Friday, May 31, 2019

Featured autograph - David Fletcher

When he was first starting his professional career, maybe I've heard him mentioned on Twitter just a few times and he was just another guy to me - I got him to sign a card when he played in the Arizona Fall League in 2016, so eventually I was able to add it to my all-time Angels autograph collection when he got to the big leagues in 2018.

Fletcher fits that scrappy, grinder, David Eckstein mold that might be a little overplayed or at worst biased - but it's true that Fletcher can be described as many adjectives mostly saved for right guys [guys who play the game the right way]; he's not Manny Machado and he's going to scrap and battle every time he is inserted into a big league game.

In his second year and first full season in the major leagues, the now 25-year old Fletcher has played five different positions as a utility player - but hitting like an Up & Up version of Jose Altuve, Fletcher seems to have nailed down a regular spot in the Angels' lineup.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

2019 Topps Big League blaster recap II

I'm still looking for 2019 Bowman Mega Boxes but I've been out of luck, so I relented to grab another $10 blaster of 2019 Topps Big League for featured box panel card - I feel like I’ve been in a funk because it hasn't been a priority to get to a Target just to see if there were any loose 2019 Bowman Mega Boxes left on the shelves.

When I finally show up to a random Target, I don't know if I'm hours late, a day late or a week late, but I don't see any Bowman Megas at all - while others have broken, shown off, hoarded or resold the Bowman Megas boxes that has come into their hands.

Exclusive box panel card
#B1 Shohei Ohtani - instead of chopping up the box for the panel with the card, maybe an easier way to save the card is to flatten the box and leave ‘as is.’

Blue border parallel pack
#160 Kris Bryant
#290 Collin McHugh
#256 Brandon Crawford
#347 Stat Kings 2018 AL Runs Scored Leaders feat. Betts, Lindor and Martinez

Pack one
#34 Justin Upton
#315 Jorge Polanco
#42 Joey Gallo
#121 Nicholas Castellanos
#SCR-AG Alex Gordon - Star Caricature Reproduction insert

#298 Walker Buehler - Gold parallel
#292 Justin Turner
#181 Michael Conforto
#217 Wil Myers
#13 Rougned Odor

Pack two
#318 Yuli Gurriel
#104 Jose Abreu
#170 Mike Trout
#307 Carlos Santana
#BO-9 Gary Sanchez - Blast Off! insert
#306 Mike Minor - Gold parallel
#291 Jurickson Profar
#257 Matt Duffy

#68 Shane Greene - retro uniform image
#149 Dee Gordon

Pack three
#325 Gerrit Cole
#59 Lucas Giolito
#142 Chris Iannetta
#157 Masahiro Tanaka

#PW-14 Juan Soto - Players’ Weekend Nicknames insert ‘Juanjo’
#270 Luke Voit - Gold parallel
#358 Stat Kings 2018 NL Batting Average Leaders - feat. Yelich, Gennett and Freeman Rainbow foil parallel serial #’d 034/100

#327 Cody Bellinger
#264 Sandy Alcantara
#153 Dylan Bundy

Pack four
#329 Blake Treinen
#254 Yu Darvish

#333 Kirby Yates
#339 Tyler Mahle

#WC-2 Ronald Acuna Jr. - Wall Climbers insert
#185 Eduardo Nunez - Gold parallel
#396 Shohei Ohtani - Highlights subset
#228 Rhys Hoskins
#185 Eduardo Nunez
#63 Ben Zobrist

Pack five
#314 Kendrys Morales
#376 Yadier Molina - Award Winners insert
#131 Jonathan Schoop
#133 J.D. Martinez
#SCR-AB Andrew Benintendi - Star Caricature Reproduction insert
#16 Todd Frazier - Gold parallel
Take the Field contest info card
#310 Rafael Devers
#261 Lewis Brinson

#274 Yonder Alonso - Topps has some fun with this retro uniform Photoshop on Alonso's card. Does it count for my collection of such cards when this is the original image used?

Cards like this might be more of a bigger offender, than seeing 'minor league' players in Bowman products cards Photoshopped in big league uniforms - I've heard the occasional veteran collector complaint about that.

#204 Cedric Mullins

Saturday, May 25, 2019

A card shop find - a 1983 Topps set

During an out of town card shop trip , I was lurking in the junk wax / junk set corner, maybe looking for a junk wax box / junk era set to rip  - I guess I see myself as a hoarder or at the very least willing to rummage through a pile of crap to try and find 'something' to take home.

The last time I was at this card shop was in fall of 2017 and think I saw a 1995 Upper Deck Minors box for $15 last fall which was intriguing because regardless of how bad the content has aged - those mid 90s UD sets still look good.

However, there is probably lots of turnover - even if any particular box / set is just squirreled away somewhere else as opposed to someone actually buying it.

I saw some hand collated sets [junk wax era] on the counter closest to where all the junk boxes / junk sets are - this isn’t what I’m really looking for because the brown card boxes look ancient and taped shut, so who knows if there are just repacked garbage in there.

One of the store employees was explaining to an older collector that he just got those sets in and they did have the key cards - the older collector was looking for a run of old-school Topps sets.

I was lingering by, but the older collector was coming along looking for this and that - it felt like I kind of snatched the box with the 1983 Topps set [marked at $20] from just under his grasp.

Maybe the value has bottomed out, but old-school, pre junk wax era cards printed through the mid 1980s are still intriguing - it would be an impulse buy, but could I beat the price?

I really wasn’t about to mess with the set because who knows where it came from - even if the rookie cards of Ryne Sandberg [#83], Tony Gwynn [#482] and Wade Boggs [#498] would make the set seem like a no brainer purchase.

I have a PSA graded Sandberg and do prefer PSA graded rookies of Gwynn and Boggs - since there is some assurance someone looked at the cards to deem them authentic and assign a numerical grade.

For a price of a blaster, I could at least mimic the experience of going through the 35-year old cards like they came from unopened rips - maybe I could try to finish off my Topps team runs for 1983 with cards leftover for various, miscellaneous interests.

I actually took the time to put the set in plastic pages to see what a full set of 792 cards would look like in a book - during a few different times, I emptied out just about 90 plastic pages filled with assorted inserts and added the 1983 Topps cards.

To the naked eye the Sandberg, Gwynn and Boggs are presentable - maybe kind of examples I'd find in a more common showcase of cards at a card show or card shop.

The rest of the cards are probably in 'ex-mt' condition, with examples of cards - being off-center, miscut or otherwise having some sort of noticeable blemish.

I'll probably leave the misfit condition cards as fillers since I'm not a set guy - it's not really worth it to me to track down countless 1983 Topps so I can upgrade a random common here, a random star card here, etc.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Featured autograph - Griffin Canning

I didn't get a chance to get Canning at all at the beginning of the 2018 season because he made two starts in the California League before he got promoted to Double-A - as it goes, I was able to get the now current Angels rookie pitcher later in the summer as a visiting Salt Lake Bees player in Las Vegas.

One of the collecting things I'd like to focus on at the moment is gathering the loose autographs I have of players who are playing or have played for the Angels - I've counted up around 290 autographs for my all-time autograph collection so far and the goal is perhaps not completion, but to get a good representation of players in franchise history.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

2019 Topps Big League blaster recap

I was looking for 2019 Bowman Mega Boxes at a random Target stop but didn’t find any - so I relented to grab a blaster this other baseball product that might have just come out.

I like the cards though a concern has always been the card stock because they seem a little fragile - I’m not going to be literally playing with my cards, but I do like the flip through them and feel like these cards shouldn’t be handled too much.

The non-glossy finish on the cards maybe prone to fingerprints and blemishes - I can’t complain too much and the design seems to be much nicer than the debut issue last year, though I probably won't embrace it like it’s some awesome product for a penny pincher collector.

Exclusive box panel card

#B3 Mike Trout - I tore the panel with the card from the rest of the box and I’ll leave it as it is instead of trying to actual cut it out.

Blue border parallel pack
#378 Josh Hader - Award Winners subset
#147 Willy Adames
#268 Ryan Zimmerman
#269 Caleb Joseph

Pack one

#150 Albert Pujols
#154 Jose Berrios
#76 Nick Williams
#143 David Dahl
#WC-6 Billy Hamilton - Wall Climbers insert
#156 Daniel Palka - Gold parallel
#90 Brandon Belt
#183 Victor Robles
#216 Pablo Sandoval
#342 Noah Syndergaard

Pack two
#129 Max Scherzer
#323 Max Kepler
#287 Jesus Aguilar
#95 Kevin Newman
#SCR-RA Ronald Acuna Jr. - Star Caricature Reproduction insert

#17 Shohei Ohtani - Gold parallel
Take the Field contest info card
#40 Blake Snell
#294 Kyle Tucker
#371 Stat Kings 2018 AL Innings Pitched Leaders - feat. Kluber, Verlander and unemployed Keuchel
#141 Joc Pederson

Pack three
#50 Ronald Acuna Jr.

#380 Shohei Ohtani - Award Winner subset
#242 Whit Merrifield
#265 Andrew McCutchen
#BO-6 Trevor Story - Blast Off! insert

#328 Brandon Lowe - Gold parallel
#108 Corey Kluber
#56 Mark Trumbo
#246 Starlin Castro
#384 Mookie Betts - Award Winner subset

Pack four
#275 David Peralta
#5 Josh Bell
#93 Salvador Perez
#PW-27 Tim Anderson - Players’ Weekend Nicknames insert ‘TA7’

#10 David Fletcher - Gold parallel

#201 Isiah Kiner-Falefa - Rainbow foil parallel serial #’d 069/100
#202 Paul De Jong
#209 Ian Desmond
#25 Chris Archer
#29 Eduardo Escobar

Pack five
#326 Ian Happ

#293 Josh Hader - uh oh...
#340 Randal Grichuk
#203 Tommy Pham
#WC-6 Billy Hamilton - Wall Climbers insert
#347 Stat Kings 2018 AL Runs Scored Leaders - feat. Betts, Lindor and Martinez
#119 Mallex Smith
#180 Jonathan Villar
#235 James Paxton
#217 Wil Myers

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Featured autograph - Yordan Alvarez

He might not have had many cards back when he played in the Arizona Fall League in 2017, so I had Alvarez sign a 2015 Topps Pro Debut Fragment of the Farm Round Rock Express seat relic I'd bought at a card shop - I thought I'd turned a non-player relic into something unique even if I had to wait a couple of years before Alvarez would presumably be playing his home games at the stadium where the relic was from.

As it goes, I didn’t actually look to see which big league team Round Rock was affiliated with at the time and what level [Round Rock had been the Texas Rangers’ Triple-A farm team since 2011, when I thought it was Houston's Double-A affiliate] - it's just not a big deal, but now I had this 'weird, phantom' in-person autograph card signed by a player whose relation with the subject featured on-card was non-existent.

Alvarez reached the Triple-A level in 2018 with the Fresno Grizzlies [when the Grizzlies were affiliated with the Astros] - but was in playing in Double-A when the Fresno made its only trip to Round Rock, so I couldn't say he at least played at the ballpark as a visiting player.

Go figure, after the completion of the 2018 season, the Astros ditched Fresno and had a new agreement with Round Rock to be their Triple-A affiliate - I could finally show off this card, signed by a Cuban slugger tearing up the Pacific Coast League so far as opposed to stashing it away in a box of fails.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

TTM autographs received: Jo Adell

I saw successes with Adell c/o an off-season mailing address a couple of years ago - I sent a request after those trickle of responses but wrote mine off when there was no apparent response.

Fast forward to this year, I saw some collectors getting him back from requests sent from a year or so ago - fingers crossed, I was going to get mine sooner than never.

I just about called it when one of my SASEs showed out of the blue - inside were my cards signed and also preprinted form letter talking about Adell's new foundation.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Featured autograph - Brian Goodwin

Goodwin has been a solid addition so far for the middling 2019 Angels, getting an opportunity to stick at the end of spring training after Justin Upton got hurt - I got his autograph when he was in the Washington Nationals organization, playing in the Arizona Fall League in 2013, long before he was an Angel.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Another screen shot of a Google Sheets file

As far as I know, I've mostly gotten specific cards from my awesome action collection jammed together - it may have been the only thing I've thought about as far as collecting cards go.

I added a column to the Google Sheets file where I could 'tag' listed cards I had in-hand according to a sport - I'm always a 'baseball first' guy, but I want to account for cards from basketball, football, hockey, etc.

As far as cards from other sports, I'll have cards I'll physically add to the end of specific classifications / groupings that were made for my baseball collection - but there will also be a stand alone collection of cards for each sport.

Basketball - actual on court action - in the air; stick this with my baseball ‘in the air’ collection

Football - skill players - quarterbacks, receivers, running backs, tight ends

Football - special teams - running backs, defensive backs

Football - offense - kickers, linemen

Football - defense - cornerbacks, linebackers, linemen, safeties

Football - unique perspectives - celebrations

Hockey - actual on ice game action

Hockey - unique perspectives - celebrations, photo ops

Classifications / groupings for my stand alone cards may be just a little different from my baseball ones - I was trying to think of some unique themes for the football cards, but stuck with trying to arrange them by position.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Featured autograph - Tommy Pham

Even if I was still trying to get MLB autographs in-person on a regular basis, maybe picking up a $4 certified autograph of Pham would be easier than attempting to actually getting a scribble from him - I'm at the point where I just don’t get regular opportunities to graph big leaguers anymore and having a certified autograph card of an intriguing player like Pham satisfies me at the moment.

Pham seems to have a little bit of a ‘bite’ to him and maybe because of injuries, it took a while before he reached and established himself as a big leaguer - the window for him to be an outright star has never quite opened, but when healthy, he has put up numbers.