Saturday, August 29, 2015

I Got Biebered by The Card Papoy

By far, the Justin Bieber card was the worst card of the lot in my first trade with Kevin of The Card Papoy.  What's worse is Bieber, DipLo and Skrillex had a feature article on the NY Times website and my wife has been playing that silly song more than I can ears can tolerate. If you're interested, click on the link above.  But don't say I didn't warn you.  I hope she finds something new . . . soon.

Let's get to REAL cardboard, shall we?  There was some great 90s cards with some truly unique shots.

 Clean those cleats!  And I really miss those home plate collisions.

A new one for the Dunston collection and a be-speckled Chuck McElroy from Flair.  Nice.
 Girardi is a local boy and Glenallen Hill was a masher from his days on the North Side.
 A nice dugout shot rom '94 Topps! Look at all of those bats and helmets!
 I have a copy of this over-sized Master Photo Stadium Club card of Mark Grace, but it's autographed and has a personally inscription to my late grandmother.  Now I have another for my collection. 

Sometimes collectors forget what we have when we're in accumulation mode.  Kevin, thanks for reminding to smell the roses! The Grace was probably my favorite card of the package.

 Rynos!  The one on the left is a Final Tribute card from Upper Deck Collector's Choice and the 777th different Sandberg of my collection.

Here we have some more Stadium Club and Flair featuring my grandma's favorite Cub: Mark Grace.  Tight pants, blue eyes, blond hair, nice smile . . . yada yada yada.
 Nomah and my 408th Kerry Wood card.  Man, I love player collection additions!
 These two guys have been carrying the Cubs offense as of late.  Gold and sparkly.  Yes, please!

Autos?  Wow!  I wasn't expecting certified ink! In some ways, the hype surrounding Kris Bryant is like Corey Patterson Version 2.0 . . . just 13 years later. I'm hoping Bryant lives up to the hype.  But honestly, can ANY player really live up to the hype the media lays on a player?
 I didn't know about this Lee Smith autograph card.  I like how he tried to squish his signature in that tiny little space.

The DLee patch is black?  When did Derrek wear black?  Gasp!  With the Marlins!  Ahhhhh!  Feesh fabric in my Cubs collection!  LOL!

The Mark Prior card has a FANTASTIC swatch of fabric from the U and B of Cubs on the chest logo.  I haven't seen that part of the jersey used before and I'm so glad to add this to my collection.

Lastly, a Sammy Sosa relic.  I'm not the biggest of Sosa fans, because I was a K.Wood guy. (I guess the two were friendly, but never really all that close.)  But this card is pretty AND unique.  It features a box score from Sammy's 20th homer in the month of July back in 2008.  Twenty homers in a month.  Just think about that.  Nuts.  Absolutely nuts.
 Kevin, thanks for the wonderful collection of cards!  My trade box is down to 6 Blue Jay cards.  No joke. It'll be quite some time before I'm ready to ship across the ocean again, but I'm looking forward to it!  Thanks again!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

And We Have a Winner!

This beautiful piece of slabbed cardboard and stack of team cards will go to the person who had the closest guess to the total number of runs scored in my 6th grade intrasquad softball scrimmage this evening.

Let's review the eleven guesses before revealing the final score:
The Lost Collector = 17 runs, 105 minutes, Yanks!
Adam K. = 23 runs, 121 minutes, Rockies.
Once a Cub = 25 runs, 110 minutes, Cubs
Red Cardboard = 29 runs, 111 minutes, Reds
defgav = 33 runs, 120 minutes, Braves/Pirates
John H. = 35 runs, 135 minutes, Tigers/Braves
gcrl = i'll go with 38, 145 minutes, dodgers
Jane = 41 runs, 137 minutes, Cubs
RAZ = 43 runs, 135 minutes, Astros
Wilson = 47 runs, 128 minutes, Cardinals
Matthew S. = 51 runs, 131 minutes, Pirates

 The final score was 25 to 20 in five innings and the time stamp on the photo was 7:06.  Considering the start time of 4:30, that's a painstakingly long 156 minutes of bad softball.  What an afternoon.  SMH.

I was thanked by a parent after the game for giving the girls the opportunity for more playing time and team once again seemed to have a great time. So, yeah.  I guess it was worth it.

Wilson had a solid guess and was only two runs off from the total.  But, so did RAZ and his time was closer. 
So our winner is RAZ!

Congratulations!  I'll do my best to get your cards out next week, but I may wait until softball season is over in early September.

Again, thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Card Show and Contest Time!

I made it out to a card show this past Sunday, and although there was only about ten dealers there I had myself a pretty good time. I picked up a couple of higher end autographs and then went digging a twelve for a dollar box.

The Vogelmonster!  I can't believe he's had cards on the market for four years now.  Where has the time gone?
Dylan Cease was a 6th round draft pick from 2014 who the Cubs drafted knowing full well he would need Tommy John surgery.  He's back now and he's throwing SMOKE in the Arizona Summer League.  I guess the other Cubs pitchers who have the day off from throwing gather around the radar gun when he takes the mound to see when/if he'll hit triple digits. Like I said . . . SMOKE!  That's a great looking patch and I love his autograph.  I may turn into a Cease collector, but only time will tell.

The following were from the twelve for a buck box.  The Cubs, Cardinals, and White Sox each had their own row in the monster box.  Sorted by team?  Thank you!

I still wish Panini had a license, but my guess is I wouldn't have found this Arrieta on the cheap if his hat had a logo on it.  The William Wrigley card is the first card of the former Cubs owner in my collection.  Not bad, not bad.

I spent fifty sense on six Cubs stickers for the first pages of my Cubs binders.  The holograms are my favorite. Because of course they are.

 The Manny Trillo buyback was a nice find and it'll wind up in the Cubs FrankenSet for sure. And, I actually didn't have to open my wallet to acquire this one. 

I was sifting through a dealer's 2015 Bowman parallels and found a 1/1 Josh Hamilton in amongst the other parallels.  I couldn't really tell the difference from the fronts and honestly the only way I new it was different from the rest was because I read the names of the backs of the cards on Bowman product to make things go faster.  Shiny cards in weird hotel lighting are difficult to read.  That's where I spotted the 1/1, on the back.
I handed the 1/1 over to the dealer and he was pretty thankful.  He easily could have sold it for a buck without knowing what had gotten away from him.  I had the Trillo buyback and three 1975 buybacks pulled at the time and he gave them to me as a thank you.  I love me some good Karma.  Woot!

 This is a nice Panini card.  The missing logo isn't obvious and I love the camo on the left.  A new Sandberg added to the collection.  Always a good thing!

On to the contest!

Here's the background I'm the assistant coach to the 7th and 8th grade softball squad at one of my school district's middle schools.  I am also the head coach of the 6th grade squad. We have tremendous numbers this year at that level and I'm "blessed" with seventeen rambunctious eleven and twelve year old budding softball stars. My team only gets to play three innings or one hour after the 7th/8th grade game and it is very difficult to get everyone playing time.  We are the only 6th grade team in the area, which can be kind of rough at times. For example, last night we played in Morton and we lost 19-0 against their B-team, a seventh grade squad.  Morton was kind enough to let us bat everyone who hadn't batted already before we called the game. 
Anyway, I have scheduled three intrasquad scrimmages during the season to get my players some more experience.  Last Thursday was the first scrimmage. I told my players that we would switch sides after three outs or when five runs were recorded.  We played six innings in two hours and forty-five minutes and the final score was 28 to 28.  Everyone received at least five at-bats and they all went home happy because no one lost! Personally, I was extremely happy because:
1. the parents were happy
2. the players seemed engaged
3. I was able to coach and teach the game I love.

For this contest all you have to do is predict the total number of runs in Thursday's 5-inning contest.  If two are answers equidistance away from the final total, then the tie breaker will be how long the five inning affair lasted (in minutes).  Get your guesses in before 4:30pm (P-Town) time on Thursday, August 27th!

Sample guess: 56 runs, 165 minutes, Cubs (my favorite team)

The prize: The closest total will win the graded card above AND a stack of cards from his/her favorite team.

It's a Gem Mint 2000 Just Lance Berkman sumo wrestling suit pre-rookie card! Can you believe I found this for a dollar at the card show? I couldn't pass it up and now someone within the blogosphere will be able to add this "gem" to their collection.

Good luck in the contest and wish me continued luck with my patience this softball season!

Friday, August 21, 2015

I Need Advice Before Sending Out My 2nd TTM!

I'm a prospector at heart and my ticker has been put to the task by guys like Lance Dickson, Earl Cunningham, Kevin Orie, Mark Pawelek, Bobby Hill, Luiz Montanez, and Felix Pie.  As many of you know, the Cubs most recently wave of prospects have really begun to take off.  This has been a pleasant change.

I don't have anything against the guys on the big league team, but I guess I'm hung up on the future because the past for the Cubs has been nothing to write home about.  So give me the ROCK SHOULDERS and Vogelmonsters of the MiLB world!

When I do latch on to a big league player it's for good reason I suppose.  Ryne Sandberg and Kerry Wood represent my too biggest player collections, and although they may be modest in size when compared to some others, I am pretty proud of them.

I haven't had a favorite player since Wood retired in 2012.

The 2015 edition of the Cubs have been fun to watch. The team has a charismatic manager, four rookies in the starting lineup, and a nice one-two punch in the starting rotation.  Yet, of all players, David Ross has become my new favorite player.
Yes, David Ross.  The same guy who has bounced around the Big Leagues with Dodgers, Pirates, Padres, Reds, Braves, and Red Sox. 

Maybe I feel a kinship with him because he's my age and playing the game I love.  Perhaps it is because he's part ballplayer and all fun-loving persona?

I don't know. It doesn't matter. 

Many of my other Cubs fans friends didn't like the signing of Ross and they still don't. I'm not proud to say I was in their camp originally, but ole Grey Beard has won me over.  He does all the little things AND is a great leader and clubhouse guy.  Every team needs a David Ross type and I'm glad he's on the Cubs.

Yes, I admit. I have a man crush on David Ross.  In fact, all of the people associated with the Chicago Cubs organization he's on a short list of my favorites:
1. Theo Epstein
2. The Vogelmonster
3. David Ross

Ross may be disappointed to be #3.  But I don't think anyone has any idea how much I respect and admire Theo Epstein nor how much fun I have writing about and following Dan Vogelbach.  Position number three is really a good place to be.

I have in person autographs of both Epstein and the Vogelmonster.  Since I practically swooned when I shook Theo's hand I figured a TTM might be the way to go this time around? 

But there was a problem.  Ross is a back up catcher and some may even say he has been the third catcher on the Cubs this year. 
Pitching out of the pen this year!
Guys like this don't catch the attention of card companies.  Let alone Topps, which seems only interested in producing cards of Kris Bryant and Javier Baez. 

Insert Mark from Battlin' Bucs.

I've been following Mark for sometime now, but we never have traded cards until now.  He's a card making wiz and he was generous enough with his time and efforts to make the two David Ross cards in this post for me!  (He will be kindly repaid for said time and efforts with vintage yellow and black cardboard. It has been foretold.)

Now, I want to send a autograph request through the mail (TTM) to one Mr. David Ross.

Epstein is my only other TTM request I've ever attempted.  It was successful, but I'm very much a rookie at this TTM thing.

Help!  I know how to package such a request: one envelope inside another, plenty of postage, card saver, and a nice Please&ThankYou note.

What else can I do?  The end of the season is fast approaching though.  Where do I send it?  Is Wrigley Field my best option?  Is there anything else I can do to help increase the odds of success for my second TTM request?

Oh, sage and wise TTM veterans, please guide me with your words of wisdom in my time of need!

Thanks for your advice and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Guess Which Card, Episode II

Another PWE arrive last week when my blog was taken over by Allen & Ginter's.  Jim, the fine proprietor of garvey cey russell lopes, tried his hand at filling holes in my FrankenSet with three cards.

Let's meet the contestants for today's edition of Guess Which Card!

As you can see, we have two offerings from 1987 Topps and one from the 1973 edition.  Dennis Eckerlsey is in the Hall of Fame. I think most baseball fans from the 70's and 80's know of Gary "Sarge" Matthews.

I was previously unfamiliar with Dan McGinn, but I now know he hit Les Expos' first home run in franchise history.  Keep in mind, he was a pitcher!

All three have pretty high numbers, and anyone who is trying to put together a FrankenSet can tell you the high numbers are the hardest to track down.  (Oddly enough, this is the same for vintage Topps sets!)

One card makes the cut.  Any idea?

Make your decision and . . .








Okay, here we go!  In Sarge's pocket I found a 2001 Topps Chrome Rondell White.  I like Chrome, I like Shiny, and I like Rondell White.  Sorry, Sarge.  I know you're underrepresented in my FrankenSet, but there are already too many 1987 Topps cards in the binder.  Better luck next time!

Whoops!  These guys aren't part of the game, but they were in the envelope. They are over-sized cards highlighting stolen base leaders from each league.  Bowa was on the front and Rickey was on the back.
 How do I know which side was the front and which was the back?  Yeah, I'm biased to the Cubs.  That's how.
Back to the game!

The Eckersley card was ALREADY in the FrankenSet, which means one of Notre Dame's finest punters will now be inducted into my Cubs FrankenSet.  Congrats, Mr. Dan McGinn!  The McGinn card actually fills a void in the set, and I'm very appreciate of gcrl's time and effort to my cause.  Thanks, Jim!

A PWE jammed full of Dodgers for your FrankenSet is on its way north.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by today, everyone!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Run for the Hills!

Because the VOGELMONSTER is about to return! 

To prove to the masses he was human he strained an oblique muscle.   Before releasing him back to the Southern League the Cubs have sent him to feast on Arizona League pitching.  (Some may call this a rehab assignment, but let's call it what it really is: an appetizer for the rest of the season.)

And yes, he is feasting.  Last I checked he was hitting 1.000.  You know, because the VOGELMONSTER is the PERFECT hitting machine! 

I don't care what the MLB Pipeline evaluators say. Thirteen best in the Cubs organization?  Seventh best first baseman in the minors?  Posh.  I scoff at such injustices in the ranking system.

The man flat out knows how to hit.  Period.

Watch out world!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Back to Our Regular Scheduled Programming

Now that my flop of a Gint-A-Cuffs entry has come and gone it's time to get back to what motivates this blog: little pieces of cardboard picturing grown men, dressed in white and blue, playing a child's game for money!

A big thank you goes out to Jeff, from 2 by 3 Heroes, for giving us something other than A&G to look at today.  Woo-Hoo! Jeff sent along a PWE with the cards secured away in a third of a binder page.  These type of PWEs seem to be taking the blogosphere by storm as of late.  In fact, I'm sending two out tomorrow!

 There were a dozen or so cards in all and I really wanted to try to squeeze a couple into my FrankenSet.  Alas, it was not meant to be.

Fourteen year old me remembers holding a flashlight to the back of the 1992 Topps scratch-off game cards to figure out which option to scratch to be declared a WINNER! 
 I must have not been alone in this "cheat", because I think the prize was originally supposed to be gold parallel cards, and I received a few packs of those at first, but then the rest of my later hauls turned up to be the Gold Winners.  C'est la vie.

When Derrick May first came up I thought he was going to be the Cubs version of David Justice.  I was young and naive.  Don't judge.
 That's a nice and shiny double-dip card of Ryno!

 Last I heard Mark Prior was working in the front office for the Padres.  Good for him. 
 Nomah!   There aren't too many cards of Garciaparra wearing Cubs' blue and I cherish them all.  I actually thought this one was a repeat in my binder, but I came to find I had the gold parallel and this one is the silver base version.   So, it's a keeper!

 ARam is back in Pittsburgh and I wish him and the Pirates continued luck . . . until October.   I really wanted to add the Jim Edmonds Topps Attax card to my FrankenSet, but it doesn't have a number!  Argh!

The new MLB Pipeline prospect rankings recently hit the web and the Cubs farm system came in at number five.  They were the top team in baseball before the season started, but they have graduated Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant, and Addison Russell from the ranks (see below). Five is still pretty high, and I'm sure part of that is still due in part to Kyle Schwarber still qualifying for the list.
 As players like Addison Russell have been removed, guys like Duane Underwood have climbed.  Underwood is having a nice year and his new ranking at #5 is not based solely upon attrition.  (By the way, the card of Russell is a shiny mini.  The best type of mini!)
The Cubs are playing out of their minds right now and they're still managing to find ways to win despite botched run downs and errant throws by the pitching staff.  I know they can't keep this streak going forever, but it sure has been fun watching it unfold, especially after suffering through the last five seasons, in which they averaged nearly 93 losses each summer.

Thanks for the Cubs, Jeff!  And good luck to your White Sox the rest of the season. (Starting tomorrow, of course).