Monday, August 28, 2017

Signed Beckett from 17 years ago

Going through a few boxes of my old stuff that I recently rescued from my parents attic, there were a few items I was hoping I’d across.
This is definitely one of them.

While I rarely send anything beyond cards in my TTM requests, here’s a Rick Ankiel Beckett I sent when he was the hottest prospect in baseball in 2000.

Ankiel was kind enough to sign and return this for me. I’m not sure if I sent it to spring training or the Cardinals – it was over 17 years ago after all. However, I remember being thrilled to get it back, and I definitely hung it in my room proudly.

Here’s a closer look at the signature.
Before he famously developed the yips, Ankiel was a huge pitching prospect. He delivered in his first full year in the Majors in 2000, going 11-7 with a 3.50 ERA and 194 Ks in 175 innings. And he was only 20! Unfortunately, that postseason is where it all fell apart for him and deprived us of a promising young lefty for years to come.

To his credit, Ankiel returned as an outfielder and even belted 25 HRs in 2008. He could have easily let the yips define his career, but he overcame them and spent seven years in the Majors as a position player. To me, that’s a success, and a true measure of character.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

How(ard)'ve you been, vintage?

I go through waves when it comes to acquiring vintage cards.

It's been a while since I snagged a "new" one. So I turned to my trusty eBay saved search for "poor" Yankees cards, and came across this:
Nothing about that looks poor, does it? It's in great condition.

The poor actually comes from paper loss on the back, which looks like it was probably tape of some sort. Maybe some kid hung this up in his bedroom.
I've certainly spent $1.75 on cards far poorer than this. Since this will go in my vintage binder, I'm not worried about the paper loss on the back at all.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Basebrawls don't = Blogbrawls

So there were some fireworks in the Yankees/Tigers game yesterday. If your team was involved, it's also hard to have a rational conversation about it. Fans defend their own teams, and no matter what, the other team was at fault. Did I lose respect for Miguel Cabrera and Brad Ausmus? You bet. Did Tigers fans lose respect for Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez? Yep. But who cares? My life will go on.

Luckily, these on-the-field differences don't interfere with card blogger agendas, which is to acquire more cards. I've traded with fans of nearly every team, and I'd like to think I've maintained good relationships with most of them. Some of my best trading pals are Red Sox fans, after all.

A few weeks back, I was lucky enough to win a contest over at Paul's TTM Blog. Paul is, you guessed it, a Tigers fan. I owe Paul a return package, and I guess I have a bit more incentive now to empty my house of those "classless" Tigers (sarcasm font).

I'll start with the non-cards - a Jeter yo-yo and a mini jersey. Interested to see where these might have come from. I actually gave the yo-yo to my son and the jersey to my daughter to play with. They've both enjoyed them!
Ok, cards.
I don't own many graded cards, but this was an unexpectedly cool one to receive - a Jeter 1999 Finest Blue PSA Mint 9. Very cool!
There were a bunch of Jeters, and these were three that jumped out at me.
Paul dominated my PC guys as well, including a Tino I didn't have, a couple of Gary Sanchez cards that Paul would likely be shredding in half if he hadn't sent them, and some Dellin Betances cards.
I already showed this pretty Chrome Chapman, but here it is again.
I LOVED the Stadium Club Playing with Passion inserts. The Tino is one of my favorite cards, and now I have the Bernie.
And a couple of other fun cards. There were plenty more, but a man can only scan so much.

Paul, thanks for the cards, and for being a cool dude despite following a CLASSLESS (again, sarcasm font) team.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

It was Orange all along!

A few weeks ago, Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown was showing off a few cards he snagged on eBay. Gavin is one of those smart shoppers who explores a seller's other items to use combined shipping. I wish I did this more, but I either never think to do it, or I'm too lazy.

Scrolling down through the post, I saw this card:
Gavin mentioned I probably had it, and he snagged it just in case Ty makes it to the Big Leagues one day.

The thing is, I didn't have it!

I have the 2012 Bowman Chrome Refactor, Blue Refractor, and Gold Refractor. But not orange!

Curious as to how I might have missed it on eBay, I went back into the completed listings for Hensley cards, and noticed the scan was a little dark. In my saved search, I'm guessing I scrolled past it, thinking it was the Gold one I already had.
Luckily, Gavin bailed me out. And luckily the card was #d 25/25 as opposed to 12/25. Otherwise, it might have been much tougher to convince Gavin to part with it. Fortunately for me, he's a great dude and willingly sent it my way.

He also sent a bunch of others, with creative packaging as usual:
I actually didn't have this Phil Rizzuto card, although the filter makes Rizzuto's face look pretty scary.
There were a few other Rizzutos, as well as a Tino and Big Mike. There was some great, great Tino inserts in 1998, and I consider this Studio Hit Parade one of them. It was super rare too, numbered to a mere 5,000 copies. Oh, 1998.
Gavin, a return package will be headed your way. Thank you again for parting with the Hensley - my 95th unique one!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A painting for my friend Wes

In an effort to give JBF a unique return in the World Cup of Trading, I decided to make him a painting of his favorite player.

There were a few reasons I chose this route.

  1. Wes has been very generous to me over the years, so I wanted to provide him with something a little more personal.
  2. I am out of Willingham cards. They are going to become harder and harder to find as Wes gobbles them all up.
  3. I haven’t done a painting in a few years, and had been itching to jump back in.
I was definitely quite rusty, but overall think it came out pretty good. Here’s a few photos of the process.

I started by painting the background and then drew the image on the canvas. Usually I draw the image (using grid boxes) and then paint the background around it. I’m not sure why I chose to paint the whole canvas first this time. I also drew freehand looking at a picture on my phone. I actually combined two images, using the legs of one photo and the upper half of another.
I then started painting the legs and pants. I think the right leg is the best element of the painting, as it came together nicely.
Then I did the shoes, skin, blue jersey, in that order.

And once again, the final piece. The last stages included helmet, bat, ball, and a few touch-ups elsewhere.
I enjoyed doing this, and glad it turned out well for my friend. I’m not sure what’s on tap for my next painting, but hopefully it won’t be a few years before I churn out another one.

Monday, August 21, 2017

JBF's World Cup of Trading

As many have undoubtedly seen, JBF of Willinghammer Risingheld his World Cup of Trading. In return for the good below, I sent Wes an 8x10 acrylic on canvas painting of Josh Willingham:
I’ll start by showing what I claimed. First and foremost, a signed Kevin Mitchell jersey:
I did feel a little bad about claiming this, as I feel a Giant fan would have really liked it. However, in a previous Big Fun Game held by Wes, I had a Mookie Wilson signed jersey and some point that was stolen from me, so I felt like this was a second chance at adding a signed jersey to my collection, which is a first for me. I do plan on hanging it alongside the area in my attic where I am organizing my cards.

I also claimed two cards:
The Andy Carey, because 1956 Topps. And the Carmelo relic? Well, I don’t really collect basketball, but Melo is a favorite of mine from my Syracuse days, and I thought it’d be cool to add a jersey swatch of his to my collection. I have a rookie card too, so I guess now I need an autograph?

As Wes usually does, he included a stack of Yankees.
I could never have enough of this card.
This is a great card. It’s like a 20 year old Superfractor, although not 1/1. It’s from 1994 Pacific Prism. I really don’t need to show any more proof on why Pacific was awesome, but I’m going to keep showing off their cards because they dominated the ‘90s, most people just didn’t know it.
Circa Thunderboomers! I already had this card, although this one is in better condition than the one I had. The hole in the wooden fence is actually clear cut. Pretty neat.
Classly looking Jeter card.
I liked these Bunt Lightforce cards. Pretty fun design, and in my opinion, what an insert card should be.
Last but not least, a confusing, yet cool set: Topps Stars N Steel. I’m not surprised this had a short shelf life, but they were actually pretty cool. They were metal! It’d be neat to see this come back as a one-off, maybe in some high end product.

Wes, my man, thank you as always!