Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Early Christmas Present from Brad at Red Sox Fan In Nebraska

I generally have a good idea of my ongoing trades, but in my stack of mail last week was an envelope from Nebraska. Now, I know I had just completed a trade with Brad from Red Sox Fan In Nebraska, but I had already received my end of the trade. Looking at the last name, I was sure that it was from Brad, and I was thinking that maybe he had found a couple more of my set needs. When I opened up the envelope, I instead found this...

Whaddya know, a 1998 Red Sox Score #15 Shane Mack! It has probably been a few years since I have been able to add any new cards to the Mack collection, so I was pretty fired up when I saw it. Thank you Brad for taking the time to look over my wantlist and surprising me with the card. Your generosity will definitely be remembered in the future!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

.10 Card Show Pickups

A couple of weeks back, my standby card show got some new dime boxes in. Typically, this is just tons of early 90's junk, but these boxes were actually semi-loaded. It's always tough for me to say no to a numbered card or a tough parallel. Here's what $3 got me:

'04 Absolute Memorabilia 141 Hideki Matsui 0292/1349
'04 Absolute Memorabilia 169 Jason Schmidt 1111/1349
'04 Absolute Memorabilia Tools of the Trade TT-91 Mark Prior 005/125

'13 Bowman Chrome Refractor BCP180 Tyler Heineman - I will always have a soft spot for "Heiny", as he was affectionately known at UCLA. Does all the little things that go unnoticed. Hope he gets a chance to make it to The Show
'02 Fleer Genuine 113 JJ Putz 0587/2002
'06 Fleer Tradition Black and White 50 Scott Rolen
'12 Topps Heritage 476 Prince Fielder SP
'04 Throwback Threads Gold Century Proof 121 Nick Johnson 074/100

'85 Fleer Update U-43 Greg Gagne -
I'm not sure if I already have this card, but I always appreciated Gagne's efforts as the glue of the Twins infield during their '87 and '91 World Series runs

'09 O-Pee-Chee New York New York NY15 Xavier Nady - I've never seen, much less heard of this insert set, but doing some research, this is a 30-card Yankee set seeded 1:40 packs.
'09 O-Pee-Chee Walk-Off Winners WK7 Johnny Damon
'08 Upper Deck X Xpotential X3-HM Hideki Matsui
'14 Topps Opening Day Superstar Celebrations SC-4 Freddie Freeman
'11 Topps Heritage Minor Tint 154 Jonathan Singleton 604/620
'09 Upper Deck Starquest Emerald Super Rare SQ-36 Curtis Granderson
'10 Upper Deck Celebrity Predictors CP9/CP10 Chris Martin Gwynth Paltrow
'01 Fleer Premium 204 Jaisen Randolph 1373/1999
'05 Prime Cuts 17 Tim Hudson 314/449
'15 Prime Cuts 2 Roger Clemens 397/499

'05 Zenith White Hot WH-1 Scott Rolen -
pretty neat looking remake of the '95 Pinnacle inserts of the same name. Odds were 1:65 packs
'12 Topps Gypsy Queen Mini Gypsy Queen Back 332 Nick Swisher
'12 Topps Gypsy Queen Mini Gypsy Queen Back 91 Tim Hudson
'12 Topps Gypsy Queen Mini 235 Orlando Cepeda
'11 Topps Lineage Diamond Anniversary Platinum Refractor 105 Ty Cobb
'99 Just Spotlight JS10-AS Alfonso Soriano
'08 Ultimate Collection 44 Garrett Atkins 320/350
'05 Ultimate Signature 61 Carlos Delgado 278/825
'10 Upper Deck Supreme S-35 Cole Hamels

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Return and a Farewell

It's been five months since I last posted, but since it is the day before Thanksgiving, today is as good a time as any to get back in to the swing of things. A few weeks back, Marcus from All the Way to the Backstop sent over a few cards from his trade list, the most prominent being a 2014 Topps Orange parallel of Hank Conger.

I specifically requested this card because Hank was my favorite "under the radar" Angel. Sure, anyone can collect the big names like Trout and Pujols, but I have always had a soft spot for Hank. The hometown kid from Huntington Beach is a fun loving guy and seemed to be good for clubhouse chemistry. Many an Angels fan wondered why he never got a true shot at being the everyday catcher. Well, that is a moot point now, as after I inquired about this card, Hank was traded to the Astros. Baseball wise, I felt it was a good deal for the Angels. They got a cost controlled young pitcher and a potential future backup catcher, something that seemed to be Conger's destiny if he stayed with the club. Personally, I feel conflicted. On the one hand, Hank will get a clean slate with the Astros, but on the other hand, it feels that the Angels wasted another high draft pick. Regardless, I wish Hank the best with his new team.

Now, back to the main point of this post. As this is the time of year to give thanks, I would like to give a big Thank You to Marcus. He was the one who initially encouraged me to create this blog. Though the posts have been lacking, I have still managed to make numerous trades with members of the blogosphere world this year. Though we all have our own reasons for collecting, the common theme is that we share a strange affinity for cardboard. Be safe all and have a Happy Thanksgiving.    

Monday, June 16, 2014

Insert Set Completion From Tony At Off Hiatus Baseball Cards

My last post got a comment from Tony at Off Hiatus Baseball Cards, which is a great excuse to post a few cards Tony sent my way a week or so ago. Tony had busted open a case of '13 Topps Series 2, and seeing that I was under 15 cards needed for the entire Emerald parallel set, I checked to see if I could get some set help. Only 2 Emerald cards were found, but two gets me closer to completion.

In checking my want lists, Tony was also able to dig up the last card I needed to complete The Elite insert set, The Iron Horse.

While most of us seem to have issues with some of the insert sets that Topps puts out, I've only heard positive things said about The Greats and The Elites from last year, and the Before They Were Great inserts from this year. Thanks a ton Tony. The last card acquired for any set is usually the most rewarding. I have a couple of cards headed your way.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

.05 Card Show Pickups

What's better than dime boxes? When you can get them for a nickel instead. That was the deal during the latest trip to the card show. If I got 100 cards, they would be .05/each. Basically, 50 free cards. I was all in, but the issue was finding enough cards as the majority were mass produced base products. I was able to find enough cards of interest, some for IP autographs, some for the personal collection, and others for trade bait. Here's what $5 got me:

'12 Donruss Elite 43 Tyler Pike
'12 Donruss Elite 90 Fernando Perez
'12 Donruss Elite 33 Ryan McNeil

'99 Fleer Tradition Update U-43 John McDonald - scary to say that this John McDonald rookie card common was my favorite pickup of the day. I've never thought much of McDonald, your typical good glove, no bat late inning defensive specialist, but he's seemingly been a great clubhouse influence for the Angels this year. I thought the 2000 Topps Traded was McDonald's rookie card, but his actual rookie is in this set.
'99 Fleer Tradition Update U-99 Jose Molina
'99 Fleer Tradition Update U-93 Clay Bellinger
'99 Fleer Tradition Update U-36 Chance Sanford
'99 Fleer Tradition Update U-52 David Newhan
'99 Fleer Tradition Update U-57 Dave Roberts
'99 Fleer Tradition Update U-57 Trent Durrington
'99 Fleer Tradition Update U-109 Jeff Weaver
'99 Fleer Tradition Update U-4 Eric Munson
'99 Fleer Tradition Update U-128 Ramon E. Martinez

'99 Fleer Tradition Update U-6 Tim Hudson - one of the A's big three from the early 2000's, Hudson has had a quietly under the radar great career. Currently leading the league in ERA. Who knew saw that coming? A great signing by the Giants
'99 Fleer Tradition Update U-123 Chad Allen
'99 Fleer Tradition Update U-40 Ben Molina
'99 Fleer Tradition Update U-101 Joe Nathan

'10 Topps 206 SP blank back Tom Seaver blank back
'12 Topps Target Red 574 Kerry Wood
'12 Topps Target Red 466 Lance Berkman
'12 Topps Target Red 465 Michael Schwimer
'12 Topps Target Red 658 Juan Pierre
'13 Topps WalMart 319 Brian Bogusevic
'13 Topps WalMart 92 Clint Barmes
'13 Topps WalMart 212 Eric Chavez 326
'13 Topps Walmart 299 Darwin Barney
'13 Topps Walmart 272 NL RBI Leaders
'12 Topps 502 Collin Cowgill
'13 Topps Opening Day Superstar Celebrations SC-18 Josh Willingham
'13 Bowman Purple BP33 Ismael Guillon
'13 Bowman Purple BP49 Patrick Leonard
'13 Bowman Purple BP13 Tanner Rahier
'13 Bowman BP13 Tanner Rahier

'13 Bowman Chrome BCP62 Socrates Brito
'13 Bowman Chrome BCP56 Tyler Heineman
'13 Bowman Chrome BCP36 Jose Peraza
'13 Bowman Chrome BCP19 Carson Kelly
'13 Bowman Chrome BCP57 Wade Hinkle

'13 Topps 346 Aaron Hicks
'03 Bowman 216 Mike Gallo
'12 Topps Golden Moments GM-24 Justin Upton
'07 SP Rookie Edition 135 Joe Smith
'12 Bowman Platinum Gold 15 Lance Berkman
'12 Bowman Platinum Refractor BPP81 Jarred Cosart
'07 Allen Ginter 342 Chad Cordero
'11 Topps 60 T60-110 Carlon Fisk
'11 Topps 60 T60-143 Lance Berkman

'13 Topps Opening Day Mascot M-2 Phillie Phanatic - one of the original mascots, and arguably the best of the bunch. By the way, what ever happened to the San Diego Chicken?
'12 Topps Opening Day Mascot M-15 Kansas City Royals
'12 Topps Opening Day Elite Skills ES-8 Felix Hernandez
'12 Topps Opening Day Fantasy Squad FS-17 Billy Butler
'13 Bowman Platinum Refractor BPCP29 Matt Barnes
'13 Bowman Flags 115 Corey Hart
'10 Topps Attax Chase Utley
'12 Topps Heritage 480 Carlos Gonzalez
'12 Topps Gold Sparkle 365 Aramis Ramirez
'12 Topps Gold Sparkle 354 Jeremy Hellickson
'12 Topps Gold Sparkle 617 Jimmy Rollins
'12 Topps Gold Sparkle 542 Jeff Samardzija
'12 Topps Gold Sparkle 376 Carlos Quentin
'12 Topps Gold Sparkle 530 Cliff Pennington

'94 Bowman 413 Scott Spiezio
'94 Bowman 252 Kevin Stocker
'94 Bowman 559 Ryan McGuire (x2)
'94 Bowman 206 Matt Whisenant (x2)
'94 Bowman 586 Richard Hidalgo
'94 Bowman 326 Jason Isringhausen
'94 Bowman 602 Don Slaught

'94 Bowman 642 Billy Wagner - I don't play fantasy baseball anymore, but when I did, Little Billy was always my closer of choice. Nothing like getting the save along with the three bonus strikeouts.
'10 Allen Ginter 310 Placido Polanco (x2)
'10 Allen Ginter 311 Chone Figgins
'10 Allen Ginter 313 Ryan Doumit
'10 Allen Ginter 317 Alex Rios
'10 Allen Ginter 323 Angel Pagan
'10 Allen Ginter 324 Randy Winn
'10 Allen Ginter 327 Vernon Wells (x2)
'10 Allen Ginter 330 Jonathan Papelbon
'10 Allen Ginter 332 Ricky Nolasco
'10 Allen Ginter 338 Francisco Liriano
'10 Allen Ginter 339 Ben Sheets
'10 Allen Ginter 341 Jon Garland
'10 Allen Ginter 342 Erik Bedard
'11 Topps Update Diamond Anniversary US185 Orlando Hudson
'11 Topps Update Diamond Anniversary US71 Jeff Francis
'11 Topps Update Diamond Anniversary US282 Brad Hand
'11 Topps Update Cognac US11 Jason Pridle
'11 Topps Update Cognac US116 Shawn Camp
'11 Topps Update Cognac US183 Carlos Peguero
'11 Topps Update Cognac US217 Elliott Johnson
'11 Topps Update Cognac US253 Scott Linebrink
'11 Topps Update Cognac US272 Jorge Cantu
'11 Topps Update Cognac US317 Craig Counsell
'11 Topps Cognac 331 Carlos Guillen
'11 Topps Cognac 377 Esmil Rogers
'11 Topps Cognac 381 Michael Gonzalez
'11 Topps Cognac 408 Denard Span
'11 Topps Cognac 453 Joe Saunders
'11 Topps Cognac 505 Tommy Hanson
'11 Topps Cognac 509 Michael Bourn
'11 Topps Cognac 540 Joakim Soria
'11 Topps Cognac 594 Jose Valverde
'11 Topps Cognac 609 Juan Francisco

'11 Topps Cognac 652 Edwin Jackson
'09 Score Future Franchise 4 Colt Brennan
'09 Score Future Franchise 16 Matt Ryan

'14 Topps Green 145 Jason Castro - hey, a 2014 card, and a Green border to boot. Rumor has it that there are Orange parallels in Topps Series 2. Oy.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A small thanks of appreciation to Jeff at 2x3 Heroes

As most can probably relate, life often times takes over and we get backlogged on completed trades and the packages start to pile up. A week or so ago, I received an unexpected package from Illinois. I basically have a good idea of what trades and online purchases are coming in, but for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what this could be. When I opened up the package, there were a few cards inside and a note from Jeff at 2 by 3 Heroes apologizing for not checking my wantlist on an earlier completed trade (Sorry for being too lax for posting the results of that trade). The included cards were a couple of '14 Topps Golds and '13 Gypsy Queen Minis that I had previously listed on my wantlist.

The cards were beside the point. From my years of online trading, it's been my experience that a trade is made and that is the end of it with that trader until the next time. For Jeff to go out of his way and re-check my wantlists and send something out "just because", well I am definitely not used to that. One of the things I have realized since I have started this blog and reading other blogs is that there are really a lot of good people out there who collect cards for the pure hobby aspect of collecting and are always glad to help out other collectors without a second thought. I would like to thank Jeff and other collectors like him. You guys definitely make the hobby much more rewarding.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Jarrett Grube - Who?

I consider myself pretty well versed on minor league prospects, especially those that belong to my team, the Angels. When the club called up reliever Jarrett Grube late Friday night, I will admit that I had never heard of the name before. Typically that is the case with relievers, who generally aren't top prospects and are often former starters who have been converted to relief. I looked up the backstory on Grube and it turns out he is 32 years of age and has pitched for 3 organizations over 11 years in the minors, including two years of independent ball. As a fan, we take for granted that this was just some no-name call up that will not make a difference one way or another. If you look at it from the Grube's side, however, I'm sure those 11 years and 11,000+ innings pitched while toiling in the minors were all worth it as he took the mound for his major league debut Saturday against the A's. Sure, his stay in the bigs may just be a cup of coffee, but at least he can always say that he is part of an elite club that made The Show.

Other than minor league team sets, I was almost positive that Grube had no mainstream card issues. To my great surprise, he does make an appearance in the 2004 SP Top Prospects set. Heck, he even has an autograph card in the set. I checked my boxes this evening and lo and behold, I have the base card. A google search lookup, a dig through my boxes, and a 250 word blog post after a nearly one month layoff. Jarrett Grube, well done.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Custom autograph from Chris at Nachos Grande

I have a backlog of completed trades scattered on my desk that I need to get to, but lately, it feels like I just don't have the time. I had mentioned previously that I've begun working on some new sets, the first of which being the 2013 Gypsy Queen Minis. It's always tough to start working on a set a year after the fact as most people have moved on to the current year issues. However, thanks to the magic of trade lists, I was able to see that Chris at Nachos Grande had 3 of the minis I was still looking for. Chris and I had previously helped each other out, so I knew that we would be able to quickly come to an agreement. The PWE arrived this past week and so did the minis.

Being able to knock off a big name like Machado is always a relief, though sometimes it feels like the common players are the hardest ones to find.  I'm down to 19 minis for the set now as I slowly chip away.

Chris added a few surprise cards in the PWE, all being custom Ginter cards including an autograph of Mr. Nachos Grande himself!

I know I should be more thrilled with being able to mark off a few set needs, but I can't help but admire that custom autograph card. Totally awesome and definitely my favorite card in the package. At a card show, I once joked to a dealer that there should be autographed cards made of every person in the world. That would be something to collect. Thanks much Chris. At the end of the day, cards should be enjoyed and your custom autograph card really put a smile on my face.

Friday, May 2, 2014

2nd trade with Ryan at "O" No!!! Another Orioles Blog

Since the cards from my wantlists are getting harder to find, it was time to start working on some new uncompleted sets. The first of these was the '13 Topps Gypsy Queen Minis. In terms of trades, I will always first seek out those who've I've already dealt with in the past. I was able to go back to the well with Ryan at "O" No!!! Another Orioles Blog a week or so ago and knock off two from my wantlist.

Apparently there are SP minis in this set as well, which I will have to do some research on. In addition to the Freeman and Votto, I also picked up three additional cards from Ryan.

I really like the look of these Bowman Chrome Blue Wave Refractors. Lucas Sims isn't a local guy, but he is a top prospect with the Braves. It will be interesting to see how his career goes.

I'm not too familiar with Nolan Sanburn, but he's currently listed on the A's Stockton roster. I hope to get the card signed when the Ports visit Southern California later this year. The Brandon Belt Bowman International is for my Giants buddy.

Thanks Ryan for another trade. Keep those wantlists and tradelists updated and I'm sure we'll trade again.

Last pack - '13/14 Panini Basketball

Opening up the last Panini basketball pack from the previous post while watching the Angels/Rangers game. Here are the goods:

#68 Tiago Splitter
#88 Tony Parker
#8 Tony Allen

#67 Goran Dragic All-Panini insert
#199 Phil Pressey
#182 Ricky Ledo
#145 Tyler Hansbrough
#103 Thomas Robinson

More of the same in terms of the base cards, but I like the shiny look of the Dragic insert card. As a whole though, basketball cards just don't appeal to me. While this set is ideal for a completist, there are just too many players that I've never heard of. Maybe if I were watching the NBA playoffs instead of a regular season baseball game, I might feel differently . 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

March Madness winnings - '13/14 Panini Basketball

Topically, this post is about a month late, but at work today, the manager finally handed out the prizes for our Final Four basketball pool. Each employee who drew a Final Four team received a bag of goodies, among the items, a pack a '13/14 Panini Basketball cards. Given that no one at work has interest in trading cards, I was the true winner as I ended up with the cards. One of the packs was already opened, so I will only list the packs I did open.

Pack 1

#2 Brook Lopez
#58 Wesley Matthews
#78 Jeff Green
#14 LaMarcus Aldridge

#192 Shane Larkin - son of Reds HOFer Barry!
#6 Kyrie Irving Knight School insert
#150 Greg Monroe
#154 Brandon Knight

Pack 2

#12 Serge Ibaka
#90 Paul Millsap
#62 Monta Ellis
#37 Mario Chalmers


#16 Jeremy Lin Preparation insert - could it have been only a few years ago that Lin-sanity swept the nation? Now Lin is coming off the bench for the Rockets.
#197 Allen Crabbe
#132 Marc Gasol
#148 Gerald Green

These cards are pretty "eh" in the sense that the photos pretty much all look like the Larkin card above. Some variety would've been welcome. The most interesting card from the two packs was the Lin which is horizontal and thematically at least, matches the look on his face. I have one more pack left which I will save for the weekend. As 99% of the cards I get are singles at card shows, I should probably string out the packs when I get them.  

Monday, April 28, 2014

Taking the Plunge with Matt at Bob Walk the Plank

I had recently begun working on a new set, the  '13 Topps Gypsy Queen Minis, and much to my luck, a great new blogger named Matt at Bob Walk the Plank had recently opened up a box. I took the plunge and made contact with Matt asking if he might possibly have any of my wants. Matt graciously sent back 7 of my remaining set needs.

As I'm working on the set, any missing card is nice to get, but it's always great to add a new Mike Trout and Babe Ruth card to the collection, not to mention Mariano Rivera.

Matt was kind enough to also offer up a Garrett Richards Gypsy Queen autograph. Anyone who watched the Sunday night Angels game against the Yankees knows that Richards has some nasty stuff.

As a surprise, Matt also added this Flair autograph of Casey Kotchman. Kotchman was having his best season for the Angels in 2008 when he was traded to the Braves at the deadline for Mark Teixeira. When Tex signed with the Yankees that offseason, the Angels netted the Yankees first round pick as compensation which as most people know turned out to be... Mike Trout. Yeah, I think that turned out ok in the end for the Angels.

Thanks again to Matt for the set help and extra goodies.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

2000 Peoria Chiefs

As I have previously mentioned, I like to collect the local kids from Southern California. In the 1998 MLB Draft, the St. Louis Cardinals selected Tim Lemon in the second round out of La Mirada High. The previous fall, I had covered Lemon's exploits on the gridiron and that spring, I watched the toolsy Lemon on the baseball diamond. I figured he would be a cool player to track, follow, and collect. After a couple of years in Short Season ball, Lemon moved up to Low-A Peoria in 2000. (Lemon would play 7 years in the minors never getting out of High-A, and was even converted to a pitcher in 2004)

The Chiefs offered an internet broadcast of their games that season, and I remember listening to many a game in the afternoon. What I remember most about those games was a totally unknown hitter on the Chiefs by the name of Albert Pujols. I had never heard of him before which wasn't surprising since he didn't appear in the minors in 1999. Heck, in looking at the 2000 Baseball America Almanac, he is listed as Jose Pujols.

Pujols seemed to have an exceptional batting eye and had a knack for driving in runs, a sign of what was to come. He was promoted to High-A before the year was over and went on to win the Rookie of the Year with the Cardinals the following year. The rest, as they say, is history, or historic in Pujols' case. Congratulations Albert on hitting your 500th homerun tonight; I'll always remember those humble beginnings with the Peoria Chiefs.


Friday, April 18, 2014

1993 Upper Deck Mike Perez - Huh?

Over the weekend, I got my hands on a couple of 5,000 ct. boxes of 90's cards. Sure, these cards were mass produced, but they now make for great IP autograph opportunities. Plus, I never really appreciated the photography and the cards themselves back in the day.  

While sifting through the 1993 Upper Deck, one particular card struck me, #204 Mike Perez. On the surface, he is signing a baseball card, a common theme for Upper Deck that year. But if you look closer at the card, the image on the card is of the actual baseball card itself. WEIRD. And this was done in the early 90s, where the only photoshopping I thought existed was shabby ballcaps on players who changed teams. Anyways, the name Mike Perez had never meant much to me, and though the card is nothing more than a common in terms of value, in terms of uniqueness, it is definitely one of a kind.

Monday, March 24, 2014

A whole lotta ink from Jeremy at Infield Single Cards

Ok, I admit it. One of the things I've loved since joining the blogosphere is surfing other bloggers' follow lists. Sometimes a post catches my eye and that is how I found Jeremy at Infield Single Cards. Jeremy had a list of autographs that he was willing to part with and a couple of the cards caught my eye. I made the initial contact and after an exchange of emails, a deal was struck. The cards arrived the other day and it was more than I could have ever expected.

The first autograph I was interested in was the Bryan Harvey. Harvey had several outstanding seasons for the Angels in the late 80's/early 90's before the Angels left him unprotected in the expansion draft due to a bad elbow. Jack Howell was supposed to be the successor to Doug DeCinces in the late 80's. He had decent enough power, but a low average stalled his Angel career. My one lasting memory of Howell was when he hit a broken bat homerun against the Yankees.

The other certified autograph I was interested in was the Team USA Cody Poteet. Cody is currently the Sunday starter for the UCLA Bruins. Command is an issue at times, but Poteet definitely has the stuff to be a big leaguer one day.

Jeremy also mentioned that he had an IP Shane Mack autograph. It's kind of embarrassing to say, but though I have almost the entire Mack card collection, I don't have a single autograph. Though the signature is a bit faded, it is still pretty cool and a welcome addition.

The package also included the surprise addition of several other Angel autographs, which mostly made me want to cry, and not out of joy. Due to the struggles of Jack Howell, the Angels signed Gary Gaetti in 1991 to man the hot corner. After a solid career with the Twins, Gaetti became arguably my least favorite Angel of all time (those were some AWFUL clubs). The best thing I can say about him is that he does seem to have a nice autograph. Luis Sojo is painful because he was traded to the Angels along with Junior Felix in exchange for one of my favorite Angels, Devon White. Let's just say that didn't work out on any level. Finally, there is Lance Parrish, who's prime years with the Tigers had long past when he joined the club. 

I don't want to leave this post on a bitter note, so I will say that things picked up with the surprise inclusion of a Tim Salmon autograph. The King Fish is my all-time favorite Angel so that "almost" makes up for having to re-live the Gaetti and Sojo nightmare.

Finally, Jeremy included one of the elusive '11 Topps Silver Diamonds I still need for my set. With the Pedroia in hand, I am down to 16 for the regular set.

I can't thank Jeremy enough for this great trade and stroll down memory lane.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

In Person Autograph - Marcus Wilson

So who exactly was Brent Mayne and the other 20+ scouts in attendance looking at? The answer would be Marcus Wilson, recently rated by Baseball America as a 2nd Team High School American and one of the top 25 High School players in the country for the 2014 draft. I'm not sure why Leaf put out a generic High School set on flimsy cardboard and no information on the back, but since the card exists, I was able to pick a few up.

While scouts look at tools and projection more than actual performance in a game, Wilson must've left some folks impressed as he legged out an infield single, hit a homer to left and doubled. Marcus signed a few of his cards after the game, making sure to take the time to spell out every letter. Here's to a successful baseball future, whether it be at Arizona State or in pro ball.

In Person Autograph - Brent Mayne

While at a UCLA baseball game a few weeks ago, my buddies and I began talking about former players who were now local scouts. The name Brent Mayne popped up and I knew that the former catcher was an area scout for the Padres. What I didn't know was that in 2000, Mayne was the first position player to win a game since the 1960's. I also didn't realize that a card existed of the event, in the 2000 Fleer Tradition Update set. I picked one up the following week and had been carrying it around with me wherever I went in the chance that I bumped into him. Well, today was that day.

I noticed Mayne standing by the visiting dugout and got verification from a fellow scout that it was indeed him. Brent gladly signed this card and now I can add this odd piece of history to my collection.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

In Person Autograph - Kyle Schwarber and Sam Travis

Indiana University traveled to Long Beach State this weekend for a three game series. In Kyle Schwarber and Sam Travis, the Hoosiers happen to feature two members of the 2013 Team USA Collegiate National Team. Being that Southern California is a hotbed for Team USA High School and Collegiate players, I try to get as many of the players' autographs on cards as possible. When visiting teams have Team USA players, that is just a bonus. Schwarber and Travis were extremely accommodating after the game, signing multiple cards each, but the prize was getting them to sign the cover of this year's Baseball America College Preview.

I'm not usually a fan of getting magazine's signed, especially oversized ones like Baseball America, but this is still a nice collector's item, especially for those who don't live in the Midwest and wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Small trade with Chris at Nachos Grande

As I mentioned in my last post, the small PWE trades are often the best. When I found Chris at Nachos Grande, it was perhaps fitting that his main page featured an image of a Plain White Envelope. Looking at Chris's trade list, I noticed that he had two of the elusive '11 Topps Silver Diamonds I still needed for my set. I was able to find a few cards off his wantlist and we were able to make an easy PWE trade.

With the addition of thes Rolen and Young, I am 17 cards away from the base set. Along with the cards, Chris sent a nice note and added a custom Allen Ginter mini.

Though I am not necessarily a Twins fan per se, I am definitely an admirer of customized cards. The detail and quality of this card is pretty impressive. As I dabble in getting in person autographs, I wish I had the skill and ability to come up with something like this.

Thanks again Chris for the set help and the Mauer custom. I hope we can help each other out again in the future.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Trade with Brad at Red Sox Fan in Nebraska

Sometimes, the small trades are the most rewarding. Brad at Red Sox Fan in Nebraska and I were able to come up with a simple swap that knocked off one of the last remaining '13 Bowman Platinum Ruby cards I needed to finish the set.

The addition of the Jarrod Parker leaves me with only three more Rubies: 24 Alfredo Marte36 David Wright, and 71 Tim Lincecum.

Along with the set help, Brad sent along three Topps parallels.

As a Southern California native playing for the Angels, Hank Conger fulfills two of my collecting criteria. The two Topps Green cards bring my total to 17 different in the set. I especially like the Michael Choice. The green border actually works against the yellow jersey.

Thanks again for the trade Brad! Hope to do again.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

20/$1 Card Show Pickups

Going to card shows these days is usually hit or miss. With most cards readily available online, most dealers don't bother carrying commons. Those that do usually have a wide selection of '88-89 Topps and '91 Upper Deck amongst their inventory. As such, a trip to a show is very much a crapshoot. Still, if you truly take the time to look through those dime and quarter boxes, sometimes you will find something interesting, even with those 80's commons.

Here's what today's trip got, not bad for 25/$1.

'13 Topps Opening Day Ballpark Fun BF-8 Johan Santana
'13 Topps Opening Day Ballpark Fun BF-6 Adam Jones
'13 Topps Opening Day Ballpark Fun BF-14 Jayson Werth
'13 Topps Opening Day Ballpark Fun BF-16 Elvis Andrus
'13 Topps Opening Day Ballpark Fun BF-17 Aaron Hill

As I had mentioned previously, Topps Opening Day seems to have the inserts we only wish the base product would carry. Unique themes and photography which don't repeat the same players over and over again.

'84 Donruss 36 Brad Komminsk - I might have this card already, but I had to chuckle when I saw it again. Sure, Don Mattingly is now THE rookie to get out of '84 Donruss, but in 1984, Komminsk might've been a better prospect. Komminsk hit .334 with 24 homers, 26 steals, and 103 RBI at AAA in 1983. In his 8-year major league career, Komminsk totaled 23 homers and 105 RBI hitting .218. One of my childhood memory "busts".

'12 Triple Play 71 Buster Posey
'12 Triple Play 70 Brian Wilson
'12 Triple Play 72 Tim Lincecum
'12 Triple Play 7 Adam Jones
'12 Triple Play 9 Matt Weiters
'12 Triple Play 64 Andrew McCutcheon
'12 Triple Play 20 Joey Votto

I had seen these in passing before and didn't think much of them. However, looking at different ones  today, I noticed that some of the cards actually look like the player. I'm not sure what the point was behind this set, but they are an interesting niche item to the collection.

'12 Topps USA Olympics Bronze 76 Tony Azavedo
'12 Topps USA Olympics Silver 76 Tony Azavedo
'12 Topps USA Olympics Gold 76 Tony Azavedo

'12 Topps USA Olympics 70 Lolo Jones - I know the Winter Olympics just ended, but is bobsledding really a sport if Lolo Jones can jump from Track and Field and make the national bobsledding team in two years?
'12 Topps USA Olympics 59 Missy Franklin

'97 Score Hobby Reserve 535 Tony Gwynn
'97 Score Hobby Reserve 505 Ken Caminiti
'97 Score Hobby Reserve 402 Jim Edmonds
'97 Score Hobby Reserve 418 William Van Landingham
'97 Score Hobby Reserve 398 Tyler Green
'97 Score Hobby Reserve 421 Eddie Murray
'97 Score Hobby Reserve 423 Gary Disarcina
'97 Score Hobby Reserve 425 Willie Greene
'97 Score Hobby Reserve 344 John Wasdin
'97 Score Hobby Reserve 430 Roger Clemens
'97 Score Hobby Reserve 448 Danny Tartabull
'97 Score Hobby Reserve 359 Jarrod Washburn
'97 Score Hobby Reserve 335 Sterling Hitchcock

I'm not really sure what these cards are. The fronts have a gold foil stamp which say Hobby Reserve by Score, but the Beckett Almanac lists Hobby Reserve as numbered HR1, HR2, etc. These have regular numbering on the backs. Then you look turn the page and notice that Score also had a Premium Stock, Reserve Collection, Showcase Series, and Artist's Proof of the same set that year. It's like Topps' current rainbow of colors without the colors!

'06 Sweet Spot Update 55 Joe Mauer
'06 Sweet Spot Update 24 Ken Griffey Jr
'06 Sweet Spot Update 47 Nomar Garciaparra
'06 Sweet Spot Update 76 Mike Piazza
'06 Sweet Spot Update 61 Derek Jeter

I've always liked the look of this set. Little did I know that the set came in five-card packs with a SRP of $9.99. Ouch. Looks odd to see Piazza and Nomar in a different uniform. I'm pretty sure this is the first Padre Piazza in my collection.

'90 Panini Stickers 350 Chris James
'90 Panini Sticker 48 Paul O'Neil
'88 Panini Stickers 405 Benito Santiago
'88 Panini Stickers 401 Ed Whitson
'88 Panini Stickers 338 Gary Carter
'88 Panini Stickers 228 Randolph/Boggs
'88 Panini Sticker 1 1987 WS Trophy
'88 Panini Stickers 46 Brian Downing
'88 Panini Stickers 36 Kirk McCaskill
'89 Panini Stickers 479 Kirk Gibson
'89 Panini Stickers 205 Marvell Wynne
'89 Panini Stickers 295 Tony Armas
'89 Panini Stickers 190 Padres Team Logo
'89 Panini Stickers 286 Mike Witt
'89 Panini Stickers 136 Gary Carter
'89 Panini Stickers 278 Ellis Burks
'89 Panini Stickers 48 Mike Harkey
'89 Panini Stickers 291 Wally Joyner
'89 Panini Stickers 401 Yankees Stadium

These Panini stickers don't list for much in the Beckett Almanac, but surely they are worth more than that for team collectors who can't find them anywhere. Did anyone ever peel the sticker off and actually put them in the albums?

'13 Topps Chasing The Dream CD-3 Will Middlebrooks
'13 Topps 1972 Mini TM-11 Dustin Pedroia
'13 Topps 1972 Mini TM-28 Alex Rodriguez
'13 Pinnacle Behind The Numbers BN9 Yadier Molina
'13 Pinnacle Team 2020 T1 Jurickson Profar
'13 Hometown Heroes Zip Code 26 Andre Dawson

Lastly, I was able to snag a few more '13 inserts, my favorite being this parallel of "The Hawk". I don't care much for the card design of this set, and it drives me nuts that Panini doesn't have an MLB license, thus airbrushing all their products. Personally, I think it takes away from the look of the card.