Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Trout fishing - reeling in some catches

As primarily an Angels team collector, I don't always end up focusing on Mike Trout since everyone else does - though I know I can't really afford to pick up his high end cards, I still feel like any particular 'non-rookie, non autograph, non limited' Trout singles are kind of just afterthoughts that I would not want to pay a premium for.

However, to scratch the regional / Trout collection itch, maybe I was looking for cheap Trout cards [$1-$3] that kind of pop and might nice additions - even if they are random, miscellaneous issues.

I grabbed a trio Topps Update All-Star Game Access inserts [2014, 2015, 2016] because as retail exclusive cards, they maybe harder to track down after the fact - these maybe just what I'm looking for as far as low-key adds to a Trout collection without having to think too much about whether they will hold value over time.

2017 Panini Donruss Optic Mike Trout #13 - Diamond Kings Prizm parallel; I might have been looking to snatch up several Panini promotional / oddball issues but it is hard to look at cards that have no logos; this one looks kind of classy and jazzy at the same time.

2017 Topps Finest Mike Trout #FB-MT - Finest Breakthroughs insert; I like the comic book ‘Pow!’ style graphic.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Featured autograph: Shohei Ohtani

This was once an unsigned card given to me by my buddy featuring Hiromi Oka and a more prominent teammate named Shohei Ohtani - Oka has been a modest performing outfielder with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters while Ohtani looks to play in his MLB season as a pitcher who can throw 100 MPH and a hitter capable of blasting tape measure home runs.

I got the card signed in last year or the year before - when the Ham Fighters were in Arizona for a portion of their spring training.

Friday, February 09, 2018

1986 Donruss Fred McGriff RC #28

This may not be a significant purchase because there are too many of them - but for my Top 50 common PC, I wanted a rookie of McGriff to group with two certified autograph cards I've picked up over the years.

Here is Sports Illustrated's in-depth look at McGriff's career - the movement for once borderline HOF guys like Bert Blyleven and Tim Raines were championed by numbers guys, but because McGriff falls quite short of the advanced metrics standards for first baseman, he isn't getting the same 'after the fact' support.

While the numbers don't lie, I do think it’s time McGriff gets a serious bump for induction into the Hall of Fame - unlike other sluggers, McGriff numbers never really experienced a power surge through the mid 1990s, yet he still hit 493 home runs as a consistent, metronomic slugger.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

1990 and 1991 Upper Deck set pick ups

From an out of town card shop, I grabbed these sets for $5 each to have some stuff to go through when I'm bored - it’s kind of ironic that even though the junk wax era may have been the absolute worst time to be collecting cards, that was when I first really got into it.

These looked to be factory sets, though it looks like they might have been opened at some point where the seal on the boxes may have been loose or just frayed over time- these sets felt like bricks and was considering just taking one or the other since I had to take them back home.

I bought these sets because it's tough accounting for all the junk wax era mini-collection cards and when there is no value in one particular common card - I might as well splurge on picking up complete sets as opposed to looking to buy applicable cards piece by piece.

For my image based mini-collections, the Upper Deck cards are sort of pesky because the cards have two images - I'm not exactly a 'card back connoisseur,' so it maybe tedious to find that some of the more unique images used are actually lurking on the backs.

I busted through the 1991 Upper Deck set first and sorting them out is kind of tedious - at the same time, it's fun going through the cards as an exercise in nostalgia.

I think these cards have held up well as far the design and the photography - even though these may as well be cards obscured by history.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Featured autograph - Donnie Moore

I saw this a couple of weeks ago and while a tragic figure, I wanted Moore's autograph for my Angels all-time collection - I settled for a larger sized autograph card [sold by Kruk Cards] since it stood out more than a regular sized card.

The PSA/DNA slabbed autograph will probably be counted as a signed card for my Angels all-time collection - as well for the regional component of my Top 50 common PC.

I was happy to see this was in the mailbox, but the position of the actual card in the slab is quite crooked - it looks upright in the pictures in their listing, but what I received is above.

The slabbed item was shipped in a photo mailer, but it was kind jammed into my mailbox haphazardly - so presumably the card 'moved around' from when it was originally shipped.

As is, I contacted Kruk's Cards and once they finally responded, offered a simple solution that actually worked - "You should be able to knock the card around within the slab by just lightly tapping the slab."

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Featured autographs: Cal State Fullerton alumni baseball game

2017 Bowman J.D. Davis #BP 81

2017 Topps Heritage High Numbers Chris Devenski #608

2015 Panini Contenders Thomas Eshelman #90

2017 Bowman Draft Chrome Scott Hurst #BDC-126 - refractor

2012 Topps Allen and Ginter Brett Pill #192

2017 Bowman Draft Chrome Connor Seabold #BDC-77 - refractor

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

TTM autograph received: Royce Lewis

The No. 1 overall pick last year personalized and signed my two cards in blue ink in about three weeks - I was glad to get this back since he's been pretty consistent about returning mail requests sent to him and I didn't want to miss out if and when he stops doing the TTM thing.

One thing that seems obvious with just about all the IP/TTM successes I've seen posted online is Lewis is personalizing everything - except perhaps for autographs he has signed at organized signings / paid events.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Comments about a fictional HOF ballot

On the heels of the card bloggers fleshing out the players they believe should be Hall of Famers and maybe guys who shouldn't get there this year or ever - here are the 10 players on my 'what if I had a HOF vote' ballot.

Likely going in

Chipper Jones - judging from of his tweets, this guy is literally a no-brainer as far as a guy going into the Hall of Fame, but he was the golden boy prospect who became a good ol' boy for the Atlanta Braves for years.

Besides being a franchise legend, there is also a little 'fame' involved when he embraced the idea of playing in New York and being jeered by opposing teammates in the biggest city - there was a sense that he played for the moment, besides just being some bumpkin.

Jim Thome - I wouldn't give him credit for a 'clean' slugger who played in the steroid era, but the fact is that he has no such PED taint and he gets credit for a guy who wouldn't look out of place as an old-timey slugger from the 1950s-1960s.

Vladimir Guerrero - I loved him for years as an Angel with his ability to see ball, crush ball wherever it was pitched, he is 'my guy' as far as the guys who will probably be inducted.

Trevor Hoffman - because of the debate about the merits of a closer for the Hall of Fame, there is some doubt for every guy looking to get in Cooperstown as a short reliever.

Hoffman has been a guy who has snuck up as far as guy going in, but I could see where he just did his job for years where it's just enough - though he wasn't simply a one franchise guy, he probably gets credit for being with the San Diego Padres all of the years he was with the team.

Six others I'm dwelling on - all have some sort of PED taint and while I don't like the idea of the Steroid Era as an unsavory time for players doing all sorts of things to get over, all I can do is suspect whether a player did something, as opposed to penalize any number of them outright.

Barry Bonds - I loved the show he put on late in his career and obviously a no doubter if he wasn't the face of the PED taint; he was a perpetual a-hole, but at least it wasn't like he was trying to put on a public face; he had a certain arrogance, a certain confidence that made him more of a fascinating figure.

Roger Clemens - he was as much of an a-hole as Bonds was and maybe it's partly due to the rage but he was a little more accommodating to the media, so I still don't think he was as villified; the only thing odd is his late career surges in his late 30s through early 40s should be more suspect as a 'gotcha' if the everyone and their mother was doing it with Bonds' late career power surges.

Manny Ramirez - he's the guy who failed multiple tests and the writers didn't like the 'Manny being Manny' antics in the first place, but he was a great hitter that I'd probably pick him over Larry Walker though the experts would say Walker had the ability to be a 5-tool player [could hit for average, hit for power, field run, throw] while Ramirez was just kind of self-centered tool.

Gary Sheffield - he probably doesn't get the support because he wasn't afraid to speak his mind, but I'd probably pick him over Edgar Martinez; last I checked Sheffield has more than 200 home runs on 'Gar' and while the experts would probably throw the 'bad fielder' juju on Sheffield, at least he took the field over a guy who collected the bulk of his numbers as a DH.

Sammy Sosa - no pity parties for Sosa here, but after Bonds and Clemens are inducted, maybe there is some consideration for Sosa; from raw athlete to city icon to pariah, Sosa has come full circle but there doesn't seem to be any let up, any thaw for a guy who slugged 609 home runs and was once the toast of baseball.

My notable omissions would be Edgar Martinez, Larry Walker, Curt Schilling, Mike Mussina and maybe Billy Wagner - at some point, Schilling is going into the HOF on his on field accomplishments, but bless his heart, I have no problem making him wait for as long as he will have to.

Monday, January 22, 2018

A couple of random shiny cards of minor leaguers

2017 Panini Elite Extra Edition Jose Miguel Fernandez #145 [$1.50 plus $1.00 s/h] - a base card is serial #'d 133/999, this features a Cuban who played at AA last year, then released by the Dodgers and picked up by the Angels this off-season.

2017 Panini Elite Extra Edition Jonah Todd #196 [$1.50] - this Purple parallel card, serial #'d 137/200 features a minor leaguer in the Angels' system.

A 6th round pick out of Auburn - Todd made his pro debut last year and may play in the Cal League this upcoming season.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Featured autographs: Daniel Robertson event

At a fan fest of sorts organized by Tampa Bay Rays player Daniel Robertson's family foundation - I got some random professional/MLB players to sign their cards, including a couple of Powell cards given to me by my friend.

Powell kind of checks off a couple of things in my book as a mini-collection guy, so I was glad I got a couple of actual cards - there is the 'Boog' nickname he shares with the longtime Baltimore Orioles first baseman of the 1960s through 1970s, so that sort of makes him unique [cult baseball player / cult feat], even if it's kind of random.

This current day Powell also is a local Orange County California guy - attending Mission Viejo High and then Orange Coast College before being drafted by the Oakland A's in the 20th round back in 2012.

2016 Topps Heritage Minors Daniel Robertson #77

2017 Topps Update Chrome Ryon Healy #US241

2017 Topps Heritage Minors Josh Staumont #161

2017 Topps Update Chase De Jong #US135

2015 Bowman Draft Bubba Derby #141

2013 Bowman Jeff Gelalich #BP15

2015 Panini Elite Extra Edition Cody Ponce #56

2015 Topps Heritage Minors Rio Ruiz #81

Monday, January 08, 2018

Trade with Baseball Cards Come to Life!

I got over 300 assorted cards from Bo at Baseball Cards Come to Life! as sort of a blind trade - on my end, the most important thing was getting a mini-collection 'boost' at the end of 2017 when I thought I'd accounted for all the cards I was going to get.

Besides all the mini-collection adds, including ones knocked off my wantlist and others I tacked on for 2017, I may have counted out 140 miscellaneous cards - regardless of the substance, I think it's fun to go through a jumble of cards like these once in a while, even though I probably needed to pace myself, so I didn't get burnt out being preoccupied by all the randomness.

I like trying to make sense out of the cards as I sorted them out - selected other cards were added as mini-collection ‘haves,’ where I might have had the card or a card for a player pictured, but felt I might as well list them as part of a particular mini-collection.

Other cards went into my various ‘loose card’ interests including:

School ties - I have a multi-sport collection of alumni players from a selected number of California colleges.

Cards of MLB/MiLB coaches - usually former players who maybe currently working or have worked for a MLB organization in 'recent' years.

Cards for team boxes - I have a collection on the side featuring assorted cards from all the 30 MLB teams.

A-Z archive filler - the least I will do is see if I could file these cards away 'as is.'

My favorite cards out of the box include the following:

1991 Topps Stadium Club Alex Cole #392 - pictures Otis Nixon; this made me do a double take when I saw the nameplate because I thought it was Nixon's card...Nixon has a more pronounced, weathered face [to put it kindly] while Cole always wore those goggles.

1992 Fleer Rookie Sensations Phil Plantier #19 of 20 - the butt shot captures his unique stance perfectly; Plantier was indeed a rookie sensation with the Boston Red Sox in 1991, hitting .331 with 11 home runs in 175 at-bats, but just wasn't destined to be a star.

Images courtesy of

1992 O-Pee-Chee Premier Mike Bordick #5 - pictures Scott Brosius

1992 Donruss Triple Play Greg Vaughn #122 - I love how Vaughn’s cap is flying off as he checks if he has made the catch at the wall; a couple of teens along the railing above him check to see if they possibly have a beat on the ball as well.

1996 Pinnacle Denny’s Kevin Seitzer #26 of 28 - I bought this set years ago so I have this card somewhere, but to have it in-hand at the moment is nice; I don’t know if the holographic animation of the player shown was ever such a big deal, but I like shining the image up to the light and playing around with the card.

1996 Upper Deck Charlie Hayes #436 - I like how he is playing with a camera with a big lens.

1998 Fleer Tradition Ben McDonald #40 - this image sticks out as Fleer immortalized the longtime American League pitcher's only big league at-bat during the first year of Interleague play in 1997.

FWIW - the Milwaukee Brewers moved from the American League Central to the National League Central the year after.

2016 Donruss The Famous San Diego Chicken #151 - is this the most recognizable baseball mascot of all-time?

Sunday, January 07, 2018

1975 Topps Robin Yount RC #223

I added another old school rookie card to the personal collection and while this was more of an impulsive pick-up as opposed to a priority at the top of a wantlist - there is some lingering nostalgia over this card, especially when paired up with George Brett's rookie card [#228] from the same set.

While Brett's playing career was a bit more larger than life and his rookie card seems to be held in higher regard than Yount's - both players are one-team franchise legends who each got their 3,000th hit in 1992 and were part of the same Hall of Fame class in 1999.

While I was superficially aware of Yount as a HOF legend with all these accomplishments - I had to dig through his numbers to see how his playing career evolved since I somehow believed he was more of a compiler as opposed to being a dominant player at various points of his playing career.

Getting to the big leagues as an 18-year old really helped boost Yount's counting numbers - maybe if he'd come up at 23 or 24 like a more typical big leaguer, his playing career would be more like J.J. Hardy's than Derek Jeter's.

But what changed my perspective about about Yount's 20-year career is when he became an impact offensive player in his prime - for a 4-year period through the mid 1980s, Yount established himself as one of the best players in all of baseball, checking off all the boxes as far as a guy who could hit for average, hit for power, steal bases and be a good defender at shortstop.

If somehow I'd be aware of baseball when Yount was really putting up the numbers, he would have been a fun player to follow, reminiscent of offense minded shortstops who would come of age in the late 1990s - guys like Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Nomar Garciaparra.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

2017 Topps Gallery blaster box recap 2 of 2

Artist proof parallel pack
#28 Sean Newcomb
#146 Gerrit Cole
#8 Steven Matz
#19 Carson Fulmer

 Pack one
#32 Gregory Polanco
#25 Bryce Harper

#HOF-19 Jim Palmer - Hall of Fame Gallery insert
#62 Yasmani Grandal

 Pack two
#140 Anthony Rizzo
#67 Kyle Seager
#113 Andrew Toles
#13 Carlos Correa

 Pack three
#15 Yoan Moncada
#12 Max Kepler

#156 Nelson Cruz - Artisans SP
#141 Yoan Moncada

 Pack four
#38 Tyler Glasnow
#139 Jake Lamb

#MP-21 Nolan Ryan - Masterpiece insert
#98 Salvador Perez

 Pack five
#17 George Springer
#97 Ketel Marte

#HOF-12 Joe Morgan - Hall of Fame Gallery insert
#147 Brandon Finnegan

 Pack six
#101 Cole Hamels

#100 Clayton Kershaw
#45 Matt Kemp
#128 Greg Bird

 Pack seven
#80 Freddie Freeman
#54 Jose De Leon
#42 Alex Bregman

Dan Bergren - Featured Artist info card
#106 Robert Gsellman