Monday, October 9, 2017

2017 COMC purchases: playoff PCs

It's been a pretty good postseason so far, and as I write this the Red Sox have been eliminated, making the future rounds even more palatable; now if Cleveland could just close out the Yankees!  (That's not looking likely early)  Of course I'm rooting for the evil empire to lose as soon as possible but I do see the other side of the coin where young star Aaron Judge appearing in more October games is great for the sport.

Anyway, I'm here to post some baseball PC additions from my last few months of COMC purchases.  Five of today's eight players have had good-to-great October success, which I'll note as I show off cards of each player:
Tampa OF prospect Jake Cronenworth hasn't experienced MLB playoffs yet, but that's because the 2015 draftee hasn't even risen above AA yet.  Here he is on another issue (my 10th) from his 19-card 2015 Bowman Draft/Chrome rainbow (the entirety of his checklist so far), a Green parallel (#92/99).
I've got only one guy active in the 2017 version of the postseason, and it's amazing turnaround story pitcher Rich Hill, a.k.a. my favorite PC.  The southpaw lost his lone 2007 NLDS start as Arizona swept his Cubs that year, then he had to wait almost another decade to get back to the playoffs, this time with his current team, the Dodgers.  Rich went 0-1 in two 2016 NLDS games against the Nats, losing game 2 and leaving too early for a decision in the decisive game 5, but went on to win NLCS game 3 against his original team, the Cubs, before the eventual champs took the series in six games.  Thus far he's decision-less after going 4.0 innings in NLDS game 2 against the D-Backs, and we'll see if he can come up big should the Dodgers keep up their strong October play.

I've got two things of his to show off here, starting with his 2016 Topps Black parallel (#02/65).  In my opinion other folks are right when they say that these parallels just don't work as well sans borders, and that's coming from a fan of most borderless designs.  I now have nine of his 18 cards in last year's flagship/mini rainbow.

The other is a 1967 Advertising Strip box-topper from last year's Heritage.  These things can be a pain to track down, but at least it doesn't appear as though there's several versions for each player like there were in 2009 (I do have all three Hills from that run).  I got a pretty reasonable deal on this one, which also includes catcher Kurt Suzuki, who signed with Atlanta this past January, and slugger Mark Reynolds, who's still with Colorado.  Now to figure out how best to store something like this....
OF Ryan LaMarre, a former Reds second-rounder, has seen a bit of MLB action with three different teams the past three seasons:  Cincy in 2015, Boston last year, and Oakland this season, though he was released by the latter in June, so it remains to be seen where he plays in 2018.  I snagged this very rare 2016 Topps Mini Blue parallel (#07/10) of his for a song, and it's my seventh of his 19-card rainbow from that set (he has one more than Hill because Series I Framed cards were /16 while Series II's were 1/1s).  As I mentioned with Hill's card, the parallels just don't work as well with this design, but I at least kind of like the blue. 
Before Barry Larkin headed for the Hall he appeared in two postseasons:  1990 and 1995.  While the latter saw his Reds defeat the Dodgers in the NLDS before falling to the eventual champion Braves (no fault of Barry's as he put up some good numbers), the former made him one of three players in today's post to win a ring.  Larkin's stats in the six-game 1990 NLCS triumph over the Pirates were pretty good, he bumped them up in the surprising sweep of Oakland, giving the Reds their first World Series title since 1976.

What better way to honor that than with this beautiful insert set I've long admired?  This one comes from the 1998 version of Leaf's Heading for the Hall and is numbered 2695/3500.  A textbook example of what we're deprived of thanks to today's Toppsopoly, this classy, shiny design brings back great memories of the 90s.
Current (and certainly unpopular) Cardinals manager Mike Matheny can't claim ownership of a World Series ring as either a player or a skipper, but he does have two pennants to his name (one as each), which is pretty cool.  The former catcher saw postseason action with the Cardinals in 2001, 2002, and 2004, the latter of which saw St. Louis get swept by Boston in the Fall Classic, which I understand was a big deal. After retiring he led the same team to the playoffs from 2012-15, including winning the 2013 NL pennant before yielding to...Boston again!

This pair, which puts me at 60 of his 218-card checklist, includes the St. Louis version (one for San Fran also exists) of his 2005 Topps Cracker Jack Mini Stickers, plus a 2016 Bowman Family Tree insert that pairs him with son Tate, a 2015 draftee and prospect for...seriously, the Red Sox?  You can't make this stuff up!
Cincinnati 1B Hal Morris was a teammate of Larkin's for a good chunk of their careers, so his playoff experience mirrors that of the SS, winning it all in 1990 before falling to the '95 Braves.  Hal's numbers weren't as good--like one World Series hit in the four game sweep of Oakland--but he was still a contributor on both October squads.

As you can see, I had a ton of luck finding some of his better-than-low-end stuff I didn't grab from Sportlots, twelve cards in all, mostly of the insert variety.

This group includes 90s gems such as:  1995/96/97 (Silver) Donruss Press Proofs (cards 1, 4, and 6, respectively), '95 Select Certified Mirror Gold, '95 Stadium Club Clear Shots, and '96 Studio Bronze Press Proofs.  I love everything in this bunch as Press Proofs were always highly sought after, and the Stadium Club insert is super cool.
This quartet starts with Hal's '97 Finest base card, from the rarer Silver subset, and the Embossed parallel, which never interested me much, but does come without a protector, which is nice.  Those are joined by his '97 Flair Showcase Row 0 (a.k.a. the "toughest" base card) and his 1999 Pacific Prism Holographic Gold parallel (#413/480), one of two numbered cards of his I picked up (though the Press Proofs above are limited, they're not individually numbered).
And then a pair of horizontal cards:  1995 Stadium Club Virtual Reality Members Only, which was a parallel of the parallel with simulated full 1995 season stats on the back (get all that?) and the Radiance parallel (#2863/4500) from Upper Deck's all-numbered 1998 SPx Finite.  Oddly enough, both Royals cards were numbered!

I'm working towards the midpoint of Hal's roughly 360-card run with 157 in-hand and scanned, plus LOTS more on the way via Sportlots.
Bobby Scales had to wait a decade after being drafted to get cups of coffee with the Cubs in 2009 and 2010, so he never reached the postseason, but it must have at least felt like a validation of all of his hard work that he made it to that level.

As I continue to attack his 31-card checklist, I scored my 22nd in the form of this Blue parallel of his 2009 Topps Ticket to Stardom rookie (#44/99).  That means I lack the Gold parallel and, frustratingly, his numbered card from the base set!  Oh well, I'll track it down eventually.
Sweet Lou Whitaker is today's last player, and I think it's pretty well known that he won a ring with the '84 Tigers before going the Larkin/Morris route and losing his other playoff appearance to the eventual champs (Twins, '87).  Whitaker was a spark plug for the '84 wire-to-wire champs, pairing five hits and four walks with six runs scored in the five-game Series victory against San Diego.

COMC was kind to me once again in letting me land a pretty nice card of his, this 2005 Topps Retired Signature Gold parallel (#467/500).  It's one of those times when Topps combined a modern design with older photography and executed it very well, plus this version has the added bonus of the striking gold look.  It puts me just 45 cards short of his not-quite-300-card run.

Don't forget to check out my last few TMM posts (and next few) for other COMC goodies while I work on getting my enormous Sportlots haul presentable for future posts!

1 comment:

  1. I own a couple of Heritage advertising panels. They're a pain in the butt to store! Love the Hal Morris mirror gold. I was addicted to those parallels (mostly football and hockey though) when they first came out. Beautiful cards.