Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Contest Shout Out: Ryan's Baseball Item

Cool contest going on over at Ryan's Baseball Item (RBI Collecting). CLICK HERE and check it out. It takes no skill---just guess some A's that he got autographs of at a recent game. Winner gets a few packs of cards.

Austin, TX - Anyone know any card shops?

Work will be taking me from the stifling, burning asphalt of New York City to the 100-degree blazing heat of Austin, TX this week. I'll be there Wed-Sat a.m. I'll likely have a little bit of down time on Thursday, and I was wondering if anyone knew of any good card shops in the downtown Austin area? Would be fun to browse around a shop in the non-New York area where Yankee cards may be more affordable.

Any tips are appreciated!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Gary Sanchez Tristar Pursuit

Normally I don't just order a single card on SportLots, but I recently found this Gary Sanchez 2011 Tristar Pursuit Copper (or Bronze?) card #'d to 99. It was actually listed as "Orange" - either way I wanted it because it was only $.18 + $.70 shipping. So I quickly pulled the trigger on a single card. Total transaction = $.88. The same card is on eBay right now with a $4.99 BIN listing.  This is a nice addition to my small Gary Sanchez collection.

He's had a bit of a slow start for Charleston, but he's only 18 years old playing in A ball. He's playing against guys three and four years older than him. Gary is currently ranked as Baseball America's 30th best prospect in the game.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Two sweet Tino's

I just picked up a lot of two sweet Tino cards for $.72 delivered. Both are from 1999 SP Authentic and I didn't have either one. My favorite is the Epic Figures card below. It's a dark colored card but with the shiny Refractor-like treatment. It actually scanned pretty cool. The Reflections card is nice as well, with some definite 1999 shiny foil.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Banuelos Bowman

I won an eBay lot of two 2011 Bowman Manny Banuelos cards. One was the base card, one was Chrome. I actually think the Chromes look really nice this year. These are just my third and fourth different Banuelos cards, but I'm really happy to add them to my collection.

The eBay lot was listed oddly. In the main description at the top of the listing, shipping was listed as free. However, within the written description, the seller wrote "Shipping is $2.49." Wrong, you listed it as free. When I got the invoice with shipping listed as $2.49, I removed it and only paid the price of the cards - it's his own fault, not mine. Sure enough, they arrived. I win.

Friday, May 27, 2011

iPhone users: CamScanner is cool

For a long time, I was just taking pictures on my iPhone and using those in my blog. It makes cards look like trapezoids and other weird shapes. Case in point:

I mean, it's not a huge deal. You can still see the card and what it looks like, but it looks funky. Agree? Well, the other day I downloaded a FREE app called "CamScanner" and I've been really happy with it. I still take a photo of my card, but it allows me to easily crop the card. It's not perfect, mostly because the camera on the iPhone 4 is crappy, but it helps make my scans look much better. Case in point once again:

I know I'm cheap and should just get a scanner, but I don't have a large work station in my apartment and don't have much room to begin with. If you've been having the same image troubles as me and not in the market for a scanner, give CamScanner a shot!

*In no way am I associated with CamScanner or working with them in any capacity. This is a completely free plug because I feel it has helped make my blog more visually enjoyable and these scan are more aesthetically pleasing.

TTM Success: Three to go!

TTM successes have been few and far between these days. Yesterday, I received another success for my Topps Yankees Project, bringing me to just three years remaining before completion until 2012 Topps hits the shelves. Mariano Duncan signed my 1997 Topps (and 1996 Ultra) in care of the Tennessee Smokies, where he is currently a coach. I had a few 1997's out, so I'm really happy to get one back. Duncan was a big part of the Yankees 1996 World Series Championship team, hitting .340 for them while playing a solid second base.

The last three years are 2000, 2003 and 2005. Each have requests out, although there aren't a ton of signers from each year, so it's definitely going to be a challenge.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I miss you, ticket stubs

I miss ticket stubs. Nowadays, most tickets are emailed and you print them off, or you scan a bar code on your smart phone and never actually have a ticket in hand. In the last few years, my ticket stub collection had slowed down immensely. Well, I wouldn’t call it a collection and I don’t actively collect them, but if I go to a game and have a ticket, I keep the stub.

A friend of mine actually has a ticket scrapbook and he mounts the ticket and does a short write-up on each game. I guess I could check baseball-reference, but unfortunately I can’t look at a single ticket and recalled what happened unless it’s really of note…like I was at ARod’s 500th homer, so that’s easy…same with Damon’s 6 for 6 game and the 2009 ALCS and World Series Game 6 – both series clinchers. Plus, there are all the side moments of the game to account for…funny quotes, annoying fans, etc that would be fun to document.

Anyways, a while back I had an empty frame laying around, so I took a few random Yankee tickets and arranged them as a wall hanging. There is no rhyme or reason to the tickets that I chose. It’s probably about 25% of the Yankee stubs that I have. It looks pretty cool, and when my friends are over they always look at it, so I know it’s a good conversation piece. If one thing is evident, it’s that actual stubs are cooler than paper printouts of tickets. However, sadly stubs are getting rarer and rarer.

Contest Shout Out: Baseball Cards Rule

For a chance to win a Prince Fielder quad jersey card, CLICK HERE. It's a sweet looking card!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Trade Review: The Adventures of Napkin Doon

Napkin Doon of the most enjoyable The Adventures of Napkin Doon and I recently agreed to a trade in between games of Words With Friends. The Doon has a great blog, and up to this point he had given me some great cards from his Big Fun Game. This was the first time I would be sending something in return. He sent me a bunch of great Yankees cards to look through and see if we could match-up for a trade...really nice shiny Flair cards, some Tinos, and even some certified autos.

While I liked all of the cards, I decided to focus on a few - the Tinos in particular. I just didn't quite have enough to offer for the lot, especially the autos. Well, Napkin Doon continued to show what a generous person he is - he sent me all of the cards, including the autos. I had had one of the roughest 24 hours in my life with a family emergency...something I am still dealing with as I write this. The stack of cards he sent literally took my mind off of it for a few minutes as I sorted through them, and I can't express how much I appreciated it. Enough of the moosh, let's show off some of the cards:

Here are the Tinos, all of which I needed. The 1999 Flair Row 2 is gorgeous.

Next up are the autos. These are only my 4th and 5th Yankees cert autos. Nappy, I definitely owe you an auto or a game-used.

Flair goodness! Man, these were good looking cards. Shiny and classy. I miss Flair.

An assortment of Yanks. I didn't have this Mantle because I haven't bought any of the Topps Value Boxes. The Laird 2011 Bowman is definitely going out via a TTM request. Probably the Cervelli too.

Finally, a Pettitte mini and one of those old Sportflixy type cards that came in late '80s Score.

Nappy, thanks again for the trade. Hope you enjoyed the cards I sent.

Trade Review: Reader Trey

Last week, a reader named Trey reached out. He is thinking about starting up his own collecting blog, as he has been surfing around on a few others. He mentioned that he had the a card I needed off of my Heritage want list - Babe coaching the Dodgers - so I agreed to send him a few cards. He collects Houston teams (Astos, Rockets, Texans) and a few individual players.

Thanks for trade, Trey, and good luck starting your blog.

CC Topps 60 Relic - red?

I submitted a low bid on eBay for a CC Sabathia Topps 60 Relic and I won it for like $1.12 shipped. I didn't think it would hold up...I put in the bid with like 6 days left in the auction and never checked again, but somehow I got it. Who knows? Stupidly, I already had this card, but with a road gray jersey swatch. However, this card has a red mesh swatch.

I wish Topps was more specific other than "Game Used Memorabilia." I'm assuming that this is from All Star Weekend in Anaheim last year, but the players wear the colored jerseys on work-out day, not for the game. So, really it's not "game used." There is a possibility that this could have come from a spring training jersey when CC was an Indian, but Robinson Cano also has a Topps 60 Relic swatch in red. What do you guys think?

Also, do you think CC has more red jersey pieces because his jersey is the size of all the other guys combined?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bowman's Best: 1994 vs 2011

I was excited to see the return of Bowman's Best this year, albeit as an insert in the "retro" design of 1994. However, these were one of my favorite sets of cards in the mid-90s, partly because I'd always see pictures in Beckett and Tuff Stuff but never owned any of these cards. They felt like 1993 Topps Finest, in a way. The card stock thick and they were super glossy for the time. The were like the precursor for Bowman/Topps Chrome.

I picked up a 2011 Bowman's Best Gary Sanchez, and I was a bit disappointed. I was certain that these cards would have been in more of a Chrome look. However, the Sanchez is a foil insert on the same (or similar) card stock as the base cards. How were these not the same card stock as Chrome? I think that's a miss on Topps' part. Maybe it would have been too hard for seeding in packs, but I would have been ok with that replacing a Bowman Chrome card.

1994 Tate Seefried
I put my 1994 Tate Seefried (anyone remember him?!) next to my 2011 Gary Sanchez to compare. The artistic design is similar for the most part. From the side by side scan, it appears that the 2011's have a thinner name bar and the Bowman's Best logo is a little smaller.

Overall, I'm happy with this Sanchez. I just wish it was Chrome.

TTM Success: Mike Stanley

Yesterday in the mail I received a SASE post-marked from "Mid-Florida." I assumed that this was a success from Javy Vazquez of the Marlins, who I need for my Topps Yankees Project (2005). However, I was surprised to find two cards signed from former Yankees catcher Mike Stanley! I sent this on March 4, so it took about 2 and 1/2 months. He signed my 1995 Topps (was going to originally use this in my project - still might) and a 1993 Leaf.

Stanley was a fan (and personal) favorite as the Yankees were turning it around in the early 1990's. With the flurry of success after he left in 1995, it's easy to forget how good he was with them. In fact, his only All-Star appearance came as a Yankee. He left after the 1995 season, but the Red Sox actually traded him back to the Yankees down the stretch in 1997. Can you imagine that happening nowadays? Anyways, the Yanks won the World Series in 1996 and 1998, while Stanley was on the team in 1995 and 1997. Not fair.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Diamond Giveaway: Braves DDC for a Yankee DDC

A few weeks ago, I decided that any Diamond Die Cut that I acquired would help me eventually acquire a Yankee DDC. I traded a few cards from the 1970's for a Brian McCann. Over the weekend, someone accepted my offer and I turned the McCann into a CC Sabathia. Not sure if I'll sit tight or try to turn CC into Cano or Teixeira, but I'm pretty content for now,

A few weeks ago, Ryan from "'O" No!!! Another Orioles Blog pulled a Robinson Cano framed bat relic. It looked beautiful and I immediately sent a note off to Ryan. After a short exchange, I was able to find a few Ripkens he didn't have, and a trade was born. I have to thanks Ryan - I didn't have a relic to offer in return and he still accepted my offer. I know that he could have held out for more and I appreciate him making the trade.

I was surprised that the mini-framed card fit so nicely in the frame. I'm used to the A&G ones where the relic card fits loosely and moves around. I like this one quite a bit more.

Ryan, thanks again!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Holy Grail Acquisition #3

On the right hand side of my blog, I have a few cards that fall under my Holy Grail of Collecting. From time to time, I check in on these cards in hopes of getting a good deal on one. Some are more reasonable than others. I crossed a third card off of the Grail by picking up a 1993 Topps Finest Don Mattingly. I have wanted this card since I first laid eyes on it in a Tuff Stuff magazine way back in the day. Initially I thought it was an insert in 1993 Topps and was always disappointed when I didn't get one (hey, I was only 9). Years passed and for whatever reason I never got my hands on this card. Well, 18 years later, I finally own it and it instantly becomes one of my favorite cards.

The Dimwit comes through again

Not even a few days after he sent me some Heritage cards, a second envelope showed up from The Daily Dimwit with three cards from my Gypsy Queen wantlist. The Teixeira Sticky Fingers may replace the Thurman Munson Great Ones as my favorite Yankee card in the set. My only question is the honeycomb design...is it because bees make honey and honey is sticky? Hence sticky fingers?

Anhow, thanks again Dimwit! I have a few cards headed your way.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Trade Review: No Relics Pulled

Dustin over at No Relics Pulled helped me cross two cards off my Heritage wantlist. I sent Dustin a few Roger Maris reprints to help with his PC. I think this is my first Soriano Yankee card. He is kind of a d-bag and hasn't impressed Yankee fans so far.

Dustin, thanks for the trade and for throwing in the Mantle mini!

TTM Success: JR Murphy

I have about 20 TTM requests out to Yankees prospects, and thus far I haven't had any success with the Charleston Riverdogs, until now. JR Murphy signed my Bowman card in about a month's time. JR is having a great start to the season and is really coming into his own a hitter. He was drafted as a catcher, but has also been spending time at the corner infield and outfield spots, as well as DH.

Unfortunately this card was signed in either a thin Sharpie or pen, so the auto didn't come out great. Still a success I'm quite happy with. Thanks, JR!

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Derek Jeter Painting - Part II

Now that I’ve shared my Jeter painting, I wanted to see how it would look as baseball card. I love the painted sets, partly because I appreciate how difficult it is to truly capture a player's likeness and motion. I’m sure it would look best in the National Chicle design, as it has the same type of feel as one of those renderings. However, I got up the nerve to reach out to Jason from The Writer’s Journey and see if he could spare some time and drop my Jeter into the Gypsy Queen look. If you haven’t been to his site lately, Jason has been designing incredible customs of (mostly) Reds players who weren’t included in the set. Definitely go check it out. Jason was incredibly nice and offered his assistance and his time to help with my request.

Here is how it came out. I was sure that the horizontal look was going to work best, but without a doubt the vertical is the winner:

Jason, these came out great. Thank you so much for helping me out with these!

I also used that Topps online program to drop it into a 2011 look – or at least an iteration of it.

So what do you think? How does my painting compare with the artists of National Chicle? I say no, it doesn’t compare in the least. But this was still fun and I look forward to doing another Yankees painting quite soon.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Derek Jeter Painting - Part I

I wanted to do a different post and share with you a Derek Jeter painting that I recently finished. I always enjoyed art throughout school, but enjoyed it less and less in high school as I was being told what to draw. I didn’t like that. I wanted to draw or paint sports-scapes and not snowy landscapes. So I stopped doing art after 11th grade and never touched it again through college. I started checking out some amazing artists’ websites – guys who focused on sports as their subjects. Then after seeing some inspiring painted baseball card sets, such as Diamond Kings and National Chicle, it gave me the itch again. I chose to paint a photo of Derek Jeter that I always really liked. It's a unique angle of Jeter's patented jump throw.

I have always been most comfortable working in acrylic, so I bought a 14x18 canvas art board and a small set of paints and a few brushes. I got these at a toy store, so I wasn’t working with hi-tech supplies. I don’t have room for a dedicated space in my tiny apartment, so I did this whole project on my kitchen counter.

I started by drawing grid boxes on the canvas (in pencil) so as to keep the drawing to scale. I would never survive without this method. This took probably an hour or so.

Next up, I did the background. I actually did the light blue sky and then the dark blue stadium at separate times but failed to document it. I decided to keep the background simple as opposed to making it as detailed as it was in the original photo.

Once that was mostly done, I started painting Jeter. I did the shoes first, and then his skin and the gray road uniform. I also added some darker gray to show the wrinkles in the pants and jersey and add some dimension.

My next step was to work on some of the details and shading. I added color to his number and belt, as well as additional tones of gray on his uniform.

After doing some minor touch ups, I was finished! I’m a perfectionist and am always critical of my work (not just artwork, but work in general), so I see a lot of blemishes when I look at this. I always will. But for not painting a picture in about 10 years, I think I did pretty well jumping back in. I’m most pleased with the shading on the back of Jeter’s head and his jersey. 

Here is a shot of my painting with the actual photo. I apologize to whatever photographer I stole this from.

I have yet to hang this in my apartment yet, but I'll do that soon. I'm not sure what my ultimate goal is, but I do want to do another one. Maybe one day I'll be good enough to commission a piece. Would be a nice side source of income, but that's not why I'm doing it right now.

In part 2 of this post, I’ll show how this painting could look as a baseball card in a popular set that everyone is going gaga for. Let’s see if I can hack it with the artists who do this for a living!

Congrats to Hector Noesi!

Being a rookie or a prospect in the Yankees system is tough. With the win-now-at-all-costs mentality, there is really no time to break in a rookie and stick with him through the lumps that nearly all first year players endure. Unless a rookie comes up and shines immediately, he has almost no chance of sticking...which kind of sucks. Since 2000, really the only rooks who came up and ran with the opportunity were Soriano, Cano, Wang and Joba - and to a lesser extent Hughes and Gardner. The Yanks now find themselves in a situation where they have a wealth of minor league pitching depth, loaded with both top prospects and guys who may make a good 4th or 5th starter in Pittsburgh, but not NY.

Hector Noesi was the second of these prospects to be called up this year. The first was Lance Pendleton, who actually pitched well in his his few appearances. Noesi was next in line to get the call-up. In his first stint in the bigs, he was with the team from April 13-22 and didn't appear in a game. This time, he was called up on May 13, and finally entered his first game last night - a tie-game in the 12th on the road against Baltimore. Normally these would never, ever be the circumstances for an ML debut, but with a taxed bullpen, Joe Giardi had no choice. Noesi came in and struck out the first two batters he faced, and then went on to pitch in and out of trouble for a total of four innings, picking up the win in his first appearance as the Yanks finally broke through in the top of the 15th with three runs.

Can't say enough about the kid. It wasn't always pretty, but he gave the team four innings they desperately needed. Unfortunately he'll probably be rewarded with a trip back to Scranton and replaced by a fresh arm, but he'll be back and hopefully will continue to contribute for the big league club.

Here is a TTM success I got from Noesi when he was first called up a few weeks ago. Congrats again, Hector. Oh, and if anyone has pulled his 2011 Bowman card of him, I'd definitely be interested in trading for it.

Thanks Plaschke!

A few weeks ago, I sent Greg Z. from Plaschke, Thy Sweater Is Argyle a signed Al Rosen card that I got TTM. Rosen is a personal fave of his, so I figured he would enjoy it and sent it expectking nothing in return. Greg decided that he would have none of that, and he sent me this sweet DJ Mitchell auto! Mitchell is currently in AAA in the Yankees system and is a decent prospect. I've been wanting to send Mitchell a TTM request, but I didn't have any cards of him, so this saves me the trouble! It's also only my 4th Yankees certified auto, which clearly isn't very many. Thanks Greg! I really like the card.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

1966 Topps Rub-Offs - Willie Mays

Hehehehe. That was the only name I could find for these things on eBay. Topps Rub-Offs. Amazing.

Anyhow, I'm not quite sure how I got these in my collection. I've had them for as long as I can remember. I think I found them in my grandmother's house years ago, but I don't remember. They are super cool - I assume they are either temporary tattoos or stickers. I own these five, and while they aren't necessarily in great condition, they are still cool. I did see that Mickey Mantle is in the set, and it would be cool to own that one, although having Willie Mays is pretty freakin' cool. Does anyone have any additional information about these? Were they popular? Sold in packs? I could do some research, but I figure I might as well ask my knowledgeable friends first.

TTM Success: 1970 for my project!

I've been in a TTM drought as of late, which is no fun when you've the success that I have enjoyed over the last few months. The minor leaguers I have sent to unfortunately haven't been as responsive as I had hoped. Anyhow, I did cross off another important year off my Topps Yankees Project - 1970! Jerry Kenney returned the card I sent him in just over a week. I especially like Kenney because he spent some time playing for the Binghamton Triplets in the minors in the 1960s. With this success, the only years that I still need are 1997, 2000, 2003, and 2005 - just four years and I'll own a signed Yankees Topps card from every year dating back to 1951! I have requests out for each year, so hopefully I'll get those returns soon!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A top prospect, an old guy, and a hot babe...

...walk into a bar. Just kidding. However, this does describe a package I got in the mail yesterday. I recent won an auction for a 2011 Tristar Manny Banuelos bronze parallel #'d 88/99. I accidentally won this same card in a different auction as well, so I now have just over 2% of the world's supply of this card. I'm a hoarder. Anyhow, I've been trying to grab Banuelos' cards when they are affordable, and recently some 2011 Tristar cards starting popping up. They have so far been more affordable than his previous versions, so that certainly helps. I'm still anxiously looking to acquire a 2010 Topps Pro Debut Banuelos.

Here is the card, complete without team logos. The design is ok - I probably would have avoided anything that remotely looks like a diamond this year because of Topps, and the gloss is terrible. The card almost slipped out of my hands. I can't imagine a signature sticking to these cards.

Oh, and the seller threw in these cards too:

RIP Harmon Killebrew

You know, I never fully take the time to check out someone's career numbers until they have passed away. I recently did this with Duke Snider a few weeks ago, and just this morning checked out Killebrew's numbers. I knew he was a big-time power hitter - 573 HR is no small feat, but other than the name and team, I admittedly never knew much about him. Well, his stats on baseball reference are mind-blowing, and had he played in a bigger market, I'm sure his name would come to mind a bit more quickly when discussing the all-time greats.

I can't imagine how he felt in 1961, as Mantle and Maris hit homer after homer, Killebrew hit 46 and drove in 122...numbers that normally would be top flight, but no doubt were overshadowed that year. I'm glad he won an MVP, and it's too bad he never was part of a World Series champion.

RIP, Harmon Killebrew.