Monday, July 30, 2012

You Sir, are ugly.

Fuji asks "what is the ugliest card you have ever seen?" It’s hard to truly call a card ugly. I’ve been on the end of thinking cards are really nice, only to find the masses think they are ugly. I’ve thought cards were really ugly, such as 2011 A&G, while most love them. To each their own. That’s why we collect. It’s a matter of personal tastes.

It was a tough decision. There are so many ugly sets of the 1980s and 1990s. It would be too easy to call out 1995 Fleer, so I won’t. There is one set to me that just sticks out. It feels dark and gloomy every time I look at it. It’s none other than 1987 Donruss.

In some instances, blacks and greys can look cool and edgy. This is not one. Throw in the yellow stripes with the goofy baseballs pattern, and you have a pretty darn ugly card.

I still have the Yankees from this set, and I do appreciate them. I wish I could say that Donruss designs got a little better in the following years, but I think 1987 Donruss started a run of less than stellar designs for the brand. So when you’re thinking about how ugly 1990 Donruss is, blame it on 1987 for starting it all.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

TTM Success: Paul O'Neill

I’ve gotten some really good TTMs this year, but this one is the best. I’ve seen others have success with Paul O’Neill over the years, but I could never get a return from him. That changed when I came home to a SASE post-marked from Cincinnati.

Now, I’ve sent O’Neill a few requests over the past year – both to his home and to the Yankees. I’m not entirely sure where this came from. While it was post-marked from Cincy, I could have sworn I sent this card to him at Yankee Stadium. Who knows? I need to keep more detailed records of the exact cards I send.

All I know is that I was thrilled to open the envelope and have this card slide out with a beautiful blue signature scrolled across it. Of course, I wish I had a sent a different card, as this 1998 Score is rather ugly. I tend to be careless sometimes with the cards I choose, but I am glad that the signature stuck well and didn’t bubble, and that it’s easy to read over the image.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

TTM Success: Harry Doyle (aka Bob Uecker)

After some slow TTM days, I finally received a few nice successes lately.

Fan-favorite Bob Uecker signed my 2001 Topps Archives card. He signed it in pen so the signature is a little tough to read.

Bob is obviously one of baseball’s gems. He was of course a light-hitting catcher in the ‘50s and ‘60s, but it’s been his contributions to the game since then that have solidified his place in baseball history. He made us all laugh in Major League as Indians broadcaster Harry Doyle. He starred in Miller Lite commercials, and even in the sitcom Mr. Belvedere. The man has done it all.

This is a very unique addition to my autograph collection. Thanks, Mr. Uecker!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tino Tuesday #50: 2000 Impact Mighty Fine In '99 #MF15

In 2000, Impact put out a 40-card insert set called "Mighty Fine In '99". The set included the 25 key players from the Yankees Championship team, as well as 15 other players from around the league. It was cool to get cards of the lesser-celebrated guys like Jeff Nelson and Clay Bellinger.

Tino, in fact, was pretty good in 1999. I don't know if he was mighty fine, but he hit 28 HRs and drove in 105 RBIs. Those numbers pretty much in line with what was expected of him from around 1995-2001.

I like the design of the cards. Big, block letters that really stand out highlighting the name of the insert. The polka dots in the background are a little weird.

Overall, a pretty cool card, and even cooler set concept.

Welcome, Ichiro!

Last night, as I was just about to shut down my computer at work, I got an email from a co-worker who literally sits about 15 feet away from.

Subject: Ichiro to the Yankees
Message: I hate you.

I should also mention that he is a Red Sox fan.

Brian Cashman has to be the stealthiest, most ninja-y GM in the game. He acquired Ichiro out of nowhere for two minor league pitchers. I love the deal on all accounts. The Yanks barely gave up a thing. DJ Mitchell could end up being a long-man/spot starter, but I'd be surprised if he ended up as anything more. Danny Farquhar was picked up a few weeks ago and isn't much of a prospect.

The asking price for guys like Shane Victorino, Denard Span, and Justin Upton would have cost the Yanks top prospects. Here, they fill a hole with a still speedy, still defensively-strong Ichiro. I'm well aware that this is not the 2001-2009 Ichiro who hit .350 with 225 hits every year. But that's not what he was brought in to be. He was brought in to add speed and defense at the bottom of the order, and I anticipate him doing just that. He'll play RF while Swisher is injured, and then move to left to spell the surprisingly productive platoon of Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez. He took DeWayne Wise's roster spot. In a moment late in the game, who would you rather have at bat? A past-his-prime Ichiro, or Wise?

I can see Ichiro really be reinvigorated by this deal and the potential to play October baseball. If he performs well, he could be brought back on a one-year contract while the Yanks let Swisher walk away in free agency, freeing up money to re-sign Cano and Granderson. And if he doesn't, well, it's still cool to see him in a Yankees uniform.

Either way, I'm excited to add a player like Ichiro, and I hope he shows a little more of his old self than his recent self. It's low risk, high reward.

Monday, July 23, 2012

My fondest IP autograph

For all the TTMs I've gotten, I am not a big IP autograph collector. I've never gone to a formal autograph signing. I've never waited in a parking lot or down at the field level for a signature.

My fondest in person autograph memory was of Tommy Kendall, a racecar driver probably few have heard of. I was probably 8 or 9 years old, and Kendall was the speaker at a banquet my Dad was attending. Being a racing fan, I knew who Kendall was. We were seated at the table, and I saw Kendall walk in and start to talk to a few people. This was before he gave his speech. My dad encouraged me to go talk to him. I brought up a napkin and a pen and asked for his autograph.

Instead of signing my napkin, he opened up a briefcase and took out a photo of his racecar and signed it for me. I later learned that you could purchase one of these pictures for him to sign, but he graciously gave me one. It left me a lasting impression, and I still have that photo back home at my parents house.

In terms of rudest athletes I've met - Graig Nettles. I was at Don Larsen's charity event a few years ago, and Nettles could not have been ruder or less interested in being there. I didn't even end up asking for an autograph after observing the way he was treating other fans. Luckily guys like Joe Girardi and David Cone were as kind as could be, but Nettles was a real jerk.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Baseball Sluggers Stamps

I don’t actively collect stamps, but when there are cool baseball issues, I’ll usually try and go out of my way to pick some up. In 2005, the USPS issued a “Baseball Sluggers” set of stamps, featuring four stars from the past: Mickey Mantle, Roy Campanella, Mel Ott, and Hank Greenberg. I definitely bought these at the time because of Mantle, but the other three guys are pretty damn good too. 

I’m in the process of packing for a move across the river (as mentioned in my last post), so I found these stamps in a box in my closet. I had forgotten I had them. The sheet is still in pretty good shape, and I’m glad I held onto them.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Moving! How should I pack/store my cards for a move?

At the end of this month, I’ll be moving across the Hudson River to NJ. I’ve lived in NYC for the past six years, but with a family now, it’s time to make the natural progression to the ‘burbs. Now, I’m just going to Hoboken, not really the suburbs at all, but it’s a step closer. I don't know I feel about being an NJ resident (sorry to those of you who are). It'll take some getting used to.

I’m in the midst of packing boxes. One thing I have yet to touch – my cards. Since I’ve always lived in small apartments, I’ve managed to keep my collection pretty contained. I haven’t allowed myself to store and keep a lot of cards. However, I do have a few binders and boxes full.

Have any of you recently had to move your card collection to a new home? I’d appreciate any and all tips or recommendations. I’m thinking plastic storage bins, with my boxes and binders inside. What do you think?

Tino Tuesday #49: 2009 SP Legendary Cuts #GMTA

This is one of my more random Tino Martinez cards. It’s a 2009 SP Legendary Cuts dual relic with Adrian Gonzalez, then of the Padres. You know, before he was the enemy. It’s a little weird to have these two featured on the same card. They both play 1B and have a Latino heritage, so perhaps that’s where Upper Deck is drawing the parallels.

I love when my Yankee relics have a pinstripe. The Gonzo is rather bland.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The 'Phiten' Napkin Doon sends some cards

When he’s not a guinea pig for some of Phiten’s newest sports performance inventions, Napkin Doon is a pretty cool cat. He recently sent me a great stack of Yankees and some Topps Lineage cards I needed. I have had an envelope full of stuff for him, but just have not sent it. Napkin, I will send it within the next two weeks. I am moving at the end of the month, so it’ll be one less thing to move.

The highlights of the package were two-fold. Nap won this sweet Topps Tier One Hector Noesi auto at Cleve’s. I live vicariously through him when he goes to Cleve’s, and I appreciate this pick up. You may notice something cool about this auto. It's not a sticker! On card, bab-ay!

Included in the stack of cards he sent was this Phil Rizzuto shiny gold Archives card. I have a fondness for Rizzuto, and this card looks really pretty in the gold foil.

Nap, thanks again for thinking of me.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Oops. Wrong guy.

Oops. On Sportlots, I picked up all of the Yankees in Topps Pro Debut Series One. And one Indian.

See, I saw Jose Ramirez on the checklist, and figured it was the Jose Ramirez in the Yankees system who was featured in 2010 Pro Debut. It wasn’t.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Trade with Manupatches & Chrome Scratches

I recently completed a trade with Eric from Manupatches andChrome Scratches/Mustaches. I had a Luke Hochevar relic for him, although it pales in comparison to the crazy new Hochevar collection he just picked up. Eric sent me two team bags full of Yanks.

I was surprised to find a Jeter RC in there. I have the Topps one, but didn’t have this Pinnacle. I really should try and acquire all of the various Jeter RCs that I can afford. This is a nice start.

I didn’t have this 1995 Topps Future Stars Jeter either. This should now give me every Jeter base card from Topps from 1993 through today. I’ll have to double check that though.

A nice Dellin Betances Bowman Chrome RC. Man, Dellin is frustrating. He has all the talent in the world, but can’t seem to put it together. With all the injuries, he would have had a chance to stick in the Yanks rotation this year if he had decent AAA success, but instead was demoted to AA. At this point, I wish they’d plug him in the bullpen.

This Leaf Cornerstones Boggs/Mattingly is awesome. Two great players and a shiny border. I like.

I really like this 2011 Topps Chrome Curtis Granderson Purple Refractor. I’m a huge fan of Curtis, so I’ll always welcome a card like this.

Here are a few more goodies.

Eric, thanks for the trade!