Thursday, January 31, 2019

Orange is the new Red

Sorry, that was a bad post title.
Adrian "Red" Autry deserves more than a bad blog post title. A four-year standout at Syracuse in the early 90s, Autry now serves at Jim Boeheim's associate head coach.

One of the first Syracuse games I went to was February 8, 1993. It was a Monday night game versus rival Georgetown. Autry led the way with 25 points in a 76-61 win. I sat way up in the nosebleeds, but it was a school night, so I felt pretty special going to a game an hour away with school the next morning.

While doing a card purge over the summer, I stumbled upon some of my old basketball cards, and found a few copies of this Autry from 1994 Classic. I opened a lot of this product when I was 10, for whatever reason. It had some good rookies in it though, specifically Jason Kidd.

I sent two copies to Autry, and he was nice enough to sign them both in only about a week's time.

One final note: man, I wish Syracuse would bring back that script for the men's uniforms. They've done it in one-offs, but I'd love to see it permanently. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019


I just came across these two cards as I was sorting through some large stacks of Yankees Back in the early 2000s, these could commonly be pulled from packs at Target.
Does anyone remember these? I know they were around for several seasons.

The game was quite simple, from what I recall.. One enters their unique code on the website, then received three drop down menus. The user then had to choose one of three players listed in the drop down menus. That was your Sluggers team for the season, and you accumulated points based on their stats. You could enter multiple teams based on the number of codes you had.

Although I never won anything, I believe you could win baseball and card-related prizes by playing.

I feel like Sluggers was a little before it's time, and would be a fun concept today now that fans are quite a bit more used to fantasy baseball, including both season-long and daily fantasy. I guess the closest thing we have is the Home Run Challenge, which I think is a great concept.

By the way, the domain name "" is for sale for $35,000.

Does anyone remember playing this game?

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Michael Phelps Autograph - Part 2

While Part 2 of this post won't feature any cards better than the Micael Phelps autograph, it's really all gravy from here on out. I mean, for $25 I got this:
And this:
Even if the remaining 1,000 or so cards were utter junk wax, I was still coming out well ahead.

Well, one of the first cards I came across was this:

Another Bryant RC. That makes two!

From there, there was a row of probably about 100 straight RCs. That makes me feel like this person knew even more what they were doing. They ranged from big stars to guys who you thought would be big stars, to some junk wax era RCs that are still great to have. Here's a sampling.
The Freeman and Baez are pretty good pulls alone, then you've got busy like Boegarts, Yelich, Didi, Votto, etc.
And while its not a RC, this card was a surprise.

There was actually a decent stack of Bowman Platinum, which shows this person was a fairly recent collector.

From there, I found a few more autographs that weren't pictured, as well as a couple of numbered cards. Still gravy.
I was surprised to find an old Pinnacle Epix! These were tough pulls, and I'm sure that the Belle would have fetched a few bucks back in the day. The condition of it was a bit rough, but cool to have!
Many cards were grouped by star player, as there were plenty of Bryants, Altuves, and around 30 Ichiros!
Yanks weren't overly plentiful, but still some decent ones, including some from 2018. Again, a recent collector!
And it was right after the James Paxton trade, so it was fun to find these included.
There were a few vintage cards, and nothing great, but again, any stack of vintage is gravy at this point.
Oh, and the shiny I mentioned from yesterday? These were in the form of a bunch of colorful 2014 Topps parallels. I was actually just a tad let down from these because when I peeked at them while still in NYC, they caught a weird light and looked orange. I thought I stumbled upon a rare Orange version!
I finished up the first box, which was the largest of the two, and then I started on the smaller box. The first 20 cards or so were junk wax, so I figured that's what I was in for from here on out. Then this card showed up:
Whoa! Followed by a massive run of Seaver cards, maybe 25-30 total, both vintage and modern.
Following the run of Seavers, was the run of game-used cards. THESE WERE NOT ADVERTISED. There were literally 30 right in a row, with guys like Ortiz, Teixeira, Sheffield, and Helton featured. Pretty cool!

Honestly, there were a lot more treasures not even pictured, but this is the best recap I can muster up.

Probably the best $25 I've spent on this hobby. And a feat I don't ever expect to replicate again.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Michael Phelps Autograph - Part 1

I've been wanting to write this post for a long time, but it's just been a bit daunting. However, it's time to bite the bullet and tell the story about how this valuable Michael Phelps autographed card came into my possession.

Over the summer, you may recall, I made two different social media marketplace purchases. I had some time between jobs, and these were 100% to flip. The first lot was for $40, which I sorted through and then sold the next day for $80. It was far more about volume than quality.

The second lot, which also cost $40, was a little better. It still had a lot of commons, but also some really nice cards that could be broken up into smaller lots. I ended up making about $250 from that $40 purchase. Pretty good.

Once the job started, I didn't have any intention of doing this anymore. It's too time consuming to sort through cards in bulk like that. But from time-to-time I'd still check Facebook, Craigsist, and LetGo to see if anything interesting was available.

In late November, right before Thanksgiving, this popped up on one of those sites. It was in NYC, just 8 blocks from my office:
Now, that is the only photo and description that was included, in this exact format. Immediately I was intrigued. The price for everything pictured was $25. Off the bat, I saw the Kris Bryant RC, plus two autographs, and the case of Teenymates, which my son really likes. I figured for $25 it was worth it, plus it was only two small boxes of cards, which I could manage on my public transit commute.

The only problem was, I contacted the seller on a Saturday. I wouldn't be in the office until Monday. Still, he responded and said it was available and that a Monday post-work pickup would work. I was still nervous, mostly because I started studying the photo, trying to get a better glimpse of what was there. I found that the one A&G framed autograph was Daniel Hudson. Pretty common card. But I couldn't quite figure out the other.
Zooming in, it looked like a non-baseball autograph. Maybe a swimmer? Immediately, my mind went to Mark Spitz. But when I checked eBay, it didn't look like one of his. Then I thought of maybe Ryan Lochte, but that wasn't it. Then I thought...Michael Phelps? No. Could it be?

I checked eBay, and lo and behold, the autographed card matched Michael Phelps signed Allen & Ginter cards from 2016. One had just sold on eBay, in fact. For $199.99!

Mind you, the entire lot was $25. Was I going to score a Michael Phelps autograph for $25?

I was a pile of nerves that Monday, but I messaged the seller and we arranged a 6:30 pick up. He brought the two boxes of cards down from his building, as shown, and I gave him the $25. I said, "this was everything pictured, right?" And he said, "yep!" He opened the one shoe box and there it was on top, this card:
I couldn't believe it. I was expecting the worst, but the transaction worked out flawlessly. The autographs were there. The Bryant RC was there, and I couldn't wait to go through more.
I said goodbye and walked about a half a block before adjusting the canvas shopping bag I brought. I stopped on a stoop to put the Phelps in between a few cards to protect it, as it was only in a soft penny sleeve (dummy me didn't bring a top loader). During the transfer, I took a sneak peek in the box, and I saw a lot of shinny cards. While one might assume the rest of the cards were junk wax, which I would have been totally fine with given the circumstances, it was obvious to me there were going to be some newer cards in there.

More on that soon. Because it got better. Much better.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Where have you been, bro?

On December 29th, I purchased an autographed card on eBay. It was a 2018 Bowman's Best Refractor autograph of Yankees second round pick Josh Breaux (pronounced "bro").
It was promptly mailed out, but I noticed after a couple days the tracking info was stuck at "in transit to next facility." I think we've all seen it before, and after a few days it magically updates again.

Only this time, it didn't. It went 20 days without an update. Just "in transit to next facility" purgatory.

I even checked with the seller to see if it was returned to him. I didn't blame him at all. I knew he shipped it, unless he gave me a bogus shipping number or something.

Then, magically, on the 20th day, it arrived at the family near my house, and the very next day arrived in my mailbox.

Who knows what happens in these instances? Maybe it gets left unsorted in a bin. Maybe it falls between the cracks in a truck. Whatever it is, I'm glad it finally made it. Just took a little longer than expected!

Saturday, January 26, 2019

TTM Success: Nolan...

...Martinez! Tricked ya. You were looking for Nolan Ryan, weren't you?
This was a fun one to get yesterday after I sent it about 700 days ago. This was mailed to Mr. Martinez in 2017 at spring training, and I had certainly written it off. Yes, yesterday a SASE came with a stamp I knew I hadn't purchased in a long time.

Martinez currently sits as NY's 24th best prospect according to MLB Pipeline. The Yankees drafted him in the 3rd round of the 2016 Draft. Last season he finally reached full-season ball with A Charleston, but had a bit of a rough go at it after pitching well for Staten Island. In fairness, he started really strong after the promotion and had three bad starts to end the year, so perhaps it was fatigue setting in.

Hopefully this year he's ready to go and can establish himself as a future big leaguer. Thanks for the autograph, Mr. Martinez!

Friday, January 25, 2019

TTM Success: Dan Pasqua

Perhaps the players who most frequently sign through the mail these days are those who played during the '80s. Card companies had long checklists, and in turn, featured a lot of different players on cardboard. This creates a lot of fodder for TTM requests!

When I was growing up, I knew every Yankees from about 1987 onward. My parents and older brother used to quiz me in front of family and friends, as it was a party trick for a four-year-old to be able to rattle off such names. I also knew most of the Mets, and the big stars of the game at the time, mostly thanks to 1987 Topps.

Dan Pasqua was one such player I remembered. I used to repeatedly play tee ball in my backyard, pretending to be each player in the Yankees lineup. Dan Pasqua was amongst my rotation of players, and every time I hit a home run off the tee, I'd say "This Bud's For You," which the Yankee announcers used to say after Yankee homers.

After the 1987 season, he was traded to the White Sox. I never really understood how trades or free agency worked at that age. I just remember all of a sudden guys like Steve Sax, Jack Clark, Jesse Barfield, and Matt Nokes showed up on the Yankees and they weren't there before.

Pasqua was kind enough to sign a 1986 and 1987 Topps for me in just over a week from his NJ home. The cards look great.
Thanks, Mr. Pasqua!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Mo + Moose

I was quite happy with the results of yesterday's HOF ballot reveal.

It was obvious Rivera was going to get in. I think it's great he got 100% of the vote, and I agree with many others that it's sad it was even a thing. Many HOFers before him deserved to be voted in unanimously. I think social media and the fear of being attacked on Twitter helped sway some voters who might have been the fence to "not be that guy." Regardless, we can put to bed the "will he get 100% of the vote" storyline each year. I won't miss it.

One guy who had a long climb and finally made it was Mike Mussina. I hoped that his quiet excellence would one day land him a spot, and I'm glad that day finally arrived. While he may not have had many of the individual accolades that most HOFers do, he was a terrific pitcher for a very long time. I saw him in person many times, and always enjoyed going to a game when he was on the mound.

And it's cool that Mo and Moose are heading in together, as Mo saved 49 of Mussina's wins. Very fitting.

Both guys were extremely generous TTM signers. I have been lucky enough to get Rivera on a few occasions. He was a great signer early in his career, and then again toward the tail end. My favorite is easy this UD Masterpieces, as it came out great.
Mussina was always a great signer in the off-season. For many years, he signed for free. Now I think there is a $5 or $10 fee.
While I rarely have anything but cards signed, I did send him this ticket stub from 2008. That was the season he won 20 games for the first time (in his final season!), and this ticket was from a game I attended. He won his first game of the season that day, and he was kind enough to sign my ticket #1 of 20 to signify the win number.
Two great Yankees. Two Hall of Famers. Congrats, Mo and Moose.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Another cool thrift store find

Stopping at a local church thrift store on Saturday mornings is becoming a ritual for me.

I have one just a couple blocks from my house, and easily walkable at that. It opens from 10-1 on Saturdays and 10-2 on Tuesdays, I believe. My daughter finishes dance class at 10am, so once my wife arrives home, I usually had out for a quick morning stroll.

Most days, I'll go to the post office first, which is also walkable. And on the way back, I'll swing by the thrift store. It's basically what you'd expect. Mostly junk in the basement of the church. Only once have I found cards worth buying, a large binder for $5 you can read about here. Since then, I've only seen cards once, and it was a bunch of utter junk in plastic cases for $.25 a card. Not worth it.

I've bought some other stuff here and there. I found a cool electric slot car track there back in December. I've also found a few Wii games for my son, as all games and DVDs are $1, regardless of how new or old.

Anyhow, this past Saturday, I went to the post office at 10 to mail a package to Kerry over at Cards on Cards. On my way back, I swing by the thrift store, and immediately spotted two binders of cards!
I made a beeline past a guy who was looking at comic books and grabbed the binders. There were marked $1 each and in good condition. Each had maybe 20-25 pages, also in good condition. At quick glance, I spotted mostly junk, but did see a few cards of players of note, so I decided it would be worth the $2.

I also saw eight PS4 games on a very bottom shelf, and snagged them all. (Side note, but I sold them the same day on FB marketplace for $35 total. That's how you turn $8 into $35.)

Overall, I paid $10 ($2 for the cards + $8 for the video games), which is exactly the amount of cash I had, and headed home. I knew I wasn't going to find anything too great in the binders, but for 40% of the price of a Walgreen's repack, it still felt worth it.

I was right there was mostly junk, but I did find a lot of fun cards. I'd say it was 80% baseball, 18% basketball and maybe 2% hockey cards.

The first page(s) that jumped out at me were a bunch of 2000 Newark Bears cards. That makes sense to me, as I live just about 15 minutes from Newark and pass where the Bears once played everyday on my commute to work.
A few names jumped out at me, especially this guy:
Ozzie Canseco! I've got this card headed to Mario at Wax Heaven, a Canseco brothers completist. Apparently this quite a hard card to find for Canseco collectors. I probably could have gotten a few bucks for it on the open market, but Mario will appreciate it more, so off to him it goes.

A few other interest names: Bobby Bonds! I had no idea there was a Bobby Bonds, the son.
And Joe Borowski actually won a game for the '98 Yanks!
The oldest card in the binders was actually tucked into one of the font pockets, this Pete Rose/Steve Carlton Phillies Leaders. Kind of cool.
There were  a few MLB Showdowns, including a couple HOFers.
And some new and old HOFers:
Hey, I know this guy!
The only Yankee I found was a cool Topps Total of Jorge Posada.
This card was very interesting, a promo card to find local card shops. It no longer works. I called the number and and an automated voice asked if I was over 50. Actually, maybe it was working, now that I think about it.
There were some fun art cards too! I remember the Charlie Ward card from when I was growing up.
Among the basketball cards, a lot of Pippen and Rodman. No MJ, unfortunately.
And a very sweet Penny Hardaway.
This card was cool to see. King Rice was from my town, and went on to play at UNC. That is a pretty big deal. He's currently the head coach at Monmouth.
While I know little about hockey, I do know that none of them were massive names other than who I recognized.
There was only football card as well, but it was of a good name!
So that's it. Worth the $2? I'd say so. Fun times, and hopefully I find another treasure at the thrift store soon!