Monday, February 24, 2014

Featured autograph - Young Beedah

I ran into an aspiring rapper named Young Beedah a few weeks ago - I looked him up online and one of his tunes ['Boston Strong'] made it to Fenway Park last season as the 'walk-up music' for then Boston Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

1985 Fleer Star Stickers George Bell #39

I'm pretty sure the 'obscured' player behind George Bell is Reggie Jackson - I was randomly browsing through eBay when I spotted this and while it's worthless, I want this sticker for my bonus babies collection.

2014 Topps Target $9.99 hanger box break #2

I won't list the base cards because I feel like they are redundant - but I pulled a Justin Upton short print, so that's my 'big money, three dollar hit' on eBay.

I'm listing the other inserts / parallels I pulled - I just grabbed a random hanger box and didn't realize some boxes don't actually have the Target red bordered parallels in them [unless explicitly marked on the box], so I was out of luck there.

#24 Manny Machado - Red Hot Foil parallel
#229 Justin Upton - image swap SP
#UC-35 Ken Griffey Jr. - Upper Class insert
#FN-17 Wil Myers - The Future is Now insert
#50YD-2 Gerrit Cole - 50 Years of the Draft
#SV-4 Adrian Beltre - Super Veterans insert
#205 Seth Smith - Yellow
#49 Enny Romero - Yellow

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Autograph requests sent

I sent out to David Holmberg c/o Cincinnati Reds [spring training], Jacob Turner c/o Miami Marlins [spring training] and Wade Boggs [retired] - I'd rather focus on the occasional in-person autograph opportunity I may get, than take the time to put together autograph requests when many more active players seem to hoard their mail.

I like getting something in the mail as far as a SASE with the card(s) I sent to a player - but even if a player gets to responding to all the requests sent to him at some unspecified time in the future, it's a snail's pace to get something back, even for non-stars.

I'll let the guys who don't live relatively close to a MLB stadium enjoy their Josh Hamilton or Clayton Kershaw TTM successes - I'm worried more about getting back the rank-and-file I might end up sending to in a relatively reasonable amount of time.

Mike Trout pick up

Shows what I know, but I missed the boat on collecting his best cards when he was first drafted - now, I'm probably just picking up random cards of his that look cool, like this 2014 Topps framed rookie reprint serial #'d.

I wish I'd picked up a first-year autograph from 2009 when he was just another prospect before the 2010 season - though I have in-person autographs I've gotten over the years, as far as collecting cards, they just don't count.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Vintage / old school miscellany

I'm not really familiar with vintage / old school cards so I'd rather not get caught up in digging through vg-ex beaters featuring rank-and-file players - still, holding cardboard 'relics' that maybe 40-50 years old is pretty neat and maybe gives me a peek into the past.

Vintage dollar box

1960 Topps Gene Conley #293 - also was an NBA player, so this card goes into my two-sports stars collection, which consists of cards featuring athletes who may have been notable enough to play professional sports [mainly baseball] and in at least one other sport.

1960 Topps Don Mossi #418 - with his signature good looks, everyone knows about Don Mossi even if they were oblivious of his playing career.
1964 Topps Ray Sadecki #147 - I saw this card online 'years ago' and I laughed...

1964 Topps Mike Shannon / Harry Fanok #262

Vintage / old school [1970's] quarter box
1975 Topps Brent Strom #643

1976 Topps Hal McRae #72 - love the nice, warm hearty laugh on this card of McRae.

1976 Topps Johnny Briggs #373 - contrasting with the morose 'non-expression' Briggs gives on this card.
1977 Topps Brent Strom #348

1977 Topps Mike Miley #387 - another two-sport star, his life was cut short, after spending parts of two seasons with the California Angels.
1977 Topps Burt Hooton #484
1978 Topps Brent Strom #509

2011 Topps Allen and Ginter Cody Ross #312 - I picked up a partial lot of 2011 Topps Allen and Ginter short prints for about $7 several years ago, though Ross wasn't one of the cards included.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Random pack break recaps - 2014 Topps and 2013 Topps Update

2014 Topps Series I hobby [$2.00 each]

Pack one
#257 C.J. Wilson
#210 Jose Altuve
#317 Lonnie Chisenhall
#156 Kendrys Morales
#UC-44 Gary Carter - Upper Class insert
#95 Brandon Morrow
#226 Sean Doolittle
#45 Jake Marisnick
#9 Dustin Ackley
#27 Michael Choice

Pack two
#290 Chad Bettis
#100 Bryce Harper
#166 Dustin Pedroia
#36 Billy Hamilton
#62 Joe Kelly
#260 Zoilo Almonte - Gold parallel serial #'d 0962/2014
#58 Dan Straily
#131 Junichi Tazawa
#326 Khris Davis
#120 Kevin Correia

2013 Topps Update hobby [$2.00 each]

Pack one
#US-315 Bruce Rondon
#US-171 Nick Punto
#US-271 Francisco Liriano
#US-285 David Ortiz
#US-307 Mike Carp - Gold parallel serial #'d 0362/2013
#PH-3 George Brett - Postseason Heroes insert
#US-51 Brett Marshall
#US-199 Juan Lagares
#US-89 Michael Pineda
#US-320 Chris Archer

Pack two
#US-38 Denard Span
#US-30 Mike Adams
#US-169 Ezequiel Carrera
#US-160 Lyle Overbay
#US-185 Daniel Nava
#CH-104 Nomar Garciaparra - Chasing History insert
#US-136 Travis Hafner
#US-131 Josh Phegley
#US-330 Yasiel Puig
#US-227 Carlos Gonzalez

R.I.P. Jim Fregosi 1942-2014

I remember him more as a manager with the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays from the early 1990's through the early 2000's than as an actual player - the first time I probably heard of him was when I stumbled upon his 1987 Topps card when I was a kid getting into card collecting.

Of course as an Angels fan, I've learned more about Fregosi as one of the franchise's best ever position players at shortstop - he had an early start to his MLB playing career, but seemingly past his prime as he hit 30, he was infamously traded to the New York Mets for Nolan Ryan and three other players.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Derek Jeter to be out to pasture after 2014

Supposedly this upcoming season will be Derek Jeter's last as a MLB player - while I have no particularly affinity for any of his particular individual accomplishments or 'team achievements' i.e. five championships rings, what I'll miss most about Jeter is the idea that this guy played to win and nothing else mattered.

Jeter was built up as a guy who was great competitor and even though his year-to-year numbers were not quite as dominant as the stat monsters of his era - he had the ability to focus and be in the moment, a guy who came through at the most opportune moments.

He generated hit after hit and made highlight reel plays on defense - even though that part of his game has been derided for years by a collective group of people smarter than everyone else.

Among the other things I'll miss about Jeter are the little clips that might capture his personality, his mannerisms perhaps - the fist pump, and maybe a 'loose, confident smirk' here and there.

Unlike his notable teammate who went on a 162-game sabbatical recently - as 'polished' and maybe as 'made up' as Jeter might be, you'll never catch Jeter talking out of both sides of his mouth.

While Jeter is a pretty private guarded guy off the field with a reputation to uphold - he's also been matter of fact in the interviews I've seen and has always maintained the aura of being this down to earth guy with a responsibility towards the game.

Monday, February 10, 2014

2014 Topps Target $9.99 hanger box break

It's only been two weeks but I think I'm kind of bored done with the base set already - I figured to find some of the more common [retail?] parallel cards out of an impulsive hanger box purchase, so I could see what they looked like in-hand.

#70 Marcell Ozuna
#239 Jeff Samardzija
#124 Jay Bruce
#101 Chris Nelson
#53 Clay Buchholz
#307 Jake Peavy
#328 James Loney
#74 John Mayberry
#270 Corey Kluber
#326 Khris Davis
#120 Kevin Correia 
#325 Trevor Plouffe
#132 Henderson Alvarez
#330 Evan Longoria
#194 Joel Hanrahan
#146 Jonny Gomes
#299 Max Scherzer/Bartolo Colon/Matt Moore - 2013 AL Wins Leaders
#250 Miguel Cabrera
#116 Hiroki Kuroda
#261 Michael Brantley
#208 Dayan Viciedo
#324 Elvis Andrus
#67 Yasmani Grandal
#264 Huston Street
#247 Anthony Gose
#147 Jason Frasor
#242 David Holmberg
#281 Robbie Erlin
#219 Charlie Morton
#241 Henderson Alvarez
#232 Chris Owings
#170 Wade Miley
#200 Derek Jeter
#300 Yu Darvish
#318 Luis Valbuena
#17 Todd Helton
#6 Josh Beckett
#14 Yoenis Cespedes
#60 Jon Niese
#218 Matt Dominguez
#61 Nick Markakis
#224 Michael Saunders
#122 Jonathan Papelbon
#265 Yordano Ventura

#181 Jim Henderson - Gold parallel serial #'d0620/2014

#176 Alex Cobb - Red Hot Foil parallel
#PP-8 Alex Rios - Power Players code card
#TM-49 Bryce Harper - 1989 Topps minis die-cut
#UC-41 Jacoby Ellsbury - Upper Class insert
#FN-10 Zack Wheeler - The Future is Now insert

#220 Ryan Doumit - Target red border parallel

#184 Yunel Escobar - Target red border parallel

#67 Yasmani Grandal - Target red border parallel

#62 Joe Kelly - Yellow parallel
#323 Jose Bautista - Yellow parallel
#51 Kyle Lohse
#105 Ryan Howard
#320 Hector Santiago
#98 Edwin Encarnacion
#99 Melky Cabrera
#15 Paul Goldschmidt
#262 Jeff Keppinger
#319 Ryan Goins
#48 Jarrod Saltalamacchia
#220 Ryan Doumit
#184 Yunel Escobar
#55 Chia-Jen Lo

#163 Matt Shoemaker
#32 Reymond Fuentes
#83 Jonathan Schoop
#322 Emilio Bonifacio
#254 Brett Gardner
#65 Hisashi Iwakuma

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Starting pitching options for the Angels

Bronson Arroyo has signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks and it's hard to believe the Angels haven't made a bigger push for someone like him - though I like the Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs acquisitions as far picking up two young guys who can potentially be viable starting pitchers, I was hoping the Angels could pick up a durable veteran who can pitch around 200 innings for at least the next couple of seasons [even though Arroyo is closer to 40 than to 20].

According to what I read, the Angels put out an offer to Matt Garza, but took it back quickly, so Garza ended up signing with Milwaukee - the two key free agent starting pitchers are Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana.

I think either one has shown enough ability, skills and aptitude as Major League pitchers - but maybe there is a certain distrust in either one that make them sort of iffy pick ups.

Maybe the Angels should throw caution to the wind and attempt to sign one or the other - however, I don't know if the Angels would be willing to reunite with Santana and Jimenez seems like basically a younger version of Santana, which means neither one is a suitable option unless the Angels.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

2014 Topps HC set - the breakdown

I finally got my hand collated set in the mail and randomly created a Google Sheets file - I cut and paste a 2014 Topps checklist from Sports Card Radio and scrutinized each of the 330 cards [minus the retired #7].

I added three rows labeled 'Collecting Topic 1,' 'Collecting Topic 2' and 'Collecting Topic 3,' to list whether a card stood out as interesting - when I looked at a card, the first collecting topic collection that comes to mind is listed in category 1, then perhaps the card can count for another collecting topic [category 2] and maybe a third [category 3].

I added some comments as whether or not to count a particular card as a new addition [I may already have cards of a particular player from previous years] - as well as cards I'm looking to get autographed in-person.

Not quite, but sort of related - is this Michael Young card [#72] the worst card from Topps' Series I set?

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Featured autograph - Roberto Alomar

I picked up this single-signed baseball of Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar at the end of last year through Mill Creek Sports - the ball came with a Tristar COA and a Tristar hologram was affixed to the ball.

I thought the ball was nice and clean though it's kind of disappointing to see the hologram is blemished as seen in the pictures - it doesn't affect the way I could display the ball and I didn't bothering complaining, but I always know there is something imperfect about this purchase.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Thoughts on 2014 Topps

I supposedly have a hand collated set 2014 Topps I bought on eBay - hopefully I didn't pick up a set from a seller who can't deliver the goods, like last year when I bought a 2013 Topps Series I hc set that never arrived.

I hope the set purchase serves as a ‘preemptive’ strike to purchasing any 2014 Topps packs, blasters, retail jumbo packs, retail hangers, hobby, etc - it doesn’t mean I won’t seek any 2014 Topps cards from the quarter bins at my LCS or buy unopened product, but I’m trying to secure the basic cards before blindly jumping into anymore offerings of this year's flagship brand.

After seeing all the breaks and pictures from other cards blogs and forums, I spent about 20 minutes at a card shop and dug into a bunch of 2014 Topps leftover from someone else's recent break - I suppose in the limited amount of time I had, I went to work, looking on doing the following:

A.) Fill out my 1978-present Topps sampler set - maybe a pie in the sky project for me, where I try to pick up a random [or not] card to represent all 30 MLB teams [obviously expansion teams like the Florida Marlins, Colorado Rockies, Tampa Bay Rays and Arizona Diamondbacks will have less cards while Montreal Expos and Washington Nationals are counted as one team].

B.) Be able to scrutinize many of the cards for collecting topics - it looks like Topps has put together a flagship set with all sorts of interesting images pulled from Getty Images and put them into cards.

I like the idea of randomly discovering cards that are kind of 'fun' in their own unique way - but it maybe more practical to go through a hand collated set of cards and see where I can fit each card.

C.) Pick up cards to be autographed in-person - mostly rookie cards and players who may have had a couple of years of MLB experience with not quite a lot of cards out.

Monday, February 03, 2014

2014 Topps Series I hobby jumbo pack

Even though I'm waiting on a hand collated set I purchased - I tried a 50-card pack for about $12 to see if I could pull something decent like this past break.

Pack one 
#90 Ethan Martin
#198 Nick Swisher
#284 Brandon Belt
#63 Tyler Skaggs
#107 Jordan Zimmerman
#46 Kolten Wong
#129 Yonder Alonso
#252 Kevin Pillar
#6 Josh Beckett
#14 Yoenis Cespedes
#60 Jon Niese
#328 James Loney
#74 John Mayberry
#279 Corey Kluber
#326 Khris Davis
#233 Rafael Soriano
#237 Michael Cuddyer/Chris Johnson/Freddie Freeman - 2013 NL Batting Average Leaders
#36 Billy Hamilton
#62 Joe Kelly
#323 Jose Bautista
#207 Jonathan Villar
#66 Kris Medlen
#180 Ben Revere - Gold parallel serial #'d 0269/2014
#185 Howie Kendrick - Red Hot Foil parallel
#PP-26 Jon Lester - Power Players code card
#TM-23 Roberto Clemente - 1989 Topps minis die-cut
#UC-24 Justin Verlander - Upper Class insert
#FN-7 Jean Segura - Future is Now insert
#BG-18 Cal Ripken Jr. - Before They Were Great insert
#10 Junior Lake
#272 Carlos Villanueva
#196 Cole Hamels
#154 Chris Iannetta
#125 Joe Mauer
#315 Jose Quintana
#40 Hyun-Jin Ryu
#144 Joakim Soria
#311 Chris Young
#216 Ubaldo Jimenez
#26 Josh Phegley
#181 Jim Henderson
#65 Hisashi Iwakuma
#242 David Holmberg
#281 Robbie Erlin
#219 Charlie Morton
#241 Henderson Alvarez
#33 Matt Harvey
#58 Dan Straily

My Super Bowl XLVIII recap

As the most casual of NFL fans, I started to lean on the idea the Denver Broncos were probably going to roll past the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII and with no rooting interest - was just hoping the team from Seattle had enough plays on offense to make things interesting, if not pull an upset to make a good game happen.

This was Peyton Manning's Super Bowl, this was where he was going to put the finishing touches of his legacy as the best quarterback whose ever played in the NFL - if I had a dollar for every time I read a Facebook comment [on ESPN stories] or other forums about Manning was going to throw at least 3 or 4 touchdowns with 300-400 yards passing, while giving Richard Sherman his comeuppance, maybe I'd be a hundred dollars richer by now.

Every fan, every pundit made it so much about Manning - not that Manning hasn't deserved the accolades as an all-time great, but the love has gotten to be too much at times and it's nice to see the narrative flipped.

There was such intense feelings of schadenfreude when the game was unfolding in an eventual 43-8 thrashing of Manning's Broncos - I'd pump my fist or yell when Manning's duck passes would be picked off or the Broncos' drive would fall short.

It reminded me when Manning was at his postseason peak and I had this irrational desire to see him get smacked around [probably for the same reasons I wanted to see him fail on Sunday] - when his Indianapolis Colts played the New England Patriots in the mid 2000's.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Featured autograph - Gary Matthews Jr.

When the Angels signed him for 5 years and $50 million back in the winter of 2006 - I must have choked on something because he was the epitome of a journeyman outfielder who capitalized on the big year with the Texas Rangers but was going to be paid like a star in Anaheim.

With the Angels, I thought Matthews Jr. played decently in very small spurts, but was stretched out as an every day player - he wasn't a player to get excited about and I probably bemoaned his existence during his time as a Halo.

While I still have at least 5-10 of his cards, I ran into him a couple of weeks ago and got him to sign a blank filler card that comes out of packs - I wasn't going to get him but I needed him for my Angels autograph collection and if nothing else, I can actually say I got his autograph in-person when I thought he wasn't particularly accommodating when he was a player.