Sunday, August 30, 2020

Cole Train picking up steam

So far, Gerrit Cole has been as advertised.

He's been a but homer-prone, but on the whole, has been excellent. He does what he's supposed to each time out there, and I look forward to his starts. The Yankees scheduled has worked out in a way, between weather delays and Covid postponements, where it seems like he takes the ball every other game.

I love his competitiveness and drive each time he's out there, as well. He's a beast.

Adding Gerrit Cole cards to my TCDB has helped open up a few trades, too. I don't plan on collecting Cole hardcore or anything. But adding some of his new cards to my waitlist helps me make some smaller swaps.

The last two Coles to come in via TCDB all came on nice, simple swaps.

I traded a few 2020 Topps Chrome base cards for this guy, from 2020 Donruss Optic. Nice shot of Cole from spring training. And look, he does have a logo on his hat...from New Era!
The next is a photo-shopped Cole from 2020 Topps Series 2 - honoring whatever set was 35 years ago. Super easy trade for five 2020 Bowman commons.
This last Cole wasn't from TCDB, but was more of an impulse buy the day after the MLB season started. It's my first - and only - 2020 Topps NOW card. I can't believe how many of these I bought a few years ago. But alas, they've lost their luster with me a bit. Still, I wanted muy first card of Cole that wasn't photoshopped or from Spring Training.
I'm sure I'll continue to pick up Cole cards, as it makes me a more agreeable traders on TCBD, a great place to trade.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

A smaller, yet bigger milestone

Yesterday, I collected my 125th unique Ty Hensley card.

While that number pales in comparison to 1,000 Tino cards (or 3,000 Andrew McCutchen cards!), I feel like it's almost more impressive than my Tino collection.

Ty just doesn't have a lot of cards. TCDB lists 246, all between 2012 and 2014. Most of what's left are basically 1/1s - superfractors and printing plates.

Ones I need for my collection just don't pop up too frequently. What's left on COMC is vastly overpriced and has just been sitting there for years. I've never found one on TCDB that I need.

So I'm left to my eBay saved search. I probably average about 3-4 new Ty Hensley cards per year, at this point.

To me, that's why it's more impressive than my Tino collection. I can always find Tinos I need, plus he keeps getting autographs in modern releases. But anytime a new Ty card pops up on eBay, it feels like a minor miracle.

The latest was a 2012 Panini Extra Edition Gold Prizm, numbered 10 of 10. I have a lot of cards from this set, including most of the autographs. But I don't recall ever seeing this card. I even had some bidding competition, but ultimately won it.
Ty has also had a tremendous year for Utica of the USPBL. Yes, many independent leagues have been playing this summer! As of August 21, Ty was 7-0 with a .75 ERA and 42Ks in 36 IP. In a normal MiLB world, I'd have to imagine Ty would have been scooped out of independent ball by now and assigned to a minor league organization.

Please keep me in mind if you ever come across a rare Ty Hensley card!

Saturday, August 22, 2020

New discoveries while player collecting

Player collecting can be fun, regardless if the player is active or retired.

I know it doesn't appeal to some of you, and some even feel the need to be vocal about the way someone chooses to collect since focusing on one player doesn't appeal to them. But when a new-to-you card pops up, it can be just as exciting as learning about an old oddball set, a variation you never knew existed, or coming across a rare minor league card.

A few days ago, Twitter friend Pat sent me a DM asking if I needed any 1997 Donruss Team Set issue Tinos. I figured it was the blue colored team set version I had seen 100 times, but then Pat dropped this exact picture in our direct message:

I figured I had seen all the 1997 Donruss Tino Martinez card. But a red foil bottom with gold trim?

That is new. And that's why player collecting can still be fun, even when players have thousands of cards.

It turns out these Pennant Edition parallels fell 1:6 in Donruss Team Set packs. 1997 Donruss Team Sets were a 153-card set featuring 11 teams. I have definitely received my fair share of Yankees from the "base" team set with the blue foil.
It's a sharp looking card, with gold foil on the design, a red band of foil along the bottom, and a "Pennant Edition" stamp along the upper right side of the card. The back has gold trim as well.

What a great addition to my Tino collection. And what a great reminder of why player collecting can be fun for those of us who collect this way.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

2020 Chrome without stalking a card distributor

This past week, I was able to open two hanger boxes of 2020 Topps Chrome.

Contrary to what Napkin Doon tells you, I didn't bring a folding chair to Target and wait for the card distributor. I'm pretty sure we don't even have card distributors here any more. I ordered a few of these hanger boxes on Amazon while the price was still reasonable.

And while it is not my preference to go that route, I don't see any other alternative if I want to open a few packs. So it's been easier for the cards to show up at my door.

I'll give a spoiler alert now: I did not pull a Luis Robert RC. I can feel everyone exiting this post now.

Each hanger box came with 5 packs (4 cards each...which I will never get used to), as well as a pack of Topps Update Preview. I've seen some others have different Topps brand previews, like Gallery and Fire. Mine were basically more flagship-looking cards.

The boxes themselves were ok, with a a few solid pulls and definitely enough to make my money back if I so choose. So here's a bit of a show and tell. 

I only got one Yankee throughout the two boxes: Gleyber Torres. Good one to get. If anyone has a Gerrit Cole or Aaron Judge for trade, let me know.
The rarest card I got was a green refractor of a Red Sox, of course. These actually fall 1:349, so a pretty good pull and numbered to 99. This is currently on eBay with little to no interest. I'm not sure if that's because the Red Sox stink or because no one really cares for JD Martinez or because it's not a RC.
I did snag four other refractors (1:3) and a prism refractor (1:6). 
While no Luis Robert, I did get a few solid rookies, like Bo Bichette (who may end up being better than Luis Robert), and Dustin May, who has lost his lead of best ginger in baseball to Clint Frazier these past few days. The race is still wide open though.
And while I'm very sick of all the reprints, they do tend to look nice when they are refractory.
My Future Star (1:12) was also a good one, and indeed I agree that he is a future star.
I'm not really sure I get the purpose of Update Previews since most of these guys already have flagship RCs. But hey, different photos? They came 5 to a pack and is an 8 card set, and the only one I didn't get across the two boxes was Jesus Luzardo, which I already ordered on eBay to complete the mini set. Nice to have dupes of Yordan and Lewis, which I'll probably throw on eBay as well to recoup some of the cost of the boxes.
So there it is. No fancy Luis Robert, but still some nice cards. I uploaded most of the common base to TCDB, but if you're looking for a team or player, let me know and I'll see if I have it for you.

Friday, August 14, 2020

The Summer of PWEs

Holy moly. This summer is going fast.

For being stuck at home, the summer is sure finding a way to move quickly, as most summers do. I expected this one to drag, but here were are, mid-August.

Since it's really been the summer of PWEs, I thought I'd show off a few that have tricked in over the last few weeks.

Coach Tom sent a good one with a few different fun cards. The highlight for me was this Aaron Judge Syracuse Orange parallel from Big League.
A few other Big Leaguers. I love getting Gerrit Cole Yankee cards!
A couple Tinos! The diecut Retrospectives is a sweet design. I love the colors, too.
And as he tends to do, Tom sent me a few HOFers for my sons binder!
Thanks, Coach!

Kerry from Cards on Cards hit me up with a good PWE as well. I always like his, as they tend to be a mixture of Yankees and Knicks.
I wish the Knicks were in the Bubble since Kevin Knox cards would be worth like $50 a pop if he had a good game.
I like this CC from Big League, as well. Why didn't Topps give him a tribute card in flagship? That seems like an odd omission when a future HOFer hangs 'em up, right?
And finally a quick swap from Bru! I like the Defensive Wizards insert set as well. Players in outer space always goes over well with me.
I hope a lot of stuff from Covid time goes away, but I hope the PWE momentum continues to stay.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

To 1,000 and Beyond!

I did it!

I crossed the 1,000 Tino Martinez unique card number! I've been counting down to this number for quite some time. I even planned to maybe sit on 999 and then splurge for something really out there.

But it didn't go that way, because when does anything ever go the way you plan?

The way I actually hit 1,000 was better than what I would have planned myself. It was a way in which many of my cards have come to me: through a generous act of kindness from a card blogger.


I was at 998 when a PWE full of Tino Martinez cards came in from Bob at The Best Bubble. Upon flipping through, I thought I had them all and these would go in my Tino dupes.

But on closer inspection, there were in fact exactly two cards I needed. At that put me at a cool 1,000!

Card 999 was a blue showdown parallel from 2005 Donruss Heroes.
And card #1,000? This guy. A silver script from 2000 Upper Deck MVP.
Perfect! Maybe it's not a fancy low number or autograph, but coming from an unexpected PWE? I wouldn't have (silver) scripted it any other way, now that I think about it. That's what most of my Tino cards are, in fact. Cards from random, long since forgotten sets of the late '90's and early '00s.

Since then, I'm up to 1,004 Tino cards. Talk about being a player stalker, eh?

Blog friend and minor league card expert Alex sent me a really cool oddball I had laid eyes on, along with a note on the background of the card. I had never, ever seen it in all my years of eBay browsing. It was released as part of a 5-card set in 1999 that included Nolan Ryan, Dick Allen, Jeremy Burnitz, and Rankin Johnson. Alex and I both agreed we wished they used a different photo than the one that showed up on several Tino minor league cards. But hey, at least they zoomed in on. I appreciate Alex's gesture very much.
2020 has also seen even more Tino autographs flood the market. In fact, I have eight Tino's from 2020, and all of them include an autograph. I picked up these three after waiting for initial prices to drop, which...gasp...they did once the hot next thing came out.
Thank you to everyone has contributed to my 1K collection of Tino cards. It's been many of you since 2011, and I appreciate it!

Here's to the next 1K...maybe.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Ty Hensley chucks a no-no

Last night while browsing Twitter, I was greeted with a few tweets that made me really happy. Ty Hensley chucked a no-hitter for the Utica Unicorns of the USPBL!
First off, glad to see some of these independent leagues playing baseball this summer. I just found out the NJ Jackals in my area are open for business, which I wasn't expecting.

I was really happy to see Ty's personal achievement. From what I can tell via social media, he's put a lot of work into not only getting back on the mound, but honing his craft and improving. He frequently post videos that show major league velocity and spin rates, which isn't surprising for a former first rounder. He's still got it!

Ty has obviously always been very kind to me, so it continues to really make my day when I see good things happen to good people. But make no mistake, this was the result of hard work.

Congrats to Ty, and I look forward to watching how the rest of his season unfolds.

To celebrate, here are a few of my favorite Ty Hensley cards and collectibles.

Monday, August 3, 2020

An advanced mailday from Napkin Doon

Last week, a PWE showed up from the one and only Napkin Doon.

I still have hope one day Doon will fire up the blog, but he's definitely still and active collector. And that's good enough for me.

The highly of the PWE was this:
While that may look like a regular old Topps Series One card, it's so much more. Upon flipping the card over, it's an Advanced Stats parallel.
Unless you flip the card over, you'd never know. I actually pulled one of these in Series 2, and didn't realize it until I was logging card backs. Even then, it's just a serial number under the card number. I do wish there was a bit more to tell it apart, but I guess it makes for a nice surprise.

I don't mind the parallel itself. It's sort of fun to feature some of the advanced stats. I'm not opposed, not at all.

Nap threw in a few others, as well. I like the Albert Abreu Bowman pApEr parallel as well.
The five card PWE definitely packed a lot of punch. Thanks, Nap!

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Running has its benefits

I don't like to run. In fact, I hate it.

I don't find it therapeutic or mind-clearing. I don't look forward to doing it. I can't run to put my stress away for a few minutes. If anything, it makes it worse, as my mind wanders to work or all the things I have to do.

Plus, I'm not good at it. My body wasn't built for it. I've always been a fast runner in sports. In baseball, I hit toward the top of the order and frequently stole bases. In basketball, I was a quick defender and a point guard. But distance running? Not something I was made for.

And despite running fairly frequently, I can't seem to improve my time. I can't seem to run much quicker than 9-minute miles, which is really bizarre. You'd think improvement would come. But I also don't really care if I improve. Playing golf, I like to see more score go down. But running? Meh. I just don't care enough to get worked about it.

I run because it's basically the cheapest way for me to stay somewhat in shape and be healthy. That's it.

It does make me feel better when I am running for cause. I don't want to train for a long-distance race or anything, but signing up for a 5K is about my limit, and gives me the extra motivation I need.

So when Tony Burbs of Wrigley Roster Jenga explained that he was the chairperson of a virtual 5K, I decided to run for a cause. And two other blogger runners came with me - Peter of Baseball Every Night and Coach Tom of Waiting Til Next Year.

Virtual 5Ks have become a cool thing during the Pandemic. While it's a lot more fun to go run a race with people all around, virtual races have been a great way to keep an event alive. It just looks a little different.

Basically, everyone runs a 5K on their own time, and inputs their time into a database between certain dates. We all run different courses, but it's for the good of the event. I am convinced Peter ran in a straight downhill course, by the way.

Tony's cause was for St. Coletta's of Illinois, a social service agency for those with intellectual disabilities. His wife works there, and I believe that this is a big fundraiser for them. Definitely a worthy cause.

For a small entry fee, I joined the race, and even received a bib and a t-shirt.

My time came in at 28:33. That's a 9'12" pace. Again, about as fast as I can go for whatever reason.

Coach Tom finished right around my time, and Peter nearly won the thing with his blazing fast time.

Because he's an awesome dude, Tony also put up a raffle prize for his blogging buddies, and somehow I won. I feel guilty about that, as each of the other two guys were more than deserving. The prize was a very vintage 1936 Goudey Wide Pen Premium featuring Ethan Allen. Very, very cool collectible! I had never seen these, but it immediately when into my "good box."
Oh, and my "good box" is a specially marked box I showed my wife how to locate. If I ever croak, I told her this is the one you want to save. Do what you want with the rest.

Also good info for anyone who wants to rob me.

The run was for a great cause, and it was nice to have something to run for that's bigger than me. It led me to participate in a second digital 5K, the Yankees Virtually United 5K, which I clocked my time for just yesterday...and went slower than my St. Coletta's time. Oof. I hope to do two more this 5Ks this year.

Thanks, Tony. I hope the run was a resounding success!