Monday, November 30, 2020

TTM autographs received: Buck Martinez

The 17-year big league catcher and longtime color commentator signed my 1983 Topps card and my 1985 O-Pee-Chee posters insert in about 5 months - I probably found the oddball insert at my old card shop and thought it would be something just a little more unique than a regular card to try and get inked up, even though it was folded up and may not be as handy.

Considering everything, I probably stopped doing in-person years ago where I might have seen Martinez - however I took a chance in seeing if I could mail something out to him at the beginning of the abbreviated 2020 season.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Some decade / binder stars updates Pt.1

I relented to buy a pack of these pages [$4.99] at a Target to see if I display some assorted cards of decade / binder stars - the pages feel a little thinner than the Ultra Pro Platinum pages I’ve used in the past, though several years ago I bought [and had to return] a binder / plastic sheets combo [at a Walmart] with the flimsiest, crappiest plastic pages.

Maybe these pages are not going to be as durable for long term storage but hopefully these aren't completely useless - using penny sleeves would probably help secure particular card (s) in the pages to give me some peace of mind.

I want to see if I can make use of these pages ASAP so they don’t necessarily sit around - maybe my last box of plastic pages lasted about 2 or 3 years just because I wasn't necessarilly gung-ho in displaying the assorted cards that had piled up for certain players.

Lucas Giolito - after being up and down early in his big league career, he has fulfilled the potential he showed as a top prospect.
Eloy Jimenez - maybe the attention went to Jose Abreu and Luis Robert as far as Chicago White Sox hitters, but in a partial season, Jimenez looked like he was getting better.
Keston Hiura - looking for a bounce back season in 2021.
Yoan Moncada - I guess it's no reason to exclude the guy from my binders, but before a spring training game a couple of years ago, Moncada simply ignored me as he signed some autographs.

He was once hyped up as the second coming, but after a good 2019 season and a bad 2020 season - I'm indifferent towards the guy.

Griffin Canning and David Fletcher - a pair of non-Trout Angels guys.
Julio Urias - because of an eBay lot I purchased several years ago, I have at least 40-50 cards of Urias, who closed out the 2020 World Series clinching Game 6 with a 3-inning save.

He was a wunderkind pitching prospect, but after getting hurt and needing Tommy John surgery - his star dimmed a little bit where his cards represented a bloat I just didn’t want to see.

Several years ago, Urias had a domestic violence arrest and was accused before nothing eventually came out of it - he gradually made it back to pitching in the big leagues, still possessing the electric stuff that may make him a starter for however long his arm holds up.

Alex Verdugo - he looks like a player to build upon in Boston, but who knows if he'll turn into a star outright.

I tried to think up players who I had enough cards of and wanted to showcase - I didn't want a bunch of partial pages, where I had less than 9 cards to display at the moment, but I made exceptions in some cases where I expect to pull or find more cards to make a full page.

Cody Bellinger and Walker Buehler - it might be hard to ignore the Los Angeles Dodgers players who helped lead the Dodgers to a World Series championship, so even if I'm not a fan of the team, the players really gel well together and they have fun.

In some instances, I just added new page (s) to an already existing decade / binder stars collection of a player - while I wanted to focus on adding new pages of first-time decade / binder stars guys in my book, I also dug out cards from in my A-Z archives that were once displayed in binders, but were weeded out for space considerations.
Bernie Williams - I don't know why he was dropped from my decade / binder stars collection, except he might have become irrelevant over the last part of his career.

As I tried to rejigger my player binders over the past 10 years, I weeded out certain players' cards for whatever reason - Williams might hot have been associated with the Core Four, but he was an important player during the New York Yankees dynasty run from the mid 1990s through the early 2000s.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Whenever I think about losing a card somewhere...

I start to hate myself because my claptrap is just a mess - my collections consist of loose unsigned cards, loose signed cards; boxes and boxes of stuff I can’t figure what to make of.

At times, I get this itch to dig out a random card, but don't know where it ended up and I worry it's lost to oblivion - most of the time, it's not some high valued PC card I'm freaking out about, but a card worth a quarter or a dollar at most.

This time, I was trying to figure out where a 2014 Ogden Raptors Victor Gonzalez card ended up - maybe the Mexican lefty didn’t just come out of nowhere, but to reach the big leagues in 2020, Gonzalez took the scenic route through the Los Angeles Dodgers system.

I bought the Raptors team set years ago because it had what I think was Cody Bellinger’s first minor league team set card - I wanted to have an early pro card of the hot rookie back in 2017.

I didn’t know who Gonzalez was, but took note when he was at Rancho Cucamonga for part of the 2019 season - most minor leaguers from a minor league team set end up being cut and five years after the fact, it was funny to have a card of a guy still jugging along.

In a closet, I looked through my assorted bags that made up my 2019 spring training trip - the card wasn’t there in my main Los Angeles Dodgers binder.

I always try to believe any card I'm missing at the moment isn't really gone - but logically somewhere relatively safe, even if I don't have it handy.

I thought must have the Gonzalez card a tiny loose pile somewhere on the dining room - where it was obscured by the other cards that accumulated.

I dug around through the boxes I’d brought to my room from the dining room - servicing as other temporary places I’ve squirreled some team related cards away.

I decide to dig around through the closet again because sometimes I don’t take the time to look through things - go figure, the card was in a binder I’d prepped for some Dodgers backfield action, specifically the day when Corey Seager was playing in one of the minor league spring training games.

I probably looked through the binder at least once already but missed seeing the Gonzalez card the first time around - I took the card out of the photo corners and placed in a plastic sheet in the binder, so the surface is protected a little bit as opposed to being left as is for probably a few more years.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

More contemporary Angels pick-ups

At times there is no rhyme or reason for picking up random Angels cards because frankly the idea of being a team collector seems overwhelming - I'm not ever going to be hyper focused trying to keep track of all the releases [past, present and future] and working around [trades, purchases, etc] to see if I can have ownership of a perpetual number of team sets.

As is, I do consider the Angels my team and one of my ideals is to have that one big league team to focus on - where it's fun to have new team related cards to go through, even if they don't go towards team sets other collectors may boast about completing at some point.

The lone Mike Trout is 2019 Bowman Sterling Continuity insert #BS-20 - I like to imagine the card is a harder to find pull, but it's a $2 card at best.

I mentioned picking up the trio of quarter century old Garret Anderson cards last year - they are probably binder material that helps make collection of 'GA' cards pop.

I picked up a couple of random Topps On-Demand issues featuring pitcher Griffin Canning and infielder David Fletcher - while they might not be outright stars, each gives a couple of current 'second tier' Angels players to collect.

There was some uncertainty about the health of Canning's arm during spring training - but the righty seemed good to go for much of the shortened 2020 season and was awarded a Gold Glove at his position.

Fletcher has established himself as this generation's David Eckstein as a runty looking guy - who can play all over the diamond and can be a spark plug at the plate or on the bases.

I picked up a Shohei Ohtani is a 2019 Donruss Action All-Stars insert / Pink Fireworks parallel No. AA4 because it pops nicely without costing much - though it may get confusing describing what these alternate versions of non-base set cards are supposed to be.

Finally I picked up a 2020 Finest Flashback Anthony Rendon #58 - I might only have 2-3 Angels cards of the third baseman and maybe they mean a bit more at the moment.

While the original 1993 Topps Finest was never a thing in my collecting universe - after the fact, it's nice to travel back in time to see a re-imagined version of the first Topps Finest cards, featuring current players.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Some vintage Angels pick-ups for TTMs

These were more 'here and now' finds off COMC when I tried to get my cards shipped last month - digging around collecting forums I browse, I've seen random autograph successes by mail with these former players and hope to get their autograph in my collection while they are still signing.

As it goes, I've already gotten back Billy Moran and Leo Burke, both signing the card I sent to each one - due to the lack of familiarity and the passage of time, I feel like I'm not really in a position to add autographs of the countless old-timers [1960s, 1970s for example] from my favorite team's history, but I need to find a way to try.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Featured autographs - a certified quartet

These aren't the greatest big league players, but to quench my thirst for new autographs featuring current guys I don't expect to see - I picked these up so I can say I have their scribbles squirreled away somewhere.

Austin Hayes - the outfielder had a breakout minor league year in 2017, fell back a bit in 2018 and has spent the past couple of years trying to stick in the big leagues for good.

Dakota Hudson - the righthander gave the St. Louis Cardinals another good, young starter to build on besides Jack Flaherty until he needed Tommy John surgery towards the end of the shortened 2020 season.

Sean Reid-Foley - Foley might have been the No. 1 pitching prospect in the Toronto Blue Jays system before the emergence of Nate Pearson as that No. 1 guy in recent seasons.

Parker Markel - I wouldn't have noticed he already made his big league debut in 2019, but the Angels signed him last off-season and I jumped the gun, hoping he would make a big league appearance with the Angels in 2020.

Maybe I was inspired to put this post up when I saw Markel had moved on and was just signed by the San Diego Padres - to show I buy my share of random things for reasons that don't actually play out in reality.

Monday, November 16, 2020

TTM autographs received: Gene Richards

Former San Diego Padres outfielder Gene Richards signed my cards in about a month - maybe it was just natural for guys expected to hit the ball with some skill rather than brawn to choke up on the bat, but the way Richards' hands are positioned looks so exaggerated on the 1984 Donruss and also the 1983 Topps cards.

Digging around, a little bit of trivia is Richards wore jersey #19 for the Padres - a number in team history associated in perpetuity as legend Tony Gwynn's.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

TTM autographs received: David Nied

The former big league righthander signed my cards in about a couple of weeks, including his 1992 Leaf Gold Rookies insert, a card I once coveted as a kid - I thought Nied was destined for stardom, following the likes of Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Steve Avery in the Atlanta Braves rotation in the early 1990s.

Looking back Nied's ascent from a 1987 draft pick to a legitimate pitching prospect - paralleled the Braves' rise from bottom feeders to perennial contenders through the 1990s.

However Nied was left unprotected in the 1992 expansion draft and was the No. 1 pick of the Colorado Rockies - so maybe his big league career never really had a chance of taking off.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Some random non-sport additions

I can never get into anything other than baseball, where collecting just doesn't hit right when I'm not seeking out cards picturing dudes who play ball for a living - but going down the COMC rabbit hole leads to different places where I'm tempted to pick up cards I wouldn't normally consider, so there is something else to look at.

For the nostaglia, I grabbed a couple of cards of Jennifer Love Hewitt, who might have been destined to be the 'it' girl of the early 2000s - while the actress is still working in Hollywood, currently cast in a TV show, time flies and perhaps her star is a little bit more low key into her early 40s.

I also picked up a couple of cards of Rosamund Pike, including a 'cool' acetate insert - the British actress' most notable film in the U.S. might be Gone Girl, which I have not seen.

However Pike has been a low-key favorite for playing an up-and-coming, by the books MI6 agent who just happens to betray James Bond in Die Another Day - which is probably a popcorn movie for me.

Finally I grabbed a card of Lauren Cohan, another British actress best known for her portrayal of Maggie Greene in The Walking Dead TV series - I may have wanted this particular card several years ago, but I was only really into the TWD for the first 2 or 3 seasons before realizing it wasn't a series that was going to wrap up quickly with some resolution and/or happy ending.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

TTM autographs received: Rusty Greer

The former Texas Rangers outfielder signed my cards in about a month and was glad to tally a success because Greer was really a great player during his short peak - when it came to prominent opposing players in the American League West through the late 1990s, I definitely paid more attention to guys like Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro.

However, before chronic injuries derailed the back end of his playing career Greer checked all the boxes as far as athlete cliches - despite the implicit media bias of tagging certain types of pro athletes as being gritty, being a gamer, being a lunch pail guy, etc, Greer lived up to the ideal.

Monday, November 09, 2020

Some random award winner additions

With MLB awards being handed out, it's time to look for loose cards of 2020 winners to add to my collection - in the meantime, I was able to add these three COMC stragglers as upgrades to my collection.

Al Dark was a successful manager who guided to the Oakland Athletics to a World Series championship in 1974 - as a player, he was the second MLB Rookie of the Year winner after Jackie Robinson and the last single ROY winner before there was one awarded for each league.

I was able to get a 1971 Topps card signed by Dark through the mail years ago [he passed away in 2014] and while I'm mostly satisified with any random cards for my award winners collection - I wanted a card [1982 Cramer Baseball Legends #3] showing Dark as a player, even if it's a retro issue from the early 1980s as opposed to an authentic vintage card.

I was familiar enough with Willie McGee as a minor star who played through the junk wax era of the early 1990s - a fan favorite with the St. Louis Cardinals, his breakout postseason helped the 1982 team win the World Series and three years later, was named the 1985 National League MVP.

I wasn't familiar with 1980 American League Rookie of the Year Joe Charboneau except as a hot rookie star who made a lot of noise as a cult favorite with the Cleveland Indians - he was a one year wonder who failed to really build upon his promise and was a poster child for 1980s card collectors as a baseball card bust.

I was able to pick up a 2006 Fleer Greats of the Game Nicknames certified autograph - it would have been nice if the it was on-card, but I like how Charboneau was able to fit in his autograph and his 'Super Joe' nickname on the themed insert set.

Saturday, November 07, 2020

TTM autograph received: Glenn Hubbard

The former MLB infielder signed my 1984 Fleer in about three weeks - supposedly Hubbard didn't sign the cult favorite card for the longest time, but loosened his stance over the years.

Though Hubbard wasn't on my 'here and now' list of possible TTM subjects to write to - I'm always looking for 'inspiration' and got it when I saw a collector [on an autograph forum I belong to] post his Hubbard success [with his copy of the 1984 Fleer signed].

I may have at least 3 or 4 more unsigned cards of Hubbard - but the 1984 Fleer was my No. 1 priority, so it was the one sent out.

Friday, November 06, 2020

Some miscellaneous Keston Hiura finds

The Milwaukee Brewer was my pick to click as a breakthrough star in 2020 after a good rookie season in 2019 - I thought it would be fun picking up a few low end Hiura cards including four rookie cards and a couple of other prospect cards.

Unfortunately, he only hit .212 this past year, though I’m inclined to give players who struggled through a 60-game MLB season a pass - the 24-year old has the talent and presumably the aptitude to bounce back, though contact issues [16 walks / 85 strikeouts] may prevent him to be a hitting star outright.

Digging around through COMC in the winter of 2019, I sought out the Hiuras while passing over some similar types of cards - featuring Vladimir Guerrero Jr. [he was okay, but probably underwhelming] and Fernando Tatis Jr. [do’h, he was the second year big leaguer who actually broke out as a superstar].

Thursday, November 05, 2020

1956 Topps Bill Sarni #247 pick up

This was the oldest card in my COMC delivery and was purchased because I wanted something random and vintage to add to the mix - I now have this 65-year old Topps card where I can make out the familiar image of the MLB icon, Jackie Robinson as a 'bonus baby,' making a cameo on another player's card.

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Check Out My Cards - shipment arrival

I had my cards shipped last week and go figure, it only took about a week to get my cards in-hand - I was pleasantly surprised to see a COMC package in my mailbox, when I still see where other collectors on forums, on Twitter complain about the long wait time and/or not getting their shipment of cards according to schedule.

Your mileage may vary, but maybe this time, paying a COMC shipping premium was better than a blaster - especially when I can’t find a loose baseball blaster out in the wild to save my life.

My collecting activity the past several months has been to cobble together through the mail autograph requests - maybe this 'new' stash will give me something to go through and get me back to playing with my cards.

Monday, November 02, 2020

TTM autographs received: Scott McGregor

The longtime Baltimore Orioles lefthander from the mid 1970s-1980s signed my cards in about a month - McGregor wasn't an overpowering lefty, but with the help of the teams playing behind him, was able to put up big numbers as a middle of the rotation starting pitcher.

I got a copy of McGregor's 1984 Donruss card to send out with my request - I might not bother trying and get more cards from the set signed like some people do with a particular brand/year of cards, but I really like how the 1984 Donruss looks.