Monday, July 15, 2019

Getting Sniped and a Blaster of Platinum

Last night I lost out on an Ebay auction of a 2017 Topps parallel of Dan Vogelbach card I needed for my Vogelmonster player collection. Actually, I try to time it up each auction so that I can win at the very end, and I saw I had the winning bid for a split second, but somehow I lost. I'm blaming the bots. I refuse to use those Apps that bid for you at the end and I frown upon those who do. Talk about taking the fun out of things.

Someday robots will rule this world and I'll never be able to add another Vogelbach card to my collection again. But, I digress.

I had a good day at Dozer Park today keeping stats and afterwards had a promising meeting with the new head baseball coach, with whom I'll be working with this coming school year.

Simply stated, if I couldn't have my Vogelbach card I needed something to replace it and I was in a "spoil yourself" kind of mood.

So, I give you 2019 Bowman Platinum!
 Everyone has been pulling sick mojo hits out of these blasters.

That's not why I bought the blaster. I was going to get one loose pack, but they had all been searched and strewn out along the card aisle. How does this happen when the cards are located at the front of the store perfectly adjacent to the self-checkout lanes? Argh. I refuse to buy cards that have been potentially damaged by another rude consumer.
 So, seven packs and a bonus exclusive parallel pack it is. Ooooooh!

I'll show the highlights of each pack and then list the other cards that didn't make the cut.

Pack One:
 I worked the Peoria Chiefs versus Lansing Lugnuts game on Friday (7/12/19) and Griffin Conine was in the batting order. So, I actually know who this dude is! That's pretty cool.

I hate revealing the best card of the blaster so early, but the Astudillo wins it hands down for me. First, I love this guy! He has a cult following and I'm definitely part of said cult. Also, it's a green parallel numbered to /99. Most excellent!

Cards that didn't make the cut: A.J. Pollock (Dodgers) & Francisco Lindor (Indians)

Pack Two:
 A second year card of Juan Soto is pretty nice. Here you can also see the Platinum Presence insert card of Joey Bart. I guess Bart is a pretty decent prospect to pull.

Cards that didn't make the cut: Nomar Mazara (Rangers) & Diego Cartaya (Dodgers)

Pack Three:
 A couple of Yankee prospects? I like Chance Adams and the fact that he knows how to pitch. Josh Breaux isn't Luis Torrens, but a Yankees catcher prospect gets me bonus points, right?

Cards that didn't make the cut: David Price (Red Sox) & Salvador Perez (Royals)

Pack Four:
 Renowned Rookies insert of Ryan O'Hearn. Meh. I do like the two photo design though.
Ooooh! Justus Sheffield!  I'm learning more and more about the Mariners prospects and this guy has potential.

Cards that didn't make the cut: Matt Vierling (Phillies) & Brian Anderson (Marlins)

Pack Five:
 I think most collectors would be happy with this pack. A second year card of Acuna and a Vlad rookie. Not bad. If nothing else, I'm glad to have my first Vlad rookie.

Cards that didn't make the cut: Sean Murphy (A's) & Jake Lamb (Dbacks)

Pack Six:
 I had both Josh James and Danny Jansen on my initial fantasy baseball roster. I jettisoned each of them at some point. Hopefully, they pan out and make a name for themselves.
 Prismatic Prodigies. Now, there's an insert set with a theme. Wowsers. Triston Casas has an 0.840 OPS in the Sally League. There's some potential there.

The one lonely card that didn't make the cut: Ronny Maurico (Mets)

Pack Seven:
 This pack was my least favorite, so you get the back of a Chris Archer card.  Hmph. 

Cards that didn't make the cut: Robinson Cano (Mets), Brandon Crawford (Giants) & Griffin Canning (Angels)

And now to the "4 Exclusive Parallel Cards."
The broken ice pattern of the parallel makes me a little giddy. I'm a sucker for three things in this crazy cardboard world of ours: 1. Shiny . . . 2. Well-loved Vintage . . . and 3. Vogelbach cards.   Gennett, Royalty, Newman and India aren't the best names, but the cards sure are shiny!

Well, I'm not sure this blaster eased the pain of being sniped on my Vogelmonster Ebay auction, but it was a fun rip. If you see something that would look better in your collection than mine let me know. The Astudillo, Bart, Vlad, Sheffield, Soto, Acuna and Yankee prospects are sticking in my collection or are ear-marked for other bloggers, but everything else is available.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

HOF Binder: Page 26

This week we have a pitching dominated page including a closer!
Let's get to it:

1973Topps, #180 -- Fergie Jenkins
 Fergie Jenkins was a seven-time twenty game winner during his nineteen seasons. A true workhorse, he finished twenty or more games eight times during his career. In my world, Jenkins is on the the Mt. Rushmore of Cubs pitchers, but he also had some solid years for the Rangers and Red Sox later in his career. Fergie won one Cy Young award and finished his career with 284 wins and a 3.34 ERA. On a personal note: I've met Fergie a few times and he's a genuinely nice guy!

2017 Panini Diamond Kings, #38 -- Tony Lazzeri
 Tony Lazzeri was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Veteran's Committee. Lazzeri was a career 0.292 hitter, over fourteen seasons, mostly with the Yankees. Playing primarily second base, he went to one All-Star game (although he played seven season before the first ever ASG) and he helped the Yankees to five titles. Lazzeri finished his career with 1,840 hits and 178 home runs. 

1975 Topps, #530 -- Gaylord Perry
Gaylord Perry pitched twenty-two years for eight different teams. He was a two-time Cy Young winner and went to five All-Star games. Perry led the league in wins three times and was one of those starters who liked to finish games, throwing over 300 innings six times and reaching double digits in complete games thirteen times. Gaylord Perry finished his career with a 3.11 ERA and 314 wins.

1971 Topps, #384 -- Rollie Fingers
 Rollie Fingers made closing cool with a cool mustache (not picture) and awesome green and gold uniforms. He won four Rolaids Relief awards, was a seven time All-Star, won the Cy Young and MVP in 1981, and he won three World Series and was a World Series MVP once. He was also a multi-inning guy. During his best stretch Rollie was near the top of the league in appearances and saves all while pitching 120+ innings each year.

1961 Fleer, #66 -- Hal Newhouser
 Hal Newhouser was voted in by the Veteran's Committee. The seven time All-Star played seventeen years, mostly with Detroit. He led the AL in wins four times, won two ERA crowns and two MVP awards from from 1944-48. In fact, in 1945 Newhouser won the pitching Triple Crown. He finished his career with 207 wins and a 3.06 ERA. A Big thanks to my sister, Jane, for the card!

1976 Topps, #600 -- Tom Seaver
Tom Seaver won the Rookie of the Year in 1967 and helped the Mets to a World Series title two years later. He won three Cy Youngs with the Mets before moving on to the Reds, White Sox and Red Sox. Seaver captured three ERA crowns, was a member of twelve All-Star teams and finished his career with 311 wins and a 2.86 ERA over twenty years. Tom Terrific. Terrific, indeed!

1974 Topps, #130 -- Reggie Jackson
Reggie Jackson had personality and flair. He finished his career with 563 homers and is the all-time leader in strikeouts with 2,597. Honestly, with the way the game has evolved I don't feel like that strikeout mark is out of reach. No? Reggie won the AL MVP in 1973 when he led the league runs scored, homers and runs batted in. He won five World Series titles, three with the A's and two with the Yankees, and he was the MVP in two of those. Little known fact: Reggie was a sub-par offensive performer in 45 ALDS contests as he posted a career 0.679 OPS. He earned his moniker, Mr. October, during his 27 World Series games where his OPS soared to 1.212. Wow!

This is another page I'm pretty happy with overall. Oddly enough I think my favorite card is the 1975 All-Star card of Gaylord Perry. The one I'm most conflicted about is the early clean shaven Rollie Fingers card. I have a couple other cards with his handlebar mustache, but the black bordered 1971 set is unappreciated in my book.

Last thing I thought I'd point out: six of the seven cards feature posed shots. Only Reggie gives us a little taste of action at the end.

That's it for this week. Thanks for stopping by and stay cool!

Friday, July 5, 2019

Collect Your Way: Junk Wax Edition

I've had more time than usual as of late and I've wasted some of it venturing down the proverbial rabbit hole on Twitter and found more than a few individuals say, "Collect your way." Then a couple of posts down my feed there's a discussion over scotch tape versus painter's tape. Scroll down a few more posts and there's banter about shipping PWE versus yellow mailer. It seems like there's plenty of people who are willing to speak up about how your way is wrong.

That's unfortunate, because I'm a firm supporter of Collect your way.

Your way doesn't have to agree with @MrEbayExpert or my way.

Hey. If you like junk wax or you like building sets or you're on a card budget . . . well, don't be shy. There's no judging here.

There's nothing wrong with cards from the so called Junk Wax Era. In fact they're fun. The photo selection from '91 Upper Deck is wonderful. Full major and minor league stats on the back of Fleer cards makes me swoon. The players bios on the back of Score kept me busy for hours at a time. I loved reading the full names on the back of Donruss cards. And Topps . . . remember when building a master set was so much easier? 792 cards and DONE.

Somehow cards from the late 80's and early 90's keep finding me and I'm looking to off load much of my 17,500+ cards from the Junk Wax Era to my blogging brethren and whomever else might be interested. I've built many of these sets already and I am looking to recapture some space in the man room.
Collated and ready to go!
I have spent the last month collating by year and brand and I'm ready to pull whatever I can find for you and ship them your way. I have most brands from 1988 through 1992 and if you're looking for something specifically not listed below then just hit me up in the comments or send me an e-mail to mrcoach AT yahoo DOT com.

Here's what I have the most of:

  • 1987 Topps > 650 cards
  • 1988 Donruss > 600 cards
  • 1988 Topps > 750 cards
  • 1989 Bowman > 350 cards
  • 1989 Topps > 1,150 cards
  • 1990 Bowman > 600 cards
  • 1990 Donruss > 1,000 cards
  • 1990 Fleer > 550 cards
  • 1990 Score > 700 cards
  • 1990 Topps > 700 cards
  • 1991 Donruss (Series 1 & Series 2) > 1,250 cards
  • 1991 Score (Series 1 & Series 2) > 1,650 cards
  • 1991 Topps > 950 cards
  • 1991 Upper Deck > 650 cards
  • 1992 Donruss (Series 1 only) > 350 cards
  • 1992 Pinacle (Series 2 only) > 200 cards
  • 1992 Score > 450 cards
  • 1992 Topps > 1,550 cards
  • 1992 Topps Winners > 450 cards
  • 1993 Topps > 350 cards
  • 1994 Fleer > 350 cards

Again, drop me line and let me see what I can do for you.

Maybe you need a dozen cards to finish your 1991 Studio set. Please ask.

Perhaps you've always wanted to build the '89 Bowman set. They're yours.

Drop me a line and I'm sure we can work something out. I'm a Vogelbach super collector, a set builder, and a Cubs team collector who would happily take on any Cubs cards you're willing to part with, especially those from the last two years.

I'd eagerly swap a box of junk wax goodness for a PWE of Cubs cards. Just want these cards to go to a good home.

Collect your way. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

HOF Binder: Page 25

This page brings me back to my childhood. The first set I started buying packs for was 1988 Topps. I actually just finished building that set a couple of months ago, something I started when I was ten years old. Crazy to think it took me three decades to complete a set!

The cards of my youth were centered right in the middle of the junk wax years and I really went all-in on cards during the next four years. I wasn't collecting with the hopes of one day flipping my collection for a big pile cash. Instead, I was collecting because I love the sport and wanted to be closer to it.
1989 was the first time I really paid attention to everything baseball, including the Hall of fame. With that in mind, let's break down the players from Page 25.

1969 Topps, #430 -- Johnny Bench
 Johnny Bench is arguably the top NL catcher in the Hall of Fame and maybe the best ever with other consideration going to Yogi Berra. He is a career 0.267 hitter with 389 homers and in his prime there was no one better defensively. Bench led the league in throwing out runners three seasons and finished his career catching 43% of would be base-stealers. During his 17 year career he won the Rookie of the Year, two MVP awards, ten Gold Gloves, went to fourteen All-Star games, two titles with the Reds and was the MVP of the 1976 World Series when he hit 0.533. 

1971 Topps, #239 -- Red Schoendienst
 Albert Fred Schoendienst was voted into the Hall of Fame by the Veteran's Committee. This baseball lifer played from 1945 to 1963 and managed another fourteen seasons after he retired. Red is best known as a second baseman for the Cardinals and he helped win St. Louis a World Series in 1946. The ten time All-Star also played for the Giants and Braves, contributing to a World Series for the latter. Schoendienst was a career 0.289 hitter who amassed 2,449 hits.

1967 Topps, #355 -- Carl Yastrzemski
 Carl Yastrzemski played twenty-three seasons for the Red Sox and collected 3,419 hits during that span. Yaz was elected to eighteen All-Star games and also won seven Gold Gloves. He won the Triple Crown in 1967 he hit 0.326 with 44 homers and 121 RBIs. Overall, he won three batting titles and arguably the most notable is his hitting crown in 1968 when he led the AL with a 0.301 batting average. Yaz popped 452 home runs to go along with a 0.285 average over his career.

1966 Topps, #195 -- Joe Morgan
 I love the Topps rookie trophy! Joe Morgan, the player, was dynamic. He nearly stole 700 bases during his career and he had a career OBP of 0.392. Morgan was a catalyst for the Big Red Machine and helped them win two World Series titles. Morgan's other accolades include winning five Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger, two MVP awards and being selected an All-Star ten times. Personally, I remember Morgan once holding the career home run mark for second basemen before Ryne Sandberg surpassed him.

1978 Topps, #160 -- Jim Palmer
 Jim Palmer pitched nineteen season in MLB and had an ERA under 3.00 in over half of them. Simply stated, he dominated during the decade of the 1970s. The six time All-Star won three World Series with the Orioles, four Gold Glove awards and three Cy Young awards. He finished up with a 268-152 record and a career ERA of 2.86

1976 Topps, #400 -- Rod Carew
When I was growing up Tony Gwynn and Wade Boggs were often compared to Rod Carew. I knew nothing of Carew, as he retired before I started following MLB baseball, but man was he a great hitter! Carew was an All-Star eighteen times during his nineteen year career. He won the Rookie of the Year in 1967 and ten years later he was an MVP. That season he set a career high in runs scored, doubles, triples, homers, runs batted in and batting average (0.388). The longtime Twin and Angel finished his career with a 0.328 batting average and 3,053 hits.

The 1969 Johnny Bench is my favorite card on this page, because Sporting News All-Star cards are wonderful. I really like how this one has a black-and-white shot in the background and a color portrait in the foreground. Very nice.

What I'll remember about this page the most is all six of the cards are from different Topps sets and the number of each card ends in a five or a zero. Hall of Fame caliber players should be given the five or zero treatment.

That's it for this edition of the Hall of Fame binder.
Thanks for stopping by and I wish you all safe and happy 4th of July!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Celebrating 15

My wife, of nearly fifteen years, and I spent last week in central Indiana. We spent a majority of our time in the Bloomington area, specifically Indiana University and Lake Monroe.

You may be thinking, "A week in Indiana? Ugh."  Well, we really love experiencing college towns and two of our other favorites are Des Moines and Madison. We find them to be a little more modern, flush with outdoor activities, and stacked with great food venues. So, we decided to give Bloomington a try this time around.

During the first half of our trip we stayed at Graduate. Graduate is chain, which is currently building college themed hotels in major college towns.
Indiana is known for its basketball, so much of the decor was based around the state's rich basketball history. Here's my favorite art piece within the hotel.
It's a chandelier made of chairs. Obviously, this is a tip of the cap to Bobby Knight. LOL

Indiana University's campus is gorgeous. It features brick walking paths, limestone buildings, creeks, shaded areas and it was immaculately maintained.
 Above is picture of Laura at the Sample Gates.

 Here's a snap shot of me with one of the pieces of art on campus.

Scouring the internet for unique places to consume food and/or beverages is something I really enjoy doing before a trip. The best place I found was Function Brewing.
I don't often order a flight of beer, but I figured it would be the best way for this light-weight to try as many of the math themed beers as possible.
My favorite was the Theorem Milk Stout. Good stuff!

Here's a completely different tasting flight.
We experienced Bruster's Ice Cream twice during our trip. Four smaller single scoops of ice cream in a waffle bowl for under five bucks. You can't beat that! Key Lime Pie is the top left, and then going around clock-wise we have Graham Central Station, Peach Melba and Black Raspberry Cheesecake.

Laura found a hamburger joint I still can't get out of my head. Hinkle's is all about service and it was the best cheeseburger I've had since I frequented Lulu's in Chicago before Laura and I were married.

Downtown Bloomington advertises that it is home to eighteen different ethnic restaurants. We tried our fair share, but we went to one place three times and I was re-introduced to bubble tea!

 Last food picture. Here we go!
Square Donuts? We had to try them.

Warning: Here comes a photo dump of activities!

We went to the botanical garden on IU's campus for an hour or so. Above is a picture of their century plant which blooms once during its fifty or sixty years and then dies. This is the summer it will bloom!

We traveled around downtown Bloomington on rental scooters. That was super fun!

We made it to Indiana University's baseball complex. It's a very nice facility and all done up in artificial turf. Luckily, it was unlocked and we were able to walk right in.

We spent a day and traveled north to Indianapolis to see their museum and outdoor gardens at Newfield's. There was a legitimate beer garden on the premises, although we were there on a day when they weren't serving. Bummer.

We rented a condo on Lake Monroe during the second half of our trip and spent some quality time relaxing by reading, napping, and watching movies.
One morning we rented a fishing boat and went tooled around Lake Monroe for a couple of hours. Laura really enjoyed being at the controls. 

Laura and I went on a couple of hikes, but many of the trails in the area were closed due to all of the rains they had experienced earlier in the month. Here's a snapshot of the 9.5 mile route we hiked one morning. Lots of hills on that bad boy! Whew!

On the way home we stopped by a fireworks store to pick up some goods for my father's retirement and 4th of July party combo.

It's always nice to get away with the one you love. Bloomington is a wonderful place to spend some time and explore, because the campus is beautiful and the food options can't be beat.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you find some time to get away this summer!