Friday, October 12, 2018

#TooManyHomers

I'm still disappointed the Yankees season is over, although admittedly I don't take it as hard as I used to. I'm not sure if it's my maturation process as a fan, or perhaps the fact that I'm now older than everyone on the team except CC Sabathia and JA Happ. Plus, the company I worked for in my early to mid 20s was littered with Red Sox fans. Now I really don't have anyone to give me a hard time other than maybe a quick comment here or there.

It was an interesting season, to say the least. The emergence of a few rookies. The disappointment of a few regulars. Injuries, trades, call-ups.

The Yankees won 100 games, although it always felt like they were underachieving with the ridiculous 108-win season the Red Sox put together. That wasn't quite fair. I'd take 100 wins every year, as more often than not that's a division title.

One thing the Yankees did was hit homers, hitting a Major League record 267 of 'em. That was pretty cool, even if it ended up meaning nothing in the long run. Homers are fun. They did it despite down seasons from two of the biggest power threats - Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird - and also while losing Aaron Judge to a broken wrist for an extended period of time.

It was fitting that the record was broken on a homer by Gleyber Torres. It's a meaningless stat, but that same record-setting blast also gave the Yankees 20+ homers from each position in the batting order. It was the 20th home run from the 9-hole, something really only an AL team could achieve. Still, pretty cool and it shows the Yankees had a lot of balance up and down the lineup all season.

I picked up the Topps NOW card to commemorate the feat. It was the first one I bought directly from Topps this year, as cards were $7.99 the final weekend of the season. Still more than I normally pay, but I wanted to stay on Topps mailing list to get their Christmas or pre-season cards they tend to send for free. Ulterior motives!
I also liked the card because of the Andrew McCutchen cameo on the back.
A lot has to go right to hit that many homers, but I'd expect the Yankees to make another run at the mark next season as well.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Cards for a cause

A few weeks ago, I was glued to the TV as Hurricane Florence made way towards the Carolinas. With many family and friends in the area, I was particularly interested and certainly hoped that it wouldn't be as bad as anticipated. I know for some it wasn't, but others along the coast certainly got hit hard and are still recovering.

A few days later, friend of the blog and Twitter follower @CaniacCollector reached out and mentioned he was selling some lots on eBay, with all proceeds going to nearby hurricane relief effort. Of course I was interested in helping. Not only did I need some of the cards, but it was a worthy cause and something I respected him for doing.

The cards that caught my eye most were these two, as I hasn't picked up and A&G or Archives:
Nice! I still don't have many Stanton Yankees yet, and RCs of Frazier are fun.
I also liked this card a lot. This dude had quite a game last night. It was sad to see so many people give up on him this year. Yes, he struggled and dealt with injuries, but he has an explosive bat at a premium position. He showed last night how he can change the game with one swing of the bat.

Here was the rest of the lot:

Thanks to @CaniacCollector for the cards, and for his help with the relief efforts.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Elite status

I really had a slow summer in terms of adding new Tino Martinez cards. Honestly, they just don't pop up often. When they do, I feel like sometimes I overpay a little bit.

I wouldn't say I overpaid for my newest addition, although it was a little more than I like to spend on newer issues. But I don't think I've seen it on eBay prior to this, so it was worth it. The is the Status version parallel from 1998 Donruss Elite and is numbered to just 100.
It's a very good looking card, especially for a checklist. I have both of the Aspirations parallels #'d to 750, so this is quite a bit rarer. The edges are very sharp, and the gold foil looks nice. It's a similar to foil to the current Topps foil parallels.

This is Tino #853. The slow climb to 1,000 continues!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

A sexy TTM success

The Big Sexy, Bartolo Colon, signed this card for me via the mail.
You know, the Yankees might be responsible that this guy is still out there entertaining baseball fans around the world. His career looked pretty done after 2009 and not being in baseball in 2010. The Yankees gave him a shot in 2011, and while it was his only season with the team, he showed he still had something left in the tank. Seven years later, he's still out there doing what he does. Pretty cool.

Glad to have his autograph, especially on a Yankees card. Thanks, you sexy beast.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Rookie teammates

I’ve become a weekly blog poster.

I don’t like when that happens, and I never do it intentionally. However, real life stuff has dictated it at this time. I recently started a new job, and have been putting all of my focus into that. It doesn’t leave much room for cards, but I’m sure that will change soon once I become more comfortable and less on edge as it relates to being the new guy.

With the regular season coming to a close, I thought it would be a good time to show this card featuring my two favorite rookies. They’ve both had terrific seasons, and give Yankees fans a lot of optimism for their development moving forward. They’ve each played a key role on a Playoff-bound team, and often times have carried the lineup when the more established veterans were underperforming or out with injury.

I do think Miguel Andujar should be named the AL Rookie of the Year. It certainly seems like forever ago that Brandon Drury was the Yankees Opening Day 3B. Perhaps Ohtani will win, and it won’t be the wrong choice. I could even see Torres splitting a few votes with him. I’m not too worried either way. Cool if one of them wins, but no big deal if not. The Yankees have two budding offensive stars, post-season hardware or not.

This particular Topps NOW issue commemorates both guys having 20-HR seasons. Andujar was always projected to have some power. Torres’ projection was 25 HRs at his peak. He’s got 23 as a 21-year old in 120 games. The power numbers need to be adjusted a bit, but one thing is for sure: he’s damn good for his age and his ceiling is really high.

Best of all, these rookies have played pivotal roles in meaningful games, and hopefully they have a lot more of those this season and beyond.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

From Rags to Riches

Many of us who collect TTM autographs seem to have a guy that eludes us, but seems to sign for everyone else. From a long time, for me that was Dave Righetti. Luckily, after a year and a half, these finally arrived:
Rags was a Yankees fixture when I was growing up in the '80s, so I'm happy to finally add these to my collection. The 1991 Fleer looks awesome. The 1989 Topps wasn't the best card choice, as it's so dark any marker other than silver wouldn't have looked great.

Thanks, Mr. Righetti!

Monday, September 17, 2018

The minor leaguers roll in

The minor league season has come to end mostly everywhere I believe, and outside of the guys who will be headed to Arizona to play more baseball or the few late call-ups (Justus Sheffield!), players have cleaned out their lockers and are headed home for the winter.

Hopefully most can rest up in their own beds and start training again, not work odd side jobs to continue making a living.

I always love this part of the season because it means a few TTM successes will trickle in. Some guys might sign when cleaning out their lockers so they don't have to take mail with them. Others might bring it home and get to it during the offseason.
One success that rolled in last week was from Yankees 2015 7th rounder Jhalan Jackson. He spent the season at AA, where he finished last year, and showed some pop, hitting 17 homers. His average left a bit to be desired at .205 (he hit .302 in AA last year), but the pop is there.

The signature came out great, and hat tip to Zippy Zappy for the card. Thanks, Mr. Jackson!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Free-time Flippin'

I'm not a card flipper and have never been in this hobby for money. Still, there is a day when I'll really have to downsize my collection, more so that it's me in control of it versus saddling my family with it.

Recently, I've caught the bug to buy a few random lots of cards on Craigslist and quickly flip them for a profit. I started getting more involved with selling on Facebook Marketplace as a way to earn a few extra bucks with stuff I don't use. I sold a lot of all Jeter dupes, a lot of all Tino dupes, and a few old Yankee jerseys that I just do not wear. Nothing's bringing in big money, but it's a few extra bucks in my pocket from things gathering dust.

One thing that has afforded me this luxury is time. I've been off for a couple weeks between jobs (starting a new one next week), so it's helped to keep me busy while decluttering my attic a little. Win-win.

We're also getting ready to participate in a town-wide garage sale in October, so I'll try to unload boxes of commons and maybe some grab bags there for cheap. We'll have a lot of foot traffic because there will be plenty of kids toys and clothes, so hopefully I can move some unwanted cards in a grab-bag type format.

Anyhow, back to selling cards via the internet. Early last week I found a lot of 40,000 cards on Craigslist for $40. It wasn't too far away from my house, so I inquired and ended up buying it. Now, I DO NOT need 40K new cards. Not at all. But I wanted to see if I could quickly flip them on Facebook.
The lot was as expected, mostly commons from the junk wax era. I pulled out a few minor keepers and cards for some of my team collector friends, but quickly realized the person who owned these pretty much knew what they were doing and didn't leave any hidden gems. There was a lot of 2008 Topps so I did look for the Kershaw rookie (didn't find it), but otherwise am fairly confident I didn't miss anything of note while very quickly and not very thoroughly looking through them.

Once I felt like I got a good idea of what was in there, I immediately listed the cards on Facebook. I started with one box of 4,000 for $10 and got a lot of inquiries. People kept saying "$10 for the WHOLE box?" I think they are used to seeing boxes of junk listed for $100 because people have no idea their cards aren't worth squat. One person said he'd take it and asked if I had any more. I showed him this picture below and said I was going to list it all for $100, but would give to him for $80 (including the $10 box he agreed to). He accepted.

So in 16 hours, I went from purchasing the $40 lot, to quickly scanning through it and keeping a few cards, to selling it for $80. It never left my dining room floor. Pretty easy $40.

The one thing is, was it worth the time? I drove a total of 40 minutes, plus the time to look through and then list. That counts for something.

It wasn't a huge time suck overall, but if I wasn't off of work and bored I probably wouldn't have done it. I wouldn't have wanted to deal with it. These are important things to consider.

While I didn't and still don't have plans to keep doing this (I will admit it's addictive), another lot showed up this past Sunday on Craigslist even closer to my house. $50 for the whole thing, and I could tell by the photos there was some decent stuff I could move. The seller and I agreed on $40 and I picked it up. It's got MUCH better contents that I had to go through it more thoroughly, but it's been a ton of fun so far with some good cards of much bigger names. It was't be as quick of a flip because I need to go through it much better, but it's also a lot less cards.
I ended up selling boxes in bulk to recoup my immediate money, but I also broke up a few lots by teams (Mets) and star players (like Marino). There were even 120 vintage cards from the '70s that I sold for $20, making half of my money back on that simple sale alone.

In all, I've made $135 from this particular $40 lot with a few items I have yet to list. Pretty awesome ROI. And it's not taking up space in my house. I've moved all the large boxes and a few small lots. I've kept a handful of cards (like the Kellogg's ones below), but they mostly came in and went out in a matter of a few days.
Anyhow, back to work next week so no more of this for the time being. If interested, I may do a piece on what I've learned selling on Facebook, as I'm really starting to see what works and what doesn't when listing cards on that particular platform. Not shocking, but people want bulk and for cheap.

Regardless, it's been a fun little side project over the last two weeks.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

TTM Success: Alfonso Soriano

I've had a very empty mailbox lately, both from a lack of purchases, but also from a lack to TTM requests. I haven't been very inspired to send this summer. I go in waves where I get very into it, and then go three months without sending anything.

I hit a mini wave of inspiration a few weeks ago, and sent two cards to Yankee great Alfonso Soriano.

I was thrilled to receive both cards I sent signed yesterday in the mail.
I have wanted a Soriano autograph for a long time, and was even looking at some of his certified autographs recently. Now, I don't feel that pressure.

As Brian mentioned on Twitter, he left room for Jeter to sign the 2013 Topps!

While I admittedly don't love the 2013 design, I was indeed at that game where the photo was taken and saw both Jeter and Soriano homer. Then Soriano won the game with a walk-off single in the bottom of the 9th. So cool to have him sign a card from a game I have a fond memory of during the forgettable 2013 season.

Thanks to Mr. Soriano for graciously signing these cards and making a very happy Yankees fan.


Friday, September 7, 2018

A lesson learned through Hot Wheels

Earlier in this summer, my family and I made our annual trip to New Hampshire for a week-long vacation. Each time I'm there, I try to stop at a local card shop (All Sports Cards) that is about 15 minutes from where we stay.

This year, I dragged my son along. He needed to get out of the house, so I told him him if he came and he was good, that we would stop at a thrift store I found earlier that week and he could get a Hot Wheels. They had a ton of unopened ones when I was in the in the shop, as I went in to browse around while I waited for a takeout order next door.

They were all marked at $.50, so I told him he could spend a dollar.

Anyhow, we spent about 30 minutes in the card shop. We were the only ones there, but the owner said business was good because of Ohtani, Torres, and Acuna. I was glad to hear it.

I ended up spending $13, which isn't much. Less than a blaster. But it's in Red Sox country so there aren't a ton of Yankee singles. I bought a few packs of Series 2 for $2 each, as well as several of the $1 (buy one, get one free) grab bags I've previously blogged about. More on the contents of those below.

On the way back, we did stop at the thrift shop, only to find it was closed for the afternoon. My little buddy was disappointed, so I said we could drive to a Walmart that was five minutes away and he could spend his $1 on a Hot Wheels there.

Once we got there, we headed to the Hot Wheels aisle. They were all marked as $.94, so he could get one. He sat there deliberating, but then turned his attention to the hot wheels blind bags that were also $.94. He chose one of those.

I tried to talk him out of it. I asked why he wouldn't rather spend his $1 on a car he knows he'll like versus rolling the dice on one that might be a duplicate or one that he might not like as much as one he could pick out himself? He could control his own Hot Wheels destiny.

As I was explaining to him the pros and cons, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Why didn't I follow my own advice as it relates to cards? This is literally the exact scenario I just encountered at the card shop. Like him, I chose to "gamble" on blind bags...in this case, packs of cards and grab bags.

I could have taken that same $13 and got a card or two that I probably would have liked more than anything I pulled. I'm sure I could have found a neat card or two for my $13 that I would be more memorable than what's below.

It really affected me quite a bit, to the point where I really haven't bought any packs this summer other than a single pack of Big League and a Walgreen's repack. I know I'm not done buying packs forever, it's too ingrained in me as a card collector. However, it is about spending my money more wisely and not gambling on packs as much. $20 on a blaster, or $20 on a few Yankees cards that have a better place in my collection? While I feel I have the financial means to not be as frugal, this is a hobby for me and I try and stay on a fairly strict budget. I have a family to support and life goals to save for, after all.

Sure, I miss the thrill of opening packs, but as someone who NEVER pulls rare cards, I think this move is quite a bit smarter.

All of this thanks to my son opening my eyes when deciding on what Hot Wheels to buy.

As for the $13 worth of cards from the shop, here's what I came away with:
I have to say, the foil D-Backs card is amazing. While I don't care for the team, the foil really makes the fireworks pop!
The grab bags didn't yield much either, but they are fun to open and are a great price.
The most memorable part of the shopping trip, other than the lesson learned, was getting to take my cards home in a Topps bag.
Something tells me if I spent $13 a little more wisely, I could have changed that. And I probably still would have gotten the Topps bag.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

See what's in this old box of crap

I've still got a few unpacked bins of crap that belonged to me as a kid. I'm still working to organize my collection, so I've let these bins sit for quite awhile before tackling them. While I'm not ready to do that just yet, sometimes it's still fun to crack them open and see what's in there.
Inside this particular bin was a small shoe box filled with a few odds and ends. I figured it woul dbe worth a fun post to peek inside, so here's what we have:
Exciting!
First off, a 1985 Topps 3D Pete Rose. Based on the thumb tack hole, I displayed this on my wall at some point. I wonder if my wife will mind if I hang this up in our bedroom?
Next up, a signed baseball by 1994 AL Rookie of the Year Bob Hamlin. It still has the shrink wrap on it! This came as part of a large repack from Sam's Club in the mid-90s.
Here we have a bunch of Mets items. I promise I'm not a closet Mets fan, but since they were the Double A team in town, a lot of items I got from promotional giveaways have Mets logos on them:
The Troll doll is pretty cool.
A Florida Marlins cap keychain. No idea when or where I got that.
A random coin.
And 5 Starting Lineups! Bret Sabrehagen, Wally Joyner, Jim Rice, Gary Carter, and Straw! I know I got a few of these from the Sears Wishbook. I do remember I got the Gary Carter at CVS when I was sick one time.

Overall, a pretty fun box of crap!