Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A couple bad blasters

Wow, I wasn't expecting so many congratulatory comments on my last post, but thanks, guys! To clarify, we've been together for 10 years as a couple, not a wedding anniversary, but still.

In contrast, I only got 2 congratulatory comments on my recent post regarding a guy from my high school getting called up to the major leagues, a much more impressive feat and one that fills me with more pride than any dumb relationship ever could. Come on, guys, get your priorities in order!

Nah, I'm just messing. Now here's a post I originally planned for the eclipse day last week, but it was derailed by rage and I couldn't bring myself to type about it till I cooled off.

I took today off work, playing it safe in case of any eclipse shenanigans (bad traffic, the apocalypse, etc.), though seems like everything went smoothly. Still, it was a good excuse to take a day off.
I didn't buy any packs/boxes at the card show the other day. But then later that day, my wife asked me if I needed anything from Amazon, and I ended up throwing a couple Panini blasters into the order. You can get them cheaper on eBay, but I had some Amazon credit to burn.
I haven't ripped any 2017 Panini products yet. Picked up a blaster of Optic and a blaster of Diamond Kings. Maybe I'll hit something decent. Let's check it out...

I opened the Optic box first and it was a disaster. About 75% of the cards had a badly dinged corner.. the lower right corner for vertical cards, or upper right for this one horizontal card. The box wasn't crushed or anything, so I'm blaming Panini's production process, not a damaged-in-transit issue. I would have liked this Altuve a lot, but the dinged corner just bums me out. It's worse than it looks in the picture.

These 2 refractors were probably the highlights for me. Kirby and Renfroe. Not happy about the Kirby being so off-center. The corner ding on these 2 isn't as bad as some of the other cards, but still noticeable.

A couple Rizzo DKs. You can't really tell by the picture, but they're definitely dinged.

Some more guys I collect. The top row is dinged, while the bottom row are ok.

Actually, the Miggy has a bonus flaw.. yippy. A weird indentation in the middle of the card.

Needless to say, I don't plan on buying anymore 2017 Optic. My blaster netted me zero hits, zero numbered parallels, and dozens of damaged cards. Very unhappy with it.

Will I have better luck with the 2017 Diamond Kings blaster?

Well, at least the cards weren't damaged! The Ted Williams insert is kinda cool, I guess. The closest thing I pulled to a hit was the framed Bill Dickey. But even that isn't numbered. And nobody collects Bill Dickey.

A few guys I collect, but a largely forgettable blaster.

Too bad I've lost my enthusiasm for collecting Anthony Rizzo lately, as I pulled 4 cards of him from this pair of blasters.

One reason collectors bother with logoless Panini baseball cards is because they usually give you good value and solid chances to pull hits. But after these two blasters, I feel like I'm done with Panini. Couldn't even have pulled one goddamn card #'d /999 or something? Even if the Optic cards weren't damaged, I'd still be disappointed with the purchase. Throw in the damage and I'm downright pissed about it.

It's kind of cool that in the future I can remember the exact day I decided to stop buying Panini products (at least for a good while) because it was the day of the total solar eclipse.

Monday, August 28, 2017

10 Years and a PWE

This lovely lady has been putting up with my shit for a solid decade now, if you can believe that! I'm a lucky fella to have her in my life.

(Just a photo thing I whipped up for Facebook.. figured I'd throw it on the blog too since it turned out kinda nice.)

Speaking of longevity, howbout Minnie Miñoso, huh?

First MLB at-bat 4/19/1949, last MLB at-bat 10/5/1980. And Mike Scioscia has been in the game a damn long time too, debuting in 1980 and still at it today as the Angels manager. I'm sure he and Minnie have got a century in the game between them, all told.

These cards all come from Chris the Collector, via our first trade, a swap of PWEs.

Some current guys on retro designs. Fine looking cards, these.

A couple 2016 Bunt cards.

Lastly.. Rod Beck, a card for my 2011 Topps parallel frankenset, and a Corey Seager insert.

Great bunch of cards! Big thanks, Chris. I hope this trade is our first of many, and we're still swapping cards a decade from now.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

My annual Minor League cards order

Following up on yesterday's post, Jafronius got into the contest thanks to correctly guessing that Travis Taijeron would be the next guy from my high school to make the majors, and then he was randomized as the winner thanks to the Mets and Nats combining for 13 runs in Taijeron's debut. Big Trav went 0-4, but at least he put the ball in play each time up. He was out of the lineup for today's game and struck out in a pinch-hitting appearance. Better luck next time, Travis!

Anyways, congrats, Jafronius. Please email me your address and an idea of what you collect and I'll do my best to get a nice prize package your way shortly.

So in yesterday's post I showed off a 2017 minor league Taijeron card I just picked up, and now here's the rest of that order. Go Sports Cards is pretty much the go-to seller for modern minor league cards. You can usually save a few bucks if you order direct from their website instead of eBay. I like to place an order or two per year with them for some of my obscure PC guys.

The highlight of the order for me was the Scott Shoemaker autograph(s). They had 2 in stock and were just a buck each, so I went ahead and grabbed 'em both. Scott, another guy from my high school, rose through the Red Sox system last decade, later spending time in the Rangers and Mariners organizations, but topped out at AAA. He was one of the few modern "Guys From Granite" I didn't have an autograph from, so I was very happy to find these on the site.

John Barnes is another Guy From Granite, one of the 8 to have made the majors, which he did in 00-01 as an outfielder with the Twins. I think this is my first card of his from after he reinvented himself as a knuckleball pitcher. He made it back all the way to AAA, but never pitched in the Bigs. I already had an autograph from him, but I like this one. They come with a tamper-proof "hologram" (not really a hologram, just a silver sticker) sealing the top-loader and a business card COA. So not exactly a "certified auto" but probably as close as I'll ever find for these guys who never had pack-inserted autos.

I didn't notice it at the time I ordered them, but these cards are both from the 2006 Wilmington Blue Rocks, likely all signed the same day. Kind of a crazy coincidence for 2 guys from the same high school to be playing on the same minor league team. If my math is right, John Barnes graduated a year or two before Scott Shoemaker entered high school, so the two narrowly missed being on the same squad at Granite.

If I had to put money on who will end up the 9th Guy From Granite to make The Show, well, Andrew Brown would be a good sleeper pick. He's pitched well low in the Phillies' chain so far, and if he keeps it up he could find himself in Philadelphia in 2 or 3 years. Still just 19. This is my first real card of his. I also made a custom which I've been trying to get signed via TTM, but haven't had much luck yet.

This might be the first time in my life that I've bought 5 cards of a hitting coach at once. LOL. Shane Spencer is the only Guy From Granite to have won a World Series, thanks to getting in on the Yankees dynasty of the turn of the century. I've got several cards from his playing days, but was happy to add some more recent cards from his coaching career. I believe he's currently managing the Hwaseong Heroes in the KBO League.

As far as collecting minor league guys, they pretty much fall into 2 categories: guys who went to my high school and guys named Gavin (...and occasionally Padres top prospects).

Here's my first standard-sized card of Grant Gavin. (I also have an autographed oversized card that I showed off earlier this year). He's been outstanding in A ball with the Royals. Even though he might not be a "true" Gavin, I'm rooting for him and was glad to score a real card of his.

And finally, a couple 2017 cards of Gavin LaValley. He had a nice first half with the A+ Daytona Tortungas.

That's him getting a Gatorade shower after becoming Florida State League All-Star Game MVP thanks to a couple dingers. He's struggled a bit since getting promoted to AA Pensacola (.240, 3 HR in 59 games), but hopefully he finishes strong and can make it up to AAA next season.

So there's my latest order of minor league cards. Thanks for stopping by and hope you have a great week. And all the best to those of you in Texas dealing with the crazy flooding going on there.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Better Call Up Taijeron! (Another Guy From Granite makes The Show!)

Travis Taijeron (pronounced "Tyrone") got called up to the Mets finally!

Let's take a quick trip back in time. The date: June 18, 2009. The Padres squeezed out a win against the Mariners. Ken Griffey, Jr. went 2-5 with an RBI double in a losing cause. Kevin Kouzmanoff walked it off in the 10th, driving in Adrian Gonzalez to give the Padres a 4-3 win. As far as notable futility, Adrian Beltre went 0-5 for Seattle (What a flash-in-the-pan! He should have just retired then and there! LOL). For San Diego, Brian Giles went 0-4, bringing his batting average down to .191, exactly 100 points below his career BA. His arthritic right knee would then land him on the DL and it turned out that game would be Brian's final gasp of official Major League baseball (though he did play a couple games as DH with the Dodgers during the following year's Spring Training before officially retiring). And with that, Granite Hills High School entered a dark period regarding alumni in the MLB. Our lineage includes a guy representing us in the 70s, another guy in the 80s, a few guys in the 90s and 00s, but nobody in the 2010s yet.

--Until now, with Taijeron taking a bite out of the Big Apple! Very happy for him! I mean, I'm also a fan of Conforto and Cespedes, and was sad to see them taken down by injuries, but I suppose it's a silver lining that this could be an opportunity for another outfielder in the Mets system to get a shot.. specifically a guy who has grinded out nearly 400 games in AAA, definitely deserving of a taste of the Bigs. He was hitting .272 with the Las Vegas 51s, and his 25 taters, 78 ribbies, and 70 walks lead the club. He also lead them with 146 strikeouts, which has been the knock against him, along with shaky defense at times. But hey, plenty of other successful guys fit that same profile (Aaron Judge, to throw out one contemporary name). The 28-year-old rookie will fittingly wear jersey #28 with the Mets. He's the 8th former Granite Hills Eagle to make the major leagues.

Let's take this opportunity to show off my Travis Taijeron PC as it stood the day he got called up.

His only mainstream cards to date are 2012 Topps Pro Debut and 2012 Topps Heritage Minors. (Kinda surprising he's never appeared in a Bowman set nor anything from Panini.) Included here are an IP auto bought from eBay, and a black border parallel #'d /96.

I don't have any cards of him from 2013, but got a couple minor league Choice cards from both 2014 and 2015.

And one each from 2016 and 2017. The 2017 Choice card just arrived today, in fact... good timing! It was included in an order of minor league cards I placed with Go Sports Cards a week ago. Expect a full post on that order within the next few days.

And the highlight of my Taijeron PC, a bunch of TTM autos on custom cards I made. Travis doesn't seem to sign through the mail much, but I got an assist from someone close to him for these. I included extras and offered them for him to keep if he wanted which is how I ended up with so many. (I've got one more 1983-style card that I forgot to include because it's been on display on my bulletin board.)

In the wake of his debut, I'll be crossing my fingers to see some new mainstream Taijeron cardboard soon. It's probably too late for 2017 Topps Update. But who knows, perhaps he'll earn a Topps Now card down the stretch, or at least make it onto a multi-player rookie card in 2018 Heritage such as the custom I whipped up at the top of this post. (That would be funny if he ended up sharing a card with Tim Tebow. It'd make it much more difficult for me to rainbow, that's for sure.)

I know the 2017 season is a disappointment for the Mets, who were expected to contend for a playoff spot, but I'm definitely rooting for them to finish strong. Not only do they have a Guy From Granite on their roster now, but also a Gavin. Yep, Gavin Cecchini was called up again recently and has been getting some starts at second base.

A long-term contest finally underway..
Last year I ran a 2-part contest, and one of the parts was to comment "predicting who you think will be the next Guy From Granite to make the major leagues." And once that came to fruition, I would random out a prize to those who guessed correctly. Welp, a dozen entrants went with Travis.

arpsmith (Taijeron)
Dayton (Taijeron)
The Lost Collector (Taijeron)
Mark Hoyle (Taijeron)
Jason Christopherson (Taijeron)
Joe (Taijeron)
Michael Dixon (Taijeron)
Admin (Taijeron)
Bo (Taijeron)
Justin S (Taijeron)
Tony L. (Taijeron)
Jafronius (Taijeron)

Let's randomize out to assign numbers and say that the winning number is the combined total number of runs for the Mets and their opponent in whichever game Travis Taijeron makes his major league debut. (Update: He's in the starting lineup today! [8/26])

Best of luck to you 12! (If the winning number is 13, it will loop around to #1, and so on.) I don't have a prize package set aside as of yet, but I'll round up some solid cards for the winner.

Thanks for stopping by. And best of luck with your career, Travis!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Dude That Topps Forgot

One mini insert from 2017 Allen & Ginter that got some attention was the 45-card World's Dudes set. When many of us think of notable dudes, the 1998 cult classic The Big Lebowski comes to mind, with its protagonist who goes by "The Dude." But alas, Ginter neglected to include The Dude this time (though actor Jeff Bridges did have a first-pitch insert a couple years back). I thought it'd be fun to whip up a custom mini for The Dude.

So there's that. Kinda neat.

And I've got couple other recent creative endeavors of mine that I haven't gotten around to posting about yet, so I'll piggyback them on this post.

Here's a Willinghammer sketchcard I made a while back to include with my World Cup of Trading entry for Wes. Not my best work, but I like Ron Gardenhire with the congratulatory pat on the back.

And here's a Matt Harrison sketchcard I made for Judson at My Cardboard Habit.

Here's a Hoyt Wilhelm custom I whipped up a month or so ago featuring him in his Cuban winter league uniform, something I've never seen on a real card. One of my better coloring jobs on a B&W picture, I'd say. I guessed on the red (having no idea what old Habana uniforms looked like in color), and later happily discovered I was correct. Above is the "reprint style" version, and below is the "vintage style" version.

I know the 1933 Goudey design doesn't really make sense for a fantasy card pretending to be from early 1952 per the write-up on the back, but whatever. I like it.

So there you have it, a couple recent customs and sketchcards. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

'65 boost thanks to a blogroll assist

A bunch of '65 additions to show off today.

This first lot comes thanks to Gene in Sarasota, an old-school Orioles fan who stumbled upon my 1965 Topps wantlist thanks to a post linked in the blogroll of The 5 Tool Collector. He reached out and had a great selection of '65 needs to share-- and even cooler, these are cards he pulled himself from packs back in 1965.

Tony C. with the impressive Rookie Trophy leads off.

A nice trio of Yanks. Always happy to see vintage Yankees arrive in trade packages since it seems they often carry a premium.

A big bunch of rookies. 1967 Cy Young winner Jim Lonborg might be the biggest name here. I talked about him more just this past Easter.

And a few more, including classic names Cookie, Chico, and Bork.

Thanks so much, Gene! Glad you're happy with my return package, too.

This instance has just underscored how blogrolls can help extend readership. I know some card blog readers might only have enough time/interest to read just one or two of their favorite blogs with any regularity. And it's nice when you can occasionally catch their attention thanks to inclusion in a blogroll.

Any card bloggers out there who aren't in my blogroll who would like to be, please feel free to take this opportunity in the comments to give me a nudge with your URL and I'll update shortly. (and of course I'd appreciate being added in return.)

-  - - ---o

Next are some recent eBay pickups, a 4-card purchase with combined shipping from one seller.

Anytime you've got Mickey Mantle on a vintage card, that's gonna crank the price up (not to mention Brooks and Killebrew here), but I got this AL RBI leaders card for $8 which I think is fair. Mick narrowly missed out on another championship in 1964, but was stifled by a masterful performance by Bob Gibson in the fall classic, as the card on the right documents.

Rocky Colavito is sort of a forgotten name these days, but he was a 6-time All-Star and hit 374 homers which was a lot back then.

And gotta love Warren Spahn here with the confusing "P-Coach" position designation, something you don't see much. The Mets brought him on as both a pitcher and the pitching coach for what turned out to be his sunset season, but he was released midway through the year and finished up his career with the Giants. This is the final card from his playing days, as Topps didn't include him in their 1966 set (though he can be found on the Mets team card, and he is listed on a checklist variation at #115, though that card number actually ended up going to Bill Henry.)

This Spahn looks good on the front, but I was disappointed to see a little penmark ("D") on the back. I guess that's the risk you take buying cards when the listing doesn't show the back. I don't mind fuzzy corners, but pen marks really bug me, so I'll eventually want to upgrade this one. --which really sucks because there was another copy from the same seller for a couple bucks less that had softer corners and perhaps a bit off-center, but no, I paid more to get an "EX+" copy. Grrr. I've asked the seller about a partial refund, but we'll see if he goes for it.

But anyways, on the happier side of things, I'm down to needing only 35 more cards for this set! If anybody wants to be a hero and help via trade, here're my current needs:

1965 Topps needs (as of 8/23/17)
3 AL 1964 Home Run Leaders - Harmon Killebrew / Boog Powell / Mantle
120 Frank Robinson - Cincinnati Reds
130 Al Kaline - Detroit Tigers
134 World Series Game 3 - Mantle's Clutch HR
220 Billy Williams - Chicago Cubs
236 Denny McLain - Detroit Tigers RC
260 Don Drysdale - Los Angeles Dodgers
282 Giants Rookies - Dick Estelle / Masanori Murakami RC
308 Mets Rookies - Cleon Jones / Tom Parsons RC
310 Johnny Callison - Philadelphia Phillies
329 Hawk Taylor - New York Mets RC
340 Tony Oliva - Minnesota Twins
349 Larry Miller - New York Mets RC
352 Alex Johnson - Philadelphia Phillies RC
353 Jerry Lumpe - Detroit Tigers
360 Orlando Cepeda - San Francisco Giants
369 Phil Linz - New York Yankees
378 Chuck Estrada - Baltimore Orioles
381 Al Jackson - New York Mets
384 Johnny Klippstein - Minnesota Twins
385 Carl Yastrzemski - Boston Red Sox
386 Cubs Rookies - Paul Jaeckel / Fred Norman RC
405 John Roseboro - Los Angeles Dodgers
440 Tom Tresh - New York Yankees
455 Norm Siebern - Baltimore Orioles
470 Yogi Berra - New York Mets
477 Cardinals Rookies - Fritz Ackley / Steve Carlton RC
487 Woody Woodward - Milwaukee Braves
500 Eddie Mathews - Milwaukee Braves
513 New York Yankees Team
521 Phillies Rookies - Dave Bennett / Morrie Steevens RC
532 Hector Lopez - New York Yankees
533 Mets Rookies - Napoleon / Ron Swoboda / Bethke / Tug McGraw RC SP
545 Jesus Alou - San Francisco Giants SP
566 Yankees Rookies - Gil Blanco / Art Lopez / Moschitto RC

Thanks again to Gene for the great bunch of cards helping me make good progress on this set.
See ya next time.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

trade post with Schimpf ink, Christmas Branches, and micro 91s

Here's a trade post with 3 recent incoming card mailings.

I already showed off the Kirbys that Brian at Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary sent my way, but now here are the rest.

I think this is my first Ryan Schimpf auto. He's currently in the minors, but still somewhat of a fan favorite to Padres supporters.

Some more various Padres parallels.

More Padres and a Gavin. Very cool.. thanks again, Brian! A return package is on the way to you.

- - - --o

Next up isn't really a trade package. Maybe you remember a week or two ago, I picked up a nice Billy Hamilton collection from SpastikMooss of The Great Sports Name Hall of Fame blog. Well, as he's been re-prioritizing his collection, another of his PCs he decided to cut was his Deion Branch cards. He thought a few of them would fit in nicely with my collection due to their festive serial numbering, and generously said I didn't need to send him anything back.

Sweet patch card!

A couple more shiny Branches.

And the backs with the glorious 12/25 numbering. Nice additions to my Christmas Card collection!

He also threw in some random football cards...

...and some random basketball cards.

Thanks again, man! I owe you one. Maybe I could whip up a Seneca custom or something. Let me know.

-  - - - --o

Finally for today, a bunch of itty-bitty 1991 Topps micros from Hunter at Braves Country Cards.

Looks like there's probably a Padres team set there, plus a Kirby for good measure. I already had the Bip, but otherwise these are new to me. He must've broken up a factory set for that sweet Chipper RC and the rest of the Braves.

It'd be funny to try an autograph request with one of these micro cards. You'd have to pick a guy with a quirky sense of humor.

Thanks a lot, Hunter. I'll shoot over some Braves your way as a thank-you soon.

See you next time, guys.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Picking up some laundry from the card show

Ok, let's crank out the last of my card show pickups. I'll lead off with the most expensive card I bought at the show:

My first laundry tag! Pretty neat. Wish the "M" in "Majestic" could have squeezed in there, but still a great addition to my Gavin Lux PC.

Here's the only other card I paid more than a buck for at the show. Cal Quantrill is the Padres #2 prospect and I didn't really have any nice cards of him, so this fit the bill. I love shimmer refractors. This orange one is #'d 6/25. The back mentions he's a fan of Game of Thrones.. oh man, what a good/brutal episode last night. I love the show but I want it to hurry up and end.

Here are some more Padre-centric cards.
The Gwynn is a "Before They Were Great" insert.
Luis Urias is cool.
Surprised to see Hunter Renfroe sent down to AAA, as his 20 taters are second on the club to Wil Myers' 24.
Fernando Tatis, Jr. recently got promoted to AA, impressive for an 18-year old. Padres made a good deal getting him from the White Sox for James Shields.
Jhoulys Chacin has been a solid starter for San Diego this season.

Here's the only football card I bought on the day. (Didn't even find any good football trade fodder [specifically kept an eye out for NY Giants cards for SCC].) It's my second John Matuszak card. I like him because he played Sloth in The Goonies.

These might seem like standard 2016 Topps cards at first glance, but they're actually the New Era cards. I regret paying way too much last year for an ill-fitting Padres hat I rarely ever wear just so I could get a pack of exclusive cards. I pulled the McCutchen, Stroman, and Posey in my pack. I ended up selling the Posey for a few bucks to recoup some of the money. Fast forward to the show and I bought these for a dime each. Cutch and Stroman are dupes available for trade, if anybody needs them.

Hey, howbout that eclipse today, huh? That was kinda cool. Anyways, on the topic of blacked-out stars, let's close out with this.. a sweet cache of 2011 Topps black Walmart parallels of big names. I believe these were also from the dimebox. Even picked up an extra Stanton at that price so I can have one for the PC and one for the 2011 Topps parallel frankenset.

So there you have it. Also grabbed some trade fodder, not pictured, some of which should be hitting mailboxes soon. It was definitely a good show for me and I came home with a lot of quality cardboard, even though my main dealer guy wasn't there.
See ya next time.