Monday, August 31, 2015

A Bazooka Blast

Do you ever see a card for sale so many times and automatically assume you have it? It happens a lot for me.

I'm usually pretty good about knowing which Tinos I have, but I missed this one. I had seen it so frequently on eBay I just filed it in my brain that it was a "have". However, I found one for cheap, and when I actually checked my master list, I realized I did in fact need it.

It was a happy accident, and anytime I can add a new Tino relic to my collection for a very small price, I do it.

It's a fun card from a fun set. The mid-90s Bazooka were a big deal to me growing up since the packs were so affordable. I could buy a lot of them. The bulky size was weird because of the piece of wrapped Bazooka. I remember not liking that.

I think Topps brought it back in the mid 2000s, but I wasn't collecting then so I don't know a ton about the sets, but obviously they went all 2000s by adding relics. I wouldn't mind seeing this set make a comeback at some point, as Bazooka has a rich tradition within baseball and the trading card industry.  

Friday, August 28, 2015

A positive eBay review

eBay can be a lot like going to restaurants. Most of my eBay transactions go perfectly smoothly, so there is no need to write about that portion of it. Similar to when you go to a restaurant and get good service, you aren't inclined to write a review. Good service is expected.

But when something bad occurs, release the hounds! Off to Yelp or some other site to let everyone in the world know about it.
I'm as guilty as anyone. Just a few weeks ago, I had an exchange with a nincompoop on eBay and shared the experience with all of you.
Well, I'd like to post a positive review of an eBay seller who was a pleasure to deal with.
A while back, I won a Ryan Nassib autographed card (above). While I don't really collect football, and I'm not a Giants fan, I keep waiting for him to get a shot to play. He was fairly highly-touted coming out of Syracuse, and many expected him to go in the first round of the NFL Draft. He slipped a bit and fell to the Giants to serve as Eli Manning's backup. Not ideal. Had he gone to Buffalo like originally expected, he may be starting for them right now. But now he sits. And waits.
Figuring that at some point he'll get his shot, whether Eli gets hurt or just stinks up the joint, I decided to pounce on an auto. It was a couple days before I moved, so I gave my new address when checking out.
I waited and waited but no card showed up.
The seller did provide a tracking number, and everything went perfectly until it reached my local post-office, then all tracking updates stopped for 13 or 14 days. I checked with the post office and they had no idea. It had vanished.
The seller was most helpful. He thought it was unusual too. He even opened up a ticket with the USPS and had a few email exchanges with my local post office. Ultimately, he gave me my money back after we decided the card was just lost somewhere in space. You know, this is Northern NJ. Maybe it "fell off the truck."
Then, randomly, it showed up in my mailbox a couple of days ago. The envelope was perfect, no wear or tear. So odd. Maybe there was just a stack of mail that never got delivered or it was lost on a truck.
I reached out to the seller and let him know it arrived, and offered to re-send a payment. He told me not to worry about it.
He was a pleasure to deal with, and I appreciated the reminder that good customer service does exist, even on eBay.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Housewarming gift from P-Town Tom

Sweet mesh trucker hat, Tino.
After I moved, P-Town Tom reached out request my new address. He sent me a very welcome house-warming gift!

Tom is one of those guys who always pays attention and keeps an eye out for cards that fit your PCs. This package had a little of everything.

First off, some cool Tinos. The 1994 Fleer is a personal favorite of mine. I love the design - one of the best of the 1990s - and it also reminds me of the summer of '94 when Sunoco offered their Fleer set for filling up with gas. I used to get some many of these cards from my dad's co-workers.

And as far as I can tell, this Tino is from an away game at Yankee Stadium. Tino looks to be in a HR trot - he went deep against the Yanks on May 1 and 2, as well as July 21. However, he could have also been scoring off of someone else's HR. Part of the reason Tino was brought to NY was because he always torched them as a visiting player. The Yanks took notice.

Tom also included a few minor league autos, including Ty Hensley. The Jagielo is very cool too.
And as he usually does, Tom included something for Joey - a full set of 1980 TCMA All-Time Yankees. This set is awesome! I'll definitely add it to Joey's binder.
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Thanks for the gift, Tom!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Treat Yo'self to Tinos

In early July, I found a cool Tino Martinez I didn't have on eBay. Turns out, the seller had a bunch of Tino inserts listed, and of course, I had to take advantage of combined shipping and treat myself to some new Tinos. Seriously, combined shipping is really a worth it sometimes.

So I'll keep this post lite, as it's completely a "look what I got" post without much to say, other than a lot of these insert sets bring back memories of collecting as a kid. Most of them are rarer parallels to an insert or card I already have.

And I know a lot of people don't love cards from the late '90s or early '00s, but I always will. These are the brands I knew as a youngster, and are the sets I lusted for as a 12-year-old when flipping through a Beckett. Some seemed so high end, I could never have imagined that I'd one day own them.

Without further ado, check out some shiny beauties:


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Bird is the word

In what is becoming a weekly occurrence, the Yankees have recalled another top prospect. This time, 1B Greg Bird gets the call.

I was a bit surprised by this one, as I didn't hear many rumblings. However, with a putrid offense over the last week and playing with a 3-man bench, perhaps Bird can give the team a shot in the arm. Bird started the season in AA, but was called up to AAA a few weeks ago where he hit .301/.353/.500 in 34 games. Bird is a lefty with a sweet swing and a good eye.

Drafted as a catcher, he is purely a 1B now, so he won't back-up any other positions. He's going to spell Mark Teixeira at 1B and ARod at DH, and hopefully let those two recharge the batteries a bit. In fact, he's starting at 1B tonight and batting seventh.

I'd love to see him come up and do what he does best - hit and hit and hit. Go win a job, like Shane Spencer did in August/September of 1998. While that's unlikely, it would be great to see him give the team an offensive jolt when they need it most...right now.
Congrats to Greg Bird, and best of luck!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Take me back

Like a song, a certain card or player can take you back to a particular time in your life.

There are songs that remind me of college. Or a roadtrip with my cousin when I was 13. Or that my high school soccer team and I listened to Nelly's "Ride Wit Me" during our magical run through the state playoffs in 2000. These songs don't need to have anything do with those events, but more likely it was just on the radio frequently at the time and you associate it with that memory. We've all got songs like this.

I've got baseball players and cards like that too. The 1997 Bowman Jose Cruz Jr reminds me of taking a trip to the Pocono racetrack with my Dad, and I had a Beckett I read in the car that featured that card (it was a big card at the time! Remember? Him and Travis Lee).

I still remember El Duque's debut for the Yankees. I had just had a Babe Ruth league game that night, then went to my old middle school for an event that my mom was working. I was still in my powder blue uniform, but remember vividly begging her to go home so I could watch the game. I also remember that it was just after I finished 8th grade, and I met a few of the girls who attended my soon-to-be new high school that night at the function, and I remember thinking "man, that's what high school girls look like?!"

I definitely made it home for some of the game and got to see that crazy leg kick in action. El Duque would go on and be a vital part of that 1998 Yankees team. Everytime I get a card of him, I can't help but think of that random June night.
This card doubles as a memory lightening rod because of the wacky '90s design, which certainly brings me back to my heyday of collecting. I picked this up for about a quarter (with free shipping!) on eBay, and I'm glad I did. It's loud, its bright, it's ugly, and it's glorious. I feel old these days for various reasons, but every now and then, I appreciate a card taking me back to simpler times.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

JBF shocks me again

With nearly 700 different Tino Martinez cards, I'd like to think I'm a fair expert in Tino cards. I can pretty much spot ones I don't have when I see them. I know the early cards like the back of my hand, receiving many as throw-ins in various trades and card packages.

Tino's 1991 Donruss may be one of the most frequent cards I receive. It tends to pop up in every couple packages. Its fine. I don't mind. So while flipping through a recent Jaybarkerfan's Junk bombing, I saw the familiar blue 1991 Donruss borders:
However, that's not Tino's pose in the one from JBF. This is:
Gasp! I've never, ever seen that. Turns out it's a 1991 Donruss Preview card. I felt foolish for not knowing this existed after 19 years of collecting this guy. Leave it to JBF to find one! Tino's not a Yankees rookie in this one!

There was also this Tino from The Lost Years that I didn't have:
The package made its way to me after I claimed a Bobby Abreu Yanks relic. I really liked Abreu as a Yank. He fit the team perfectly. It was one of Brian Cashman's best moves. BOBBY YOU GET ON BASE AT A 40% CLIP NO BUNTING!
Like Wes would stop there. Next, this sweet CC Sabathia quad relic popped out.
Like Wes would stop there. This crazy cool Deion Sanders manu-coin weighed the package down. These are pretty cool in person. I wonder if there's chocolate inside?
Like Wes would stop there. Say hello to a dual-jersey of Jeremy Hill, the guy who will be the best running back in the NFL this season.
Like Wes would stop there. A David Cone mini /199.
Like Wes would stop there. Don Mattingly in a frame!
Like Wes would stop there...
He never stops. Wes, thank you, my friend!

Monday, August 10, 2015

A momentary shift in focus

While boxing my cards up and moving them to the house, I realized I just had so many. Do you ever think about that? What the hell am I doing with all these cards?

I have every intention of passing my cards down to my kids, specifically my son. My dream is that he'll one day want them and cherish them. However, there's always a little voice in my head that says he might not care for thousands of Yankees cards, but rather a handful of "nicer" cards. I know we all have our own definition of what a "nicer" card might be, but to me, it's either a vintage card, rare insert, or autograph.

I won't shift focus for myself. I love being the dumping ground for your unwanted Yankee cards (and you all do have a lot of those). However, with the above in mind, I've decided to periodically splurge on some "nicer cards that might be a little more appreciated at some point in time by someone other than me. Plus, with the HOF binder I have started for him, I should have a nice collection for him that isn't too overwhelming.

So equipped with a few extra bucks in my Paypal account, I snagged three certified autographs from newer products.

The first two come from 2015 Stadium Club, which put out some really nice on-card autos. As soon as I saw the David Cone, I wanted it. It's actually my first signed Cone card. I have a small 4x6 signed picture of him that was a TTM success, but nothing on a baseball card. The photo is obviously from his 1999 perfect game vs the Expos.
I have several autos of Dellin Betances (thank you, Zippy Zappy), but I submitted a fairly low "best offer" for this one, and the seller surprisingly took it. I was willing to go a few bucks higher if he countered.
Lastly, I snagged this Paul O'Neill Topps Museum on-card auto. I had a great TTM success from O'Neill, but felt like a certified autograph would be a nice addition. He seems to be signing for several of Topps' products these days, so it wasn't too tough to acquire.
All-in-all, the three of these ran me less than the price of a blaster. All are on-card too. I'm not a sticker snob, but I do enjoy a good on-card signature.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

I hate this card, but I still bought it

I think buybacks are stupid.

I think buybacks in 2015 Allen & Ginter that feature nearly worthless A&G cards from the last nine years are pointless. Topps stamps some foil on it, and look, a new, fancy card! There are 224 of this Michael Cuddyer 2011 A&G mini on COMC for $.08, but look, we bought some and stamped it, and now it's rare!

I don't love it on vintage cards either, but I don't think it's as dumb a concept as what 2015 A&G is doing. I can tolerate it.

All these words of hate, and then this arrived in my mailbox over the weekend:
Was it a gift? A PWE from another blogger? No. I bought it on eBay.

When you have a PC of guy, I suppose you make these choices, which means you collect cards of that guy you think are dumb, but need them for your collection. That's what I'll tell myself. I luckily won it very cheap, but still, I wasn't excited about it arriving or anything. Maybe I'm doing this hobby all wrong.

I just bought a card I think is stupid. So what does that make me? Stupider?

Friday, August 7, 2015

Big Mike is hurt, so here are some cards.

Michael Pineda is on the DL with a forearm strain. While I hate seeing him go down with arm injuries because of his injury-filled past, I'm interested to see if it'll be a blessing a disguise. He hasn't thrown a lot of innings since he chucked 173 back in 2011. He was on pace to get close to that number. Perhaps he needs a few weeks of rest and rehab, and he'll come back fresh for a September and October playoff run.

Maybe not, but I'm going to look at this as a positive.

Oh, and to make myself feel better about his absence, here are a bunch of cards of his I picked up over the last few months, but never posted about.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

He arrives

Tonight, the Yankees' best pitching prospect, Luis Severino, will make his Major League debut. Like most Yankee fans, I'm very excited for it. I do have mixed emotions - one one hand, I'm not sure if he's ready, although he's done nothing to prove he isn't. On the other hand, I'm glad they are giving him a shot, realizing he is capable of giving them a better performance than Chris Capuano or the likes. Brian Cashman felt that that it wasn't worth acquiring a guy like Mike Leake (for example) at the deadline when they have someone equally capable in-house, albeit less experienced.

So how will it go? I'm not expecting a dominant performance. I'd be thrilled with it, but I'm expecting somewhere along the lines of 5 innings with 3 or 4 runs allowed. Keep in mind a guy like Jon Gray, a similarly ranked prospect and a few years older, debuted last night to a line of 4 IP and 2 ERs, with 4 Ks and a couple of walks. It's hard. It's the Majors. It's not just another game. Emotions are high. It's hot out. It's just not an easy task for a young kid who wants to prove he belongs.

Just keep the Yanks in the game with 5 good innings, and build on that.

Knowing that Severino was graduating to the Bigs, and not owning an autograph of his, I splurged on this guy. It wasn't too expensive, but if he lights the world on fire, it was going to be tougher to buy.
Good luck tonight, kid.

Random Listia Autos - Part 10

I've really stretched out this series! I'm in no rush to finish, as I really enjoy sharing these. To refresh your memory, I won a few nice cards from the same seller on Listia, and he was nice enough to chuck in a bunch of extra autographs. And as a bonus, he came across these posts recently, and sent me another huge batch of autos! This series may go on forever.

In case you've missed previous installments, enjoy:

Part 8
Part 9

The first auto is from Bryn Smith, owner of a 13-year Major League career. He capped everything off with the expansion Rockies (first winning pitcher in team history!), but he's best known for his time with Expos, where he went 18-5 with a 2.91 ERA in 1985. For his career, he was 108-92 with a very respectable 3.53 ERA. Not bad at all.
McGruber! Or just Gruber! Kelly Gruber, Canada's most eligible bachelor during his playing days, was a two-time All-Star and member of Toronto's 1992 World Championship team, hitting a key HR in Game 3. His best statistical season was in 1991 when he hit 31 homers and drove in 118. His tag on Deion Sanders was infamously reversed in the '92 World Series, taking away a would-be triple play. Had this happened today, replay would have shown that Sanders was out. I didn't know this, but he attempted a comeback with the Orioles in 1997, but later retired.
I'll always be a little bitter at Billy Wagner because he used "Enter Sandman" to enter games. We all know that was Mo's song. Seriously, why couldn't he just change his song? Anyhow, he retired in 2010 as a 7-time All-Star and he's currently 5th all-time in saves. Pretty damn good. I remember seeing him pitch in person in Houston in 2002, and the crowd would go nuts as he approached 100 MPH (he hit it a few times the inning I saw). All-in-all, he pitched for the Astros, Phillies, Mets, Red Sox (don't remember that at all), and Braves. This Classic 4-Sport card shows him in college at Ferrum. Yeah, Ive never heard of it either.
Where the heck did Brandon Inge go? Despite having a 13-year career, it sort of feels like he disappeared. The longtime Tiger always seemed to move positions a lot, from catcher to OF to 3B. I remember him ending up as a pretty damn good 3B, actually. An All-Star in 2009, he hit 27 homers that year, the second time he accomplished that feat. He put up a very solid 19.0 WAR throughout his career, and was definitely the type of guy you wanted on your team.
Lefty Jon Matlack! I had no idea he was ROY and a three-time All-Star. Matlack was a very good pitcher and part of the Mets' Big Three along with Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman. He won 125 games between the Mets and Rangers over 13 seasons. Not bad! He was involved in a giant 1977 trade that saw him go to the Rangers, where he finished up his career.
And last but not least, Craig Monroe attempting a sweet catch! He was a pretty big power hitter for the Tigers in the mid-2000s. I feel like I always confused him with Marcus Thames. Monroe hit two big HRs against the Yanks in that awful 2006 division series. He hit 5 total that post-season, including two in the World Series. Pretty cool for him. He now does TV work for the Tigers. I won't lie, I expected him to still be playing in Japan or Mexico and hitting 40 HRs at the age of 38.