Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Tools of ignorance collection - a visual guide

For the final sampler page I put together for my mini-collections, I grabbed 18 tools of ignorance cards - catching maybe the least glamorous position on a baseball field, but unlike other position players, catchers are the most unique type of baseball player.

Because catchers take a beating during a game, catchers stand out as the only guys to wear the tools of ignorance - including shin guards, chest protector a face mask, etc.

My collection features any card that has a catcher in it, including play at the plate cards - I think I've counted cards of non-catchers featuring play at the plate images, though if it isn't the catcher's, I'll lean towards classifying the card to go into my awesome action collection.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Pitchers hitting collection - a visual guide

I grabbed 18 'pitchers hitting' cards for my mini-collection sampler and the collecting topic subset is kind of a catch-all - for pitchers who have bats in their hands but aren't exactly hitting in a game, wearing batting helmets, bunting, practicing and finally, pitchers whose cards show them on the basepaths.

Seeing pitchers act the role of hitters or baserunners can be such a peculiar thing - so it is another neat, easter egg deal to find cards with 'action shots' of pitchers not doing the usual pitching.

Looking at the cards on the page, I realized the Nolan Ryan cards in the center are from the pre-DH days of the American League - in his lone season batting in the AL without a DH, Ryan was 13-for-96 with five doubles and one triple.

The Hall of Fame pitcher's slash line as a batter in 1972 was .135 / .153 / .208 - which is probably comparable to the career numbers opposing batters have put up against Ryan on the mound.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Featured autograph - Francisco Arcia

Arcia, who spent 12 professional seasons before reaching the big leagues, has had quite the week - hitting a pair of home runs and collecting 10 RBI in his first two MLB games for the Angels.

When Arcia was signed by the Angels as minor league depth, I picked up this 2012 Bowman Chrome refractor to pair up with a lone card I had - I was hoping to get his cards signed in-person during a spring training trip in 2017, but that didn't happen.

Digging through my notes about miscellaneous card pick-ups, I actually picked this up as part of a group of 120 cards I picked up for $8 and loose change at a card shop last fall - I typed out Arcia was a minor league journeyman 'who was in the Angels system this past season [2017], likely somewhere else next year.

In 2018, Arcia ended up back in the Angels system as minor league depth and I was able to get my cards signed - when Arcia was playing with the Salt Lake Bees.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Bonus babies collection - a visual guide

I grabbed 18 'bonus babies' cards for my mini-collection sampler - bonus babies which are probably referred to as 'cameo' cards, pictures a star player on a common player's card.

I like stumbling upon them because it's like an easter egg most collectors wouldn't pay attention to while flipping through loose cardboard - for a player to count as a 'star' cameo, an all-star appearance is considered as well as whether a player has had some name recognition through points of his MLB career.

Probably the most difficult aspect collecting these cards besides finding them in the first place are the inconclusive images - who is exactly pictured on the background of certain players' cards when the focus is on the player who is listed on the card?

Most of the time the obscured player in the background is who I assume it is - but when the image is blurred, there is some doubt at times.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Local players collection - a visual guide

To keep up with a little trivia since I live in Orange County, California, I've built up a collection of cards featuring professional ballplayers local to the county [even if only up a certain point for some guys] - born, raised, has lived or lives in the county, went to high school and/or college.

For my 17-card sampler lot, I went with in-person autograph cards since they stood out a little bit more - the only card that isn't autographed is one featuring Hall of Famer Walter Johnson, who pitched in the early 20th century.

First row: Paul Abbott - Sunny Hills High, Hank Conger [2009 O-Pee-Chee Los Angeles Angels team card] - Huntington Beach High, Alex Burnett - Ocean View High
Second row: Ben Francisco - Servite High, Freddie Freeman - El Modena High, Johnson - Fullerton Union High
Third row: Michael Lorenzen - Fullerton Union High, Ian Kennedy - La Quinta High, Jeff Robinson - Troy High School

First row: Steve Buechele - Servite High, Marty Cordova - Orange Coast College,* David Bacani - Los Alamitos
Second row: Charlie Hough [lives in Brea, which is in the county], Greg Harris - Los Alamitos High, Travis Denker - Brea Olinda High
Third row: Austin Romine - El Toro High, Brandon Maurer - Orange Lutheran

*I count guys who went to an OC high school or college but actually from out of state or even from a different nation - since I assume they had to make a commitment to play / live / study within the county for a period of time.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

2018 Topps Big League blaster recap

At different points of the year, collectors expect new releases but I wonder why Topps flagship product isn't enough to satisfy collectors - who aren't going to be looking to spend too much on maybe loose pack or loose retail boxes.

There is something about some variety but if I was a casual card collector who supposedly isn't interested in the modern day bells and whistles - I might live and die with plain old regular Topps, rather than collecting an even lower-end alternative.

Box card
B1 Mike Trout - I like the novelty of being able to cut out a bonus card being printed on the side of these boxes, but if I ever buy another box, I may just cut out the panel with the card; imperfection should be part of the charm, but my efforts with hand cut cards leaves the finished product always looking a little shoddy.

Blue border pack
#175 Ervin Santana

#205 Chris Taylor
#339 Bo Jackson
#168 Nomar Mazara

Pack one
#54 Mitch Haniger
#37 J.D. Martinez
#59 Jameson Taillon
#4 Jon Lester
#13 Chris Archer

#150 Mike Trout
#296 German Marquez
#334 Ernie Banks
#85 Jose Ramirez
#13 Chris Archer - Gold border parallel

Pack two
#86 Ken Giles
#156 Mike Leake 
#212 Elvis Andrus
#44 Trey Mancini
#339 Bo Jackson
#56 Wil Myers

#204 A.J. Pollock
#357 Ballpark Landmarks - Ernie Banks Statue
#53 Brandon Drury

#150 Mike Trout - Gold border parallel 

Pack three
#81 Jonathan Schoop 
#125 Alex Wood
#155 Steven Souza Jr. 
#256 Kenley Jansen

#351 Ballpark Landmarks - this is a card of a wall.
#118 Lance McCullers Jr.
#137 James Paxton
#302 AL Home Run Leaders - feat. Judge, Khr. Davis and Gallo

#MI-10 Mike Trout - Ministers of Mash insert
#296 German Marquez - Gold border parallel 

Pack four
#165 Chance Sisco
#214 Dillon Peters

#206 Kole Calhoun
#49 Sean Newcomb
#288 Logan Forsythe
#295 Zack Cozart
#311 2017 NL Walks Leaders - feat. Votto, Carpenter and Bryant
#231 Marcus Stroman

#131 Josh Donaldson - Players Weekend Base Variation
#269 Justin Verlander  - Gold border parallel 

Pack five
#131 Josh Donaldson
#192 Javier Baez

#355 Ballpark Landmarks
#380 Dylan Bundy
#190 Sandy Alcantara
#77 Austin Hays
#78 Brad Ziegler
#2017 NL Era Leaders - feat. Kershaw, Scherzer and Strasburg
#41 Jason Vargas
#237 Ben Gamel - Gold border parallel
Make your own baseball card info / 25% off card

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Facial hair collection - a visual guide

For my mini-collections sampler, I grabbed 18 cards from my facial hair collection to display on a plastic page - hoarding cards featuring images of baseball players showing some sort of facial hair maybe quite peculiar, because the collection forces myself to consciously look at players' faces in an aesthetic sense.

Facial hair is about a manly 'style thing' though, so there maybe a fascination with seeing a beard or mustaches on individual baseball players - because it becomes part of a player's personality [or brand] at times [see one time big leaguer Brian Wilson].

In a conservative sport, players growing a little 'something something' on their faces can be something refreshing to look at - baseball would even be more boring if the other 29 MLB teams adapted the New York Yankees' appearance policy.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Featured autograph - Cliff Pennington

This post is more about the stragglers I still need to account for as far as my all-time Angels autograph collection goes - Pennington is one player I've gotten to sign long before he spent parts of two seasons [2016-17] with the Angels.

Though the players won't be pictured as Angels and are more rank-and-file guys - I need to dig out in-person autograph cards of guys I may have gotten in the minor leagues, spring training or the fall league.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Nations mini-collection - a visual guide

With leftover plastic pages, I wanted to display some of my favorite and/or priority mini-collections in a sampler of sorts - I want to have a binder to flip through featuring my mini-collections.

When I get the urge to get a new box of plastic pages - maybe the plan is to have at least one sampler page for just about all my mini-collections.

For my nations collection, I grabbed one card [in some cases the only card I currently have] from each nation represented - for me this collecting topic subset is about celebrating the relative diversity of professional baseball.

I’m not sure if this sampler display captures the spirit of my collection - but it’s kind of a look to show one of my interests.

There are mini-collections where the image isn't the dominant quality for inclusion in the mini-collection - so I have to be more specific in noting a player's card and its relevance.

First row: Albert Cartwright - Bahamas, Tony Solaita - American Samoa, Jason Bay - Canada
Second row: Tao Bu - China, Tony Batista - Dominican Republic, Steve Jeltz - France
Third row: John Hattig - Guam, Dinesh Patel - India, Luca Panerati - Italy

I prefer cards of players who played professionally with an affiliated MLB team, particularly in the major leagues - but if I end up with a mainstream card of someone who ended up doing neither [Tao Bu], they are added to the collection as a novelty of sorts.

I don't think I can ever account for everyone, especially the countless foreign born minor leaguers who may never make it past a certain level - when presumably the only card (s) they may have is a minor league team set issue, I won't seek them out unless I stumble upon them somewhere.

First row: Jose Pett - Brazil, Chito Martinez - Belize, Graeme Lloyd - Australia
Second row: Donald Lutz - Germany, Orlando Cabrera - Colombia, Jose Canseco - Cuba
Third row: Gerald Young - Honduras, Manuel Hernandez - Guatemala, Danny Cox - England

First row: Rod Carew - Panama, Ichiro - Japan, Robin Jennings - Singapore
Second row: Chen Chin-Feng - Taiwan, Vinny Castilla - Mexico, Scott Campbell - New Zealand
Third row: Danny Graves - Vietnam, Wladimir Balentien - Netherlands / Curacao, Ivan Calderon - Puerto Rico

First row: Marvin Benard - Nicaragua, Chili Davis - Jamaica
Second row: Hee-seop Choi - South Korea, Jose Abreu - Venezuela
Third row: Jerry Browne - U.S. Virgin Islands

For what it's worth, I'm not really sure how to classify a territory of another country in a factual way - but certain players' cards are represented within the collection 'as is,' even if the territory may not be considered a stand-alone nation.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Awesome outfield action - a visual guide

Awesome outfield - this mini-collection was tied into my 'awesome action' collection, but consists of the cards strictly of players pictured in the outfield, including guys leaping against the wall, diving to attempt to make a catch, throwing the ball.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Awesome action - a visual guide #5

Other sports - I keep at least a few as I find them, but if I was to focus on other sports besides baseball, the number of baseball subjects in my awesome action collection maybe dwarfed.

My awesome action collection is kept up to find baseball cards with images that are a little 'extra,' but unlike other sports - the action that are shown on many baseball cards, can be reduced to players hitting, pitching, catching or standing around in one form or the other.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Awesome action - a visual guide #4

Fun cards - primarily cards with images of players who ham it up for the camera and/or are captured doing something that looks kind of odd [maybe with the 'action' staged at times].

If nothing else, a key to many of these quirky cards - is the use of a prop that adds a bit of goofiness.

Personality shots - primarily cards picturing some emotion, some life.

I think there is definitely some overlap between 'fun cards' and 'personality shots,' though a distinction that could possibly be made - is that the latter is a little more organic, a little less choreographed for bits and giggles.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Awesome action - a visual guide #3

Game face cards - maybe a little subjective with primarily cards that might have less 'in your face' action, but with images of players captured 'in their element.'

Unique perspectives - primarily cards with a not so typical baseball card image, maybe a unique artsy-fartsy shot that could be a little poignant, a little jubilant or ‘unconventional.'

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Awesome action - a visual guide #2

Dirt fetish - if there is any visible dirt on a guy's uniform, I'm keeping the card regardless of how incidental.

Awesome action - a visual guide #1

I was on a plastic pages 'kick' and purchased a box of 100 to display base cards and basic inserts for a number of star players that could make up at least a page of nine - I wanted to do something different with the remaining [around 15] plastic pages, so I went ahead and made an ‘awesome action / awesome outfield’ sampler.

The plan is to have at least one mini-collection displayed in sheets in a binder but boxes are still where most cards go - I pulled 18 cards for the different types of loosely defined themes I have in my mind to see what the cards would look like in pages.

Besides showing off the cards, I wanted to see if my personal distinctions generally hold up - the actual cards are still jumbled up under my awesome action umbrella, but I want it where I can 'label' why I have or need a card for this collection, particularly when the 'awesomeness' might not be obvious.

Actual on field game action - the 'pure' awesome action cards.

Monday, July 16, 2018

1982 Topps Traded Cal Ripken Jr. 98T

I picked up a copy of this card because Ripken Jr. was a star who was on the verge of an iconic milestone when I was really getting into baseball fandom through the mid 1990s - this is probably his best mainstream rookie-year card and maybe the adolescent in me would be really impressed to have this in my personal collection.

When I started really collecting as a kid, I remember 'finding' Ripken Jr.'s 1982 Donruss RC during a visit at an acquaintance's house - afterwards, I had to tag along with my parents to look for carpeting in what would be the family home.

I was bored and I took some tape off a dispenser I was playing and stuck it on a part of the card - I peeled the tape off and just like that I'd damaged a card worth a whopping [at least to me] $8 at the time; maybe it was simply karma for a little youthful indiscretion on my end.

In the early 1990s, I was just starting to get into baseball fandom as Nolan Ryan was knocking down achievements [5,000th strikeout, 300th win, 6th no-hitter] as an elder statesman of MLB - I never got Ryan's autograph when I first started to get autographs in-person, but I was able to meet Ripken Jr. a few times when the year after he broke Lou Gehrig's record for consecutive games played.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Picking five collection / project keepers

I'm not sure where to go with this bat around prompt, because according to my list of main projects - I already have five or six things I'm working on, but each of those collections has different wrinkles that mushroom into different subsets.

I'll do what I do, but maybe in my head, the idea would be to rip one thing from each of these five things - maybe narrow the focus just a bit more than what I've already spelled out.

1.) Personal collection cards - maybe my PC is always going to be ‘all over the place’ and ‘thin’ all-around between the varying degrees of quality, years, types, subjects, but if nothing else, I want to have a good, representative collection of cards I can pull out and have a good look at once in awhile.

I want to build depth within my PCs by adding ‘4-6’ old school / vintage rookie cards - I should be glad to have picked off and squirreled away.

With some inherent limitations, but hopefully still some imagination - I want to see if I could pick up some cards I’d never thought to have in my PC.

2.) Regional collections - focus on adding to my regional PC, A-Z singles, all-time autograph collection and inserts; ditch any 'loose card' projects like binder stars, frankenset and Opening Day starters that may have fallen flat in recent years.

3.) Collecting topics - I've got 25-30 ongoing collections but instead of trying to 'nerd out,' focus on 5-10 mini-collections to hammer on.

Awesome action and awesome outfield action
Bonus babies - star cameos on common players' cards
Local guys
Multi sport athletes

Facial hair
Pitchers hitting
Tools of ignorance - catcher cards

4.) Award winners collection

5.) A-Z singles

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Some low-end finds from the card shop

I ended up at a random card stop and the plan was to find some loose 2018 Topps Stadium Club and perhaps make a supply run for some magnetic card holders and penny sleeves - unfortunately there was no loose 2018 Topps Stadium Club thrown into the quarter boxes just yet.

While leafing through the same random cards I usually go through in order to shop around - I found some assorted cards to take home.

2018 Topps Ben Gamel #558 - I always tell myself to be picky when it comes to digging through a current year's flagship cards because the ones I'll end up with, I'll probably pull at some point.

Still, the picture on this card is way too nice for me to leave behind - maybe I've gotten away from loose pack or blaster breaks anyway, so I'd rather have this card now than forget about it entirely.

2018 Topps Guillermo Heredia #522 - another flagship card I couldn't leave behind.

2013 Topps Manny Machado #270 x2 - factory set inserts; Machado is the most intriguing trade bait candidate and the next couple of weeks will probably decide the Baltimore Orioles' future prospects [as in direction of the franchise as well as guys the maybe getting back in a potential trade].

2004 Topps Yadier Molina #324 - Molina doesn't inspire warm and fuzzies, but he's a borderline HOF guy just because his reputation as a catcher was that much better than everyone else.

2013 Topps Update Series Christian Yelich #US290 - a card like this is barely worth anything, but I've decided any 'Dollar Tree' rookie cards of MLB stars are keepers, especially when I don't have them.

Monday, July 09, 2018

2001 Upper Deck Albert Pujols #295

I don't think I actually saw many Pujols rookie cards in his rookie year, so after all these years, I guess I'd like to add at least a couple to my PC - the 2001 Upper Deck and 2001 Bowman [#264] were the most 'widely' available rookie cards from Pujols' rookie year even though all his cards were in demand all season long.

While Pujols rookie card and rookie year issues were pumped out in mid through late season products, but I never had a chance to own but maybe two or three - including a factory set rookie year card from the 2001 Fleer Tradition, maybe an ugly Team Leaders subset card [#435] from 2001 Fleer Platinum RC Edition, a 2001 Topps Traded Pujols / Ichiro subset card [T99] and a 2001 Topps rookie card I bought at a card shop for a quarter maybe in 2002.

I remember finding the Topps Pujols in the particular card shop, when the quarter boxes were color coded with tabs - because the store owner was selling certain rows of cards on consignment.

The Topps rookie had a soft corner and I'd foolishly sent it to Pujols as a TTM autograph request - of course after 17 years, it never came back, even as a failure.

In recent years, the 38-year old Pujols hasn't been as relevant and still has at least 3 years left to go to play out his Angels contract [on the field] - however, Pujols' baseball accomplishments [short of a PED scandal] can't be taken away by what he has done away from St. Louis.