Monday, September 16, 2019

The march to 900 Tinos

Over the last 4-6 weeks, I've managed to add a decent amount of new Tino Martinez cards to my collection. An eBay seller popped up who keeps listing Tinos - most of which are serially numbered - for $.99. In many cases, I've been the lone bidder, re-affirming that I don't have much competition for Tino cards outside of really rare cards and autographs.

I keep considering messaging the seller to see if he has more and wrap them up in a single purchase, but I feel like I've been doing well bidding on them.

My favorites of the bunch are probably these Pacific Paramounts parallels. There's no real reason, other than I just like Pacific a lot, and I like the foil shine.
Speaking if shine, Donruss Stat Lines fit the bill. These are both season and career versions:
There were a bunch of Tino from his lost years with the Cardinals:
And one from the dreaded time where he was in a Yankees uniform, but featured the logo of another team.
This wasn't from the same seller, but it's one I needed from Collector's Choice. I paid more than I wanted because I didn't notice the $3.99 shipping charge. Oops.
All in all, this leaves me at 898 different Tinos. 900 is so close! With Tino popping up in so many 2019 products, I'll be there in no time!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Nothing random about this box

A while back, I got an email from Roy, better known as Bulldog, from Nothing if Not Random. Roy said he had been accumulating some Yankees he needed to get rid of. I was, as always, happy to take them off his hands.

What I didn't expect was an extremely generous, very LARGE box of Yankees from all years. It was really a blast to go through, and such a great sampling of cards. So great, that I feel like if I needed to condense my collection into one box, this would be a great sampling of cards to keep. I'm honestly thinking of just taking the cards from this box and put them in a binder and calling it my "Yankees Sampling Binder" or something a lot more catchy.

Here's the box:

That is a lot of Yankees! The first card I pulled out was this:
Gleyber Torres is awesome. I keep saying it, I know. He has 37 homers and is a 22-year-old middle infielder who, at his peak, was said to project as a 15-20 HR guy. This man has the ability to win an MVP award one day.

Anyhow, I did use the code when the Yankees were playing the Orioles...and of course, Gleyber didn't homer that day. I haven't won a single one of these this year!
Torres popped up a few more times. I really need to take inventory on my collection of his. I wonder if it's approaching 100? It's probably closer to 50.

There were several more 2019 cards, and here were a few favorites:
There were also a bunch of great Yankees rookie cards:
Topps Fire continues to be one of my favorite sets, despite never opening a pack. I liked this Tanaka a really lot.
This card made me chuckle a bit. I remember Classic 4-Sport well, and A-Rod was the key baseball player in these sets. This card is a SUPER RARE 1 of 80,000 ever made!
Jeter was well-represented throughout the box, and I really enjoyed this Upper Deck ESPN card, as well as the Topps 35th Anniversary:
Oh, and did a I mentioned JETER ROOKIE CARDS?! There were actually two from 1993 Topps! And I definitely didn't have this 1993 Score Select. Jeter RCs don't pop up in packages often at all!
Roy, this was a blast to go through and I'm still very appreciative of the cards. Thanks again!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Clear as day

A few weeks ago, Marc "Bru" reached out to Sooz and I about this cool Derek Jeter Pinnacle clear cut card. He pulled it from a re-pack, and was seeking a new home for it.
Being a prolific Jeter collector, I offered it to Sooz first, but she passed (she probably had it). I pounced and offered to send Bru a Morgan Ensberg Astros autograph that I pulled months ago in a repack as well.

A 1-for-1 trade was born!

The card itself is awesome. I love clear cuts. I always have. I remember seeking them out heavily in the '90s, as cards like Ultra Season Crowns and Stadium Club Clear Cut were amongst my favorites.

Bru also threw in this very cool Yankees patch.
Thanks for the quick and easy trade!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Ty Hensley continues to grind

Just 26 years old, Ty Hensley continues to grind in his effort to get back into pro baseball. This past year, he spent time with the independent ball Utica Unicorns, an awesome team name. Zippy Zippy made me aware of this a feature on Ty last week by the Detroit News. You can read it HERE.

As always, I'm on the prowl for new Hensley cards, and during the last COMC sale, I was able to pick up two different autographs, both numbered to 5:
Nice cards. Not particularly new, as I have the less-rare versions of both of these, but still nice to check them off the list.

I'm proud of Ty and how he continues to fight for his dream, and I wish him all the best in 2020 as he takes another step closer to a big league mound.

Monday, September 9, 2019

A little Justice for me

In 2000, the Yankees offense was puttering along.

Out of nowhere, Brian Cashman swung a trade for David Justice from the Indians. It wasn't rumored or anything (to my knowledge), Ninja Cash just struck. Back then, it was a lot easier to be surprised by a trade than now when there are 24-7 rumors before nearly all deals happen. I remember being very take aback.

Justice went on to hit .305 with 20 homers for the Yanks, and has a big post-season, including 2 HRs and 8 RBIs during the ALCS versus the Mariners, where he was named MVP.

I grew to like Justice quite a lot that year, and always have enjoyed the handful of Yankee cards I have of him from 2000-2001. I was excited to find out he had a Topps Tier 1 autograph in 2019, and that he was featured as a Yankee. After waiting for prices to come down, I was able to snag there for just a few bucks:
Very cool card, and a great keepsake for me to further remember his time as a Yankee.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

A surprise David Cone autograph

In the early spring, Zippy Zappy shared a Twitter post with me that promoted David Cone and Jack Curry's new book, Full Count.

The post mentioned that by pre-ordering the book, you'd be entered to win a David Cone signed card. I think there were 500 or 1,000 available. It seemed like it might be easy to win, as the post wasn't gaining much traction. Regardless, I wanted the book anyways, so I decided to pre-order it.

The website listed a few sites where the book could be pre-ordered, and I chose a signed copy from Barnes and Noble because it was the exact same price as unsigned. Duh. I paid less than $20. I think I had to submit proof of my receipt to be entered, which I did.

The book came in May, and sure enough, one of the inside pages was signed (in pen...come on, Coney). I never thought about the sweepstakes for the signed card.

But then earlier this week, and unmarked white envelope showed up. I'm glad I opened it, because it could have easily been mistaken for junk mail.

Cool! I guess I won one of the signed cards?! No letter explaining the card inside, no "thank you for buying the book", and no protection for the card whatsoever. Just the card in an envelope. Luckily it wasn't creased.

Here's the back:
As for the book itself, I am ashamed to say I haven't even started reading it. When it came, I planned to save it for my vacation. And then I forgot to bring the book. I just never got around to cracking it open over the summer. But I do plan to read it soon.

Monday, September 2, 2019

My favorite Yankee born in the '80s

In his latest contest installment, Collecting Cutch asks who our favorite player born in the '80s is. I had no answer off the top of my head. Tino was born in the '60s, and Ty Hensley + all the current Yankees I admire were born in the '90s. Tough choice.

Ultimately, the decision came down to a coupe of older Yankees, and I think I chose well:
Plus a pink card!

Brett Gardner was born in 1983, and is the longest tenured Yankee, making his debut in 2008 at the old Stadium. Since then, he's been a constant part of the Yankees over the last decade. He seemed to be always overlooked or pushed aside for shinier new models, but somehow, no matter what, he always ends up playing more than expected and contributing to the team in never-ending ways.

Gardner started his career has a slap-hitting, fast-running leadoff type hitter. Somehow he has developed into a 20-HR guy, learning to yank balls into NY's short porch.

He is a fiery dude, although I can't say I agreed with his recent binge of dugout bashing with his bat. I don't mind emotion, but I didn't like that.

Still, it's hard for any Yankee fan not to appreciate what he has given the team over the last 10+ seasons. He's been a consistent force, and someone who I'm sure I'll appreciate more once he's no longer around.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

The PWEs are alive and well

I don't come home to many bubble mailers of cards anymore. I've slowed down my trading a bunch - I just don't buy enough product anymore to create a few teams bags and send them away.

Plus my post office situation stinks. There's one by my work but that means I have to schlep a card package into NYC and then duck out during the day. On weekends, the post office in my town is open 9-12, and I can think of a lot better things to do with my Saturday morning.

So the packages I'm sending are few and far between, and in return, the ones I receive are few and far between. And that's ok!

But alive and well are PWEs, either via trade or random acts of kindness. And I've got one of each to show off.

The first is a Mark Hoyle special, sent earlier in the summer after he seemingly delivered every blogger some of those hard to find Utz Topps cards. The was the second Utz PWE he sent me!
I say it a lot, but holy crap is Gleyber Torres an incredible talent. He's a 22 year old middle infielder with 33 homers. He plays a very solid 2B/SS as well. He's cut down on his mental errors and, to my untrained eye, his base running gaffes. He's a star and I'm not sure how much better he can get, but I'm excited to find out.
The second PWE was from a Twitter follow named Tommy. We've exchanged a few cards before, as I usually send him a few Mets for his nephew. Out of the list of cards he send me to review for our swap, I chose the two above.

Thanks to you both for the excellent additions!

Saturday, August 31, 2019

The Volpe-lmonster

Ok, Coach Tom, there's only one Vogelmonster. I won't try to steal this from you.

But the Yankees have a Killer V coming in a few years, and he goes by the name of Anthony Volpe, their 2019 1st round pick out of NJ. The Yankees signed Volpe away from Vanderbilt, and he spent his first season at rookie ball Pulaski this year. He hit .215 in 150 PAs, although showed good patience with a .349 OBP.

I don't put much stock into a high schoolers first stint in pro ball. They are most likely away from home for the first time, playing deep into the summer after their high school season end. There's a lot going on. Just going through the reps and preparing like a pro is valuable experience.

I sent Volpe a TTM request earlier this summer, and this past week received these two cards in return:
Awesome! Love snagging a first rounder's autograph.

I look forward to seeing how Volpe progresses in his first full season next year.

Sunday, August 25, 2019


Weird title, I know. But it does have a meaning.

Yesterday, after having to work an event in Philadelphia all day (p.s. live events suck), I got home to find the last Sports Illustrated For Kids (SIFK) magazine waiting for me. I've mentioned before that I get the magazine by using unwanted airline miles from a carrier I no longer really use. It's better than them just sitting in an account gathering dust.

I never actually read the issue. Sometimes my son does, but once in while. But I always first rip out the customary sheet of cards. If he reads it, great. If he doesn't, into the trash it goes.

This month I was pleased to notice another Yankee featured:
DJ LeMahieu! (DJLM)

Cool! I don't have many LeMahieu Yankee cards yet. At least not off the top of my head. DJ has been a godsend this year. Like many fans, I was confused when the Yankees signed him to a 2-year, $24-million contract, closing the door on signing Manny Machado. I remember LeMahieu making All-Star teams and always hitting for a high average, but hadn't really seen him play much.

And all he's been with the Yankees is an absolutely machine, hitting the ball hard nearly every time up and playing great D between 2nd, 3rd, and 1st. He's currently leading the AL in hitting. He's a joy to watch each and every day, a player you can't really appreciate until you watch him daily on your team.

He's definitely a great player to feature in a kids magazine...and for an adult who gets a kids magazine.

Friday, August 23, 2019


When sophomore 3B Miguel Andujar went down with a shoulder injury at the beginning of the season, it was a tough situation for the Yankees. With Didi Gregorius already out recovering from Tommy John surgery, it looked like the left side of the infield that was so good offensively last year would take a hit.

The plan was for DJ LeMahieu to shift over to 3B. Giovanny Urshela, a light-hitting, excellent-fielding 3B was called up for depth, and made his Yankees debut on April 6.

From there, he didn't look back. He hit .345 in April while playing sparkling defense. He took the Yankees 3B job and ran with it, freeing up LeMahieu to focus on 2B until Didi was back. As if playing a Gold Glove-caliber 3B wasn't enough, he continued his offensive outburst, hitting in the .330s and developing unexpected power. Hitting .240 with little power and his defense would have worked. Hitting .330 with 20-HR power? Completely unexpected.

As of writing this, he's at .336 with 18 homers and 66 RBIs. He'll qualify amongst the batting leader soon. He's only 27, so perhaps he's put it together. Or maybe he's a one-hit wonder. Time will tell.

I first came across Urshela in-person at an Indians game in June, 2015. I remember chuckling at the name, as it reminded me or Ursula from The Little Mermaid.

I look forward to Urshela showing up in card products later in the year, but for now, Matt Prigge of Summer of 74 hooked me up with these two minor league Gio cards. I had a Gio 2015 Topps RC at some point, but I shipped it off to him in a TTM request earlier this season, and haven't received it back. Of course, that has become a card that now sells for a few bucks a pop.

Regardless, I love these minor league cards, and I thank Matt for sending them along!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Johnny delivers a contest prize

A week or two ago, there was a pretty quick contest over at Johnny's Trading Spot. First 10 comments won a prize. I was number 8. Easy enough!

My prize came quickly, as Johnny never takes long to send anything out.
The grand prize was this Hall of Fame Heroes stand set. I left the shrink wrap on for now, although I do feel like I have to open it and enjoy. I'm not saving it for anything! Still, sometimes I have a hard time with whether or not to crack something open.

John also threw in a team bag full of goodies, including a ton of Yankees minor league cards that should be fun for TTMing.
Thanks, John!