Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Something shiny from Ryan's Pitch

I mentioned it previously, but I have a folder of scanned cards that I'm months overdue in terms of sharing. While its nice to have some show-and-tell fodder for the blog, I do feel bad that I haven't been more proactive in posting it.

One of my good buddies in this hobby is Ryan L. of Ryan's Pitch. Him and I may not trade (aka send packages back and forth) terribly often, but the ones we do are always meaningful. Ryan always sends a thoughful note as well. He is truly one of the good guys out there.

While he sent a few cards, my favorite is easily this Tino Martinez card:
It's a dark scan, but the card is super vibrant from 1998 Pinnacle Plus.  It really is a pretty card. This was one of the years that Pinnacle put out 250 different sets. It also makes me realize that card technology has really stalled out in the past 15-20 years. If I told you I pulled this card from Topps yesterday, it wouldn't seem far-fetched. I suppose that's the problem with a monoply. There is a lakc of innovation. Topps just recycles old ideas.

Speaking of recycling, here are two new Rizzutos, both sporting the same photo:
Ryan, thank you much my friend. I hope all is well!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Drinking YooHoo at Night

I won't lie. A few days ago, I was grabbing a bagel, and I usually get a juice or a coffee to wash it down. But something else caught my eye in the beverage cooler:
No, not the card. I wish. I'm talking about YooHoo! I chugged it so damn fast I didn't even savor it. It's still that good. If it weren't so bad for me, I'd drink three a day. But I think I'll stick to the one per year. That's allowed.

That sweet YooHoo Rizzuto (which I needed for my PC) came from a Night Owl PWE over the summer sometime. I don't know when, but I have a big folder of scanned cards from trades or packages that were months ago. Not acceptable, but I'll get around to them all at some point.

Greg also shot me a few more Yanks, and a really cool Tino from Topps Magazine!

Monday, September 28, 2015

A Hensley First

It's been a really long time since I added a new Ty Hensley to my collection. I have most of his cards, so the ones that remain are either very rare or super expensive. However, once in a while one pops up at a good price, and that happened last week.
Not only did I not have this card from Leaf Super Draft, but it also becomes my first and only Hensley graded card. I can't say I'm very into graded cards, but it's still nice to have one of Ty. Check it off the list!

According to Ty's mother, his rehab has gone well and he's in great shape. Hopefully that means he'll be ready to go in Spring Training and ready to get back on track with the Yanks!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

RIP Yogi

Today is my birthday.

I woke up expecting to see a text from my Mom and maybe a few Facebook notifications from people I haven't spoken to since 4th grade.

Instead, the first thing I saw on my phone's locked screen was an ESPN alert that Yogi Berra had passed away at the age of 90.

I felt very sad reading that. It's not tragic news. Yogi lived until 90, and lived an incredible life. But sadness that a Yankee great had passed away, and that we now have one less hero roaming the earth.

I met Yogi one time, if you'd call it that. I've told this story before, but I'll mentioned it again. I was at a 2006 benefit celebrating Don Larsen's perfect game. Some past Yanks were there, including Yogi. As he was being ushered past, I was able to shake his hand. Only Yogi didn't let go. Someone else called his name, and he turned to greet and speak to that person, all while holding my hand for what felt like an uncomfortable 15 minutes. It was probably closer to 8 seconds.

As a Yankee fan, I've amassed quite a few Yogi cards, both old and new. My favorite, even more than my certified auto of him, is a TTM success from him a few years back.

RIP, Yogi.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Player collecting in today's world

I came across this post by Rich Klein on Sports Collector's Daily this morning about player collecting, and it got my thinking about why I player collect. Here is the article if you're interested: click here. Also, sign up for their daily newsletter. It's always worth it.

Anyhow, this article goes on to state that player collecting is still very much alive within the hobby, even though many were turned away when 1 of 1s became a norm. It's now easier before than ever to find rare cards of a certain player. It's just nearly impossible to collect them all.

And I'm ok with that. Simply put, I player collect because I like to.

I started collecting Tino Martinez cards in 1996, his first year with the Yankees. I was in sixth grade, had a little money of my own from mowing lawns or shoveling snow, and I liked focusing my attention on one player.

In 8th grade, I started using collecting forums on AOL to buy Tino cards. Usually the end result would be me sending a buck or two in cash in the mail, plus a SASE for the Tino card I agreed to purchase. There was no PayPal yet (at least for me), so this is how it was done. Once in a while I would trade, but I wasn't very good at it. I remember sending some really nice Griffey cards away for a big 800-ct box of Tinos, but they were basically all junk wax dupes. That was dumb.

After a few years, eBay came into the fold and it was easier than ever to buy Tino cards, often in lots. My collection started growing rapidly as a result. I could buy 25 new Tino cards for $5, pretty much. Fast forward to today, and I've got eBay, COMC, SportsLots, and most importantly, other bloggers and traders. I've gotten Tino cards in the mail through the power of Google when someone searches and comes across my blog. It's easier than ever to play collect.

I haven't gone to a card show in eight years. It's not that I don't want to, but right now I feel that my weekends with my kids and wife are precious, and I don't want to spend a few hours on my hobby. That's reserved for when the kids go to bed, my wife is watching bad HGTV or doing something around the house, and I can settle in and scan or sort a few cards. Maybe it'll change one day if my son is interested in collecting and shows can become an activity for the two of us to spend time together.

Right now, I primarily collect Tino Martinez, Michael Pineda, Ty Hensley, and to a lesser extent Phil Rizzuto and some Yankees prospects. I never say no to other Yanks, though. I do it because I like to. I like the challenge of finding good deals and cards I don't have. Like this one that came just yesterday:

I'll never have them all. And I'm ok with that. It doesn't keep me awake at night knowing there is a Superfractor out there that I don't have. Or a printing plate. Or a mega rare Bowman parallel. Trust me, I'm good.  If I come across it, great. If not, the world keeps spinning and I keep collecting.

It gives me something to actively pursue, without the pressure of fulfilling a goal. Every couple of days, I love going on eBay and checking what's new for the guys I collect. A lot of times it's the same relisted listings. But sometimes, I find one I need or want. Without going to shows or local card shops, it's the way I actively stay involved in collecting. It'll never go away. There will always be one I don't have.

How about you. Why do you player collector?

Monday, September 21, 2015

TTM Success: Andrew Miller

Man, it's been forever since I got a TTM return, but at least it was a very good, unexpected one.
I sent this custom card to Andrew Miller back in spring training. It was a card I made through the Rookies app. It was the only image of Miller in a Yanks hat at the time. It's a little odd, but could be worse.

Miller has been great for the Yanks. I like him a lot. I was definitely worried when David Robertson wasn't re-signed, but the worries are gone with Miller now closing the door for the next few years.

It's cool of him to answer his mail as the season goes on. Also, shout out to the USPS for forwarding this to my new address.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Do Wah Didi Didi

I haven't said much about him on my blog. I don't even own a Yankees card of his yet. However, Didi Gregorius is having a great season, and I hope to see him at shortstop for the Yankees for a long time to come.

Didi had a bit of a slow start in NY. Who could blame him? He had the tall task of being the next shortstop after Derek Jeter. Management preached patience; that Didi was not a finished product. And they were right. Those first few weeks were rough.

Luckily, NY was pretty soft on him all things considered. There was the A-Rod circus which really took the focus away from everyone else. There was watching every pitch Masahiro Tanaka pitch, waiting for his elbow to snap. There was Mark Teixeira, hitting HRs like he was a Texas Ranger again. And most importantly, there was winning.

Didi was bad though. He wasn't hitting, he was making baserunning blunders, and even his fielding was poor. Back in 1996, when Tin took over for Mattingly, while his bat was cold, he still played a good 1B. Didi did little well.

But something happened.

He started to get comfortable. And then he started to get a couple hits. And then the errors stopped. And then he made the plays he should make. And then the highlight reel plays came. And then he came into his own.

For the year, Didi is at  .268/.315/.373. Look, those aren't Jeter prime numbers. They are Jeter at the end numbers. But he's not Jeter. Few are. What he is is a 25 year old up the middle player who looks like he has what it takes to be an above average for a long time. And that's extremely valuable considering what shortstops are in 2015. This is not 2000 when every shortstop was hitting 25 bombs.

Plus, his defense. He has a ton of range and a rocket for an arm. He's been great.

While I wait for a Didi Yankees card, I figured I should pounce on an auto of his, even if it is with the DBacks. Somethings tells me it might be harder to get this guy's auto in a couple of years.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Mantle's last hurrah

I'm not sure when, if ever, I'll get to the point financially where I'll allow myself to look for a vintage Mickey Mantle that is in acceptable condition.

I've trained myself to hold these cards on such a high pedestal. They are cards for when I'm a grownup.

But you know what? I'm a grownup now, damnit. And I still have the collecting mindset of 12-year-old me. Part of me likes that. I like remembering the cards whose pictures I memorized in my childhood Becketts, held up as an unattainable collecting goal for one day in the very distant future.

I now have a good job and a bank account of my very own, yet I still can't seem to pull the trigger on a card like this that that isn't beat up or creased. That's the only way I can own those cards, in my head. They are for bigger collectors. The serious guys. The pro's.

I'm not sure why I won't allow myself to venture out of this way of thinking. Maybe it's me holding onto that last piece of childhood me. Maybe deep down it's because I know that I have to be responsible with my cash, as two little lives depend on me to provide for their needs.

Anyhow, I did indeed pick up the beat up 1969 Topps Mickey Mantle pictured above. Some little punk who is now in his 50s or 60s wrote on this card when he was young. In pen. For some reason.

It's beat up, but at the end of the day, it's the final Topps base card of The Mick, not counting the 489 Topps base cards of his since he retired. But this is the last from his playing days. He is at 536 HRs on the back of this card, which means he never hit another one. It says he played 1B, but we all know he was a great OFer.

I still like this card, and am thankful for adding another vintage Mantle to my collection. It still shocks me that I can have one, even beat up, and now I have this and a 1967 base card.

Maybe one day I'll let myself shop in the regular aisles and not the clearance section, but for now, this will do.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Plank you for being a friend

Seriously, how many "walk" and "plank" titles have there been since Bob Walk The Plank became a blog? My guess is 300. And also, each one is worse than the last one. But that won't stop me.

As several bloggers have done, Matt sent me a housewarming gift to my new house. It was a very kind gesture, and the package packed a lot of punch for being just three cards deep.

The first card I saw was the back of this one. Cool, I thought. An old '85 Leaf Phil Neikro. This can go in Joey's binder. However, it was more than that:
Boom. A buyback auto from Leaf hand-numbered to 35. This is my first Niekro auto, and I love it. What a pleasant surprise. I've always like the slant and style of Niekro's auto. Sort of looks like a lefty's signature.

I was on a Niekro knuckleball high, but that evaporated when this dropped out:
Whoa. Whoa. Whoa.

Roger Maris. Game used. I mean...I just can't.

There is nothing I don't like about this card. Old school jersey swatches are the best. The cream color of the Yankees home jersey is so cool. They should go back to that for a throwback game. But, seriously? A Maris relic? With a prominent pinstripe. This is one of the best cards in my collection, hands down.

The last card is so shiny I think I could put it on my roof to power the new house. It's a very cool low-numbered Mariano Rivera from 2005 Leaf Limited.
Matt, this was a great package. Thank you so much!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Commuting + eBay = Topps Chrome auto

Honestly, I'm so out of the loop with cards and releases right now. I had no idea Topps Chrome came out, yet I was killing some time on my commute by browsing eBay (dangerous combo) and came across this sweet auto of Jacob Lindgren.

Due to his injury, his card prices have really leveled off since the beginning of the season. He's still young and oozing with potential,and I'm certain he'll be a big piece of the bullpen next year as long as he's healthy.

I thought this Topps Chrome auto looked really sharp. The colors look great (trust me, they's a bad scan) and the shot of Lindgren is nice, plus the auto is on card. A bunch of winners in my book!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Patching things up with Mark

No, not Mark Hoyle or Fuji. I'm good with those guys.
I'm talking about Mark Teixeira. A few years removed from wrist surgery, Teixeira has returned to being one of the most feared power hitters in the AL. He crossed the 30 HR plateau for the first time since 2011, while also posting his best OPS mark since 2009. It was a much-needed addition to a lineup that desperately needed power.

A few weeks ago, Teixeira fouled a ball off his leg, a completely random event that has sidelined him with a deep bone bruise. He's been an injury-plagued player the last few years, but he was healthy for the majority of this season and got an unlucky break with the foul ball.

What can you do?

Greg Bird has done a nice job filling in, but it's obvious the middle of the order misses Mark Teixeira. I'd be surprised if he played again this year, but I hope I'm wrong.

Regardless, I did manage to pick up this nice patch of Teixeira from Immaculate Collection. These are some very nice cards, despite the lack of logos. It's a solid navy patch without any jersey present.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Whitey, we're still cool.

A long time ago, Whitey Ford gave me a cranky half TTM success. In case you missed it back in the day, here's a link: CLICK HERE.

I know that would have turned some people away, but not me. I did get something out of it, plus a good story. It was worth the two stamps.
Since then, I've picked up some decent Whitey cards on eBay and through blogger packages. My latest yet is this sweet 1961 Topps. This is a hard set to score the big name Yanks, so I'll take it. It's a bit beat up along the bottom, but not horrible overall.

Out of the big Yanks from the 50s and 60s, Whitey cards are some of the easiest to come by. He's definitely behind Mantle, Maris, Berra, and Rizzuto in terms of difficulty. I've been scooping them up fairly regularly and will continue to do so.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

What did I just do?

Combined shipping.

Those two words can turn a small eBay purchase into something much, much more. I found a low-priced 1953 Topps card, and before I knew it, had added five more to my shopping card with combined shipping at $.10 per additional card.

So now I have the Rizzuto and these six. Does that put me on my way toward going after the Mantle-less team set? I am considering it.

The Yogi and Whitey will be tough, but not unattainable, especially at a low grade. Same goes for the rest. The Mantle will never happen. Even if I'm wealthy enough one day, I'm not sure I like cards enough to shell out the money that even a destroyed filler would cost.

Here nor there.

I do love these '53s. Some are in better shape than others, but all came at a really nice price. Can't beat that.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Napkin Doon is still out there...somewhere

Don't let him fool you. Napkin Doon is still out there. Lurking. Watching. Waiting. Creeping.

Just before I moved, Napkin Doon sent me a big old package of cards. He had the option of waiting until I was at my new address, but chose to send to my old one so I would have more things to pack. That's just how his sick mind works.

However, he did send me a very generous stack of cards, highlighted by the omnipresent Rance Mulliniks. I know you've all been Bipped, but being Ranced is equally effective.
Napkin was also kind enough to send a card for my son's binder:
Just kidding.

And I don't have much to say about this that is PG. Troy popping a nut.
While the above cards are certainly desirable, Nap did in fact send some less valuable stuff that made me equally happy, including this 1963 Topps Whitey Ford. I love vintage Whitey!
Any vintage card with Mickey Mantle on it is welcome. This poor kid only had a Ralph Houk and Mike Cueller according to the checklist. I think Mantle was mocking him with a sly look of disdain.
More vintage, including this sweet Virgil Trucks and a Thurman Munson that was was definitely some kid's #walletcard.

Oh wait, that's better!

In terms of the non-vintage, Nap found a pretty sweet Tino bat for me. I can't believe he played for the Devil Rays.
Pitchers batting is so stupid. It looks like Pettitte was getting ready for his three year cameo in the NL with this uninspiring swing versus the Mets at Shea.
Finally, some Big Mikes, and a Jeff Weaver shiny gold card. Weaver was pretty horrendous with the Yankees, but damn this card looks like it would fall out of a Wonka Bar.
Napkin Doon, thanks for the package. We miss you around here. Come back.