Friday, October 28, 2016

Vintage find - 1971 Topps Chris Short #511

On a whim, I rummaged through a dollar box of vintage cards at the card shop - it's not like the box on the counter is new and the remaining vintage beaters of common players stored in the box are just uninteresting to me.

However, I got this card, since I've vaguely been aware of Pete Rose lurking as a baserunner in the background - the card may still be in the same box five years from now, but I don't have to worry about needing to add it to my bonus babies [or star cameos on common players' cards] mini-collection.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

TTM response received: Andrew Benintendi

I sent an autograph request to the top prospect c/o the Portland Sea Dogs in May - unfortunately the two cards I sent were not returned in my SASE and was replaced by a preprinted card.

I've heard Benintendi was been a difficult in-person autograph to get [even before he got to the big leagues] - so I probably wouldn't have gotten a legit TTM success whether Benintendi had been promoted or not.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

2016 Topps Heritage Minors pack breaks

I impulsively grabbed a couple of packs [$2.50 each] to bust in-between the loose cards and packs of penny sleeves I picked up at a card shop - I was hoping to pull a '67 Mint coin relic, though I'd be lucky to find a hit out of two random packs from an opened box of a low-end product.

Pack one
#73 Lucas Sims
#115 Raul Alcantara
#12 Jake Bauers
Make Your Pro Debut
#193 2015 Runs Leaders - feat. Reed, Fisher and Phillips.
#140 Jose Pujols
#199 2015 ERA Leaders - feat. Ramirez, Snell and Oca.
#94 Brent Honeywell

Pack two
#147 Mauricio Dubon
#59 Brett Phillips
#109 Demi Orimoloye
#119 Jeff Hoffman
#ROA-ARE Alex Reyes - Real One autograph; though it may not be Reyes' first or last Topps / Bowman certified auto card, it's on-card and Reyes is one of baseball's Top 10 prospects.
#37 David Hess
#167 Bradley Zimmer
#20 Domingo Acevedo

Monday, October 10, 2016

2015 Topps Stadium Club finds

While I’m not trying to complete the set, I'm hunting down particular cards I've liked otherwise - I made a wantlist last year to figure out which cards really stood out and went back to it, in order to fill out a recent order of cards I made from a Beckett Marketplace seller.

I categorized the cards on my wantlist into four classifications - perhaps the ones marked with an ‘A’ are priorities and play around with the other cards marked as ‘B’ and ‘C.’

A - images that really pop with some personality.
B - images that may not be not as epic but still stand out.
C - images that most will like, though might not be my particular favorites.
D - images that maybe more 'conventional baseball action,’ so not really a priority otherwise.

#10 Zack Britton - A

#12 Giancarlo Stanton - A

#63 Matt Adams - A

#160 Elvis Andrus - A

#183 Travis Ishikawa - A

#215 Adam Jones - A

#271 Russell Martin - A

#213 Kyle Seager - C; I presume he is gesturing to his teammates in the dugout like batters have tended to do in the past five or six years after getting base hits.

#214 Brandon Crawford - C; I don't know if this image does it for me, but it features a pretty good defender leaping over a base runner, to try and complete the double play.

#259 Greg Maddux - C; this card has gone to my unofficial, 'unawesome action' mini-collection because while Maddux is a Hall of Famer legend, he looks a little awkward out of uniform.

On the other hand, maybe I can grow to like this card since it's different with the candid image of Maddux out on the golf course - maybe this card would be much more appealing if Maddux didn't look like a geek.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

2016 Topps Heritage Minors leaders

I prefer individual player cards, though these two cards have some novelty - Jose Martinez [featured on card #195] is a journeyman who hit .384 with the Kansas City Royals AAA team in 2015.

I learned about Martinez while listening to a Baseball America podcast and found this story on their Web site - he was sold to the St. Louis Cardinals in May and while his batting average plummeted back to a more reasonable .278 for the year, he earned a cup of coffee in the big leagues, where he collected 7 hits in 16 at-bats.

Looking through my 'loose archive' of autographed cards, I actually have a Richard Bleier [featured on card #197] autograph card [or two] I must have gotten when he was a Texas Rangers minor leaguer - he spent parts of 9 seasons in the minor leagues as a pretty unremarkable arm [55-57 record, 1035 hits allowed with 507 strikeouts in 925.1 innings pitched].

However, the New York Yankees must have seen something in Bleier and gave him an opportunity to pitch some innings for the big league team - small sample size coming from a 29-year old journeyman noted, but Bleier only walked four hitters in 23 innings, while allowing five earned runs in 20 appearances.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Featured autograph - Mark Prior

With a 103 win season in the books, this maybe the year for the Chicago Cubs to smash up their World Series curse, like once upon a time when Prior was a phenom looking to pitch the Cubs into the World Series back in 2003 - of course, it wasn't meant to be and the Cubs are still down-and-out after 108 years.

Prior morphed into a disappointment when his big league pitching career was cut short after parts of five seasons - for the all success he had as a professional, I remember him most for being on the mound for the Steve Bartman incident.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

2016 Topps Heritage Hyun Soo Kim #721 image variation

I wanted a rookie card of the Korean import and ended up with a rookie-year variation - it's a random pick-up, but the story behind Kim's first season in Major League Baseball fascinated me.

After a banner season with the KBO Doosan Bears in 2015, Kim signed with the Baltimore Orioles - fans and experts who followed the Orioles, didn't know what to make of the KBO veteran, when he couldn't buy a hit in spring training.

Kim's struggles were kind of explained off because the KBO starts training for their season earlier in the year and Kim wasn't used to MLB spring training - however the Orioles were going to send Kim down to the minors and there was boos on Opening Day, when Kim stuck around instead going to AAA.

Kim's status was in limbo, but I read where Kim just kept working behind the scenes and Orioles manager Buck Showalter finally found ways to ease the 28-year old into games - Kim started collecting hits and while he wasn't playing against lefties, he emerged as an inspiring role player for a Baltimore Orioles team desperate to get into the Wild Card game.

Kim's first year MLB numbers are fairly modest [.304/.382/.422] - but an increased role next year may boost Kim's batting numbers.