Thursday, July 31, 2014

Buyer beware II - a resolution

It pisses me off when I pick up something online and don't get the item within a certain, noted time - but I guess I can understand if a seller occasionally goofs up, as long as there doesn't seem to be any malicious intent on their part.

I thought I got skunked on a 2014 Allen and Ginter hand collated set purchase on eBay - in-between the 'dead period' where I didn't know what happened, I went and picked up another set from another seller just to have something, if I had to go fight for a refund.

I contacted the seller where I bought the first set from through eBay's Resolution Center last week - I was surprised to actually get a response a few days later.

The seller said he'd forgotten to ship my set and would do so using Priority shipping - there was finally a tracking number to indicate the set had been shipped and after a few days, my set finally was in-hand.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Dug into the quarter boxes at my LCS

1979 Topps Don Hood #667 - I like the perfectly coiffed stache.

1993 Pinnacle Luis Polonia #31 - I randomly leafed through some Angels cards and realized Polonia is wearing a retro uniform.

1995 Upper Deck SP Championship Series Chili Davis #133 - I like him grimacing as I could only imagine the pitch he thought was a ball, was actually called a strike.
2014 Topps Allen and Ginter Shelby Miller #29
2014 Topps Allen and Ginter Taijuan Walker #64
2014 Topps Allen and Ginter Matt Adams #79
2014 Topps Allen and Ginter Matt Carpenter #123
2014 Topps Allen and Ginter Mark McGwire #147
2014 Topps Allen and Ginter Bryce Harper #148
2014 Topps Allen and Ginter Julio Teheran #229
2014 Topps Allen and Ginter J.D. Martinez #236
2014 Topps Allen and Ginter Trevor Rosenthal #277
2014 Topps Allen and Ginter Adam Wainwright #324 - SP

2013-14 Upper Deck Hockey Steve Ott #61 - maybe captured in a subtle, candid moment, blowing a bubble.

2013-14 Upper Deck Hockey Evander Kane #143 - I'm not sure the sign is the most creative but it makes the card look more amusing than it should be.

2013-14 Upper Deck Hockey Ryan Smyth #163 - inking it up

Featured autograph - Huston Street

It's amazing how the Angels bullpen has been revamped from early in the season - it wasn't that long ago that duds like Ernesto Frieri, Nick Maronde, Yoslan Herrera, Rich Hill, Wade LeBlanc, Josh Wall, et al were trotted out to pitch in Angels games.

I don't expect the Angels' bullpen to be perfect for the rest of the year but they seem more competent right now - general manager Jerry Dipoto really did an about-face and tried to flush as many of the turds down the toilet to upgrade the Halos relief squad.

In addition to Joe Smith, the resurgence of Kevin Jepsen and the promotion of relief prospect Mike Morin - the acquisitions of Jason Grilli, Joe Thatcher and Street have made the Angels' bullpen a strength.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Buyer beware

I got skunked on a 2014 Allen and Ginter hand collated set purchase on eBay - the seller gave me positive feedback within 10 minutes after I hit the 'buy it now' and after a couple of weeks, there has been nothing to indicate the set has been shipped or on it's way.

I think I was a little desperate to pull the trigger, so I could get some new cards in-hand, so I didn't consider one or more of the following:

1.) Feedback - a seller with 1,000 positive feedbacks doesn't mean anything; does the seller have any recent negatives, things that particularly sticks out?

2.) What are the things a seller up for sale - I take a look at a seller's inventory and if see a seller doesn't have much of whatever it is I'm looking for [I maybe looking for a hand collated set for example, but the seller has mostly a bunch of singles listed instead or even non-card stuff], then it maybe a warning sign that they might not have the expertise to have something in-hand, ready to ship.

3.) Item description - the less there is said about something, the more I suspect that a seller might not be able to follow through.

I guess I want a seller to know what he or she is selling and if there is no basic description - it may mean I might not get the exact item.

4.) Buying from a list of trusted sellers - I have to pick up things from sellers that are basically strangers, but it may help to have a list of sellers on eBay that seem to be dependable, whether I'm going to be looking for singles, commons, hand collated sets, unopened boxes or other things.

Featured autograph - Mark Appel

Despite his struggles this season, Appel is still an in-person autograph 'get' and I got him to sign a photo and a 2014 Bowman oversized Silver Ice card when he was still with the Lancaster Jethawks - while I don't really like to get 'oddball sized' cards signed, the 5x7 card simply pops.

Because of his draft status, I assume that despite a lost season, he'll get to Houston eventually - for their investment, the Astros are going to have to figure out how to put him in a position where he might enjoy some success, even if it doesn't sit well with some of their players at the big league level.

According to his profile page on, Appel has had a 2-5 record with an 9.74 ERA - after his best start of the year on July 24, where he pitched six innings and struck out seven and walked none, he was bumped up to Double-A.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured autograph - Chase Headley

Attending several San Diego Padres home games each year - it seemed like the newly acquired New York Yankees third baseman was always the first player to come out of the dugout and meander over to railing to sign for fans [before actually getting ready for the game].

Though I've neglected to go to the Padres' side in my last couple of times going to Padres games - I'd gotten another card signed by Headley in-person last weekend and while it lasted, it was great to see him take care of most fans without fail.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Chien-Ming Wang

I wouldn't have picked up the card of the former Yankees' pitcher but I like the replica New York Yankees game ticket [picturing Derek Jeter] built into the die-cut window - even though it is a 2003 Fleer Authentix card, it was part of the Rookie Updates insert from the 2003 Fleer Rookies & Greats set and is serial #'d 1044/1250.

Wang had a pretty good run in parts of five seasons with the Yankees back in the day, but it seems like injuries and ineffectiveness derailed his promising career - he's bounced around and it is fascinating how pitchers who've shown they can have success in the major leagues, can find themselves down and out sooner than expected.

Despite Wang's inability to have the same success like he did early in his MLB career, he is still plugging away - after opting out with his minor league deal with the Cincinnati Reds, he has signed with the Chicago White Sox.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Efren Navarro

Kind of a career AAAA player, the Angels first baseman has impressed in his brief time in the major leagues - it would make sense to trade him as a guy who has nothing left to prove and is ready to play at first base for another big league team.

He may only get back a No. 3 or No. 4 starter or even a decent reliever - he's not going to hit for power, but it seems like he has a pure lefty swing and may hit near .300 with a decent on-base percentage.

2014 All-Star game - Derek Jeter and Mike Trout

I don't think the 40-year old embarrassed himself in his last All-Star game, collecting a couple of hits before being pulled after playing three innings - he could have been named the All-Star MVP, but much to the surprise of nobody, the star of the American League's 5-3 win was the Halos' Mike Trout.

It's good to be Angels fan when I can watch the best player in baseball on a regular basis and know he plays for my home team - Trout was 2-for-3 with a double and a triple with 2 RBI as he got himself a jazzy Corvette after the game.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Featured autograph - Kyle Schwarber

The No. 4 overall pick by the Chicago Cubs, Schwarber hit .408 through 28 games and 103 at-bats between two minor league affiliates in his pro debut - I got his autograph when this past college baseball season when he was playing for Indiana University, only knowing he was a player to get because I had his 2014 Panini Team USA card.

With his blistering start, Schwarber was promoted to Daytona, in the Florida State League - he looks to be part of a core of top prospects projected to be impact players in the next few seasons for the floundering Cubs.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Trade post with S.Mack Talk

Jimmy over at S.Mack Talk wanted some of my Topps yellow / Topps Target red parallels from my 2014 Topps breaks and contacted me about a trade early in the year - I held onto the cards he needed until we could finally meet in-person to complete the transaction.

I think the only card I originally wanted was a Mike Trout insert - but then Jimmy was able to round up some cards off my collecting topics wantlist, so at the very least I was able to pick up some cards for my mini-collections.

Awesome action
1993 Topps Stadium Club Juan Bell #157

Awesome outfield action
1993 Upper Deck Felix Jose #156
1995 Upper Deck Geronimo Berroa 
2002 Fleer Ultra Shannon Stewart #99

Bonus babies
1995 Topps Glenn Parker #77 [football]
- feat. Jim Kelly

Broken bat shots
1993 Upper Deck Wes Chamberlain #267
1993 Upper Deck Cecil Fielder #499
1993 Upper Deck Brian Hunter #582
1995 Upper Deck Joe Oliver #297

Inking it up
1995 Upper Deck Jeffrey Hammonds #129
1995 Upper Deck Hector Carrasco #166
1995 Upper Deck Marquis Grissom #290

Pitchers hitting
1995 Upper Deck Darryl Kile #22
1995 Upper Deck Robb Nen #114 - how often is a pitcher captured on a baseball card sliding to second base?
1995 Upper Deck Fernando Valenzuela #142
1995 Upper Deck Dave Nied #173
1995 Upper Deck Pat Rapp #256

Retro uniforms
1991 Donruss Greg Hibbard #159
1992 Upper Deck Mike Benjamin #268 - I the like befuddled look on his face as if to say, 'dudes actually played baseball with these gloves back in the day?'
1993 Topps Stadium Club Dennis Cook #153
1993 Upper Deck John Burkett #160
1993 Upper Deck Zane Smith #349
1994 Upper Deck Tyler Green #72 - x2
1995 Upper Deck Rod Beck #86
1995 Upper Deck Scott Erickson #428

1992 Upper Deck Von Hayes #707 - have it
1995 Upper Deck Larry Walker #82 - think I have it / broken bat or awesome action [on the back]
1995 Upper Deck Darren Lewis #87 - think I have it / awesome outfield action or bonus baby [on the back] feat. Barry Bonds
2013 Topps Update Craig Kimbrel #US 53
2013 Topps Update Joey Votto #US 268
2013 Topps Update Torii Hunter #US 276
2014 Topps Mike Trout #FN-20 - The Future is Now insert

Featured autograph - Yunesky Maya

I picked up a 2011 Topps Allen and Ginter in-person signed card of Maya and it was kind of a no brainer - it was another $2.50 auto from a group of autograph cards detailed in this previous post.

I can go ahead and put my original set card in my collection of foreign born players and not worry about needing him to sign something specific - it's not like Maya was a major want, but it's one autograph set card out of the way from a player that might be tough to track down.

A Cuban defector who was a free agent bust with the Washington Nationals, Maya was pitching in the Atlanta Braves' system this year before being sold to a baseball team in Korea - I just want to say that he's already 32 years old and while he's probably not permanently going back to Cuba, he is on the pro baseball journeyman path.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

2014 Topps Allen and Ginter Value Pack recap

I wanted to tease myself with a blaster box - however the shelves at my Target apparently were not stocked with any blasters so I settled for one $9.49 Value Pack.

Three card mini bonus pack
Adrian Gonzalez
Mike Olt
Carlos Gomez

Pack one
#296 Joey Votto
#57 Carlos Beltran
#333 Stephen Strasburg - SP
#NW-08 Ha Long Bay - Natural Wonder insert
#269 Jose Abreu - mini
#45 Nomar Garciaparra

Pack two
#141 Starlin Castro
#289 Kyle Seager
#PP-YD Yu Darvish - Pastime's Pastimes insert

#243 Helen Keller - mini
#152 Vince Gilligan

#95 Austin Wierschke

Pack three
#115 Dustin Pedroia
#84 Francisco Liriano
#324 Adam Wainwright - SP
#NW-20 Punalu'u Beach - Natural Wonder insert
#125 Glen Waggoner - mini

#164 Jenny Dell 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Featured autograph - Joe Thatcher

He denied me last Sunday as he finished up taking pictures and was heading back to the clubhouse at the Angels' season ticket holder photo day - however, I was able to get him to sign my card [albeit one picturing a current/former Angel in another MLB team's uniform] to add to my all-time Angels autograph collection.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Featured autographs - Chad Tracy

While not an immediate priority, I purchased these signed cards for $2.50 each, because they are parts of sets I'm trying to get signed bit-by-bit - Tracy was with the Angels in spring training, but didn't make the team and then retired as a player back in April.

The cards include a 2005 Topps Turkey Red, a 2006 Topps Allen and Ginter, and a 2007 Topps Allen and Ginter - while it costs a few bucks and there, knocking out three set cards without really spending the time to get them signed feels pretty good.

100 card blister repack

I haven't busted any sort of repacks in a while - the Albert Pujols card piqued my interest, even if I should have left the $3.99 blister at the card section.

Section 1 of the blister
2012 Topps Heritage Jayson Werth #HP 46 - retail black border parallel
1989 Topps Glossy All-Stars Rickey Henderson #7 of 22
2010 Topps Brandon Allen #303
1989 Upper Deck Jay Bell #489
1997 Topps Mel Nieves #304
1982 Topps Cleveland Indians Leaders #559 - feat. Mike Hargrove and Bert Blyleven
1982 Topps Barry Bonnell #99
2002 Fleer David Ortiz #109
1989 Upper Deck Ken Dayley #114
2002 Fleer Pokey Reese #281
1995 Donruss Ron Darling #13
1988 Topps Darrel Akerfelds #82
1981 Donruss Rance Mulliniks #504
1995 Donruss Kevin Appier #542
2003 Donruss Charles Johnson #288
1988 Topps Dave Dravecky #68
1982 Topps Jose Morales #648
2001 Topps Stan Javier #192
2008 Goudey Adam LaRoche #148
2008 Topps Allen and Ginter Ryan Garko #241
1990 Upper Deck Bill Swift #313
1991 O-Pee-Chee Premier Pete Incaviglia #67
1993 Upper Deck Craig Grebeck #738
1992 Upper Deck Harold Baines #158
2005 Bowman Chone Figgins #38
1994 Upper Deck Collector's Choice Tom Gordon #112
1981 Donruss Bob Davis #30
1981 Donruss Larry Cox #285
1981 Donruss Gary Thomasson #534
1981 Donruss Dennis Walling #144
1993 Topps Stadium Club Team Jose Guzman #19
1981 Donruss Bob Rodgers #327
1994 Upper Deck Kevin Tapani #439
1992 Fleer Carlton Fisk #79
1986 Topps Traded Darnell Coles #26T
1991 Upper Deck Jeff M. Robinson #796
1990 Score Ben McDonald #680
1993 Upper Deck Melvin Nieves #21
1993 Score Mel Nieves #248
1991 Upper Deck Royce Clayton #61
1992 Topps Stadium Club Ryan Braun #251
1991 Upper Deck Matt Williams #157
2010 Topps Clay Buchholz #572
2010 Topps Orlando Cabrera #11
2010 Topps Carlos Guillen #526
2010 Topps Nate Robertson #84
2010 Topps Seth Smith #429
2010 Topps Joba Chamberlain #363
1989 Topps Glossy All-Stars Bobby Doerr #11 of 22
2010 Topps Jake Peavy #518

Section 2 of the blister
2010 Topps Factory insert Albert Pujols #RS 5 - the bonus cards in yearly Topps factory sets are so mass produced that loose cards aren't worth much and included in repacks.
1989 Topps Glossy All-Stars Ryne Sandberg #14 of 22
1989 Topps Pat Perry #186
1991 Fleer Shane Mack #618
1989 Topps Scott Bankhead #79
1989 Topps Greg Brock #517
1992 Score Thomas Howard #293
1998 Score Rich Amaral #197
1989 Topps Tom Niedenfuer #651
1989 Topps Steve Peters #482
1994 Topps Stadium Club Gregg Olson #196
1987 Topps Wallace Johnson #588
1994 Pinnacle Luis Lopez #259
1989 Topps Craig McMurtry #779
1989 Topps Rance Mulliniks #618
1989 Topps German Gonzalez #746
1989 Donruss Luis Rivera #578
1987 Topps Rob Murphy #82
1992 Topps Steve Foster #528
1996 Topps Darryl Hamilton #365
1992 Leaf Doug Drabek #11
1993 Fleer Ultra Chad Curtis #159
1993 Leaf Chili Davis #254
1983 Topps Dave Bergman #32
1988 Donruss Mike Gallego #379
1987 Fleer Danny Cox #292
1989 Donruss Greg Harris #548
1992 Leaf Paul Miller #492
1992 Leaf Bruce Ruffin #414
1991 Leaf Tony Pena #33
1993 Score Bob Tewksbury #34
1993 Score Thomas Howard #426
1987 Topps Bo Diaz #41
1994 Score Gerald Perry #120
1987 Topps Otis Nixon #486
1988 Fleer Chris Speier #96
1988 Leaf Benito Santiago #3
1988 Leaf B.J. Surhoff #164
1992 Classic Draft Picks Todd Steverson #19
1984 Topps Dick Williams #742
1993 Classic Draft Picks Matt Williams #73
1992 Fleer Tom Pagnozzi #586
1990 Donruss Mike Kingery #601
2009 Upper Deck First Edition Jason Motte #387
2009 Upper Deck First Edition Cristian Guzman #300
2009 Upper Deck First Edition Orlando Cabrera #364
2009 Upper Deck First Edition Trevor Cahill #396
2009 Upper Deck First Edition Edgar Renteria #372
1989 Topps Glossy All-Stars Will Clark #13 of 22
1991 Pacific Nolan Ryan Ryan & Tanana #32

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Featured autograph - Bill Singer

I picked this autograph through the SCN fs/trade section for $5 along with a group of 10 other in-person autographs I needed for specific card sets - I'm not really into buying autographs, but I'll pick up a few impulsively if I can sniff out a 'true' autograph collector [as opposed to someone who is kind of far removed from actually graphing in-person or even through the mail] and something catches my eye from whatever extras he or she is trying to get rid of.

The Singer goes into my all-time Angels autograph collection though I had to hit up to see what Singer actually did in an Angels' uniform - admittedly, I only really remember him mentioned as trying to make small talk with 'long-time GM prospect' Kim Ng while mocking her ethnicity back in 2003.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Joe Thatcher

I had a couple of his cards one card in my San Diego Padres 'autograph book' until he was sent to the Arizona Diamondbacks at the trade deadline in 2013 - now part of the Angels after another trade that sent him to the Halos with outfielder Tony Campana, maybe an opportunity opens up to get him to sign my card.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Jason Grilli

I thought Grilli was a journeyman who was out of baseball years ago - but he's actually pitched with the Pittsburgh Pirates for parts of the last four seasons until being traded to the Angels.

An All-Star last year, he struck out out 164 batters in 108.2 innings combined in 2012 and 2013 - hopefully he still has some juice in his right arm to help the Angels in the later innings whether as a set-up man or a guy that can close out some games.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Random cards

During some down time 'at work,' I was hanging out next to some guys going through a discarded shoe box of cards - a person who didn't want the box of cards gave them to someone else who was going through the cards with three others to see if they could find any useful ones they needed [with the rest being given away to kids].

I wasn't privileged enough to go through the cards [mostly 2000's cards and with a number of minor leaguers from major brand sets who never quite made it] - but one of the guys let me keep a card or two that I liked when he would go through a stack.

2000 Topps Traded John McDonald #T27 - first Topps card, not a rookie though.
2001 Topps Stadium Club Jason Kendall #78 - slides back on a pick off attempt.
2002 Topps David Bacani #694 - I've been vaguely aware of this guy since he played high school baseball in the same league as my high school [the league has since been realigned]; now the baseball coach at Santa Margarita High School, Bacani was named CIF Division I Coach of the Year this past season.
2004 Topps Total Erick Aybar RC #866 - I thought his skills as a player were all tapped out but he's having an All-Star season and has been a little more dynamic than I've given him credit for.
2006 Upper Deck Dewon Brazelton #772 - maybe the most random of cards, but the pitching bust is shown trying to bunt, so I grabbed it for my collection since I wouldn't be looking for it otherwise.
2007 Upper Deck Kevin Youkilis #584 - inking it up
2008 Upper Deck Jake Peavy #627 - didn't need this one but I took it because it was offered.