Monday, July 28, 2014

Dug into the quarter boxes at my LCS

1979 Topps Don Hood #667 - I like the perfectly coiffed stache.

1993 Pinnacle Luis Polonia #31 - I randomly leafed through some Angels cards and realized Polonia is wearing a retro uniform.

1995 Upper Deck SP Championship Series Chili Davis #133 - I like him grimacing as I could only imagine the pitch he thought was a ball, was actually called a strike.
2014 Topps Allen and Ginter Shelby Miller #29
2014 Topps Allen and Ginter Taijuan Walker #64
2014 Topps Allen and Ginter Matt Adams #79
2014 Topps Allen and Ginter Matt Carpenter #123
2014 Topps Allen and Ginter Mark McGwire #147
2014 Topps Allen and Ginter Bryce Harper #148
2014 Topps Allen and Ginter Julio Teheran #229
2014 Topps Allen and Ginter J.D. Martinez #236
2014 Topps Allen and Ginter Trevor Rosenthal #277
2014 Topps Allen and Ginter Adam Wainwright #324 - SP

2013-14 Upper Deck Hockey Steve Ott #61 - maybe captured in a subtle, candid moment, blowing a bubble.

2013-14 Upper Deck Hockey Evander Kane #143 - I'm not sure the sign is the most creative but it makes the card look more amusing than it should be.

2013-14 Upper Deck Hockey Ryan Smyth #163 - inking it up

Featured autograph - Huston Street

It's amazing how the Angels bullpen has been revamped from early in the season - it wasn't that long ago that duds like Ernesto Frieri, Nick Maronde, Yoslan Herrera, Rich Hill, Wade LeBlanc, Josh Wall, et al were trotted out to pitch in Angels games.

I don't expect the Angels' bullpen to be perfect for the rest of the year but they seem more competent right now - general manager Jerry Dipoto really did an about-face and tried to flush as many of the turds down the toilet to upgrade the Halos relief squad.

In addition to Joe Smith, the resurgence of Kevin Jepsen and the promotion of relief prospect Mike Morin - the acquisitions of Jason Grilli, Joe Thatcher and Street have made the Angels' bullpen a strength.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Buyer beware

I got skunked on a 2014 Allen and Ginter hand collated set purchase on eBay - the seller gave me positive feedback within 10 minutes after I hit the 'buy it now' and after a couple of weeks, there has been nothing to indicate the set has been shipped or on it's way.

I think I was a little desperate to pull the trigger, so I could get some new cards in-hand, so I didn't consider one or more of the following:

1.) Feedback - a seller with 1,000 positive feedbacks doesn't mean anything; does the seller have any recent negatives, things that particularly sticks out?

2.) What are the things a seller up for sale - I take a look at a seller's inventory and if see a seller doesn't have much of whatever it is I'm looking for [I maybe looking for a hand collated set for example, but the seller has mostly a bunch of singles listed instead or even non-card stuff], then it maybe a warning sign that they might not have the expertise to have something in-hand, ready to ship.

3.) Item description - the less there is said about something, the more I suspect that a seller might not be able to follow through.

I guess I want a seller to know what he or she is selling and if there is no basic description - it may mean I might not get the exact item.

4.) Buying from a list of trusted sellers - I have to pick up things from sellers that are basically strangers, but it may help to have a list of sellers on eBay that seem to be dependable, whether I'm going to be looking for singles, commons, hand collated sets, unopened boxes or other things.

Featured autograph - Mark Appel

Despite his struggles this season, Appel is still an in-person autograph 'get' and I got him to sign a photo and a 2014 Bowman oversized Silver Ice card when he was still with the Lancaster Jethawks - while I don't really like to get 'oddball sized' cards signed, the 5x7 card simply pops.

Because of his draft status, I assume that despite a lost season, he'll get to Houston eventually - for their investment, the Astros are going to have to figure out how to put him in a position where he might enjoy some success, even if it doesn't sit well with some of their players at the big league level.

According to his profile page on, Appel has had a 2-5 record with an 9.74 ERA - after his best start of the year on July 24, where he pitched six innings and struck out seven and walked none, he was bumped up to Double-A.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured autograph - Chase Headley

Attending several San Diego Padres home games each year - it seemed like the newly acquired New York Yankees third baseman was always the first player to come out of the dugout and meander over to railing to sign for fans [before actually getting ready for the game].

Though I've neglected to go to the Padres' side in my last couple of times going to Padres games - I'd gotten another card signed by Headley in-person last weekend and while it lasted, it was great to see him take care of most fans without fail.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Chien-Ming Wang

I wouldn't have picked up the card of the former Yankees' pitcher but I like the replica New York Yankees game ticket [picturing Derek Jeter] built into the die-cut window - even though it is a 2003 Fleer Authentix card, it was part of the Rookie Updates insert from the 2003 Fleer Rookies & Greats set and is serial #'d 1044/1250.

Wang had a pretty good run in parts of five seasons with the Yankees back in the day, but it seems like injuries and ineffectiveness derailed his promising career - he's bounced around and it is fascinating how pitchers who've shown they can have success in the major leagues, can find themselves down and out sooner than expected.

Despite Wang's inability to have the same success like he did early in his MLB career, he is still plugging away - after opting out with his minor league deal with the Cincinnati Reds, he has signed with the Chicago White Sox.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Efren Navarro

Kind of a career AAAA player, the Angels first baseman has impressed in his brief time in the major leagues - it would make sense to trade him as a guy who has nothing left to prove and is ready to play at first base for another big league team.

He may only get back a No. 3 or No. 4 starter or even a decent reliever - he's not going to hit for power, but it seems like he has a pure lefty swing and may hit near .300 with a decent on-base percentage.

2014 All-Star game - Derek Jeter and Mike Trout

I don't think the 40-year old embarrassed himself in his last All-Star game, collecting a couple of hits before being pulled after playing three innings - he could have been named the All-Star MVP, but much to the surprise of nobody, the star of the American League's 5-3 win was the Halos' Mike Trout.

It's good to be Angels fan when I can watch the best player in baseball on a regular basis and know he plays for my home team - Trout was 2-for-3 with a double and a triple with 2 RBI as he got himself a jazzy Corvette after the game.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Featured autograph - Kyle Schwarber

The No. 4 overall pick by the Chicago Cubs, Schwarber hit .408 through 28 games and 103 at-bats between two minor league affiliates in his pro debut - I got his autograph when this past college baseball season when he was playing for Indiana University, only knowing he was a player to get because I had his 2014 Panini Team USA card.

With his blistering start, Schwarber was promoted to Daytona, in the Florida State League - he looks to be part of a core of top prospects projected to be impact players in the next few seasons for the floundering Cubs.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Trade post with S.Mack Talk

Jimmy over at S.Mack Talk wanted some of my Topps yellow / Topps Target red parallels from my 2014 Topps breaks and contacted me about a trade early in the year - I held onto the cards he needed until we could finally meet in-person to complete the transaction.

I think the only card I originally wanted was a Mike Trout insert - but then Jimmy was able to round up some cards off my collecting topics wantlist, so at the very least I was able to pick up some cards for my mini-collections.

Awesome action
1993 Topps Stadium Club Juan Bell #157

Awesome outfield action
1993 Upper Deck Felix Jose #156
1995 Upper Deck Geronimo Berroa 
2002 Fleer Ultra Shannon Stewart #99

Bonus babies
1995 Topps Glenn Parker #77 [football]
- feat. Jim Kelly

Broken bat shots
1993 Upper Deck Wes Chamberlain #267
1993 Upper Deck Cecil Fielder #499
1993 Upper Deck Brian Hunter #582
1995 Upper Deck Joe Oliver #297

Inking it up
1995 Upper Deck Jeffrey Hammonds #129
1995 Upper Deck Hector Carrasco #166
1995 Upper Deck Marquis Grissom #290

Pitchers hitting
1995 Upper Deck Darryl Kile #22
1995 Upper Deck Robb Nen #114 - how often is a pitcher captured on a baseball card sliding to second base?
1995 Upper Deck Fernando Valenzuela #142
1995 Upper Deck Dave Nied #173
1995 Upper Deck Pat Rapp #256

Retro uniforms
1991 Donruss Greg Hibbard #159
1992 Upper Deck Mike Benjamin #268 - I the like befuddled look on his face as if to say, 'dudes actually played baseball with these gloves back in the day?'
1993 Topps Stadium Club Dennis Cook #153
1993 Upper Deck John Burkett #160
1993 Upper Deck Zane Smith #349
1994 Upper Deck Tyler Green #72 - x2
1995 Upper Deck Rod Beck #86
1995 Upper Deck Scott Erickson #428

1992 Upper Deck Von Hayes #707 - have it
1995 Upper Deck Larry Walker #82 - think I have it / broken bat or awesome action [on the back]
1995 Upper Deck Darren Lewis #87 - think I have it / awesome outfield action or bonus baby [on the back] feat. Barry Bonds
2013 Topps Update Craig Kimbrel #US 53
2013 Topps Update Joey Votto #US 268
2013 Topps Update Torii Hunter #US 276
2014 Topps Mike Trout #FN-20 - The Future is Now insert

Featured autograph - Yunesky Maya

I picked up a 2011 Topps Allen and Ginter in-person signed card of Maya and it was kind of a no brainer - it was another $2.50 auto from a group of autograph cards detailed in this previous post.

I can go ahead and put my original set card in my collection of foreign born players and not worry about needing him to sign something specific - it's not like Maya was a major want, but it's one autograph set card out of the way from a player that might be tough to track down.

A Cuban defector who was a free agent bust with the Washington Nationals, Maya was pitching in the Atlanta Braves' system this year before being sold to a baseball team in Korea - I just want to say that he's already 32 years old and while he's probably not permanently going back to Cuba, he is on the pro baseball journeyman path.