Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Jesus (Montero) finally arrives

It is time. Finally. I want to see this bat in the middle of the order for years. Joel Sherman of the NY Post reports that Jesus Montero will be called up tomorrow when rosters expand, and that he'll have the opportunity to contribute immediately. I wonder if he'll get his first MLB at bat on Thursday in Boston? HR over the Monster, anyone?

Brady Bunch cards!

It seems that a long time ago, movies and TV shows regularly put out trading card sets. I remember heavily collecting GI Joe cards based off the popular cartoon. I also remember dabbling in Dick Tracy cards and Ninja Turtles (the movie) cards.

My family has always been into The Brady Bunch. I can't explain why. However, we can quote the show and movies and pretty much know everything about every episode. It's very nerdy, and all of our significant others bond over the fact that we are all weird and obsessed over the Bradys. They make fun of us, and then we make fun of them for not having an in-depth knowledge of when Alice left the family to go work at the restaurant or when Bobby dyed a bunch of rabbits (and Greg's hair) orange.

Anyways, I recently came across Brady Bunch trading cards. Yes, vintage Brady cards! Amazing. In 1969, Topps released an 88 cards set featuring the Bradys! They actually look a lot like 1955 Bowman - pictures in a woodgrain TV set. See?

Upon doing a little research, these are actually pretty hard to find, as noted by the outrageous eBay prices. Hi-graded singles go for over $100 EACH! On eBay, there is a complete set going for $1299.00! CLICK HERE to check it out. I'm not sure why they are so expensive/rare, I'm guessing not a lot were produced and even fewer exist today (thanks, Capt. Obvious). I'd rather have a '52 Mantle than a '69 Alice, but other Brady enthusiasts may beg to differ.

What about you guys? Have you every come across or seen these cards in person?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tino Tuesdays #3: 1995 Pacific Mariner's Memories

I shouldn't be showing off this card. I'm still bitter about this series, although it was incredibly exciting. I'm talking about the 1995 ALDS, when Tino Martinez was still a Mariner.

I recently won a $.10 lot of four Tino cards on eBay. The only reason I bid was because I saw this card and didn't recognize it. It took me a little while to figure it out, but I believe it's from a 1995 Mariners Pacific team set.

On the back of the card is a short game recap. Tino homered off Yankees starter Jack McDowell. While I still cringe at the thought of this series, it was Tino's success vs the Yanks in 1995 that eventually caused them to trade for him. So while it hurt at the time, it may have been a blessing in disguise.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A different angle for a card photo

There are a lot of cards out there with very similar photo angles. Most times it a hitter taking a swing or pitcher throwing a pitch. It's not unusual to see a head shot or a standard pose taken during spring training photo day. Once in a while, a different shot appears on a card and really sticks out like a sore thumb. You know the ones - a play at the play or a diving catch, for example. Some shots are good, and others may you think, "they couldn't find a better photo than that?!"

While looking through a stack of Yanks the other night, this card popped out at me. It's different than any other Paul O'Neill card I have. Most of his cards show his sweet lefty swing. A bunch also show him smiling before a game or around the batting cage, which is weird because he never seemed to smile when he played. But this card is different than all the others.

Now, please don't let all of the gold foil from '95 Pinnacle distract you, as it surely may. Upon first glance, I didn't like this card at all. Why would I want to look at a players back? When I was in a school play in second grade, my teacher told me to "never turn your back to the audience." That was my first thought. Then I started looking at the card more closely and it really started to grow on me.

First off, not many cards showcase a full shot of the impressive curly mullet that Paul rocked for his entire career. That alone scores this photo points. Second, it's a great swing follow-through. A lot of players would have brought one hand off the bat by now. Third, it's a cool shot of the MLB 125th Anniversary patch that the players wore in 1994. Lastly, the dirt on Paulie's ass. The man always played hard, and dirt on his uniform is fitting for the type of player he was.

What I'm really saying is that before dismissing a photo, give it a second or third look. Often there's more to it than just your initial reaction. You might be surprised.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I'm sorry Miss Jackson, oooh I am for real!

For $.11 shipped on eBay, I found this Jackson Melian signed card. It's from a brand called Diamond Authentics. I don't think I've heard of it before. Anyone have any info on them? Anyways, Melian was one of the Yankees better prospects in the late 1990s and was traded in 2000 to the Reds as part of a package for Denny Neagle. He bounced around the minors for a few years but never made the majors. He was still playing independant ball as recently as last year.

I found the back of the card both hideous and interesting. It is hand numbered 703/1250. It is also a "guaranteed genuine autograph." I always enjoy when my autos are genuine and from the heart.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Be Safe!

To all my collecting friends up and down the East Coast, be safe this weekend and God Bless.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Grand Slams

I'm a little late to the party, but these three 2011 All-Stars hit three grand slams yesterday, helping the Yanks erase a 6-run deficit and defeat the A's 22-9. It was the first time in baseball history that a team has hit three grand slams in one game. I was surprised to hear this. I figured it would have happened before. It always amazes me seeing a baseball first since the game has been around for so long.

TTM Success: Roger Clemens

Raawggggawww Clemens!! (Suzyn Waldman Voice). Yesterday, I returned home from work to find a plain white envelope postmarked from Houston, TX. I couldn't remember who I sent to in that area. As soon as I opened it, I was like "ohhhhh yeah!" Back in mid-July, I sent a card to Roger Clemens. Unfortunately, my card was returned unsigned. Fortunately, included was a 4x6 signed photo!

A few thoughts:
1. I'm very, very thankful to have received an autograph.
2. I'm little sad it's in an Astros uniform.
3. I'm ecstatic it isn't a Red Sox uniform!

I measured this up against other Clemens autos and it looks good. It's not a preprint and I hightly doubt it's an autopen just by close observation.

I'm very happy to add this auto to my collection and I think Mr. Clemens for sending it!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Piece of the Series: Andruw Jones

It's been a while since I've picked up a card for my 2000 HoloGRFX A Piece of the Series set. However, with the addition of former Brave (and current Yankee) Andruw Jones, I'm now more than 50% there. The remaining cards I need are Jeter, Clemens, Bernie, Brian Jordan and Glavine.

I found it interesting that there are two small brown marks on this card. Is it dirt? Or just some other random marking. Dirt would be pretty cool.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Manny Banuelos X-Fractor

I'm a huge Manny Banuelos fan. At just 20 years old, he's one of the youngest players in AAA ball. He's struggled with his control at times this year (which is uncharacteristic), but most believe the little lefty has the ability to be a top of the rotation pitcher. His move to AAA created speculation that he would earn a September call-up, perhaps in a bullpen role. Brian Cashman has since squashed that rumor, so it looks like we won't see him until 2012.

I picked up this beautiful 2011 Bowman Platinum X-Fractor recently. The card is really nice, and I like 2011 Bowman Platinum a lot, despite the masses being seemingly against it. I don't think I'll buy any packs or anything, but I'm more than happy to get the Yanks.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lineage Blaster w/ HOFer Relic

I've been wanting to get my hands on Topps Lineage, but hadn't come accross any until I stopped by a Modell's over the weekend. Since I refuse to step foot in my rip-off LCS and Target is a bit of a hassle to get to, I stop in Mo's once a week to see if they have any new cards. Most of the time they don't, but once in awhile I'll find a fresh shipment of blasters or packs. This was one such occasion.

I eagerly opened the box and expected a lesser relic. It's just how I've been conditioned. I was extremely delighted and surprised to find this:
Nice! A HOFer! And the orange jersey is particularly cool. This was the first time I had actually seen one of these up close, and I love them. The "Game Used Memorabilia" words are a little too small and blend together illegibly, but otherwise I think these are a great set. I like that it's a mini relic, but is unframed.

I'm not 100% sure what I'm going to do with the card just yet. I could easily use it as trade bait. I could sell it on eBay and use those funds to contribute to a vintage Mantle that I want. Or, I could just keep it because it's a cool little card and I don't have any relics of HOFers. As a baseball fan, the third option is enticing.

I enjoyed the rest of the box. I hoped to pull an auto (which I didn't), but I did a decent job of beating the odds a few times considering there were only seven packs in a blaster. I didn't get a pop-up, but I did get some nice inserts and a bunch of Yankees (including two inserts). I also really like the base cards, and it was fun to open a pack where every player was either a past or present star for the most part. I wish there were stats on the back instead of the write-ups, that's my only real disappointment. This is by far my favorite set of the year, which shows how different my taste is than most collectors. Many went gaga over A&G while I hated it and thought it was awful, and many hate Lineage while I think it's great.

Pack 1:
67 - N. Cruz
74 - Brooks Robinson
84 - Kershaw
TV4 - Zimmerman Venezuelan (nice! I didn't even know I got this until I looked at the card for this post)
189 - Jaime Garcia
114 - An elf named Dustin
120 - Ichiro
166 - Gallardo

Pack 2:
7 - Mantle
42 - Jackie Robinson (not a bad first two guys to get)
56 - Victorino
154 - Fergie Jenkins Diamond Anniversary shiny
14/20 - Nishioka Rookie
138 - Prince Fielder
167 - Corey Hart
178 - Pujols

Pack 3:
48 - Fisk
34 - K. Drabek
25 - Whitey Ford
16 - Walter Johnson
82 - Ike Davis Mini
125 - Mark Teixeira
117 - Torii Hunter
109 - Latos

Pack 4:
82 - Ike Davis
91 - Morel (I pull this dude's cards in like every pack)
99 - Honus Wagner
52 - Andre Dawson
140 - Albert Belle Platinum Diamond (it's kind of cool to see him back in a set)
23 - A crazy person whose last name starts with the letter Z
141 - Ozzie (or Ozzy to Topps) Smith
131 - Carlos Lee

Pack 5:
38 - Carpenter
24 - Nishioka
12 - Andrus
50 - Gehrig Mini (awesome!)
152 - D. DeJesus - wait, this isn't autographed?! Does he have cards that aren't autographed?!
169 - Cliff Lee
142 - Haren
133 - Greinke

Pack 6:
2 - Jeter
19 - Larry Walker (good to see him recognized here too!)
26 - Grady Sizemore
37 - J. Upton
49 - Matt Kemp Diamond Anniversary shiny
124 - F. Gutierrez
116 - Pedro Alvarez
108 - Hank Aaron

Pack 7:
45 - Ryan Howard
57 - McCovey
71 - Kurt (If Ichiro Suzuki can go by his first name, so should Kurt Suzuki)
Jeter 3D!!!!!!
164 - Beachy
181 - Frank Thomas
177 - Hughes
197 - Andre Dawson Rookie Cup

How did I do against the odds? Each blaster had seven packs:
Diamond Anniversary 1:4 (got 2)
Platinum Diamond 1:4 (got 1)
Minis 1:4 (got 2)
3D 1:12 (for 1)
Cloth Sticker 1:12 (none)
Topps Venezuelan 1:12 (got 1)
Rookies 1:6 (got 1)
Stand-ups 1:12 (none)
No autos or additional relics.

So, overall it was a pleasant experience. I wanted to run out and get another blaster, but I decided against it. I'm not a set builder, but I'm tempted here because I really like the mix of players. Hmmm, I'll think it over. In the meantime, if you see any non Yanks you really like/need, let me know and we can work something out.

Tino Tuesdays #2: 2000 MLB Showdown

I never really got into any of the baseball card games that have come out over the years. I'm currently collecting the 1968 Topps Game set, but more so because I like the cards rather than have any interest in the game aspect. In the mid-1990's we saw games like Donruss Top of the Order and Collector's Choice You Make the Play. In 2011, these sets are still around, this time in the form of Topps Attax.

This Tino Martinez card comes from 2000 MLB Showdown set. I didn't collect these cards at all, but of course still wanted the card of my favorite player. There was a 1st Edition parallel as well, but this is the standard base. I'm not sure what the numeric point values mean or if this was a good card or not. Tino had five straight 100 RBI seasons at this point (you know, when RBIs were still a stat that people put stock in), so I'm sure his point values were a little better than league average.

The card itself is an ok design. I like how big the players name is vertically. I also think they did a decent job of using a large player image despite having to make room for all of the point values. The MLB legal line on the front is a bit of an eyesore for me. The card set numbering is very small too (bottom left in the black bar). If you were a set collector putting this together, this would be quite annoying.

I had no real reason for choosing this card other than flipping to a random page in a binder and selecting it. That will be my method with a lot of Tino Tuesdays.

Contest winnings from The Dimwit

I recently participated in The Daily Dimwit's contest and was generous to me and gave me 4th prize. The ARod relic I had hoped for was long gone, but I still came away with a sweet card:

I chose the King Felix relic because he is awesome, and it's not every day that one can get a free relic of the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner. I don't have too many Felix cards, so this was a cool pick up for me. I thank Sam for his generosity and hooking me up with a sweet card.

Monday, August 22, 2011

My first vintage Mantle...sort of

I've been jonesing for a vintage Michey Mantle Topps card. I really want a base card, not necessarily a league leaders or other subset. I regularly look for cards of his later years which might be a bit cheaper to buy, especially in poorer condition. So far, I've come close on winning a few, but no luck.

I did, however, pick up this 1967 Topps checklist featuring Mantle. I won it for a few bucks. And while it doesn't satisfy my appetite for a Mantle base card, I still think it's pretty cool to have.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Vintage cards from The Diamond King

In addition to the FREE Harmon Killebrew 1968 Topps Game that The Diamond King sent me some sweet Yanks. I was only expecting the Killebrew so I was surprised to find a stack of cards. Luckily I sent him a few gaudy Dennis Rodman cards so I hope it all evens out.

The card I was most surprised to see is the one below. I’m sure it looks familiar to many of you from this year’s Topps Heritage. However, this is an authentic 1962 Topps “Base as a boy.” I didn’t have any of these cards.

Next up is a 50th anniversary buyback of a 1959 Topps Art Ditmar. I have no idea why Topps felt the need to stamp a vintage card. Cool none the less. I got Ditmar to sign (via TTM) a 1960 Topps, so this is my second card of his and first from the '50s.

Two Reggie Jackson 1980 Fleer cards. I thought Tom Selleck was Mr. Baseball and Reggie was Mr. October?

I’m nearly certain I didn’t have this 1986 Topps Rickey Henderson. I don’t know how, but if so, it’s awesome to finally have it.

 1990’s gaudiness.

A few other Yanks.

Diamond King, you’re the man. I love the older Yanks cards. Hope you enjoy the cards I sent!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Donruss Pop-ups

Seeing a few of the Topps Lineage stand-ups brought back fond memories of the late '80s Donruss Pop-up cards. I know that I had many, many of these cards. And I popped 'em all like a kid from Georgetown pops his collar.

I still have two of them - they've been popped but here they are in flattened form.


Do you guys still have any of these? What were your favorites?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Quest for '68 Topps Game: Harmon Killebrew

Last week, I posted that I was going to chase the 1968 Topps Game insert set. Now, I'm not a set builder at all, but I've always liked these little cards, and with only 33 cards in the set, it's an affordable vintage set to build despite having guys like Mantle and Aaron in it.

The Diamond King responded to my post and said that he had a Harmon Killebrew with a "22" written on it that he would send me - free of charge! Lo and behold, here is the sweet card he sent me. This is my second card in the set:

I'm not worried about condition, as I am building this set for fun. The Diamond King also sent me some great Yankee cards that I'll show off in a later post. Thanks again for your generosity!

Also, there is a contest going on over at My Sports Obsession. The cutoff is today at 5pm, so get your comment in!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

TTM Success: Michael Kay

I assume the title alone lost me a few readers. However, I had a Michael Kay 2005 Topps All Time Fan Favorites card (can't remember who included this in a trade package to me), so I sent it to Mr. Kay in care of the Yankees. In just 11 days, he returned my card, signed in silver.

If you're every passing through NY or on, I recommend giving Michael Kay's radio show a listen. He can be a lot more opinionated and unbiased than he can be on YES and has some decent insights. Michael also lives in my neighborhood and I frequently see him out. Once I even saw him at the movies...we saw Dan In Real Life. My favorite run in with him was the day ARod's steroid allegations came out. I was wearing a Yankees sweatshirt, and we passed each other crossing the street. He saw I was a Yanks fan from my gear, and we passed each other and simply shook our heads.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cards from Indianaland Jones

Earlier this week, I got a package in the mail from D of Potch Wheeler’s Cardboard Heroes slash Indianaland Cards. We hadn’t been working on a deal, so I was curious to see what was inside.

D sent me a few awesome Yankee cards. My favorite of the bunch is easily this 2011 Bowman Platinum Purple of Yankees RHP prospect Adam Warren. He is one of my top five favorite pitching prospects in the system, and he should be next in line to make a start if the Yanks need to call someone up. He’s definitely going to be a September call-up. I was sort of pissed earlier this year when the Yanks signed some random dude, Brian Gordon, and gave him two starts instead of turning to Warren. The comparison to Zack Greinke on the back of the card is outrageous. However, I have no doubt that Warren could be a good #3 starter in the NL or a decent #4/5 in the AL.

 Next up, a cool Mark Teixeira. I think this was a Target-exclusive card, but I’m not totally sure.

Andy Pettitte, looking as bad ass in mini form as in standard form.

Lastly, a few other nice Yanks as well.

D, thanks again. You’ll be getting a return package in the near future.

Red Alert! A must read.

If you haven't checked out Napkin Doon's color-coded food equivalent of cards, you are doing yourself a disservice. It might be the best thing you read this week. Go check it out.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tino Tuesdays: A stolen concept, pirate-style

Yesterday I was reading Pirates Treasure Room, a great blog that I think many of us have recently discovered. There was a feature called "Morton Mondays," which shows off a different Charlie Morton card each week. Well, if a player such as Charlie Morton can have a day to be the subject of a show-and-tell, so can my favorite of all-time, Tino Martinez. And the alliteration works. So in the spirit of pirating from a Pirates blog, I present you with my first installment of "Tino Tuesdays" because "Tino Thursdays" didn't have as nice of a ring to it.

Here is one of my higher-end Tino Martinez cards - a 2005 Donruss Prime Patches Quad relic. I apologize in advance for the shit, lazy, half-assed scan. I didn't feel like removing the card from the screw case that it came in. In fact, I've never removed it since I bought it on eBay. I'm not sure what I paid for this card, probably around $5 or so. It's my first and only Tino patch card, even though the two pieces of patches are from his Devil Rays uniform. Sigh. However, I can't imagine he'll have any Yankee patch cards since he retired after the 2005 season. So I'm stuck with this. The patches are a little too small and to decipher where on the jersey/logo it is actually from.

It's a really nice card, and I have the dual bat card to go along with it. It's my lowest #'d Tino, with a run of just 25 cards.

Anyhow, I'll try to keep this a weekly feature. I have over 500 Tino cards so I could go on for a while even though I'm probably the only one interested. Mr. Pirate, thanks for your inspiration.