Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Autograph request through the mail received: Jose Cardenal

Jose Cardenal c/o home - signed my three cards [1975 Topps, 1977 Topps and 1978 Topps] in blue Sharpie in about three weeks; I remember him mainly for being a coach with the New York Yankees through the late 1990s, but played 18 seasons in the Major Leagues as well.

Looking at Cardenal's stats, he had his most productive seasons in the mid 1970s with the Chicago Cubs - he also played for the Angels from 1965-1967.

Autograph request through the mail received: Max Scherzer

Max Scherzer c/o Detroit Tigers [spring training] - personalized [To: Lauren] and signed my card in blue ink.

This was mailed on February 24 and arrived in my mailbox on December 27 - this request took a while to get back to me but it is always nice to get a somewhat unexpected TTM autograph success.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Featured autograph - Chris Iannetta

Got this card of the Angels catcher signed - when he was a visiting Colorado Rockies player back in 2010.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Autograph request through the mail received: Bob Locker

Bob Locker c/o home - the former Major League relief pitcher from the 1960s through early 1970s signed my card in blue Sharpie in about two weeks.

Collector's Cache Box recap

I was browsing the card section at Target when I saw this plastic card 'container' of baseball cards with various stuff for $14.99 - this thing was heavy and it 'clanked around' because of the coins I saw inside.

This isn't the latest or the greatest offering from an actual trading card company like Topps and it's probably designed for much younger collectors - however I decided to pick one up Sunday night since I maybe able to use the durable looking plastic card container after I picked up a similar one at Walmart in the mid 1990s for about $6.

I'm not sure if these are repackaged and sold through retail stores by Fairfield or by a new player in the trading card repack game - maybe Collector's Cache?

Inside the plastic trading card container - was a various number of things that I rummaged through.

10 top loaders - thrown into the box, I'm not sure if I use these to hold my valuable cards...
2 Ultra Pro one-touch card holders - one was with a sticker priced $1.99 and I figure these were probably closeouts from a retail store.
1 Ultra Pro screw down

A set of 1990 Topps coins [60 coins] and one dupe - I don't particularly care about odd sized or oddball baseball items like these, though this set is somewhat attractive and features 'stars of the day' including Nolan Ryan, Ken Griffey Jr., Cal Ripken, etc.

300 assorted cards - including a lot of 192 cards 'on their own' and various 'junk wax' packs; with no expectations, I went through card after card like the card hoarder I am.

A 1989 Topps half a jumbo pak with 51 cards - the company repacking these things couldn't have included the 23-year old stick of gum or the glossy insert card?
A 1990 Upper Deck pack with 15 cards
A 2007 Upper Deck Series 1 and 2 combo pack with 32 cards
A 2008 Upper Deck Documentary pack with 10 cards

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Autograph request through the mail received: Bill Sampen

Bill Sampen c/o home - signed my cards in blue Sharpie in little over a week.

Looking back at his Major League career, Sampen managed to find success as a relief pitcher for two or three years in the early 1990s - by the time he spent his last MLB season with the California Angels in 1994, it looked like his arm was toast.

Japanese baseball imports - the cards

I've ended up with various Japanese cards over the years and found cards of the imports looking to come over to play Major League Baseball in 2012 - after a stellar pitching career in Japan, Yu Darvish is the most coveted player coming over and there is a lot of hot stove buzz as to which team he'll end up with.

Pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada signed a two-year contract with the Baltimore Orioles and looks to be a candidate for a spot in the starting rotation in 2012 - supposedly as a Dallas Braden clone of sorts.

Norichika Aoki is supposedly as gifted a hitter as Ichiro was - though let's be real here and hope that if he plays in the Major Leagues next year, is at least a bit better than the Ichiro that showed up for the Seattle Mariners in 2011.

Munenori Kawasaki is looking to sign with the Seattle Mariners - I don't know too much about him, though I vaguely recall referring to him as the 'fake Ichiro' when I attended a World Baseball Classic workout several years ago and saw him signing autographs.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Autograph requests through the mail received: Willie Aikens and Josh Hamilton

Willie Aikens c/o home - signed my three cards in blue Sharpie in about a week. He also returned my letter with a note saying his book is coming out next year and it will answer the questions I had for him in my letter.

Josh Hamilton c/o Texas Rangers [spring training] - signed one card in black Sharpie; I thought I was glad to get this one back but I chose a card with too dark of a background and only the streaky part of the autograph is sort of visible.

Random prospect mailday - Travis Harrison

I am vaguely aware of Travis Harrison as a local county kid [Tustin High School, Orange County California] who has good power potential - though it will probably take another four or five years before he progresses through the minor leagues and if things work out as planned, reaches the Major Leagues for the first time.

I was pretty eager to pick up this 2011 Bowman Draft Chrome first-year autograph card up - particularly without having to pull it in a pack or a box.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Autograph request through the mail received: Floyd Bannister

Floyd Bannister c/o home - signed my three cards in blue Sharpie in about a week.

Bannister's 'bread and butter' years were before the time I started seriously watching baseball and his stint with the California Angels in 1991 seemed forgettable at best - however, despite a 134-143 overall W-L record in the Major Leagues, he was a solid starting pitcher through the mid 1980s and pitched in 200 or more innings in 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985 and 1987.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Featured autograph - Mark Trumbo

I was able to get this 2011 Topps Allen and Ginter signed in-person by Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo recently - it maybe the best looking autograph I've gotten from him, though it is still sort of rushed, since he had to sign for a scrum of people.

Autograph request through the mail received: Carl Warwick

Carl Warwick c/o home - the 1964 World Series hero personalized and signed my card in blue ink in about a week.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Featured autographs - Mark Gubicza

The affable Angels TV broadcaster Mark Gubicza signed these two cards for me in-person several days ago - I haven't gotten him in a couple of years and while my memory maybe a little fuzzy, it looks like 'Gubi' may have shortened his autograph.

The 1989 Topps is OK, but I like the 1990 Fleer card in particular - they look sort of similar with pretty straightforward designs with white borders, but the Fleer looks better in-hand and features an action shot.

Featured autograph - Bill Stoneman

I ran into former Angels general manager Bill Stoneman this past Saturday and got him to sign the card I pulled from this break - he still works for the Angels as a consultant after stepping down from the GM position.

His claim to fame as a former MLB player was throwing two no-hitters for the Montreal Expos - despite a losing career record of 54-85, he pitched over 200 innings four years in a row and seemed to develop into a quality starter before breaking down in his late 20s.

Autograph request through the mail received: Tony Womack

Tony Womack c/o home - signed a 2005 Topps Turkey Red set card and a 2005 Topps card in black Sharpie in about two weeks.

He returned my third card unsigned and didn't bother to keep it - even though I wrote he can have it for his personal collection.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Featured autograph - C.J. Wilson

I got this in-person autograph of C.J. Wilson in 2010 - he was a very good signer during his time with his old team and I've always been able to get what I've needed signed when the Rangers came to town.

I think I'll end up waiting for his first Angels cards or something Angels related before I try and get his autograph again in 2012 - I don't think he'll be any tougher than he was before and I hope this will be the case.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ryan Braun - 2011 National League MVP busted for failed PED test

I liked Ryan Braun as much as I did any superstar in the MLB - sucks he apparently tested positive for PEDs, but now I'll have one less reason to collect his cards for practical purposes and it's off the Brauny bandwagon for me.

A quick apology and a probably 'one and only' presser regarding whatever he did or didn't do that set off his positive test - maybe the most likely course of action for Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers.

The worst thing would be to deny and challenge - he was entrenched as the Brewers 'face of the franchise' and he is still has a 'lifetime' contract with the organization.

If Braun lets it be and owns up to his supposed mistake, the 'white knights' of the media will have no choice but to bury his story - he can be back playing without much scrutiny after his 50-game suspension is over.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Featured autograph - Albert Pujols

I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams I'd be counting this Albert Pujols autograph as part of my all-time Angels autographed collection - it is a magazine I got signed in-person back in 2002.

Thanks for the early birthday presents Angels!

Pack one
#15 Albert Pujols - we all are waiting to see where he'll end up [HE ENDED UP ON THE ANGELS ALONG WITH FREE AGENT PITCHER C.J. WILSON], how much he'll be getting paid [PROBABLY $250-$260 million] and for how many years [1O YEARS].

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Featured autograph - Ozzie Smith

I ended up with an 1979 Topps Ozzie Smith rookie card when I was at a card shop [probably some time in 2005 - can't seem that long ago...] and picked up one of their 'grab bags,' which consisted of a lunchbag for $2.

I thought I'd be getting an assortment of loose cards, but instead I got a pack of 1979 Topps - I ended up pulling the Smith and was thrilled by the pull, but not the centering of the card.

I kind of suspect the pack was resealed and an off-condition Smith card was placed in the pack as sort of a 'bonus' to people who don't know any better - but it is hard to complain about pulling a rookie card of Hall of Famer from a 'grab bag' sort of deal.

I decided to get the card signed since it wasn't in the greatest condition and some autograph collectors like signed rookie cards - I got card signed by Smith in-person three years later at a golf tournament.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Diving into the quarter bins at the card shop

In addition to the loose 2011 Bowman Draft packs I busted from a card shop in my previous post - I picked up a lousy 14 cards out of the quarter boxes; I can't get too worried about spending a few bucks but I remember the days when I'd find 20-25 cards for a buck at certain card show booths.

Got these from the quarter boxes - where most the Angels / Dodgers cards are.

1973 Topps Jeff Torborg #154 - I have a couple of Torborg cards, though not an Angels card.
1974 Topps Joe Lahoud #512 - I actually have this card in my Topps Diamond account but picked it up since I get to have it in hand and maybe able to trade the redeemed Topps Diamond card for something else.
1984 Fleer Steve Lubratich #524
1985 Fleer Fred Lynn #307 - my memories of Lynn are mostly from glancing at his 1990 cards, which picture him as a 'washed up' San Diego Padres bench warmer.

Over the last 10 years, I've sort of come around as far learning about him - he was a very good player - winning the 1975 American League Rookie of the Year and 1975 American League MVP with the Boston Red Sox.

Lynn also represented the California Angels in the 1983 All-Star game
- hitting the first and only grand slam in All-Star game history.

Was able to find these from the quarter boxes - where many of the card shop's newest cards are and the place where I actually go to first when I walk into the card shop.

2011 Topps Chrome Danny Espinosa #33
2011 Topps Chrome Matt Young #185
2011 Topps Chrome Vinnie Pestano #201
2011 Topps Update Jose Altuve #US 132
2011 Topps Update Dustin Ackley #US 30
2011 Topps Update Anthony Rizzo #US 55
2011 Topps Update Dustin Ackley #US 254
2011 Topps USA Baseball Scott McGough #USA-34 - x3

Monday, December 05, 2011

2011 Bowman Draft four pack recap

2011 Bowman Draft [$3.00 each x4 at a card shop] - after busting approximately two hobby boxes and these loose packs, maybe I'm a little underwhelmed.

I grabbed these packs on impulse and pulled bupkis - maybe I don't know what I was expecting when this product came out a week or so ago; maybe I was hoping to be able to find some easier to pull pull refractors or colored parallels in every other pack?

It seems like for sheer entertainment value 2011 Bowman Draft is sort of a snooze fest - I realize they are two completely different products, but why can't something like 2011 Bowman Draft be more like 2011 Topps, where I sort of feel like I can pull at least a couple of OK looking inserts / parallels out of a multiple pack purchase.

Pack one
#7 Charlie Blackmon
#17 Andrew Brown
#59 Zack Cozart - Chrome
#BDPP 70 Lance Jeffries - Chrome
#BDPP 59 Anthony Meo
#BDPP 101 Hunter Mercado-Hood
#BDPP 38 Taylor Guerrieri

Pack two
#15 Ezequiel Carrera
#8 Brian Broderick
#82 Henderson Alvarez - Chrome
#BDPP 55 Brandon Martin - Chrome
#BDPP 71 Matthew Budgell
#BDPP 33 Tyler Goeddel
#BDPP 76 Josh Parr

Pack three
#39 Graham Godfrey
#30 Rubby De La Rosa
#32 Jarrod Dyson - Chrome
#BDPP 67 Henry Owens - Chrome - he was a pretty big deal coming out of an Orange County high school in 2011 and while he's been in various USA releases over the last couple of seasons, this is first base card as a pro.
#BDPP 5 Pratt Maynard
#BDPP 30 Michael Fulmer
#BDPP 46 Adrian Houser

Pack four
#75 Josh Rodriguez
#50 Craig Kimbrel
#27 Tony Cruz - Chrome
#BDPP 27 Alex Dickerson - Chrome
#BDPP 89 Keenyn Walker
#BDPP 19 Harold Martinez
#BDPP 68 Joe Panik

Featured card: 2010 Topps Heritage Dan Haren Clubhouse Collection jersey

I received this jersey card of the Angels No. 2 starting pitcher from Greg at Plaschke, Thy Sweater is Argyle - in exchange for the Panini Matt Kemp 'promo card' I pulled from this pack break.

When Greg expressed interest in the Kemp card - I think the Haren was the first card that caught my eye off his trade bait page that I thought might not be too hard to trade for.

Even though the card still pictures Haren in an Arizona Diamondbacks uniform - it is a nice looking card, even if Haren sort of looks unkempt rockin' the facial hair.

A Halo 'swing and a miss' - Jeff Mathis

I wish Jeff Mathis nothing but the best as he was finally traded from the Angels - I have nothing against him personally though it is disappointing he never really was able to develop into anything but a glorified bullpen catcher [who probably got playing time because he was a favorite of Angels manager Mike Scioscia].

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Angels get a catcher

The Angels traded for catcher Chris Iannetta and while he has shown spurts of offensive potential with the Colorado Rockies - the 28-year old catcher has sort of had an underwhelming Major League career and as a hitter hasn't done particularly well away from Coors Field during the past three years.

It is weird to go and talk about Mike Napoli as some kind of star, but he has sort of become one in Texas - I think the Angels are hoping Iannetta can mimic Napoli's success and sort of emerge as a catcher who knows what he is doing with the bat.

Going to the Rockies is Tyler Chatwood, who may have been rushed to the Major Leagues, in his first and only season with the Angels in 2011 - he has shown a 'live arm,' but is probably more of a project at this point, striking out only three more guys than he walked in a decidedly uneven rookie season.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Card show trip #3 the finale - 2011 Bowman Draft hobby box recaps

I wanted baseball cards of young professional players, guys drafted or signed this past year by Major League teams I've never heard about before - I think I got a stampede of them in the 2011 Bowman Draft boxes I picked up for $58 each as my 'main' hauls from my card show trip.

It remains to be seen which various base prospect cards I'll be able to get signed and which ones I'll be stuck with for a while - hopefully for the guys that do 'wash out,' I'll be able to get their cards signed sooner than never.

There are also cards of 2011 MLB rookies and USA players featured in this set - I think the USA players are from the U16 team, so it maybe a couple of years away before we find a particular guy is either going to play professional baseball out of high school or go to college of some sort.

The black borders on the non-Chrome prospect cards remind me of the black bordered wrapper redemption cards from 2010 Bowman Chrome - I like how these prospect cards came out for 2011 BDP, though they maybe more condition sensitive than the plain ole' white border prospect cards from regular Bowman.

I don't know if the stated odds really bear it out - but I was expecting to pull more 'color' as in various refractors. There is no sugarcoating the fact that the refractors / colored parallels I pulled were a bit 'lackluster.'

My two autographs were two Chicago Cubs - Javier Baez [9th overall] and Dan Vogelbach [68th overall]; I didn't realize Baez was picked within the first 10 overall picks and I've seen Chris Farley lookalike Vogelbach from his Power Showcase highlight video.

Box one
#14 Matt Carpenter - Chrome refractor
#BDPP 91 William Abreu - blue parallel serial #'d 217/499
#BDPP 108 Dany Toussaint - Chrome refractor
#BDPP 99 Jake Jarvis - Chrome refractor
#BDPP 35 Todd Frazier - Chrome refractor
#BCAP-DV Dan Vogelbach - Chrome refractor certified autograph; serial #'d 187/500
#6 Bruce Billings - Chrome refractor
#BDPP 8 Matt Barnes - Chrome refractor
#85 Everett Teaford - Chrome blue parallel serial #'d 095/199

Box two
#BCP-JBA Javier Baez - Chrome certified autograph; not numbered
#39 Graham Godfrey - Chrome; blue parallel serial #'d 052/199
#13 Mark Hamburger - Chrome refractor
#BDPP 33 Tyler Goeddel - Chrome refractor
#21 Henry Sosa - Chrome refractor
#BDPP 49 Scott Woodward - blue parallel serial #445/499
#BDPP 42 Nick De Santiago - Chrome refractor
#BDPP 81 George Springer - Chrome refractor
#5 Pedro Beato - Chrome refractor

2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition box break recap

#79 Ross Wilson - Status parallel autograph serial #'d 2/5.

I ended up picking a box of 2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition baseball for about $70 at a card shop 15 minutes away from my house - I haven't been to the shop during the last three months since the shop had opened and wanted to see what they had during Black Friday.

It was a typical card shop with overhead costs [rent and everything else that makes the store look good / attractive] to worry about - so the 'wax' in the shop probably reflects those costs, though it looks like they may have a little better prices for online consumers [as opposed to guys who randomly walk in from the cold like I did].

I settled for box of 2010 EEE on impulse and busting through the boxes on my way to work, these were my autograph pulls - I also pulled some inserts, maybe a parallel of little consequence.

#151 Jason Mitchell - certified autograph serial #'d11/50

#111 Mike Kvasnicka - certified autograph serial #455/530

#7 Bobby Doran - certified autograph serial #'d 523/644

#98 Tyler Holt - certified autograph serial #260/694

#10 Nick Castellanos - certified autograph serial #191/699

#190 Erick Goeddel - certified autograph serial #'d 521/810

Monday, November 28, 2011

Card show trip #2 - random vintage / old school cards

I normally don't dig around for vintage / old school cards and after deciding decided to make my own mix of 24 out of the 12 for $2.50 box - I shoved them back in the box to go look for supplies instead.

After getting a box of plastic sheets, a plastic card box and three packs of penny sleeves, I had some money left and decided to pick the 24 random vintage Topps cards up and an additional dozen from 12 for $1 box - I figure it is easier picking up a handful of old cards this way, than trying to find them in repacked jumbo packs at Target and/or hoping I redeem one from the Topps Diamond Giveaway.

Card show trip #1 - random singles

I was looking to score some new cards and decided to take a trip to the only card show I know to go - I've been on a self-imposed exile since early in the year, so I was hoping to make this particular trip worthwhile.

I got myself jammed up at one boss' booth, flipping through a bunch of cards out of his $0.50 junk boxes
- I picked up 20 including some Marquee / Tier One base cards and some numbered parallels; most of the shiny stuff [2010 Bowman Chrome prospects, 2011 Bowman Platinum, 2011 Topps Finest, etc] were scratched up so I didn't bother.

I think it was hard to put down the Marquee / Tier one cards once I started finding them - considering they come out of premium priced products.

2011 Bowman Chrome Best Anthony Ranaudo #BBP 70
2011 Bowman Chrome Futures Jonathan Singleton #12 x2
2011 Bowman Platinum Jake Marisnick #BPP 45 - refractor
2011 Bowman Platinum Leon Landry #BPP 46 - refractor
2011 Bowman Platinum Jimmy Paredes X-Fractor parallel #BPP 19
2011 Bowman Platinum Matt Harvey X-Fractor parallel #BPP 66
2011 Bowman Platinum Allen Webster X-Fractor parallel #BPP 68
2011 Topps Marquee Jered Weaver #9

2011 Topps Marquee Josh Hamilton #88

2011 Topps Marquee Brett Anderson #92

2011 Topps Marquee Joe Morgan #40 - serial #’d 79/99

2011 Topps Marquee Shin-Soo Choo #71 - serial #’d 45/99

2011 Topps Marquee Johnny Mize #84 - serial #’d 131/199

2011 Topps Marquee Miguel Cabrera #53 - serial #’d 203/299

2011 Topps Tier One Jim Palmer #22 - serial #’d 012/799

2011 Topps Tier One Dustin Pedroia #31 - serial #’d 200/799

2011 Topps Tier One Robinson Cano #75 - serial #’d 793/799

2011 Topps Tier One Brian Wilson #76 - serial #’d 005/799

2011 Topps Tier One C.C. Sabathia #77 - serial #’d 507/799