Wednesday, October 26, 2022

TTM autographs received: Luis Tiant

The former big league starting pitcher signed my cards in about a couple of months - I ended up picking up a couple of loose cards [1974 Topps and a 2021 Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary] that ideally would look nice with an autograph and I ponied up to send $20 [$10 per card] to have my cards inked up.

Tiant was a player certainly before my time, but he pitched in the big leagues for 19 years and won 229 games - he is among the Hall of Very Good, but maybe deserved more consideration for actual the Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

TTM autographs received: Gregg Olson

The former big league reliever signed my cards in about three weeks back in August c/o Auburn University where he is a coach - I may have wrote on my request to Olson that he could keep the other cards if he wanted, but to at least sign the 1990 Leaf if he could.

However in my return, the only card he didn't end up signing was the one I wanted signed the most - I just had to chuckle at this apparent mishap [at least for me] and ended up grabbing a signed copy of the 1990 Leaf on eBay.

Monday, October 24, 2022

2022 World Series - some thoughts

The Houston Astros have probably been declared the favorites where their excellence over the past 8-9 years will be rewarded with another World Series trophy - while MLB fans still consider the organization and practices shady, where they are still probably cheating one way or the other, another championship will have to be seen as a less unsavory accomplishment than one in 2017.

On the other hand, it wouldn't surprise me to see the Philadelphia Phillies bludgeon their way into a World Series title - I couldn't even watch most of the games because my streaming service didn't have FS1, but Rhys Hoskins was on fire and NLCS MVP Bryce Harper delivered on cue.

With their 'band box' of a ballpark, no lead was ever safe - in their National League Championship Series against the San Diego Padres.

Back in 2019, I enjoyed what would become a World Series championship run by the Washington Nationals after Harper bolted for the Phillies - maybe it was a big [statement] for the Nationals to win despite not having this hot shot superstar lead them.

If Harper had continued to put up numbers and the Phillies continued to flounder, maybe that would be ideal where I didn't always like the player [who may be cocky, arrogant, and gave people reasons to hate on him] - but perhaps it's time for Harper to come full circle, from his Sports Illustrated cover in high school to all the years he has starred in the major leagues, with some great years and kind of up-and-down seasons.

If he wins the World Series, maybe he vaults up to just a higher sentiment than certain other guys who haven't won it yet - it's the case already I guess, but Harper wouldn't have anything more to prove in his MLB career if he ends up hoisting the WS trophy above his head.

Maybe it's sort of the perfect situation for Dusty Baker to finally be a manager of a World Series championship team - where for all the thunder the Phillies have shown, the Astros are considered the best team in baseball.

On the other hand, this World Series could be another close, but no cigar set-ups for the long respected professional baseball lifer - where things happen [during in game situations, in these postseason matchups] and his 2022 Astros ends up being another great Baker led team that doesn't take the final step to a World Series championship.

I think I expect another glum, post series interview with some national baseball writer at the end of this - but cautiously optimistic, where Baker's Astros play well enough and follow through with a championship celebration instead.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Card show find - is this real vintage?

Rummaging through a seller's miscellaneous boxes, this 1939 Playball card of Al Schacht caught my eye and I had to come back to make it a keeper for $20 - maybe an unoffcial side project is looking for more oddball subjects on baseball cards, something I can build on as a 'fun,' irreverent collection.
Presumably real and not a reprint, this easily becomes the oldest card in my collection - while I do not consider myself one of those 'historian' collector types, in this instance this I want to learn more about the first Clown Prince of Baseball's impact as an entertainer / personality.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Card show pick ups - more randomness?

On a card show trip, maybe I was not really enthused about the vibe in the room where there were not as many sellers and things seemed slower - I stumbled upon a random seller with at least several monster boxes of assorted singles individually priced [at least $5 or more].

I tried to dig around and see what may catch my attention, maybe I wonder whether the material is passable or not - the seller said something about making offers to consider, so there was an opportunity to pick something up where this table might be it as far where I was going to spend most of what I had in-hand.

I found these three cards first and offered $10 for them - an old school rookie card of Keith Hernandez, a short print variation of Babe Ruth and a bat card of Tony Oliva.
After trying to go around the room, I came back to the seller's tables where maybe I'd find more cards - I found a little mix of cards I tried offering $20 for, though the seller expected more and I ended up paying $30.

Among the odds and ends included a second-year Gary Carter - I want to follow the mature collectors who have tried to make something about collecting old-school and/or vintage cards, even in bits and pieces.

A rookie year certified autograph of Michael Young - he was a second baseman who last played 10-15 years ago and was underrated as a longtime hitting star.

A certified autograph of Andrew Velasquez - even though the autograph on the sticker hologram looks sloppy, I picked it up for my all-time Angels collection.

While completion isn't realistic - it's cool knowing I have the most random players' autographs that played for my home team.

A Roberto Clemente insert that was too shiny to ignored - I'm not sure if this was numbered, but I like how it pops.

A Mike Trout / Shohei Ohtani insert I thought might have been worth something - but looked too neat to leave behind regardless.

A 1993 Donruss Dominator Greg Maddux - I guess it's not a pack pulled insert set, more like a 'box topper' bonus, but still a cool card.

Though it's a piece of plastic that I would have tossed a long time ago, I really like the branded top loader - which I assume was how the cards were originally shipped in.

Maybe the highlights were the 1980 Topps Rickey Henderson #482 rookie card and the 1982 Topps Cal Ripken Jr. #21 rookie card - on first glance, I had second thoughts about picking the cards up [maybe the sticker price $15 each] because they were more 'well loved' and 'off-condition,' rather than cleaner copies with better eye appeal.

On the other hand, I've never really had these cards in my collection and at the very least, end up as binder material centerpieces to the collection of cards I have for each player - with these rookies in my possession, I'd have some bragging rights if I took a time machine to the junk wax era of the early 1990s.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Some cheap-o material finds - the future stars

I think it would be fun to make keepers out of young players who are going to be the next decade stars guys in my binder - why always go on about picking up cards guys who played 5, 10, 15 or at least 20 years ago?

Maybe I got lucky and found cards picturing some of the 'here and now' guys for the next five years - maybe on a speculative pace, other collectors have been in on these guys, but in due time I anticipate the more casual collectors gushing over these players and making them their new favorites.

Bobby Witt Jr. - he played in 150 games as a rookie in 2022 and while he was up and down with the bat, showed potential as a second generation big leaguer where some of the hype entering the 2022 season was warranted.

I think at his age, he can be expected to be in a off-season lab / hitting cage somewhere - where he really works on pitch recognition so maybe he walks more, strikes out less and makes more contact.

Wander Franco, Logan Gilbert, Andres Gimenez - Franco seemed to be the most hyped young player coming into 2022 and frankly he was a bust where he didn't live to expectations due to various injuries that kept him off the field.

This isn't to say that he can't or won't bounce back where he is still a 21-year old 'kid,' but he certain disappointed - where maybe his cards ended up being fool's gold.

Gilbert may have been the Seattle Mariners' top pitching prospect for the last two or three years and he had a good run in his first full MLB season - where he has shown ace potential on the mound or at least a very good No. 2 starter.

Gimenez ended up having a fine season and started in the All-Star game at second base - maybe he's not quite a hobby star, but has the potential to be 'baseball good' for the next five years.

Jazz Chisholm, Pete Crow-Armstrong, Oneil Cruz and Jarren Duran - Chisholm is an electric player who may have put up bigger numbers this past year, if he wasn't injured.

Crow-Armstrong enjoyed a breakout year in the minors - who knows if he can build on that, but he's on the radar as a top prospect now.

Cruz has gotten to the big leagues and there might be hype with what he can do because he is such a large human playing a premium position - I kind of think he is a toolsy guy who is a work in progress, though I guess the potential is undeniable.

Duran has had some time in the big leagues and while he might be a decent player - maybe more of a semi-regular, fourth outfielder type or starter for a second division, non-contender.

Adley Rutschman, Spencer Strider, Spencer Torkelson and Anthony Volpe - as a catcher who can hit, Rutschman may have been as good as advertised in his 2022 MLB debut season, while Strider was a pitching star as a rookie and earned a $75 million contract with the Atlanta Braves.

Torkelson was hyped up as a slugger entering the 2022 season, but struggled for much of the year - where maybe his potential is a bit uncertain, depending on whether he can adjust to big league pitching in 2023.

Volpe is still in the minors and while he didn't match the great, breakout season he did in 2021 - he had a season where he is still on pace to reach the big leagues within the next couple of seasons.

Ke'Bryan Hayes, Riley Greene, Jonathan India and Julio Rodriguez - Hayes and India went through some sophomore slump issues this past year, Greene got his first taste of the big league this past season, while Rodriguez might MLB's next superstar.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

TTM autograph received: Larry Waker

The Hall of Fame slugger signed my card in about a couple of months - while he does various formal signings for a memorabilia company like Tristar or a trading card company like Topps, he responds to TTM requests where personalizes ['To Your Name'] and inscribes ['Best Wishes'] items sent to him like the card I sent.

Monday, October 10, 2022

1995 Topps R&N China J.T. Snow

I think this a 'porcelain' version of a 1995 Topps J.T. Snow card produced as a collector's issue rather than something issued like a traditional baseball card product [in packs and/or boxes] - it was too odd to pass up at my LCS even though it's more of a non-card knick knack that includes what I assume is a stand for display.

Sunday, October 09, 2022

TTM autographs received: David and Diego Segui

The second generation big leaguer and signed my cards in about two years - I'd written this off and was surprised to see a response, because I kept thinking about a TTM request I sent 15 years ago that I never got back.
David's father Diego signed my cards in about a couple of months, one of the TTM success I got when I was on vacation in September - the elder Segui was generally a successful big league pitcher over a 15-year career, despite a 92-111 won-loss record.

Monday, October 03, 2022

TTM autographs received: Rick Monday

The former big league outfielder and longtime broadcaster signed my cards in about a couple of months c/o Los Angeles Dodgers - he is known for saving the American flag from being burned by a couple of protesters when he was at Dodger Stadium as a member of the Chicago Cubs back in 1976.

Besides his flag saving heroics, Monday was also the first ever MLB draft pick in 1965 and had a 19-year big league career - hitting 241 home runs with a .361 on-base / .443 slugging and an OPS+ of 125, which meant he was about 25 percent better than the average MLB player.

Sunday, October 02, 2022

TTM autographs received: John Olerud

The former first baseman signed my cards in about a couple of months, including a 1990 Leaf RC and a 1990 Score McDonald's - it's fun to get back cards for sets where I'm trying to get as many signed [1990 Leaf] or potential TTM fuel found in the wild [such as the seemingly harder to get McDonald's oddball].

This post marks my first since a month long hiatus due to being out of the country on vacation - not feeling emotionally invested in throwing out scheduled, automated posts, I wanted to create a gap, where something was clearly up with the lack of posting activity [regardless of whomever really reads what I might write on a regular basis].