Monday, October 31, 2016

Spooky Scary Baseball Cards

[Reminder that I've got a little contest going right now.]
It's kind of a tradition here to post some stupid creepy baseball cards every Halloween.
I cranked these out last night and they're pretty bad.. er, I mean frightening!
Enjoy.. at your own peril!

It's ALIVE!!!

Don't look at the opened Ark, John!

Gross.. cut it out, guys!

Ok, now this final card coming up isn't a gif, but for my fellow bloggers out there, it'll be sure to terrify you!

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Guys From Granite: 2016 season review (w/ TTM success + CONTEST)

Regular readers know that two main off-the-beaten-path groups of players I collect are guys named Gavin and guys who went to Granite Hill High School. There's a kinship for me that makes these dudes fun to collect and follow. I recently did a 2016 recap for players named Gavin, now let's do a similar post for active Guys From Granite.

Let's start with a sweet TTM return that came back a little while ago.

Trenton Brooks was one of two former Granite Hills Eagles to be drafted in 2016. I sent him 3 copies of a custom I made from his high school days (the Leaf Signature style card on the left). He kindly kept 2 as my gift to him per my offer and signed/returned 1.. plus he threw in another surprise signed card from his college days (right)! Awesome! It's the first time I ever received a bonus card from an autograph request. And as you see, he even wrote a nice little thank you note on the back of the return envelope.

I put together a little bio for the back of his custom (ok, ok, it's mostly plagiarized from the web). The Nevada card adds some personal info. Interesting that a kid from So. Cal became a Twins fan.. I wonder what the story is there.

As evidenced by the fronts of his two cards, Trenton pitched a lot as an amateur. The Indians like him more as a batter/fielder, though, and he played center field in rookie league this past season. I sent the request to his Arizona League team, and a couple weeks later it returned, mailed from San Diego, I assume his home.

Thanks a ton, Mr. Brooks, and best of luck to you with your career!

- - ---o

Andrew Brown was the other 2016 draftee from Granite Hills, taken in the 13th round, and in fact was drafted right out of high school rather than college. The righty who just turned 19 put up solid numbers with the Gulf Coast League Phillies this past season. With Philadelphia strapped for talent these days, he's probably got a decent shot escalating up the ladder quickly if he keeps pitching well. Good luck, Andrew!

Granite Custom TTM update: Tried, but I didn't have any luck getting this TTM request back. I'll likely give it another shot next year.

-  -- ---o

2016 Las Vegas 51s Travis Taijeron (The MiLB cards in this post are all from my recent GoSportsCards order)
Travis Taijeron put together his second consecutive strong season in AAA (OPS of .886 while leading the PCL in doubles with 42), but the Mets cruelly didn't give him a call-up, instead opting to overpay for Jay Bruce down the stretch to play right field even though there's no question Taijeron would have performed just as good if not better for a fraction of the price. He was also the Mets' best hitter in spring training, for what it's worth. Screw you, Mets front office! Here's a pretty good recent article articulating the situation better than I. Hopefully Travis will be plucked away from that organization and go to a team that finally gives him a chance to show what he can do in the major leagues.

Granite Custom TTM update: Sadly, I've pretty much given up on getting a Travis Taijeron TTM autograph, as 3 separate requests have gone unanswered (one near the end of the 2015 AAA season, one during 2016 spring training, and one during the 2016 season).. bummer. But I still root for the guy despite his reluctance to answer his fanmail. Maybe I'll give it a 4th attempt sometime next year.. I'm persistent, gotta give me that!

-   - - ---o

2016 Mobile BayBears John Omahen, an obvious homage to 1986 Topps
John Omahen had a very nice 2015 in AA. He started back there this past season, and pitched well enough to get promoted to AAA. His luck didn't continue there, unfortunately, and he had a rough time of it (8.59 ERA). I'm not sure what the Diamondbacks have in mind for him at this point, but hopefully he can turn things around in 2017 and get called up.

Granite Custom TTM update: My ill-timed request was sent out to his AA team right around the time he got called up to AAA, and has heretofore gone unanswered. He did kindly sign for me last year, a minor league issue, but it'd be sweet to have a Granite Hills custom signed by him, too. I'll likely try again next season.

I did get a bunch of his autographs this year, though, thanks to him having (retail-only) certified autos included in 2016 Bowman. All I'm missing for the master rainbow is the 1/1 (just the one; no printing plates were put out for this card). Hoping that pops up someday.

-  - -- ---o

2011 Tri-City Dust Devils Brian Humphries (his first card)
The fifth and final Granite grad active in pro ball in 2016 to mention here is Brian Humphries. To recap his career, he was drafted by the Rockies in 2011, and despite solid numbers in the minors, they cut him loose in spring training 2015. Not one to give up, he signed with an independent league team for 2015 and had an awesome year. Surprisingly, he didn't get picked up by an organized-ball team for 2016, but went out and had another very strong season in independent ball, plating a career-high 66 RBI in 97 games. He'll turn 27 next March, so the clock may be ticking on his major league dreams, but I'm rooting for him.

Granite Custom TTM update: Yep, I showed this on the blog already, but he signed for me this year back in July. That makes 2-for-2 in requests with him. Great guy! Best of luck, Brian!

-  - -- ---o

I get that minor league dudes who went to my high school might not be a topic with wide-reaching appeal, but it's something that I'm excited about... so much so that I want to bribe you guys into reading this post, so here's a contest.

Prize package:

A few autos and customs. With the 2016 Fall Classic coming to a head, I picked guys for the prize package who were World Series Champions.

HOW TO ENTER: Leave a comment on this post predicting who you think will be the next Guy From Granite to make the major leagues. Could be any of these 5 guys or none of the above. This is actually 2 contests in 1, because a few days from now I'll randomize all the entries who commented for the above prize package. Then down the line if/when one of these guys makes the majors, my plan is to again randomize a bonus prize (more autos and customs) between all those who guessed correctly.

So who you got?

UPDATE: Contest entry period is now closed. Thanks to everybody who entered!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Doing Desperate Double Dozen Damage

Three great trades came in this week. Let's take a look.

First was a package from Dayton at Retro Cub, our second trade.

Boom! Dayton randomly got this Dallas Keuchel auto in a Loot Locker, and I was kean to put together a trade package for it. The 2015 AL Cy Young winner had a down year, but of course it was the serial number that made it a perfect fit for my collection..

Christmas Card! Very cool card with the clear signature area.

Dayton threw in some bonus cards for me too including some guys I collect. I ripped a lot of 2016 Archives, ending up with a bunch of doubles and even many triples, yet still needed that Goldy, and had been on my Desperate Double Dozen for a while.

And here's another surprise card.. a neat looking Shaq.

Numbered 10/10. Wow! Thanks, Dayton! Great stuff. Hope to do it again sometime!

-  - - ---o

Next up is cardsphere king Night Owl, hitting me back for a custom-heavy PWE I sent him recently.

Here are another couple needs off my desperate double dozen. I've got a decent Julio Franco PC squared away, but it was missing his first Topps card, from 1983 Traded. And I love the unfamiliar look of Graig Nettles as an Expo, this one from 1988 Score Rookie & Traded.

Nice additions of Cutch and Goldy.

And a nice assortment of Padres.

Thank ya kindly, Greg!

-  -  ---o

Finally for today, Shane Katz from the blog Off The Wall got in touch with me about an initial trade, and gathered a bunch of cards tailored to my particular collecting habits. That all went smoothly, but there ended up being a slight bit of drama. We both dropped our packages in the mail last Saturday. While he received the cards the following Monday, the cards for me dragged their feet through the postal service trenches, beginning to worry the both of us, until eventually arriving Friday. I think the reason was that the tracking number barcode was folded over the side of the box. I remember a postal worker once told me that when the barcode gets folded like that, they have to manually scan it, can't just rely on the machines. So it's my guess that that's what slowed the package down, but couldn't say for sure.

Very nice! Another 3 off the double dozen wantlist. Ok, well Night Owl swooped in to steal Shane's glory for the '83 Franco, but still nice.
When I sorted out all my Griffey cards a while back and discovered I lacked a '90 Topps, I felt I should rectify that. Classic "junk" card.
And I'm very happy to finally have Gavin Floyd's only Blue Jays card. Yep, besides a police-issued oddball, I believe this 2016 Heritage High Number is it (He wasn't included in 2016 Topps flagship, not even Update).

Nice lot of the Wizard and Garvey.

Some more old-school greats. That's a great looking Fleer Mantle.

More guys I collect, including a trio of Molitors.

Shane threw in a couple terrific cards of active guys too. But the real star of the package was the vintage...

Some glorious '65s, with 3 needs and 1 upgrade. Plus a '73 upgrade.

1964 Topps was well represented! Nearing 40% complete with my setbuild.

Saving the best for last, here we've got a gorgeous Koufax World Series highlight and a high-number Bill Mazeroski.

Awesome! Big thanks again, Shane. Much appreciated!

Thanks to the generosity of these traders, I need to come up with some new cards to replenish the ol' Double Dozen wantlist. Thanks again, guys!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Topps lost and confused at the 2016 All-Star Game

All the gimmicky error variations purposefully put into Heritage, yet the real errors in flagship go by uncorrected. These days, I think it'd take a full-on "fuck face" situation for Topps to bother correcting an error. When was the last time there was an error card that wasn't just left uncorrected?

Anyways, here are a couple unintentional errors in 2016 Topps Update.

Poor Matt Wieters. He finally concedes and signs with Topps, then they punk him like a bitch immediately.

That's not Matt Wieters next to Edwin Encarnacion. I believe it's Brad Brach.

I'm sure everytime a kid hands Matt this card to sign, he'll regret his decision and curse Topps' name.

And another one..

Not sure who that is, but it definitely isn't Wil Myers.
(Update: thanks to Marcus for the heads-up that it's actually Padres manager Andy Green.)

And Wil is a guy I collect, so I "need" this joke of a card. Shit.

I get that the brown and gold uniforms are distracting, but come on. Have somebody to proofread the cards who actually knows what players look like. Getty mislabels photos sometimes, so you can't just blindly take their word for it. Step it up, Topps!

Update: Kerry pointed me to the Getty pics which are also mislabeled. Here and here. So while this is originally a Getty Fail, it's also a Topps Fail for not catching the obvious mistakes.

p.s. Maybe I'm hypersensitive to Topps Fails today because I received a Topps Vault order and got the wrong card (bought a Gavin Floyd 1/1 and instead received Dillon Gee.. Grrrr.. not cool!)
Update: They've been cool about a return/exchange, so I should hopefully end up with the correct card soon.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Step inside my sapphire dream

This trade post has a soundtrack by Lucy's Fur Coat, a 90s alt rock band from San Diego who put out a couple pretty good albums, but never quite hit it big. I now think the line in the song above is "stuck inside my sapphire dream" but I always heard it as "step inside my sapphire dream" and I've long thought that'd make a good title for a post if anyone ever sent me a sapphire parallel. Well, it finally happened!

These cards are all from an excellent package I received from P-town Tom over at Waiting 'til Next Year last week.

That's a beautiful Yangervis Solarte, my first card from the 2016 Topps Chrome sapphire parallel set that I think was an online-only thing, only available as a super expensive complete set, right? And there's also my first ever relic of Gavin Cecchini.. very cool!

The Lucy's Fur Coat song "El Cajon" is probably the best song written about my hometown. --ok, it's the only one that comes to mind. But it's a good one.

The Giles Brothers also hail from El Cajon. Happy to get these two PC additions.

Here's a song about smoking weed.

And to go with the drugs song, here are a bunch of players from back in the day when drug testing wasn't as prevalent as it is today. Mantle was no stranger to popping greenies, Caminiti rode the PED train hard in the late 90s, and I bet most of these guys from the 60s and 70s puffed on a doobie once in a while. (Sorry if I'm reaching to pair songs to groups of cards, there aren't a ton of quality LFC videos on YouTube.)

Here's a full show filmed at my favorite venue in San Diego, the Casbah. I never actually saw Lucy's Fur Coat live, unfortunately. They were broken up during the heyday of my concert-going days, and after they reunited, I never got around to seeing them. Bummer. The singer is known for his crazy dancing, evident in the first minute of that video. This show features several of my favorite songs that I wasn't able to otherwise work into this post, so if you dig any of the other videos, you might want to check it out.

Marquis Mania! I'm due for posting an update to my long-term goal of amassing 1000 copies of this card. Each one helps, and this trio is very much appreciated! I actually have a big stack waiting to be paged. It'll take me a long time to get through them all, just like it'd take a long time to get through that live video (79 minutes).

Here's a song called "Stretched Out".

Brooks Kieschnick always needed to keep stretched out during a game, as he was a true two-way player, sometimes being called on off the bench, other times being called on out of the pen.

Here's a song called "Water Gun".

Kids play with squirt guns, and here are some kids.. or young men, at least. Looks like Tom (a huge Cubs fan) had a couple sweet Kris Bryant dupes to share. Hey, tough loss in Game 1 last night. Best of luck evening things up tonight!
The Vogelmoster got off to an inauspicious start to his major league career in Seattle, with just a lone single to show for 13 plate appearances at the end of the season. Let's hope he cranks it up in 2017.
Manuel Margot was a bit better, hitting .243 in 10 games for the Padres. Happy to add this 2016 Heritage Minors card to my small but growing collection of his cards.

"Treasure Hands" might be Lucy's Fur Coat's most popular song. I remember it got pretty good airplay on 91X, San Diego's alternative station, back in the day.

Treasure typically sparkles. And so does this treasure trove of sparkly 2011 Topps parallels. Some good ones in here, such as a Zach Britton RC, plus big names Pujols, Pedroia, and Beltran.

I'm now at 19.94% complete with this parallel frankenset. Coincidentally 1994 was the year Lucy's Fur Coat's debut album came out, the one with "Treasure Hands" on it. Neat!

Well, I hope ya'll checked out at least a song or two and enjoyed this musical trade post. Shoutout to Tony L. for being a master of the format.

Thanks again to P-town Tom for the awesome cards. While he said he wasn't looking for anything in return, just trying to clear out his tradebox, I've got a couple Kerry Woods and some Cubs customs that I'll send over soon.

Oh, one last thing I hadn't thought of till now, the name Lucy's Fur Coat is a play on "Lucifer's Goat". Goat? Crap, did I just jinx the Cubbies?! Nah, I ain't afraid of no goat! Go Cubs!

Thanks for reading. Keep on rocking, guys.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

PWE Patrol

Many generous trades have come in over the past week.. so many that my usual "trade roundup" would be a bit too stuffed. So here's just the PWEs I've gotten recently. (The full packages will hopefully follow in tomorrow's post.)

The envelope up first is from Sport Lad over at Sport Card Collectors. Ok, maybe he doesn't really go by the name Sport Lad, but it's an affectionate nickname I like calling him by (originating from the fact he doesn't yet have enough letter cards to spell his blog's name in a similar fashion to my header, though he can spell "Sport Lad" and so I suggested he just change the name to that and be done with the project. LOL)

Leading off with a couple sweet Trevor Story cards! I'm excited to see what kind of year Story comes back with in 2017. Will he continue to mash or be back down to earth?

Nice minis of Goldschmidt and Gehrig.

More dudes I collect. Love those Archives Supers. Don't recall seeing anything from that Panini set before, though it's eerily similar to the 2016 Topps design thanks to the smokey corners.

And a couple Michael Sam cards-- with a numbered one, even! He's got a ton of cards out there, though seems like he wasn't quite given a real chance to show what he could do in the NFL. He did get into a CFL game last year at least, though. Still good that he helped chip away at the perceived barrier to gay people playing pro sports.

Great stuff.. Thanks, Sport Lad! Glad to hear you like the return PWE I sent you, as well.

-  -  --- -o

Next up is a wonderful 2-card punch from reader mr. haverkamp. He read my post about nearing the finish line with 1971 Topps and courageously offered up a couple pesky high-numbers he had available. Didn't even want anything in exchange! Awesome guy!

No one's going to rush out and get these graded, but they're just perfect for my set.

Archie, Bob, and Ken Reynolds.. As far as I know, there's no relation between the three men. I guess it was just Topps being cute? Or a huge coincidence?

These 2 cards plus an eBay win yesterday take me down to just 6 more needs to put this set to bed.

Big thanks, Jim! Just let me know if I can ever help you out with any cards to return the favor.

- - - ---o

Next up is a cool little PWE from Bo Rosny. It's hard to keep up with him, as he's frequently finding cards to shoot over my way.

A few greats from yesteryear plus a Gavin Floyd I needed.

Very nice.. Thanks, Bo!

-  - ----o

Ok, now this last one wasn't technically a PWE, but I met up with Padrographs Rod again at last weekend's card show, and he kindly handed me a PWE's worth of cards.

I had long been wanting this card of Trevor Hoffman donning the tools of ignorance. Rod did one better by also including the gold parallel.

Speaking of gold... 1987 Bohemian Hearth: The lesser-known older cousin of 1991 Fleer, these regional oddballs came with loaves of bread, and I remember them being among the first baseball cards I ever owned as a kid, back before I really collected at all. So for sentimental reasons, I'd like to someday put the 22-card set together. Rod doubled what I had thanks to these three, taking me to 6 down with 16 left to go.

And we close with a big one! This is my third Topps Now card overall, but the first one that I didn't have to pony up money for.. always nice. This card commemorates a big game Hunter Renfroe had last month. It had a print run of 959, which I believe makes it the largest print-run of any Padres Topps Now card besides the other Hunter Renfroe card that came out the very next day (1st Ever to Hit HR Onto the Roof at Petco Park). Obviously Padres fans have high hopes for this kid.

Awesome! Thanks again, Rod. As always, just say the word if you need any Photoshop help and I'll be glad to lend a hand.

 - - ---o


That's all the trades I'm showing off today, but here are a couple Bill Murray customs I whipped up last night just in time for the World Series kicking off tonight...

I'm excited for some big-stage baseball and seeing a decades-old championship drought be broken one way or the other! Go Baseball!