Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Autograph request through the mail received: Gene Conley

I sent a request to Conley with $5 and got my SASE back in about a couple of weeks with my card my signed in blue ink and responded to my letter with a note - like my Albie Pearson success, it's nice to get something back quickly; it's even better when I get a personal response to something I wrote.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Featured autograph - Ryan Braun

I don't know what to think about Braun at the moment - without sounding irrational, I still don't trust the player, but it does look like he's having a bounce back season.

Who knows what he has or hasn't done or might look to be doing - but as long as I don't hear, watch or read any slobbering over him like he never did anything in the first place [post 65-game suspension and all that jazz with the PEDs], then maybe he becomes a star to watch again.

As a MLB fan in general, I'm a numbers guy and I'm entertained by the guys who tear it up - even though I don't play fantasy baseballs, I like players putting up gaudy numbers and I want to see if Braun can hit over .300 again and perhaps hit 30-35 home runs and/or drive in 100 or more runs.

If his stats tumble or he doesn't quite lead the Brewers back to the playoffs, then he's just another fallen star - but it maybe fascinating to see where his numbers will end up at the end of the season.

Mark Trumbo

The Angels fanbase loved him, though only times I really enjoyed his talent was when he would hit dingers - for whatever reasons, he was never a personal favorite and I was glad that he has since moved on.

I used to wonder what it was like to be a home grown talent and play for the MLB team 10-15 minutes away from where you grew up - I don't know if Trumbo was entirely comfortable with being that guy and it seemed like it was more of a burden.

I'm curious to see if Trumbo gets better and bounces back from a stress fracture in his foot - though he isn't the Angels problem anymore and general manager Jerry DiPoto may have made a shrewd move when he traded Trumbo in the offseason for couple of lefty starters [Tyler Skaggs/Hector Santiago] who look pretty decent so far.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Autograph request through the mail received: Albie Pearson

I finally sent a request to Pearson with $5 and got my SASE back in about a week with my card my signed in blue ink - I don't do as much TTM these days, so it's nice to get something back when I've actually bothered to send something out.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured autograph - Jody Davis

Because of collecting and being preoccupied with baseball cards, I probably 'know' bits and pieces about random players from the last 25-30 years, even though I probably never saw them play - Davis isn't one of those guys, since his prime years was before I started getting interested in Major League Baseball.

I gathered my regular sized cards I had and a 1985 Donruss Action All-Stars 4x6 card to get signed in-person several weeks ago since Davis is a coach for the Lake Elsinore Storm - when I tried to get his autograph after the game, I goofed and thought Davis was Jamie Quirk, another LE coach who played in the 1980's.

Since I made a mistake, I had to let a couple of collectors get Davis to sign their cards while I found the correct ones - when he finally got back to me, he asked if I wanted him to put 'Jamie Quirk' on the cards I wanted him to sign.

According to baseballreference.com, it looks like he was a mainstay for the Chicago Cubs at catcher for much of the 1980's - he wasn't a great hitter, but his bat was probably more than passable for a catcher back in his day.

Davis' offensive contributions petered out after he turned 30 - but he was a two-time All-Star, a Gold Glove winner who had a monster National League Championship Series against the eventual NL champion San Diego Padres back in 1984.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Autograph request through the mail received: Tim Salmon

I probably sent a request to him four or five years ago and got a SASE back with my cards signed Saturday - I'd forgotten about these cards and was surprised these made their way back to my mail box.

He was my favorite Angels player but despite his reputation as a beloved franchise great and ambassador - for whatever reason he just doesn't really like being hounded for autographs in-person and it's nice to get these back.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

2014 Topps Heritage blaster recap

I got $5 off with my Topps coupon book, though I didn't pull anything special - except for more redundant cards to go through and add to my 'can't really get them signed in-person' pile.

Pack one
#185 Matt Holliday
#27 Jarrod Saltalamacchia
#207 David Murphy
#358 Vernon Wells
#430 Justin Verlander - SP
#362 Eduardo Nunez
#414 Robin Ventura
#336 Andy Dirks
#38 Brett Lawrie

Pack two
#1 Miguel Cabrera / Mike Trout / Joe Mauer - 2013 American League Batting Leaders
#136 Jon Lester - 2013 World Series Game 5
#21 Jon Jay
#243 Billy Hamilton / Nick Castellanos - 2014 Rookie Stars
#Topps 65 MLB-GN Graig Nettles - 1st Draft insert
#86 Wei-Yin Chen
#423 Alex Wood
#7 Anibal Sanchez / Bartolo Colon - 2013 American League ERA Leaders
#83 Justin Smoak

Pack three
#288 Jhonny Peralta
#145 Juan Encarnacion
#212 Steve Cishek
#56 Alexi Ogando
#240 Jarred Cosart
#49 Xander Bogaerts / Jonathan Schoop - 2014 Rookie Stars
#142 Michael Saunders
#227 Jonny Venters
#111 Yunel Escobar

Pack four 
#22 A.J. Ellis
#235 Kevin Gregg
#160 Andrew McCutchen
#292 Jim Henderson

#489 Jean Segura - SP
#80 Brett Oberholtzer
#48 Marlon Byrd
#43 Carlos Beltran
#342 Matt Carpenter

Pack five
#241 Drew Stubbs
#299 Mike Moustakas
#178 Jose Quintana
#2 Michael Cuddyer / Chris Johnson / Freddie Freeman - 2013 National League Batting Leaders
#297 Khris Davis

#437 Hanley Ramirez - Red bordered parallel
#135 Jonny Gomes - 2013 World Series Game 4
#339 Zack Cozart
#23 Joaquin Benoit

Pack six
#33 Michael Cuddyer
#335 Tyler Pastornicky
#274 Ron Washington
#137 Koji Uehara - 2013 World Series Game 6
#322 Brandon Crawford
#NF-TSOM The Sound of Music - News Flashbacks insert
#161 Brett Gardner
#215 Matt Harrison
#398 Daniel Webb / Chris Robinson - 2014 Rookie Stars

Pack seven
#223 Miguel Gonzalez
#219 Michael Young
#311 Brandon Morrow
#366 A.J. Griffin

#428 Madison Bumgarner - SP
#NAP-WM Wil Myers - New Age Performers insert
#39 Chris Carter
#343 Russell Martin
#35 Ryan Vogelsong

Pack eight
#53 Giancarlo Stanton
#400 Bryce Harper
#296 Randall Delgado
#15 Asdrubal Cabrera
#120 Shin-Soo Choo
#202 Wade Miley
#396 Everth Cabrera
#294 David Robertson
#137 Anthony Gose

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Albert Pujols - in case fans weren't aware

I check Angels box scores and Pujols' profile pages online to see how he is doing on a game-by-game basis - he is two home runs away from the 500 home run mark and despite rumblings about the milestone being watered down, maybe all the 'home run hitting' guys were doing 10, 15, 20 years ago have sort of slowed down.

Reaching the 500 home run club still means you were a consistent power hitter for a long period of time - not a flash in the pan sort of player who may have had several fluke power seasons or a player who sort of lucked out in a previous era.

Still, it doesn't seem like the national media doesn't care as much and a likely scenario is Pujols is going to hit the two home runs he needs sooner than later and that will be that - I'm cautiously optimistic that as long as he's healthy, Pujols is going to play and hit well and the only thing I fear is another injury that may knock him out for a prolonged period of time.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Haven't bought any cards lately

But this coupon book might come in handy as far as some impulsive purchases - I'm going to try to find a 2014 Topps Heritage blaster box and see if I could get $5 off.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured autograph - Nolan Arenado

The 2013 Rawlings Gold Glove Winner signed one of the two cards after a Colorado Rockies @ San Diego Padres game on Monday - already a highlight reel defender at third base, it will be interesting to see how Arenado's bat develops in the next few years.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Featured autographs - Mark Prior

I was at a minor league game in Lake Elsinore California and after I woke up from my slumber during the game [it was a long afternoon getting to Lake Elsinore from Orange County] - I wandered around the concourse and took a peek down to where the scouts and maybe pitchers who chart during the game sit in the stands.

I saw the back of a guy who I assumed to be Prior and dug out my cards and put them on a page - in-between innings, I got the former phenom and Cubs ace to sign.

Friday, April 11, 2014

2014 Topps Gypsy Queen value pack recap

New baseball card product gives me an excuse to go out and check out either a hobby shop or stop at a big box store - I was looking for a blaster but all I could immediately see where these, so I broke down and picked up a pack.

Framed parallel pack
#232 Pablo Sandoval
#59 Wilmer Flores
#3 Robin Yount

Pack one
#225 Nolan Ryan
#163 Carlos Gomez
#295 Eddie Murray
#N174-MC Miguel Cabrera
- N174 insert
#261 Joe Morgan - mini parallel
#182 Peter Bourjos

Pack two
#43 Juan Marichal
#61 Tony Cingrani
#29 Ralph Kiner
#146 Kendrys Morales

#328 Willie Mays - mini red border parallel serial #'d 25/99; has some white on the bottom left, doh.
#279 Chris Tillman

Pack three
#178 Jose Altuve
#227 Chris Davis
#123 Felix Hernandez
#DA-GM Greg Maddux - Dealing Aces insert
#127 Kyle Gibson - mini parallel
#94 Matt Cain

Thursday, April 10, 2014

2001 Topps Stadium Club Mike Sweeney #126

Sweeney's face is obscured and he is contorted in sort of an odd way that the action happening is facing away [for a lack of a better way to describe what is going on] - but I kind of like the card because it captures a relatively large man leaping nimbly to snare a line drive hit towards his direction.

I assume Sweeney was a little more athletic and flexible in he hit his prime - where he was putting up numbers and establishing his MLB career as slugger.

It is what it is, but it's hard to believe that it's a 13 year old card I rescued from a quarter box - it's a relatively modern looking card, with generally sharp photography and a slick, glossy surface.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Featured autograph - Rick Waits

I dug around through some monster boxes at my LCS to find cards to get signed in-person before a Seattle Mariners @ Angels game - I consider Waits the 'anti Van Slyke,' since I got the Seattle Mariners pitching coach's attention and after looking for a way to sign my cards without me having to launch my autograph book towards him over the dugout, he came over to the camera well and signed without a problem.

Waits pitched in the Major Leagues from 1973-1985 and while he wasn't great [79-92 won-loss record], he hung around for 12 years - I usually laugh and scoff at the cards of rank-and-file guys, but there are players [maybe lefthanders since they tend to hang around even past their primes] whose careers are a trip.

Even though I might not have been around [literally] to follow their Waits' career first-hand - having his cards and doing a little research makes me think about what he did as a professional baseball player.

One of the cards he signed was his 1985 Fleer [which shows him at Anaheim Stadium] and while it's not a big deal - it's ironic I got him to sign where he was pictured on the card, even though the stadium is now called Angel Stadium and the place has probably gone through a bunch of cosmetic changes since 1984.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Autograph card fails - Willie Bloomquist

I probably didn't take the moment I needed to make sure the autograph on the card had dried before closing my book - so I end up with this beauty of a signed card.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Featured card - 2013 Bowman Chrome Blue refractor mini Jose Fernandez

I probably overpaid for this card [numbered to 99, though that doesn't sound as 'limited' as it once did maybe years ago] and it was strictly an impulse purchase - I think the card from the 2013 Bowman Chrome mini boxed set, which was kind of a test issue [that only really came out a few months ago] with a seemingly high-end price tag [over $200].


I found myself at an Seattle Mariners / Angels game last Tuesday night since there was another Mike Trout bobblehead giveaway - I wanted to get Andy Van Slyke's autograph, who is one of the new Mariners coaches this season.

Before the game, I actually saw him down the first base line, signing for some kids [they probably didn't know who he was, but that's beside the point] - however when I showed him my cards, he mumbled he didn't have time and walked away.

I felt kind of stupid, since he then went over by the expensive box seats next to the field to sign for a few more kids and one of the seemingly rare female collectors - it bummed me out since I was looking to get a card or two signed.

I thought he was an affable 'fan favorite' who might not have been one of the best players in his time, but was a slick defensive center fielder and a good quote - the way he blew me off makes me thinks twice about my preconceived notions about professional athletes, active and retired.

Admittedly, I did get Van Slyke's autograph at least once at some golf tournament years ago - however, whenever his name was randomly mentioned, I haven't heard good stories about him signing, so perhaps over the years, he just doesn't like seeing collectors.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Featured autograph - Corey Seager

A 2013 Bowman Inception card for the Los Angeles Dodgers prospect arrived in the mail today - after receiving the redemption card [picked up on eBay last summer for $6.50 plus $2 s/h] and entering the code here, it took around 10 months to get the actual card in-hand.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Featured autograph - Matt Shoemaker

The long shot threw two shutout innings in his 2014 debut Tuesday night - his upside seems limited as a 27-year old long reliever [looks like he was a starter in the minors] who doesn't throw hard, though he might have the potential to be useful as long as he isn't overexposed.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Felix Hernandez bends but doesn't break

Despite Mike Trout's two-run blast, King Felix struck out 11 Angels hitters in six innings of work on Opening Night - it's one damn game, but it looks like the Angels bullpen will blow again in 2014.