Worse, Griffey has TWO cards in that set!!

For the record for any Mets fans out there, I could be persuaded to part with these....

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Common Cards, Uncommon Photography - Play At The Plate Edition

Over the years it has become a cliche that "the triple is the most exciting play in baseball."

Now don't get me wrong, triples are a lot of fun to watch - the initial excitement of the hit, watching the runner turn on that extra gear rounding second, the building tension of "will he make it??"  But to me, there was always a much more obvious candidate for baseball's most exciting play....

I speak of course of the play at the plate!

To me the play at the plate has all the virtues of a triple, as you can see the play developing, but then you also get the added excitement that scoring a run is on the line, plus you have the potential for a bone-jarring collision with the catcher.  In my opinion it's no contest which is "most exciting."

And now, here's a selection of cards that capture baseball's moment of truth - the play at the plate~!

1998 Pinnacle #77 - Ray Durham

Looks like Ray really brought the wood on this collision.  I love that the photographer also managed to catch both helmets flying through the air.

1995 UD Collector's Choice #55 - Sid Bream

Easily one of baseball's most famous plays at the plate, who can forget Sid Bream chugging around third and just barely beating Barry Bonds' throw to win Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS??

1999 Stadium Club #292 - Phil Nevin

From the photographer's perspective, the beauty of the play at the plate....

1999 Stadium Club #127 - Brady Anderson that it can count as a photo for more than one player!

2012 Topps Chrome #29 - Carl Crawford

Crawford getting some air, while Salvador Perez is not having a very good day.

1998 Fleer #396 - Scott Servais

I love this shot.  Classic gear, old school mask, the eyes laser-focused on the ball even with a runner bearing down on him - to me it captures the essence of "catcher."

1993 Upper Deck #219 - Gary Carter

The victorious catcher and the vanquished baserunner! This card is a two-fer, as the back captures the moment before with Gary blocking the plate:

1996 UD Collector's Choice #304 - Kirt Manwaring


1994 Topps #370 - Benny Santiago

A beautiful picture of Tim Teufel getting around Santiago's swipe tag.

1993 Topps #721 - Rick Wilkins

And last but not least, a great full-extension diving effort.  Love the way the mask is just starting to come off in this shot.

Until next time, may all your throws to the plate be right on target!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Progress On An Old Favorite

Last week I finally got around to updating my needs list to include some insert sets I've had my eye on.  It also prompted me to go search eBay to scratch a few cards off my checklist for one of my all-time favorite sets - the 1993 Score Select Chase Stars.

As luck would have it I managed to snag 4 cards from the same seller, so with combined shipping I got these for just $10:

396 career HRs, not too shabby

Career .312 batting average

Fuck this guy.  No really, fuck him.

One of my favorite baseball names, and a 5-time Gold Glover
As I've written before, these cards look so much better than their scan gives credit for.  I think these may be the first cards to use the Dufex technology, and I find them mesmerizing to look at.  I try not to overuse this, but this really is a set where if there is a player you like on the list, you MUST pick up a copy.

With the addition of these four I now need only 5 more to complete the 24-card set (I have a Griffey, but I want a second one to keep with this set).  Unfortunately there are a few expensive ones remaining with Griffey, Maddux (usually around $10) and Ripken (usually $15-$20).

But they will be mine.  Oh yes, they WILL be mine.

1993 Score Select Chase Stars Checklist
1 Fred McGriff
2 Ryne Sandberg
3 Ozzie Smith
4 Gary Sheffield
5 Darren Daulton
6 Andy Van Slyke
7 Barry Bonds
8 Tony Gwynn
9 Greg Maddux
10 Tom Glavine
11 John Franco
12 Lee Smith
13 Cecil Fielder
14 Roberto Alomar
15 Cal Ripken, Jr.
16 Edgar Martinez
17 Ivan Rodriguez
18 Kirby Puckett
19 Ken Griffey, Jr.
20 Joe Carter
21 Roger Clemens
22 Dave Fleming
23 Paul Molitor
24 Dennis Eckersley

Monday, July 13, 2015

Worst Autograph Nominee

I guess when you're as fast as Billy Hamilton, signing your name simply takes too much time......

Come on, man....

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Thursday, July 2, 2015

And that's the bottom line....

Hit cards of any type from a plain Target retail pack are always a rare treat.  Imagine my shock when not only did I pull a hit card, but a JUMBO relic~!


That's right - an extra large Wrestlemania 30 mat relic featuring the Texas Rattlesnake!

Now granted Austin was only there for the opening promo of the show, but it was a really good one celebrating the 30-year history of Wrestlemania:

Pictured:  Steve Austin and two other guys
I don't buy many wrestling cards, but this makes a fine addition to my collection!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

LONG Overdue Thanks to Junior Junkie!

A while back I got an unexpected package in the mail from The Junior Junkie.  He was kind enough to send me a nice stack of cards from my second-favorite player of all-time, Jeff Bagwell!

Griffey had the sweetest swing of his generation, but Bagwell's may have been the most fearsome.  Starting from his ominous, crouching stance...

...and then just exploding through the ball:

That pitch was on the OUTER half of the plate.
It's a crime that Bagwell hasn't made the Hall of Fame yet.  I've never heard any kind of real evidence against him as far as PEDs, only guilt by association because he was around Ken Caminiti.  His career numbers speak for themselves - 449 HRs, 1517 Runs, 1529 RBIs, 2314 hits, .297 career average, .408 career OBP and 202 SBs.  I think the average and stolen bases are the most surprising for many people - he wasn't just a power hitter, he was a complete player!  And those power numbers came while spending two-thirds of his career playing home games in the Astrodome.

Thanks a lot Junior Junkie!  I will have to return the favor sometime in the near future.  :)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Common Cards, Uncommon Photography - Balls to the Wall

Today I have another installment of my series celebrating regular cards that feature top-notch photos.  Everybody loves a highlight reel catch, and I love it even more when those moments get captured on cardboard!

2010 Upper Deck #427 - Aaron Rowand

 The rare 4-way catch attempt.

1998 Stadium Club #20 - Jay Buhner
Some pretty good leaping ability from Buhner here, considering he isn't using the wall to help him at all.  Also, you gotta love the look on the fan's face.  :)

2014 Topps #301 - Shane Victorino
Yikes.  Sailing into that low Fenway park wall, I can't imagine this one ended very well for ol' Shane...

1999 Fleer Ultra #25 - Andruw Jones
Crazy hops from Andruw in this shot.  And the way he is holding his arm it looks like he actually caught it!

2010 Upper Deck Season Biography #SB-40 - Torii Hunter
An absolutely GORGEOUS photo of Torii doing what he does best.  The photographer couldn't possibly have timed this one any better.

2014 Topps #326 - Khris Davis
A look that says "Ohhh this is gonna suck..."  I hope he at least held on to the ball!

2011 Topps #252 - Michael Saunders
Another beautifully-timed photo with the ball falling into the glove.  Catching the Mariners logo as the background is a nice touch as well.

2014 Stadium Club #183 - Carlos Gomez
So close....Gomez has made a lot of great plays for us.  Sadly, I think he is likely to be in another uniform within the next 6 weeks (if he can get himself healthy that is).

1995 Upper Deck #29 - Geronimo Berroa
 A cool card from one of the best names in the game.  I love this one because of the element of suspense - you really can't tell if he was gonna get his glove on it or not.

2007 Upper Deck #421 - Mike Cameron

Just like the previous card, this shot of former-Brewer Cameron captures the "will he bring it back?" moment of suspense perfectly.

And finally, as a parting bonus, enjoy some great 80s metal from Accept!:

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Fantasy Baseball Draft Live Blog

I decided to try something new and live blog my fantasy draft. We do a hybrid auction/draft, with everyone using $100 fake dollars to get 5 players via auction, and then we switch to a 20-round snake draft.  12-team league, weekly head-to-head matchups.  Categories are 6x6 - Batting average, Runs, HRs, RBIs, Stolen bases and OBP for offense; Quality Starts, Ks, ERA, WHIP, Saves and Holds for pitching.

 The Donora Lefty Legends are coming off an awful season in 2014 (5-17), so we cant do any worse!

Here we go!

I am targeting Altuve and either Gomez or McCutcheon in the auction.

Update 1 - oh, and GO BADGERS~!

Lots of huge bids going around. Trout and Kershaw both go for over $70. Unfortunately I lost out on McCutcheon, as I wasn't willing to go to $62 for him.  Still have Gomez and Altuve out there.

Almost picked up Anthony Rizzo, but ended up letting him go at a low price. Couldn't bring myself to have a Cub be my first player. :-)

We're on the board!  First player - Jose Abreu.  I couldn't pass up the deal he was going for. Planning on laying dormant now until Altuve or Gomez comes up.

(60 seconds later) - wow, that was fast. Gomez comes up and I got him. Dont let me down Go-Go!!!

Dammit!!! I got outbid for Altuve by the only guy left who could outbid me. Sonofa......

I pick up Madison Bumgarner for a steal.  Didn't really expect to get a pitcher here, but i'm ok with it.

I rounded out the auction segment with Jose Reyes and Anthony Rendon. Rendon is eligible at both 2B and 3B, so that is a nice bonus. I'm feeling pretty good about the core i've put together. If you believe Rotowire I got 4 of the top 31 overall.

Picking 9th in the snake draft now. Probably going to target starting pitchers or closers first.

Ok I lied. I picked up Hunter Pence first,  loved the value there. Took Dodger closer Kenley Jansen on the rebound.

Just realized Jansen is hurt and out for at least a couple weeks. Fuck.

Picked up Pirates closer Mark Melancon and Ryan Zimmerman. Looks like I have locked in a path - we are going to win with offense, saves and holds, and starting pitching is going to be a crapshoot.

Next another closer, Steve Cishek.  And then Marlins OF Marcell Ozuna. I am REALLY trusting my magazines on the Ozuna pick.  Both are VERY high on him.  If they are right I got huge value here. I am hoping Neil Walker makes it back to me.

Badgers back to the Final Four! Woot woot!

Aaaand Walker makes it back! I get Walker and the shockingly still available Justin Morneau.

If nothing else, this team is going to MASH.

Next up, Toronto closer Brett Cecil and finally starting pitcher number two, Wily Peralta. Very surprised and happy Peralta was still there, since this is a room full of Brewer fans! It was a choice between Peralta and former Brewer Alcides Escobar, hopefully Escobar and his much-needed steals make it back around.

Escobar made it, so I snatched him up. Then I rounded out my offensive starting lineup with catcher-eligible Evan Gattis. Again, this. Team. Will. MASH.

Other than a fourth OF, it's gonna be all pitchers from here on out.

Mike Fiers is next. STUNNED he was still available here. I am a big believer in him, LOVE this pick.  Followed that up with Nationals pitcher Tanner Roark. Trusting the magazine again on that one.

Time for a pair of Holds guys who are also potential closers - Danny Farquhar of Seattle and Jordan Walden of the Cardinals.  I am hoping Nori Aoki is there for my next pick. He's a favorite of mine and also would be a nice source of steals.

I got Nori! And my final two picks went deep into the starting pitcher list - Kevin Gausman of the Orioles and Jason Hammel of the Cubs.

I am PUMPED about this team. I made an extra effort to prepare after last year's debacle and I think it really paid off. I think the offense is very good, as is the relief corps. If I can get anything at all from the starting pitchers (or pick up a couple off waivers during the season) I really think this team will contend.

Friday, March 27, 2015

You've Been.....THUNDERSTRUCK~!

I miss 1990s-style inserts.  So much great stuff from back then.

Case in point, the newest addition to my Griffey collection:

(I used the COMC pic to save some time)

I fell in love with this card the moment I saw it on eBay.  It doesn't come through well in the picture, but the lightning bolt is sparkly foil, not just printed on the background.  Fleer Ultra had "Thunderclap" as an annual insert set for several years, so I will definitely go looking for the Griffeys from other years.

1997 Fleer Ultra Thunderclap Checklist:
1 Barry Bonds
2 Mo Vaughn
3 Mark McGwire
4 Jeff Bagwell
5 Juan Gonzalez
6 Alex Rodriguez
7 Chipper Jones
8 Ken Griffey, Jr.
9 Mike Piazza
10 Frank Thomas

On an only slightly related note - can we all agree that the opening of AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" is one of the best guitar riffs of all time?

Friday, February 6, 2015

Gold Label Goodness

I added a small handful of new Griffeys in the past few weeks.  Today we focus on a GORGEOUS pair from 1998 Topps Gold Label.  This is one of those sets where in my opinion, if you have a player you collect in the base set, then picking up a copy is an absolute MUST. They are THAT nice.  The card stock is very sturdy and super glossy, the background is done in a "refractor" style, and the script lettering for the player names is beautiful.

Each player has 3 cards in the set.  "Class 1" cards have the name in gold foil and have a background shot of the player fielding, like so:

 "Class 2" cards have the name in a sparkly silver foil and show the player running:

And "Class 3" cards (the most rare) have the name in sparkly gold foil, with the background photo being a hitting or pitching shot.  I didn't add the "Class 3" Griffey yet, so no pic of that one.

Here is the player checklist.  Like I said, well worth tracking one down for your favorite players!

1 Kevin Brown
2 Greg Maddux
3 Albert Belle
4 Andres Galarraga
5 Craig Biggio
6 Matt Williams
7 Derek Jeter
8 Randy Johnson
9 Jay Bell
10 Jim Thome
11 Roberto Alomar
12 Tom Glavine
13 Reggie Sanders
14 Tony Gwynn
15 Mark McGwire
16 Jeromy Burnitz
17 Andruw Jones
18 Jay Buhner
19 Robin Ventura
20 Jeff Bagwell
21 Roger Clemens
22 Masato Yoshii RC
23 Travis Fryman
24 Rafael Palmeiro
25 Alex Rodriguez
26 Sandy Alomar, Jr.
27 Chipper Jones
28 Rusty Greer
29 Cal Ripken, Jr.
30 Tony Clark
31 Derek Bell
32 Fred McGriff
33 Paul O'Neill
34 Moises Alou
35 Henry Rodriguez
36 Steve Finley
37 Marquis Grissom
38 Jason Giambi
39 Javy Lopez
40 Damion Easley
41 Mariano Rivera
42 Mo Vaughn
43 Mike Mussina
44 Jason Kendall
45 Pedro Martinez
46 Frank Thomas
47 Jim Edmonds
48 Hideki Irabu
49 Eric Karros
50 Juan Gonzalez
51 Ellis Burks
52 Dean Palmer
53 Scott Rolen
54 Raul Mondesi
55 Quinton McCracken
56 John Olerud
57 Ken Caminiti
58 Brian Jordan
59 Wade Boggs
60 Mike Piazza
61 Darin Erstad
62 Curt Schilling
63 Dave Justice
64 Kenny Lofton
65 Barry Bonds
66 Ray Lankford
67 Brian Hunter
68 Chuck Knoblauch
69 Vinny Castilla
70 Vladimir Guerrero
71 Tim Salmon
72 Larry Walker
73 Paul Molitor
74 Barry Larkin
75 Edgar Martinez
76 Bernie Williams
77 Dante Bichette
78 Nomar Garciaparra
79 Ben Grieve
80 Ivan Rodriguez
81 Todd Helton
82 Ryan Klesko
83 Sammy Sosa
84 Travis Lee
85 Jose Cruz, Jr.
86 Mark Kotsay
87 Richard Hidalgo
88 Rondell White
89 Greg Vaughn
90 Gary Sheffield
91 Paul Konerko
92 Mark Grace
93 Kevin Millwood RC
94 Manny Ramirez
95 Tino Martinez
96 Brad Fullmer
97 Todd Walker
98 Carlos Delgado
99 Kerry Wood
100 Ken Griffey, Jr.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Trade With Lifetime Topps Project

I recently completed another trade with chuckneo over at the Lifetime Topps Project.  His blog is one of my favorites, and he has quite the ambitious project - collecting every Topps set since 1980.  My recent digging through my old cards led me to a handful he was looking for, so I was glad to do my part to bring him a tiny bit closer to his goal!

He was kind enough to send me a nice envelope of cards in return, including some Platinum Diamonds:

A few Topps inserts on my want list:

And best of all, a pair of Griffeys!:

That Golden Moments card is actually a mini - I didn't even know they made minis of those cards that year!  And I really like that Goudey style card from last year's Goodwin set.  Something about that painting-esque picture and the card design really clicks for me.

Thanks again for the trade chuckneo!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Brewer Cards As Black As My Mood...

It has been a bad 6 months to be a Milwaukee sports fan.  First, the Brewers had their 6-week death march where they managed to miss the playoffs entirely after leading the division for 150 days.  And then today we had....whatever the hell that was that the Packers did.  Without hyperbole, both were HISTORIC collapses in their respective sports, and both squandered golden opportunities at having a truly special season.  

In light of all that, now seemed like a fitting time to post some nice Brewer cards I picked up for my team collection - a set of 9 black background cards from the 2011 set.

I hadn't seen any of these in person until now. They are pretty cool, the blackout effect really makes the player photo jump off of the card.  I especially like the Gomez, Hoffman's 600th save, and team card celebration shots.

This group also includes a guy who may not be a Brewer for long - it appears the Crew is trading Yovani to the Rangers.  Oddly, no one seems to have any idea what we are getting in return yet,  One reporter speculated that the team might be clearing room to make a run at James Shields, which would be SWEET, but I doubt it's true.

Welp, time to start counting the days until Pitchers & Catchers Report Day.  "Hope springs eternal" and all that.....

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Definitely Not Junk From The Junior Junkie

I recently reached out to The Junior Junkie to initiate what I thought would be a simple Griffey swap.  I don't have many Griffey doubles, and his collection is just slightly larger than mine, but I still managed to find two Griffey dupes in my binder that he didn't have.

Pictured, left to right: my Griffey collection, Junior Junkie's collection

What I didn't expect is that he would send me an entire STACK in return!!  Check out all this awesomeness:

Lots of great stuff here.  My favorites:

-That photo on the 1997 Topps base card is SWEET.  Classic Griffey pose, and love the bat dropping out of the frame.  I'll have to pick up another copy of that one for my "great photos" binder.
-Gotta love a matching set of base card and silver signature parallel for Collector's Choice
-The 1994 Fleer Ultra Award Winners insert is one I remember wishing I could nab back in the day, I loved that design, so very happy to finally add that one to the list
-The Upper Deck Fun Pack card actually has a heat-activated background - hold your thumb on it and you can see a cartoon of Griffey about to get the ol' pie in the face from a teammate!
-That very first Topps card in the upper left is from 2012 and is my favorite of the bunch in terms of design (not sure what the card number prefix "MBC" is just yet).  It's almost like a cross between a regular card and a Chrome refractor.  I loves me some shiny!
-Vintage-style minis.  'Nuff said.
-And finally, the one with Buhner may not technically be a Griffey, but in my book a shot of these slugging teammates definitely counts!

As a bonus, this trade pushes my Griffey collection past the 700 mark~!

Thanks for the great trade Junior Junkie!