Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Stump Merrill is a baseball lifer.

He has been in the Yankees organization ever since I was born, coaching at various levels of the minors leagues, and even serving as the Yankees manager in 1990 and 1991.

Times were different too. I couldn’t imagine a member of the current Yankees staff getting plucked mid-season to manage one of their minor league teams, but that’s exactly what happened to Stump in 1985 when he was the Yankees first base coach, but pulled down to Columbus to manage mid-season. It seems that nowadays, teams have a lot more staffing options versus pulling from the Big League club.

Merrill was kind enough to sign this card for me in about 10 days time in care of Yankees spring training. While he used pen, it does show up a lot nicer than other cards I have signed in pen. This particular card is from 1990 Topps Traded. Back then, Topps actually updated the card in the base set with the card in traded. In this instance, this card “replaces” Bucky Dent’s base set card. I’ve always found that to be an interesting concept.

Thanks to Mr. Stump Merrill for the autograph!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

TTM Success: Larry Walker

Yesterday I got home from work and found a PWE waiting for me. I thought it might have been my second spring training success. Although it wasn't from spring training, it was from Florida:
Former NL MVP Larry Walker signed two cards - one for me, and one for my son, Joey. I love that he wrote "swing hard" on Joey's. He'll be starting tee-ball next month and while I don't know if it's the soundest advice, it's hard to argue with Larry Walker.

I hope Walker ends up in the Hall of Fame, although he'll need to make up a ton of ground in the next two years. Still, he was one of the game's premier sluggers while I was growing up, so it was hard to turn down the chance at his autograph.

Thanks, Mr. Walker!

Friday, February 23, 2018

2018 Edition - Topps Yankees Project

Big sigh of relief.

I’ve gotten one TTM success back from 2018 MLB Spring Training. But, it was an important one. Former Yankee and current Marlin Garrett Cooper signed this for me:
Notice anything? Yep, that’s a signed 2018 Topps Yankees card. Which means…


I’m really happy to have this. I reserve the right to swap it out if a different success comes in that I prefer to use, but for now, I am thrilled to check off 2018 for my project. I was a little nervous when I saw the Yankees checklist for Series One, but Cooper came through for me.

I really hope he gets a shot at significant playing time with Marlins. I liked him in his short Yankees stint. The Yankees actually traded him for international bonus pool money when they were still in the hunt for Ohtani. That was before the Yankees were notified that they were an East Coast team.

Cooper hit .326 for the Yanks in 45 plate appearances. Obviously Justin Bour is the starter at 1B in Miami, but hopefully Cooper can make the roster and get his share of ABs. Easy guy to root for.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Johnny lights up the mailbox again

One of my favorite bloggers out there is John of Johnny’sTrading Spot. He’s always fun to follow, posting cards of vintage, card show pickups, and amusing posts like “shadow shots.” He also seemingly has an endless supply of cards that he generously sends out very regularly.

He is definitely one of my main sources for Tino cards, as he’s always on the lookout. He sent a few my way in a recent package, including two I didn’t have:
He was kind enough to label the Rediscover Topps as a “copper.” I probably wouldn’t have been able to tell. The Prestige was just one of those random base cards from a random set I would have never realized I needed. While there were some dupes in there, I still appreciate them. Here are a few of the ones I liked most.
Fleer Excel minor league cards were awesome. There were a lot of minors issues in the early ‘90s, I’m now realized. This Pettitte is definitely cool.
I showed a Melky Cabrera card yesterday, so why not another? I think this Bazooka design is very underrated. I liked Bazooka in the mid-90s, but wasn’t around for their short comeback around 2005.
Drake’s oddballs! Oh hell yes. Who doesn’t love these?
What a great card of NFL QB Brandon Wheeden. I definitely checked to see if he signs TTM, but all signs point to no. This card would look great signed.
Lastly, as he does from time to time, Johnny sent a few NASCAR cards for Joey. I gave him one before I could scan it – a cool picture of Kyle Petty’s Mello Yello car popping out of an Action Packed card. Joey goes, “Whoa-a-a-a-a suuhhweeet!” when he saw it and ran it up to his collection, so I’ll just have to show this instead.
Johnny, thanks as always!

Monday, February 19, 2018

A new Tino from a new trading partner

Last week, I got an email from a fellow collector named Chris. He said he was just getting back into the hobby, and offer to send me some Yankees in exchange for some Cubs.

I'm always down for some new trading partners, so of course I agreed. Chris' package arrived late last week, and he sent some great stuff.

First and foremost, huge props to him for sending a Tino card I didn't have. That's not easy to do! The card itself was a striking 1997 Leaf Limited Exposure with Bernie Williams. I had the base card, but not this refractor-type version.
There definitely were a few more shiny, eye-catching cards. 
Also, consider me educated here. I had no idea Melky Cabrera earned a Rookie Cup with the Yankees.
Every time I get one of these cards, it's hard for me not to comment on how good-looking I think they are. They look incredible signed as well.
Here are a couple more that caught my eye as well.
Chris, excellent batch of cards. I've got a few team bags of Cubs with your name on them. Thanks again!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Jeter Highlights - Send 'em my way

I've been meaning to post my want list for the 2018 Topps Target Derek Jeter Highlights set. While I'm not a set builder, and likely never will be, I do like the looks of these. Plus, there are only 30 of them, and I'm sure many don't care about them or are looking to get of them. I figure I can definitely make a run at completing the set.

I'd actually like two sets when all is said and done - one to binder up, and one to somehow display. But for now, I'm just going to focus on one set.

Here are my needs:

1, 3, 7, 10, 11, 13, 17, 18, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30

If you can help me out, let me know. Would love to work out a few PWE trades to make it easier.


Friday, February 16, 2018

Topps NOW 2018

Earlier this afternoon, I received my 2018 Topps NOW promo card. Topps sent one of these last year as well. I believe they go to all customers who bought one or more Topps NOW cards last season.

I always make sure to buy one or two Topps NOW cards directly from Topps so I can stay on these types of mailing lists, even though it's easier and more affordable to purchase them on eBay.

I like the looks of the card. They definitely feel different than the past two years. I'll be curious to see where Topps puts the date. I assume where the "2018" currently is.

I don't plan to buy as many as I did in the past, but I'm sure I'll pick up my fair share of Stanton/Judge/Sanchez cards this year. Regardless, thanks for the card, Topps!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Thrift shop card finds!

Something happened to me for the first time on Saturday. I found cards at a local thrift shop!

I’ve always been envious of collectors who show off their thrift store finds. Admittedly, I’m not one to hop around from shop to shop and make a day of it, so no wonder I never find any. However, I do have a thrift shop in the basement of a church just three blocks from my house, and I’ve stopped in from time to time without finding much of anything. Everything seems pretty run down and there is a lot of junk. I guess it’s like any other thrift shop, isn’t it?

I live on a street just off of the main road in town, and still have a “walker’s mentality” from my time living in NYC and Hoboken. I have no problem taking a short walk to run an errand. In this case, I had two errands. I first went to the barbershop for a haircut, and once that was done, walked another block to the post office to mail a package to Brian atCollecting Cutch.

I didn’t have any more cash. I brought exactly enough for my haircut (including tip), and then used my credit card at the post office. I still decided to swing by the thrift shop on the way home. After all, it’s only open on Saturdays and Tuesdays. I went in. Cashless.

I made my way over to the books and DVDs, and then I saw them. Two binders and a box of cards! Whhhhat?!

I grabbed the first binder, which was of all basketball cards and marked for $5. I took a quick scan to see if I saw any late ‘90s inserts that go for quite a penny these days, but didn’t see anything too interesting. It’s entirely possible I missed something good, but haven’t collected basketball cards in years and don’t have a keen eye in that area.

Then I grabbed the baseball binder. It was a big ass binder too. H-e-a-v-y. This was marked $5 as well. I started flipping through, and while some of the cards looked ok, I didn’t think this would be for me. Everything was basically from 1997-2002 or so (admittedly an era of cards I like a lot), and there were a lot of cards; cards I’m currently trying to get rid of in a big box…so why would I buy more? I flipped through for a minute and then put the binder back.

I then quickly looked at the longer box, which was mostly football cards that weren’t of interest to me. And I left the store. Yep, I left. Empty-handed. I didn’t want to spend the $5.

In the literally three minute walk home, I had a change of heart. It would be fun to go through, I thought. And you never know what might be tucked away. Plus, the very day was my 7th blog anniversary. I had do something card-related, right?

But the $5 price tag felt a little steep. This is a thrift shop, I said. Shouldn’t it be like 2 bucks? But then I realized something. I routinely spend $4.99 on Walgreen’s repacks, or buy a handful of Dollar Tree repacks. Why am I ok with paying 5 bucks at Walgreen’s for 100 cards that are mostly junk, when I could pay $5 for this and got a lot more cards, easily over 1,000. Plus I saw a few Hall of Famers and interesting cards in my quick scan in the store. And it would last a lot longer than a repack.

I changed my mind.

I got home and ran in the house and grabbed five one dollar bills and told my wife I was headed back to grab something. I walked very fast back to the store, worried some thrift shop vulture may have seen me thumbing through them and then scooped up the binder himself, Vegas slot machine style.

Luckily, I got back and it was there! $5 later and a binder in hand, I headed home.

As noted, it was a pretty big binder. He’s are two photos, one for scale. 
It consisted of 70 pages, mostly filled with card on the front and back of each page. That alone would be 18 cards per page, or 1260 cards. Some had three or four cards in each slot as well.

All-in-all, there were exactly 1,291 cards in the binder. Of those, 133 were of Hall of Famers (stack pictured below), mostly newish ones at that. That doesn’t include the Wade Boggs cards which went into my Yankees pule. There were 54 Yankee cards.
Ok, enough rambling. Here are some cards. This is really just a random sampling to show what I found.
By far, my two favorite cards were these 1995 Topps Cybserstats Season in Review cards. Honestly, they are strikingly gorgeous cards. I’m not sure how a card like this were to be viewed if it were new in 2018, but a lot of cards from the mid to late 90s have far superior graphics and designs to current insert sets. That is a fact.
Another interesting card was this double-sided 1994 Donruss Bomb Squad card. One bomb = one home run. There would probably be outrage if this card showed up in 2018.
There were a lot of 1998 Metal in the binder. Probably close to 50 or 60. No issues with that on my end, as I loved these sets.
This person really liked this Score Goin Yard subset.
I think I would have gotten along well with this collector. There were a ton of Collector’s Choice, Opening Day, Circa, Sports Illustrated, and other brands I really enjoyed as a kid.
There were also severalUpper Deck Folz Vending machine mini cards. I had never seen these. They are a little bit smaller than the size of a normal card, but don’t jump out as a mini. They also look like like Collector's Choice cards, but are not branded as such.
There weren’t too many oddballs.
As for the Hall of Famers, I mentioned there were 133. Here’s who appeared the most:

Greg Maddux – 16 cards
Roberto Alomar – 15 cards
John Smoltz/Barry Larking/Tony Gwynn – 12 cards each
Ivan Rodriguez – 9 cards
And the Yankees! Tino made an appearance.
Boggs was in there a lot, as was Big Daddy.
There was a lot more too!

Am I glad I spent the $5? Easily. I didn’t find anything super valuable, but I really enjoyed going through the cards, and know I’ll be including some in upcoming trade packages. It was definitely money well spent when I think about the alternative of a 100-card repack. I mean, nearly 1300 cards from the late 90s? Hard to beat for this collector.

The binder and pages aren’t particularly in great shape, so what I think I might do is steal a few to cut up for PWEs, and then stuff the binder back full of other cards and bring it back to the thrift shop for someone else to buy.

Either way, I’ll definitely be stopping by regularly to look for cards. It’s a three minute walk from house. I’d be crazy not to.