Saturday, February 28, 2015

TTM Success: Phil Hughes

I was excited to see my first spring training TTM success come in, although it's not quite what I expected.
I believe I sent this last year during spring training, but Phil Hughes returned my card signed. Pretty nice success from Hughes. I was always a big fan of him in NY, and while I wish he fared a little better for the Yanks, he wasn't awful. He was an All Star, won 18 games, and helped the team win the 2009 World Series. I'll take it.

As much as I dislike A&G (and this design in particular), there's nothing better for autographs than Ginter. His signature looks great on this card.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The requests are out. Now we wait.

This morning, the last batch of my spring training TTM requests went out. I don't intend on sending any more, unless there are one or two stragglers I didn't think of the first time around.

I have a nice mixture of guys I sent to this year, hoping that I end up with more success than I have the past couple of years. I've seen the numbers dwindling. I'm not sure if players are signing less, or just getting more mail, or a combination of both. However, it's not as easy as it was in the '90s and 2000s. So I'm just trying to be a little smarter about it.

I sent about 20 customs (created through the Rookies App) to guys who didn't have a Yankees card, or who haven't been featured in a team set yet. They may have just been a short-time Yank or a new acquisition. I sent to a few coaches across the league as well.

Lastly, I have a few requests out to complete 2015 in my Topps Yankees Project.

All in all, 46 requests when out, which is about 20 more than I was planning on sending, but I got in a groove while my wife was watching some HGTV crap.

While we wait for some returns, here are some nice TTM successes from past years. I've had many successes, and this is just a random sampling. Enjoy!

Monday, February 23, 2015

I like my Genes worn

A lot of us have a favorite pair of worn out (or worn in) blue jeans. I have this pair I refuse to get rid of, even though my wife has been bugging me for years. I have plenty of pairs of newer jeans, but I can't bring myself to toss them. We've been through a lot together.

I don't wear them to church or out to eat or anything, but I do wear them when I'm bumming around the house or around town. I love pairing them with this old, sweat-stained Yankees hat. I was once in a Lids cap store, and the manager offered to give me a new Yankees hat if I threw mine away right in front of him. I didn't take him up on the offer.

I also like a different kind of jeans worn in. Or genes, I should say. I'm not talking about hereditary traits, but rather baseball cards in the form of Gene Woodling, the former Yankees outfielder. I picked up my second Woodling this past week for under a buck, well, because it looks a lot like my jeans:
Yep, a 1951 Bowman. Serious surface wear. My first Woodling? Well, this:
Much nicer, but what would you expect? It's a year newer. I won't give up on older Gene, just because he's a little worn. I see him as comfortable.My blue jeans agree.

Sunday, February 22, 2015


We all know Zippy Zappy is the resident Luis Torrens collector around here. I promise I checked with him to see if he needed it before claiming it as my own. He assured me he had it, so into my Yanks prospect collection it goes!

I'm really excited to see if Torrens can turn into the next great Yankees catching prospect. From Dioner Navarro to Jesus Montero to John Ryan Murphy to Gary Sanchez, the Yanks have a knack for having high-end catching prospects. They haven't always panned out, although Montero turned into Michael Pineda and there's still hope for Murphy and Sanchez.

He'll be starting the year in Charleston as an 18-year-old (turns 19 in May), so he's advanced for his age. Something tells me we are going to see him on Top 100 prospect lists at this time next year. I'm also going to make the prediction that he'll be representing the Yanks at the 2015 Futures Game for the international squad. That is, unless Yoan Moncada is a Yankee (note: I'm writing this on Friday, so perhaps he will have signed someplace by then).

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Christmas Zapping: Part 4 (the end)

This has been fun, but the box of Zippy Zappy's Christmas Zapping has come to end with just a few more packs. It's a been a great run with some amazing cards. So how will it end?

Pack #18 literally couldn't start any better with a Ty Henlsey #'d to 99 that I needed! That's always a huge plus. Also, the Pacific card makes it look like the player's name is Jardinero Corto, not Andy Stankiewicz.
I love the 1971 Stick Michael! Also, another picture of Big Daddy running. Those card companies loved that back in the day.
Wow. Wow. Wow. Pack #20 with a case hit! You know when Topps packs state "packs with relics may contain less cards"? Well, it's because of thick-ass cards like this! This Yogi is just tremendous. I've never seen one of these up close, and for a manu-relic, it's a very cool card and very well done.
Here's a sweet vintage pull! It's a 1954 Bowman Tom Gorman. It's a very cool card from an amazing set! I love the sky and his Dwight Schrute glasses.
The final pack of them all! Pack #23 has a sweet Pineda diecut. I also love the Ricky Ledee SI card. He signed this card for me TTM back in 1999, and I never replaced it without a signature. Now I have it!
Kenny, this was an absolute blast. Thanks again for the box!

Friday, February 20, 2015

A Christmas Zapping: Part 3

We're making some headway and are halfway through Zippy Zappy's Christmas Zapping! I've featured eleven packs so far. Here are a couple more!

Pack #12 has a PC guy Gary Sanchez on some shiny Bowman Platinum. I really like the purple-bordered Russell Martin, as I never get these Toys R Us versions.
Lucky pack #13 is up, and we have a hit! A Mark Teixeira framed jersey card pops out of the pack. Add in a Tex 'Spot the Error' insert, and the Yankees 1B really brought it here. With the Beltran, I suppose this must be 2014 Archives, but I've officially gotten past knowing what year is what when it comes to Archives over the last few years.
Another hockey alert! How is this getting past quality control? This pack is a little bittersweet with the appearance of Manny Banuelos. I wish the little lefty the best of luck with Atlanta.
More hockey!! This is nuts. But it's cool, it's the Rangers and it's Brad Richards. The rest of the pack was pretty fun too! The JR Murphy 2014 Finest is definitely my favorite card of the pack, although the Leaf Mattingly is riggggght behind it.
Pack #16 has a hit! And this time we have an auto of Shaeffer Hall, who has a decent signature and the name that sounds like a college dorm. And I gotta say, that Cecil Field '97 Topps of him running is gold. It's not Topps Gold, but it's gold.
Let's finish it off (pack #17) with a low-numbered Posada refractor. We've also got Jeter and my man Tino, so that's a damn fine pack. I also should mention that Brian McCann reappears after a 13-pack absence.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Christmas Zapping: Part 2

Let's jump back in to the Christmas Zippy Zapping, shall we? I've got five more packs to share.

Pack #7 has a nice mixtures of Topps, Skybox, Fleer, Upper Deck, and Donruss. Vernon Wells didn't have a ton of highlights for the Yanks, but this is a great card. Nick Johnson was a minor league beast. I can't remember if his cards were in high demand when he was on the cusp of the Majors, but if he put those numbers in 2014, he'd be in Kris Bryant territory in terms of the hobby.
Somebody call quality control!!!! A Henrik Lundqvist hockey card snuck its way into the box! I'm a big fan of Hank, and I didn't have any of his cards previously. I put this right in Joey's binder next to a Gretzky I had in there. We've also got a sweet Posada refractor, as well as some 1990s prospects in Ed Yarnall, Mike Lowell (who was traded for Yarnall), and Ruben Rivera.
A Horace Clarke sighting in pack #9! I really like the Frank Crosetti card. I got a TTM success from Crosetti back in 10th grade. I asked him a few questions, but he responded "my memory no longer serves me, but all I know is that I was born to play ball." The signed photo he sent me is below.
This is a badass pack of vintage! I love Clete Boyer's pose. I got a Ralph Houk TTM success as well in back in the day, and he signed the penny sleeve instead of the card. I learned a lesson that day. Don't send TTM requests in top loaders or penny sleeves. Send the cards unprotected, kids. Players don't want to deal with top loaders/sleeves, and older guys might have no clue what they are.
Let's wrap this up with pack #11. A couple of guys here with short term stops in NY - Loften, McDowell, and Clark. I think Clark was very underrated. He was a very good power/OBP guy when there wasn't a ton of power in the game. I wish he played for the Yanks for more than a year.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Christmas Zapping: Part 1

There are two bloggers (you know who you are) who routinely bomb my mailbox. And while I love everything they send and always try and follow up with a thank you note, their packages sometimes sit and waited to be blogged about for far too long. It's not because I'm not thankful. I am! It's because the packages intimidate me, honestly. But that's bad form. Yes, it's much easier to blog about a TTM return or a small trade package, but when hundreds of cards arrive, I often don't know where to start.

So I'll just jump in. Before Christmas (and now it's late February), Zippy Zappy of Torren Up Cards sent me an epic holiday package. He warned me it was coming, but it still exceeded expectations.

Beyond the generosity, Zippy also had a VERY unique way of sending the cards. It added to the fun of the package. He basically recreated a hobby box for me, complete with custom packs. It honestly felt like opening a box of cards that had everything I would have wanted in them. There were random relics, autos, PC guys, vintage. It had it all. It was like the ultimate team-specific repack.

So here's what the box looked like, and even included a "high-end" pack, a pin, and a ticket stub.
So the high end pack of Topps Marquee? Let's see what's in there.

I'll start with some autos! I love the Betances refractor auto. Love love it so much. I actually saw Dellin in the concourse at MSG at the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday night. I had just seen Shawn Kemp and Jerry Stackhouse, so I was thinking "who is this NBA player?" When I go closer, I yelled "Yo Dellin, let's get it done this year and he gave me a fist bump." The fact that he fit in with all the random NBA players shows how huge he is.
Here's a few more autos. It's crazy how much Tyler Austin's signature has changed over the last few years. This was clearly one of his early autos. Below that, David Phelps and David Adams. I'll miss Phelps. He was a nice, homegrown piece, and while he'll likely never be a star, he was a valuable guy who could fill multiple needs on the pitching staff. However, he was dealt for Nathan Eovaldi in a trade I absolutely love. The 'ol "you gotta give something to get something" mantra.
Ok, this Tanaka is just badass. Kenny has a ton of unqiue Japanese cards, and to see Tanaka showing such emotion is pretty rare.
A Jorgie Bowman rookie! I did not have this. In 2008 when I voted in the Presidential Election, I actually saw Posada coming out of a voting booth. No fist bumps were exchanged.
Additionally, Kenny sent me an unopened 2014 SI Yanks team set! While I toyed with leaving it in the shrink wrap, cards are to be looked at and enjoyed, so I "torren" it opened. Amongst the cards inside was a new Ty Hensley I needed. And I have to show LUUUUIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSS! It's still one of my biggest regrets not seeing Hensley pitch in Staten Island. I just never got my act together to make it out to a game. My baby daughter was just a few weeks old when the season started, plus they play a lot of day games. It was just a hard trip for me to make, even though it was so close.
Now, let's crack a couple packs, shall we? Pack #1 starts us with some nice shininess and a PC guy, Michael Pineda. Let's show off an X-Fractor of Zippy Zappy's favorite major leaguer, Brian McCann.
Pack #2 was good as well. No hits, but we've got a nice mixture of current and vintage. McCann shows up again, as does minor PG-guy Gary Sanchez.
Let's see what's next. Wow, a Brian McCann sighting in three straight packs! Also a nice 1971 Topps of Ron Woods.
On to pack #4! Shockingly, no Brian McCann, but we do have our first hit! It's a Melky Mesa autograph from ITG! The Lou Gehrig threw me for a loop. I thought it was like a Bowman promo card from the early '90s. It's actually from 1970 Fleer! Sneaky vintage!
The hightlight of the next pack is the awesome Derek Jeter Leaf card, #'d to 40. It's certainly not a Jeter that you see every day.
And let's round out this post with another hit! This time, we have an Opening Day auto of Boone Logan! That Elston Howard OBAK is sweet too.
Stay tuned for more packs!