Thursday, December 31, 2015

TTM Success: Rick Reuschel

Let's end the year on a TTM note. Former Yankees pitcher Rock Reuschel returned my two cards signed. It took just over a week, so it was a fast return.
Reuschel is best known for his work in the NL, notably with the Cubs. He also had good seasons with the Pirates and Giants. He was a 3-time All-Star and won 214 games in his big league career. He also brought home two Gold Gloves and two third place Cy Young finishes.

The Yankees acquired him mid-season in 1981 and he helped propel the team to the AL Pennant. He was ineffective in the playoffs though, and never pitched another game in Pinstripes after the 1981 World Series. However, he did end up pitching until 1991, and was a key member of the Giants staff of the late '80s.

Thanks to Mr. Reuschel for signing these cards so quickly.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Cards for Christmas!

I can't remember, but this may be the first time I've ever gotten cards for Christmas an adult.

My wife, bless her, picked me up one of those 4-pack + 50 card repacks from Target. I know she had no clue what she was doing, so I appreciate the effort. She said "I couldn't find ones that said Topps and I was worried they were all knock-offs." I get it. It's no obvious that Heritage or Stadium Club are Topps. If I had to go pick her out eyeliner or some other beauty product, I'd have no clue. So while these repacks aren't the greatest thing in the world, I really appreciate the effort because I know she was out of her comfort zone.

Plus, it made for a fun stocking stuffer. The four packs were 2015 Gypsy Queen, 2015 Topps Series One, 2013 Panini Cooperstown, and 2015 Leaf Heroes of Baseball.

In the 50 loose repack cards, I was surprised to see this fall out:
This is a red foil parallel #'d 22/50 of the new Yanks' 2B. Pretty cool card to be dangling loosely. The rest of the 50 bonus cards are what you'd expect, although there was a 2011 Topps Jeter, so that's cool. The rest was mostly a mix of junk wax and a few newer cards.

Here are the best cards from the 2015 Series One pack. I had the Tanaka, and the Puig is up for grabs if you Dodger fans don't have it yet.
The Baseball Heroes pack was sort of cool, although the cards feels like bad minor league promo cards. I got a Whitey Ford, two Musials, Ripken, Piazza, and a Campanella disk (one per pack). Dodger fans, interested?
The Cooperstown cards were cool too. I like the Marichal, and the Jackie Robinson Monarchs card is pretty awesome. Again, Dodger fans, interested?
I didn't buy any GQ this year but have received some in trade packages. Nothing much of note in that pack worth scanning.

It was fun to open a few packs on Christmas, and I really appreciate my wife trying to get me cards. I think she did just fine!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

TTM Success: Dion James

Hey Guys. Just popping in to post a quick TTM success that came this past week. I've gotten a few card-related packages, and I'll get to them when I can. Without going into much detail, a family member of mine unexpectedly died this past Wednesday. 32 years old. It's devastating, not just because of the proximity to Christmas, but the circumstances around the death and the effect it's having on my family.

I've got a stack of envelopes and mailers to get it, but they are going to have to wait.

However, I did want to do a quick post, and these TTMs are easy to show off. Former Yankee Dion James signed these cards for me in just about a week's time. I liked him a lot as a player. He played a key role on those Yankees teams that started to turn it around in the early to mid-90s, leading the way to the eventual success that the franchise had at the end of the decade. While guys like James, Mike Stanley, Danny Tartabull, and others got the Yanks back on track, they weren't around to experience the titles. It's too bad, because those guys really deserve more credit than they got. Oh, what could have been in 1994...
Anyways, I'm pleased with this TTM return, and thank Mr. James for returning the cards so quickly

Hopefully I'll get up another post or two over the next couple days, but if not, I'll see you in a week or two. If I don't see you, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

P(WE)-Town Tom sends some holiday cheer

I love a good holiday PWE, and P-Town Tom delivered. It was a really fun grouping of cards, starting with a great Reggie Jackson I had never seen before:
These are super cool. They go from being slightly below the size of a regular card, to folding out into a pretty realistic looking ticket stub. A little internet research confirms that these are from 2004 Fleer Authentix. The insert set is called Ticket Studs. Get it? Studs? Stubs?

Tom also sent not one, but two Robert Refsnyder cards, and suggested one be for TTM. Ok, if you insist, Tom! I know in his earlier days Refsnyder was a pretty good TTM signer, although as he's grown as a prospect I'm not sure how much that has slowed down. I'll definitely give it a shot during spring training.
I've been going through a massive collection reorganization, trying to make it easier to find which cards I have. They are all to commingled right now. It's really a disaster. As I've been going along, I pull out every Jeter card, mostly because I'm curious how many I have. My theory is that I have 500 different, although that number might be way too aggressive and it might actually be half of that. We'll see. This will be going in the Jeter stack.
Lastly, Tom seems to be unloading some of his Starlin Castro cards. I guess I'll have to send him an Adam Warren to replace this Castro. Or maybe a Brendan Ryan :)
Tom, thank you sir!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Pineda #125

Somehow, I'm climbing into some pretty impressive territory with my Michael Pineda collection. It started out pretty innocently. Feeling bummed about the Yankees trading Jesus Montero for him, I went online and picked up about 10-12 different Big Mikes right after the trade. Over the next couple years, I just kept acquiring, and here we are, at a nice, round number: 125.
Fittingly, it's this auto from 2011 Bowman, which I've been after for a while. I finally snagged one for a couple bucks, including free shipping. It came in a top loader in a PWE, which was expected for the price. I wish it wasn't a sticker, but oh well. I'm happy to have it.

He looks so young in the photo. He is still just 26 (and will pitch all of next year at age 27), but he looks like just a tot in this photo.

I know he's an injury risk, but he did just pitch 160 innings. Not terrible. I'd love to see him close in on 200 in 2016. I wouldn't mind seeing the Yanks lock him up for the next couple of year on a friendly contract. With pitching prices soaring, I think teams might get a bit more aggressive with their young arms. Although, I wouldn't blame the Yanks for getting what they can out of him through 2018, then parting ways.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Pineda Stock Market is down = more cards for me

I've documented the Michael Pineda stock market a few times, but here's the gist. The same can be said for any player, really. I just notice it with Pineda since I'm constantly monitoring his cards.

Coming off of his All-Star rookie season in 2011 and an off-season trade to the Yankees, his card prices shot up. Everything was expensive. Then he spent the next two years on the DL. He was forgotten and prices plummeted. Inserts, relics, autos, refactors. They were dirt cheap. I pounced.

He came back in 2014 and started off strong, and his cards took off. If I had half a brain I would have just sold then. Then he got hurt...again. Prices fell. But he was very good when he did pitch, so prices did level off a bit, trending upward with anticipation of a big 2015.

In 2015, he started off well, capped off by a 16 K effort of the Orioles. Guess what? Prices went up. Then guess what? He got hurt. He did come back to pitch but was very ineffective. His prices have leveled off a bit, but many sellers don't quite see the trend. They still see him as a star. Therefore, Pineda cards for sale fall into three categories:

1. Sellers who still think he's an ace and price him like one. (aka cards I don't buy)
2. Uninformed sellers who think they can place a Pineda card on auction and it'll climb. These are the cards I pursue aggressively and usually score deals for dirt cheap. In fact, I just won a 2009 Bowman RC auto for $3 shipped.
3. Smart sellers who price accordingly.

As mentioned, I mostly feast on #2. This tactic allowed me to score these two cards for well under what some of their counterparts are going for. The gold has a bit of patch toward the bottom of it as well.
At this point, I think Big Mike is what he is. A talented guy capable of pitching well, who sometimes will and sometimes won't. He'll get hurt a lot and likely never pitch mega innings because of his arm troubles. He's still young, and maybe he'll overcome it, but I have a feeling he'll always be a bit of an enigma.

Friday, December 11, 2015

A middle infield I'm excited about

I really like what Brian Cashman is doing right now. He's trading from areas of strength - catcher and relief pitchers - and bringing in high upside players who have yet to hit their prime.

In many instances, he's buying low. It doesn't always work, but he's a big fan of "change of scenery" moves. Namely, he's improving the roster with young, athletic, controllable (in terms of service time) players that will ultimately complement the prospects that are set to arrive in NY shortly (or already have).

Now, I know all these moves won't work out. Law of averages. But that doesn't mean they can't be useful players. Maybe Aaron Hicks never develops into an All-Star, but if he can become a solid, above average everyday player, that's quite important.

As a result of a trade this week, Starlin Castro became the Yankees everyday 2B. He has 991 career hits before his 26th birthday. He's a three-time All-Star. He finished the season on a tear. He's been awful two of the past three seasons, so it will be interesting to see where he falls into place. Will he be a 200-hit threat? Even if not, he's probably better than the Brian Roberts/Stephen Drew experiment of the last two seasons. Robert Refsnyder's bat has always had potential, but when you can get a guy just a year older than him with about 975 more hits to his credit, you do it.

Castro's DP partner will be Didi Gregorius. Didi's numbers may not look like much to non-Yankee cans, but his transformation was impressive to watch. He played much better as the summer went on, and he seemingly made a highlight reel play every night. He probably should have won the Gold Glove, but I have a feeling that's not too far off.

Regardless, I think it'll be exiting to watch these two. There will inevitably be a game where the Yanks run out Didi, Castro, Hicks, and Gary Sanchez up the middle. Everyone 26 or under. That's exciting as a fan who has watched old guys run around the field for far too long.

Welcome to NY, Starlin Castro. Here's to solving the 2B problem for the next few years.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Pacific dominated Christmas-time...and more.

I'm not sure how many collectors actually miss Pacific, but I do. I certainly didn't when I was growing up. I remember they had some flashy cards and those cool crown diecuts, but I was always disappointed when pickings were slim at CVS and I had to settle on a pack of Pacific Omega or something.

As I grow older, I can't help but notice some of my favorite cards are from Pacific. Some I just remember so well from flipping through Beckett as a kid. Flashy pictures. Sex sells, card companies.

In terms of Christmas, they issued those cool ornament cards in the early 2000s. I snagged a couple on COMC (Clemens was the cheapest Yank). In 2000, they came complete with a string for hanging on a tree. In 2001, they simply had a hole to punch out.
The designs are similar...and similarly awesome. These are just so much fun. Diecut to no end, they look like they may have been made with Christmas cookie cutters by card-making elves in The North Pole. There is a faint foil "Merry Christmas" patterned in the background (taboo in 2015!!!!). The cards just make me very happy. I love them.

You feeling me on the Pacific? Not yet? Ok. Well, I've already showed this sweet Tino "In the Cage: insert. Fun, right?
How about this? In 1999 Pacific Revolution, these Net-Fusion cards had pieces of mesh netting because...why not? They had the technology to it, and they did.
Cards that looked like the Aggro Crag from Guts? Yep, they had those too.
I could go on and on, but here are a few more cards from Pacific I really liked. Next time you're browsing COMC, sort by Pacific for your favorite team. I bet you'll find some cool stuff.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Happy 48th, Tino!

Tino Martinez turns 48 today. Additionally, just so happens to be the 20th anniversary of the trade that brought him to the Yankees. I was in sixth grade. Crazy!

Happy birthday, Tino!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Home & Away

First off, thank you to everyone who checked out my previous post about my Topps Yankees Project. It was a record number of views for me. While I honestly don't get caught up in how many views a post gets, I am really proud of my project, and appreciate that others were interested enough to take a peek.

A re-tweet from Topps drove a ton of traffic as well.

Now back to my regularly scheduled, barely thought-out posts.
This beauty arrived in the mail today. It's from 2009 SP Legendary Cuts and is new to my collection. When I saw it, I liked that it included Jorge Posada. Both Tino and Jorge played a huge role on the Yankees championship teams of my youth, both carrying the offense on their own at various times.

Posada was a guy who could get scorching hot for days at a time. I remember a few different runs when he simply would not get out, or every hit went for extra bases. It's easy to forget now since we're several years from the end of his career, but he was a great offensive player in his prime.

While both jersey swatches are rather bland, I do like that there is a home swatch (Tino), and a road swatch (Posada). I actually think a set called "Home & Away" would be a cool insert set. Each card would only have one player, but there would be two jersey home, one away.

Perhaps there already is a set out there that exists. I'm not sure. All I know is that two different colored swatches is a little cooler than two of the exact same color.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

In Its Entirety: Topps Yankees Project 1951-2015

Man, where does the time go? I had every intention of showing this off during the season, yet here we are in early December. Well, it's time.

Many of you are familiar with my Topps Yankees Project. However, for those who aren't, here's a quick recap: In 2011, I decided to pursue a through the mail (TTM) project, obtaining an autographed Yankees card from each season that Topps has issued a set. I knew it would be a challenge, but I also knew it was very doable.

A few self-imposed rules:
1. No repeating players.
2. I did not pay any fees. These signatures were all free via the generosity of that player.
3. I did not include personalized autographs (although have many in my collection)
4. I can and may still swap out players at any time.
5. No reprints! All original Topps cards.

I'll also note that some of these were obtained when I was a kid, such as the Knoblauch and Girardi. I wasn't starting entirely from scratch. I have been adding the current year's release as quickly as possible, and am anxiously awaiting the 2016 Series One checklist so I can target a player for 2016.

Here we go!
Who will be next? Your guess is as good as mine. Thanks for reading!