Saturday, January 28, 2012

Last 2011 Topps Update Value Box recap

Bought one at Target for $14.99 and it was devoid of anything - since the Topps site was down, I had to enter my code cards on vacation and I ended up with 1987 Topps cards of Don Sutton and an Ozzie Smith All-Star subset card.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Featured autograph - Prince Fielder

It's great that Prince Fielder finally signed with a team - as a baseball fan who likes to read the occasional baseball forum or Web site, I was tired about reading the doubt generated by skeptics about how the free agent market had shrunk for the fat slugging first baseman and how agent Scott Boras' tactics had finally been dismissed as bunk.

By landing a 9-year, $214 million deal with the Detroit Tigers - Fielder gets the contract that pays him like a superstar and his agent proves once again to be the grand wizard of professionals who can negotiate contracts for these pro athletes.

After having Ryan Braun in left field and Prince Fielder at first base as sort of their power core in the middle of the lineup through the last four seasons - I'm sure the Milwaukee Brewers are looking forward to having new Japanese import Norichika Aoki in left field [maybe for the first 50 games of the 2012 season, maybe not] and someone like Mat Gamel at first base.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Featured autograph - Domingo Ayala

I'm not sure what to make of Ayala's talents as a baseball player but I guess his routine works - and maybe a guilty pleasure as he spoofs the gestures of Latin American ballplayers in professional baseball.

He appeared at a home run derby to benefit former Arizona State baseball player Cory Hahn last Saturday afternoon in Placentia California - I saw him walking around and I was going to have him sign a dummy card, but he had promotional pictures to give away, which he personalized, inscribed 'pop the chain' and signed.

He seems a little smaller in person but the thing about his 'gimmick' is he does resemble a baseball player[if even just a little bit] - he hit a home run in the derby and it was kind of cool seeing him go deep.

With a little bit of identity theft going on with at least couple of players from the Dominican Republic - I would love to see a scenario where Ayala is exposed to have a different name and age...that maybe where the 'natural progression' of his 'career' goes.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Autograph request through the mail received: Mike Lieberthal

Mike Lieberthal c/o home - the former Philadelphia Phillies and Dodgers [for one lone season] catcher signed my cards in blue ink and kept one in about two weeks.

The 2006 Topps Allen and Ginter's, 2005 Topps Turkey Red and 2004 Topps Cracker Jack are 'setters' to add to my collection - from these sets I collect, I have no misconceptions of the cards I can or can't get signed, but it is nice to be able to get three more out of the way.

I've always liked the 2001 Topps HD because I didn't have many of the super premium quality cards printed on thick glossy card stock - unfortunately the autograph is sort of obscured because it was signed in a dark area.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Autograph request through the mail received: Johnny Groth

Johnny Groth c/o home - he signed my card in blue ink for $5, though the autograph was smeared, so it was sort of a waste of a request to send.

I guess the $5 is just pocket change and if I was going to send an autograph request to an 85-year old guy to sign my card - I should temper my anticipation since who knows if someone like Groth can still do day-to-day things in his life such as respond to autograph requests.

Monday, January 16, 2012

2011 Topps Update Value Box recap - a couple more #2 of 2

2011 Topps Update Value box - I don't know if I'll try and keep on picking these up [if I even find more] since it seems like I've come up with bupkis, but can I really complain not pulling 'OMG, super mojo cards' with these little mediocre retail breaks?

BCE-1 Bryce Harper bonus card - red refractor version; I think I pulled one 'silver' but no 'gold.'

#TDG-20 Kevin Youkilis Topps Diamond Giveaway code card - I redeemed a 1959 Topps Jim Brosnan #194.

2011 Bowman Chrome hobby pack
#BCP 124 Luke Jackson
#BCP 116 Jose Casilla

#2 Manny Machado - 2021 Future die-cut insert
#220 Aaron Crow

2011 Topps Update eight-card packs

Pack one
#US-213 Louis Coleman
#US-96 Ryan Hanigan
#US-148 Alex Presley
#TTU-22 Stephen Drew - ToppsTown

#US-42 Frank Thomas - SP
#US-273 Miguel Montero - The Beard lurks
#US-105 Joel Hanrahan
#US-254 Dustin Ackley

Pack two
#US-129 Brooks Conrad
#US-46 Angel Sanchez
#US-157 Reed Johnson
#US-211 Dustin Moseley
#DD-2 Andre Ethier / Matt Kemp - Diamond Duos insert

#US-258 Monte Irvin - Platinum Diamond Anniversary parallel
#US-59 Matt Kemp
#US-163 Adrian Beltre

Pack three
#US-158 Darren Oliver
#US-224 Bill Hall
#US-56 Ryan Adams
#US-155 Eric Hosmer
#US-178 Jason Bourgeois
#US-216 Takashi Saito - gold parallel serial #'d 0187/2011
#KC-112 Cole Hamels - Kimball Champions insert
#US-230 Miguel Cabrera

Pack four
#US-212 Pat Neshek
#US-284 Laynce Nix
#US-215 Michael Dunn

#US-56 Ryan Adams - Liquorfractor
#T60-103 Alex Rodriguez - Topps 60 insert
#US-207 Jay Bruce
#US-188 Eric Hosmer
#US-84 Pablo Sandoval

Pack five
#US-107 Brandon McCarthy
#US-301 Tom Gorzelanny
#US-220 Adam Dunn
#US-117 Michael Stutes

#US-152 Julio Teheran - Platinum Diamond Anniversary parallel
#510 Hank Aaron - Liquorfractor
#US-85 Roy Halladay
#US-140 Clayton Kershaw

2011 Topps Update Value Box recap - a couple more #1 of 2

2011 Topps Update Value box [$10.98 each x2 at a Walmart] - I found two more of these and decided to pick them up.

BCE-1 Bryce Harper bonus card - this one looks like another red refractor version.

#TDG-17 Ryan Braun Topps Diamond Giveaway code card - I redeemed a 1991 Topps Randy Johnson #225.

2011 Bowman Chrome hobby pack
#3 Edwin Jackson
#BCP 119 Jose De Paula
#BCP 165 Nathan Eovaldi - refractor serial #'d 332/500
#30 Ian Kinsler

2011 Topps Update eight-card packs

Pack one
#US-235 Charlie Morton
#US-126 Adrian Gonzalez
#US-209 Rubby De La Rosa
#US-232 Miguel Tejada

#US-43 Carlos Quentin - Platinum Diamond Anniversary parallel
#640 Dan Uggla - Liquorfractor
#US-174 Jacob Turner
#US-62 Jason Marquis

Pack two
#US-324 Melvin Mora
#US-35 Eduardo Nunez
#US-191 Andy Sonnanstine
#US-211 Dustin Moseley
#US-185 Orlando Hudson

#US-8 David Robertson - Platinum Diamond Anniversary parallel
#US-38 Josh Hamilton
#US-193 Lonnie Chisenhall

Pack three
#US-32 Matt Stairs
#US-67 Miguel Olivo
#US-101 Scott Downs
#US-25 Tim Stauffer

#US-23 Chance Ruffin - Liquorfractor

#T60-102 Hank Aaron - Topps 60 insert
#US-305 Carlos Beltran
#US-21 Prince Fielder

Pack four
#US-298 Yorvit Torrealba
#US-139 Rafael Soriano
#US-240 Blake Tekotte
#US-279 Trevor Plouffe
#US-322 Fernando Martinez

#T60-136 Bert Blyleven - Topps 60 insert
#US-316 Justin Upton
#US-114 Lance Lynn

Pack five
#US-79 Chris Dickerson
#US-148 Alex Presley
#US-200 Vladimir Guerrero
#US-7 Nate Schierholtz

#DD-19 Justin Verlander / Max Scherzer - Diamond Duos insert

#544 Justin Masterson - Liquorfractor
#US-131 Jeff Keppinger
#US-319 Corey Patterson

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Autograph request through the mail received: Ron Hansen

Ron Hansen c/o home - signed my card in blue ink with '1960 A.L. R.O.Y.' inscription in about a week.

For a card I picked up randomly, I really how this particular card turned out - maybe Hansen had to sign over part of his face and perhaps the facsimile autograph gets in the way, but the actual autograph on the card is nice, bold and clean.

Autograph request through the mail received: Phil Niekro

Phil Niekro c/o home - I sent $10 and my card was signed in blue ink with a 'H.O.F. 97' inscription and he responded to my letter.

I was worried about this request because I mailed it in a regular envelope and when I take to a person at the post office - I have to see my outgoing envelope squeezed to see if I have to pay the surcharge [$0.20] for additional ounces.

Maybe it is a problem I'm just being petty about, but it pisses me off because by the way my envelopes are being felt up - card (s) I'm sending out [I'm probably more concerned over cards from the last 10 years] are probably bent up and creased before I pay for my postage.

Maybe about a week later I get my request back from Niekro- I was pretty relieved that all the squeezing at the post office apparently didn't damage my card at all as I see no visible creases.

Autograph request through the mail received: Jim Nash

Jim Nash c/o home - personalized and signed my card in black Sharpie in about a week.

I looked at his stats before putting together my letter and discovered he was a pretty good starting pitcher - I would guess for every 'old school' MLB guy who took pride in throwing 250-300 innings for 10-15 years, there were pitchers like Nash who had success early on, but whose playing careers effectively ended towards their late 20s.

It seems like present-day starting pitchers have the ability to prolong their careers - even though it seems like they don't throw as many innings and at times, they seem to be 'babied.'

Saturday, January 14, 2012

2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition recap #4 - the finale

Pack 17
#61 Nick Fleece
#184 Albert Cartwright
#152 Shawon Dunston Jr.

#8 Danny Hultzen / Jed Bradley / Tyler Anderson - Building Blocks insert
#4 Albert Pujols

Pack 18
#57 Hudson Boyd
#167 Charlie Leesman
#179 Mike Walker

#10 Cristhian Adames - certified autograph serial #'d 093/594
#14 Justin Verlander

Pack 19
#19 Erik Johnson
#68 Dean Green
#187 Jake Dunning

#16 Williams Jerez - Yearbook insert
#16 Andrew McCutchen

Pack 20
#44 Neftali Rosario
#25 Angelo Songco
#82 Corey Williams
#88 Jake Floethe - certified autograph serial #'d 20/25
#1 Josh Hamilton

2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition recap #3

Pack 13
#86 Brandon Parent
#9 Jeff Ames
#162 Joe O'Gara

#8 Zach Cone - Yearbook insert
#3 Clayton Kershaw

Pack 14
#67 Cavan Cohoes
#174 Red Patterson
#158 Tyler Cloyd

#159 Pierre LaPage - die-cut Aspirations parallel serial #'d 006/200
#15 Danny Espinosa

Pack 15
#42 Johnny Eierman
#99 Greg Bird
#182 Ryan Tatusko
#50 Taylor Guerrieri
- die-cut Aspirations parallel serial #'d 036/200
#2 Adrian Gonzalez

Pack 16
#45 Kevin Comer
#3 James Harris
#156 Adam Jorgenson

#12 Tyler Collins - Elite Series certified autograph parallel serial #'d 47/99
#18 Adam Jones

2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition recap #2

Pack seven
#16 Blake Snell
#73 Adam Conley
#164 Dan Osterbrock
#19 Abel Baker
- Elite Series insert
#10 Brian McCann

Pack eight
#97 Bobby Crocker
#55 Mitch Walding
#155 Chris Heston

#95 James Baldwin - certified autograph serial #'d 445/575

#9 Jordan Walden

Pack nine
#30 B.A. Vollmuth
#93 Chris Wallace
#176 Pedro Villareal
#160 Brett Jacobson
#21 Michael Pineda

Pack 10
#29 Jake Sisco
#13 Kyle McMillen
#183 Dan Meadows
#6 Blake Swihart / Andrew Susac - Building Blocks insert
#20 David Freese

Pack 11
#27 Josh Osich
#51 Dillon Maples
#178 Chris Hanna
#3 Dan Vogelbach / Dillon Maples / Matt Szczur
- Building Blocks insert
#17 Dustin Pedroia

Pack 12
#87 Roman Quinn
#10 Cristhian Adames
#172 Jeremy Cruz
#3 James McCann / Jason King / Brian Flynn / Jason Krizan
- Building Blocks quad insert

#7 Curtis Granderson

Thursday, January 12, 2012

2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition recap #1

2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition hobby box [$110 each at a card shop] - my biggest problem with EEE is it tends to be a little pricey even with six autographs per 20 pack box.

It's an unlicensed baseball product for the sport that probably weeds out more 'never has beens' than produces guys - who become multiple All-Star perfomers at the highest level.

I realize box prices may fluctuate, but I've got to pay if I want to play right now and ultimately everything is tied into the autograph pulls - I'm probably be stuck with autographs of players I have to wait on as far as getting their professional baseball careers going [not to mention the other players who were drafted / signed during the last several years].

Pack one
#100 Bryson Miles
#169 Danry Vasquez
#168 Adam Davis
#8 Jake Sisco / Jake Lowery - Building Blocks insert
#13 Trevor Cahill - Donruss / Panini doesn't get 'extra credit' for updating 'Oakland' with 'Arizona' as far as listing Cahill with his new team.

Pack two
#26 Jordan Akins
#83 Brian Flynn
#163 Mariekson Gregorious
#3 Gerrit Cole / Trevor Bauer - Building Blocks insert
#25 Jay Bruce - these base cards are sort of refreshing to see even if they are only licensed by the player's association and not Major League Baseball.

Pack three
#70 J.R. Graham
#151 Anthony Meo
#166 Alan DeRatt

#122 Aaron Westlake - certified autograph serial #'d 415/826
#6 Jeremy Hellickson

Pack four
#58 Granden Goetzman
#36 Carlos Sanchez
#180 David Herbek

#7 Justin Bour - certified autograph serial #'d 185/784
#24 Troy Tulowitzki

Pack five
#15 Brad Miller
#72 Riccio Torrez
##175 Jamaine Cotton
#1 Josh Hamilton - die-cut Status parallel serial #'d 077/100
#12 Ichiro

Pack six
#40 Taylor Featherston
#159 Pierre LaPage
#171 Hernan Perez
#2 Josh Bell - Elite Series insert
#23 Andy Dirks

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Featured autograph - Barry Larkin

Barry Larkin - I got the autograph card signed through the mail 'via venue' c/o the Atlanta Braves during the 2000 All-Star break.

I remember writing to Larkin and then Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star catcher Jason Kendall - Larkin responded with my card signed in blue ballpoint pen.

If I had a vote in the 2012 Hall of Fame ballot - I'd only vote for Larkin to be inducted with Ron Santo into the Hall of Fame this year.

While I've assumed he was a very good player, I don't think I've seen him as anything but a borderline Hall of Famer - however, Larkin was a 'one-team' guy who spent his entire 19-years as a MLB player for the Cincinnati Reds.

Looking at the shortstop position, Larkin was as good as you were going to get before guys like Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Nomar Garciaparra came onto the scene in the late 1990s - Larkin got on-base, hit for average, hit for some pop, stole bases and play pretty good defense.

Friday, January 06, 2012

2011 Topps Update Value Box recap

2011 Topps Update Value box [$10.98 each at Walmart] - a break from the 'featured autographs' I've posted in the last several days.

These are popular on the Blowout Cards forums since they were marked down to $10.98 - these maybe of good value if you resell the code card(s), the Bryce Harper bonus card and maybe pull a decent card in the packs.

BCE-1 Bryce Harper bonus card - I'm not sure how many variation of the Harper card are out there, but this one looks like the red refractor version.

#TDG-12 Mike Schmidt Topps Diamond Giveaway code card - I redeemed a 1978 Topps Randy Jones #56, which was redundant because I got another copy of the exact same card signed through the mail four or five years ago.

2011 Bowman Chrome hobby pack
#BCP 138 Tyler Moore
#BCP 132 Melky Mesa

#36 Miguel Cabrera - refractor

#17 Curtis Granderson

2011 Topps Update eight-card packs

Pack one
#US-221 Jamey Carroll
#US-295 Wilson Ramos
#US-9 Jose Iglesias
#US-150 Adrian Beltre
#US-178 Jason Bourgeois

#KC-123 Bert Blyleven - Kimball Champions insert
#US-62 Jason Marquis
#US-53 Koji Uehara

Pack two
#US-135 Grant Balfour
#US-69 Gerald Laird
#US-190 Alexei Ogando
#US-168 Bruce Chen -
#US-105 Joel Hanrahan - gold parallel serial #'d 1779/2011
#US-271 Eric O'Flaherty - Platinum Diamond Anniversary parallel
#US-316 Justin Upton
#US-20 Adrian Gonzalez

Pack three
#US-48 Scott Hairston
#US-213 Louis Coleman
#US-171 Matt Lindstrom
#US-149 Omar Infante

#TDG-27 Victor Martinez - Diamond Giveaway code card; got a 1971 Topps Woody Woodward #496
#T60-133 Tris Speaker - Topps 60 insert
#US-18 Robinson Cano
#US-259 Andre Ethier

Pack four
#US-182 Ronny Paulino
#US-183 Carlos Peguero
#US-209 Rubby De La Rosa
#US-240 Blake Tekotte
#US-110 Edgar Renteria

#US-296 Bobby Jenks - Platinum Diamond Anniversary parallel
#US-299 Robinson Cano
#US-75 Gio Gonzalez

Pack five
#US-11 Jason Pridie
#US-217 Elliot Johnson
#US-286 Rich Thompson
#US-279 Trevor Plouffe
#US-317 Craig Counsell - Liquorfractor

#T60-121 Pee Wee Reese - Topps 60 insert; looks like infield practice perhaps with Jackie Robinson lurking near him.
#US-154 Cliff Lee
#US-268 Yadier Molina