Saturday, August 31, 2013

Aunt Millie's Kerry Wood

Eleven different cards were placed in Aunt Millie's Bread in the Chicagoland area during the summer.  Being two hours south of Chicago I had to find my copy of the Kerry Wood card on Ebay.  

I miss the days when you could buy a Grand Slam breakfast at Denny's and get a baseball card.  Or maybe they were inserted in Mootown Snackers string cheese. I ate a bunch of string cheese that summer.  Post Cereal?  Yep, I ate lots of cereal.  Oh, and I can't forget the Cracker Jack boxes!

The companies didn't have the MLB license, but that didn't stop them from inserting baseball cards in their product.  It certainly didn't stop my family from purchasing hose products... in bulk!

I tip my cap to Aunt Millie's and their promotional idea.  Well done, Aunt Millie!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ugh. It's too hot.

Thankfully, my school building is air-conditioned, because it has been sweltering outside as of late.

How hot is it?

Yeah, you read right... 19 inches warm today.

Here's the proof:
Poor Gus.  I wonder if I should pull out the clippers and rid him of that fur coat? Hehe.

I've been saving that cartoon strip for over a month now: just waiting for a hot day!
Thanks to my mom for sending me the cartoon, and kudos to Jeff Mallett on the great word play.

Stay cool, folks!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Pack of 2013 Pinnacle

I stopped by my LCS over the weekend and picked up a pack of 2013 Pinnacle, which is made by Panini.  For some reason there isn't nearly as much ballyhoo around Pinnacle as there is around Allen & Ginter.  Perhaps it has something do with the lack of MLB licensing or maybe it's the fifth installment of the Gint-A-Cuffs competition.

No matter, let's crack in!

 Batting leadoff, one of the two reasons the Marlins are still on the map: Jose Fernandez.
 For those of you who are wondering, the other Marlin that comes to mind is Giancarlo Stanton.

Next up, Austin Jackson and Brandon Phillips.
 I really like BP's card, but I think it' s mostly the red jersey.  The Fernandez and Jackson cards might as well be black and white, because there's hardly any color to these two cards.

Jason Heyward and Mike Napoli.  I feel bad for Heyward who will now be consuming his meals through a straw for the next 6 to 8 weeks.  Ouch.
 Here's an insert: Position Powers card of Gio Gonzalez.
 I've placed the Gio card next to a base card so you can easily tell the difference between the two.  Both, in my opinion, are way too dark.  Even the blurry background on Gio's card doesn't lighten up things enough for me.

Here's where the pack starts getting interesting:
We've seen these types of playing card inserts recently.  The first ones that come to mind are the "Dealing Aces" inserts from this year's Gypsy Queen set.  Huh.  Panini can't use MLB logos, so instead they're going to steal Topps ideas?  Sigh.

Regardless, it's a slick looking card, and it's shininess certainly brightens up this set!

Oh, and yes, that's the same picture of Strasburg that is featured on the pack wrapper. Kind of cool.

Last but not least, the best card of the pack for this Ryno collector:

 It has been a loooooong time since I busted a pack and pulled a Sandberg.  Man, I nearly forgot how awesome it is to pull your favorite player!

The darkness of the cards aside, I'm happy with the pack: a Jose Fernandez rookie, a Gio insert, a shiny Strasburg, and my 683rd different Ryne Sandberg.  Nice. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Former Cubs from Once a Cub

On Friday I received an unannounced package in my mailbox from Matt, the author of Once a Cub.  I'm not sure how other bloggers who are fans of the same team do it, but trading with another Cub fan can be quite difficult.  We each value the same cards!

For instance, if I pull an 2013 A&G auto from one of the 29 other teams I don't think twice about trading it away for some Cubs.  Not a second thought.

Which makes me wonder, did Matt realize he dropped a Brett Jackson auto in the package?

Now, the Jackson card is the closest thing to a "present" Cub that was in this particular package, but I'm totally cool with that, because that means there are Cubs of the past included and I can always get behind the heroes of my youth (and earlier). 

Oh, and for the record, Jackson's not even with the major league team at the moment as he's hacking away in AA.  So, in a way, he can kind of qualify as a former Cub, and the title to the post still fits.

On to the aforementioned former Cubs!

Four "new to me" Ernie Banks cards.  I love the one on the top-right that has his Hall of Fame plaque in the background.  Pretty nice idea by Topps on that one.

On the other hand, the "Shortstop Supremacy" would have once gotten me excited.  But anymore, the only time I recognize Arod is when I'm trying to debate which nickname is more fitting: ARoid or AFraud.  Ugh.

Kerry Wood Topps and Bowman:

Kerry Wood Upper Deck and Heritage:

Kerry Wood Donruss, Leaf, Ultra, and couple of rare Topps:

And then the card I've been after for years, and I do mean years.
The 1997 Bowman rookie card of Kid K!  Matt even it firmly placed it in a snap down hard protective case for good measure.  Good thing, too, because I just about dropped the entire pile of cards on the floor when I saw this beauty!

Matt included a note as well, "How about a 10% boost to the ol' Kerry Wood collection?" 

Heck yeah!

Thanks for a great package, Matt!  I've got something planned down the road for you, but until then I've got some cards already packaged up to send your way. 

Wow, what a package.  In my opinion, Cubs fans are the best traders!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Case of Bowman Platinum Cubs

I was sent a PWE with some Bowman Platinum Cubs inside from My Cardboard Habit.  I really liked the design of the set and it just so happens I that I have mini collections of all the Cubs in the checklist, so I pulled the trigger on an Ebay case break.

The cards arrived and I thought I share what a case of 2013 Bowman Platinum could yield.

How about the "hits" first?
Barret Loux was acquired in a midseason trade from the Rangers last summer. He's currently pitching in triple A Iowa and is probably getting razzed by his teammates for the size and placement of his signature.  I guess Barret didn't realize that nearly two-thirds of the card is open for signing.  Bummer.
Shawon Dunston, Jr., a 2012 draftee, is currently playing with the Boise Hawks of the short season Northwest League.   His autograph is only slightly better than the one above.  It's larger, which is a plus.  But, on the downside he just signs his initials (lame) and he started the signature too far to the left.  Hmph.

In the case break I received three full team sets and plenty of repeats of some of the other guys.  It would have been five team sets, but I only got three Starlin Castro cards.  Yet, I did get a couple of parallels.
The one on the left is the blue parallel, the gold is on the right.

Speaking of parallels, how about an X-fractor and a blue refractor of last year's #1 draft pick, Albert Almora.  Nice!

Top Prospect cards of Almora, Javier Baez, and Dan Vogelbach.  Lots of young talent right there!

 Baseball America Diamonds in the Rough:
 I'm a big fan of Arismendy Alcantara.  Marco Hernanddez?  Not so much.  I've seen both of these guys play in Peoria and I feel one has a legitimate shot at sticking in the majors, while the other may receive a "cup of coffee" some day if he's lucky.  I'm no talent scout though. So, whatever.

Let's not forget the rest of the base cards:  Anthony Rizzo, Jorge Soler, Baez, Almora, and Vogelbach.
I don't know if I'd do another case break like this one.  The guy ripped through 12 boxes (one case) in under thirty minutes and only showed the prospect cards and autographs.  I'm pretty confident that I got everything that was coming to me in the end, but perhaps I went a bit overboard with an entire case when a team set would have sufficed?

Off to Ebay I go with my duplicates to try to recoup some of my coin.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Listia Goodness

I was browsing for Ryne Sandberg cards on Listia last week and came across a ten card auction of some pretty notable figures at a very reasonable price.  506 credits and a week later, here's what I can add to my collection and/or trade stacks:
 1991 O-Pee-Chee Premier of "The Kid" on the left and a 1992 Leaf card of Barry Bonds on the right.  Owners of two of the sweetest left-handed swings the game has ever seen.

Here's a pair that drove Cubs pitchers crazy for years, Barry Larkin (.317 BA) and Jeff Bagwell (37 HRs):
Above, we have a 1992 Fleer Ultra All-Star insert of a recent Hall of Fame inductee.  To the right is a 1991 Donruss Diamond King of a guy with the weirdest lower-half of a batting stance I've ever seen.

Hmmm...  I only paired these two together because they were both horizontal cards.  Yep, nothing cool to comment on, except...
 Oooooh!  Shiny!  ('94 UD Mickey Mantle Cecil Fielder)
... and ... 
the Say Hey Kid! ('93 UD Baseball Heroes)

Um, much less excited about these two:
 1989 Fleer Roger Clemens and a 1994 Triple Play Bomb Squad insert of Juan Gonzalez. The sepia color and beige border do nothing for me in the Juan Gone card. Meh.

Even still, I'm thinking about chasing this set:
 Until then, I can sleep easier knowing that I have a card of the Stolen Base King to help me get started on that '87 Topps set.

Here's the card that brought me to the above lot:
Unfortunately, I already have this one in my Sandberg collection. No matter, the other cards were a pretty sweet find!

Thanks for stopping by today!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I got Hinkled tonight.

I went to what will probably be my last minor league baseball game of the year this evening.  Things are winding down for my local team, the Peoria Chiefs, but that doesn't mean I still can't have fun at the ol' ballpark!

One dollar hotdogs, ice cream sandwiches, and fountain drinks...  Nice!

My friend Jim, who was celebrating a major birthday, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.  Low and and inside, but it caught the corner.  What a professional.

Select items were 50% off in the gift store tonight and I walked out with four baseball card sets for $10. 
Three of the sets are prospect sets from past years in the Midwest League (low-A) and the other is the Chiefs' team set from last year which features Javier Baez. Who's Baez?  Cubs fans know.  He's a beast.

Lastly, we decided to cheer for Wade Hinkle. 

Why cheer for Wade?  Well, because I remembered his card from this year's Bowman set.
Additionally, even though they are the home team we don't usually cheer for the Chiefs.  We're still a little bummed that they're affiliated with the Cardinals now after losing the Cubs.  Bleh.   So Wade, a visiting player, received our adoration this evening.

He was playing first base and batting clean-up for the Burlington Bees, an Angels affiliate.  We chanted his name in the fifth and he singled to right.  Wade received a nice standing ovation from my little group.  Then he caught a pop up for the last out of the 6th and he tossed us the ball on his way back to the dugout.  I was the lucky one who got to take the ball home, which I'm pretty happy about. 

I think I may need to send one of his cards off to see if I can get it autographed.  He seemed like a pretty good dude.

Thanks for the ball tonight, Wade Hinkle!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My Cardboard Habit Delivers!

Judson, of My Cardboard Habit, put together a 2013 Allen and Ginter's break of two boxes.  I ponied up for the Cubs and they arrived the other day.

The Casto, Rizzo, Banks, two Williams, and Fergie will all find places in my mini player collection binder.

This one will be added to the Sandberg binder:

That's a great looking shot of Sandberg.  I'm really happy to add this one to my collection.

Additionally, each participant of the break was awarded a random team, and I was handed the Angels.  I didn't mind, because I figured I be granted a card of Mike Trout, but somehow I missed out. (Hehe... that rhymed.)

Besides Trout, I'm missing Rod Carew and the Tommy Hanson SP from the team set.  Hmmm, what to do with 75% of a team set?  Any suggestions?  If nothing else materializes, at least I have a pretty cool Jim Abbott card!

Either way, I'm pretty happy with my haul and I'd like to congratulate Judson on a successful break.  Maybe someday I'll try my hand at hosting a break!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The PWEs keep coming!

I love the Plain White Envelope.  During my experiences with them I've come to learn that the way I package them the postage is 66 cents, because they are not machinable.  I asked the post office lady the other day if they made stamps in that increment, expecting the response to be no...

Huh, learn something new everyday.  Don't we?

I sent a few cards to AJ of the well-written The Lost Collector blog the other day, but it was more of a "Hey, I bet he would like these cards" PWE rather than a "Let's make a deal" PWE.   Regardless, AJ was generous enough to send something back my way!

Let's take a look inside, shall we?

 Boy, do I love me some Kerry Wood goodness!  This is the 2009 Upper Deck Series 1 card of Mr. Wood.  The Series 2 version features Kerry in Indians' garb.  Bleck.  This one is much nicer!

A 2001 Victory card of Wood.  I've never purchased a pack of Victory before.  Actually, I didn't know Victory was even a brand until I started cataloging my Kerry Wood collection.

Mmmm...  The next one is a 2011 Topps Chrome refractor.
 I sure do love shiny!  That's a great looking card.  Too bad Mateo has battled injuries for much of the year.  The Cubs bullpen sure could have used his help earlier in the season.

Ahhhh... Vintage!
 A 1967 Topps card, in well-loved condition, of Jim Stewart.  I'm not familiar with Stewart, but I am familiar with what makes a great find in a PWE!  Vintage!

Thanks for the great PWE trade, AJ!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Stealing Home, a Trade Post

Going through my Ryne Sandberg, Kerry Wood, and Kosuke Fukudome cards during the last few months is really starting to pay off.  I was hoping a few bloggers would contact me and offer up some of their Cubs to yours truly.

Enter Oscar.  Oscar (aka Stealing Home) is the author of the blog All Trade Bait, All the Time.  He e-mailed a picture of some cards and asked if I needed any of the ones that were digitally captured.  Huh, I kind of like that technique.  Sure beats trying to figure out the make and model when you're not familiar with something.  Thanks for the idea, Oscar!

I sent some Dodger cards his way in a PWE and here's what arrived at my address a couple of days ago:
What a nice start: 2012 Gypsy Queen Ryno and a 2004 Upper Deck card of Kerry Wood.  Both new to me!  Oh, and the Kerry Wood is the 200th in my collection! Simply.  Awesome. 

Hey, we can't forget Fukudome!  
 Man, those chrome cards do not age well.  This one is severely warped.  Where's the telephone book?

How about new card of Billy Williams to add to my collection? 
 I'm not exactly sure what set this card came from, but it's a picture of Billy that I haven't seen before.  Thus, I'm a happy collector!

Shawon Dunston, he of the rocket powered arm and Energizer Bunny-esque hustle:
I have a mini player collection of Duntson (Sr. and Jr., for the record), and the '87 Donruss Opening day and '89 Bowman are both terrific additions to my collection.  I really like the maroon bordered '87 Donruss cards; the normal color (black) seemed to make the cards so dark. 

Here are the top three things that I look for when making a trade with a fellow blogger:
1. Cards agreed upon are hammered out in just a few e-mails during just a couple of days.
2. Some new-to-me Cubs are involved.
3. Cards are safely packed, yet easy to get into.

How did Oscar do?  He scored on all three items and it was done Plain White Envelope style.  Bonus Points for use of the PWE!