Sunday, September 29, 2013

Card shop trip - the singles

I'm not going to look through every box of cards I see at a card shop but I sort of make it a game to see what I can find - I impulsively hoard cards since they are kind of cheap and plenty even though I try to be conscious about pulling the ones I can try and get autographed in-person.

I only dug out four cards out of the assorted Bowman prospects $0.50 box - since it's a little steep for cards that maybe mixed along with quarter boxes at some point.

2010 Bowman Nick Franklin #BP 103 - black border parallel
2012 Bowman Chrome Prospects Brent Keys #BCP 140 - x2
2013 Bowman Platinum Renato Nunez #BPP 70

I picked up one card from the quarter boxes I can try and get autographed - the rest I took just because.

2013 Bowman Platinum Jeurys Familia #86
2013 Panini Cooperstown Sparky Anderson #2 - Colgan's Chips insert
2013 Panini Cooperstown Richie Ashburn #6 - Colgan's Chips insert
2013 Panini Cooperstown Yogi Berra - Colgan's Chips insert / pinstripe
2013 Panini Cooperstown Josh Gibson #52 - Colgan's Chips insert
2013 Panini Cooperstown Commissioner Landis #82 - Colgan's Chips insert
2013 Panini Cooperstown Phil Rizzuto #121 - Colgan's Chips insert
2013 Panini Cooperstown Dave Winfield #160 - Colgan's Chips insert
2013 Panini Golden Age Jim Thorpe #34
2013 Panini Golden Age Flight 19, Mystery #50
2013 Panini Golden Age Bob Hope #53 
2013 Panini Golden Age Grace Kelly #63
2013 Panini Golden Age Tommy Davis #95
2013 Panini Golden Age Tatum O' Neal #145
2013 Panini Golden Age Jackie Earle Haley #147
2013 Topps Football Max Unger #103 - Gold parallel serial #'d 0958/2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

I don't collect football cards at all

But I had to rescue this 2013 Topps gold parallel card of Max Unger out of the quarter box - maybe football cards like this are a dime a dozen, but I love the shot of Unger in pass protection as star quarterback Russell Wilson looks to throw a pass to one of his receivers.

2013 Topps Heritage Minors box break recap

I made a card shop trip to bust either several packs or splurge for a box - while it might not be a MLB product, I try to hold out for something like the minor league version of Topps Heritage because I feel like there is a chance to get cards of new players, even if they are still plying their trade in the minors.

This product is not without its share of flaws such as Topps using the same images from other products i.e. Jimmy Nelson and his 2013 Topps Pro Debut - it's kind of sneaky how Topps uses the same image, but just slaps on a new template to get a new card.

For the cards that have duplicate images, it would have nice to see an original image used - even if it costs a little more to buy the rights to use more than one image.

Also, more than a handful of players also have had Topps Heritage Minors cards in previous years - I assume there is a checklist planned out way in advance and as redundant as it seems, Topps just wants to have a list they don't have to worry about updating too much.

Too bad any cards of 2013 draft picks are being saved for Bowman Draft and other products - I would have like to see guys like Mark Appel [No.1], Kris Bryant [No. 2], Jonathan Gray [No.3], Clint Frazier [No.5] and Colin Moran [No.6] make their cardboard pro debuts in minor league Heritage.

Back to the actual recap, I got 187/200 of the base 1-200 set along with four dupes - the collation was pretty good and I'm not worried about the following cards I didn't pull since I have a hand collated set coming in.

3 David Dahl
4 JR Murphy
18 Rafael Montero
24 Mike Freeman
43 Tyler Naquin
65 Jake Thompson
78 Bruce Maxwell
98 Roberto Osuna
115 Edward Salcedo
145 Patrick Kivlehan
166 Cesar Hernandez
192 Taylor Jungmann
200 Oscar Taveras

I pulled 19 assorted inserts / parallels

Two Real One autographs; 1:14
#ROA-MA Matt Andriese - the autographs I pulled look fine in-hand, though from the images I posted, it looks like the autograph has bled or smeared on the sticker.
#ROA-BM Brandon Meredith - on card autographs would really be great for this product, though that maybe a pipe dream.

One Commemorative Logo Patch
#MP-JG Joey Gallo - maybe I'd rather pull a manufactured card like this than some random single-swatch game used card of some unknown minor leaguer; at least it looks like there was some effort in putting together cards like these.

Two black bordered parallels; 1:11
#107 Andrew Susac - serial #'d 07/96
#141 Ross Stripling - serial #'d 03/96

One base Venezuelan parallel; 1:24
#108 Enny Romero 

Four SP's; 1:6
#208 Chris Stratton
#212 Chase - That Golden Thunder Bat Dog
#214 Christian Bethancourt
#217 A.J. Jimenez

Six The Road To The Show inserts; 1:4
#RTTS-AM Raul Mondesi
#RTTS-CCR C.J. Cron   
#RTTS-GS Gary Sanchez 
#RTTS-BS Bubba Starling 
#RTTS-TG Taylor Guerrieri 
#RTTS-TA Tyler Austin 

Four 1964 Bazooka inserts; 1:6
#64B-BB Byron Buxton
#64B-GP Greogry Polanco
#64B-KC Kyle Crick
#64B-MD Matt Davidson  

One Be a Pro Player For a Day Contest Card

Four dupes
#46 Corey Oswalt
#130 James Paxton
#133 Trevor May
#190 Brett Bochy

Friday, September 20, 2013

An evolution - finding and buying up cardboard on the Internet

While I've used online sources as my personal swap meet over the last 15 years - it has gotten to the point where I don't even bother leaving the house to see if I'd be able to go find the cards I need in-person at a card shop / card show.

I can lazily lounge around with my laptop, browsing and making purchases left and right - when before I HAD to get out of the house, maybe go 30-40 miles somewhere to spend some fruitless hours at a card shop/card show.

I usually wouldn't be able to find what I want but still be compelled to spend $20 on something - just to say my trip wasn't a waste, when I'd mostly end up with redundant extra cards I already had but nothing like 'unique' cards [i.e. minor league cards or parallels from the mainstream sets] that I was really looking for.

When I'm on a 'shiny card' kick, there are more options online for me to find a card - like a 2013 Bowman Silver Ice parallel of Gregory Polanco.

Or perhaps an obscure 2012 Bowman Chrome Blue Wave parallel of Cam Maron - a catcher in the New York Mets system ticketed for the Arizona Fall League.

Besides the variety of cards I can find online, maybe the reason I'm more active was learning how to finally work a Paypal account - for several years my online purchases were slowed down because I'm a luddite who had Paypal but still tried to pay for cards using money orders or even cash.

I had to go back to the drawing board and figure out what I exactly had to do such as link my bank account, so I would be able to use Paypal as a payment option - over the last year, I've been ramping up purchases using Paypal, not having to worry about not following through on purchases made.

Stuff does cost actual money and at times, I maybe I have to slow down - to make sure I'm not going overboard with any online purchases.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Featured autograph - Wil Myers

I was watching the Texas Rangers / Tampa Bay Rays game on MLB Network when Myers hit a long opposite field home run - he maybe only 23, but the guy is strong as ox.

Getting his autograph in-person at the Arizona Fall League back in 2011 - I couldn't help but stare at how huge his hands were.

I like a little flair myself and it looks like the rookie pimps his home runs, which would raise eyebrows among the unwritten rules crowd - but since Myers might the next great hope, so he gets a pass for now, unlike Yasiel Puig perhaps.

Unfortunately homeboy was most allergic to most Sharpie pens and made like he couldn't hear when the Tampa Bay Rays played the Angels three weeks ago - I was shocked he was rather oblivious and made no real time to sign at any point inside the park.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Who are these guys

Cards for an Arizona Fall League trip perhaps - scheming, planning to get more depth as far as unsigned cards to be autographed, I fear that I spend too much to hoard cards that may mean nothing after the fact.

2008 Bowman Draft Kenny Wilson #BDPP 3
2008 Bowman Draft Adrian Nieto #BDPP 9
2009 Bowman Draft Robert Hefflinger #BDPP 48
2011 Bowman Draft Alex Dickerson #BDPP 27
2011 Bowman Kyle Kubitzka #BDPP 74 - x2
2011 Topps Heritage Minors Garin Cecchini #42
2011 Topps Heritage Minors Todd Glaesmann #120
2011 Topps Heritage Minors Elmer Reyes #194
2011 Topps Heritage Minors Yorman Rodriguez #198
2011 Topps Pro Debut Dallas Beeler #275
2012 Bowman Keith Couch #BP 29 - x2
2012 Bowman Cheslor Cuthbert #BP 58
2012 Bowman Matt Purke #BP 80
2012 Bowman Danny Hultzen #BP 87
2012 Bowman Tyler Collins #BP 106
2012 Bowman Brandon Jacobs #BP 93 - x2
2012 Bowman Draft Tyler Naquin #BDPP 9 - x3
2012 Bowman Draft Andrew Heaney #BDPP 12 - x2
2012 Bowman Draft James Ramsey #BDPP 27
2012 Bowman Draft Richie Shaffer #BDPP 30 - x2

Friday, September 13, 2013

Playing with my cards and maintaining upkeep

My ongoing collecting mind runs a mile a minute every time I go through my loose cards - while I may or may not have real life issues going on, collecting autographs / baseball cards are the default hobbies that animate me like some others may think about fantasy sports.

While I really only have a finite number of opportunities to actually get myself out somewhere to get stuff signed - the consumption of baseball cards [to try and get autographed] and building up a decent number for as many different subjects as possible maybe a year round thing now.

I'm looking to 'game plan' for spring training, the regular MLB / MiLB season and whatever else may come up of interest - maybe at times I feel overwhelmed and aimless when I spend money on more unsigned cards i.e. maybe singles, a set or a lot of cards.

But I've got to keep up or else I feel I'm behind - not as much when I'm trying to get established player's autograph at MLB games, but more when I take a detour to hunt for prospects and other non-MLB players.

Maybe the most important aspect of my collecting endeavors is maintaining upkeep, so it's not just one big mess of loose cards I have to swim through - easier said than done when at times I'm focusing on the next thing.

I have to know where cards are so I can go and prep for an outing to get my cards signed - maybe arrange for a way to have cards of upcoming teams in a way where I can get to them instead of having to dig for cards at the last minute.

How do I maintain upkeep of random things like my transactions box - keeping track of various moves so I can a little mini set of loose cards and so my team boxes for autograph hunting are updated?

A.) Changes/expansion/realignment due to overflow of cards - a space crunch may have me leaning on making a temporary A-Z box as a semi-permanent place to store random cards from my A-Z archive stored in three 3,500 count boxes.

I don't want overstuffed team boxes and A-Z archives - I want to keep the cards together as much as possible and don't want to deviate from how I've arranged things, but maybe some tweaks are in order.

B.) How do I pack my A-Z archives with cards from recent years [so it feels more relevant as opposed to being strictly a cardboard morgue] and how do I keep track of the most random cards [maybe one or two cards] from those boxes - so I can hit on the right cue to find ones, 'on demand?'

Maybe purchase a new 3,500 count box for my A-Z archives - rearrange A-F, G-M, N-Z arrangement if cards are packed too tight.

Maybe pull 'extraneous' cards to give away and discard otherwise - maybe about 200 per box to give away somewhere; I need a good, diverse archive of cards from many years, but the foundation of my A-Z archives have been built on cards I won't bother to try and get autographed.

C.) Have something to do with cards each day - sounds simple enough where I work on something just to chip away, so I don't feel like I'm getting away from what is supposedly leisurely activities for myself.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Featured autograph - Evan Longoria

I don't go too crazy on trying to get something for the Tampa Bay Rays star third baseman to sign in-person that he is just going to scribble on - I can take his short sig on a set card when other collectors think they can get something better than Longoria's scribble on their specialty baseballs or photos when the Rays are in town to play the Angels.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Featured autograph - Jim Rice

When collecting in-person autographs is my focus - it maybe hard to find a certified autograph card of somebody whose autograph I've never gotten and I'm actually interested in.

I picked up this Jim Rice on-card certified autograph for about the price of a discounted blaster box - I've never gotten his autograph before and even if the card is a groan inducer for those who bust higher-end products, I like what I have in-hand.

Rice isn't a West Coast guy, so he wouldn't do too much promotional appearances or shows [though I might not pay for him at a show anyway] - on a forum I frequent, I've seen some sloppy sigs from those that have tried to get him 'out and about' for free.

I vaguely remember following him out of Angel Stadium as a visiting coach with the Boston Red Sox [maybe back in 1999 or 2000] and he would not sign as me and some others begged him to stop - he jumped into a cab and told the driver to jam, leaving us poor autograph collecting minions in the dust.

Getting Giancarlo to Anaheim

I would love to see the 23-year old slugger in the Angels outfield next year with Mike Trout and maybe Peter Bourjos/Josh Hamilton or Kole Calhoun - getting it done however maybe pure fantasy rumbling in my silly head, as the end of a long season for my favorite team comes to an end in a couple of weeks.

The Angels farm system is just about the worst in baseball and a trade probably destroys what little value the barren organization has - with no obvious fit, maybe a finding a third team to trade with along with the Marlins might be the best solution.

Supposedly the Angels have been looking for offers on second baseman Howard Kendrick, so the third team will probably need a second baseman with so pop and can do a little bit of everything - the Florida Marlins would receive 'young talent,' maybe a combination of Bourjos, R.J. Alvarez, Mike Morin and/or Mark Sappington.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Made my way to a card shop and picked these up

I have all sorts of random Todd Helton cards but decided to pick this one up just because.

2008 Topps Randy Johnson #396 - shows him hitting; a card I might not have.
2009 Topps Heritage Brandon Moss #113 - if I dig around my 2009 Topps Heritage box, I may find this card.
2009 Topps Heritage Jesse Chavez #145 - I might have gotten this card signed.
2011 Bowman Jonathan Villar #BP 110 - x2; I'll save these for next year, even though I might have gotten similar cards signed already.
2011 Bowman Draft Blake Snell #BDPP 52 - x2
2011 Bowman Draft Austin Meadows #BDPP 100 - from the USA insert set x2
2011 Topps Pro Debut Brett Oberholtzer #234
2012 Bowman Draft Paul Blackburn #BDPP 6
2012 Bowman Draft Jesse Winker #BDPP 8
2012 Bowman Draft Kyle Zimmer #BDPP 10 - x2
2012 Bowman Draft Sam Selman #BDPP 116 - x2
2012 Topps Tribute Matt Kemp #58
2013 Topps Heritage Todd Helton #305 - I wouldn't say he's a favorite or anything but he's had an excellent career and might be hanging them up sooner than later.

Helton seemed like as pure of a hitter as there ever even though in his prime - hit a ton more home runs than your typical high-average, contend for a batting title hitter i.e. Tony Gwynn, Rod Carew, Joe Mauer, et al.

Featured autograph - Alex Torres

He has put up great numbers as a reliever in 2013 though it remains to be seen where his future will be - I'm guessing the Rays will probably look to use him as trade bait in the off-season since the organization is always loaded with pitching.

If Torres does stick around next season, maybe the Tampa Bay Rays will try and stretch him out as a starting pitcher - especially when the former Angels farmhand has been a starter for much of his professional career in the minors.

As far as the autograph, I made my mind up to have to Torres sign it on the material part since it looks cool like that - unfortunately the material is dark and all I had to get the card inked up with, was an ancient silver Sharpie from 2010.

Obviously the results were not good - I was out of luck as far as getting a nice, bold autograph.

I got Torres to sign the card a second time [originally where he was going to sign it] - he did a double take, saying it was already signed.

I got two autographs on one card, which is sort of unique but silly at the same time - even though it's just a fish story, I'll just say the faint autograph on the material piece was on there when Topps cut up the swatch for the card.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

USPS baseball stamps

Using stamps picturing baseball legends / themes isn't new by any means but it was a pleasant surprise to buy a pair of random Forever stamps at the post office and see Ted Williams and Willie Stargell on them - the Stargell was already used to mail a letter while I'm keeping the Williams in my wallet for now.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Featured autograph - Dmitri Young

I've had several Dmitri Young cards bundled with his brother Delmon's cards, hoping Dmitri might show up where Delmon was playing - hoping to see Dmitri in-person, I was able to take advantage of an opportunity to get a couple cards signed by Dmitri after an Angels game in Anaheim on Monday.

I didn't want to ask Dmitri during the game [after another, dedicated autograph collector at the stadium spotted Dmitri and said he was around] - he was with family and I was afraid he'd give me some attitude [the last time I got him in-person, he told me, 'how about asking about how me how I was doing,' instead of having him sign something].

Dmitri expressed shock I had some cards of him and he said he'd sign a couple, since he had to get his kids home - he was fairly pleasant though no one really thought to bring anything for him except my friend and I.

Unfortunately, the same couldn't be said for Delmon - after the game I assume the guy just wanted to be with family and not stick around the ballpark to sign autographs.

Still, a couple of 'true fans' of the game talked him up and broke him down to sign just for them - I did see him sign a just couple more and tried approaching him myself, but was rebuffed quickly.

"If you all don't get the F out of my way," Delmon said.

Considering the trouble Delmon has gotten himself into a couple of times in his pro baseball career - I guess getting his older brother's autograph was good enough for the night.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Farewell Vladdy Daddy - a tribute to a great, imperfect ballplayer

Vladimir Guerrero who maybe my favorite player because of his ability to hit the crap out of the baseball with no supposed plate discipline - has apparently has officially retired, according to this news story in Spanish.

He put up fantastic numbers that makes him a legitimate Hall of Fame candidate - his accomplishments speak for themselves and I want to describe Guerrero as 100 percent ballplayer, zero percent BS like Bill James once noted about Don Mattingly.

Still there maybe there were issues left to be desired even with a great ballplayer like Guerrero - the Vlad for public consumption as a Major Leaguer seemed a little self-absorbed in his own world, where perhaps he was more laid back and loose when he came back home to the Dominican Republic.

Guerrero supposedly didn't want to speak English and the language barrier prevented Vlad from being a guy that can step in front of the camera and say some things without an interpreter - as an autograph collector, I found him cold and oblivious when approached unless he was at some paid public appearance.

He wouldn't normally sign autographs unless you were a two-bit autograph dealer paying off his driver at the ballpark - whether or not he signed autographs shouldn't matter, but if a guy isn't approachable under normal circumstances, it's kind of weird cheering him on or collecting his cards.

Did I mention he was a bit older than originally listed, has fathered at least 8 kids and played in the Steroid Era - who knows what he could have been taking, but to his credit, at no period of time has his numbers ever been scrutinized to be suspect.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Featured custom card: 1989 Upper Deck Michael Roth High Number

Michael Roth was a do-everything pitcher in college and was a 9th round pick by the Angels in 2012 - it still maybe the case where his pro career might not last relatively long, but he's already reached the Major Leagues this past season and who knows what can happen when a guy is just 23.

To create the card, I downloaded a 1989 Upper Deck template posted on, where all I needed to do was play with the image, name, team logo and position in a photo editor like Photoshop - I'm not so proficient with photo editors and all I have is GIMP, so I thought it was still kind of hard to figure out how to drop a photo in, how to add my own text and find a suitable logo until I started playing with things to conjure up this custom card of Roth.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Stephen Vogt should win an award

Unlike other professional sports, baseball is littered with players like the Oakland Athletics' Vogt - basically rank-and-file guys who may actually get an opportunity [not all do] to play at the highest level, but look like every day schlubs selling cars, maybe serving as a club bouncers, doing real estate or maybe playing beer league softball.