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.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Featured autograph - Jahmai Jones

Jones, a 19-year old Angels outfield prospect was promoted to Inland Empire 66ers and I was able to get him to sign a couple of cards - before his first game in the California League.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Featured autograph - Blake Rutherford

Rutherford is the centerpiece player among a trio of prospects [Ian Clarkin and Tito Polo are the other two] - sent to the Chicago White Sox by the New York Yankees in exchange for Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle.

I was able to get Rutherford to sign a couple of cards c/o the Yankees training complex last fall when he was in the instructional league - I assume he must have taken his mail home to California, where he's probably gotten help from his mom answering fan mail.

Rutherford's mom probably added the extra signed card [pictured] - while writing a small note acknowledging my requests.

Monday, July 17, 2017

2017 Topps Stadium Club blaster recap I

I picked up a couple of blasters online in case the big box stores ran out - or I'd be a little self-conscious about buying cards in-person.

Pack one
#46 Trayce Thompson
#170 Ryne Sandberg

#SCC-31 David Price - Chrome

#33 Yadier Molina
#155 Corey Seager

Pack two
#293 David Dahl
#298 Dan Vogelbach
#CS-JV Joey Votto - Contact Sheet insert
#9 Greg Maddux

#265 Matt Shoemaker

Pack three

#64 Aaron Judge
#15 Jorge Soler
#SS-JA Jake Arrieta - Scoreless Streak insert
#147 Kyle Zimmer

#76 Hunter Pence

Pack four
#113 David Price
#48 Tanner Roark
#23 Yasmany Tomas - Gold

#290 Jon Gray
#214 Max Scherzer

Pack five
#75 Eduardo Nunez

#294 George Springer
#141 Omar Vizquel - Sepia parallel
#292 Alex Dickerson

#274 Ian Desmond

Pack six
#263 Freddie Freeman
#115 Logan Forsythe
#PZ-MMC Mark McGwire
#18 Fernando Rodney

#277 Billy Hamilton

Pack seven
#1 Albert Almora
#49 Masahiro Tanaka

#159 Johnny Bench
#BT-MM Manny Machado - Beam Team insert
#191 Cole Hamels

Pack eight
#31 Salvador Perez
#166 Javier Lopez
#239 Chris Davis
#127 J.J. Hardy - Black foil parallel
#276 Martin Prado

TTM autographs received: Mike Timlin

The former big league reliever signed my cards in about 3 weeks - in his 18-year playing career, Timlin played for six teams and was part of four World Series championship teams between the Toronto Blue Jays [1992 and 1993] and Boston Red Sox [2004 and 2007].

Saturday, July 15, 2017

TTM autographs received: Don August

August signed my cards in about three weeks - he was the 17th overall pick in the 1984 MLB draft and spent four years in the Major Leagues as mostly a starting pitcher who finished with a W-L record of 34-30.

Friday, July 14, 2017

TTM autographs received: Jeff Reardon

The former big league closer signed my cards in about three weeks - in the 1990s, I vaguely remember him going for some sort of save record, though in the time since, he has been lapped by other relievers.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

TTM autographs received: Greg Booker

The former reliever for the San Diego Padres signed my junk wax cards in about two weeks or so - though Booker played in parts of 8 seasons in the big leagues, how he got there and stuck around may have been in question at different points in his pro baseball career.

Monday, July 10, 2017

TTM autographs received: Roberto Hernandez

The former big league closer signed my cards in about a couple of weeks - I must have gotten his autograph at least once during his 17-year playing career, though I don't know if that was actually the case, so I figured to send him some cards.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

TTM autograph received: Goose Gossage

When I pulled the 2017 Topps Bunt Programs insert, I knew I had to get ink on the jazzy looking card - as an in-person/TTM autograph/card collector, the problem with pulling a nice [if low-end] insert is the fact there is no means to get any particular one signed if the card features an active big league star or a prominent retired player.

In some instances however, there maybe a window to get something signed, where the player pictured does sign in-person/TTM - on SCN, I saw Gossage was fairly consistent in sending back returns and it took just about a month to get a successful response.

Friday, July 07, 2017

TTM autographs received: Tom Niedenfuer

I was able to round up some junk wax era cards for the former big league reliever and he signed them in about a couple of weeks - Niedenfuer was a serviceable pitcher who spent 7 years with the Los Angeles Dodgers through the 1980s.

Unfortunately, despite his success, he was on the wrong end of a couple of big league home runs - hit in the 1985 National League Championship Series by Ozzie Smith and Jack Clark.

After pitching for the Dodgers, he had stints with the Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners and the St. Louis Cardinals - before leaving the game for good at age 31.