Saturday, August 31, 2019

The Volpe-lmonster

Ok, Coach Tom, there's only one Vogelmonster. I won't try to steal this from you.

But the Yankees have a Killer V coming in a few years, and he goes by the name of Anthony Volpe, their 2019 1st round pick out of NJ. The Yankees signed Volpe away from Vanderbilt, and he spent his first season at rookie ball Pulaski this year. He hit .215 in 150 PAs, although showed good patience with a .349 OBP.

I don't put much stock into a high schoolers first stint in pro ball. They are most likely away from home for the first time, playing deep into the summer after their high school season end. There's a lot going on. Just going through the reps and preparing like a pro is valuable experience.

I sent Volpe a TTM request earlier this summer, and this past week received these two cards in return:
Awesome! Love snagging a first rounder's autograph.

I look forward to seeing how Volpe progresses in his first full season next year.

Sunday, August 25, 2019


Weird title, I know. But it does have a meaning.

Yesterday, after having to work an event in Philadelphia all day (p.s. live events suck), I got home to find the last Sports Illustrated For Kids (SIFK) magazine waiting for me. I've mentioned before that I get the magazine by using unwanted airline miles from a carrier I no longer really use. It's better than them just sitting in an account gathering dust.

I never actually read the issue. Sometimes my son does, but once in while. But I always first rip out the customary sheet of cards. If he reads it, great. If he doesn't, into the trash it goes.

This month I was pleased to notice another Yankee featured:
DJ LeMahieu! (DJLM)

Cool! I don't have many LeMahieu Yankee cards yet. At least not off the top of my head. DJ has been a godsend this year. Like many fans, I was confused when the Yankees signed him to a 2-year, $24-million contract, closing the door on signing Manny Machado. I remember LeMahieu making All-Star teams and always hitting for a high average, but hadn't really seen him play much.

And all he's been with the Yankees is an absolutely machine, hitting the ball hard nearly every time up and playing great D between 2nd, 3rd, and 1st. He's currently leading the AL in hitting. He's a joy to watch each and every day, a player you can't really appreciate until you watch him daily on your team.

He's definitely a great player to feature in a kids magazine...and for an adult who gets a kids magazine.

Friday, August 23, 2019


When sophomore 3B Miguel Andujar went down with a shoulder injury at the beginning of the season, it was a tough situation for the Yankees. With Didi Gregorius already out recovering from Tommy John surgery, it looked like the left side of the infield that was so good offensively last year would take a hit.

The plan was for DJ LeMahieu to shift over to 3B. Giovanny Urshela, a light-hitting, excellent-fielding 3B was called up for depth, and made his Yankees debut on April 6.

From there, he didn't look back. He hit .345 in April while playing sparkling defense. He took the Yankees 3B job and ran with it, freeing up LeMahieu to focus on 2B until Didi was back. As if playing a Gold Glove-caliber 3B wasn't enough, he continued his offensive outburst, hitting in the .330s and developing unexpected power. Hitting .240 with little power and his defense would have worked. Hitting .330 with 20-HR power? Completely unexpected.

As of writing this, he's at .336 with 18 homers and 66 RBIs. He'll qualify amongst the batting leader soon. He's only 27, so perhaps he's put it together. Or maybe he's a one-hit wonder. Time will tell.

I first came across Urshela in-person at an Indians game in June, 2015. I remember chuckling at the name, as it reminded me or Ursula from The Little Mermaid.

I look forward to Urshela showing up in card products later in the year, but for now, Matt Prigge of Summer of 74 hooked me up with these two minor league Gio cards. I had a Gio 2015 Topps RC at some point, but I shipped it off to him in a TTM request earlier this season, and haven't received it back. Of course, that has become a card that now sells for a few bucks a pop.

Regardless, I love these minor league cards, and I thank Matt for sending them along!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Johnny delivers a contest prize

A week or two ago, there was a pretty quick contest over at Johnny's Trading Spot. First 10 comments won a prize. I was number 8. Easy enough!

My prize came quickly, as Johnny never takes long to send anything out.
The grand prize was this Hall of Fame Heroes stand set. I left the shrink wrap on for now, although I do feel like I have to open it and enjoy. I'm not saving it for anything! Still, sometimes I have a hard time with whether or not to crack something open.

John also threw in a team bag full of goodies, including a ton of Yankees minor league cards that should be fun for TTMing.
Thanks, John!

Friday, August 16, 2019

Here come the Tinos

In my initial post about Tino being a part of Allen & Ginter, I noted that since he had a Topps contract now, he'd probably show up in a bunch of products.

Looks like the prediction is somewhat coming true, as he's been included as an autograph subject in both Topps Tribute and the upcoming Archives product. Chasing down new Tinos, especially autographs, is not something I was expecting in 2019. Oy!

At least there are some base cards, and Kin from Beans Ballcard Blog was kind enough to send me a couple A&Gs so I didn't have to purchase them myself.
He sent me a few of the base cards, one of the hot box gold, and two minis the normal back and the A&G back. I am pretty clueless when it comes to A&G and am not in the know with the various types of backs. I'll have to take inventory at some point.

Kin, I appreciate you looking out for me! Thank you.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

A king-like PWE

Of all the card packages that find their way to me, the unexpected PWE is my favorite.

Sure, a bubble mailer full of cards usually yields some awesome results, but there's just something about that PWE!

The latest came from Colbey over at Cardboard Collections. It looks like he broke some 2019 Diamond Kings, and sent me six Yanks that he scored:
Overall, I like these designs a lot. The DK cards over the last few years are all starting to blend together at this point, but year in and year out they put out a nice, solid product that doesn't get much love because of the lack of logos. I thought the set this year looked a little better than they have the past couple.

I bought one fat pack of these this year, but getting six Yanks in one shot is awesome!

Thanks, Colbey!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

The National comes to me!

Unlike most collectors, The National isn't really a bucket list thing for me. If I go at some point, cool. If I don't, I'm not worried. Most of the pictures I see on Twitter give me anxiety versus envy. Even when the event moves to Atlantic City, about a two hour drive from me, I don't plan to be there. If it ever finds its way in to the Javits Center in NYC (doubtful due to travel and accommodation costs), I'll probably pop in for a day.

But what I do appreciate the most about The National is when others take time out of their day and set aside their own want lists to help fellow collectors out. The fact that someone is going through bins and bins of cards, comes across one, and immediately thinks, "Hey, I'll pick this up for so and so" is a gesture that really blows me away.

I think that just goes to show what an impressive community we have here, and is certainly a bright spot in an increasingly negative hobby.
In this case, Paul from Scribbled Ink came across a Tino and thought he'd pick it up for me. And I appreciate it, especially because I needed it. And as fate would have it, I was outbid for this exact card on eBay earlier this week in a $.99 + free shipping auction. It was meant to be!
Paul, thanks so much for taking a small portion of your day at The National to think of me. This is now Tino #887 for me. 900 is on the horizon!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Contest winnings from Padrographs

I've been a bit slow to post about some great card packages that came this spring, and my sincerest apologies to those who sent, namely Rod and Kerry!

The first I'll get to is Rod's from Padrographs, so Kerry's cards will have to wait for another day, although they are finally scanned. Rod held a contest, which ended up being a card draft of sorts. Here's the card I chose from the list:
There was no huge reason I chose this card. I picked towards the end of the list, and out of what was available, a numbered card of a team's Top 30 prospect seemed the way to go. According to pipeline, Pavin Smith is Arizona's 15th best prospect, and is currently in AA ball.

Rod, being the generous dude he is, also sent some awesome Yankees.
This is the first 2019 Topps Total card I've received. This is a red parallel (I assume!), numbered to just 10. Luckily this card didn't have surface peeling like a lot of the ones I've seen.

Probably the coolest card - if you can call it that - is this card/coin combo of Aaron Judge from Baseball Treasure. It's cool, and puts those old Pinnacle Coin cards to shame. The Judge replica is pretty good, as well. What a unique card!
Speaking of Judge, here are a couple others that were new to me, both from last year's Big League.
While I've made it known I'm not the biggest Big League fan, I am happy to have these two Gleyber Torres cards anyways, especially with the 2018 being his rookie. He gets overshadowed a lot, but he's a special player and I'll take any of his RCs.
And another RC:
I liked this Grapefruit League insert as well. I thought the 2019 Series One Spring Training inserts were some of the better inserts this year, you know, for a 2019 set since none of them have good inserts anymore. I thought the designs were nice, but I wish they were less flat and could have used some shiny or sparkles or foil. But the concept was decent and the cards looked pretty great compared to the other inserts.
I think, although am not certain, that this is my first Paxton card as a Yankee. He's been pretty "meh" this season, but better as of late. The potential is there, but his control hasn't been good. He has a bad knee and that could be affecting him. Still, I like that he has the ability to shut down a lineup on any given night, I just hope we see it more!
Lastly, this is one of my very favorite Yankee cards, and I always smile when I get one.
Rod also included a 1986 Fleer pack. In addition to having the wrapper, which I still use for my various arts and crafts, here was the best card:
Thanks for the awesome package, Rod!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Timely redemption arrival

I was worried they wouldn't come, but finally my 2019 Bowman 1989 Buyback autographs of Tino Martinez have arrived!

I started seeing others in the set pop up on eBay, and admittedly got nervous Topps wasn't going to track Tino down to sign his batch. But then I got an out-of-the-blue email from Topps saying that my cards had shipped!

In all, I received both autographs that I was supposed to. The first redemption was one I pulled on my own, while the second was a gift from Collecting Cutch:
I was surprised to see these were #d to 50, since that wasn't apparent from the redemption card. I was also surprised that I didn't receive sequentially numbered cards. Were they pulled at different times to ship? Randomly? Maybe the cards were never in numerical 1-50 order to start with.

Secretly, I was hoping for #24/50, but it wasn't meant to be. I did some digging to see if I could find any significance in #s 9 or 49 as it related to Tino's career. I was able to find a good nugget for each number:

9 - The number of post-season HRs Tino hit.
49 - The number of RBIs Tino had in 2005, his final season.

The cards used in the buyback autos are a little worn. I wonder how Topps sources buyback cards? Do they have a warehouse of old cards? Do they strike up a deal with COMC for the original cards they need? Does an intern scour ebay/sportlots/etc for the designated number of copies? Maybe Sooz knows!

Regardless, I'm happy to get these. A replacement autograph really would have stunk.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

I thought the Glossies would be a little...Glossier

"That John Denver is full of sh*t, man."

That was the line that popped into my head when my 2019 Topps All & Ginter Tino Martinez Glossy Mini card arrived. It is a 1/1, and my first modern day Tino 1/1!
I wasn't sure why, but the card didn't seem very glossy. It would be easy to flip right past in a stack of minis. Luckily I knew I had it coming to me, but I wonder how many of these get overlooked by people ripping wax.

I spent a lot more on this card than I planned (and I blame Zippy Zappy). I made what I felt was a low offer to a seller on eBay, and it was accepted. However, even the "low" offer was a lot more than I typically spend on cards.

Still, a Tino 1/1 from 2019? Sign me up!

And if you have a stack a of minis, take another look, because you might have a glossy without even knowing it!