Monday, December 09, 2019

2019 Topps Chrome Update value pack recap

Exclusive pink refractor pack
#2 Josh Donaldson
#60 Corbin Martin

Pack one
#53 Eloy Jimenez
#84 Lucas Giolito
#150C-8 Steve Carlton - 150 Years of Professional Baseball refractor
#FBC-16 Tony Gwynn - The Family Business refractor

Pack two
#67 Willson Contreras
#61 Austin Riley
#CUA-GU Gio Urshula - autograph
#FBC-22 Pedro Martinez - The Family Business refractor

Pack three
#48 Mitch Keller
#91 Clayton Kershaw
#82 Francisco Lindor
#150C-3 Ichiro Suzuki - 150 Years of Professional Baseball refractor

Thursday, December 05, 2019

1993 Topps Traded Todd Helton RC #19T

As a non-geographic fan of the player, I liked the idea of Helton being a pure hitter, even if he played half of his home games at Coors Field and his power numbers actually dipped mid-career - maybe it got boring searching eBay listings of his first card, so to finally scratch the itch, I grabbed a copy.

I don't see Helton as an outright Hall of Famer, but with the idea of the nerds rejiggering the advanced stats of retired players - there are more ways to view Helton's playing numbers, where he at least has a case to be a borderline HOF guy.

Helton's one or two DUI issues doesn't make the one-team, face of a franchise fan favorite for the Colorado Rockies look good - but for the right players, their off-the-field missteps may not be enough for any particular writers not to give them a Hall of Fame vote.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

What the Angels need this offseason

As an Angels fan, I like thinking about who my team can get in the offseason and with pitching the obvious need - it maybe Gerrit Cole or bust.

However, I'm not going to fret about Cole at all until I check my phone and see he has signed with a team - Cole might 'hold out' until the spring and as much as the Angels desperately need him, they need to move on getting other guys.

This is my crack at attempting to solve the Angels pitching problems - that almost has little to do with actually getting the guy the Angels are thirsty for the most.

Hyun-Jin Ryu - he might be the more realistic non-Cole priority as a guy who is a magician on the mound, though there might be risks in signing him to a 3 or 4 year deal at a premium rate.

Though he was relatively healthy in 2019, I wouldn't want to sign the guy and see him breaking down again where he might pitch like a Cy Young contender - but someone who may make only so many starts and pitch so many innings.

Cole Hamels - as a veteran who has pitched for Joe Maddon, can he have a little bit of late career success on a 1 or 2 year deal? I don't think of him as that old, but has all the innings and usage caught up with the lefty?

Julio Teheran - on a start-per-start basis, he seems like someone who Angels fans would have fits about on Twitter or on fan forums, though nothing 'bad' really stands out when looking at his stats.

Dylan Bundy - maybe the Angels can trade for the 27-year old and turn him into something he hasn't been as a Baltimore Orioles pitcher. Despite double digit losses and inflated ERAs during the past two seasons, the 27-year old has been relatively healthy and may have some potential to be unlocked.

Wei-Yin Chen - maybe the veteran lefty has just had the worst luck since signing a big money contract with the Miami Marlins; going dumpster diving, maybe the Angels can offer him a spring training invite to see if he can show something to make the team as starting rotation depth.

Hold-overs - Andrew Heaney, Griffin Canning, Shohei Ohtani, Jaime Barria, José Suarez and Patrick Sandoval.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Catching up with Topps image variations

Besides what I might pull, I don't think I've actively collected the various Topps image variations released over the years - I can't keep up with the flood of gimmicky cards that might be harder to find [not always the case] and may cost a premium [not always the case].

As it goes, unless super short printed and/or featuring hot players like Mike Trout or Ronald Acuña Jr. - the cards have gotten fairly common, so there might be an opportunity to grab a run of the unique image cards featuring Hall of Famers or retired stars to add to my own mini-collection subsets or my decade stars binders.

2019 Topps SP Greats variation Will Clark #428 - maybe this was peak 1980s Clark, getting fired up after recording an out with the base runner [Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith] out of luck.

2019 Topps SSP Greats variation Vladimir Guerrero #675 - this feels like such a pure image of presumably an early-career Guerrero inking it up.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

2019 Donruss football value pack recap

I do not remember the last time I bought unopened football cards - it may have literally been 10 years ago.

While the big box store football cards are pretty much entry level product - it gives me cards to go through featuring a professional sport in season; maybe find some NFL cards with unique images, find some ‘hot’ NFL rookies [even at the most cheapest, low-end level] or find cards of NFL players for my mini-collections [even though I’ve always been a baseball first and only kind of guy].

Go figure, I tend to think football cards lends itself to more unique images - but I guess basic Donruss is the wrong place to look for such NFL cards.

The cards look fine but there were just about no ‘awesome action’ cards, which left me a little underwhelmed - I thought this was going to be a party in a pack, but every card I pulled showed players in seemingly stationary, frozen positions, whether it’s running with the football, guys set in their positions or quarterbacks about to throw the ball.

#330 Tyler Lockett
#100 Aaron Jones
#211 Le’Veon Bell 
#104 Jaire Alexander
#42 Christian McCaffrey

#161 Randy Moss

#8 Tony Gonzalez
#207 Michael Bennett

#48 Wesley Walls - pulling cards of Moss, Gonzalez and Moss, I wonder if I’m busting a pack from this year or from 1999?
#108 Jadeveon Clowney
#38 Jordan Poyer
#99 Clay Matthews
#26 Gus Edwards
#9 Josh Rosen
#60 Tyler Boyd

#114 Andrew Luck - another card picturing a retired star, though I suppose Luck didn't count as part of the old-timers part of the checklist.

#137 LaDainian Tomlinson - another card picturing a retired star, I wonder if Dick Butkus or Bob Griese is on the checklist.
#124 Myles Jack
#20 Tevin Coleman
#94 Kenny Golladay

#25 Lamar Jackson

#184 John Riggins - my NFL fanhood probably only goes back from the mid 1990s onward, but I may have heard of this legend, through some old-timey hobby magazine where his rookie card is mentioned. 
#147 Kenyan Drake - Blue parallel
#62 Shawn Williams - Blue parallel

#292 Gardner Minshew II - Blue parallel
#41V Cam Newton - Blue parallel / variation; apparently variations featuring the more unique images for the guys on the checklist.

#ES-18 Jared Goff - Elite Series parallel
#262 Jerry Tillery
#282 Chandler Cox
#257 Dexter Lawrence

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The state of adding new mini-collection cards

I like rummaging through loose cards in-person, where I like to lean on my esoteric mini-collection interests and at the very least, look for cards with unique images - at the moment, I don't really have a card shop or card show or even a swap meet / antique store to be able to actually dig through the fool's gold, where I find my 'gems' to build around my collecting topics subset narrative.

I miss stumbling upon boxes of cards at a show, finding out how much the cards are generally are [usually I'm looking for the quarter boxes] and figuring out where to start digging - there isn't the process of impulsively building a stash of cards and then sort of making decision on which cards are going to be taken off and which cards I going to be left off a vendor or dealer's common boxes.

I end up doing some 'research and development' online, where I read up on blogs or do random searches on eBay or COMC to see which cards I'd like to add to my collections - there isn't the instant gratification of having a card in hand, but I save the image of the card and/or list it on my wantlist.

Doing things on online might be easier and/or convenient, especially the hunt in-person might not be so fruitful and when I'm so far removed from picking up cards from places other than a big box store - I can take all the time in the world and treat online sources as my virtual card closet, where I have all these cards that I can look at and actually have shipped to me when I decide I want them.

After doing some ground work in discovering the following cards, I had them on a micro-mini wantlist and wanted to see if I can pick them up outright - the four cards cost me about $0.50 each with s/h added in and while I might pick up more cards at one time, I don’t want any one particular common card to be creeping up towards the dollar mark.

1988 Classic Eric Davis #213 - maybe the best ‘gum card’ I’ve seen.

When I can go through my mini-collection cards, I like seeing the different varieties of cards, how many different players are represented and if how many cards I end up of a player - I think I've mostly collected cards from Topps and the other major brands from the past 30 years, but at times there might be stragglers that may seem unfamiliar.

For a moment, seeing a card that is a different is neat - even if it is just a base card I shouldn't really dwell on.

1993 Bowman Edgar Martinez #515 - a Hall of Famer at work image, I presume this was during Mariners spring training in Peoria, Arizona.

1996 Donruss Glenallen Hill #75 - I saw this on a mail day blog post and had to add to my wantlist.

1996 Score Bip Roberts #38 - is this card of Roberts donning a sombrero sort of a cult classic? I felt like a big deal was made about this card at some point, but maybe it's just random card blog posts / Twitter posts of that drew my attention to this peculiar card.

Maybe 10 years ago, Bipping was a thing among notable card bloggers - where dupes of a particular card would be sent in trade packages as a friendly prank of sorts.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

1993 Bowman Andy Pettitte RC #103

I'm trying to pick and choose to add certain scratch the itch rookie cards - many of the rookies I'd like to add to my PC come from the junk wax era years through the UV coated era years of the mid 1990s, so while I want to add a card here and there, I don't want to go 'all-in' on a big shopping spree outright.

I picked up Pettitte's rookie, because the lefthander is considered one of the Yankees' all-time greats as part of the Core Four [Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Pettitte and Jorge Posada] - there might be a case to be made for Pettitte to get into the Hall of Fame, even if was a PED guy with one-time pal Roger Clemens.

I've always thought Pettitte was a No. 3 or No. 4 starter who was ultimately more serviceable than dominant for a New York Yankees dynasty through the late 1990s - he was an innings eater, who pitched in important games during the Yankees' postseason runs through October.

On the other hand, while things weren't always in Pettitte's control - he gave up too many hits and his ERA always seemed inflated.