Sunday, June 30, 2013

More Surprises from the Mailbox

A week ago or so I came home to find another book crammed into my mailbox.  I haven't confirmed anything yet, but I have to believe my loving mother is behind this generous offering to my baseball book library.  Thanks, Mom!  I'll be sure to thank you in person once I return home from my road trip out west!
I flipped through a couple of the chapters and it looks like the All the Babe's Men, by Eldon L. Ham, covers everything from the Dead Ball era, to the Babe, to Maris, to and the great home run race between McGwire and Sosa.  I'm more of a pitcher fan myself, but I don't mind the homer as long as I'm not the one giving them up!

So I'll add another book to the reading list.  At this rate I don't think I'm going to get all of my new books read this summer: the books are piling up and my summer vacation is quickly dwindling.

As I mentioned briefly above, I've been on vacation now for a little over a week.  I love visiting family, hitting the road, going to distant ballparks, and getting away from the stresses of home.  But along with all of the positives there's always a few drawbacks to getting away.  So, allow me to post a couple pictures of the four-legged "family" I left behind in Illinois to tide me over until my return home.
Gus in the cat trap (aka our newest cardboard box).
Gus sunning himself belly-side up.
 Thanks for visiting my blog today!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Series 2 Flagship: a Celebratory Trend

I bought a jumbo pack of Topps Series 2 when it was first released to get a feel for what it was all about.  Around the blogosphere lately Topps has taken a little bashing for the repeated use of some of its photos.  I didn't notice any of that, but then again I don't purchase a ton of different Topps products to be able to cross check such an occurrence.  Just to switch gears a bit: I'd like to give some credit to Topps for the photos that they do use.  I don't know if they're as awesome as the ones from the '91 set, but I still think they're pretty cool.  Exhibit A:  Evereth Cabrera in full out Superman mode!

Exhibit B:  Brian Roberts giving his best "O face" when learning Mr. Harper had avoided the tag in the umpire's eyes.

The "chase" theme is still alive and kicking in Series 2:

More inserts:
Gold Cashner and Making Their Mark Wade Miley
Mini '72 Justin Upton
  Lorenzo Cain Hot Pack!  Whoa!

Cubs.  Yeah.  I'm.  Still.  A.  Fan.

Now to the title of the post: a Celebratory Trend.  In my fifty card pack I found five cards featuring players in some state of celebration.  That's a pretty large percentage if you think about it, especially when you consider the 80s and 90s exhibited cards that were largely devoid of such photographs.

 A pair of Royals ready to live it up.  Heck, Billy Butler is so happy he's walking on air!

 And shots of the Brew Crew, the Reds, and the Rox all congratulating each other.

 I thought it was a little curious that Topps is focusing so much on these shots, but as a coach of high school athletes I think teamwork and camaraderie is something that can never get enough attention.  So, keep on, keepin' on, Topps.

For what it's worth, the Cubs and the Helton (already in a PWE) are the only cards shown that aren't up for trade.  Thanks for stopping by today!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Where are the Tigers Fans?

I participated in Nachos Grande's 2013 Topps Archives 3-box team break recently.  Naturally, I selected the Cubs and I'm happy with my haul.  Chris does a wonderful job of posting all the cards during the break and spreading out the packs over a good week or so to keep everyone entertained.  It's a bunch of fun to read the posts and I would suggest participating in one of his breaks at least once... just don't take my Cubs!  lol

As per usual, each slot is randomized another team, and I was lucky enough to snag the defending American League champion Tigers.  Verlander, Miggy, and Prince were dancing through my head!  I was sure to snag a hit, right?

Well, I did!  The autographed card and one copy of every card I pulled in the Nachos Grande break is for trade to any Tigers collector.

Here's the loot!

All five cards from the base set, plus one of the two short prints in the set (Denny McClain, #203):

 Both of the All-Star cards in the set:
 One of the three Stadium Club Triumvirates:
 One of the four Tall Boys inserts:
 And a Fan Favorite Autograph of Denny McClain!

Leave a comment if you're interested in these Tigers!  I'd be interested in some Cubs of equal value in a trade.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Pack of 2013 Panini Baseball Champions

I picked up a pack of 2013 Panini Baseball Champions while at my LCS the other day.  I love opening new stuff, because I never know when I'll like something enough to chase the whole set.  Plus, in a worst case scenario the cards end up in trade packages down the road.  Never a bad thing!

As the wrapper states, there are eight cards in the pack.  I'll do my best track down where each of these fellows are as I reveal the cards.  Should be fun!

First guy in the pack: Tino Martinez, USA Baseball Olympic class of 1988, card #19.
Tino was drafted in the first round by the Mariners in '88 and had a pretty successful career with mostly the Evil Empire Yankees.

Next up, Nick Castellanos, 2009 18U National Team, card #82.
 Nick is currently the third baseman for the AAA affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, who drafted him in the first round of the 2010 draft.  Castellanos was also rated by Baseball Americaand as the 21st ranked prospect heading into 2013.

Tim Melville, 2007 18U National Team, card #42.
Melville was drafted in the 4th round of the 2008 draft and is in AA for the Royals.

Sonny Gray, 2009 Collegiate National Team, card #108.
Oddly enough, I have another USA card of Sonny, a 2009 Upper Deck relic.  Weird.  Again, I didn't purchase but one pack from either product.  I guess I just have "good" luck pulling Gray's cards?
Gray was drafted in the 1st round of 2011 draft by the Athletics, and is currently pitching well for Oakland's AAA affiliate.

Warren Morris, 1996 Baseball Olympic Team of 1996, card #25.
 Morris played on the '96 team with the likes of Lance Berkman and R.A. Dickey.  He was later drafted by the Rangers the same year in the 5th round.  He was Pittsburgh's starting second sacker at the turn of the century and retired in 2003.

Mikie Mahtook, 2010 Collegiate National Team, card #67.
 Mahtook was drafted by Tampa Bay in the first round in the 2011 draft.  He's currently in AA trying to figure things out.


Addison Russell, 2011 18U National Team, card #117 and Pride Insert #17
 Russell was the 48th best prospect rated by Baseball America and entering this season.  He was drafted 11th overall in the 2012 draft by Oakland and is currently playing in high A ball.

That was a fun pack break!  I like the style of the cards and I don't think Panini gets enough credit for its products, but I've already collected one set chocked full of players I don't yet know this year (Bowman).  Thus, these are all up for grabs.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Trade with Garvey, Cey, Russel,l & Lopes

Yeah, I wish I could pull of baseball card trades with famous baseball players.  How cool would that be?  Instead I pulled off another quick deal with Jim from the blog garvey cey russell lopes.  I sent Jim a bunch of Dodgers doubles from my 2013 Bowman efforts and he tossed me a half-dozen Cubs in return.

First up are a couple of former Cubs from the 2010 Allen & Ginter set.  I think the 2013 offering will be out in stores in a couple of weeks!

Here's something weird about these two guys that I'll share with you.  I loved Theriot when he was with Cubs.  He was one of those scrappy grinders that give 110%.  On the other hand, I was not an Aramis Ramirez fan.
Then Theriot leaves town, goes to the Cardinals, and is happy "that he is on the right side of rivalry now."  Booo!
Meanwhile, Aramis leaves for "greener" pastures and now I miss him and his consistent bat in the lineup.

I guess I'm a fairly fickle fan.

Moving on. How about a retired Cub?  Yeah!

Another great card for my ever growing Kerry Wood collection!

Last up, one of my favorite Cubs.  This one is from last year's Heritage set.

Very nice.

There were two more cards in the yellow bubbler, but I'm still not up to giving Sammy Sosa any love on this blog.  Maybe some time in the near future, but not today.

Thanks for a great trade, Jim!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Topps Archives Promotion - Week 2 - My Story

I made my way over to my local card shop (LCS) on Tuesday to see if I could take advantage of the most recent Topps Archives Promotion.  This one was supposed to feature Series 2 flagship preview packs that contained a special parallel in each pack. I dutifully smiled at the LCS owner and said, "I have a present for you!" It was 600-count box of "old" 1980s cardboard to swap for the packs!

 The promotion states that to receive the special promotional packs you must trade in '80s Topps cards.  No problem!  I went through my cards from '87, '88, and '89 (the years I first started collecting) and pulled aside all of my triples.  Man, did I buy a TON of junk wax back in the day.  It was nice to relive my youth a bit as I found a nice assortment of record breaker cards, turn-back-the-clock cards, draft picks, all-stars, future stars, and cards of players who are now in the Hall of Fame to donate.

The owner said without a smile, "I don't want your junk wax." 

But, I didn't want it either!  I explained how I was hoping that Topps would take all of the 1980s card donations and find a way to distribute them to young kids, the future of the card collecting world, across the nation. What a better way to boost interest in collecting than to hand out free cards to youngsters!

He reluctantly took my cards and handed me a couple of the above pictured promotional packs.  Content that I had something to rip open, I thanked him and went to sift through his Cubs box.

Here's where it gets good.  A twelve or thirteen-year-old and his mom walk into the store while I'm there and they take their time perusing the store.  The kid seemed lost and it didn't appear as though he was focused on anything special in general.  I thought to myself, "Must be new to the hobby."  I picked up a couple more things, checked out, and went about my day.

I went back in on Wednesday, which was Series 2 release date, to pick up a pack and shoot the bull with the owner.  (The owner is a Cardinals fan, but he's great to talk baseball with.) As it turns out, he ended up giving my 600 cards from the '80s to that same boy that was in the store shortly after I left!


I pared down my collection a tad, the owner of the LCS didn't have to take on any junk wax, and some kid received an already collated box of cards that were twice as old as him!

Man, what I would have done for some cards that were twenty-five years old when I first started collecting!  I hope this kid latches onto the hobby, and if so I hope my cards helped in that decision.

By now you're probably wondering what was is the shiny promotional packs.  Cool.  Show-and-tell time.

Base cards of Topps Series 2 for starters:

Then at the back of each pack there was a blue sparkly parallel!  Man, do I love some blue sparkles!

Although none of my eight base cards in the two packs stood out, I do think I did okay with my two blue sparkle cards: Bryce Harper and Matt Cain.

I don't have much of Bryce in my collection, so he'll stay with me, and I think Mr. Cain will be the beginning of a new pile of Giants trade fodder for my favorite collector in the 92688.

I hope everyone who was looking for the Week 2 promotional packs was able to score one or two.  Thanks for stopping by to see how I did and I'm also glad I could share my little story with you.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Movie Plug and a Trade with a Red Sox Fan in Nebraska

I've reached a bit of a milestone today: twenty-five trades with different bloggers!  When I started up my blog a couple of years ago I didn't imagine that I would accumulate such counting stats as 50+ followers and 300+ posts.  I'm most proud about trades though as it's been great way to get to know others around the blogosphere.

Brad, from the blog Red Sox Fan in Nebraska, is one of the more diehard fans I've run into.  His blog features write ups, past and present, on his favorite team from Boston.  Baseball cards are definitely prevalent, too: he has perhaps the most encompassing team checklist I've seen on the blogosphere to date.  Take the time and check it out.  Brad will definitely make it worth your time.

I sent Brad some Red Sox for a little Bowman help, both base cards and FrankenSet cards.  Here's a couple that made it into the binder on the FrankenSet pages: a gold parallel of Corey Hart and an International R.A. Dickey.
 The arrival of the Dickey card is a bit serendipitous, as it allows me to plug the last baseball related movie I watched the other night: Knuckleball.  It follows Tim Wakefield and Dickey during the 2011 season and breaks down how they came to learn the knuckleball  It also demonstrates how the pitch saved their baseball careers and features some really cool moments with Phil Niekro and Charlie Hough as well.  It's on Netflix and Amazon On Demand.  Enjoy!

(Sidenote:  Aside from wishing I was left-handed, I now want a "do over" so I go back and learn the knuckleball.  Right-handed pitchers that throw 87 really are a dime-a-dozen.)

Back to the trade...  Brad helped complete six pages in my binder, two base card pages and four from the FrankenSet!  Here's another good example as to what my FrankenSet looks like: 3 chrome, 3 International, 2 purple, and 1 silver ice.  
Thanks for the great trade, Brad!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Day Glow for Trade and some Bowman Help

I was able to purchase two dollars-worth more of the twenty-five cent Topps Archives promotional packs from my local card shop last Friday.  I'm sending four to my favorite pack-a-day ripper for his Tribecards from Outer Space marathon, but I opened up the other four.  Unfortunately, I only netted three Day Glow cards out of the four packs.  One has already been dropped in a PWE, and the other two, along with Billy Butler from my first haul, are up for trade if anyone is interested.  Ben Zobrist?  Tom Seaver?  Just let me know!

How about a couple of trade packages?

I sent Adam, of ARPSmith's Sportscard Obsession, a Day Glow parallel of Brandon Belt and couple of random Giants and here's what I found in my mailbox the other day:
Nice!  A Day Glow Sandberg!  Yep, I'm still working on the Ryne Sandberg player collection checklist.  I thought I'd be done by now, but my summer vacation has been a little busy so far.
Oh, and a little FrankenSet help!  Every little bit is appreciated.  Thanks, Adam!

Roy, from Plain Gray Swatch, and I swapped some Bowman cards with each other.  More FrankenSet help!
Roy also sent two more of the blue sapphire refractor reprints.  I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with these, but I'm pretty close to completing the set now!
What a great swap.  Thanks for contacting me, Roy!

If you have some 2013 Bowman you're willing to trade don't me shy about leaving a comment!