Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Two fancy new Tinos

I know you don't want to hear, but life is really hectic right now. We're finishing up the move to the new house, and work is entirely too busy for the summer. Wah wah wah, I know I know. I have a ton of cards scanned from various packages, yet just can't find the time to get to them.

With that, I don't love too many days going by without a post, so here are two new Tino cards I've gotten from various purchases. I didn't have either of these, and they all provide a little something different.
I did have the 1999 Stadium Club Triumvirate Luminescent card, but did not have the Illuminator version. These actually don't pop up very often, so I had to pounce. It's a cool looking card, although shaped rather oddly, especially for scanning purposes.
The second is from The Lost Years with the Cardinals. It's a fairly standard looking bat relic from Topps Pristine, #'d out of 425. Not the greatest Tino relic I have, but new is new.

Hopefully I'll get back to regular posting once August rolls around. Hope everyone's summer is going well!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

TTM Success: Ruben Amaro Sr.

This was a lucky one.
At the time I received this incredible Ruben Amaro TTM success, I noticed that two other collectors received their cards on the same day. However, they received them back unsigned.

Then, Paul (@MetsFanPaul) asked if I included a fee for the autograph. Nope! This was a freebie.

I'm not sure why I lucked out. My letter wasn't overly special. I guess I just got lucky!

I'll take it. The card looks great, and I haven't added a vintage Yankees TTM success in a long time. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

SuperTraders #15: Night Owl Cards

My 15th #SuperTraders package arrived a month or so ago from Night Owl. Luckily I scanned the cards before I threw a bunch of unsorted bubble mailers in boxes while moving houses. I definitely want to thank Greg for sending some Yanks my way, as I know he likes keeping them in his collection.

NO included a note that 2016 Diamond Kings wasn't for him. I'm guessing it's because he pulled a bunch of Yanks. Seems like a fun break to me!
My favorite card is easily the Frank Crosetti. The Crow isn't included in many sets, so it's always special to get a new card of his. Fun fact: back in the late '90s I received a Crosetti TTM autograph. On my letter he wrote: "My memory doesn't allow me to remember much of my playing days, but I can say I was born to play baseball." Very cool. I cherish this photo very much.
Here is another 2015 Stadium Club I didn't have of Dan Mattingly. If this image is from what I think it is, then it's from the 1995 ALDS Game 2 when Mattingly went deep, providing us all with Gary Thorne's memorable "Hang onto the roof!" call. What a moment!
Love seeing Jeter on the top step celebrating, even though he wasn't officially on the roster.

Speaking of not on the roster...Robinson Cano. Man, he would look good as a Yankee. But you know what, they'd still be an average team.
This card is so freaking cool. Mr. Baseball himself, taking grounders as a Yankee. I love Frank Thomas there too. He looks good in Pinstripes! He's definitely marveling at Tom Selleck's mustache. Mr. Baseball isn't my favorite baseball movie, but I do like it. I'll probably see if I can get Magnum P.I. to sign this TTM.
What struck me about this card was "25 years of Topps Baseball Cards." Now we are at 65 years in 2016. How the heck did that happen? I'll say that I like this subset a lot more than Berger's Best! Don't overthink your odes to the past, Topps.
Lastly, this is one of the action photo variants from 2016 Heritage. Didi has turned himself into a very stellar shortstop. While he doesn't have the upside of guys like Seager and Xander and Lindor and Russell, somehow he's flirting with .300 and has 11 homers. I definitely didn't expect him to be quite this good.
Great package all around. Now I need to unpack my cards in the new house, a massive chore in its own right! Thanks for the cards, Greg.

Monday, July 18, 2016

TTM Success: Billy Crystal

This is one of the cooler TTM successes I've gotten in a while, and I was really pumped when it showed up! Yankee-for-a-day Billy Crystal signed my Rookies app custom card, and in gold pen, no less! I loved the photo of him and Jeter together. He looks very focused, while Jeter is giving a playful tap.

After I sent this card, I actually received a Tristar card of Crystal. I had no idea he was included in an actual set, but I like my custom a bit better.

This took about two months to come back, and I wasn't sure if it would come back or not, so it certainly made my day.

Friday, July 15, 2016

TTM Success: Spike Owen

1993 was the year I think I really started to pay attention to baseball. I was nine years old, and while I was always really good at naming players and who they played for, I'm sure my knowledge was limited by my age and watching the Yankees and Mets on local RSNs.

But in '93, I was old enough to start reading the daily sports section and checking out box scores. I had started little league too, so there was a lot of baseball talk, especially about the Yankees, who were just starting to get good again. Wade Boggs and Paul O'Neill had joined the team, Bernie Williams was getting good, Danny Tartabull was mashing homers, Mattingly was healthy, and Jimmy Key was an ace. There was a lot to talk about!

One of those newer guys was Spike Owen. He only played for the Yanks in 1993, but I'm pretty sure we all thought his name was pretty awesome. And it was. Spike!
Mr. Owen was kind enough to sign three cards for me in care of the Texas Rangers, where he is currently coaching. Thanks, Spike!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

SuperTraders #14: Cards on Cards

Man, all I can say is that Kerry from Cards on Cards must bust a lot of wax! He always sends a bunch of a team bags packed with both Yankees and Knicks cards for me, and the fun part is they are from all years. While some is newer product, there is always a healthy assortment of 90s and 00s.

Here’s some of the newer product, including a bunch of Heritage high number or Update or whatever it might be called. I actually like this set quite a bit, as it’s cool to get Heritage cards of rookies and lesser known players. It’s a nice TTM alternative to Topps Update for some of the lesser-known guys.
I don’t usually buy A&G, so I appreciate receiving them in trade packages. I didn’t mind last year’s design. Does anyone else feel like we’re at the point with A&G where the designs are all meshing together a bit?
Topps Stickers! I didn’t know these were out for 2016, but here they are. I like the design – super simple, which is what you need in such a small layout.
There were a few packs of these 2016 Babe Ruth Collection cards by Leaf. Again, no idea these existed! The set itself is pretty neat with a few inserts and some great vintage shots. From what I read, it’s an 80-card base set with a few inserts, and there is also the opportunity for memorabilia cards (spoiler: I didn’t get one). One cool thing is that my 4-year-old son has been watching the animated movie Everyone’s Hero, where a boy named Yankee sets out on a quest to return Babe Ruth’s stolen bat to him. My son knows of Babe Ruth now and asked if he could have a card of him, so I gave him one of these. He was mad it wasn’t a “moving card” (aka SportFlics), but it’s still cool he knows the Babe…sadly from a movie and not from one of my bedtime stories.
As noted, it’s cool to see some photos of the Babe that are not the usual ones from Topps reprint sets.
Speaking of Yankee legends, there was a massive amount of various Mickey Mantle cards in the package.
That's a lot of Mantles!

Despite his two-week suspension, Jorge Mateo is still a big-time prospect. The team dismissed him for a few weeks for mouthing off to team execs, notably about not being promoted and about releasing a player blocking him from a roster spot in AA. Now there is a bit of back and forth and uncertainty about what actually did happen and if that’s why he was suspended. Hopefully he has learned his lesson and comes back better than ever. He’s young. People like to act outraged by these sorts of things, but he should be a junior in college based on his age. College kids are mostly morons, and that can apply to a pro baseball player too.
Here’s a couple cool cards from a few years back. I assume Bernie was tipping his cap after his 2,000 hit versus Colorado.
Now to the basketball portion! Kerry always sends me some great Knicks. When I saw a few Knicks fall out, I said “please let there be a Porzingis rookie, please let there be a Porzingis rookie.” Well, there wasn’t one. THERE WAS TWO!
I really enjoyed watching Kristaps and think he will be a star in the NBA for a long time.

Here a couple more Knicks cards I really liked.
Kerry, great stuff. Thank you, sir!

Monday, July 11, 2016

I've moved! New home address!

Just a bit of housekeeping - I've moved to a new house!

Now, this is not me asking you to send me cards. Trust me, all the cards you've all sent me added a lot of backache to my move. Cards are heavy!

However, if you are so inclined to send me an envelope or package down the road, please email me for my latest mailing address.

I know I've been through a lot of addresses the last few years, but hopefully this one is permanent for a long, long time!

TTM Success: John Flaherty

This is one I was hoping to get back! (and also a reason why Topps Total was awesome...when else would a backup catcher be in a set?)

John "Flash" Flaherty signed my card in 25 days c/o Yankees. He spent three seasons in the Bronx as the team's backup catcher, and even became Randy Johnson's personal catcher for a while in NY.

Flaherty is now currently a broadcaster on YES, and I find him to be very good. While he isn't necessarily funny or the most personable guy, his analysis tends to be very good and straightforward. He brings the catcher's perspective to the game, and always makes solid points.

For his career, he spent 14 season in the Majors, mostly with the expansion Devil Rays. He was primarily a backup, although had a few solid seasons as a starter for the Tigers, Padres, and D-Rays.

Friday, July 8, 2016

TTM Success: Drew Finley

Yankees prospect Drew Finley signed all five cards I sent him in care of Staten Island. I will say that I actually did not expect (nor want) all five cards back. I had purchased a bulk lot of Finley cards, and I included a post-it note on the cards for him to keep a few for his friends and family.

Regardless, he chose to sign all five and return them, which I'll make sure to share with a few fellow collectors.

I'm a pretty firm believer in sending no more than three cards to a player, and usually not the same card. I know other collectors have different opinions, and that's fine, I just think it's a bad look when a large quantity is sent. When I send more than one, I always offer for the player to keep another. If there is one I really want signed, I only send that so there isn't a chance it will be selected over the other card(s).

Anyhow, Finley is a solid pitching prospect for the Yanks. He was their 3rd round pick in the 2015 Draft, and has had a pretty good start of the season for Staten Island, allowing no more than 2 ERs in any of his four starts. The Yanks gave him a well-above slot bonus to join them, as he looks to have a very bright future. He comes from a baseball family (I like bloodlines!), and his dad is a long-time scout now in a management position with the Dodgers.

I wonder if Finley might get an opportunity in Charleston later in the season. Regardless, innings are the most important thing for his development right now, so as long as he's healthy and throwing the ball, I'm happy.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

TTM Success: Luis Cedeno (and a lesson)

I received a great TTM success from Yankees prospect Luis Cedeno. I sent it to Charleston and received it back in 24 days.
The cool part - in addition to the autograph - was this simple note:
While it may not look like much, I really appreciate it. From what I gather, Cedeno is using TTMs to help work on his English. I'm sure this can't be easy. I was Twittering with Zippy Zappy, and he said that many minor leaguers chose to converse with him in English to practice. And one thing I like about Michael Pineda is that he always does interviews in English. Unfortunately the questions he has to answer are usually about why he stinks, but still, it's admirable for a young man to step out of his comfort zone and continuously strive to improve his grasp of a new language.

Admittedly, I am sometimes a bit more careless with TTM requests to Spanish-speaking players, mostly because I think they may not read them or understand what the letter says. Selfishly, I just want the card back signed.

However, after this success, I am going to make sure to take my time and write more neatly and concisely to Spanish-speaking players, as they may be using my letters to help with their English, and they deserve my time too. I do get the sense that Cedeno may have read my letter, and I hope it was legible and easy to understand.

Mr. Cedeno, thank you for the autograph and for the lesson.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Big Mike Big Relics

I still collect Michael Pineda cards, even though he stinks. He's been pitching significantly better over the last six starts, but prior to that he was one of the worst starters in baseball. He's frustrating because the ability is there, he just isn't consistent.

However, I wouldn't be a very good fan if I only collected him during the good times.

In fact, with his struggles, his cards are once again cheap as hell. I snagged these two 2016 Topps Tier One relics for the minimum bid. The first is the standard relic, and the second is the dual, numbered to 50.
These cards aren't that memorable, but still, Tier One is a product I'll never buy, so it's nice to pick up a few cards to see what it's all about. The pill-shape relic reminds me of the Doctor Mario video game from back in the day. Either way, I'm sure the box breaker didn't make his money back on these relics!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

TTM Success: Diego Moreno

My latest TTM success is from Diego Moreno, who pitched 10 innings for the Yankees last season.

His best outing was on July 28, in relief of Chris Capuano. The Rangers put up 5 runs on Capuano in 2/3 of an inning, as he didn't make it out of the first. Moreno came in and fired 5.1 innings of relief, allowing no hits, one walk, and striking out 5. Oh, and he got the win because the Yankees scored 11 in the 2nd inning and 21 for the game. The Rangers wouldn't score again, let alone get another hit. Man, baseball can be weird.

Moreno looked electric in that outing. He was actually acquired by the Yankees in the lopsided Francisco Cervelli trade with the Pirates.

He signed this card for me created via the Rookies app. I definitely didn't read "Diego Moreno" based on what his signature looks like, but I searched for other signed items and it definitely holds up. He must have some additional surnames he includes.

Regardless, cool success, and I hope to see Moreno back in the Bronx again this year.

Friday, July 1, 2016

TTM Success: Ken Phelps

First off:

It won't let me link to the actual Frank Costanza piece, so that will have to do.

Ken Phelps returned my card signed in just over three weeks time. I will note that I did send three cards, and received only the one back. No big deal. Sometimes players sign them all, sometimes they sign one and return the others. Sometimes they keep a few, like in this instance. I'm still happy to have this back.

Phelps was famously traded for Jay Buhner in 1988 and hit 10 HRs in his first season with the Yanks, then seven more in 1989 before being traded to Oakland in 1989. He won a ring with the A's for his short stint there.

You all know the story by now. Buhner went on to be one of the game's best sluggers in the '90s, hitting 307 HRs after the trade, topping 40 HRs three years in a row from 1995-97. They both seem to have a great sense of humor about it, which I appreciate.

I don't have a Buhner auto, but I love having the Phelps signature, as his name certainly carries a lot of lore with the Yankees. Thank you, Mr. Phelps!