Tuesday, July 28, 2015

2015 trade package #22: Tony's Ten Tigers are Off Hiatus

About a year (and at least one banner design!) ago I received my first trade package from Milwaukee fan Tony at Off Hiatus Baseball, one that was chock full of Tigers including Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander.  That package was the result of last year's spring cleaning giveaway and I was fortunate to add him to my list of trade partners.

Recently he shot me an email letting me know to expect some cards from him, and true to his word they showed up not long after:
Page 1 once again stars Miguel Cabrera, including a super thick 2013 Topps insert, rising star (hopefully!) 3B Nick Castellanos, current star OF Yoenis Cespedes, and former star OF Magglio Ordonez, with a photo taken when his Samson-like hair was growing out.
I then devoted the second scan entirely to a pair of PC guys--the ones who happen to be namesakes of this here blog.  There's a trio representing original inspiration Curtis Granderson, including the redundantly-named Opening Day parallel from 2008 Topps Opening Day (#d /2199).  Then of course we have the New Hotness (even if his results haven't been so hot lately), Justin Verlander, highlighted by a Refractor-like '72 Topps Chrome insert from 2013 flagship.

Thanks for the great stuff, Tony, and I'm pretty close to sending you a little return envelope as well, likely next week after hitting up one more show!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

2015 trade package #21: a HOF package from My Cardboard Mistress

Adam from My Cardboard Mistress and I don't seem to trade quite as often as we used to, but that's ok because when we do, we make it count!  Exhibit "A":  the last time he sent me a package it included an entire set of 2001 UD College Legends football, which is just a top-notch set for collectors like both of us.

The man they call Spankee was at it again recently, sending me another great envelope filled with Tigers and Wolverines.  Here's the damage:
We'll lead off with Miguel Cabrera--yeah, that does sound weird, but with the way Brad Ausmus has been managing this season, stranger things could happen.  Anyway, Adam gifted me four nice inserts of the future HOFer, including a pair of Refractors sandwiching one of Panini's beautiful acetate cards which I can't get enough of, and finally a Topps Green parallel.  In the center square is HOFer Ty Co--
DID SOMEBODY SAY "SANDWICH"?
Oh hi, Prince Fielder.
I'M PRETTY SURE I HEARD THE WORD "SANDWICH."
Yeah, my bad, I was using it as a verb, not a noun.
SO NO SANDWICH?
Nope, not this time.
*Prince Fielder glares at me and then waddles away to wash himself with a rag on a stick*

Ok, so that was a weird interruption, but yeah, Prince made it into the package, which was mighty generous of Adam because those three cards probably added about $10 worth of postage.
Leading off in this scan is a guy who did occupy the top spot in Detroit's lineup for a while:  former blog namesake Curtis Granderson, in the form of a pair of inserts.  Next to him is a Panini parallel of HOFer (see the theme I've got going here?) of Tiger great Harry Heilmann, a 1952 honoree.  Below them is a pair of AJax inserts, highlighted by a 2013 Black Refractor numbered 001/100; nice find, Spankee!  Al Kaline, who put the OF in HOF, is next up with a couple inserts, and next to his Tall Boy is a Mini of fun-to-watch 2B Ian Kinsler.

All in all some really nice cards, but they can't help be overshadowed a bit by another (future) HOFer in one of the more oddbally forms I've seen recently:
Appropriately enough for representing Detroit, a Pudge Upper Deck issue (possibly custom-made for this product) is paired with a mini Ford F-150 in this UD venture from 2007.  It looks like other teams were available as were various vehicle models including a Ford Mustang and Peterbilt tractor/trailers.  Definitely a fun item to add to my oddball stuff!

Thanks for taking the time once again to send some stuff my way, Adam!  I have a few things set aside for you and will likely ship them your way soon.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

2015 trade package #20: easy as A-B-GCRL

Everyone's favorite specific entire Dodgers infield collector Jim from GCRL was cool enough to shoot me over another fun trade package earlier this month so now I'm trying to be cool enough to do it justice by showing if off tonight!
Here's the first of seven(!) pages worth of cards in case you were dumb enough to think that Jim would be slacking here.  First up is a nice Heritage manager card of current skipper Brad Ausmus followed by a trio of shelf-ridden 1B Miguel Cabrera, aptly paired with Tigers great Al Kaline on the third card.  A pair of recent grand slam-hitter Nick Castellanos cards from the same Topps insert precedes a Heritage base of Rajai Davis, whom I saw hit a walk-off slam last year.  An artistic UD Cecil Fielder is the combo-breaker for current Tigers here.
That trend briefly continues with a trio of 3B Travis Fryman, but most of the rest of this scan comprises current Tigers in pitcher Shane Greene, who's been up and down this year, backup catcher Bryan Holaday, SS extraordinaire Jose Iglesias, and a pair of his double-play partner Ian Kinsler.  Those last two players bookend a Refractor (woohoo!) of current Mariner Austin Jackson.
I don't have many cards of out-of-nowhere slugger J.D. Martinez so this 2015 Topps base is much appreciated.  Going back to the 80s and early 90s we then have a quartet of should-be HOFer Jack Morris.  The Topps Gold of Maggs you see there is numbered 1162/2006.  Blog favorite Dean Palmer makes his second straight appearance in a GCRL trade even though he's pictured with the Royals (I'm happy to collect him with any team).  Seeing Porcello reminds me of how well the trade that brought Yoenis Cespedes to Detroit worked out!  And I'll enjoy David Price Tigers cards while I can since he may not be in Motown much longer.
Pudge's Fleer insert once again makes me long for the days before the Toppsopoly.  The rest of this scan is dominated by pitchers:  Dej-Anibal Vu from this year's flagship/Opening Day, Nats ace Max Scherzer, the enigmatic Alfredo Simon, current Ray Drew Smyly, ace closer Joakim Soria, and former top prospect Jacob Turner (who helped bring Sanchez to Detroit).  There's also a team card from this year's flagship set.
This scan includes some less common Tigers.  The first group is made up of rookies such as former solid closer for other teams Francisco Cordero, pitching prospect Kyle Lobstein, Jays first-rounder Todd Steverson, and interesting IF prospect Eugenio Suarez, who was traded to the Reds in the deal that brought Alfredo Simon to Detroit.  The next three cards are former Motown greats:  Sam "Wahoo" Crawford and manager Hughie "Ee-yah" Jennings (in one of baseball's more iconic photos) from TCMA along with Virgil "Fire" Trucks to close out the awesome nickname trio.  Jim also tossed in a couple early 80s cards of pitchers Juan Berenguer ('84 Donruss) and Dave Rozema ('81 Topps).
This last scan includes four of my PC guys:  Kirk Gibson, Curtis Granderson, Justin Verlander, and Lou Whitaker.  There's even a UD checklist that includes the former and current namesake of this here blog!
Bob Swift 1952 Bowman
Lastly, this was the biggest surprise of the package for me.  I mean, how often do you get to add cards to your collection that are sixty three years old in trades?  '52 Bowman also happens to be one of the hobby's most beautiful sets with its smaller-than-normal size and artsy "photos."

As I enjoy doing when I get a card of an old Tiger I don't know much about I did a few minutes of research on Swift, a catcher who spent the last 10 of his 14 MLB years in Detroit.  He spent his first two-plus seasons (1940-42) with the St. Louis Browns before heading to the Philadelphia A's for the remainder of '42 and '43.  If you didn't already feel the age of this card, the mere mention of those teams that changed homes long ago should help.  After the '43 season he was traded to Detroit, and there he averaged about 64 games over his final 10 seasons, exclusively as a catcher.  Oddly enough he was released by the team the year after this card was made.

Thanks for an amazing package that touched on Tigers old, very old, and new, Jim!  I'm happy to say that I have a few things set aside for you and after I find a few more I'll have an envelope headed your way!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

2015 trade package #19: 2x3 Heroes sends 2 sports x 3 Nicks

It's been almost a month since I last posted a trade package from Jeff over at 2x3 Heroes, but in reality the amount of time between when that envelope arrived and I received another great PWE from the master of envelopes of the plain and white variety was actually much less than that.

I'll stick to my previous statement that Jeff is a classy guy because this time he sent me cards of not one but two of his teams' rivals:  the Wings and the Tigers:
First up is one of those cool Fire Die-Cuts from 2014 Bowman Chrome, and it's 3B Nick Castellanos, whose hitting has improved a bit in the last few weeks.  I'm a little confused that these look more like tidal waves in shape than fire, but the overall concept is fun.

Next up is a '93 UD card of "Top Prospect" P Rick Greene.  I avidly followed the Tigers in the 90s, awful teams and all, and I remember some of the guys who were potential blue chips like Tony Clark and Justin Thompson, but I definitely don't remember Greene, so I looked him up.  I was surprised to find that he was Detroit's first-rounder in '92 but not surprised that he appeared in literally one MLB game, with the Reds in 1999.  The Tigers took him ahead of guys like Shannon Stewart, Rick Helling, Jason Kendall, and Charles Johnson.  Oh, and some guy named Johnny Damon.  Hello, "1990s Tigers SUCKED" tag.

Lastly we have a 2010 Bowman Chrome rookie-or-not of former RP Brayan Villareal, who had a pretty solid 2012 before being flipped to Boston in the trade I mentioned again yesterday that brought Jose Iglesias to the Motor City.
Justin Verlander 2012 Triple Play (#291)
The other baseball entry today is this kid-friendly Panini Triple Play subset card of blog namesake Justin Verlander.  I believe I have his other base card from that set but I'll have to dig around to take a look.

Moving closer to the Detroit River here's the bulk of the Red Wings portion, which includes puck wizard Pavel Datsyuk, D-man Niklas Kronwall (Nick #2!), legendary Red Wing Nick Lidstrom (Nick #3!) and Jan Mursak, a Slovenian winger currently in the KHL.  Then there's a gorgeous Zenith Mozaics insert (remember the awesome baseball versions back in '96?) featuring young star Tomas Tatar, Lidstrom, and star forward Henrik Zetterberg.  I really love the design Panini used here in addition to the nostalgia factor.
Niklas Kronwall 2013-14 Black Diamond Dual Jerseys dual jersey
Oh yeah, and there was also this sweet dual jersey hit of Kronwall (too many Nicks!) to add to my Wings PC.  The thumping defenseman can now claim three entries in that group thanks to this six-piece relic and a solo autograph.  A nice surprise hit to be sure!

Once again Jeff, I thank you for your generosity and promise you that a package will be headed back your way once I find enough good stuff of the Hawks and Sox.  Until then, GO TIGERS CUBS!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

2015 trade package #18: Brad's Blog appears from out of the woodwork

Yes I'm finally back again and I'm even getting around to posting trade packages from last month, which is almost two months ago at this point!

Today's envelope comes from that guy that runs Brad's Blog--Bob or Bill or whoever.  The biggest Ryan Howard collector (along with Frank Thomas!) I know sent me a very cool unexpected bunch of cards.  Feast your eyes on these:
Page 1 starts with Tim Belcher, a pitcher for the '94 Tigers who lost 15 games that season but finished above .500 for his solid 14-year career.  Next up is a Bondo from 2007 Topps Chrome.  After him is Eric Davis, and I'm not sure everybody remembers his two-season, 60 game stint with Detroit in 93-94; by the way, he was traded to the Dodgers for Tim Belcher in '91!  More successful as Tigers were Cecil "Big Daddy" Fielder, seen here on a quartet of cards, and Travis Fryman.
This group starts with Avi Garcia, the guy the Tiger flipped to the White Sox in the deal that netted them Jose Iglesias, a trade that's worked out well for both teams so far.  Gardiner was an early-90s pitcher I can't claim to remember.  Dan Gladden is best know for being with the Giants and Twins in the 80s, then appeared in Detroit for his final two seasons.  Gomez, turning two against a sliding Mike Greenwell, was drafted by the Tigers and went on to a solid career as a role-playing IF.  Incaviglia was a #1 overall pick whose draft story overshadows a career that saw his power dwindle by the mid-90s.  Infante was a two-time Tiger who appeared on both recent World Series squads.  Jack Morris is very well known and is seen here on an '82 Topps All-Star subset.  Parrish is one of my all-time favorite Detroit catchers and made it to his fifth straight ASG in '86.  And David Wells needs no introduction at this point.
Hey, how about my favorite pair of Tigers PC guys?  I don't care if they're from the junk wax era or the Toppsopoly era, I want 'em if you've got 'em!
Bruce Rondon 2013 Panini America's Pastime Inked auto (#100/125)
Here's something I wasn't expecting in this unexpected trade package:  my first autograph of rotund reliever Bruce Rondon!  The big guy has had a forgettable 2015 so far but it's nice to see him back from injury after a lost 2014; his debut the previous year led many to believe he could be a key bullpen piece before long, and I think the fireballer still has it in him once he gets back in sync.
Curtis Granderson 2013 Topps Gypsy Queen Mini Wood (#4/5)
And now the biggest surprise from this surprise arrival:  a very, VERY low-numbered Granderson!  That's right, I'll come out and say it--this card gave me Wood.  It's my first of that A&G parallel so I'm thrilled that it's one of the guys I love to collect, Yankee or not.  I'd call this a top-three card in his collection so far, just beautiful.

Thanks again for the extremely generous and out-of-the-blue envelope, Brad!  I actually have a few things set aside for you that I'll send out in the near future.

Ok, one trade post down, a few more to go!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

7/3/15 card show report: July Juniors

So what if I'm behind on trade packages and posting COMC stuff?  I went to a show last Friday!  As sometimes happens the vast majority of my spending, $40 this time, went towards trade bait for a few of you, but from some quarter- and dime-type boxes I found some fun inserts of guys named after their dads, George and Calvin:
Ken Griffey Jr. 1999 Topps Record Numbers and 2000 Upper Deck Hit Brigade
From all the way back last century, first up is an Independence Day-appropriate insert from '99 Topps.  Griffey's entry in the Record Numbers set highlights his then-record as the youngest player to reach 350 homers, doing so at the age of 28; Jimmie Foxx, Eddie Mathews and Mickey Mantle were the only others at that point to reach that milestone before turning 30.  Former teammate Alex Rodriguez beat Junior by 28 days back in 2004, and Griffey of course lost too much of his later career to injuries, but he still managed to swat 630, AND he's not a total douche like A-Rod.

The foil-riffic UD Hit Brigade insert was released the following year, and if you weren't sure of the name of the insert, I guess you didn't see it printed in large, all-caps orange foil or another three times in black ink above that.  This time period coincided with Junior's heyday as socked 249 HR between 1996 and 2000.  You're dame right he's card #1 in this set.

Cal Ripken Jr. 1994 Leaf Statistical Standouts, 1997 Score Pitcher Perfect (#1), 1997 Score Pitcher Perfect (#3) (with Alex Rodriguez), and 2000 Fleer Tradition Dividends
One-upping (two-upping?) Griffey is another 90s star named Junior.  I happily picked up this four-spot of Ripken inserts to bolster my collection of his stuff, which is due for lots more scanning.  First in the quartet is another foil masterpiece from '94 Leaf, and here Cal earned entry into the Statistical Standouts set by surpassing Ernie Banks for homers hit by a SS with his 278th back in '93.  He'd finish his career with 431, and while not all of those were as a shortstop, that's still a fantastic number.

Next is a fun pair of cards from an insert set I hadn't thought about in quite a while.  Score gave Randy Johnson a camera and let him have at it for '97's Pitcher Perfect set, and it resulted in some pretty cool cards, including Cal chillin' in the dugout reading a Superman comic (Iron Man might have been more appropriate) and another that features up-and-comer Alex Rodriguez reading Superboy next to his idol (A-Rod has his own card as well).  At the time it was a spot-on combo, and that's as much as I'll say about that.

Last up is an insert from the excellent 2000 Fleer Tradition set.  Dividends brings to mind banks and/or Monopoly.  I'd forgotten that I already had this card from owning the full set, but there's no reason not to like having two!

Though I only have three other pickups to show off there, please also check out tonight's TMM post if you're up for taking a gander at the Michigan stuff I dug up this time.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

2015 trade package #17: 3x3x3 Heroes, Red Wings-style

I don't think it gets said often enough, but Jeff from 2x3 Heroes is a classy guy.  Hey, stop laughing and get back here!  Or at least get back here.

For reals, though, he's a good person known for being very generous, especially when it comes to sending out PWEs.  He's even willing to send me his unwanted Red Wings even though his team is our hated rival, the Blackhawks.  To be fair, though, the 2014-15 champs are a very well-run organization (just like the Wings!) and have won multiple cups in a short span of time (just like the Wings!) and I have to give them their due for knowing how to put together a team...

...just like Jeff knows how to put together a PWE!  I like the Wings, I like cards in multiples of nine that scan easily, and I loved this stuff that he sent my way:
Page 1 includes:

  • Justin Abdelkaer -- BOOOOO, a Spartan, though a good contributor for the Wings
  • Jimmy Carson -- the guy traded in the deal that brought Paul Coffey to Detroit
  • Chris "Chev" Chelios
  • Dino Ciccarelli x2
  • Paul Coffey x 3 -- the HOF defenseman who was traded to Hartford in the deal that brought Brendan Shanahan (and multiple cups!) to Detroit
  • Matthieu Dandenault -- another multiple Cup-winner with the Wings

Page 2 includes:

  • Sergei Fedorov -- if you don't know who he is, you weren't watching hockey in the 90s
  • Glen Hanlon -- a former goalie who went on to coach the Caps
  • Gordie Howe -- I dunno, some old guy
  • Greg Johnson -- a former standout at North Dakota
  • Slava Kozlov -- one of the members of the Russian Five!
  • Martin Lapointe -- had an excellent career with the Wings, Bruins, and...HAWKS!
  • Nick Lidstrom x 2 -- the best defenseman of my era and one of the greatest at the position of all time
  • Chris Osgood -- well-known Wings goalie won three Cups and was a great return story in 2008

Page 3 includes:

  • Xavier Ouellet -- a recent D prospect drafted in 2011
  • Keith Primeau -- 3rd overall pick in '90, he never won a Cup with the Wings but was a force for his entire Detroit tenure (and was part of the deal for Shanahan)
  • Yves Racine -- Wings first-rounder in '87, he went on to have a long pro career
  • Brendan Shanahan -- huge part of Wings resurgence in the 90s is now Toronto's president and hired Mike Babcock away from his old team!
  • Brendan Smith -- former Hobey Baker finalist at Wisconsin is now a regular on Detroit's blue line
  • Steve Yzerman -- I'm pretty sure that "C" on his sweater stands for "Champion"
  • Steve Chiasson -- (whoops, he should have been in the first scan!) former D-man sadly died after driving drunk in 1999.  His son was a senior at Michigan last year
  • Henrik Zetterberg x2 -- late-round Swedish gem hasn't been as much of a force since the late aughts but was a key component on Detroit's last Cup-winning team in '08
Thanks again, Jeff!  I actually have a few things set aside for you and I'll shoot them your way sometime soon.  In the meantime, enjoy your revels in the afterglow of another Chicago Cup!