Thursday, May 21, 2020

The Joy of a Completed Page

I was finally able to secure the white bordered "paper" version of the Dan Vogelbach SP from this year's edition of Heritage. It joins a mini, a couple of inserts, and a bunch of chromey goodness to complete a 9-pocket page.

Brace yourselves.

Witnessing this many VOGELMONSTER cards in one picture could cause lasting damage to your vision.

Here it is:
Here a quick description of each from left to right, starting at the top: base SP, purple chrome, refractor, black chrome, white chrome, white paper, tattoo, Bazooka, and mini.

Of all the photos used on all of the Vogelbach cards in my collection, this year's Heritage is my favorite. This pose captures him launching an imaginary baseball in the stratosphere, where he has parked many a homer before.

So glorious!

I won't be chasing any of the lower numbered parallels, because suddenly there are other collectors who have jumped on the VOGELMONSTER bandwagon to drive up auction prices. Booo!

My collection currently sits at 461 Vogelbach cards and my Sandberg collection is at 963. Both are closing in on major milestones, but I think we all know which one will get there first!

Monday, May 18, 2020

A Blaster from BaseballCardStore.ca

It must of been a couple of weeks ago I saw a blog post, from Trevor at Bump and Run Football Cards, where he showed a quite excellent haul from a sports card outlet otherwise previously unknown to me. BaseballCardStore.ca was and still is offering a 10 cent card sale. Woo-Hoo!

Talk about perfect timing for this collector. I have been wanting to go to a card show for quite some time now and I've have had an abundant amount of time on my hands as of late, as most of us probably have. 
So I gave up Netflix for a night and instead dived into a virtual dimebox. Oh, and let me tell you what fun it was!
I first scanned the store's list of 1982 Topps, which outside of my Conlon project is my only current set build. Most of the stars were picked over, but I did find a quartet which I could cross off my list. I'm down to needing 113 cards to finish my Topps run of sets from 1978 through 1992.

Next up I looked into bolstering my player collections. 
The Kerry Wood is an acetate card from the 1998 E-X2001 set and the Brooks Kieschnick is from 1994 Bowman's Best. The right half of the Wood card is the acetate portion, which shows off the wood grain of my desk. 

The least shocking addition of the four cards above is probably the Schwarber card from Topps Archives. The Rizzo is from Topps' National Baseball Card Day, the Bryant is the holiday parallel and Miguel Amaya certainly can't be had for a dime in my neck of the woods. 

Gosh, what I hadn't considered was there's no way I would ever find Cubs cards, of this quality in a dimebox in Illinois. Schwarber is from the one-and-done Honus Bonus set, the Bryant is purple chrome parallel and the Rizzo is the holiday parallel. My favorite of the four is the Albert Almora from one of my favorite brands, Stadium Club.
I already had a copy of this Glenallen Hill card, but it's not the foil signature variation like this one!

I was super excited to find this early Classic card of a young Doug Glanville with the Single-A Daytona Cubs. Glanville is one of favorite baseball analysts. 

My Bruce Sutter, Gabby Hartnett, Gary Mathews and Don Zimmer card collections all got a nice boost. Sutter grabbing a bat is so awesome. Relievers aren't supposed to bat!  But, I also really like the photo of Hartnett. Oh, and before you poo-poo the Zimmer... keep in mind this one is from the Topps Traded set and it's not quite as easy to come by. 

Early Mitch Williams cards! My mom would be proud!  She was a big fan of the Wild Thing.

I already had a copy of this card, but when you have a chance at a card like this for a dime you shouldn't pass it up. 
Rod Beck! His legend has done nothing but grow in my mind. I'm thinking he's all alone because it's the late innings and he's working on a no-hitter. Only a closer of Rod Beck's dominance could throw a no-hitter without ever starting a game. Yes, Beck is kind of like my Chuck Norris. 

After checking my player collections I was just short of 200 cards and I really wanted to hit that mark so I could use my the title. I think most of us define a blaster at $20. No?
How about some Senior League cards?  Oh yeah! Many of the cards didn't have pictures uploaded for them and I was too lazy to do my homework. I gambled that Oscar Gamble would have his famous 'fro. I can handle a loss like that when it sets me back twenty cents. Plus, that card on the right is so awesome looking!

Up next, a couple of Hall of Famers, Doc Ellis and Dave Kingman. Just good stuff all the way around. 

Here's the last card. I think I learned of this one on Dimebox Nick's blog. Tommy Lasorda is helping Ojeda with his pitch grip. I've done the same thing numerous times with my high school players. Naturally, I had to add this card to my stack!
In all, I came away with 200 cards and a nice acrylic container for the price of a blaster plus shipping and handling. I don't think you can argue with that!

If you have the time, I would suggest giving BaseballCardStore.CA a try!

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Getting Ahead of the Market

I'm not much of a baseball card prospector, although I do love to follow minor league baseballtop prospect lists, and especially Cubs farmhands.  I'm also not one to invest in cards for the money. I see myself as more of a collector rather than investor. But, this post from The Lost Collector got me thinking about the current state of affairs in MLB and how it relates to card collecting.

I read this paragraph from an article on CBS Sports and found an angle the card collector, on a budget, could maybe help grow his/her budget. 

No minor league baseball? Okay. Wrap your head around that for a second. 

I believe there are 160 MiLB teams, not including instructional complexes and summer leagues, which amounts to 4,000+ minor league players. That's a year of development down the drain for a lot of players. 

But what about a guy like Nate Pearson, a former #1 draft pick flamethrower? Pearson is MLB.com's #8 prospect and he was lighting it up in Spring Training, but the Blue Jays were still on the fence about bringing him up. 

The Blue Jays had nothing to lose by sending him to Buffalo to start the season. In fact, they would have gained a year of control if they held him down past the Super Two cutoff date. 

But, there won't be minor league baseball this year. Toronto can't send him down and they can't afford to lose a year of development on such a talented arm. As it's outlined above, one would assume that at a minimum Pearson would make the taxi squad. 

What that does that do to his value in the card collecting world? I think any prospect who makes a taxi squad will naturally be given a little more attention and their card prices will jump as a result.

How big of a jump are we talking? Like any player, it depends on the pedigree, the market, and the opportunity. 

Opportunities are being created by MLB in some cases. Take the Cardinals' outfield situation for instance: Dexter Fowler, Harrison Bader, Tyler O'Neill, Lane Thomas, and maybe even Tommy Edman. Those names don't exactly scare anybody. Enter the concept of the universal DH into the National League and Dylan Carlson. Carlson is a switch hitting 21-year-old phenom, who is ranked #17 on MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects List.

Carlson is the future of the Cardinals' outfield. He needs to play. I suppose he could sit on the taxi squad and take some BP, but there's nothing like seeing live pitching to help improve upon a career arc. The Cardinals are a smart organization and they'll do what's best for one of their young gems.

Take a moment and thing about how many rookies we see in normal year of baseball. Now think about how many of them actually make an impact during their time in the majors. I think those numbers will certainly increase during the 2020 season.

MLB and the player's union both seem intent on expanding the rosters and limiting injuries. Both of those actions invite more playing time for other players. And if you have to choose between Nico Hoerner and Daniel Descalso getting live reps or no reps, then who do you think a GM will push for? The experience of a player like Descalso has some advantages, especially for a playoff team, but I have to think MLB teams have an eye on the future. Young, near-ready MLB talent sitting on a taxi squad doesn't help the future.

So, do a little research. Pearson and Carlson are known commodities and their card prices reflect that. Find out which teams had position battles this past spring involving a prospect who might be ready. Take the time to investigate which minor league players, who are deemed further away, were invited to major league camp to get a look. These are the younger players who I think potentially will be a given a shot this year. Once you have identified a couple of them invest a bit. When they get the call and the market jumps, then flip them for something you'd really like for your collection.

The 2020 season is going to be different. That we know for sure. Above are just the ponderings of an educated fan and what could possibly play out.

If you're like me, you're doing your research because you can't afford a Jasson Dominguez card.  I'll go invest in some Kyle Wright, Daulton Varsho, and Jesus Sanchez and watch how 2020 unfolds.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, May 10, 2020

ARPSmith Contest Winnings 🔥🔥🔥

I don't enter many contests and when I do take the time I don't really expect to win. I'm a math teacher nerd and I'm not one to take risks when it ultimately could cost me something. I'm pretty boring that way.

Adam, at ARPSmith's Sportscard Obsession, is back from a brief blogging hiatus and he recently held a contest asking for guesses on the total for a purchase. With losing to lose I tossed a number out there. Somehow I wound up being only 43 cents off with my guess.

Shocked as I was at the time, I was doubly so when Adam sent me an email saying he wiped out my Top 5 Most Wanted Cards list from my blog.

Say what?

I don't load up my wanted list with pricey cards so I'm not shocked when one finds its way to my mailbox in a PWE. But, all five? At once? That's just some super generosity right there.

Let's take a quick look at what Adam planned to ship me as a prize package:
Top 6? Poor time for a typo!
I've seen nearly all of these around at local card shows and I specifically remember seeing the Sandberg SP with a $20 asking price. Dealers love to mark up their Cubs (and Cardinals) cards in my neck of the woods.

The package arrived yesterday and boy was I hyped up when the mailman drove off! (Yes, I've kind of been rushing to the window, like a six year old, waiting to see if my prize package had arrived.)

Here we go, in order:

#1) 2018 Diamond Kings, #25 -- Ernie Banks "Let's Play Two" Variation
Ernie Banks' most famous quote on a card. Most Excellent!

#2) 2019 Topps, #525 -- Ryne Sandberg SP
 This one features a pretty unique photo of my favorite Hall of Famer.
Full stats!  Woot!

#3) 2019 Topps 150 Years Greatest Players, #GP-13 -- Ryne Sandberg
 Greatest Players? 10 All-Star Games, 9 Gold Gloves, 7 Silver Sluggers and one MVP. Yeah, I think he qualifies.

#4) 2019 Topps Faces of the Franchise, #FOF-6 -- Bryant/Banks/Sandberg
 I'm not sold on Kris Bryant being the current face of the franchise. Rizzo and Baez are definitely in the conversation, but it's still a pretty neat card.
Bryant has a long way to go to catch up to Ernie and Ryno!

#5) 2019 Topps 150 Years Greatest Moments, #GM-22 -- Anthony Rizzo
 Oh, I've been saving a space in the World Series binder for this one. I wish Topps would have used a photo from the moment right after he caught the last out of the 2016 World Series. But, you know, Topps is gonna Topps.

Here's the picture I'm referring to:

Those five cards, by themselves put me on cloud nine. I mean, how much awesomeness can one Cub fan endure from a package?

But, wait. There's more!
 A new card for the Baez binder! I love his action/fielding cards. The batting ones are okay, but his athleticism as a shortstop just flummoxes me on a daily basis during the season.

1985 Topps is such an underrated design and Willson is my favorite current Cub.

And what's this?
 A manu-relic commemorating Ryne Sandberg's first career home run?
How cool is this? Wow!  I'm up to 962 unique Sandberg cards in my collection now. Woo-Hoo!

Last card and it's a jaw-dropper:
GLORIOUS! It's a relic-auto card of Wilson Conterars from the 2017 Panini Donruss Promising Pros insert set. The card design is top-notch and this is my first certified auto of Willy.

Wow. Just wow.
"Enjoy these cards?"  Um, yeah, that won't be a problem whatsoever. Thanks for the superb prize package, Adam!

Friday, May 8, 2020

The Road to Opening Day

This might be the first time a Topps NOW card has arrived in the consumers' hands before the event it was touting actually occurred.

Behold! Here's the Vogelmonster's "Road to Opening Day" card for 2020.
If you flip the card over you'll see some true insight about the Mariners' upcoming 2020 season, "With some of the most talented players in Baseball, the Seattle Mariners are poised to take a leap during the 2020 campaign for the AL West Division title."
I could get really snarky here about Topps' analysis, but instead I'll just say it's nice to see some positivity for a change. The Mariners competing for an AL West crown?  Hey, in a shortened season anything could happen. Right?

So, when do you think the Road to Opening Day will end?

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Are We Waiting 'til Next Year?

My mailbox loves PWEs and so do I. This one comes from Marc over at Remember the Astrodome. The cardboard protector within contained a note which got me thinking. Marc suggests "we're all probably waiting until next year (for baseball) at this point."
As much as I personally enjoy applying word play to specific blog names within the titles of a post and/or a well thought out note, I think this motion has the potential to be more accurate than many want to admit.
 Even so, I've read up on proposals from MLB and I believe things are trending in the right direction. Here's the biggest proposals in chronological order:

  • Every team being stationed in Arizona
  • Teams in Arizona and Florida
  • Teams in Arizona, Florida and Texas
  • Teams playing in their home ballparks, but split into three geographically based divisions
You'll notice a trend here in that MLB continues to open things up. It want from one state, to two, to three, and the latest has teams playing in their home ballparks. Surely that's a positive sign. Right?

 When/if baseball returns I'm not sure what it will look like, but I doubt it will be what we're accustomed to. Perhaps, it will look like the KBO (Korean Baseball Organization)? Cheerleaders in the stands, but no fans? Nah, MLB teams would never employ cheerleaders. As a safeguard I've read the league may employ a "monastery" set-up. That sounds less than ideal for the players. I'm sure the MPBPA will have something to say about the working conditions.
 There was a tad of optimism doled out a few days ago when MLB reached an agreement on how to pay the umpires this year. That's at least one less hurdle to leap when the green light is given.
Personally, I'm still holding out hope that we have baseball in some form or another this year, but it leaves me with so many questions.
In short, Marc's note has me looking like Jason Heyward here. His eyes seem to be looking up as if to say, "I got all of that one!"  But his gaze also seems to be angled in a position where his next thought is questioning, "Foul or Fair?"

So, yeah, I'm excited about the prospects of their being a season, but it still seems very much up in the air to me at this point. 

Marc, thanks for the Cubs cards and for giving me something to ruminate over!

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Are You The ____ Guy?

I got a pretty sweet PWE from Kerry, author of Cards on Cards, the other day in mail. It started off with some 2006 Bowman Heritage, which filled some holes in my Cubs box. I'm not a big fan of minis, but the D-Lee mini is pretty spectacular in my eyes.

The current crop of Cubs rookies aren't well represented in my collection, which makes this Alzolay and Hoerner card twice as nice.

Not too long ago the "paper" version of this Decades' Best Teams card was on my "Top 5 Most Wanted" list in the margin of my blog. (The list needs to be updated! Woo-Hoo!) I didn't know there was a chromed up version. Very cool!  Off to the World Series binder it goes. I'm pretty psyched about that!

This note made me smile. Nine-plus years ago when I started this blog I was just hoping to gain a couple dozen followers, but now I'm known around the blogs as The Vogelbach Guy!

Yeah, take a look at this beauty! That's some shiny mojo right there!

 I've never owned a scanner before, but then I saw TLC was using an application called the CamScanner for his pictures. As a teacher, who is dealing with remote instruction, I took advantage of CamScanner's offer to level up to their premium service.  The "magic color" setting does wonderful things to 2020 Heritage refractors!

I've been really happy with the scanner and have even convinced most of my 56 Calculus students, who are taking the Advanced Placement exam in ten days, to take advantage of their free trial to upload their handwritten work on exam day. They haven't complained to me about, so that's how I know they like it. 😁

A big thanks to Kerry for the Cubs and one pretty trippy Vogelmonster refractor!  For the record, Kerry is my Cardinals Guy.  I'm not sure, but he might be the blogosphere's Cardinals Guy. No?

How about you? Are you The ____ Guy?  Leave a comment or write a blog post. I'd like to know!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

David Ross Addition & Rotating Cats

David Ross and Ben Zobrist were my favorite players on the 2016 World Series team and sometimes when I get the inkling I go searching for new cards of both.

Usually my search for "2020 David Ross" in Ebay comes up empty, but not this time!
This is a promotional card from this year's Spring Training for the Special Olympics.
The back of the card shows it's definitely a promotional item, which I'm perfectly fine with. It looks like an event I would like to go to!

Now, onto the rotating cats part of the post.
Holiday loves her ears rubbed.
 For those of you have cats and windows on multiple sides of your house, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.
Hugo prefers belly rubs.
 When I need a break from sitting at the computer "teaching" all day I go looking for a cat.
 They seem to like the ear and belly rubs I give and it makes me feel better.
I don't always know where they are in the house, but depending on the time of day I can usually narrow it down quickly. 
They seem to rotate around the house as we rotate around the sun.
It may be the floor, a window sill, a chair or a stair, but all those locations have one thing in common: sunlight. 
It's got to be hard work being a cat. Especially with that pesky sun moving an all.

Thanks for stopping by!