Friday, January 19, 2018

2 Carlos and some Red

After my last 2 posts have been rather long, this one will be short and sweet.  Before I left for the WWU, I had one trade envelope arrive on Saturday from TCDB member SaveDaKid.  It was a nice small trade that brought some colored parllels.

Target red parallel cards go great with the Cardinals uniform.  These 3 are from 2013.

Wal-Mart blue parallels do not look bad either, but I prefer blue refractors a little better.  The bottom Beltran card is from 2012 Update while the top on is a 2013 Heritage insert.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Cardinals Winter Warm Up Day 2

Despite a light dusting of snow around St. Louis, my son and I had no problem getting back to the WWU for its final day on Monday.  This time it was only a 20 minute drive from our hotel.  We arrived about 8:30 to join the crowd of 100 people or so that were waiting in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency until the doors to the second floor opened at 9:00.  Either the clocks were fast or the people in charge felt sorry for us because we got in about 10 minutes early.  That was helpful considering we had a busier day than Sunday and 2 less hours to get things done.  WWU hours are from 9-5 on Saturday and Sunday, but only 9-3 on Monday.

The schedule shows that Monday is slowest day, but not for us.  We had autograph tickets for 12 different players, compared to 7 on Sunday. 

Andrew Knizner made to Double A in his first season.  Notice his name is misspelled on the top card.  The bottom poster was given out at a Peoria Chiefs game last year on a autograph Sunday.  Knizner was in Sprinfield already, so he was the only one we needed to complete it.  We got to of these signed.  His auto was $5 each.

  Costello was a freebie who I am running out of cards for him to sign. 

Mabry was also free.

This was my first time getting Politte at the WWU even though he is a regular.  His auto was free.

The Benes brothers are also regular WWU signers who are free.  Both are two of the nicest guys there.

Last year was the first time team officials signed autos.  I got team owner Bill Dewitt II on this 2011 World Series ball last year.  This year I added his son team president Bill Dewitt III.  Next year I hope to add former GM John Mozeliak.  Dewitt was a freebie.

Brad Thompson does some work for Fox Sports Midwest's coverage of Cardinals games.  He is a regular that was free.

Robinson works in the Cardinals scouting department.  He was our last free auto of the day.

Jack Flaherty was my first auto of the day.  His auto was $10 each.  All the paid signers had a limit of 3 tickets except for Molina who was one per.  I had four things to get signed, so I bought another ticket off of Craigslist for $15.

Like Dejong and Bader the day before, I had his sign a ticket from his debut game.

 Flaherty did not fair so well in the 2017 Futures game, giving up 2 runs in one inning. 

During our trip to see the Springfield Cardinals last year, Flaherty was one of the pregame signers.  My kids love hanging these type of pictures in their bedrooms. 

Our next autographs are my favorites.  I attended my first WWU in 2010 to meet Ray Lankford for the first time.  He was also there in 2012, but not on a day I attended.  I was not going to miss him this time.  His auto was $10 each.

Lankford was scheduled to sign for 2 hours.  We met him with about 10 minutes left and 30-40 people still in line, so he did not take the time to add any inscriptions.  It was still nice to get his debut ticket signed.  He was surprised anyone would save something like this.

I have had this game used bat for a few years now.  The auto really stands out a lot better in person.

The Cardinals team store had some used helmets for $20 each.  I was lucky to snag one on Sunday morning.  They were all sold out by Sunday afternoon.  There is not MLB hologram to tell who used this helmet.  It may have only been a BP helmet, but it was for a lefthander like Lankford and for only $20 it will look good on my display shelf.

Our last autograph of the day was Matt Carpenter.  I had bought this Topps 10x14 during 2016 Black Friday with the intent of having Carp sign it last year, but he did not make it to the WWU in 2017 because of an ice storm.  I had to store this for a year, but one positive is his auto was $60 this year instead of $75 like last year.

Besides the helmet, I also bought a 2017 Springfield Cardinals team set for $5.
That was it besides a $2 tshirt for my son and a $15 hoody for my daughter.  There were other free items besides autographs.

Fox Sports always has a booth where you can take a virtual picture behind a studio desk.  They also passed out these cards.  I grabbed a few of each for some other Cardinals collectors, but I bet I saw more of the Rosenthal cards in trash cans than people actually took home.

My son came away with a ton of free things.  I have mentioned before about the kids room.  They have inflatable games like football and baseball toss, a few XBOX games to play, and a stage that the local science museum uses to put on some demostrations.  There is also have a give away table were they hand out various promotional items from previous years.  We had plenty of time to spend in the kids room since we were always the last group to get in the autograph lines.  Over the course of his 2 days, my son came away with all of this:

I had to stand on a chair just to get this all in one picture.  He came away with the following:

2018 WWU drawstring bag
Cardinals ball glove (too small for him to use, but not terrible quality)
Carlos Martinez youth jersey
Cardinals T shirt
Cardinals wiffle ball bat and ball
Poster featuring Dexter Fowler and Greg Garcia
David Eckstein SGA Bobblehead from 2016
4 Manager Mystery SGA Bobblehead from 2017.  These were given out out a game to fans 16 and older.  This set of four includes Red Schoendienst, Whitey Herzog, Joe Torre, and Tony LaRussa.  He got 2 Schoendienst, a Herzog, and a Torre.  I hope to trade the extra Schoendienst for a Laruss so he can have the full set.

It was a great trip that we will do again next year.  This was by far the least crowded of the 8 years I have went.  I think several things contributed to this: the Cardinals not making the playoffs for 2 years, a lot of the same alumuni guys signing free autographs year after year, and overcharging for some of the more popular players.  LaRussa signed at a show on Saturday for $50.  He was $75 at the WWU.  I know it all goes to charity, but people have their limits.  Some other prices I thought were out of line were Wacha for $50, Reyes for $50, and new Cardinals Marcell Ozuna for $100.  One of the workers said Ozuna only sold 150 of his 400 autos.  

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Cardinals Winter Warm Up Day 1

The weather improved from Friday to Sunday morning enough that my son and I were able to make the 2 hour drive to St. Louis for the Cardinals Winter Warm Up (WWU).  This is my 8th straight year going, and the third in a row that it has been just a guys weekend.  My daughter is not a fan of standing in lines, so my wife treated her to a shopping trip. 


We arrived shortly after the doors opened at 9:00.  One of my in-laws usually gets my passes as a Christmas present.  This year's pass was just a plain ticket, while all the previous years I went it was a nicer placard with some players photos on it.  Another change for this year were autograph tickets were mailed if they were bought before January 4th.  This eliminated a stop at the will call window that would take 30 minutes, so that was a nice plus just to be able to walk right in.

The autograph tickets used last year's game ticket design.  This has been common for the 8 years I have attended.  Before you get the player/alumni's signature, you go through four steps:  show your ticket to get in line, show it again to someone who is keeping track of the number of autos, have your ticket scanned, and then have it hole punched.  In my previous 7 years, the tickets were numbered and you lined up accordingly.  This year they changed to alphabetical order.  Having a last name that begins with S meant we would be in the back of the lines every time.  The players sign for one or two hours, so we would wait until the last 20-30 minutes to get in line.   

The programs are the same ever year.  There is short welcome by one of the team's front office members, then a a schedule of the 3 day's worth of signers and auctions.  There is also a map of the vendor area and a list of the presentations throughout the day.

Here is the Sunday schedule.  Our two days were filled with autograph lines, roaming the vendor area, and spending time in the children's play area.  The only presentation I have ever attended is by the minor league director, but this year it was on Saturday.  My son finds these talks boring and even fell asleep during one last year, so I decided to skip them.  Knowing he would have a lot of time in line, I chose to pick my battles. 

Here are the items we got autographed from Sunday in the order we got them.

Danny Cox is always one of the free signers at WWU.  I am slowly running out of different cards for him to sign.

Kyle McClellan was also a free signer.

Scott Terry was also free.

Harrison Bader had a $10 fee.  I had him sign a ticket from his debut game.  One nice thing about getting autos at WWU is most players do not mind adding inscriptions.  I was able to get the ticket for free from a friend who attended the game. 

Todd Worrell was also a free signer.  When tickets went on sale back on December 11, you could only get 2 each for the free signers.  I was hoping to find someone who had an extra ticket, but I could not.  Todd was nice enough to sign all 3 cards anyway. 

I spent $30 for Paul DeJong to sign his debut ticket.  My brother attended this game where DeJong homered on the first pitch he swung at.  He has changed his auto from his first certified cards to this fuller signature. 

Luke Weaver's auto was $25.  I bought this 10x14 reprint of his 2017 Topps Heritage card from the Topps website on Black Friday.  I was hoping to add Reyes to it at the WWU, but he signed on Saturday.  I also was not willing to pay $50 for his auto when his past signings were in the $30 range. 

By the time we got finished with Weaver, it was almost 5:00 closing time.  This was our light day as far as autos were concerned.  Other than Weaver, we did not stand in line for more than 15 minutes.  I cannot say any player stood out more than another.  All of them were polite, but there is little time for chit chat.  If all the player's tickets are sold, they sign 200 autos for 1 hour or 400 for two hours.  That is about 3 autos per minute.  Every player we got an auto from sold out.  I will say the younger guys were more talkative than I thought.  Bader, DeJong, and Weaver all asked my son something about his Little League season.


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

EBAY Win Brings #1 for 2018, Sort Of

One of my card related goals I set for 2018 was to acquire 5 new Ray Lankford cards.  Unless he is included in some 2018 set, my best hope to accomplish this is through the wonderful Topps Rediscover cards. 

This one had been on EBAY for a while, but I waited until I received my EBAY bucks to make the seller an offer.  For $2 delivered, this card arrived over the weekend.  Nothing flashy about it, but it is #1 for 2018.

I hope to have some better Lankford material posted this week.  My son and I made it to St. Louis for the Cardinals Winter Warm UP on Sunday and Monday.  We did not get back until yesterday evening, so I did not take the time to scan our goodies.  It was a busy two days, but a lot of fun.  Stay tuned for more details.

Friday, January 12, 2018

How Ironic

Today was suppose to be the start of one of my favorite weekends of the year.  The Cardinals Caravan and Winter Warm Up are always scheduled on MLK weekend in January.  I always take a four day weekend to take advantage of the fun.  Friday is the day we travel to Champaign to catch the free Caravan.  Last year all the caravans were cancelled to due an ice storm in St. Louis.  This year was more of the same.  Only 1 of the 6 caravans was cancelled, but my area received some sleet and snow that caused driving to be a hazard.  I chose not to make the 2 hour drive.  My son was disappointed, but at least he did not have school today.  We should be able to make it to St. Louis for the Warm Up on Sunday and Monday.  

The mail man was able to deliver me a package today from TCDB member KMack.

  Just what I needed today, more snow.

At least this snow completed a team set for me.

Some of the snow was even metallic.  I really hope this is the last fresh snow I see for a few days.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Trading Bases Trade #2

My second trade envelope from Monday's mail came from member Ron B.  I have highlighted quite a few care packages from Ron in the past year.  We have one of those open ended trades that just keeps going.  I sent him some Pirate inserts I found at the December card show.  He returned the favor with a great Cardinals stack.

These are my first 2017 Bowman Draft cards.  The Chrome card on the left is a refractor.  Perez was the Cardinals #1 pick in the 2016 draft.  He would have been a higher pick if he had not failed a drug test.  He spent last season in rookie and short season ball.  He did not set the world on fire, but I would guess he might move up to low A Peoria some time this year.

Two of the more recent 2017 sets I need to work on are Chrome Update and Topps Holliday.  I should be getting most of the Holliday set in a trade later this week. 

Topps Stickers should not be that hard to find, but they are for me.  It is always nice to receive some in a trade.  These are from 2015.

These four are my first from the 2017 set.

It was great to see Beltran win a World Series before he retired.  He is a borderline HOF player that player for 7 different teams, but always performed well in the post season.  This 2012 Update Orange card is numbered to 210.  The Pujols card is from 2009 Topps Ticket to Stardom.

The game used portion of the package was this dual relic Yadi from 2017 Diamond Kings.  The only green Cardinals jersey I can think of is from a St. Patricks's Day exhibition game, so I highly doubt Molina every touched this piece of fabric.  At least it is a sweet looking card. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Trading Bases Trade

My steady flow of trade envelopes continued on Monday.  Both packages were from Trading Bases members.  Today I will highlight the cards from member Jerry R.

I have a long way to go to complete the 1992 Conlon team set.   There are 49 Cardinals in it.  I still need 28 of them.

I did not eat much Tombstone Pizza in 1994, thus I had no idea about this card set.  I wonder if people back then went crazy for these cards like they did for the Marketside set in 2016. 

Topps Embossed only lasted one year.  The 1995 design was ok, but there was nothing that really stood out.  The Gold parallels were nothing special and scan about as horrible as some chrome cards.

 I think 1998 Pacific Online was one of my least favorite Pacific designs.  The web address nonsense at the top takes away from the player photo.  The only good thing about this set was the large checklist that included relief pitchers and bench players.  The Cardinals set has 28 cards.  I still need 6 of them.

I always have holes in my Topps Opening Day and Finest sets.  Finest cards from the mid 1990s can be hard to find, but the OD cards should not be.  I might have to make it a mini goal to complete some of these sets this year.

I am not a fan of Topps Chipz.  There is not a great way to store these things.  At least this finish my 2013 team set.