Saturday, January 30, 2016

A second chance to go back to 1981

2011 was the year I really got back into collecting. It was also the first time I was exposed to manupatches.

My own personal jury is still out as it relates to manupatches. I don't like when they replace an actual jersey/auto hit in a box. I do like some of the sets, however. Some, I don't. I just can't figure out my stance, for whatever reason.

In 2011, Topps pushed these manupatches pretty hardcore. I believe they were one per blaster.

I will say it is one of the manupatch sets that I do like. I'm not sure if it reminds me of when I got back into collecting, or if I think the cards are actually nice. I did like the throwback logos used on many of the cards, and this Michael Pineda is no different.
According to, this logo was introduced in 1981, before Big Mike was even born. I probably like it the most out of the four primary marks the M's have used since 1977.

I initially bid on this card when it was up for auction. I bid $1.99 (with free shipping), and it sold for $2.24. However, a few days later I got a "second chance" email offer to purchase this card for $1.99 shipped. It is one I needed for my Pineda collection, so I felt good about snagging it for under two bucks.

Friday, January 29, 2016

TTM Success: James Kaprielian

Man, this was an unexpectedly awesome TTM success.

Yankees first rounder James Kaprielian signed this awesome (but not as awesome as 1998 Donruss) Panini Crusade. I THINK I sent it to Kaprielian when he was at Staten Island this past summer. However, I lost all of my TTM records with a work computer snafu. I don’t want to talk about it.

Regardless, I was thrilled to find this in my mailbox. Kaprielian was the Yankees first round draft pick from this past June. He is a polished SP from UCLA, and should climb pretty quickly this season assuming he’s healthy. I’m a big fan of his, and think this was a great pick by the Yankees, snagging a good college SP from a big program who is immediately going to be an upper-level prospect, not someone who is 3-4 years away.

Kaprielian was nice enough to personalize this as well. Do I wish he was in a Yankees uniform on the card? I do. But still, this card looks awesome. And I distinctly remember rubbing the surface with an eraser a few times, so the signature stuck perfectly.

Thanks, Mr. Kaprielian!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Hoyle PWEs are like a box of chocolates never know what you're going to get!

Seriously, Mark Hoyle is a PWE master. I always get really excited when I see one show up in the mailbox, and it never disappoints.

Check out this pre-Christmas one he sent:

Modern releases? Check.
Custom oddball? Check.

Vintage? Check.
Way older tobacco vintage? Check.
Wait, check? Yep! This PWE contained an actual tobacco card. It's a 1911 T205 Joe Knight Yankees card. It's the gold border, American Beauty Cigarettes version. I've never seen one of these in person until I received it. There were modern cards in this design awhile back, but that can't replicate how cool it is to actually own one from 1911. It's hard to believe this is 105 years old. That's crazy.

Mark, sorry it took me a while to post, but thanks!

Ok, back to shoveling snow...

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Ain't no thing Tiny about Tiny & JBF

While I mentioned that I will no longer show Bengals on my blog due to their selfish, immature actions, that doesn’t mean there weren’t some sweet Yankees that both Jaybarkerfan and Uncle Tiny sent me.

I’ll start with the haul from JBF, including a Tino I needed. Funny, I had lower numbered versions of this card, but not the silver diecut /699. I think I like the silver color more than the others, as well. 
Staying in “guys I collect” world, I didn’t have this 2015 Gypsy Queen Phil Rizzuto yet. I think the GQ design from this year looks better on past players than current. 
This Babe Ruth insert was from 2015, but this is the first one I’ve received or even seen. I like the goldish/tan color. It looks different. 
Bernie! This minor league issue is sweet. And look, foil! It was ahead of its time. The biggest question I have: where are Bernie’s Dwight Schrute glasses? 
Finally, a Clemens from the sweet Upper Deck HoloGRFX set. Hmm, I’ll show Clemens, but not Bengals on my blog. Go figure. I really have no morals, I guess.
Tiny sent some sweet stuff as well. I have to start with this Hideki Matsui Japanese Refractor. It’s so cool. I’ve never seen this, or anything like it really. 
This Mason Williams purple Refractor is cool too. I really hope Mason gets more time with the Yanks this season.
I’ll close this out with some sweet vintage. I didn’t have either of these cards, but anything from these years are always welcome!
Thanks, JBF and Tiny!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Proof it

One of the first unique card parallels I remember as a kid were artist or press proof cards. They were never very special or different, but they usually included some type of stamp or emblem that showed they were different.

I've probably only pulled one or two in my life. I remember pulling a Kenny Lofton in 1998 Donruss. I'm not sure if I still have it, but I remember it.

In the early days, press proofs would say something along the lines of 1 of 1500. However, serially numbering cards became all the rage, and before you knew it, press proofs were given exact numbers. Take this one for instance:
I just landed it on eBay for $.50, which I was happy with. I'd spend that much for a Tino base I didn't have, however, when you have one numbered to just /25 and get it for that price, that's a pretty cool thing. Yeah, it's from the Lost Years and the Donruss set is pretty unforgettable, but into the PC it goes as unique Tino #721. Now, the card really isn't special other than the Press Proof logo and serial number.

But I guess that's most parallels, really. Isn't it?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

TTM Success: Shawn Chacon (& a big decision)

Alright! I'm on the board for 2016 with my first TTM success, former Yankees pitcher Shawn Chacon.

Chacon pitched for the Yankees in 2005 and 2006, although he's probably best known for his time with the Rockies. He was acquired mid-season in '05, and went 7-3 with a sub-3 ERA to help lead the Yanks to the post-season. Along with Aaron Small, Chacon really helped save the Yankees season and provide rotation stability. It was a small acquisition that proved very important.

I loved watching him compete. I just felt like he was fearless on the mound. I really became a big fan of his that summer.

He was nice enough to sign these cards for me in about 4 weeks.
Now, here's the big decision. I'm thinking of using the 2006 Topps in my Topps Yankees Project. Currently, I have Kevin Thompson in there, and he's the only card in the complete project that is a "Traded" version. It has irrationally bugged me. Chacon is a true base card. Do I dare make the swap?

Monday, January 11, 2016

The last Bengals cards you'll see on this blog

On Saturday night, I watched in disgust as the Bengals gave away an opportunity to win a Playoff game due to lack of self-control.

As a fan, I don't care that they lost. I'm used to that. I was prepared for it. The Jeremy Hill fumble was awful, but that (unfortunately) happens. But the way they responded in that last minute, by caring more about dirty/cheap shots and bitching to the refs than actually winning the game, infuriates me. I know it's unfair to lump in guys like AJ Green and Andy Dalton with guys like Pacman Jones and Vontaz Burfict, but to me, the latter outshines the former. It's sad, and it's all I'll be able to remember.

I kept thinking about what if my son was old enough to watch the game. I would have been horrified telling him that grown men, at the pinnacle of their careers playing in the most important game of their lives, can't keep their composure and just do their job. We all want to go nuts at work sometimes But we don't. We put our heads down, keep our mouths shut, and do our jobs. Somehow, that doesn't apply to some professional athletes.

Many said they feel bad for Marvin Lewis. Please. He was nowhere to be found when his players were going off the rails. It starts at the top, and the lack of discipline was present all season, not just in the last minute of the final game of the season.

I don't care if my thoughts are viewed as an overreaction or jumping ship on your team. That's fine. When the players care more about themselves than the team, why should I care about the team as fan? I don't. I'm not going to root for another team in particular. I'm not going to say "Hey, I'm a Giants fan now." Nope. I'm just not going to root for the Bengals. I'm not. I can handle losses on the field. I can't handle a team behaving the way they did on Saturday night.

Therefore, I thought I'd show some Bengals cards for the last time. One batch came from Uncle Tiny, and the other from JBF. While I appreciate their gestures, I hope they no longer go out of their way to send me Bengals cards as a result of Saturday night. These guys also sent me awesome Yanks, which I'll show off later. I appreciate that they always find some Bengals to send my way, but I just don't have the heart anymore.

From Tiny:
And from JBF:

Sunday, January 10, 2016

This is a thoughtless post

I'm not joking, this post contains little to no thought whatsoever. I've been really busy over the last few days. I started a new job on on January 4th, then buried a dear family member on January 8th. Life is just in the way right now, but it'll be slowing down soon once I become accustomed to work and start to feel more comfortable there. That should lead to a little more time to scan and blog, or at least more regular posts.

Regardless, these two cards came in on Saturday, so I figured I'd post scans of them just to serve as a quick hello. See you all soon!
Apparently the gold back fell one per box. I have no clue how these Heritage '51s were distributed, nor do I care. I only know that they started filling up my eBay feed, so I grabbed one. I don't have any of the other colors though.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Blurred Lines

A newer product that Topps has been selling on their website are sets in 5x7 size and limited quantities. At first I thought it was kind of cool, and even picked up a couple Michael Pinedas from 2015 - his base card, and a red version /10.

They make limited quantities of these, and although the size makes for storage nightmares, I am still counting them as cards and ones I have to have of my PC guys.

But, true to Topps form, they are now producing a ton of these various sets. I was surprised to see Tino Martinez ones pop up on eBay. The sets celebrates the 15th anniversary of the 2000 World Series Team. There are 199 silver sets, and 49 gold sets. Essentially, it's a remake of the 2000 Topps team set, with an extra border and World Series trophy in the bottom left.

Naturally, I had to have them, and picked up both on eBay from different sellers. The silver arrived first:
When I got it, I was shocked by the horrid quality. The 2015 base set 5x7s were great. They looked and felt exactly like the regular-sized base cards. However, the quality of this new card is sub par. First off, the card feels flimsier than the 2015 base card 5x7s. Next, the photo quality is atrocious. It looks like they blew up a bad scan of the 2000 base card. The photo is blurry, and there isn't any foil or logo. There is a trace of foil you can see(look at Tino's name), but that is on the photo, not the card. It's weird. The back is just as blurry, and you can barely even read Topps' legal lines at the bottom.

I was so distraught over this, I actually contacted the seller because I thought it might be a fake. I didn't come out and say that, but I started asking questions about it, and browsing his other auctions to see how the cards looked and if there were serial number discrepancies or anything else that migth raise an eyebrow.

Then the gold version showed up, and guess what? Same shitty quality. It's stunning to me that these sets are going for at least $50, and they went out the door looking so putrid. Topps is the king at recreating old designs and cards, so I have no idea what happened here with the quality.
I'm going to keep the cards. I need them for my PC. But I'm going to be very careful before I buy another 5x7 card from these newer sets hitting the market.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Severino Swatch

Luis Severino pitched about as well as you could ask a 21-year -ld to pitch in the Majors. He dominated the minors over the past couple of years, and on August 5th, made his ML Debut. Unfairly, he was counted on to help bring some stability to a suffering rotation.

Ultimately, the Yanks lost the division lead and ended up with the Wild Card. They were so bad over the last 8 weeks of the season, that it sort of cast a shadow on Severino's debut. It wasn't his fault at all, but the whole team had sort of a "meh" feeling, making it hard to get excited about the potential he flashed.

All told, he had a 2.89 ERA in 62 innings, striking 56 and walking 22. He really only had one clunker of a game, and of course it was against the Jays. Otherwise, he was mostly excellent and usually above average.

However, I think the "meh" finish of the team can actually help temper expectations for him. Had the team won the division and played well in the Playoffs, I think expectations for him would be a lot higher due to a larger national exposure. I'm not glad they lost the division, that's not what I'm saying, just that Severino feels like he's flying under the radar due to a fairly poor team performance from August-October.

Maybe I'm right, I don't know. However, I'm very excited about what a full season of him in the rotation could look like. So excited, that I felt like I should snag a few of his rarer cards now, as they might be a lot tougher to come by mid-season.

The dual relic shown above is from 2015 Diamond Kings and was a cheap COMC find that I stashed in my account intil I had a shipment ready. I'm not certain what the red jersey is from. I assume it's a Charleston jersey, since he wouldn't have been in Scranton yet. The navy blue could be from any level, really. Pretty nice card overall, though.

Monday, January 4, 2016

O Kap'n! My Kap'n!

Come on, that's a good post title, right?

Especially when you realize it's a post about the Yankees #1 pitching prospect, James Kaprielian. I know Zippy Zappy will appreciate it, at least.

I'm pumped for Kaprielian's first full season of pro ball. He's got the potential to be a solid, mid-rotation starter at the MLB level sooner than later. People tend to get a little bored with that scouting report. Mid-rotation. Blah. Not me. That sh*t is useful. Plus, there's no telling. Maybe he'll be a top of the rotation guy. Maybe not. But give me a first rounder who was UCLA's ace last season. I like my chances with that guy every five days. Battle tested.

Anyways, I've picked up a few Kaprielian cards as of late. His Bowman Draft auto is out of my price range right now, but I'm hoping to grab it soon. In the meantime, I settled for the slightly less cool, yes still attractive, Bowman's Best auto. It's pretty sharp, and on-card to boot!
This here is a Kaprielian Team USA jersey swatch. I added it to my COMC account a long time ago, but only recently shipped it.
Lastly, a combo-card with another Yankees top-4 prospect, Jorge Mateo. He is a very young (turned 20 last June), blazing fast shortstop. His name is constantly coming up in trades. He swiped 82 bases last year between low-A and high-A ball. I'm not quite as excited about him because he is still several years away and a lot can happen, but I look forward to seeing him progress again this season. It's awesome to have such an exciting guy in the farm system.
Oh yeah, Kaprielian is on the card too.

There you have it. I'm sure there will be a lot more cards to pick up of these two over the next year.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

First time trade with LV's Cards!

Let's start off the new year with a new trading partner.

I've been following LV's TTMs and Baseball Cards for a while, as I always love to see other collectors' TTM successes. Laurie posted some Heritage high number cards she pulled from a pack, and I set my eyes on this beauty:
Jacob Lindgren Chrome /999. I'm a huge Lindgren fan and think that while everyone is talking about Betances/Miller/Chapman being a three-headed monster, Lindgren is going to turn it into a four-headed monster. He is an exceptionally good reliever and has yet to show his potential at the MLB level. If he's healthy, that's going to change that this season.

Anyhow, I sent Laurie back a few Cubs and Royals. The trade took forever because of me, and I hope Laurie forgives me for being so aloof. Hopefully we'll trade again soon! For now, check out her blog!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

"Hey dad, can I have more of 'dose movin' cards?"

A few months ago, I gave my son, Joey, a couple of old Sportflics cards from the '80s. He loved them. He called them his "movin' cards." He'd see me sorting cards and go "Hey dad, can I have more of 'dose movin' cards?"

He also liked the sounds it made when he dragged his fingernail across the surface of the card. You know the sound.

I put it out there on Twitter to see if anyone had a few extra Sportflics laying around, as I only had a couple. Well, renowned card Tweeter @BossHardy202 answered the bell. He sent 70 different Sportflics cards for him, and even covered the shipping, which was not necessary.

So far, I have given Joey 5 of them. I didn't want to give them all at once. He just turned 4. Four-year-olds basically ruin everything they touch, so these will be given out in small increments. I'll probably pull out a few of the HOFers, like Rickey Henderson and Reggie Jackson, and place them in his HOF binder.

Richard also was nice enough to include a few cards for me, notably this bad boy:
It's a thick card! Like 10 cards thick.

It's from 2015 Topps Update, and is a coin/medallion type of manu-relic featuring Alex Rodriguez. It celebrates his career grant slams record. I sort of thought his image looked like Mickey Mantle when I first saw the card.

I'm back and forth on manu-relics. Some I like, some I don't. I do like this one, although I'd be bummed if it counted as a hit in a box with guaranteed autos/relics. Admittedly, I don't know if this was the case in 2015 Update.

Richard, thank you, my friend!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Only the (Bowman's) Best to start off 2016

I had no idea that 2015 Bowman's Best was released...or that it was even going to exist. I feel like after the Topps flagship release, I don't really pay attention to what releases are next. I just wait for new cards to pop up on blogs or on eBay.

That's what happened with this Michael Pineda, a green Refractor from 2015 Bowman's Best. It's numbered 78/99. I'm not sure what the set entails or how many parallels there are, but I liked how it looked.

When I got the card in the mail yesterday, the front really reminded me of 1999 Topps Gold Label. Check out the logo placement in the back. Pretty close, eh? Gold Label felt a little classier with the script font and fancy product name, but the design is definitely re-used. Topps kept it to single player shots instead of two front photos, as well.

I'll probably pick up a few more of these if I see them for good deals, but this set certainly doesn't feel unique at all.

On another note, Happy New Year to you and your families. I hope 2016 holds nothing but the Best - Bowman or otherwise - for you!