Saturday, January 24, 2015

1/2/15 card show report: first one of the year

Before getting to today's post I thought I'd say a quick few words about Cubs legend Ernie Banks, who passed away yesterday a couple weeks shy of turning 84.  Banks was "Mr. Cub" for a reason, playing 19 years for the North-Siders, with a joy and passion for the game that few could claim to match.  Just as there's an indelible image in my mind of Ken Griffey Jr. with his hat backwards and grinning while showing off his sweet swing in batting practice, or Lou Gehrig bravely addressing the Yankees faithful one last time, I will always picture Banks enjoying what he did best with a smile on his face, and of course, "Let's play two!"  The world has lost a true legend, but I trust that legend will be passed down from father to son as long as the sport endures.  RIP, Ernie, and thank you for everything you gave to the game and its fans.

Ok, so more than three weeks after attending this show I'm finally getting around to showing off the goods because I wanted to get to some trade posts plus my 1000th football hit milestone on TMM.  This was another trip to Taylor Town Trade Center, and I actually managed to spend a bit more than usual there--$55--because I had some nice like digging up more trade bait and PC stuff.  I made two purchases of $5, but most everything was from quarter, $0.50, and $1 boxes, giving me a nice mix once again.

As usual I have some to share on TMM as well, but here's what's relevant to those of you that read this here blog:
First up is one of my $5 purchase.  One of the sellers I frequent had a ton of base and insert sets he was trying to blow out, and sadly I missed out on one of 2001 Topps Archives Reserve, which someone got to before me.  Still, for just a few bucks I managed to grab this set of 2007 Topps Draft (...Picks & Prospects, but that's too long of a name).  My interest mostly stemmed from cards you'll see if you check TMM, but there were a few other highlights as well, namely RCs of these guys:
Not a bad little group there, eh?  Best of all, the set includes my favorite design element:  college photos!  And non-airbrushed ones at that.

Speaking of rookies, I managed to do pretty well in the quarter and $0.50 boxes, landing this pair:
 Adrian Beltre 1997 Bowman RC
This '97 Bowman Beltre makes for a nice trio along with his Bowman's Best and Bowman Chrome cards from the same year.
Ken Griffey Jr. 1989 Bowman RC
Though it's not in mint condition I happily added another copy of Griffey's oversized '89 Bowman rookie to my collection.

While I'm on the subject of Griffey (man, these segues are just writing themselves today), I found a fun cheap insert of his too:
Ken Griffey Jr. 1996 Emotion-XL D-Fense
Collectors from the 90s like me probably remember this oddly-named product and the D-Fense insert, with its framed, matted design.  Not a bad add to my Griffey PC.

While I was at it I found one card each for three other baseball PCs:
Kirk Gibson 1998 Sports Illustrated World Series Fever
Fleer's SI sets included some fantastic photography and design, like this cool base card of a more obscure moment in World Series history that I scored for my Gibby collection.
Lou Whitaker 2001 Topps American Pie
Sweet Lou got into the act too with this '01 American Pie base.  This was one of Topps' goofier sets that mixed baseball with pop culture way before their A&G/Gypsy Queen crapfests that are the hobby's version of Bill Simmons.  I love the photo of a young Whitaker with a great career ahead of him, though.
Barry Larkin 1997 Finest Bronze Refractor
Finally, it's Refractor time!  I don't remember which box I pulled this from but either way it was amazingly cheap--try finding Larkin Refractors for less than $1 on eBay or COMC.  The '97 set featured one of the product's best designs and I love how much the shininess enhances it.

As I mentioned I landed some trade bait as usual for several of you so keep in mind you may be getting cards from me again soon!  If not, there's always next show, which I may just attend if I feel like it.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

2014 COMC purchase: the Wizard of plaques

Here's a quick post to catch me up on my final COMC purchase of 2014 while rooting for the Patriots against the Colts.

I've been chipping away at the 2002 Fleer Classics HOF Plaques set ever since grabbing a nice chunk of the set at a show last year.  By the time COMC's Boxing Day sale rolled around I was just four cards short; unfortunately most of those are big names and therefore expensive.  However, I did luck out and tackle card #30 in the set at a nice price:
This here is Ozzie Smith's card, and though I'm not showing the back yet (saving those for the upcoming post when I show off the completed set), I'll tell you that it's numbered to to 2002, the year in which he was inducted into the Hall.  I'll be the first to admit that this isn't the best scan ever, but I promise to do my best when it's showtime for the whole thing.

That leaves Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Stan Musial before I can call this complete (wantlist is here).

Stay tuned for a few trade posts and a show recap very soon!  Oh yeah, and go Pats!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2015 trade package #2: Miggy Walks the Plank

I think by now almost everyone is aware that Matt from Bob Walk the Plank is one of the most generous traders out there, and if they don't they've obviously been hiding under a stack of Becketts for more than a year.  Today's trade posts--this one and another over at TMM--should go a long way in illustrating that point for the uninitiated.  Not only did Matt send me an embarrassment of riches that I happily posted on Too Many Manninghams this evening, but to make up for sending me some doubles in this package and the last one (what a crime!) he included "some Tigers."  I'm quoting from the note he included.  Everybody, this is what Matt considers as "some Tigers":
Nick Castellanos 2014 Topps High Tek auto
What a way cool first Castellanos to add to my Tigers collection!  I came close a couple times to pulling the trigger on one or more of Nick's signatures on COMC, but I never did find the right match.  No worries, because Matt stepped up with this beauty from last year's 2014 Topps High Tek product.  It's translucent and includes a ginormous signature, something you sure as hell can't get from sticker autos, so I give Topps credit here (an I apologize to the residents of hell who might be feeling a bit chilly all of a sudden).  Along with many other Tigers fans I'm hoping for big things out of the young 3B, especially because it seems like it's been a while since Detroit developed a home-grown position player.

Now at this point you're probably thinking, "Yeah, that's pretty nice, but I think you oversold this package a bit, bro."  Well first of all, that haul you saw over at TMM was amazing for a Michigan collector like myself.  Second, this gem was also included:
Miguel Cabrera 2008 Topps Moments and Milestones Milestone auto
Perhaps you've heard of this youngster?  The insanity of the Moments and Milestones set fortunately doesn't apply to the autographs, so this one was easy to identify.  Miggy's milestone here was being an All-Star in each of his first four full Major League seasons (2004-2007).  He only played a bit more than half of his rookie 2003 season and didn't make the team that year, but I suppose he can console himself by staring at his World Series ring earned by beating the Yankees.

As surprising as that victory for Florida was, it definitely can't compare to my shock at seeing this card in the envelope.  Cabrera is simply the best Tiger out there right now, not to mention one of the best hitters of his generation (and, you know, ever).  People don't just randomly send people Miguel Cabrera autographs, but Matt does!  I'll have to do my best to compensate him for what's now my third Cabrera auto, two of which have come from him.  Maybe I can find a nice deal on some McCutchens.

And now I offer my sincere thanks to Mr. Scott for this blowout of a doozy of a trade package.  I've only posted two trades so far but clearly 2015 is shaping up to be another fantastic year of sending and receiving cards.  Readers, please show the Pirates/Mountaineers guy some love and visit his blog, Bob Walk the Plank!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

2015 trade package #1: Nomo's Sushi Platter rings in the new year

It's a new year and that means it's time to reset the counter on my trade package posts!  Number one from 2015 comes from Spiegel at Nomo's Sushi Platter.  I sent him some Christmas cards last month because he'd sent me a package last March, and then he decided to return the favor.  This is another two-part trade post with the other half of the package viewable at TMM, so don't forget to check those out too.  Here's what Michael sent me this month:
How about some Tigers?  Cabrera, Holaday, and Price are the current Detroiters here while Fielder and Granderson highlight the group of former players.  The Price may be my first of him with the Tigers, though I may have already said that recently!
More Tigers!  Pudge, a pair of (soon-to-be-former Tiger?) Scherzer, and Whitaker are the best of the bunch.  That's definitely one of my favorite Whitaker base cards as it's from later in his career but still shows his enthusiasm for the game.
He also included a pair of other guys I like to collect in Griffey, who should be in next year's Hall of Fame class, and Maddux, who's of course already in.  I may just have to make the trek next year to see Junior's induction, and if I do go I can get a shot of Mad Dog's plaque as well.

There were a couple nice hits as well:
Clete Thomas 2008 SP Authentic auto RC (#600/850)
Clete appeared in parts of three seasons with the Tigers and was most recently in the Majors with the Twins in 2013.  I really like that year's autograph design with the cool window for a signature as it's a definite upgrade over a sticker.
Carlos Guillen 2009 Upper Deck Icons jersey
Would you believe this is my first hit of Guillen in the Tigers collection (or at all)?  I'm not sure how I went this long without one, so I'm grateful to Spiegel for sending this my way.

Thanks again for a great first trade package of the year, Michael!  I promise to find some new stuff to send your way before much longer.

Monday, January 5, 2015

TMV's 2015 HOF ballot

MLB's 2015 Hall of Fame class will be announced tomorrow so I thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to get around to posting who I'd vote for and/or hope to see get in this year.  You'll note that I completely fill a ten-player ballot, and that's due to the idiocy of recent voters for letting deserving players linger this long, potentially putting other deserving players in jeopardy by pushing them down as a result.  The system is obviously stupid and could use some fixing but that part's not up to me, so here's who I'd vote for, and maybe some reasons why just in case.

-Numbers in parentheses are years on the ballot; players without years are first-timers
-AS = All-Star
-GG = Gold Glove
-SS = Silver Slugger
-Top-5 MVP = top-5 finishes in MVP voting
-CYA = Cy Young Award
-WS = World Series champ
-WAR comes from Baseball-Reference
-Relevant BBR Similarity Scores:  I tried to pick illustrative scores whose values were reasonably high enough

The shoo-ins:  These guys get my vote, no questions asked, but I justify 'em anyway.
Craig Biggio (3rd year)
Relevant counting stats:  20 seasons, .281/.363/.433, 291 HR, 414 SB, 3060 H
Career WAR:  65.1
Accolades/achievements:  7x AS, 4x GG, 2x top-5 MVP
Relevant BBR Similarity score(s):  Robin Yount, Derek Jeter
The final word:  I can't believe this is Biggio's 3rd ballot--how is this guy not in?!  3000 hits, a 20-year Astro that was part of their best seasons, all those hit-by-pitches.  Get this man a plaque!
Mike Piazza (3rd year)
Relevant counting stats:   16 seasons, .308/.377/.505, 427 HR,  
Career WAR:  59.4
Accolades/achievements:  1993 ROY, 12x AS, 10x SS, 4x top-5 MVP, most career HR by C
Relevant BBR Similarity score(s):  Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra
The final word:  Piazza was the best hitting catcher of his generation, and a slugger to boot.  He arouses suspicion having played during the PED era, of course, but regardless he passes the eye test.
Relevant counting stats:  22 seasons, 303-166 W/L, 3.29 ERA, 100 CG, 37 SHO, 4875 K, 10.6 K/9, 3-0 with 1.04 ERA in 2001 WS
Career WAR:  102.7(!)
Accolades/achievements:  300 wins, 2nd on all-time strikeout list with 4875(!), 2001 WS MVP, 5x CYA including 4 straight and 4 other top-3 finishes, 10x AS, all-time leader in K/9, 4x ERA titles, 1x win title, 9x K titles, and even more I won't bother to list
Relevant BBR Similarity score(s):  Roger Clemens, Tom Glavine, Tom Seaver
The final word:  Anybody that doesn't give the Big Unit a vote deserves one of his fastballs to the face.  LOOK AT THOSE NUMBERS.
Relevant counting stats:  18 seasons, 219-100 W/L, 2.93 ERA, 3154 K, 10.0 K/9
Career WAR:  84.0
Accolades/achievements:  3x CYA with 4 other top-4 finishes, 8x AS, 2x top-5 MVP, 2004 WS, 5x ERA titles, 1x win title, 3x K titles
Relevant BBR Similarity score(s):  Whitey Ford, Juan Marichal
The final word:  His 1999 AL pitching triple crown was a thing of beauty (23-4, 2.07, 313 K) and his follow up to that was special too:  18-6, 1.74, 284.  Simply one of the most dominant pitchers of the late 90s to mid aughts.

The get 'em in soons:  I'd put each of these guys in this year, but I won't scream if they don't make it; they should very soon, though.
Jeff Bagwell (5th year)
Relevant counting stats:  15 seasons, .297/.408/.540, 449 HR, 1529 RBI, 202 SB
Career WAR:  79.6
Accolades/achievements:  1991 ROY, 1994 MVP, 2x top-5 MVP, 4x AS, 2x member of 30-30 club, 3x GG
Relevant BBR Similarity score(s):  Frank Thomas, Albert Pujols
The final word:  He "only" played 15 years but was a feared slugger for all but his final season, and all of those were for the Astros, when he paired with Biggio to give the team its best seasons.  For a while there he was the NL's answer to Frank Thomas, and I can't believe he's lasted this long without getting in.
Tim Raines (8th year)
Relevant counting stats:  23 seasons, .294/.385/.425, 2605 H, 808 SB, 1571 R.  From 1981-1992 OBP was .387 with an average of 60 SB and 90 R per year
Career WAR:  69.1
Accolades/achievements:  7x AS, 1x top-5 MVP, 1x batting champ, 5th all-time in SB
Relevant BBR Similarity score(s):  Lou Brock
The final word:  Raines toiled in relative obscurity in Montreal, in the shadow of Dawson and Carter, and was overshadowed by Rickey Henderson, but still made his own legacy.
Alan Trammell (14th year)
Relevant counting stats:  20 seasons, .285/.352/.415, 185 HR, 236 SB
Career WAR:  70.4
Accolades/achievements:  1984 WS MVP, should-be 1987 MVP, 6x AS, 4x GG, half of longest-tenured double-play combo in history
Relevant BBR Similarity score(s):  Barry Larkin, Lou Whitaker, Ryne Sandberg
The final word:  Tram doesn't automatically deserve entry because Larkin's in; he deserves it of his own merit.  He was a career Tiger for all 20 of his seasons and a huge part of the team's success in '84 and '87.  If Ripken's never born kids country-wide are still wearing Trammell jerseys today.
Mike Mussina (2nd year)
Relevant counting stats:  18 seasons, 270-153 W/L, 57 CG, 3.68 ERA, 2813 K
Career WAR:  83.0
Accolades/achievements:  5x AS, 6x top-5 CYA, 6x GG
Relevant BBR Similarity score(s):  Juan Marichal, Jim Palmer
The final word:  It took Moose until 2007, his final year, to get over the hump and win 20 games, but he won at least 15 11 times.  While he doesn't have a Cy Young or World Series title to his name, he was an excellent pitcher for almost two decades, and he went out on a high note when he probably could have dragged things out to get to 300 wins.
Larry Walker (5th year)
Relevant counting stats:  17 seasons, .313/.400/.565, 383 HR, 230 SB
Career WAR:  72.6
Accolades/achievements:  1997 MVP, 5x AS, 7x GG, 3x batting titles
Relevant BBR Similarity score(s):  Miguel Cabrera, Duke Snider
The final word:  Walker was a pretty good player in Montreal but really took off with the Rockies.  Yes, Coors Field inflated his stats some, but he absolutely mashed from the mid to late 90s and was actually a pretty good all-around player for much of his career, as the steals and Gold Gloves prove.
Relevant counting stats:  21 seasons, 213-155 W/L, 3.33 ERA, 154 SV, 3084 K
Career WAR:  69.5
Accolades/achievements:  1992 NLCS MVP, 1995 WS, 1996 CYA, 2x top-5 CYA, 8x AS, 144 SV from 2002-2004, 2x win titles, 2x K titles
Relevant BBR Similarity score(s):  Jim Bunning, Catfish Hunter
The final word:  Smoltz was part of one of the greatest pitching trios in history with Maddux and Glavine.  He had somewhat of an Eck-like career in closing for three-plus seasons and succeeded at that just as much as he did as a starter.  You have to wonder what his stats would have looked like if he could have started from 2001-2004.  This one's an easy decision for me.

The I suppose but no rushes:  Yeah, sure, go nuts, whatever...
Roger Clemens (3rd year)
He's got the numbers, but the PED allegations hurt a lot, as do his personality and the 2000 World Series bat toss thing.  PEDs make decisions like this tougher, but since we'll never identify everyone I suppose you may as well not penalize specific players for them, guilty or not.  I wouldn't mind it if he had to twist in the wind until the Veterans Committee put him in, though.
Barry Bonds (3rd year)
Ditto Clemens, minus the bat thing, pretty much.  He obviously had the credentials before the PED stuff, so there's that.

The mehs:  I wouldn't bother voting these three guys in ever
Curt Schilling (3rd year)
Schilling probably should get in but I just couldn't vote for him.  His Arizona and Boston years were great, but his time in Philly wasn't the stuff of legends.  You can have him, but I wouldn't.
Jeff Kent (2nd year)
Kent put up some nice numbers as a 2B during the PED era but overall doesn't pass the eye test as far as I'm concerned.
Mark McGwire (9th year)
This isn't about the PED issues as much as the fact that McGwire really wasn't valuable for anything besides HR and walks, especially the intentional variety.  He made the game more exciting with his power, no doubt, but when I look past that there's not much else that interests me.  I don't feel like his induction would tarnish the hall, but I wouldn't be one of the ones voting for him.

The DH:  What to do with Edgar?
Edgar Martinez (6th year)
Martinez was a hell of a hitter, and maybe I could be persuaded otherwise, but it's hard to get over the fact that he was mainly a DH.  Considering hitting was his full-time job he did a fantastic job of being as valuable as he could, especially as an OBP king, but without any MVP or World Series contributions I just don't see it.

The Hall of Very Good:  Thanks for your great careers, guys!
Lee Smith (13th year)
Fred McGriff (6th year)
Don Mattingly (15th year)
Sammy Sosa (3rd year)
Gary Sheffield
Brian Giles
Nomar Garciaparra
Carlos Delgado

Therefore my ballot is the 10 players in the first two sections.

I realize how much debate this can spur but that's cool, and I'm actually interested in hearing what you guys think about my picks and/or your own preferences, so have at it!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Thank you everybody for a great 2014 and happy new year!

Before 2014 ends I wanted to say a quick thanks to everybody who made 2014 another great year of collecting for me.  That includes everyone that read and commented on my blogs, traded with me and/or sent me cards for no reason.

I showed off 37 trade packages over here and another 21 on Too Many Manninghams; even with some of those overlapping I'm once again thrilled by the number of cards I received from you guys this year.

Fuji kicked things off with my first TMV trade of 2014 while Doug was responsible for 2014 trade #1 over on TMM.  I was happy to end the year with my first trade with Scott at Sports Cards Ate My Brain and--what else--another awesome Sports Cards From the Dollar Store package!

In between I made other first deals with Tom from the Angels in OrderMatt at Bob Walk the Plank, vintage guru Mark Hoyle, Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown, Tony of Off Hiatus Baseball CardsReader Eric Eckstein, Keith of the Home Run Apple, and Chris from the Raz Card Blog.

Additionally, two traders really stood head and shoulders above everyone else (though of course I appreciate everyone who sends me cards!), and those two are Doug C. of Sports Cards From the Dollar Store and Matt of Bob Walk the Plank.  I continue to work with each of them on "standing" deals that involve multiple envelopes flying back and forth every month.  All told, I showed off five packages from Doug on Too Many Verlanders and another ten on TMM.  Matt's respective counts are seven for TMV and two on TMM.  Both guys are easy to work with and willing to put in the effort to find stuff of your favorite team(s), even if that involves looking for college players!

Money-wise, I'm proud to say I stuck to my budget, which I may go into in another post soon.  Despite being reasonably judicious about my spending I was able to have a very good year which of course included picking up this beauty:
Not only that, but I also made mincemeat out of my baseball and football set wantlists, completing a bunch of sets on both and ending the year needing just three cards from one set.

Finally, I was able to get a lot more organized and give away cards not once but twice, including my Spring Cleaning promotion and Christmas Cards.

I hope 2014 was as enjoyable for the rest of you, and that everyone has a great 2015!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

2014 COMC purchases: plaque good

I had a blast picking things up on COMC during their Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales this year, and luckily for me that included a bonus $20 shopping spree plus another $5 free for shipping 100 or more cards in November.  A nice number of those cards went to traders and readers like you, and I've been glad to see people posting and showing them off!

Speaking of posting and showing off cards I have just four for you to see on this blog, but there'll be a bunch more over on TMM.  Here's what I bought:
This is a quartet of 2002 Fleer Fall Classics HOF Plaques I needed towards the set I'm building.  I originally debuted this set back in April after I picked up a huge chunk of it from quarter and $0.50 boxes at a show.  Before November I still needed eight cards, so now I'm missing just four (as seen on my baseball wantlist):  Ruth, Gehrig, Musial, and Ozzie Smith.  With just a few days left this month I doubt I'll finish it before 2015, but that's ok since it's literally the only set I'm building right now!

I definitely ended up with a pretty nice group here, and I believe I landed each of them for less than $3.00.  As with the rest in the set, these are serial-numbered to the year each player joined the Hall of Fame and have a die-cut HOF plaque-like design with text on the front and back.  As I continue to promise, once I land all of them I'll show off the set in its entirety--fronts and backs!

Well, I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas and that the good cheer lasts into the new year!  I'd call my own holiday so far good, but is it plaque good?