Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Twitter trade with Dano

I recently swapped some card packages with Twitter friend and fellow collector Dano. He reached out with a few Pinedas, two that I needed. He was also kind enough to send along some other Yanks that I enjoyed.

I've met a lot of great collectors through Twitter. They may or may not have blogs, but it's cool to trade cards with random strangers who share an interest in collecting. While I've gotten to be friends with a few bloggers, it's also cool to have Twitter around to open up even more avenues for trades and acquiring new cards.

Here are the Pinedas, as well as a few other goodies from Dano. Feel free to follow him here: @danolaurel.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What about Dads? We need presents too!

As mentioned, a few weeks ago, my wife and I welcomed baby #2 to the world. I got a ton of messages of congrats from all of you, which I really appreciated. Thank you!

Last week, while taking time off from work to help with the baby, I got an envelop from Nick aka Yanks and Beans of The Cardboard Dugout. Upon opening it, the Michael Pineda auto above fell out.

Wow! Nick also included a note, saying that when he had his daughter, his wife and baby got all the presents. It wasn't fair, and here's a gift for Dad. Too cool.

Nick, I can't thank you enough. This means a lot. If you haven't yet, head over to The Cardboard Dugout. You won't find funnier box breaks.

Prize-Town Tom delivers

My apologies to P-Town Tom, as this post is well overdue. The package fell to them bottom of a stack that I had wanted to blog about. Better late than never, right?

At the beginning of March, Tom sent me a prize package for a blog contest he ran. I never win these things, so I'm always appreciative. Tom is one of those bloggers who always hooks my son Joey up too, and this was no different.

The coolest item, to me, is this JUMBO pack of 1989 Topps. I've already put this in Joey's stash of old wax to open one day. These fat packs are awesome. I would love to see something like this now. The card showing on the front? None other than Mr. Jay Buhner.
Here's a bunch of sweet cards Tom sent for me, including these great OBAK cards for two PC guys:
And here's a bunch that will go in Joey's binder, which is filling up like crazy!
The Reggie Jackson 1982 Topps is miscut, but will still find a great home in the binder.

Tom, always appreciate your thoughtfulness. Thank you!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

JBF Epic Boxes: Pack 4

Here we go with team bag #4 of the Jaybarkerfan Epic Boxes! What will this team bag entail?
Brien Taylor minor league cards! He was supposed to be one of the best lefties ever. That didn't pan out, did it? Given his character and questionable make up, he probably would have ended up being a PC guy for me. See, Tino Martinez and Michael Pineda.
A Shane Spencer Bowman RC, which for some reason, always eluded me. Also, Fleer Metal. Holy crap. Fleer Metal, please come back. I'm not even joking a little. Who doesn't need pitchers breaking through stone walls?
And the card of the pack? Yep, for the second straight pack, a Don Mattingly oddball!

Total cards in pack: 39
Running total: 98

Saturday, April 26, 2014

JBF Epic Boxes: Pack 3

On to team bag #3 of the Jaybarkerfan Epic Boxes! Here's a sampling of my favorite cards from this team bag which, once again, was packed with more Yankees awesomeness than imaginable:
I always appreciate Jeter cards. Hey, did you hear he's retiring? I really like the shiny Spectrum card. I hadn't seen this set.
 What the?!? Where did these blue 1990 Donruss cards come from??
I don't know why, but these Topps Collectors' Series cards never get the respect they deserve.
Some GQ and Archives.
And my favorite card of the pack? Oddball city! This 1993 Hostess Donnie Baseball. Great card!

Total cards in pack: 42
Running total: 59

Friday, April 25, 2014

TTM Success: Rollie Sheldon

Here's a great TTM success from a member of the Yanks back when the M&M boys were dominating the American League. Roland "Rollie" Sheldon signed my card in a few weeks, and also added this sweet index card with inscriptions. His signature is fantastic!
Special thanks to Mark H for the assist, as this card came in the epic vintage PWE he sent me a few weeks back.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

You be the Judge

One of my goals this past year was to pick up Bowman Sterling autographs of the Yankees three 2013 first picks: Eric Jagielo, Ian Clarkin, and Aaron Judge. The last, and most expensive, was Aaron Judge, the massive outfielder from Fresno State.
Judge is off to a great start in low-A ball, hitting .359/.488/.469. Scouts are raving about his game and approach so far. He's a little old for low-A, so it's only a matter of time before he's bumped up to A+ Tampa. I'd be shocked if he was still in Charleston come mid-May. He played three years at a major college program, so he should be mashing at low-A.

It's been a long time since the Yanks had a legit OF prospect, but Judge fits the bill. He's not a Melky Mesa/Zoilo Almonte 5th OF fill-in of the past few years. He's a cornerstone player if he plans out the way the Yankees hope.

What a dummy

Michael Pineda. You are a dummy. I'm still going to collect you, but damn, how dumb can you be? That's all I'm going to say about that. I'm too tired to go on a rant about pine tar and how no other players care if you use it, so why not be discreet blah blah. Just don't have the energy. Thank Baby Lucy for that.

So far, over the past year, my main PC guy, Tino Martinez, had to resign from the Marlins as hitting coach for allegedly verbally abusing players. Now, another PC guy, Michael Pineda, acts like a pure idiot in front of a national TV audience. Sigh. I like to think I'm a decent judge of character, but certainly makes you wonder about my ability, doesn't it? Two of my main PC guys, both with some controversy. It makes me sad.

Ty Hensley, don't let me down. It's on you now.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

In stitches

Normally, there's not much to get excited about with a plain gray jersey swatch. It's always nice to have a relic, but plain gray can be very boring without a stripe or patch.
Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised when I received this Michael Pineda relic card with a thread stiched through a portion of it. I had wanted to pick up this card for my PC and got it cheap on ebay, but didn't know there would be more than some boring gray. Very cool! It certainly didn't cause the seller to place a premium on it, as it was one of the most affordable Pineda relics on the 'bay right now.

What about you? Have you ever been surprised by an ordinary swatch? Did it have some stitches, rips, or dirt?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Some players really do read my letters!

As an active TTMer, I often wonder whether or not a player actually reads my letters, or simply grabs the cards, signs them, and moves on to the next letter. I always try to put something personal in there...a memory, a question, etc. Some repsond, some don't.

I recently sent to Mike Easler (thanks for the tip, Kenny), and enclosed two cards: a 1987 Topps and a 1987 Fleer All-Star. Now, I mentioned in my letter that the 1987 Fleer All-Star card had significant meaning. I didn't send the exact card (which I have), but in 1988 I was sick in the hospital. I was five years old. I remember that my Mom stopped at the local card shop and brought me a few packs to open in my hospital bed, as well as this single Mike Easler insert card. Yes, I was five years old and already loved cards.

I was too young to know what an insert was, but I knew the Easler was special. It didn't look like the other cards. Mind you, I was used to seeing 1987 Topps cards, so seeing a gray card with yellow stars, it was the most special card I had ever seen. I told Mr. Easler this story, and asked him to sign my upgraded copy of this card.

Without asking for an inscription or personalization, Mr. Easler wrote "God Bless You, AJ!" on the Fleer card, as well as writing "Hit Man" under his name. So cool! On the 1987 Topps, he signed fairly normally with just his name.
Do I know for sure that Mr. Easler read my letter? No. But I feel pretty confident he did by treating the 1987 Fleer card as he did.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Introducing Baby Lucy

Last Wednesday, I mentioned that my blog was on auto-pilot with the pending birth of my daughter. I'm happy to report that everything went perfectly and according to plan. We got home Saturday morning and enjoyed a very nice weekend as a family.

I'd like to present to you, Baby Lucy Lost Collector:
Both mom and baby are doing great. In terms of Joey...he's having his ups and downs, as you'd expect. He's still just two, and has been the only child with the world revolving around him for as long as he's known. He's been mostly great about everything, with a few hiccups along the way. Easter candy sugar didn't help, either.

Now let's bring it back to baseball. Lucy came on the 16th, when the Yanks had a doubleheader vs the Cubs. In Game 1, Masahiro Tanaka dominated the Cubs. In Game 2, my main man Michael Pineda wasn't as sharp, be he still threw six shut out innings. I was actually able to watch that game in my wife's hospital room (wooo on an SD TV), which she was thrilled with. In all, the Yanks swept the doubleheader while not allowing a single run. Pretttttty good.

I'm not sure which card(s) to pick up for Lucy as a birth gift. Obviously, my PC-guy Pineda pitching on her birth day is a pretty good sign. Namewise, the White Sox recently had a player named Donny Lucy. Birthday-wise, not a very impressive group: Xavier Avery, Dall Keuchel, Fernando Tatis, and Hank Greenberg among others. Only two guys played for the Yanks: Charlie Devens and Earl Torgeson. Hmmm, I'll have to think about this.

Anyways, the blog will still be coasting for a few days, but you'll see some posts pop up.

JBF Epic Boxes: Packs 1-2

About a month ago, my buddy Wes over at Jaybarkerfan's Junk sent me not one, but TWO flat rate boxes filled with team bags of Yankees cards. It was nuts how many cards were in there. It was like busting a wax box full of just your favorite team and players.
Upon retrospect, I wish I had only opened one team bag per day, but like a kid on Christmas Day, I tore through them. It was silly, really.

In order to show everything off, I took a sharpie and wrote numbers on each team bag, 1-17. That way, I can show a "pack" or two off at a time.

So let's start with packs one and two, shall we?

Pack 1
The first pack contained three cards in top loaders. These were either inserts or low-numbered cards. Did I say low-numbered? Oh, I mean 1 OF 1. Of a guy I collect! Yep, Wes sent me a 1 of 1 Phil Rizzuto card! There is also a sweet Deion Sanders Flashback card, as well as an Aroyds Vizcaino Tristar #'d to 25.

Total cards in pack: 3
Running total: 3

Pack 2

This was loaded with a bunch of Topps Archives and retired Yanks stars.
My favorite card of the pack? This 2011 Topps Chrome Mariano Rivera. I've always loved this card. Mo walking to shake the catcher's hand after notching another save.

Total cards in pack: 16
Running total: 19

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

For those of you who celebrate, Happy Easter! Hope you have all have great days with your family.

If all goes according to plan, I'll be celebrating Easter with my 2-year old son and dive-day-old daughter at home. Fingers crossed that's what's going on.

And for the first of many times (I hope), Joey will be getting a pack of cards in his Easter basket from the Easter Bunny. It's just a pack of 2014 Topps Opening Day, but still cool. I'll put whatever he gets in his binder as a reminder of the first pack he ever opened. There is probably a 1/1 Mike Trout in there or something...

Friday, April 18, 2014

Inching closer to the rainbow

I've been trying to pick up as many 2013 Bowman Draft colored parallels of Ty Hensley as possible. I have no clue how many exist. I should sit down and figure it out, but I just keep surfing eBay and grabbing colors I know I don't have. Eventually I'll see what I need (minus 1/1's), but that's not for today.

These are both fairly low-numbered. The Black Refractor is #'d 18/35, while the Silver Wave is 07/25. Not too shabby at all, and both nice looking cards.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

PC guys on Listia? Scoop 'em up.

When browsing Lisia, my PC guys don't show up very much. If they do, it's usually crap...1991 Donruss or something else I have. However, sometimes one pops up and lo and behold, it's one you need. What do you do? You go all out and grab it.
That was the case with this 1998 Score Artist Proof Tino Martinez. I saw it, checked my list, and noticed I didn't have it. Bidding started at 100, but I let others kick it off. With a few minutes left, I put in a high bid, and ended up scoring it. I spent a little more than I wanted, but sometimes you have to. You can't not add a free card you need!

This marks my 635th different Tino card.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Baby coming today = Blog on auto-pilot

By the time you read this, I should be a Dad for the second time! My wife is set to have c-section today to deliver our second child, this time a baby girl. Some unfortunate circumstances lead us to needing a scheduled c-section, but I won't go too in-depth there.

I tried to get a bunch of cards out over the weekend and in the early part of the week, so if we had a deal in the works, we should be square. If not, feel free to email me a reminder. As you can imagine, things have been nutty.

Anyhow, let's hope everything goes well today (or that it already went well). You'll still see a few posts from me in the coming days, but those have been written in advance.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Discount bin Whitey on eBay

Look, I don't have an LCS with discount bins. The local card shows are a little out of the way, so I don't hit those either. Nope. To find my discount vintage, I hit up my NCS (National Card Shop), eBay.

I don't find many cheap vintage gems on eBay, but once in awhile, there's something where the price is right and truly reflective of what one might find in an actual vintage discount bin. Lo and behold, this 1962 Topps Whitey Ford.
Sure, it's got some warts. Rough corners. Someone drew a star above his name. There is one big crease. At a card show, this might cost what? $3-$5? I found it on ebay with a Buy It Now of $1.49, plus the same for shipping. So for about $3, it was mine. Not bad, right?

These deals are few and far between, but I feel damn good about them when they happen.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Another Monday, another Ty Hensley auto

Of the 29 different Ty Hensley cards I have, seven are autographs. That's not a bad percentage at all. He signed a lot in 2012 between Bowman, Panini, and Leaf, so I've got a lot of options. Plus, Ty signs TTM, so I've added two autos that way as well.

My latest pickup is his 2012 Bowman Draft RC. Along with the refractor, this is THE card for any prospect autos. The unlicensed stuff is nice, but Bowman Draft takes the cake.

Next order of business: pick up the Refractor.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mmmm, Leather

Ok, maybe fake leather. But it still sort of smells like leather.

I saw this card on eBay with a Best Offer option. I submitted what I thought was fair. The seller responded with a counteroffer that $.25 more. Ugh. I wanted to decline out of principle, but I wanted this Michael Pineda too much. So I sucked it up, gave in, and accepted the offer. Well played, Mauer.

Anyhow, this is from those nifty 2011 Topps Update manu-leather nameplates. I'm not sure if they came in blasters or packs or what. They aren't that easy to find three years later, so it was a Pineda I wanted to grab on the cheap before his card prices shoot up.

I still need to find the black one #'d to 99. I messed up and didn't pull the trigger on a pretty cheap one a few weeks ago. Oh well. I'll live.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Junior Junkie sends cards to the Tino Junkie

Everyone's favorite Griffey collector sent me 13! Tinos in a PWE this past week. He also has fancy new address labels!

I always appreciate when people think of my when they come across a Tino.  It really does mean a lot to me. There was a great assortment here, including the ever-frustrating Yankee Stadium Legacy cards. If you see a giant hole in one of the Tinos, that's because there is one. A fancy Pinnacle Mint coin goes in there!
TJ, thanks for thinking of me!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Gold...or pine tar brown?

Michael Pineda mowed down the Red Sox last night. It was awesome. This is a guy I've been waiting for two years to anchor the Yankee rotation, and finally, he stood on the mound, stared down the mighty Red Sox, and pitched with a swagger I haven't seen since 2009 CC Sabathia.

The big story of the game, as you know by now, is the pine tar (or "dirt") that Pineda wasn't shy about showing on his hand. The story blew up on Twitter. And it just so happens that the man on the hill, Clay Buccholz, had been accused of using a foreign substance last year during a start in Toronto. Understandably, the opponent played a role in not calling this to the umps attention, as both Buccholz and Lester have been subject to these same conversations in the past. I actually applaud John Farrell for not being a hypocrite. It would have been easy for him to call it to the umps attention, especially with the way Pineda was pitching.

If the majority of pitchers use pine tar or other sunscreen or whatever for a better grip, and it's widely understood within the game, I'm not too upset. I think it was apparent when the Red Sox players said they have no issue with it. From everything I've seen or read, those associated with the game had much less of an issue with it than writers and other media folk. I thought it was funny that there were so many people who were outraged, but the people actually affected (the opposing team) weren't. And if you think the pitchers on your favorite team aren't using something, you're probably wrong. Not justifying it, but just saying...

I'm sure Pineda will keep using whatever he was using, especially on colder nights. I would hope he's a bit less blatant about it next time. Regardless, pine tar or not, his stuff was fantastic. He sat in the mid-90s with devastating off-speed stuff. His change-up, widely considered his weakest pitch, was responsible for several Ks. Just an enjoyable experience to watch. He definitely tired after 85-90 pitchers, but it's understandable, as he's still working his was bay from a serious shoulder surgery.

Which brings me to the card above. This 2012 Topps Gold parallel is my 59th different Pineda, and came courtesy of a PWE from Kerry over at Cards on Cards. Thanks, Kerry!