Saturday, October 21, 2017

1978 TCMA Stars of the 60's I finds

I was out in Arizona on vacation for a week and at an outlet mall near the University of Phoenix Stadium, I stumbled upon a one stop 'pop culture' shop that had comics, sports memorabilia, etc - the set-up looked kind of like a swap meet of sorts and I actually saw they had a trading card 'section' with some showcases, assorted junk wax era / junk boxes, etc.

I saw what looked to be a tub / bin of assorted sports cards and started casually going through them - I'm a guy who can be entertained by rummaging through all this miscellaneous cardboard collecting dust, though I wasn't sure if I'd find anything of interest or if something was going to bite me back.

There were cards still individually priced from 20-25 years ago and I didn't want to ask about any junk cards with no prices] - I spent $2 on what looked to be 1978 TCMA The 1960's San Francisco Giants / California Angels team sets [in loose team set bags].

The Giants 'set' had a Masanori Murakami card on the back and figured picking up the 'set' for the individual Murakami card wasn't the worst buy for a dollar - I'm vaguely aware of TCMA sets but compared to mainstream, original Topps releases, the TCMA produced cards have less appeal to me as strictly collector issues.

After the fact, I looked up a checklist and discovered the Giants 'set' was missing the biggest name [Willie Mays #280] and also another notable [Orlando Cepeda #50] - not a big deal since Murakami was the card I really wanted.

The Angels set [complete unlike the Giants one] looked like it had the remains of a dead insect, but I took the cards out of the team set bag and cleaned the excess debris off with my shirt - the cards looked fine afterwards and after paying for the cards, threw the team set bag away.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

TTM autograph received: Paulo Orlando

I sent a request to the Kansas City Royals outfielder in April and got my card back signed this month - a longtime minor leaguer from Brazil, Orlando has spent parts of the past three seasons in the big leagues, though he got hurt and played in only 39 games in 2017.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

2017 Bowman Platinum fat pack breaks

I hadn't seen these Walmart exclusive cards all year long and I assumed the display box put out in the card section with a set number of fat packs, value boxes and collector's boxes - were either wiped out as soon as they were stocked on the shelvesor just never made it to the few Walmarts I kept hitting up.

People who looked to resell on eBay saw Bowman Platinum as the equivalent of 2017 Bowman Mega Boxes available at Target - especially when the Mega Boxes were pulled due to some undisclosed 'snafu' and were hard to find.

Bowman Platinum are nice looking cards because they are shiny and modern but not quite the definitive product collectors chase year after year - however the Aaron Judge / Cody Bellinger rookie hype drove current year products to new heights as far as demand.

On a random Walmart stop, I finally saw a couple of loose packs - people may have moved on already, but I still hadn't seen this year's cards up close, so I had to get the two lousy packs in my grubby hands.

Pack one
#49 Giancarlo Stanton
#41 Andrew McCutchen
#66 Craig Kimbrel
#40 Jon Lester
#72 Alex Reyes
#62 Reynaldo Lopez

#RR-AJ Aaron Judge - Rookie Radar insert

#TP-BR Blake Rutherford - Exclusive Prospect card
#TP-ZC Zack Collins
#TP-AK Alex Krilloff
#TP-VR Victor Robles

#TP-JJO Jahmai Jones

Pack two
#51 Matt Strahm
#24 Trevor Story
#10 Aledmys Diaz
#48 Freddie Freeman
#15 Gregory Polanco
#53 Nolan Arenado
#RR-JC Jharel Cotton
- Rookie Radar insert
#TP-JJ Joe Jimenez - Exclusive Prospect card
#TP-RR Raudy Read
#TP-FW Forrest Whitley
#TP-KT Kyle Tucker
#TP-MKO Michael Kopech

Thursday, September 28, 2017

TTM autographs received: Mike Krukow

The longtime broadcaster for the San Francisco Giants signed my cards in several months - Krukow's career in the booth with partner Duane Kuiper and dealing with a condition called IBM is detailed in-depth in this ESPN story I stumbled upon through Krukow's page on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

TTM autographs received: David West

The former big league lefty signed my cards in several months - he had his best run in parts of 4 seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, where he appeared in 122 games and struck out 217 batters in 251.2 innings.

I guess I knew of him as a rank-and-file guy who pitched through the junk wax era - so he was someone whose cards seemed to always kind of 'just there' through the masses of random baseball cards produced from 1986-1992.

Monday, September 25, 2017

TTM autographs received: Greg Harris

The former MLB pitcher signed my cards in a couple of weeks - besides having a 15 year career, Harris' most notable big league quirk was being able to pitch with both arms.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

TTM autographs received: Xavier Hernandez

The former big league reliever signed my cards in about 10 days - rather than just being some sort of chicken scratch scrawl, I like how his autograph is a little more distinctive.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

TTM autographs received: Byung-Ho Park

The Korean slugger signed my three cards in black Sharpie in about a couple of weeks - I'd seen successes with him through the past year and wanted to send my cards off before the minor league season ended.

Despite considerable success back in Korea, Park has languished in the United States, posting underwhelming numbers - if the Minnesota Twins cut ties with Park, who knows if he ever gets another opportunity to play for a big league team.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Justin Upton and Brandon Phillips

After sweeping the Oakland Athletics to salvage a homestand that had them fall short against the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros - the Angels picked up couple of veterans for the team's September push to get into the Wild Card game.

While Angels lost speedy outfielder Cameron Maybin to the Astros - picking up Upton gives the Angels the middle of the order bat to complement Mike Trout.

Phillips should give the Angels a boost at second base for the last month of the season - he's simply an immediate upgrade over the likes of Kaleb Cowart and Cliff Pennington, still putting up the solid, dependable batting numbers with some athleticism left after playing in 16 seasons in the big leagues.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Ugh, yuck...something smells like Pujols

Go figure, the Angels are right there in the chase for an American League Wild Card spot [68-65, 1 game behind the Minnesota Twins] and while Mike Trout has recently been mired in a slump on his own - it's hard to watch another rally killing ground ball hit by Albert Pujols to the left side of the infield while he can barely run it out to first base.

Unfortunately, Pujols isn't going anywhere, but it would be nice to see him come up clutch with the bat over the last month of the season - Pujols has proven to be a 'money player' before, but his turn in the lineup has just a black hole of suck.

At times I feel like the old man that he is, still grinding it out, like the good pro that he is - but I can only take so much out of his recent performance and from fan to player, Pujols needs to put up numbers fast.

Friday, August 25, 2017

TTM autographs received: Chili Davis

Davis signed my two trading cards in black Sharpie in about 12 days c/o The Boston Red Sox, where he is the hitting coach - on SCN, it looks like successful responses are spotty at best but I must have seen a posted success on another collector's Instagram account and figured to try and get a couple of my loose Angels cards signed.

I was thinking I might not get my cards back or if I did, it would be one of those situations - where my SASE randomly shows up out of nowhere after a couple of years.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

TTM autograph received: Mark Whiten

The former MLB outfielder personalized and signed my trading card in about 4 weeks - Whiten's most memorable big league game was when he slugged four home runs against the Cincinnati Reds in 1993.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

TTM autographs received: John Schuerholz

The longtime general manager and president of the Atlanta Braves signed my two cards in blue Sharpie in about 10 days - I saw that the 2017 Hall of Fame inductee was a pretty good signer TTM, but since I didn't have anything in particular to send him, I figured why not send him a couple of 'generic' team cards.

I like the fact both cards came back with nice, bold autographs with 'HOF 2017' inscriptions - Schuerholz also briefly responded to my letter asking about whether he had to huddle up with the on-field manager and pitching coach to sell a pitcher on being a reliever as opposed to a starting pitcher.

"Yes we did," Schuerholz wrote. "Psychology is a worthy and valuable tool."

Friday, August 18, 2017

2017 Topps National Baseball Card Day

It was probably not in the spirit of national baseball card day, but instead of ending up at a card shop to pick up a NBCD promo pack as well as spending $10 to get some sort of Mike Trout bonus card - I ordered a set of 29 cards [plus the Trout] on eBay for about $15.

At the very least, I've gotten all the cards in-hand as opposing to having to trek to participating card shops [I only really go to one anyway] - to see if I can pick-up multiple packs, just to sort of come up with a complete set

While these cards are really designed to promoted the baseball card hobby for a younger demographic - it's fun to go through a current-year card set with a distinct design.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Jered Weaver - a tribute to a franchise ace

Weaver was a starting pitcher who to put his heart and soul for the Angels, winning 150 games for the franchise - he was a hot shot rookie posted an 11-2 W-L mark with the Angels in 2006 and established himself as an No. 1 guy several seasons later.

In his prime, Weaver chose to stay with the franchise on a 'hometown' discount - he won 20 games and threw a no-hitter in 2012.

There might have been a natural inclination to compare Jered with older brother Jeff, who was already a veteran MLB pitcher - when Jered was starring at Long Beach State.

However, Jered seemed so much better than his older brother - even if Jered's last couple of years in an Angels uniform were tough, especially as his velocity had drastically declined.

The last time I saw Weaver in-person was when he was with the San Diego Padres in spring training - he was participating in a bunting drill with the other Padres starting pitchers.

No one is going to remember Weaver's final MLB season with the Padres, where he was 0-5 and allowed 16 home runs in 42 innings - it would have been nice for him to enjoy some kind of bounce back season, though that never did materialize and after 12 big league seasons, the 34-year-old made the decision to retire.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

TTM autographs received: Heidi Watney

The MLB Network host and reporter signed my two cards and personalized one in about two weeks or so - I was going to scan the personalized card with the 'God Bless' inscription but the card pictured 'jumped' out of my SASE and onto my scanner bed.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Featured autograph - Cesar Puello

Puello was picked up as AAA depth by the Angels earlier in the year and made his MLB debut Wednesday afternoon - going 1-for-4 with two stolen bases and RBI in the Angels 5-1 win against the Baltimore Orioles.

I was able to get a few of my cards signed by Puello at spring training this past year when he was at Texas Rangers camp - the 26-year old outfielder was a one-time prospect with the New York Mets until a 50-game suspension and injuries derailed his pro career.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Featured autograph - Hideki Irabu

I got Irabu to sign this card during his stint with an independent league baseball team back in 2009 - as much as I'd like to say he was this import from Japan who turned into an ace quality MLB pitcher, his professional baseball career in the United States became a sore disappointment, if not an outright joke.

As is, I don't really know if there was more to his life off the field - however, reading this Sports Illustrated story does paint a bleak picture of a guy who never belonged and was kind of a tormented, aimless soul.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

TTM autographs received: Charlie Puleo

Puleo signed my cards in about a month and answered a couple of questions - it's a nice bonus when I write a former MLB player and get any sort of personal response.

About his preference between being a starting pitcher or a reliever - he wrote he was "more effective in the big leagues as a reliever."

How a pitcher, his catcher and pitching coach may have a game plan for an outing - he wrote "all 3 work together, but pitcher always had final say."

Friday, July 28, 2017

2017 Topps Stadium Club blaster recap II

I was glad to pull an Aaron Judge rookie card in my first blaster since this was a more pedestrian second box - I'm probably 'fake collecting' this set where the goal is cherry pick cards with unique images that pop.

Pack one
#218 Ozzie Smith

#269 Albert Pujols
#217 Ender Inciarte
#82 Mitch Moreland - Gold
#190 Xander Bogaerts

Pack two
#183 Jose Abreu
#142 Frank Thomas

#PZ-JC Jose Canseco - Power Zone insert
#16 Matt Harvey
#226 Mookie Betts

Pack three
#219 Aaron Sanchez
#72 Johnny Damon
#212 Christian Yelich

#BT-BP Buster Posey - Beam Team insert
#281 Edwin Encarnacion

Pack four

#94 Carlos Correa
#109 Mallex Smith
#105 Ty Blach
#SS-AN Aaron Nola - Scoreless Streak insert
#192 A.J. Pollock

Pack five
#272 Jeremy Hazelbaker

#233 Mike Trout
#116 Jose Altuve
#47 Ryan Braun - Gold
#226 Mookie Betts

Pack six
#275 Stephen Strasburg
#66 Teoscar Hernandez
#87 Tony Cingrani
#CS-JV Joey Votto - Contact Sheet insert

#74 Andrew Miller

Pack seven
#20 Dansby Swanson
#3 Noah Syndergaard
#186 Kendrys Morales - Sepia parallel

#207 Charlie Blackmon
#73 Julio Teheran

Pack eight
#30 Danny Duffy
#44 Jacoby Ellsbury
#291 Jimmy Nelson

#2 Mike Moustakas - Black foil parallel
#103 Gabriel Ynoa

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

TTM autographs received: Scott Kingery

The Philadelphia Phillies prospect signed my cards in about three weeks c/o his minor league team - after hitting a combined 8 home runs in parts of two minor league seasons, the second baseman has slugged over 20 home runs between AA/AAA this year.

Monday, July 24, 2017

TTM autographs received: Pete Schourek

The former big league lefty signed my cards in about four weeks - with regards to retired MLB players who seem to be nearly forgotten once they stop playing, I'm kind of mostly familiar with the guys who came up through the early 1990s, maybe towards the tail end of the junk wax era.

I kind of remember Schourek as a young pitcher with the New York Mets, then won 18 games with the Cincinnati Reds in 1995 - Schourek had an 11 year playing career, but never did replicate that one breakout season for the Reds.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Random 2017 Topps Archives '1992' finds

I visited a card shop to see if I could sample some packs of 2017 product - with individual packs [2017 Topps Allen and Ginter, 2017 Donruss Optic] reaching $5 however, I opted to buy some supplies [penny sleeves, magnetics and other holders] and loose cards from the quarter bin instead.

Even if I've forgotten specific, sentimental memories about 1992 and collecting - looking back, that year was really where I might have hit my collecting prime, where I was interested in all sorts of cards, trading with a friend or two, looking up cards in monthly price guides, et al.

George Brett #254 - I don't actively collect basic star cards, though I grabbed this one to add a current year retro card to my miscellaneous collection of Brett cards.

T.J. Rivera #257 - The New York Mets aren't going anywhere, but Rivera has stuck around as a 28-year old rookie infielder who has show he can hit in the big leagues.

On this card, Rivera looks like a middle aged guy who paid $4,895 to go to Mets fantasy camp - having the time of his life, sliding into a base in an old-school Mets uniform.

Rob Zastryzny #261 - I try to grab rookie logo cards of seemingly less heralded rookies when I can find them, just to kind of see if I can have one more card of a fringe big league player.

Randy Johnson #265 - I like the horizontal image picturing a languid Johnson in an Montreal Expos uniform.

David Robertson #282 - I grabbed this card for the mid 1980s style retro uniform Robertson is wearing.

As much as I try to be a mini-collection 'hawk,' where there is no chance this card isn't going to be a part of my stash of card shop finds to take home - this might as well be a card I may not care to find again, if I didn't pick it up the first time I saw it.

Paul Goldschmidt #287 - I picked this up to show my love, 'nickel-and-dime' style, to the first baseman who has been under the radar for years and having an MVP caliber year for a contending Arizona Diamondbacks team.