Tuesday, April 28, 2015

TTM Success: Andy Phillips

Former Yankee and current Alabama Crimson Tide assistant coach Andy Phillips returned my two cards signed in just over a week.

Phillips came up in 2004, and homered on the very first big league pitch he saw at Fenway Park, the 21st player in ML history to do so. Very cool. I remember watching that game!

He played in just over 200 career games for the Yanks over four seasons, then played for the Reds and Mets before retiring. He returned to his alma mater, Alabama, and currently serves as an assistant coach. I love that!

Thanks to Mr. Phillips for signing my cards. Roll tide!

Monday, April 27, 2015

A Whopper of a PWE with a side of cards


Why can’t I get cards with purchases that are not actually cards? This used to be a common thing. Breakfast at Denny’s? Here are some holograms to go with your hash browns. Need gas? Head to Sunoco, fill up, and open some cards. Twizzlers? Cards. Jell-o? Cards. CVS for school supplies? Cards.

That doesn’t happen anymore, but it damn well should. It doesn’t have to just be cards, either. I remember people going nuts over the Dream Team cups at McDonalds. I’m not sure where all these promotions went. I’m going to guess it has to do with stricter league and sponsorship rights. Still, it made collecting fun as a kid. Not that it isn’t fun now, but it was a different kind of fun.

Long before I was born, cards were coming with tobacco products, cereal, and other items. In 1979, four years before I was born, Burger King had a set of Topps cards – one featuring Yankees, one featuring Phillies. Imagine that? Going in for a Whopper, coming out with cards? Must have been fun. Now you just come out with clogged arteries and the meat sweats.

It was almost as fun as opening a PWE from Mark Hoyle, expecting an assortment of great cards, and astonishingly finding the COMPLETE SET of Yankees 1979 Topps Burger King cards. I had a few of these here and there, but not the complete set! That’s an incredible PWE!

The first card I saw was the Munson. I was like, “cool, a 1979 Thurman.” Looks like it’s in good condition. Then I noticed the # on the back of the card. #2. I wondered. I anxiously flipped over the rest of the cards, and it was apparent that they were in sequential order, from #1-23. Yes, it was the complete set!
Mark, thank you for this. I absolutely love it!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Jedi Jersey

A few days ago, I got a PWE in the mail from Jedi Jeff of 2x3 Heroes. I figured it was one of Jeff’s usual PWE mailings, but this one contained just one card:
Sweet, a jersey card of Yankees starting pitcher Adam Warren! The note attached said that at some point long ago, I made a comment about this card on Jeff’s blog. I don’t remember doing it, but Jeff is a Jedi and if he says it happened, it happened. I must’ve inquired but never followed up. Jeff was nice enough to remember and sent it my way, and I’m happy to have it!

It hails from Panini America's Pastime. I like the look of the card, overall. I think Panini did a nice job with the design, given that they can't show logos and all. I like these RC logos more than the official MLB one, actually. The jersey swatch is gray, but it's a nice size. plus, Warren is shown in road gray. I like it when the picture matches the jersey color. The card is numbered to 125 as well.

I wish I scanned the back. It's quite funny. Panini calls the Yankees the "popular team that plays in the Bronx." Just funny to see them work around calling them the "Yankees."

Thanks, Jeff!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

TTM Success: Shawn Kelley

At the beginning of spring training, I sent out a few 2015 Topps cards to current and former Yankees in the checklist, hoping to knock one off for my Topps Yankees Project. Shane Greene got back to me quickly and is now featured. However, Shawn Kelley just responded with a signed card, and I have the option of including him, if I so choose.

He was due for a bit of a raise this year and will be a free agent after the season. With an influx of relievers who could take his place, the Yanks dealt him to San Diego for relief prospect Johnny Barbato. Thus far, Kelley is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in five appearance for San Diego. Barbato, meanwhile, is anchoring Trenton's bullpen and has been great, with six Ks in four innings of work. There were rumblings he would need elbow surgery, but he sure looks healthy right now.

Anyhow, the signature stuck to the card really well. Black Sharpie was a good choice. It looks good. I'll probably stick with Cy Young Shane Greene in the meantime, but I really like how this one turned out. I wish Shawn the best of luck with San Diego!

Monday, April 20, 2015


So far, Michael Pineda has had a fairly pedestrian start to the 2015 season. After pitching really well in 2014 (1.89 ERA in 76 innings), then dominating this spring, many expected him to get off to a very fast start for the Yanks.

He hasn't been bad, but he hasn't been good either. He's come away with the "win" in two of his three starts. However, his ERA sits at 5.00 on the dot, but with a 2.56 FIP. That will all balance out. His second start against Baltimore was likely his best, although he gave up 5 ER, he had 9 Ks/0 BBs and looked really sharp. He just made a few mistake and the Orioles made him pay.

What impressed me about yesterday's outing against the Rays was that he clearly didn't have his best stuff, including a very rare walk (to the leadoff hitter no less!), but he battled, found a way to hold the Rays down, and gave the team a chance to win. To me, that's a sign of maturity, something Big Mike seemed to have lack over the course of his young career. He figured out how to battle and kept his team close when he wasn't as sharp as usual. Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens used to say that those wins meant the most to them.

So Big Mike hasn't quite been big yet, but he hasn't been awful either. The Yanks have won each game he has pitches, and as the weather warms up, I expect Big Mike to as well.

The card above is actually a mini (hence, Little Mike) from 2014 Topps Mini. It's a gold parallel #'d 32/63. I got a great deal on this card, along with an ARod, which is now in the hands of Zippy Zappy. It's my 101st different Pineda card.

Friday, April 17, 2015

TTM Success: Yankees Prospect Jorge Mateo

Yesterday was just like any normal day. I returned home and checked the mail, and was surprised to see a SASE in there. I hadn't gotten a spring training TTM success in a while, and wasn't really expecting any given that the season had started.

To my delight, this fell out of the envelope when I opened it:
Boom! A signed card from Yankees shortstop prospect Jorge Mateo. After Luis Severino and Aaron Judge, Mateo is next in line in many prospect rankings. He's super young - just 20 - and already in A-ball. After seven games, he's swiped eight bags and is hitting a respectable .259. He projects to stay at short long-term.

I made this card using the Rookies App, and I'm thrilled to get it back! Thanks, Jorge!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Phil's pants

I haven’t been too inspired to buy too many cards lately. There aren’t a ton of current products I love. My PC guys aren’t showing up in too many new releases, so I’m a little bored. It does happen from time to time, but I usually snap out of it, and I suspect I will this time. Still, I have a few bucks in my PayPal account, and do still search eBay every day or two to see what pops up.

I splurged (in the $5-range) for a Phil Rizzuto jersey card. Then it arrived, and I realized that the little text next to the swatch actually said "game-worn pants." Ok, fair enough!

The card itself is very nice. I like the cream-colored motif, and it matches the pant swatch well. I always enjoy these old relics and seeing how different the fabric was then. They have hints of multiple colors, like gray or navy, even though the swatch is off white. I wonder if that’s how they created the illusion of road gray?

Either way, while not my first Rizzuto relic, it is certainly one of my nicest, and it fits into my collection perfectly.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Too much ice for April

It's cold out this morning in NYC. It sure doesn't feel like spring, with weather in the 30s. Then tomorrow it's going into the 70s, so expect a cold from me in about another day or two.

Speaking of cold, I recently got a Bowman Chrome Red Ice Refractor of Mason Williams. The Red Ice version is one of the nicest cards I've ever seen, and I really mean that. It's striking in person. I did not expect to be wowed like that when I bought the card, but it really did make me stop for a second when I opened the bubble mailer.
Mason Williams, an OFer, is a MLB-caliber defender right now. Watching him the past two spring trainings, he just looks the part. Sadly, his bat has been lagging behind and he has been questioned for his maturity. Now 23 and leapfrogged by several OF prospects in the system, it's a big year for Mason. I still think if he shows improvement with the bat, he can be an eventual Major Leaguer. He's starting this year in AA Trenton, and I'm really pulling for him to have a big year.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

For the first time in 2015...

...Happy #BIGMIKE Day! It's going to be cold and windy tonight. Hide that pine tar well, young man.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

TTM Success: Esmil Rogers

Yankees reliever Esmil Rogers returned my card signed, just in the nick of time before the season started! You might notice this looks quite like a 1988 Donruss card. It's actually an inverted template from the Rookies App. It's probably illegal, but who cares? Esmil didn't have a Yankees card, so I made one very easily.

I wish he didn't sign in black over the the black glove portion of the card, but that's life. I'm still grateful that he took the time to sign for me.
And in case you need a reminder on 1988 Donruss, here you go!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Opening Day!

Let's do this.

My thoughts (and solely mine) and a few predictions on the 2015 Yankees:
  • The team isn't great, but could be good enough to contend for a playoff spot. They need some bounce back years from a few players, although that may be a tall order. Still, if (and it's a BIG IF) they can stay relatively healthy, they can be there in September.
  • Jacob Lindgren will be in the Majors by May 1.
  • Masahiro Tanaka will undergo Tommy John surgery by June 1.
  • Andrew Bailey will be the Yankees closer by June 1, with Betances and Miller forming the best set-up duo since Nelson and Stanton.
  • Stephen Drew is going to open a lot of eyes and be one of the top 2B in the AL.
  • Big Mike will make the AL All-Star team.
  • Didi Gregorius' glove work will be all the rage, but his offense will leave a lot to be desired.
  • Jacoby Ellsbury will get 200 hits. On the dot.
  • Slade Heathcott will make his ML Debut, along with several other Yankees prospects.
 Here's your Opening Day lineup:

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter baskets and cards

Growing up, cards were always a fixture in my Easter basket.

In 1996, I remember getting a blaster box of Upper Deck Collector's choice basketball. I still remember how deceptive the box was, as it was the size of a normal box, but only had 10 packs and a big foam square that took up space.

In 1997, my Easter basket sat on top of four cans of Pinnacle Inside baseball cards. I think that was the equivalent of a blaster. There were four cans that were shrink-wrapped.

In 1998, Pacific Online was the blaster of choice for the Easter Bunny. You know, baseball cards with web addresses! For the internet!

The point is, my mom always made sure there were some cards in my Easter basket in addition to candy and other treats. I looked forward to the packs more than the candy, actually.

Keeping the tradition alive, I made sure that there was a pack of cards in Joey's basket this morning. I suppose I should have put some in my daughter's basket too. Oops. Maybe next year.

Let's see how Joey did:

Saturday, April 4, 2015

JBF Week: The conclusion

It's been a blast showing off so many amazing cards from Jaybarkerfan's Junk! I hope you enjoyed following along as much as I enjoyed posting.

Wes, thank you so much for your generosity, and for often times keeping me interested in the hobby. There was a 6-month period a while back where I hardly blogged or even read blogs, but every once in a while, a bubble mailer from you popped up, and gave me that itch to keep on going.

Thank you, and stay thirsty, my friend.

Friday, April 3, 2015

JBF Week: Best of the rest

There's not much to say that hasn't been said, so enjoy a few more cards from various Jaybarkerfan's Junk bubble mailers! This is really a random sampling of a few favorites, in no particular order: