Monday, February 29, 2016

TTM Success: Didi Gregorius

I'm on the board with a spring training TTM success.

Honestly, I sent far less requests out this year than last year. My spring training TTM requests have really started to dwindle over the last few seasons. With success rates getting progressively worse and worse, I just haven't been as inclined to send these out. I have around 25 requests out, mostly all to prospects, non-roster invitees, and lesser known players.

I got my first success in on Saturday, and it's actually a really good one. Didi Gregorius returned my card signed in 15 days. He was also nice enough to personalize it. Prior to his Yankee days, Didi was a great TTM signer. I saw him sign a bunch last year during spring training, but I didn't receive my request back. I'm glad to get one this time around though.

I really enjoyed watching Didi play shortstop for the Yankees last year. While he leaves a bit to be desired with the bat, his defense was phenomenal, especially after the first month of the season. Hopefully he's even more comfortable this season and continues to grow as a player.

Sir Didi, thanks for autograph!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

A rare Platinum Refractor

We all have cards that haunt us. No matter how hard we look, we either can't find it, or the price isn't right.
There was an ebay seller that kept listing this card, and he wouldn't budge. I best offer'd a few times, but we just couldn't quite agree.

Finally, I gave up. I would still see it pop up on my feed, but the price was stagnant. It clearly was just auto-relisting.

Then one day, it appeared, but with a BIN that was lower than what I was offering for my best offer, and by a few bucks to boot. I pounced, and finally brought home a rare 2013 Bowman Platinum Chrome Platinum (yes, Platinum twice) Refractor. It's really a striking card, and is numbered to just 10 copies.

Outside of a few 1/1s, this is one of my rarest Ty Hensley cards, and certainly one of the most attractive due to the platinum foil effect.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

SuperTraders #2: Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary

By my unofficial count, there are eight #SuperTraders I haven’t traded with. While I’m bummed I haven’t up to this point, I look forward to swapping some cards with some new people. I’ve been a long time reader of Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary, but I don’t think Brian and I have traded thus far. I could be wrong though, as I have an awful memory. As a result of said memory, I am hoping to be extra diligent about tracking what I’ve received and sent out for #SuperTraders, even adding a few columns to the spreadsheet to try and be more organized.

Anyhow, Brian sent me a very cool PWE that had a lot of good stuff, including some of those excellent 1991 Archives honoring the 1953 set, as well as a few random Yanks, including a nice Mattingly oddball.
However, I must call particular attention to one card which really caught my eye: this 1994 Donruss Jimmy Key Mound Marvels. I have never seen such a card. The shiny circle is not really a hologram, as it doesn’t “pop out” when tilted. It’s more of a mirror, but when held to light, Jimmy’s headshot appears. The whole card has an acetate-type feel to it. It’s really cool! I had no idea these existed in ’94 Donruss. Very cutting edge! 
Brian, thanks for the PWE. Looking forward to dumping some Twins on you.

Monday, February 22, 2016

SuperTraders #1: The creator, JBF

I received my first of two #SuperTraders packages this weekend. It's only fitting that the first comes from the creator himself, Wes of Jaybarkerfan's Junk.

Wes always sends me such great Yankees cards. Often, cards I have never seen before. It's like he magically creates sets that came out 10-15 years ago, but no one saw them at the time. He is a magician like that.

Regardless, he sent a great package, and it was a perfect way to kick off #SuperTraders.
My favorite card of the package is this Jason Giambi game-used base relic. It's not my favorite just because it's a hit, but because I like relics that aren't jerseys or bats. Rubbery base relics always feel super cool. Seeing as it is called "Back 2 Back", I wondered if the flipside had another Yankee on it, like 2016 Topps. On the back was...Jason Giambi. So I guess not.
I feel that sets like Triple Threads and Tribute and Museum have a lot of nice base cards, but no one gives a damn since they aren't the "hits." I've found some of these "discards" as some of the nicer cards over the last few seasons.
Here is some solid '70s vintage, including a Ron Guidry rookie! Wow, now. I definitely have never seen that card before. It's awesome to now have Gator's RC.
A few '90s inserts to remind everyone why the '90s were an awesome time to collect, despite the perception. I've always thought that the 1998 Diamond Kings are very underrated.
Some Tinos! I needed that Yankee Stadium Legacy. I don't think I've properly counted the Tino YS Legacy cards as different Tinos, but why shouldn't I? They have different numbers.
This Finest Warriors card is sweet! The blue is so striking, and the die-cut is very cool. It looks like a badge of sorts. I bet this was a hot card during Tanaka's rookie year.
I don't think I bought any 2015 Archives. I said in a previous post, but I just can't tell all the Archives years apart now.
Tiger aka Chien-Ming Wang! Tiger is badass. Why didn't he keep that? Adrian Hernandez was a fairly big deal, but he never did much. He was nicknamed El Duquecito - Little El Duque - due to being Cuban and having similar arm angles, but he just wasn't that good.
I think I should end every blog post with this card.

Wes, thanks for getting this started!

Friday, February 19, 2016

What the Frac?

Leaf was hard to keep track of in the late ‘90s. They had a bunch of different parallels, die-cuts, and axis cards. I don't know either. Many of these fell under the name Fractal Matrix, which I still don’t know the meaning of. Then there were Fractal Foundations…what the frac, Leaf?

Although confusing, many were, and still are, very nice looking. They certainly must’ve been one of the first brands to go all-in on parallels upon parallels. Sure, there was Topps Gold and Ultra Gold Medallions and whatnot, but this really started to show a trend in the industry when you had Gold, Silver, Bronze versions, as well as axis and die-cut versions. We then saw a lot of variations, with Topps Finest using Common/Uncommon, Flair using Row 1/2/3, Bowman producing every color of the rainbow, and so on.

According to baseballcardpedia, this gold z-axis die-cut is one of 100 made, although I can’t find any serially numbering on the card. I’ll just have to trust that’s the print run. It’s a nice looking card for sure.

It popped up on eBay and I pounced quickly. I know I hadn’t seen it, and it had a cheap BIN, so I was all over it. Nice to add this to growing (ever so slowly) Tino collection.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Oops! Missed my 5-year blog anniversary...

Oops. I missed my blog’s five year anniversary last week. That’s a bummer. Or it’s not. It’s not that big of a deal.

Regardless, I’ve been at this little old blog Yankees card blog for five years, since February 10th, 2011. I’m glad I’m still going. I took one prolonged pause, but that’s really it. Otherwise, I’ve been posting fairly regularly, which is a nice accomplishment given two little ones running around. Mind you, I had this blog before we were pregnant with my son, and now he’s got a 22-month old sister. It’s weird to think that my blog is older than my kids.

As you may have noticed, I don’t post earth-shattering stuff or overly thoughtful content. Maybe once in a while. Otherwise, it’s my form of cardboard show-and-tell. That’s ok. It’s how I do it. My wife doesn’t want to see my cards, so I show them to you. Your call if you click the link or not.

I don’t have any set plans or big blog goals for the next year or two or five. I don’t have any plans to shut it down or introduce anything brand new. I’m just going to stick to what I do, because it’s been working out for me just fine. I’ve made a lot of collecting friends, and my collection has grown to the point where it’s probably too big now.

Anyhow, thanks for regularly or periodically checking in. I do appreciate it. Equally, thanks for keeping me top of mind when you pull your unwanted Yankees cards. It means the most to me when someone sets something aside knowing I’ll like it. That’s something that I find to be really meaningful, and just plain cool.

So from everyone over here at The Lost Collector (aka just me): THANK YOU!

p.s. Napkin Doon, come back. 

p.p.s. Here's a card, because it's a card blog.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Long wait on the plate

I recently added a third Ty Hensley 1/1 to my collection, this time a 2012 Leaf Memories black printing plate. It's my second overall printing plate of Hensley. It's getting harder and harder to find Hensley's I don't have, so I try and pounce when new ones come up, as long as they are reasonably priced.
However, this one had a long trip to get to me. I purchased it on Jan 20. The seller promptly shipped it, and then it stalled for over 2 weeks at a sorting facility. No tracking updated. Nothing. Just sat there, day by day.

The seller and I both found this unusual, and he was nice enough to issue a refund.

Guess what happened the next day? Yep. The card shows up in my mailbox. I reached out to the seller and gave him a refund of his, just paid him again since it did arrive, and he deserved the money fair and square. It's not his fault it sat in a sorting facility in Michigan.

So it took a while, but Ty Hensley #68 has arrived. I wonder when he'll be included in another set? Hopefully he is healthy this year and is able to pitch all season. He'd at least make a minor league team set, I would hope.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Random Listia Autos - Part 13

I still have a bunch of these to go through, and since I’m all caught up on trade packages and bubble mailers, I need some filler. Here we go! Previous editions:

Part 8
Part 9 
Part 10
Part 11 
Part 12

Mike Tyson! Sadly it’s not the tattooed-faced former boxing champion. But still, pretty cool to share the same name. Or maybe not? I bet he gets a lot of awful jokes. The other Mike Tyson…or maybe the original Mike Tyson…had a 10-year career in the NL, with eight of those seasons coming with the Cardinals and the last two with the Cubs. Statistically, his best year was probably 1976, despite only playing in 76 games. He accounted for a 2.3 WAR that year, highest of his career (which ended at -0.3 WAR, FYI). He managed to hit .286 with 9 triples that year, the latter stat good for 5th in the NL. All-in-all, he ended his career a lifetime .241 hitter with 714 career hits. Also, his mustache is sweet.
As a child of the ‘80s, I constantly remember seeing Kevin Bass on cardboard. I don’t have any memories of him as a player, but I do remember him seemingly showing up in every other pack (along with Alvin Davis). Bass was a pretty good hitter for the Astros. He was an NL All-Star in 1986, hitting .311 with 184 hits, 20 HRS, and a very good OPS+ of 134. That’s a solid year, especially when there wasn’t a ton of power in the game at that time. That was also the year the Astros battled the Mets in the NLCS. He did hit .292 in that series, although had no homers or RBIs and struck out with men on base to end the series. His career spanned 14 years overall, as he bounced around a bit the last few years – to the Giants, Mets, back to Houston, and wrapped it up in Baltimore.
I first learned of Jeff Burroughs as I a kid following the 1992 and 1993 Little League World Series, where his porky son Sean was the star of the team he coached. However, Jeff has a very nice big-league career. He was selected first overall in the 1969 draft, and won the AL MVP just 5 years later in 1974. For the season, he hit .301 with 25 HRs and a league-leading 118 RBIs. He passed the 20-HR mark five times in his career, including a career-high 41 for the Braves in 1977. In 1978, he made his second All-Star team, and led the NL with a gaudy .432 OBP that year. Pretty damn good. All-in-all, he hit .261 with 240 HRs in 16 seasons. While he wasn’t the greatest #1 overall pick, he certainly is among the best. His aforementioned son, Sean, never quite had the career many expected, especially being a Top 5-rated prospect and tearing up the minors.
I will forever be a Chan Ho Park fan because of this:
In all fairness, he had a fairly nice career. It started off with the Dodgers, where he really came into his own in 2000 and 2001, his only All-Star appearance. He struck out 217 and 218 batters, respectively, and won 18 games in 2000. He turned that into a 5-year, $55-million dollar deal with the Rangers, and never lived up to that deal. Not even close. He bounced around a bit, but on his second stop in LA, he became a full-time reliever. He then had a couple good seasons as a set-up man. He signed with the Yanks in 2010, got diarrhea, was released, went to Pittsburgh, and was out of the majors in 2011. Still, he pitched for 17 big league seasons, finishing with a 128-98 record, 4.36 ERA, and 1715 Ks. Oh, and he made over $85-million in his career, so yeah, he did alright for himself. This Collector's Choice Arizona Fall League card is one I've always been fascinated by. He's throwing lefty! I assume it's just the reverse-negative. Anyone know for sure?
This is a sweet card. Mike Cameron is best known to me as being traded to the Mariners in the Ken Griffey Jr deal. However, that’s not quite fair. He had a very good career. Notably, he was a fantastic defensive outfielder. I feel like he was on Baseball Tonight’s Web Gems every other night. He was an important piece of those Ichiro-led Mariners teams that won a lot of games, although were twice defeated in the ALCS by the Yanks. He was decent with the bat as well, routinely clubbing 20+ homers, with a career-high 30 for the Mets in 2004. Later in his career, he was often rumored as heading to the Yanks, but never did. Instead he went to Boston and stunk.
Bart! Man, this guy. The Yanks got laughed at when they brought Bartolo Colon back to the big leagues after being out of baseball in 2010, but look at him now! He’s still a quality starting pitcher. He obviously came up as a big-time pitcher with Cleveland, as he and Jaret Wright were going to team up to finally get the Indians over the hump. That never quite worked out. He was later trader to Montreal and again to the White Sox before signing with the Angels and enjoying a Cy-Young winning season in 2005, beating out Mariano Rivera and Johan Santana (who probably should have won). Bart definitely was rewarded for his career-high 21 wins, but Santana had a much lower ERA, 80 more Ks, a lower WHIP, higher ERA+, and was about 3-wins better than him in terms of WAR. Today, I don’t think the vote would have gone the same way. Regardless, in 18 years, Colon has racked up 218 wins, a 3.97 ERA, and 2200+ Ks. Considering he only won 11 games total from 2006-2010, it’s pretty impressive. Even with average years then, it’s not a stretch to say he might be closer to the 250-260 range. Still, he’s had a great career and he’s still going.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Kobe's last All-Star Game

Tonight is the NBA All-Star game. Growing up, I collected basketball cards more than baseball cards. My birthday is right around the time new releases came out, plus Christmas is in the heart of hoops season, so I always got basketball cards as gifts.

More of my friends were NBA fans than baseball fans. My co-worker has 10 and 12-year-old boys, and it's the same for them. The NBA fan base has always skewed significantly younger than baseball (and all major sports, really), and that trend is certainly continuing today.

Anyhow, whether you like the NBA or not is not the purpose of the post. Instead, I just wanted to give a quick tribute to Kobe Bryant, playing in his last All-Star Game tonight. Kobe is one of the best players to have ever played the game, and while I can't say I was always his biggest fan, I certainly respected him as an incredible player. I saw in person twice - once at MSG, and once at the 2013 NBA All-Star Game in Houston. Both times, he owned the stage. Have you ever been to a baseball game and refused to go get a beer when a certain player was due to come up to bat? Bonds or ARod or Pujols in their primes? Mike Trout or Bryce Harper now. That kind of thing. Kobe was like that. When he was on the floor, you don't step away or go to the bathroom. You watch and hope to catch a glimpse of greatness.

I don't have a ton of Kobe cards. He was getting big as as I was transitioning to really focusing on baseball cards. I am lucky enough to have his rookie card, pictured above, from Collector's Choice. While it's low-end, it's still a RC. Man, I loved Collector's Choice.

The NBA won't be the same without Kobe. Sure, there's still LeBron and Durant and Harden and Curry. But Kobe was a breed of his own, and he'll certainly be missed.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Random Listia Autos - Part 12

It’s been awhile. How about another installment of autos sent to me by a very generous Listia user? I purchased a few cards with credits, and he threw these in just for fun. If you’d like to take a look back at previous posts, knock yourself out:

Part 8
Part 9 
Part 10
Part 11

I always had a fascination with Juan Pierre, and always wanted the Yankees to acquire him. I was fascinated by his speed and lack of power. Keep in mind, this was a time when middle infielders were routinely hitting 40 HRs. Suspicious, eh? So seeing an outfielder hit 0 HRs, but still manage 200 hits? Very different. Pierre was a classic speed/contact guy. He led the NL in steals twice, and the AL once with the White Sox. I don’t remember him on the White Sox. In 14 years, he accounted for a 16.9 WAR. I was surprised to see this, given the bags he stole and the fact that he was a .295 lifetime hitter with over 2200 hits. That’s pretty damn good. I was also surprised to see he was never an All-Star. Regardless, he had a nice career, and won a ring with the 2004 Marlins (grrrr).
Cripes, this guy. Joe Girardi absolutely loved Sergio Mitre. I don’t know why. He never did anything to warrant the chances he was given in NY. Over an 8-year career, he had a record of 13-30 with a 5.21 ERA. For the Yanks, he went 2-6 with a 5.35 ERA in 111 innings over 3 year. I have no idea. He appeared in 43 games for NY, although it felt like at least 500 games to me. I also feel like he pitched every time I went to a game. I am notorious for going to games and seeing my team’s worst starting pitcher. For a
Ok, this is a pretty good one. An auto of a guy who hit 462 career HRs. That’s pretty awesome. Although, he did finish his career with a 16.9 WAR – same as Juan Pierre above! I can’t think of two more opposite players. Dunn was a masher who also walked and struck out a lot. I wish he found his way to NY at some point in his career to play some DH and tee off on the short porch. He was a 2-time All-Star, but sadly never appeared in a post-season game. Still, he is one of the best power hitters of the last 20 years, and was a given to hit 40 HRs per year. Crazy enough, he hit 40 on the dot for four straight years from 2005-08. Pretty cool.
Lee Smith was the first mega closer I remember. I know Goose and Rags and Eck were big in the 80s and early 90s, but I didn’t quite understand the closer role until the Yanks acquired Smith and I learned about it then. I’m not sure if he’s a HOFer…I know he has hovered around 45% in most votes. He’s got one year left on the ballot, so it looks very unlikely at this point. I don’t really have an opinion since I didn’t see him pitch a ton. I know he wasn’t on the level of Rivera or Hoffman, but he was certainly impressive for a long time. Still, he ended his career with 478 career saves, while leading the league in saves four times.
True story – I had to check and see if Darren Oliver was still pitching. He’s not, in case you were wondering. He did manage to pitch until he was 42. He was a starter for most of his early career, pitching for the offensive-heavy Texas Rangers in the mid-90s. He won some games, but his ERA was usually pretty high. It looked like he was done in baseball after not pitching in 2005, but he was born again as a lefty reliever for the Mets in 2006. He then pitched for eight more seasons. I’m impressed with guys can find a way to stick for a long time, and Oliver certainly did that.
Zim! What can I say about Don Zimmer? The man was a baseball junkie, involved in the game for over 60 years. I really only knew him as the Yankees bench coach, but he was far more than that for many different teams. He was a decent player for the Dodgers early in his career, which was an accomplishment in his own right after almost losing his life to a brain injury as the result of being hit in the head by a pitch in the minors. The dude was in a coma for 2 weeks and had brain surgery. That he then went on to play for 12 seasons and coach or manage for another 40+ is pretty freakin’ awesome. He was a very lovable character for the Yanks, from his army helmet after a foul ball to his famous run-in with Pedro Martinez.