Tuesday, January 22, 2019

2019 MLB Hall of Fame and the 30 teams/30 players blog bat around

There's two great topics to cover today instead of posting cards I bought, so let's hit 'em both!

First, the 2019 Hall of Fame election announcement.  Huge congrats to:
Roy Halladay200 wins, 2 Cy Youngs, 8 All-Star nods, a perfect game plus a no-hitter (the latter during the playoffs!) and a career bWAR of 64.3 over 16 seasons.  It's a shame he won't be there to celebrate his induction.
Edgar Martinez2 batting titles, 7 All-Star appearances, and a 68.4 bWAR in 18 seasons (though he didn't play a "full" one until his fourth).  Edgar was the Platonic ideal of a DH and made people appreciate OBP.
Mike Mussina270 wins, 7 Gold Gloves, 5 All-Star selections, a crazy 83.0 bWAR in 18 seasons, and he saved his best for last, winning 20 games in 2008 before retiring.  His Yankees career was bookended by World Series titles he missed out on, plus it's not his fault that Baltimore's owner was a cheap asshole.
Mariano Rivera652 saves (a record), five World Series rings (he was the '99 MVP), 13 All-Star selections, and a 56.2 bWAR in 19 seasons.  He waited his turn for a couple years then rode into the record books as a Yankees legend.  More often than not if the Yankees got to the 8th or 9th with a lead, it was "Enter Sandman" and the game was over thanks to the greatest closer the game has seen.  Also the first unanimous selection!

All four of these guys are very deserving and I look forward to their ceremony in Cooperstown this summer.

Next, the 30 for 30 blog bat around:  the player I immediately think of when I hear the name of each modern team.  (All scans that aren't mine come from COMC.)

2002 Upper Deck - [Base] #736 - Luis Gonzalez - Courtesy of COMC.com

Arizona -- Luis Gonzalez.  Came up with one of the biggest hits in World Series history--against Mariano Rivera, no less--after the D-Backs almost let the Yanks claim a fourth straight title.
Atlanta -- Greg Maddux.  With apologies to the likes of Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson, the best pitcher of his generation.
Baltimore -- Cal Ripken Jr.  Nothing against the Robinsons, but this one was easy.
1961 Fleer Baseball Greats - [Base] #152 - Ted Williams [VG] - Courtesy of COMC.com
Boston -- Ted Williams.  I've never been a fan of their recent teams so I went with an obvious classic choice here.
1959 Topps - [Base] #350 - Ernie Banks [Good to VG‑EX] - Courtesy of COMC.com
Chicago Cubs -- Ernie Banks.  C'mon, he's "Mr. Cub"!
Chicago White Sox -- Frank Thomas.  There was a period in the early 90s when I loved the White Sox, and that was mainly thanks to "the Big Hurt".
Cincinnati -- Barry Larkin.  The Big Red Machine was fantastic but give me Barry any day.
Cleveland -- Bob Feller.  An incredible pitcher who was fun to watch in old baseball videos and a pleasure to meet in person.
1997 Bowman's Best - [Base] - Atomic Refractor #67 - Larry Walker - Courtesy of COMC.com
Colorado -- Larry Walker.  He had his best years with the Rockies and put up some crazy numbers in his time.
Detroit -- Lou Whitaker.  So many to choose from, especially Al Kaline, but I'll go with my favorite guy growing up, another legend (and deserving HOFer) who stuck with the team for his entire career.
Houston -- Jeff Bagwell.  Man was his crouched stance and wound-up swing fun to watch as he mashed homers.
Kansas City -- George Brett.  A great hitter and representative of his era.  Three words:  "pine tar incident".  Three more:  "straight fuckin' water".
Los Angeles Angels -- Jim Abbott.  You younger guys can have Trout, but I'll go with another Michigan favorite, the amazing pitcher who throw a no-hitter with one arm.
Los Angeles Dodgers -- Kirk Gibson.  Gibby would have been a good choice for the Tigers too, but I'm putting him here for his storybook moment in '88.  None of the recent guys really appeal to me, but those 80s teams sure were fun!
1996 Topps Finest - [Base] - Refractor #100 - Jeff Conine - Courtesy of COMC.com
Miami/Florida -- Jeff Conine.  I'm not sure if I've seen him come up yet--Giancarlo Stanton is a popular choice--but he was an original Marlin that was among the team's leaders in games.
Milwaukee -- Robin Yount.  Another guy I got to appreciate a bit at the tail end of his career.
Minnesota -- Kirby Puckett.  Joe Mauer was my second choice (Killebrew was just too much before my time) but I had to go with the guy that brought energy to the '87 and '91 Twins.
2002 Topps Stadium Club - World Champions Relics #WC-GC2 - Gary Carter - Courtesy of COMC.com
New York Mets -- Gary Carter.  The Mets are one of the few teams here that I just never really cared for, but Carter's a HOFer that was a big piece of the '86 champs.
New York Yankees -- Derek Jeter.  I went with one of many obvious choices, just a more recent one.  Jeter was the face of the 90s/2000s Yankees dynasty, though I wish he would have made a pit stop in Ann Arbor on the way to Cooperstown!
Oakland -- Rickey Henderson.  The do-everything cog of the A's on four different occasions, he was the greatest base-stealer ever and put together the 19th best bWAR the game has seen.  And he was simply a blast to watch.
1978 Kellogg's 3-D Super Stars - [Base] #3 - Mike Schmidt - Courtesy of COMC.com
Philadelphia -- Mike Schmidt.  Nobody recent could topple the power-hitting 3B for the 1980 champs, though he retired when I was still quite young.
1955 Topps - [Base] #164 - Roberto Clemente [VG] - Courtesy of COMC.com
Pittsburgh -- Roberto Clemente.  I can't possibly add anything new in lauding a true legend and humanitarian.
St. Louis -- Stan Musial.  My modern choice would probably be Albert Pujols but Musial is such a beloved HOFer and career Cardinal that there was no question in my mind that he was "the Man" for the job here.
San Diego -- Tony Gwynn.  I opted against "Mr. Tiger" but went with "Mr. Cub" and now "Mr. Padre".  The greatest pure hitter of his generation lives on thanks to some very cool bloggers.
San Francisco -- Willie Mays.  This choice was far too easy, especially after I confirmed that most of his Giants career was spent in San Fran, not New York.  One of the greatest five-tool athletes ever.
Seattle -- Ken Griffey Jr.  The most fun player to watch in the 90s, health prevented him from being the true heir to Mays, but when he was playing, you stopped and watched.
2005 Donruss Prime Patches - Portraits - Name Plate Patch #P-36 - Rocco Baldelli /50 - Courtesy of COMC.com
Tampa Bay -- Rocco Baldelli.  First reaction:  "Eh, who cares?"  Second reaction:  "Jeez is Florida baseball garbage".  Third reaction:  "Ok, Baldelli was a good guy".
Texas -- Nolan Ryan.  He pitched for so long I got to see a lot of him in my formative baseball years, and the flamethrower was amazing to watch game after game.
1994 Score Select - [Base] #12 - Joe Carter - Courtesy of COMC.com
Toronto -- Joe Carter.  That World Series homer, tho.  Other guys have come and gone but if that moment doesn't scream Blue Jays, I don't know what does.
Washington/Montreal -- Vladimir Guerrero.  The current version of Washington doesn't have enough history yet so I'm going back to the Expos days.  Again, Pedro Martinez was a good option, but Montreal is where Guerrero built his legend as his generation's answer to Clemente while toiling in relative obscurity.

I realize a number of my choices were obvious and/or unoriginal but I tried my best to adhere to the "first guy you come up with while not thinking about it" idea.  What do y'all think?

Sunday, January 20, 2019

2019 trade package #1: Nachos Grande

Chris from Nachos Grande was nice enough to be the first person to send me cards in 2019.  He was one of the many folks who received some Christmas Cards from me, and then he returned the favor after I claimed a couple things from his Trade Bait Blowout.  Naturally he threw in a bunch more stuff because he's a great guy to trade with.

Here's what I got this time:
Group 1 here is guys I have sorted by player in my Tigers box.  Miggy and Sanchez are the only ones that are still playing, but Clark is the head of the MLBPA and Henneman is still coaching in the Tigers organization (I think).  Peralta was quite good in his four years in Motown, but it looks like 2017 may have been his last year in the Majors.
And some other Tigers from the past 25-ish years.  Alvarez came to Detroit from Arizona by way of San Diego during the expansion draft in a deal for former star Travis Fryman, but he never got his bat going enough to last.  Anderson was a #1 overall pick as a closer but blew his arm out.  Benoit was a very effective arm out of the pen but his performance priced him out of Motown.  Fick was somehow an All-Star during the awful 2002 season.  Pena is back with the organization as a coach after retiring last year.  Rondon is the White Sox's problem now!  And Young just had a hell of a Winter League in Venezuela.
Chris's note mentioned that he thought I may have asked him for some Chris Sabos at some point and sent this five-pack my way.  That was awesome of him as three were new to me:  1990 Classic Update and Starline Long John Silver (#25, one of his two appearances), plus 1994 Pacific.  I'm especially glad he sent the latter because I'd included that set on the checklist of another player but not for Spuds.  That's all fixed now, and I'm happy to have even more cardboard of the notable 3B!
Also:  three many Verlanders!  The 2017 Topps Bunt card in the middle was a new one for me as was the A&G relic from the same year.  The latter was one of the two cards I claimed from Chris's piles of trade bait and I thought it would be fun to grab as I have his other version from the same set:
By their powers combined these give me 350 total Verlanders, which is not Too Many but is definitely a lot!
Last up is a very shiny Thomas Rawls insert, a Yellow parallel of 2016 Panini Phoenix's Adrenaline Rush (#49/99).  I claimed this one as well since Rawls is a former Wolverine (who blew up in his senior year after a transfer to Central Michigan).  While I usually post this kind of thing over on TMM I didn't feel like it was worth it for just one card.  Besides, the sport is especially relevant today, the NFL conference champ games, plus I have another Sportlots post I hope you'll all check out over there.

Thanks again for a great return package, Chris.  May your eight not be so elusive and your Larkins be plentiful in 2019!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

2018 Sportlots purchases: PC predators

I just received my first trade package of the year but that'll wait for another day as I already had a draft of today's post ready to go.  This evening we'll be ditching the vintage stuff (mostly) and perusing some cards from my Tigers and Michigan Baseball player collections that didn't warrant individual posts because I just found a few of each.  New cardboard:  GO!
One scan, three former Tigers greats.  Gibby gets three new additions thanks to '95 SP's Silver parallel (which is listed on TCDB as "Superbafoil" for some reason) and a couple 2001 Topps versions:  Chrome and Home Team Advantage.  A high-flyin' Tram doubles up Mark McGwire on '92 Leaf's Black Gold parallel, a.k.a. "What '92 Leaf's Base Set Design Should Have Been" (sorry if I say that every time) and he joins Gibson in the '95 SP parallel set.  Last up is a great 2017 Verlander pair:  Diamond Kings and Stadium Club.
And on to the Wolverines.  Jim Abbott is one of two players that hit the four-card mark today.  A '92 Seven-Eleven hologram coin is the most unique item I added of him this time, his '95 Finest base (White Sox version, #233) is the highest end, the Pinnacle Museum Collection from the same year is my favorite, and the Circa card from '96 wasn't a bad throw-in.

As for the single-card guys, we'll begin with Astros pitching prospect Brett Adcock, whose collection doubled thanks to that 2016 Bowman Chrome Draft base you see dead center.  My non-supercollection of superagent Casey Close (no Major League cards to chase) got a little boost to seven items thanks to a 1990 minor league issue.  It's been a long time since I rock & rolled and added a new Freehan item to one of my favorite Tigers/Wolverines PCs, but here you can peep the Tigers great on his '66 O-Pee-Chee card, one that's surely seen better days.  I still lack three checklist cards for pitcher Scott Kamieniecki but did track down another of his minors cards from '89.  And Elliot (not "Elliot") Maddox's completed PC grew by one with his appearance from 1990 Swell Baseball Greats.
Hal Morris is another PC guy who got a card knocked off of his checklist thanks to that '96 Collector's Choice Silver Signature you see leading off this scan.  But new Blue Jay Clayton Richard had the most productive day in terms of new adds with four Topps-branded cards from 2018:  Flagship, Big League and its Gold parallel, and Heritage.  I wonder if he'll get a card with Toronto this year or if Topps will ignore him in favor of a 13th Aaron Judge subset.  As for Leon Roberts, I completed his checklist a while ago but lately have had some luck finding Senior League cards of his, this one from Pacific.
And here's a nice bunch of players to close out the group today.  I still need plenty of help in terms of my Chris Sabo collection but this time I did score both a fun oddball, an '89 Fleer box panel card, plus a need, the Golden Rainbow parallel of his '94 Stadium Club card.  I also bumped up my George Sisler PC to 85 cards with a pair of decent Topps inserts from 2010-11.  100 cards here I come!

That leaves three more players.  I considered it too oddball to be part of his supercollection checklist but happily picked up pitcher Gary Wayne's 1993 Pacific Spanish issue, and now I'm showing it off about a week before his sorta namesake, the Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne, returns on Netflix's excellent Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt for its final season.  I managed not to get shut out when it came to my favorite PC, Rich Hill, thanks to his nice horizontal appearance from last year's flagship Topps product.  And finally, we travel all the way back to 2006 and Topps Chrome for a base issue I somehow didn't have:  a Gold Glove subset card starring former catcher and manager Mike Matheny.

That wraps up the collection of smaller additions to my PCs so look forward to bigger bunches of cards featuring some of your (and my) favorite stars, not to mention a brand spanking new trade package!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

2018 Sportlots purchases: the (mostly) new guys

Here we are in the middle of January 19 and I still have lots of 2018 purchases to show off!  Get ready for a bunch of Sportlots posts as I catch up on those over the next week or two, both here and on TMM (there's even one of those already up this evening).

Today I'll be looking at a bunch of guys who are making their debut among my PCs, with the exception of two I added late last year.  These are all guys that I eventually found out were Michigan Baseball alumni and therefore started chasing.  If that's not interesting enough for you, well, you might like the fact that just about every card in this post is of the vintage variety.
We'll start off with pitcher Jim Burton.  A Rochester Hills, Michigan, native, Burton was originally drafted by Detroit in '67 but headed to Ann Arbor, then went to the Red Sox in the first round four years later.  Good choice.  He appeared in just 30 games over the 1975 and '77 seasons and was out of pro ball after spending 1978 in the Mets' system.  I was able to find both of his regular issues from OPC and Topps produced in 1976 so he's done as far as those are concerned, though I have a couple optional SSPC issues I can chase.

John Herrnstein was one of a number of multi-sport athletes to star for the Wolverines.  In his case football was a family affair, and he did quite well for the team as a FB and LB in the late 50s before a knee injury steered him towards the diamond full time.  He spent most of his five-year Major League career with the Phillies before being traded twice in 1966 (Cubs, then Braves), once as part of the deal that brought HOFer Fergie Jenkins to the Cubs.  You can see his final issue from 1966 Topps above, and he appeared in that set the three previous years as well.  It'll be tough to track down his first two and final two cards, though:  the former are multi-player RCs with Willie Stargell and Dick Allen and the latter are 2015 Topps Heritage Real One autographs!

Here comes a player to spur Jeff's interest:  a Wolverine/White Sox combo.  Pitcher Mike Joyce is a Detroit native from around the same time as Herrnstein that signed with the South-siders after his college career.  And like Burton he pitched in just 31 games over a couple seasons (1962-63).  Card-wise you can find him on his 1963 Topps RC, seen above, another from that brand the following year, then once again, a couple versions of Topps Heritage's Real One autos, this time out of the 2013 product.

Meanwhile, Frank Kostro actually debuted here last month when I found a buyback of the very card you see above, his '68 Topps base.  I have four others of his to track down, including a '63 Topps multi-player RC, though fortunately that won't be quite as expensive as Hernnstein's.

Catcher Tom Lundstedt is the player of interest here on the four-player RC you see from '74 Topps, though the Brewers' Charlie Moore definitely had the best career of the bunch.  Like Foote to his left, Lundstedt was a first round choice in 1970, selected by the Cubs.  The Iowa native saw his career fizzle out after spending 1973 and '74 on the North Side and 1975 with the Twins.  Like Burton above his cards are limited to OPC and Topps issues from the same year, 1974, so I'm a card away from completing his "run".
If Bob Reed's name sounds familiar that's because the Topps version of the 1970 OPC card you see up there was included in a Fuji trade package that made me realize there were way more Michigan guys for me to collect.  Yet another Wolverine/Tiger, he was a Detroit second-rounder in 1966 and would pitch in 24 games for the team between 1969 and '70.  Aside from the two 1970 cards I now own he also appears in both sets made the following year, and I plan to track those down before long.

Getting back to the newbies, Dick Wakefield, who can be seen on oddballs from '79 TCMA and '89 Score Rookies to Remember (the mini hologram) was apparently quite a character.  After just a year with the Wolverines he eventually signed with the Tigers (!) in 1941.  In the years before the draft you could garner a huge bonus if you were good enough, and Wakefield had plenty of interest, becoming a "bonus baby", a title bestowed upon others such as Sandy Koufax.  He got to play a bit that year, came back up in '43 with an excellent campaign, served in the military, and spent 1944 and 1946-49 with Detroit.  His wartime bet that he'd beat Ted Williams in multiple batting categories...didn't go well at all for him.  Three games each for the Yankees (1950) and Giants ('52) concluded his career.  I have an interesting challenge on my hands as I need to chase his 1949 RCs from Bowman and Leaf!
Here's the back of the hologram card in case you're interested.

This comprehensive post goes from "B" to "Z", as in pitcher Bill Zepp.  Another Detroit-born guy, Zepp didn't sign after he was taken by Boston in 1967 (7th round), plus Detroit failed to sign him in '66, and he landed with Minnesota the following year.  After pitching in just four contests in 1969 he went a solid 9-4 in 1970, then was included in a deal that found him in Detroit for the final 16 games of his career in '71.  As you can see above I landed his Topps base from that year, and once I buy his OPC version plus his '70 Topps three-player RC I'll own his run.

I hope you enjoyed this vintage-y look at a bunch of new baseball PCs I'm chasing, and I'll be back to more familiar territory soon so stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

1/5/19 show report: lots of hits for two bits

If last Saturday's show is any indication, I'm gonna have another great year of pickups from my usual guy at Taylor Town Trade Center!  It was a nice day all around with the sun shining as I headed east and then spent a couple hours digging through quarter boxes.  Also, props to Tigers legend Willie Horton who was there signing autographs when apparently a gas leak caused an evacuation (after I left, I guess?).  Horton ended up continuing to sign for folks in the parking lot.  What a guy!  (HT to Paul for letting me know about this)

Anyway, my efforts once again paid off handsomely as I headed home with 175 total cards for $47.  170 of those were $0.25 per and the other five were a buck apiece.  Not much of a discount this time, but it all evens out.

I'd say the personal keepers vs. trade bait percentage was around 40%/60%, but regardless I ended up with a ton of new stuff to enjoy.  That includes a pair over on TMM this evening, plus this bevy of stars:
My take-home largely comprised the big guys, starting here with Junior Griffey.  This first bunch includes his '94 Finest base, a quartet of '97 inserts, and a shiny offering from 2000 UD.  I still remember pulling some of those Pitcher Perfect cards from packs of '97 Score!
Griffey part 2/3 here.  I guessed a bit when sorting these and got the years wrong because like Donruss/Leaf, UD didn't always use the actual year as the copyright date.  So you get to see, out of order, Ovation Curtain Calls inserts from 1999 and 2001, then a 2000 PowerDeck Magical Moments CD (no, I'm not gonna try to play it), and a cool Superior Sluggers insert from the 2003 flagship set.  Now that I'm looking at all of these and the next scan, I realize I grabbed a lot of UD stuff, but that makes sense since they made a ton of great inserts during their run while Topps mostly opted for boring stuff.
And the horizontals.  The SI Covers insert is my favorite here because I've always loved those, but four UD inserts spanning 1994-2000 and a 2000 Fleer Gamers subset aren't bad either.  Black Diamond was a favorite of mine one year, and we get another appearance by PowerDeck.
This little haul of Gwynns has me pretty close to a total of 600, which (spoiler) I'll be achieving soon thanks to Sportlots cards.  You'll also see a few more starring Gwynn in a later scan in this post.

A Diamond King and Sportflix insert from '95 have me pining for the good old days of the 90s, while there's plenty more cool chase cards like 2000 Fleer Gamers' Change the Game and '99 Pacific's Team Checklists.  Pacific sure knew how to make checklists anything but boring.

By the way, that '96 Circa Access insert was new to me, and I had fun scanning all facets of the booklet-like card:
He's right, too--I bet Tony would have hit .400 given the chance in '94.
I went three-for-four on the Larkins I pulled out of these boxes so a certain Jeff will be getting the dupe of the group in a future trade package.  As for me, I scored a pretty interesting mix, including a 1994 Score Dream Team Sample (samples are fun!), a Century Stars insert from 2004 Throwback Threads (#d /1500...for a quarter!), and an example of one of my favorite chase cards, Select's 1996 Team Nucleus.  These acetate cards look badass and the trios are pretty interesting.  Here the '95 NL MVP is matched up with Reggie Sanders and Bret Boone.  The former would play eight seasons in Cincy, putting up an All-Star '95 in which he recorded a career-high bWAR of 6.6, while the latter spent most of his solid career with the Reds and Mariners.
It was another good day for my Maddux collection thanks to this lucky seven (plus one!).  Most of what you see here is from my favorite cardboard era--the mid-90s through the mid-aughts.  Respect was a cool insert from '96 Ultra, and next to that is a successfully exchanged UD Predictor from '95 (again, guessing on the years when scanning).  Those are followed up by a '99 Skybox Molten Metal "Don't Call Me Leaf Preferred Steel" Xplosion card and a much more recent Topps Gallery Insert from 2017.

The horizontals feature my second copy (one that hasn't been peeled) of Donruss's '95 Dominators insert, another from Leaf All-Star Game MVP Contenders Gold, a 2000 Pacific team insert, and one of a couple Donruss Estrellas Spanish cards you'll see today.
Ripken's group ended up being a pretty interesting one as it paired him up with a couple other PC guys.  The solo offerings include a Score Dugout parallel and Ultra Checklist from the mid-90s, another Ultra insert, a second Estrellas card from the early 2000s, and the "Auxiliary" (read:  non-CD) version of a 1999 PowerDeck insert.  He then gets matched up with a couple other good shortstops on a '94 Triple Play Medalists insert, one being Tony Fernandez and the other, Hall of Famer Alan Trammell.  The final three cards are from a Ripken/Gwynn insert from 2007 Upper Deck that celebrates both entering the Hall that year (I attended that induction ceremony!).  There's apparently 50 of these and I may eventually try to chase them down.
How about starting the year off 100% on-brand with too many Verlanders?  I didn't mind paying a quarter apiece for 18 new cards of his from 2007 Topps Moments and Milestones, which also let me earn a few points but uploading their scans to TCDB.
Here's the other nine, giving me one from his "wins" version and 17 of the "strikeouts" cards.  Taking a quick look in his folder it would appear that I now have two of the former and 22 of the latter "base" versions (plus two Black parallels of just the strikeouts).
I also came away with these two Topps Chrome Generation Now cards from the same year, then found that I actually completed his run of that version because the only offering #s 1, 10, 15, and 16 in Chrome for some reason.  I'd previously knocked out all of the base versions from Flagship, so that's pretty cool!
Last up is mostly a mix of buybacks plus another PC checklist card.  Elliott Maddox ('74 and '79) and a badly miscut Lary Sorensen ('79) are 2015 Topps Originals Buybacks.  Sabo's is the Gold version of his 2017 Bowman Buyback of his '90 Bowman base.  Finally, I found a pair featuring Geoff Zahn from Topps' 2014 75th Anniversary Buybacks:  his '75 Topps RC(!) and his base from the following year's set.  Not bad!

To those I can add retired 2B Chris Getz's Yellow parallel from his final flagship appearance, 2014 Topps.  That leaves me needing six more versions from the flagship/Mini rainbow.

It was indeed another great show for me, and I may just be looking to replicate that success in the western part of my state as weather (and getting my ass up in time) permitting I might be meeting up with John for a show in his neck of the woods, the Kalamazoo area.  Here's to another blogger meet-up!