Wednesday, April 26, 2017

TTM autographs received: Jim Rice

I sent $20 and a couple of Topps Allen and Ginter cards to Rice and got them back signed in about 10 days - his average certified autographs don't go for much, but it's more surprising that he's been responding to recent TTM requests.

Cash money always helps, but Rice has been a notorious grouch in-person and he just seems like a guy who'd probably 'more' than is reasonable - to scribble on your personal items sent.

As is, as long as the 'consensus' is that whatever things he's signed are good - then it's kind of nice that he may have loosened up.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge - Day 3

Day 3: "A card from the first set you tried to complete."

My memory is fuzzy as to whether I set out to complete a set of cards - my peak collecting years was around the early 1990s, but my focus was on star cards and rookies [regardless of what I actually found since my budget to purchase any cards was limited to whatever I could scrounge up].

I might have had a 'bunch' of cards for a number of sets from the day, but there were too many cards - to really focus on one particular set in a given year.

Over the past 20 years, I may have tried collecting an entire set or two, but the enthusiasm wanes off fast - with eBay, there are always big case breakers doing the work so a collector can go out and get a base set of cards without poring so much money into securing cards.

Buying a hand collated set online may defeat the purpose of building sets - but why even bother in the first place, when it's not like a set I may want to try to collect is particularly unique of hard to find.

I think I might have tried to complete the 1999 Upper Deck HoloGrFx set with the Alex Rodriguez card [#54] pictured - I vaguely remember saying in a trade e-mail [probably in 2000] that it was going to be my first set of cards I'm putting together.

I might have bought packs and a blaster when the product and I liked how the cards have a reflective finish to them - it's only a 60-card set, but I think I was still short 10-15 cards before the I basically abandoned the set-building project.

It might be interesting to see if I can knock out missing cards - though a check on eBay shows that I can get the set of cards for $10 and s/h, so I'll just let things be.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge - Day 2

Day 2: "A card with more than one player on it."

2001 Upper Deck Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle #90 - The Hall of Records subset.

I picked this card up because I like the idea of this trio of baseball icons on one card - Mantle actually looks kind of odd [if still dapper in 'street clothes'] out of a baseball uniform, but he's sandwiched between Willie Mays and Hank Aaron, likely doing some sort of pregame interview with the NBC microphone in-hand.

Who was the greatest player out of the three [?] - Mantle and Mays were neck-and-neck as far as being a 5-tool player with God-given ability, but maybe Mantle didn't take care of himself and his injuries ultimately allowed Mays to be the bigger standout with 660 home runs.

It has to be said however, that besides strictly the counting numbers - Mantle represented much more to all the baby boomer generation because he was the face of the New York Yankees from the early 1950s through the 1960s.

Hank Aaron seems to have flown under the radar at times - but he hit 756 home runs and seemed to produce monster numbers year after year.

Friday, April 21, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge - Day 1

I saw this 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge floating around on other card blogs' feeds - I figure I'd do the challenge to see if I can allow myself focus as far as what I have invested into collecting cards after all these years.

My main tweak to the challenge is probably posting 'when I choose to do so' as opposed to trying to post every single day until I've gone through the list - I don't want to take three months to finish the challenge, but I'm not in a hurry and there might be some meandering going on.

Also, it maybe something I need to do beforehand, but I've scratched out a rough draft of the cards are going to be featured - so I guess I can formulate my thoughts and kind of just add to it, as needed.

Day 1: "A card from the current year with a photo you like."

I figure I could go into my mini-collection additions for the year and find a card fitting the description - Mookie Betts' 2017 Topps card [#161] was probably the first to come to mind, though at first, I kind of thought it was a 'meh' card with Betts' body facing away, where his face is kind of obscured.

What makes the card great is that it literally captures the moment - modern professional photographers may have all sorts of gimmicks at their disposal, but it still takes experience to anticipate when a great play is being made.

Considering the situation, I wonder if this card qualifies to make another blogger's favorites list - if this was the Betts card he'd actually pulled first.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

TTM autographs received: Marty Cordova

I've seen TTM successes posted from Cordova, the 1995 American League Rookie of the Year and he turned into 'a scratch the itch guy' for me - while I've gotten his autograph in-person, I remember when Cordova just wasn't into really signing and he'd 'deface' your card with a real lazy scribble of an autograph.

I found some cards for Cordova and sent them c/o his mailing address in Las Vegas - the request only took 5 days to get back to me with my cards signed in blue Sharpie.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

1975 Topps Herb Washington #407

I put this card on my eBay watch list and I finally decided to pick it up for my Topps sampler run [1952-1980] - besides the notable stars, legends and Hall of Famers I may pick up for the collection, I also want to push the narrative of featuring lesser known guys who had their 15 minutes of fame in pro baseball.

Washington probably had as much big league success as any random person who wasn't an actual baseball player can have in Major League Baseball - but as a world class sprinter, he was given a chance to do his thing for a little bit, even if stumbled in the biggest stage one can find themselves in.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Some TTM autograph requests sent out

I was heavily into TTM 15-20 years ago, but now the hobby is a ‘once in awhile’ thing for me where I don’t want to sink so much $$$ over resources like stamps - while slaving away to put together requests [it's not that hard, but it's kind of tedious], feeling like my only option to get stuff signed is to send things out as opposed to getting things inked up regularly in-person.

I think I'd like to be a machine where I consistently send out requests - but I usually hold off until I get an impulsive tick that needs to be scratched.

Will Clark c/o San Francisco Giants - everyone seems to get at least one from him TTM but the only time I got him was in-person last year.
Christian Arroyo c/o Sacramento River Cats - I hope to get at least one cards signed from the third base prospect since I've never had an opportunity to get him otherwise.
Paulo Orlando c/o Kansas City Royals - scrappy outfielder who has established himself as a viable big leaguer after only getting to the major leagues at 29.
Chuck Seelbach - he was the Detroit Tigers relief ace back in 1972; I pulled a 1974 Topps buyback card from a pack at least a couple of years ago and want to see if I can get it signed.
Mickey Stanley - he was a 4-time Gold Glove winner and spent 15-years with Detroit Tigers from the 1960s through nearly the end of the 1970s; I pulled a 1976 Topps buyback card from a pack at least a couple of years ago and want to see if I can get it signed.
Koji Uehara c/o Chicago Cubs - everyone seems to get at least one from him TTM.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

TTM autograph received: Steve Blass

Blass signed and returned my card in about a week or so - the former big league pitcher from the 1960s through early 1970s still has some notoriety attached to his career, usually mentioned whenever a pitcher [or even a position player] has apparently their ability to throw the ball.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Featured autograph - Danny Espinosa

Espinosa isn't exactly Chase Utley in his prime, but he has already helped the Angels win a game with a clutch 3-run home run - hopefully he hits quite a bit more home runs over the course of the year, even with a flawed low batting average / high strike out, all-or-nothing approach.

Monday, April 03, 2017

2017 Topps Gypsy Queen value pack

I like how Topps has used different color schemes to make the Gypsy Queen name plate on the front pop a little bit more - at first glance, I thought the fronts were a little too cluttered but these cards look so much better than last year’s version.

Exclusive green parallel pack
#116 Robbie Ray
#218 Ken Giles
#76 Scott Kazmir

Pack one
#9 Matt Harvey
#289 Max Scherzer
#146 Ricky Nolasco
#GQAR-BH2 Bryce Harper - Portrait Art Reproduction insert
#23 Blake Snell

#130 Chris Tillman

There is also a Gypsy Queen nameplate on the back which seems a little redundant - but sort of makes the card backs kind of fancy looking besides something merely being run of the mill drab.

Pack two
#250 Yoan Moncada
#219 Lorenzo Cain
#70 Leonys Martin

#217 Josh Harrison - Green retail exclusive value pack parallel
#279 Ryan Braun
#213 Elvis Andrus

Pack three
#265 Eugenio Suarez
#64 Khris Davis
#109 Dan Strailly

#FT-YM Yoan Moncada - Fortune Tellers minis
#107 Tim Anderson
#33 Tom Murphy
Security card

Sunday, April 02, 2017

The Angels, In Order odds and ends

No matter how big or small, it's fun getting a random group of cards in the mail from a fellow collector - especially when the cards are focused towards my mini-collections.

These were sort of, kind of new
1992 Upper Deck Billy Ripken #250
1992 Upper Deck Howard Johnson #256
1992 Upper Deck Ryan Bowen #354

1992 Upper Deck Mark Gubicza #459 - he has been the color guy for Angels TV broadcasts and I'm pretty sure this is the card partner Victor Rojas has made fun of him over, for the hockey hair / Jaromir Jagr mullet.
1992 Upper Deck Tom Gordon #476

1992 Upper Deck Roger McDowell #484
1992 Upper Deck Paul Gibson #489
1992 Upper Deck Marvin Freeman #491 - double check to see if I have this one.
1992 Upper Deck Matt Young #505
1992 Upper Deck Kevin Gross #515 - pitchers hitting on the reverse
1992 Upper Deck Anthony Young #535
1992 Upper Deck Chris Bosio #615 - I thought I had this card somewhere.
1992 Upper Deck Bill Swift #620
1993 Topps Tim Costo #577

1993 Topps Al Martin #623
1994 Topps Doc Gooden #150

1994 Topps Devon White #511 - I like how he presumably going through his fan mail, though I wonder if he ever answered any of them.
1996 Topps Doug Drabek #105 

Had these already
1979 Topps Luis Tiant #575
1992 Upper Deck Ben McDonald #163

1992 Upper Deck Melido Perez #190 - go figured, I just picked this card up from my LCS; I love how some kid [check the wallet] has a dollar 'thrown out' for Perez to sign.
1992 Upper Deck Darren Lewis #565
1992 Upper Deck Mike Remlinger #585 
1992 Upper Deck Mike Hartley #613
1996 Topps Alex Fernandez #194

Friday, March 31, 2017

TTM autographs received: Burke Waldron

The 93-year old WWII veteran who threw out the first pitch before a Seattle Mariners game in 2016 signed my two cards in blue ink [one personalized] in about a couple of weeks - Waldron also sent a two-page note and sent a small info card for the Latter-day Saints, with the inscription 'And I'm a 'Mormon' written.

Maybe it's the least that can be done for someone who served his country and who has lived as long as he has - but it's nice for Waldron to get his 15-minutes of fame and be immortalized on a baseball card insert of his own.

I made it a point to send to an autograph request to Waldron with two First Pitch insert I found - after it became a thing where TTM collectors reported successes from him.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Featured autographs - Manny Margot and Hunter Renfroe

I wanted to see how a dual player 2017 Topps Heritage Rookie Stars subset card would look autographed - it's not really a thing where I always seek multiplayer cards out to be inked up because I worry about completion, but I got Margot first [sacrificing my chance to get a set card signed, since he signs one per person], then managed to finish the card up by getting Renfroe.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Featured autograph - Brooks Robinson

With a donation, I was able to get the Hall of Famer's autograph on a couple of his cards - I saw that he started signing TTM again and wanted to see if I could get a response.

I remember 15-20 years ago when Robinson would sign through the mail for a small fee - I also remember when he basically stopped answering TTM requests because he had some sort of agreement with a card shop for paid signings.

Robinson's autograph may not pop as much with the matte card surface and the darker, painted image used on the 2007 Upper Deck Masterpieces card - but the auto is nearly centered perfectly to go with the horizontal picture.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Featured autograph - David Dahl

I've wanted an autograph of the Colorado Rockies outfielder for at least the past few years but I've never gotten to see him in-person - I ended up picking up a 2017 Donruss certified autograph for $5 and change and while it's not like actually getting Dahl to sign something in-person, it's good enough just to say I have his scribble in my collection.

Despite being a blue chip prospect who had a fine MLB debut season in 2016 - Dahl has had to deal with some physical ailments, so who knows if he ends up being sort of fragile otherwise, where his ascent as a big league star maybe slowed down a bit.

Dahl had his spleen removed after an outfield collision in 2015 and while he seemed to get over that over the next year - he has been shut down for much of spring training after a stress reaction in his ribcage and isn't likely to start the year on the Rockies' Opening Day roster.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

2017 Topps Heritage Mike Trout pick-up

I picked up this Action variation parallel for my Trout PC - because he's gotten to be so prominent with his premium cards going for big money, I’m merely collecting Trout’s cards ‘as is’ as opposed to really caring about whether I pick up any specific card.

I'll keep any miscellaneous cards I'll pull or find and when the mood strikes - look for at least one nice looking, current year non-auto insert / parallel that isn’t going to cost an arm and a leg.

Friday, March 17, 2017

2017 Topps Opening Day pack breaks

It looks like a fresh box was open on the counter and while I really turn my nose at this more cutesy, 'flagship-lite' alternative - I wanted to bust some packs and for a dollar each, was there anything to lose?

Pack one
#189 Todd Frazier
#98 Lorenzo Cain
#8 Victor Martinez
#M-25 Brewers Mascot - Mascots Checklist
#70 Jay Bruce
#39 Aledmys Diaz
#95 Kyle Seager

Pack two
#106 Xander Bogaerts
#96 Anthony Rizzo
#116 Chris Sale

#ODB-1 Opening Day in Pittsburgh - Opening Day insert
#134 Miguel Sano
#186 Julio Urias
#32 Aaron Nola

Pack three
#161 Brian McCann
#73 Joe Mauer

#SC-14 Troy Tulowitzki - Superstar Celebrations insert
#MA-O Orbit - Mascot Autographs; it’s a friggin autograph of a mascot but I’ll comfort myself in seeing it’s supposedly seeded at a rate of 1:747 packs.
#90 Matt Strahm
#158 Carlos Carrasco
#176 Teoscar Hernandez

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

2017 Topps Heritage blaster recap oddity

I purchased a blaster box the day I picked up my random card shop packs a few weeks ago - I remember listing out what I pulled from my hobby pack breaks first, then feeling like maybe I should go on with the blaster box.

It looks like there were actually nine packs [instead of eight totals packs] in my blaster for a total of 81 cards - I didn't pull a Target exclusive 1968 game rookie insert, so I think I might have been somehow skunked with this retail box, but ended up pulling six short prints [usually pulled 1:3 odds].

Pack one
#220 Joe Mauer
#275 2017 Philadelphia Phillies Rookie Stars - feat. Jake Thompson/Roman Quinn
#61 Marco Estrada
#109 Chris Iannetta
#462 Jackie Bradley Jr. - SP
#227 Steven Souza Jr.
#7 2016 ERA Leaders - feat. Hendricks/Lester/Syndergaard
#180 Stephen Piscotty
#190 Tommy Joseph

Pack two
#55 Josh Phegley
#88 Kyle Seager
#101 Jose Iglesias
#267 2017 Milwaukee Brewers Rookie Stars - feat. Orlando Arcia/Brent Suter
#486 Ji-Man Choi - SP
#493 Sam Dyson - SP
#73 Nick Hundley
#47 Collin McHugh
#82 Leonys Martin
#96 Gerardo Parra

Pack three
#316 Kendrys Morales
#384 2017 Arizona Diamondbacks Rookie Stars - feat. Braden Shipley/Matt Koch
#97 Javier Baez
#93 Aaron Nola
#229 1988 Topps Jeff Musselman - Rediscover Topps
#26 Howie Kendrick
#352 Kevin Kiermeier
#12 2016 American League Strikeout Leaders - feat. Verlander/Archer/Sale
#16 2017 San Diego Padres Rookie Stars - feat. Manny Margot/Hunter Renfroe
#33 Jhonny Peralta

Pack four
#102 Richie Shaffer
#11 2016 National League Strikeout Leaders - feat. Scherzer/Bumgarner/Ray
#259 Ken Giles
#121 Jeff Samardzija
#482 Albert Almora - SP
#85 Brett Gardner
#279 Washington Nationals team card
#297 Ezequiel Carrera
#278 Jeurys Familia

Pack five
#348 Julio Teheran
#320 Jayson Werth
#310 Tyler Saladino
#266 Los Angeles Angels team card
#BF-BR Brooks Robinson - Baseball Flashbacks insert
#64 Russell Martin
#256 Matt Harvey
#184 Jeanmar Gomez
#178 James Shields

Pack six
#271 Jason Castro
#196 Brandon Crawford
#118 Travis Shaw
#156 2016 World Series - Game #5 - feat. Aroldis Chapman
#461 Mark Trumbo - SP
#137 Adeiny Hechavarria
#129 Colorado Rockies team card
#388 Yonder Alonso
#181 Corey Kluber

Pack seven
#59 Jose Peraza
#156 2016 World Series - Game #6 - feat. Addison Russell
#43 Arodys Vizcaino
#325 Chris Davis
#302 Khris Davis
#274 Nelson Cruz
#15 Logan Morrison
#9 2016 National League Pitching Leaders - feat. Scherzer/Lester/Arrieta
#92 R.A. Dickey

Pack eight
#233 Scott Schebler
#369 Robinson Cano
#175 Michael Saunders
#48 Seth Smith
#467 Gregory Polanco - SP
#291 Wily Peralta
#191 Alexi Amarista
#191 Zack Cozart
#158 Cubs Fly The W

Pack nine 
#86 Danny Valencia
#292 Carlos Ruiz
#176 Brandon Phillips
#157 2016 World Series - Game #7 - feat. Ben Zobrist
#12 Jake Arrieta - 1968 Topps Game insert
#44 Eduardo Nunez
#91 Chicago Aces - feat. Lester/Arrieta
#343 Marcus Semien
#104 Carlos Santana

Saturday, March 11, 2017

2017 Donruss hobby two pack break

With a look inspired by an updated take on 1990 Donruss, the base cards are sharp, though still otherwise feel generic - maybe my small sample size of two packs doesn't quite tell the entire story, but it's hard to buy into these cards when they don't really stand out.

Pack one
#117 Ryan Braun

#74 Kyle Schwarber
#131 Odubel Herrera
#89 Nolan Arenado

#TP-2 Austin Meadows - The Prospects

#RV-24 Khris Davis - Retro Variation
#194 Yu Darvish

#RV-15 Mike Trout - Retro Variation

Pack two
#116 Giancarlo Stanton
#73 Jon Lester
#130 Marcus Semien

#88 Tyler Naquin

#29 Edwin Encarnacion - Diamond Kings subset
#158 Adrian Beltre

#RV-29 Johnny Cueto - Retro Variation
#149 Matt Holliday

Monday, March 06, 2017

1974 Topps Tom Seaver #80

I picked this card up for a sampler run of PSA graded Topps cards from 1952-1980 - I've always associated old-school [anything between 1974-1985] or vintage [1973 and older] cards as something 'old and valuable,' especially when the cards came out before I was alive.

I kind of want to see if this particular project becomes a more significant, satisfying chase - while eBay effectively saturated the market, it makes it easier to look for cards whose values were inflated 25-30 years ago, even if they weren't quite the big money old-school/vintage cards serious collectors continue to chase today.

So far I only have 3 of 28 cards [a 1960 Willie Mays and a 1961 Eddie Mathews are the other two I bought years ago] for this project - there maybe a couple of other cards I can use, though they maybe tied to another part of my collection, so I might only decide to use them if they are the final two cards I need.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

1993 Topps Gold Derek Jeter #98

In addition to the Bowman rookie card I picked up a few weeks ago, I also grabbed this rookie-year parallel card - maybe I find myself a priced out of the modern card collecting game [with the focus on guys like Mike Trout and Kris Bryant], so maybe I'm 'going back' to looking for cards I've overlooked over the past 25 years.

The 1993 Topps Jeter rookie card is kind of boring with an image of a young Jeter superimposed into a generic outline of a baseball field - the card is sort of a post junk wax era 'junk wax card,' but the foil stamping makes the card looks just a little bit more attractive.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

2017 Topps Heritage 7-pack break

I'm not exactly a fan of Topps Heritage because it has been played out card product to me - I feel like there should be more effort to come up with something original when it comes to baseball cards as opposed to dipping into your 'heritage' as sort of a crutch to stand on.

I do appreciate some 'old school' elements in baseball cards, so it's not like I don't get what these cards are about - I grabbed 7 random packs from a card shop and also a blaster box from a Target to see if I can get into these new cards for a little bit.

It may not feel authentic, but the thinner card stock is cleaner and the cards look fairly sharp - it seems like there was no effort to make the cards look like the originals, which may not be something people who collect Heritage seriously may like.

I read a little primer on the original 1968 Topps cards - but despite the inconsistent pattern scheme on the borders, I'm okay with the cards looking a little bland and maybe lacking a little imagination [just considering the cards themselves and not the wrinkles and gimicks that come with a 2017 release].

The card backs are bright and bold - so that makes them easy to read.

I realize 1968 Topps wasn't a set that used facsimile autographs of the players as part of the design - so the fronts of these 2017 Topps Heritage cards look less cluttered.

Pack one
#280 Chase Headley
#283 Pittsburgh Pirates team card
#301 Martin Prado
#358 San Diego Padres team card
#NAP-14 Kyle Hendricks - New Age Performers

#307 Yordano Ventura - R.I.P.
#373 Nolan Arenado - All-Topps subset
#272 Wei-Yin Chen
#336 Colorado Sluggers - feat. LeMahieu/Blackmon

Pack two
#224 Matt Szczur
#58 Tony Watson
#62 Nick Markakis
#144 Ryan Zimmerman

#491 Jason Hammel - SP
#30 Tyler Flowers
#353 Zach Britton
#297 Ezequiel Carrera
#278 Jeurys Familia

Pack three
#286 Dellin Betances
#394 Texas Rangers team card
#225 Francisco Rodriguez
#165 2017 Detroit Tigers Rookie Stars - feat. JaCoby Jones/Dustin Molleken

#412 David Ortiz - SP/Color Swap variation?
#63 Alex Wilson
#42 2017 Miami Marlins Rookie Stars - feat. Austin Brice/Yefri Perez
#124 Chad Qualls
#378 Max Scherzer - All-Topps subset

Pack four
#188 Jedd Gyorko
#51 Derek Norris
#218 Jim Johnson
#111 Tanner Roark

#Topps Tan-10 Juan Marichal/Clayton Kershaw - Then and Now insert
#231 Matt Garza
#241 Travis Jankowski
#388 Yonder Alonso
#181 Corey Kluber

Pack five
#80 Eddie Rosario
#319 Washington National Rookie Stars - feat. Brian Goodwin/Spencer Kieboom
#132 Cheslor Cuthbert

#117 Chicago White Sox Rookie Stars - feat. Carson Fulmer/Yoan Moncada
#497 Kevin Gausman - SP
#243 Byron Buxton
#393 Toronto Blue Jays Rookie Stars - feat. Matt Dermody/Danny Barnes
#35 Anthony DeSclafani

#368 Manny Machado - All-Topps subset; it's totally not obvious who is partially pictured on the back of Machado's card.
Topps info card/Bunt pack code card

Pack six
#201 Martin Maldonado
#219 Pedro Alvarez
#107 Roberto Osuna
#105 Adam Lind

#149 1987 Topps Ray Searage - Rediscover Topps; damn, this is just what I wanted from a pack of 2017 Topps Heritage.

It's going to be another 19 years for 2036 Topps Heritage to come out featuring 'Today's Stars in The 1987 Design' - where pulling a buyback card from 1987 Topps would make sense, though I probably could have pulled any junk wax era card from this latest Topps promotion.

#77 Yadier Molina
#345 Jarred Cosart
#210 Carlos Rodon
#343 Marcus Semien
#104 Carlos Santana

Pack seven
#220 Joe Mauer
#275 2017 Philadelphia Phillies Rookie Stars - feat. Jake Thompson/Roman Quinn
#389 D.J. LeMahieu

#372 Anthony Rizzo - All-Topps subset; it's totally not obvious who the smiling mug on the back of Rizzo's card belongs to.

#26 Gary Sanchez - 1968 Topps Game insert
#221 Toronto Blue Jays team card
#66 Kyle Hendricks
#192 Zack Cosart
#158 Cubs Fly the W