Tuesday, March 31, 2015

JBF Week: AJs for AJ

My Bengals collection has grown immensely since Jaybarkerfan found out I support the team. I have a really nice binder of AJ Green cards going, and he often includes some nice Bengals hits and cards with his packages to me. While I don't think I'll ever dive fully into football collecting, I love having these Bengals cards of current players.

Mostly, after really just seeing baseball cards, it's fun to see what football products are out there. Some are really nice. Some make baseball cards look like crap in terms of design or production value. Mostly, it's just enjoyable to see the diversity in sets and brands.

Here are a bunch of Bengals recently sent my way in various packages:

JBF Week: Small and Shiny

Jaybarkerfan had a "claim this card" promotion on his blog a while back, and I was lucky enough to reserve this Topps mini Ivan Nova jersey relic. I love the Pinstripe, and very simple design that the card entails. Being a mini card, there isn't a lot of wasted space, but this feels well done...almost like a base card with some jersey. Sometimes inserts are designed with the intent of leaving space for a relic, but this one doesn't feel that way.

But was that all he sent? Of course not! This is JBF we're talking about it. He dominated this package with refractors and other shiny cards. It might not be a great scan, but these cards were blinding all next to each other!
 Wes also included a really nice Phil Rizzuto card for my Rizzuto PC, as well as two cards from "National Trading Card Day." With JBF, it's always National Trading Card Day!

Monday, March 30, 2015

JBF Week: Bern baby Bern!

I don't believe I had a Bernie Williams jersey relic before, and now I have two as a result of some care packages from Jaybarkerfan.

I work in marketing. I get that a phrase like "Core Four" attached to a group of people helps to sell that product. In this case, the "Core Four" of the Yankees is commonly referred to a Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Any Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera.

It annoys me how Bernie is left out of this gimmick. Just because he wasn't on the 2009 title team, he wasn't one of the four main pieces of the 1995-2009 Yankees run? It was a fairly long time between the 2000 and 2009 titles. So long that Andy Pettitte left for another team and came back. Bernie was massively important to those championship teams in 1996 and 1998-2000. He led the AL in batting in 1998. He then hit .342 the next season. He hit 29, 21, 26, 25, and 30 HRs in each respective season from 96-00, and won Gold Gloves from '97-'00.

Not to mention his post-season heroics, including 1996 ALCS MVP, 22 HRs, and countless big hits.
Maybe he was not the flashiest CFer of his era, or even the best at any point in time, but he one was one of the steadiest and most consistent. As we now know, many of the OFers putting up big numbers at that time were juiced up, but Bernie remained amazingly consistent for a long time. Looking back, I certainly appreciate his reign in CF a lot more now than I did at the time.

JBF Week: Toys & Oddballs

Yesterday, I showed a few cards from a recent JBF package. However, it was also filled with some really unique toys, oddballs, pop up cards, a pin, and even sunglasses!

My favorite of the bunch is these Fleer pop ups. I had never seen them before, and let me tell ya, it was not easy to put these together. Maybe the original packaging had directions? I think I did it close to right, but it was tough! However, the end product is super cool!
Speaking of pop ups, some fresh, unpopped Donruss pop ups from the '80s!
This little Wade Boggs figure is super cool. I don't remember "Micro Stars." Do any of you?
This wasn't even the most "mirco" toy. Check out this little guy, along with a sweet mantle pin from an appearance, and some Yanks shades.
Also, this very cool boxed Donnie Baseball set from The Colla Collection!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

JBF Week: The Start

Over the past few months (ok, years really), Wes at Jaybarkerfan’s Junk has sent me countless packages. They are all amazing and thoughtful. There’s a reason he was voted “Most Generous Blogger.”

For the next week, I’m posting all JBF, all the time. I have a bunch of cards/packages to show from his last few shipments, and while I feel guilty for not posting many of these sooner, it’s because I’ve been planning on having a “Week of Wes” for a while now. 

Here's a start with an assortment of cards from a recent package. Wes always sends a huge variety of Yankees, and knowing I'm a Bengals football fan, has sent me a bunch of them too.I've ended up with a pretty nice collection of Bengals hits, mostly because of Wes!

So take the next few days to enjoy a bunch of various goodies from the legendary Jaybarker Fan!

TTM Succees: Chasen Shreve

During the off-season, I was a bit disappointed to learn that the Yankees traded former top prospect Manny Banuelos to the Braves for two relievers, David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve. The once future of the rotation, traded for middle relievers?

The truth is, Banuelos never was quite right after TJ surgery. He's still young enough to rebound, but most scouts, from what I've read, are still saying that he isn't what he once was. I do wish him the best of luck in Atlanta, and I know he'll make his long awaited MLB debut this season.

One young, promising arm the Yankees got back was lefty Chasen Shreve. He made his ML debut in 2014, pitching to a 0.73 ERA in 12 innings, striking out 15. Not bad at all for a 24-year-old. Combine him with Andrew Miller, Justin Wilson, and Jacob Lindgren, and the Yanks certainly have a gluttony  of lefty relievers.
Shreve was nice enough to sign this card for me c/o spring training in about 5 weeks time. I thank Chasen for this autograph, and hope to see him in the Bronx this season.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Random Listia Autos - Part 9

It's been a while, but here is another batch of random autos sent to me by a Listia seller I buy from once in awhile. The guys has amazing cards, and has been nice enough to throw in a bunch of autos for me. If you've missed previous installments, check them out below. There are a ton of autos from some great names.

Part 8

First up, a 1953 Bowman reprint of Bubba Church. Bubba, or Emery Nichols, played six seasons in the Bigs from 1950-1955. His best year was 1951, when he won 15 games for the Phillies. He then played for the Reds and Cubs, but never could replicate the success of his 1950 and 1951 seasons. He passed away in 2001 at the age of 77.
Fan favorite Jose Oquendo makes an appearance! How do I know he's a fan favorite? Well, because he's always featured in Topps products as a fan favorite. He broke into the Majors with the Mets in 1983, but spent his most memorable years with the Cardinals from 1986-1995, teaming with Ozzie Smith to make a very slick-fielding DP combo. Otherwise, he was a jack of all trades and played all over the diamond. He was light-hitting, but did handle the bat fairly well, and hit in the .290s a few times. He had a good eye at the plate as well. Appropriately, he's now the Cardinals' third base coach, a position he has held since 1999. That's a long run!
These Topps Turkey cards look really nice signed! This one just happens to be former Royal Mark Teahan. He officially retired from baseball this past year, but had a decent little career. His best season came as a 24-year-old with the Royals, where he hit .290 with 18 HRs. He seemed destined for bigger things, and followed that up with a .288 average in 144 games, but his power disappeared. He put up two more decent seasons with the Royals, then was dealt to the White Sox. Overall, in seven seasons between KC, Chicago, and Toronto, he hit .264 with 67 HRs and 332 RBIs.
The Crime Dog! This is certainly one of the best autos to appear in the generous package. McGriff had an incredible career, and really should get more HOF consideration than he does. He lead both leagues in HRs over the course of his career (1989 with Toronto and 1992 with San Diego), and finished his career with 493 bombs. You have to wonder if he'd be in by now had he gotten to 500 HRs (keep in mind the strike-shortened 1994 and 1995 seasons). He wasn't just a power hitter, as he owns a career .284 BA and a .377 OBP. He has an impressive career OPS+ of 134 as well. Sadly, he was always overshadowed by other 1B, but I can't imagine Braves faves would have wanted anyone else during their dominant 1990s teams. He was as steady as they came. It felt like he was a Brave for a lot longer than he was from 1993-1997. He might not be a HOFer, but he's better than the 12.9% of votes he got last season. It's surprising he doesn't have more support, as the numbers back it up.
All-Star catcher Russell Martin is a nice addition on an early Dodgers card. I loved Russ on the Yanks, and wish he was brought back a few years ago when the Yanks wouldn't offer the contract he deserved. He then went on to help Pittsburgh get back to the post-season, and this season is returning home to Canada as a member of the Blue Jays, inking a new 5-year, $82-million dollar deal. Yikes! He's a very good hitter and is widely considered one of the best defensive catchers in the game. His pitch-framing skills are always spoken very highly of as well. I really admire the way he plays the game. He's a very hard-nosed type of player, and I loved when he said he didn't like the Red Sox while he was on the Yanks. It'll be interesting to see how he does in Toronto.
I think Night Owl threw up in his mouth a little when he saw this card. Kevin Brown in the middle of a Don Drysdale/Sandy Koufax sandwich? Is this wrong, Dodger fans? There's no denying that at the height of his game, Kevin Brown was as good as anyone. He just never could stay healthy. He had several very notable seasons, including 1998 with San Diego, when he was the ace of the NL Champs. He put up an 8+ WAR in three different seasons, which is impressive, and his 1.89 ERA led the NL in 1996. After an All-Star 2003 season (his final in LA), he was acquired by the Yanks for Jeff Weaver...and just wasn't very good. He started the darkest day in my baseball life...Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS. Sigh.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Tiny blows up my mailbox again

Uncle Tiny is at it again! I'm not sure what I did to deserve such good fortune, as Uncle Tiny has been sending me some amazing Yankees and Bengals cards!

First off, two more signed 8x10 photos! Last time, Tiny sent along a sweet Mason Williams signed photo. This time, he doubled up on Mason, but also included an incredible Enos Slaughter! Seriously, this is going to look awesome in my man cave one day. Enos actually answered a fan letter for me for a school project in the late '90s, but I didn't have his autograph.
Cards-wise, my favorite is easily this Ichiro SP. I was too lazy to take it out of the screw case. I promise there is no writing on the card. I remember the Ichiro trade well. I was on the bus home from work, and my co-worker texted me "Ichiro. I hate you." I was so surprised! Even cooler, the Yanks were in Seattle, so he suited up that night, and came to the plate to a huge ovation. Then he ripped a single.
This is by far one of the nicest Mickey Mantle modern cards I have ever seen. The colors from the Refractor are amazing.
This canvas Babe Ruth (again, not taken out of the case) is a beauty as well. I love the texture.
And it wouldn't be an Uncle Tiny package without Bengals! Here are just a few of the many he sent. I love how many AJ Green cards I have now!
Uncle Tiny, thanks again!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The other half of Jeter's walk-off finale

One of the biggest stories in baseball last September was Derek Jeter’s walk-off single in his Yankee Stadium finale. I know that at that point, Jeter fatigue had set in for many baseball fans, but it was a very cool moment, especially for me, as Jeter was the Yankees shortstop from the time I was 12 until 31. While a fitting end would have been another World Series title, this was pretty cool in its own right.

Topps gave us a lasting cardboard memory of this moment in 2015 Series One, card #1.
However, if the photographer had pointed the camera at home plate instead of at Jeter rounding first, arms raised, do you know what the photo would be?

It would be journeyman Antoan Richardson, sliding headfirst into home to beat Nick Markakis' throw and score the winning run.

Richardson, a September call-up, pinch ran for Jose Pirela in the bottom of the ninth. Brett Gardner then bunted Richardson to second, and Jeter followed with the game-winning single. Richardson did whatever he had to in order to score, including sliding headfirst into home ahead of Caleb Joseph's attempted tag. While many will always remember Jeter’s hit, Richardson is sure to be the answer to a trivia question for years to come.
Prior to spring training, I created a few cards using the Rookies App, and this was one I chose to include, knowing that Richardson was never given a proper Yankees card. I sent this card off to Antoan, now with the Rangers, and he was kind enough to send it back with his signature scrawled across the moment. Instantly, this becomes one of my most unique cards and TTM successes, depicting a memorable moment from an otherwise forgettable season.

This kind of sushi I like

I'm not a huge sushi fan. I know most people are. Sometimes I tolerate it, as it tends to be popular for business lunches or dinners, and I need to eat something. But do I ever crave sushi? Nope.

But when it's cards for Nomo's Sushi Platter, sign me up for every meal of the day! Spiegel and I completed our first trade in a long, long time, and he sent a bunch of great stuff. Here's a sampler platter, if you will...
Somehow, my favorite card is this Angel Berroa relic. The man who didn't deserve to win the ROY over Hideki Matsui in 2003 played 21 unforgettable games for the Yankees in 2009. I didn't even know he had any Yankees cards, let alone a relic! This feels very unique, and I like it. It's also a pretty nice looking card too.
Here are some nice hits of Ross Ohlendorf and Alfonso Soriano. I believe I have this Moonshots insert/relic of Giambi as well, but it's a game-used base. In this instance, this has a swatch of Soriano's pants. I like when they tell you what it is. Pretty cool, and just a fun card design. I mean, that moon is giant.

Seriously, the photography on these next two cards is amazing.
Well done, Upper Deck and Topps.

I didn't have this Tino! I remember this set well, but had no idea I didn't have the Tino! Go on the internet to learn more about your favorite baseball players!
Spiegel was nice enough to send some HOFers for Joey as well! Seriously, what a kind gesture! My kid's going to have a rad binder of HOFers.
And here's a few more fun cards that were included in the platter. Spiegel, thank you, my friend!