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.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Trade with Ryan at "O" No!!! Another Orioles Blog

Around the time this blog was created, I was surfing various other blogs for ideas and stumbled upon Ryan at "O" No!!! Another Orioles Blog. As primarily a set and player collector, I really appreciated Ryan's blog set up which clearly shows a wantlist and tradelist. As such, we quickly agreed upon a trade which helped with the collection.

These three parallels add to my Southern California high school collection. Ryan McMahon was better known as a quarterback at Mater Dei. When I spoke to him at the Area Code Games in 2012, it was at the start of football "Hell Week". He mentioned that playing baseball was much more enjoyable than going through those first week conditioning workouts. Dominic Smith was the Mets first round pick last year. I got him to sign a custom card for me at Area Code Games; hopefully I will be able to pick up his certified autograph in the future. Jonathan Pettibone was an under-the-radar prospect in the Phillies system who made his big league debut last year. Good luck and best of health to the tall righty from Esperanza High.

Ryan also added these two mascot cards. Gapper was a 2012 set need and those are always appreciated. Is it just me or does anyone else think that the Opening Day inserts are much more interesting than the base product inserts?

Finally, I picked up these two 2014 Topps green border cards. Sure, the color scheme may be unsightly, but I try to pick these cards up whenever possible. Only 320 green cards away from the Series 1 set!

Thanks again to Ryan for the trade. I hope to do again in the future.