Friday, May 31, 2019

Player collectors looking out for one another

There are a few player collectors on the blogs who are dominant in their respective field. P Town Tom with Vogelmonster. Zippy with Torrens. Junior Junkie with Griffey. Collecting Cutch with McCutchen. There are countless others I'm not mentioning, but we all know the plight to try and track down all cards of one's chosen player.

My favorite player retired 14 years ago, and it's still incredibly hard to track down his cards. However, often it's my fellow player collectors who help me out the most.

Recently, Brian of Collecting Cutch sent me a few cards out of the blue. Included in the package were these:
True, I did have the '89 Redemption, but I did redeem it to receive a second Tino buyback auto (still no update there). But the 2016 Panini Prime Cuts auto, numbered to just 10? One I needed and really appreciate!

Brian is always looking out for me, and he mentioned to me that when he buys a few Cutch cards from a seller, he'll often take a peek at what else the seller has, and usually searched for Tino as one of the guys he looks for.

I found that to be a very touching gesture, and really appreciate that Brian goes out of his way to do that. He's sent me far more Tino cards than I have sent him of Cutch, and I hope one day to pull or stumble across a very rare McCutchen so that I can properly thank him.

Brian also sent me a few Cutch cards (always appreciated), and a cool Giancarlo Stanton custom from the World Baseball Classic. The design looks like it's from the Rookies App.
Last but not least, a sweet RC Red Refractor of Dellin Betances. The card is amazing looking in person, as the scan didn't do it justice.
Player collecting is a bond of sorts, and guys like Brian really help make the battle worth it!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

TTM Success: MLB Draft prospect Bryant Packard

Earlier in the spring, I bought one lonely fat pack of Donruss. I think it was one of the 50-card packs, actually. It was a confusing pack, with a lot of card variations, the black rookie cards, and a few inserts. It felt all over the place.

One of the inserts was a very shiny card called "American Pride," which is a set that depicts the Team USA Collegiate National Team. The subject of this card, Bryant Packard, is a junior OFer at East Carolina University.

Upon a bit of googling, turns out Packard is a very impressive player. He hit over .400 last year, ranking sixth in the nation. He followed it up with another performance year this year, leading ECU to a #10 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

Packard is currently ranked as the #106 Draft Prospect according to, which would put him in consideration for a pick around the 3rd round. Although, you never really know with the Draft and team's strategies in rounds 4-10ish.

Anyhow, I thought it would be cool to try a TTM request to Packard, and sent the card to ECU's baseball facility. He was kind enough to sign and return the card in about 2 weeks time.

Now I just need the Yanks to draft him!

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Blake of the Year

Yesterday, I received a TTM success from Blake Snell.

While he's obviously not a Yankee, this is one of the times I don't mind sending a TTM to a player on another team. Snell is a guy who I respect from a team within the AL East. He's a bit of a quiet star, but I remember him making his debut against the Yankees, looking like a 12-year-year-old on the mound. I figured he'd be a force for the Yanks to deal with for years, and thus far that's looking accurate.

In just his third season in the Majors, Snell won the AL Cy Young. He went 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA. Pretty damn awesome for a dude who pitched the entire season at age 25.

While the Rays are a very pesky team, there's not much to dislike about Snell...except when he's on the mound against your team.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Just Anthony

Over the past few months, I've seen Yankees 2018 first rounder change his signature from "Anthony Seigler" to just "Anthony."

I don't have a strong opinion on such a matter, I just thought it was interesting. A player can sign his name however he sees fit, from very neat to very messy to very abbreviated. As someone who has long gone by initials instead of a given first name, I'm not one to judge an abbreviated signature.

I just found it interesting, and wonder if it was the result of signing so many autographs that he couldn't bear writing out his last name, or if it just naturally shortened over time and eventually ended up in its current state.

The first time I saw his signature, it was on this TTM autograph I received from him:
Here is Seigler's autograph on a recent Bowman's Best purchase I made.
And here is his autograph on some Leaf set I don't know anything about but bought it because it was a dollar and numbered to /99.
Looks like it's just Anthony moving forward. Or maybe he'll be Tony one day. Or Tone. Or Big Tone. As long as just Anthony/Ant/Tony/Tone hits and catches well and plays in the Bronx someday, he can go by whatever he wants in my book.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

TTM Success: Mark Teixeira

My TTM conquests over the last year have really slowed down. I don't have as much desire to send out the cards as I once did. Part of it is working long hours, and when I get home from the day, I don't feel like writing letters and addressing envelopes.

But I do send out a few here and there, and I've been going after a few big fish. One of those paid off handsomely.

I sent a request to former Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira, and was thrilled to open up an envelope this past weekend to find this:
I had never gotten Tex before, so this was a thrilling TTM success. Despite injuries late in his career, Teixeira really was a great Yankee. In NY, he was an All-Star twice, MVP runner up, 3-time Gold Glover, and obviously was a big part of the 2009 World Series team.

I can't say enough how incredible these Turkey Red cards look signed too. I'm not trying to build a collection of them, but I definitely go out of my way to send one when trying to capture an autograph. Here are a few others I've gotten:

Friday, May 17, 2019


This morning, on my way to grab the bus to work, I noticed a stray envelope on the ground next to my porch. My porch is slightly raised, up about 4 steps and made of bricks and stone. On both sides are those ugly green generic bushes that need to be trimmed once in a while, sitting about two feet in front of the house. My mailbox is attached to the house, to the left of the porch and above the bushes.

The envelope was laying behind the bush towards the house.

It was clearly a PWE, so it meant cards. Either an eBay purchase or a TTM.

As it turned out, it was an eBay purchase. The ground was a little damp, but luckily it didn't rain last night, and the card was A-okay.

So what card did I save? This beauty:
God, late '90s cards are so awesome. I think about this more every day. I like 1997/1998 cards so much more than today's uninspired crap, and even more than vintage. It's true.

This is a super shiny Artists Proof from 1998 Score Rookie Traded. Was surprised I didn't have it, but glad to now own it, and glad I didn't have to re-purchase it because of poor aim by my mailman.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Utz Utz Baby

In the past few weeks, I've seen a lot of card folks posting about 2019 Topps Utz promo cards. Essentially, this is a 100 card promo set inserted into snack pack bags of Utz chips. The cards look just like a 2019 Topps card, but with an unmistakable Utz logo on the front, similar to Topps Opening Day.

Also similar to Opening Day - no foil!
Mark Hoyle was kind enough to send me Didi Gregorius, the first card I've received from this promo. I'm all for food-issue and other oddballs, and given how few of them we get in modern times, this is a nice win for the card collecting community.

The rest of the Yankees checklist includes:

4 Aaron Judge
9 Johnathan Loaisiga RC
12 Gleyber Torres
37 Chance Adams RC
42 Aroldis Chapman
53 Didi Gregorius
54 Miguel Andujar
55 Luis Severino

And the complete checklist:

1 Buster Posey
2 Yadier Molina
3 Brandon Crawford
4 Aaron Judge
5 Lorenzo Cain
6 Aaron Nola
7 Whit Merrifield
8 Wade LeBlanc
9 Jonathan Loaisiga
10 Adam Jones
11 Dansby Swanson
12 Gleyber Torres
13 Javier Baez
14 Steven Duggar
15 Kyle Tucker
16 Shin-Soo Choo
17 Jesus Aguilar
18 Sean Reid-Foley
19 Nick Markakis
20 Kohl Stewart
21 Francisco Arcia
22 Khris Davis
23 Shohei Ohtani
24 Ryan Zimmerman
25 Nolan Arenado
26 Kris Bryant
27 J.D. Martinez
28 Ramon Laureano
29 Byron Buxton
30 Joey Votto
31 Blake Snell
32 Clayton Kershaw
33 Carlos Correa
34 Todd Frazier
35 Corey Dickerson
36 Ronald Acuna, Jr.
37 Chance Adams
38 Trea Turner
39 Mookie Betts
40 Paul DeJong
41 Austin Hedges
42 Aroldis Chapman
43 Josh Harrison
44 Rhys Hoskins
45 Max Scherzer
46 Willson Contreras
47 David Bote
48 Justin Turner
49 Miguel Cabrera
50 J.T. Realmuto
51 Robinson Cano
52 Starling Marte
53 Didi Gregorius
54 Miguel Andujar
55 Luis Severino
56 Jonathan Schoop
57 Jake Bauers
58 Trey Mancini
59 Kyle Schwarber
60 Salvador Perez
61 David Price
62 Dee Gordon
63 Nick Pivetta
64 Francisco Lindor
65 Joey Gallo
66 Corey Kluber
67 Jeff McNeil
68 Jake Arrieta
69 Freddie Freeman
70 Brad Keller
71 Jose Ramirez
72 Julio Teheran
73 Mike Clevinger
74 Cedric Mullins
75 Eric Hosmer
76 Matt Carpenter
77 Harrison Bader
78 Justin Verlander
79 Miles Mikolas
80 Mike Trout
81 Jacob deGrom
82 Corey Seager
83 Jose Altuve
84 Michael Conforto
85 Juan Soto
86 Charlie Blackmon
87 Johnny Cueto
88 George Springer
89 Marcus Stroman
90 Jose Quintana
91 Jake Lamb
92 Christian Yelich
93 Brian Anderson
94 Eddie Rosario
95 Matt Chapman
96 Edwin Diaz
97 Ryon Healy
98 Paul Goldschmidt
99 Ryan O'Hearn
100 Nicholas Castellanos

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Very purpley

I've had a decent run of new Ty Hensley pickups lately, but this one is a definitely a highlight:
That's a 2012 Bowman Draft Purple Refractor autograph, numbered to just 10. Outside of the Superfractor, the only autographs I'm missing from this run of his cards are the gold (which I swear I have somewhere but it's not listed as a 'have', and the red). The red will be toughest to find. There I a gold on COMC for $100 right now. Noooope.

The purple popped up on eBay, and I won it for the minimum .99 bid. I tend to think sellers are still confused when I'm the only bidder on their YANKEES FIRST ROUND PICK LOW NUMBERED AUTOGRAPH OMG. But in all honestly, I'm really the only market for Hensley. I've tried to tell sellers this to get them to come down on prices, but it usually doesn't go well.

The purple refractors tend to be some of the nicer ones, so I'm very pleased to add this. And as it becomes harder and harder to find new cards of Ty, I am starting to appreciate adding a new one more than ever.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Sparkly Seigs

I know most current collectors are turned off by the lack of logos in Panini and Leaf products.

Sure, I wish there were logos too. But if you can see beyond that, you'd see some of the better looking products coming from some of these companies (minus 2019 Donruss).

Leaf is a confusing one to me. I have no idea where their products are sold or who opens them. However, I do know that they produce some semi-decent looking sets, many that include the game's top prospects. And this offers the chance to pick up some decent autographs if you don't feel like paying Bowman prices.
Take this card from Leaf. It's shiny and sparky and overall a very good looking card of 2018 Yankees first round pick Anthony Seigler. It set me back $5, or about 20% of the cost of his Bowman autograph.

And the seller, guessing I was a Yankees fan, threw this into the package as well. I'll take it!
Unless a guy makes it big, an autograph like this isn't a big investment that will turn into major cash one day. But it is a nice way to build up a collection of some prospects without breaking the bank.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Diamond Kings 16 years apart

The same day this brand new Tino Martinez card came in the mail, I picked up a fat pack of 2019 Panini Donruss Diamond Kings.
First off, the Tino is a framed black parallel #'d to 100. I'm a little "meh" on the card, likely because it's him as a Cardinal, but at the end of the day it's a low-numbered Tino that I needed. It's also #875 in my collection.

Onto the 2019 stuff, I was at Target, hoping to find some Bowman. There wasn't any, but I did see some blasters and packs of 2019 Diamond Kings. The fat pack was hanging under a 4.99 price tag.

Except it didn't ring up that way.

It came up as $9.99. Yuck! I did not want to pay that much for 20 Diamond King cards. But I was too lazy to get out of line and go put it back, so I sucked it up and paid for it. I guess the $5 was worth not having to return to the card aisle and start the checkout process over again.
Outside of the price tag, I think the set looks great. Team color designs, and outside of the whole no-logo thing, one of the sharpest sets this year.
I even pulled a Mantle, and felt good about it. It's nice not having Topps shove Mantle down our throats, and it's starting to feel special once again to pull a card of him. Yay, Mantle estate!
I don't care too much about manager cards in general, but it's cool to see some of the old times ones featured in this set.
The framed cards also look really nice.
Here are a couple of the non-base design cards I pulled. All look pretty good, although the Squires card seems out of place with the classic-looking design of the rest of the cards. Still, Jimenez cards are solid pulls these days and he'll go into my box of guys like Soto and Acuna. You know, the ones who are going to pay for my kids' college educations some day.

Outside of the price tag, a really nice set that probably won't get the love it deserves, but it does kick the crap out of 2019 Donruss.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Sports wagering, with interest

I like to bet a little. Not a lot. Just a little.

I'll never be someone to throw down massive sums of money on betting, but a little skin in the game? Sure, why not? Plus, sports wagering is now legal in the state in which I reside, and many others are on the way, and on the way quite soon. It's going to be mainstream here in the US (if it isn't already), and frankly, I'm glad to see us catch up with the rest of the world on that front.

But one does not need to bet in just cash. Cards are a solid form of wagering!

I'm not talking about buying Bowman, which is a form of gambling in its own right. I'm talking about cards as the payment for a friendly gentleman's wager.

In December, when it was announced that my alma mater, Syracuse, would be taking on the hometown squad of Bob Walk The Plank, West Virginia University, in the prestigious Camping World Bowl, we decided to make a friendly wager out of the ordeal. Loser would buy the other a $10 card of their choice, related to the school that won. I think those were the terms.

Syracuse ended up winning the game 34-18, although admittedly it wasn't a fair fight. WVU was without their stud QB, Will Grier, who decided to sit out the game to avoid the risk of injury heading into the NFL Draft. Plus, for a perennial bowl-bound team like WVU, I can't image this game felt too big for them. For Syracuse, the game was a culmination of their best season in years, with a lot of optimism for the future with a solid team and a great coach. The game felt like it meant a little more for the Orange because of the way the last two decades have gone.

Regardless, Matt is a man of his word, and this was the card I chose:
I'll always have a soft spot for Malachi Richardson due to his performance in the 2016 NCAA Tournament, so I felt like owning an autograph of him in a Syracuse jersey was the way to go.

Matt decided to charge himself some interest for a delated payment, which I wasn't expecting, and sent four additional cards my way:
The Gleyber/Adams dual relic is awesome! Matt said he actually pulled it from a pack, which makes it even cooler.
The Leyritz buyback autograph is very cool, and then Winfield jersey is great. There's even some dirt on it! I appreciate the low-numbered mini of future Hall Of Famer CC Sabathia, as well.

Thanks for the bet and following through, Matt!

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Three I needed? I'll take it

As anyone who has a large player collection knows, it's hard to get a big lot of cards and find ones you've needed. I've bought large lots on eBay just hoping for one or two I needed.
Other bloggers are always well-intentioned and include cards of one's favorite player in trade packages, although in most instances it ends up being a dupe. I just sent PK Steinberg about 1,000 Kruks, and I'm sure he had them all.

Earlier this week, John of Johnny's Trading Spot sent me two team bags of Tino Martinez cards.  I certainly appreciated the package, and John included a note hoping that I might find a few I needed, knowing most would likely be dupes.

Well, I found three! I'd call that a success.
They were all from 2003 while Tino was with the Cardinals. Admittedly my Tino collection is a bit light from 2002-2004 while he was a Cardinal and Ray. I just haven't been too diligent with those years, but always willing to add them to my collection.

John, thanks for thinking of me, and for adding three new Tinos to my collection!