Friday, June 29, 2018

Featured autograph - Jo Adell

I picked up this certified first-year autograph of Adell, who is tearing things up with Inland Empire in the California League - he hasn't walked much, but the ball is flying off his bat [through 141 at-bats, he is slugging .638] and he might be the next hyped up super prospect in pro ball.

I was probably only vaguely interested in Mike Trout cards early in his minor league career and when he kind of broke out through the 2010 season - I was thinking I'd get his first-year autographs cards when the hype levels off.

I've been burned by throwing some money into a few prospects in the late 2000s - but it never dawned on me that I needed to jump on Trout's key cards besides some random prospect / insert cards I was probably looking to get signed in-person.

Because of Trout, there is a fear of missing out [FOMO] on certain prospects, even though Trout is a once in a generation talent - I'm going to need a lot of luck hoping a guy like Adell is even half the player Trout is for the Angels.

Adell's best mainstream first-year card is the super short printed 2017 Bowman Draft autograph - this particular card may not be Adell's best auto, even within the 2017 Bowman's Best product, but it is a card I hope to build upon in my regional collection.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Featured autograph - Robert Stock

I was pulling inserts out of a binder and found this certified autograph of San Padres relief pitcher Robert Stock - I remember Baseball America naming Stock the best player in the nation [2005 Youth Player of the Year] and I thought this guy could be special like Joe Mauer or something.

Stock went to college before entering professional baseball - it looks like he'd made the transition from a catcher into a pitcher in 2012, but after being released by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2014, he was pretty much a 'never has been.'

Stock bounced around a bit, but a stint in the independent leagues in 2016 helped revive his career - he pitched in affiliated minor league ball with the Cincinnati Reds in 2017 and was signed by the San Diego Padres for this season.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Rafael Palmeiro - 1987 Donruss #43

If Palmeiro can continue to suit up to play independent baseball for at least the next few years - it can show he's still plugging away with his timeless swing and isn't completely removed from professional baseball, even though a failed steroid test derailed his induction into the Hall of Fame.

Right now, he gets to be a teammate of his son Patrick and while his stint with a team called the Cleburn Railroaders probably doesn't lead anywhere - maybe the occasional highlight helps him get back in the news where the 53-year old gets a second look, even if it's for cheap thrills, a novelty.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

2018 Panini Stars & Stripes rack pack set

Through Instagram, I found out about a 66-card rack pack set of USA cards offered through Team USA Baseball - I clicked onto their IG stories [as directed] which took me to a link to buy the cards.

I haven’t seriously messed with any Team USA stuff but for $12 plus $5 s/h [through June] - when Bowman Draft comes out in the middle of winter, I might as well see if I can add some new card depth, particularly for the players picked in this year’s amateur draft.

I thought there was always a separate boxed set of USA cards and then in recent years, the Stars & Stripes product was made as a product to bust through cases, boxes and packs - I’m not sure if the Stars & Stripes product is now the only set with cards for the collegiate, 18U and 15U national teams from the previous summer.

I received my ‘pack’ of cards in a couple of days in a box with some USA Baseball promotional info, an invoice, a random foil pack of cards [2017 Panini Stars & Stripes] - as well as a magnet with a free ground shipping code for orders through the Team USA shop through 2018.

The hits in these packs are three autographs, which apparently replaces the team cards for each of the national teams - it appears the autographs were leftover from 2017 product and are each serial #'d to 100.

2017 Playoff Contenders USA Seth Beer #USAT-SB serial #’d 27/100 - he’s still a first round pick [#28 by the Houston Astros] but I thought he had the potential be a Top 10 guy, when he won the national player of the year in college in 2016.

From the tidbits I’ve read, he’s a bat first player who has to really hit to distinguish himself - from being just another guy.

2017 Playoff Contenders USA J.T. Ginn #USAT-JT serial #’d 086/100 - another first round pick [#30 by the Los Angeles Dodgers].

2017 Playoff Contenders USA Rawley Hector #USAT-RH serial #’d 075/100 - he’s a Texas A&M commit.

The random foil pack contained five cards - at first I thought it would be my autographs, though I would have thought they would be inserted in the rack pack.

#26 Evan White
#17 Alex Lange
#42 Ryan Vilade
#35 Logan Allen
#27 Kyle Wright

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Featured autograph - Rickey Henderson

The number of Henderson certified autograph cards are fairly plentiful since he seems to sign regularly for pay - he's not the easiest in-person autograph get however and I wanted at least a pack pulled autograph to pair up with a rookie card I purchased some time ago.

This card might not be one of the real fancy ones, but it's a pretty nice card - this card has a dual bat / jersey with a blue ink sticker autograph, which can turn off other collectors, but it's fine to me for this particular card.

Obviously there are no logos on this card [Henderson is identified with Oakland] - which is fitting because he ended up playing for nine MLB teams.

The best leadoff hitter in the history of the game - there is still a fascination with the player and the personality.

Friday, June 15, 2018

1960 Topps Willie McCovey RC #316

With 10% eBay Bucks promo looming over my head, I added this McCovey card to beef up my personal collection - I remember pulling McCovey's autograph out of a 2001 Upper Deck Minor League Centennial pack and thought it would be nice to have a rookie to pair up with the relatively new [has it really been 17 years?] certified autograph card.

It maybe difficult to go back and forth, between modern and vintage, especially I’m can't throw serious money towards either genre - as a card collector, there is something about changing things up about any particular finds.

At times, the ‘latest and greatest’ takes precedence, but when I’m mindful enough or get inspired - there maybe an attempt to pick up a vintage card, as a nod to something old-school, a relic from an era that maybe foreign to what I've known, but something intriguing.

The picture of the picture isn't mine at all, but it's pretty neat - shows how the shift was on for McCovey during a game back in the late 1960s.

Monday, June 11, 2018

More card show stuff - misc rookies

These plain looking cards aren't autographed or shiny, but I picked them up in case I didn't have rookie logo cards - to go with whatever player collection I have of these guys.

2015 Topps Javier Baez #315 x2 - he’s kind of an all-or-nothing hitter but he teases with his all-around athleticism and savviness.

2012 Topps Update Trevor Bauer #US213 - not a fan of the personality, but Bauer is ‘maturing’ into a very good pitcher.

2013 Topps Update Anthony Rendon #US8 - he's a nice baseball player who had a career year in 2017, but perhaps his potential to be a 'hobby star' has sailed a while ago.

2015 Topps Update Francisco Lindor #US286 - Rookie Debut subset; it’s not considered his rookie card, but a rookie-year Lindor card is a keeper.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Stopped at a card show, got some cards

I haven't been to my nearest, twice a week card show in a few years but my buddy said he was going to pick me up and take me there before we headed to a baseball game - I was hoping for better but for ‘sports stuff’ like cards, the set-up is pretty much the same.

I suppose I might be able to find just what I need, but then it seems like it is still the same sellers - so many booths, so much foot traffic but it's more focused on pop culture items, autograph signings, gaming cards, toys, video games, etc.

As is, I ended up at a booth that I remember being at a different spot my last random stop there - I don’t know if the dollar boxes ever changed, so that was what I was most familiar with.

I dug around and pulled some cards in dusty old top loaders - looking for the right combination of random cards to pick up on a relative budget is still a thing.

2014 Topps Mariano Rivera #42 - Target Red border parallel.

1994 Fleer Tim Salmon #6 - A.L. Rookie of the Year insert; I’ve never actually had a card from this player specific insert set even though Salmon was my guy through the 1990s.

1991 Topps Stadium Club Ken Griffey Jr. #270 - maybe a star card from the early 1990s that actually ‘meant something’ for a little bit, so there might be nostalgia here.

2011 Playoff Contenders Justin Verlander #11 - Artist’s Proof serial #’d 16/49; the fact these are logoless cards make them look 'meh' but it’s of kind neat anyways.

1997 Pinnacle X-Press Jeff Bagwell #5 of 18 - Far & Away insert; in 2018, no one cares about a random insert from 1997, but the relative shininess makes the card a keeper.

2014 Bowman Platinum Austin Meadows #BPCP39 - Purple parallel; Meadows is bound to cool off after a hot start, but this is a nice looking prospect card of the Pittsburgh Pirates rookie.

2014 Topps Update Mookie Betts #FN-MB3 - The Future is Now insert; he was a hot player before his DL stint and at the very least, this is a rookie year insert.

Friday, June 08, 2018

To live and die with a golden right arm

As far as Shohei Ohtani is concerned, I'm bracing for the worst after hearing the latest injury news - now I'm wondering if the Angels tried to manage his workload because he was the shiny new toy or whether his right arm was working on borrowed time.

The story about the player and his performance has been fascinating - but the worst case scenario that Ohtani needs Tommy John surgery and won't finish this season and will not pitch for a significant part of 2019.

As a collector, I believed in the talent, so I went 'all in' to secure at least one nice card off the bat - which was his 2018 Topps Heritage Action variation card [#17].

I don't know how it all plays out now, but I'd gotten when I pulled his 2017 Bowman Mega Box card - I tried grabbing his 2018 Topps Now issues and his 2018 Living Set card.

I couldn't afford any of his pack pulled autographs - but was interested in looking for some MLB licensed pack pulled cards to supplant the Topps Now issues I've bought.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

1965 Topps Steve Carlton RC #477

I wish there was a narrative, a 'true chase' behind the card - but at times, my collecting need to feed the beast works impulsively on a whim, 'OK, it would be nice to see if I pick up a 53-year old rookie card of a legendary Hall of Fame pitcher - I need hold up on thinking about the 'latest and greatest' at the moment and see if I can get some old-timey card action in my personal collection.'

I've probably settled into looking for very good-excellent vintage rookie cards - so this copy isn't one of those high-end examples serious collectors or auction houses may showcase.

Still I'd like to think there is more value in any particular purchase involving sometimes notable old cards - regardless of apparent quality.

Carlton was one of the greatest MLB pitchers of all time - yet it's more interesting to me to discover he may be some sort of kook with some unique, if radical views about the world.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Featured autograph - Jonny Venters

It's fun to find autographs I didn't even know I had but must have gotten at some point - in the early part of the decade, Venters was a weapon out of the Atlanta Braves bullpen but three Tommy John surgeries just about derailed his career.

Against all odds, Venters made it back to the majors leagues in 2018 with the Tampa Bay Rays - regardless of what happens, the occasional comeback story of an individual player is something to get sentimental about.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Featured autograph - Tim Belcher

I was looking for a Belcher card to add to my Angels opening day collection [1999 starting pitcher] and found this signed card, likely from the 2011 season - I guess I don't have to hunt down one of his Angels era commons.

Through the early 1990s, I was familiar with Belcher as a junk wax guy with the Los Angeles Dodgers - after playing for the Dodgers, he bounced around a bit and was an innings eater when healthy.

By the time Belcher pitched in his last two MLB seasons with the Angels - his right arm was toast and was immortalized in a peculiar brawl with Chan Ho Park.