Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Big Queens and Little Queens

My first trade package of this week came on Monday.  I traded a handful of 2016 Gypsy Queen blue frame cards for a handful of 2016 Gypsy Queen Cardinals.

The lone hanger pack of GQ that I bought this year did not contain any Cardinals, so these 6 are a good start for my team set.  I believe there are 18 Cardinals in the set counting the sps.  Maybe I will get this set done before the end of the year.

One reason I do not buy a lot of GQ is the mini cards.  I will however take any Cardinals I can trade for.  I now have 2 of the Molina card.  Anyone need it (Brady)?


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Bench Trade

School started yesterday for my 2 kids.  With summer activities coming to an end, I was hoping to have a little more free time for baseball cards and trading.  After our discussion at the dinner table, I fear my hobby time may decrease.  My 6th grader will be involved in band, choir, dance, basketball, and volleyball, while my 3rd grader is doing soccer and basketball.  My wife is a stickler when it comes to writing all activities on a calendar so we can keep our schedules organized.  I believe from now until the end of September we have 3 free nights at home not counting weekends.  Goodbye free time, hello gyms and practice fields.

Yesterday's mail did provide me with a small chance to escape to my card room.  I received a nice bubble mailer from fellow Cardinals fan Tom of The Bench trading site.  I keep a box of Cardinals duplicates that Tom hit pretty hard in exchange for a large stack of 2016 Finest another trader already has spoken for.  I did mange to get a handful of Cardinals I needed also.

Although Topps limited the availability of 2016 Finest to certain dealers, singles can still be found pretty easily.  Tom sent close to 75 Finest singles in his package.  I kept these 3 Cardinals for my team set.
While this may look like one card, these are 2 minis from 2016 Gypsy Queen.  I think I like the look of them better as one.  Maybe Topps can make a new insert for 2017 called Team Tandems.
Last week I received the entire 2016 Ginter team set from another trader, so this Wacha is going into the duplicate box.  Wacha is currently on the DL with another shoulder problem.  There is a strong possibility he may become a reliever if his shoulder cannot hold up to the 150+innings required to be a starter. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Inserts from Latest Trade Package

Yesterday I highlighted the base cards from my latest trade package from Trading Bases member Ron B.  The package was huge and had about the same number of inserts as base cards.


 
Like the base cards, there was a good amount of cards from 2016.  The golds of course are numbered to 2016.  The McGwire is a nice change from some of the inserts Topps uses year after year. 

As I stated yesterday the 2016 Topps Chrome regular refractors are noted as such on the back.  I love the looks of the Martinez prism refractor.  I may try to make a team set of those.

Topps seems to have put Kolten Wong in every base & inserts set of every product this year.  I have no problem with that, just wish he was having a better season.  The Museum green parallel is numbered to 199, the Ginter mini is the A&G back version.  I follow the Cardinals minor league teams fairly close, but cannot tell you anything about Raffy Ozuna.  Without looking him up, I am guessing he is on a Rookie Ball team or maybe even the Domniican League. 

 2015 Panini Prizm had a ton of different parallels.  The Matt Adams is a Jackie Robinson 42 Prizm #ed to 42.  Heyward is a retail only Red Baseball Prizm.  Molina is just the regular Prizm parallel.  The Adams is my favorite of the three.

These 2 cards are my favorites out of the entire package.  The Wainwright is a 2014 Elite Status Purple Die Cut #ed to 50.  Bottomley is 2014 Panini Hall of Fame Crusade Red #ed to 75.  The scan does not do the Crusade justice.  With the refractor like finish, the card is really sharp in person.


 The Piscotty on the left is a rather bland 2015 Panini Contenders insert.  I am not a fan of the black & white photo.  I had to look twice an the 2015 Stadium Club Pendleton to discover it was the gold foil version.  I am not 100% sure, but I believe the 2016 Diamond Kings Carpenter is the regular framed version.  It is not numbered.


 Donruss had its share of press proofs variations through out the years.  The 2004 Renteria is a blue version #ed to 100.  The 1998 Politte gold is not numbered, but is limited to 500.  The 2002 Rookie Crusade Taguchi is numbered to 1500.  Not as sharp as the Bottomley Crusade, but still a nice card.

Rounding out the package are some cards I did not know how to group with the rest.  The Edmonds is a 2002 Upper Deck Plus #ed to 1125.  The 2004 Fleer Platinum Gall/Haren is a Silver Parallel  that is a 1/1.  Not really a true 1/1, just an EBAY 1/1 since it is numbered 1/100.

All in all this was a great package.  I needed every card and was able to knock of quite a few base cards on my wantlists.  Wish every week had a trade package like this.


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Too Many Hits for 1 Post

One of my favorite and most frequent trading partners is Ron B from the Trading Bases group.  He collects Pirates for himself and Yankees for his son.  He is able to find Cardinals on the cheap since he lives on the East Coast, while cards from his 2 teams are often found in the discount boxes at shows I attend.  I also provide him with a few IP autos from the Pirates Triple A team in Indianapolis.  I received a huge package from him this week in return for the Pirates autos from this post.  He sent 60 cards from my wantlists.  I will highlight the base cards in this post.

This 2013 Topps Heritage Minors Piscotty is the only base card I needed that was not from a 2016 set.  He seems to have hit a wall the last few weeks, but is still having a nice season at a much cheaper salary than the Cubs starting rightfielder.

Being a fan of the minor leagues, I love all Bowman brands.  Weaver will be the first of this group to appear for the Cardinals when he starts in Wrigley on Saturday.  Not bad for a guy drafted in 2014.


Hard to believe, but these are my first Cardinals from Topps Series 2.  I think there are 5 more to track down.

This is my first 2016 Finest card.  Not a big fan of the horizontal lines, but overall it is not a bad looking card.  Holliday is definitely on the down turn of his career.  It will be interesting to see how the Cardinals approach his $17 million option for next year.

These are also my first Stadium Club cards from 2016.  Topps did another solid job with Stadium Club this year.   I have seen a few other cards with the Arch in the background, but that scene never gets old.

Keeping with the theme, these are my first 2016 Chrome cards.  I agree with other bloggers about the clouds not being as annoying on the chrome cards.  One positive is Topps marked the refractors on the back. 


I do have a couple of Museum cards this year.  Rosy has had a rough 2016 in between losing the closer's roll and now being injured.  I wonder how his agent Boras will lobby for a big payday now.

Ron knocked out the entire base set of 2016 Ginter for me.

He even included the 2 SPs from the set.

These cards alone would have made a nice package, but he also included about 30 inserts.  Hope to highlight those in the next day or two.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Comparing an IP Auto vs a Certified Auto

I have been to Peoria 3 different times this season to watch a total of 5 games.  Each time I have been lucky enough to get an auto from pitcher Jake Woodford.  The Cardinals drafted him 39th overall in the 2015 draft.  He has pitched the entire season in Low A as a 19 year old and was named a mid season All Star.  While 3 other pitchers from the starting rotation have been promoted, Woodford remains in Peoria.  My guess is the Cardinals want him to experience the playoffs in September. 

Last week I received this 2015 Bowman Chrome certified auto that I won on EBAY for $4.50 delivered.
I had the non auto version of this card signed two weeks ago.
I think it is neat to compare how a player signs sitting down as opposed to signing at the ball park.  In the case of the IP auto, Woodford was signing quite a few that day because it was team auto day at the park.  The J, W, and f remain consistent in each case, but he shorten his first name to just the J and also shorten his last name to just 3 letters (if you want to call the last line the d in his name). 

These 3 cards I got signed in early June at a game.  Woodford was charting pitches in the stands that night.  Our seats were close to him, so after the game he signed for us.  Very similar to the 2 cards from 2 weeks ago, with the slight difference of the k in his first name.  Maybe since he only signed 3 cards he took a little more time. 

I will say Woodford has been very polite and even talkative the 3 times I have seen him this year.  It is nice to see a young player who was a high draft pick not be arrogant or self centered.  I wish him the best of luck and hope to see him in the Majors in 2-3 years.

Friday, August 5, 2016

More Autos in Peoria

When I go to watch minor league baseball, I try to go to 2 games in a series to make it worth my trip.  Last weekend was no different as I went to Chiefs games on Saturday and Sunday.  We were not able to watch BP on Sunday, but still had a good time.  How could you not at a minor league game?

The team store was running a storewide 20%  off sale all weekend.  My son wanted to get a team set, so on Saturday night we bought the 2015 & 2016 team sets.  After playing catch on the field for a few minutes, we hopped into the autograph line.  Every Sunday the team signs autos for kids for 15 minutes before the game.  My son thought it would be neat to try get his 2016 set signed.


Tyler Bray came out early and played catch with us for a few minutes.  Nice guy, but I doubt if he will get much past Double A.  He does have a sidearm delivery that hides the ball well, so maybe he will surprise some people.  The card on the left is from the 2016 set, the one on the right is from the 2015 set.
Sierra also signed his 2015 and 2016 cards.  He and Bray were the only 2 players on the current team with cards from both years.  Once again he was as nice as can be.

Jake Woodford has been one of the better starting pitchers for the Chiefs all year.  I think he is getting tired of signing autos, because he does not sign as much of his first name as he did back in early July
The rest of what we got signed is below. 


16 cards out of the team set is not bad.  Not counting the coaches, that leave 7 players left to get.  Only 2 of those players are left with the team right now.  The starting pitcher & catcher do not sign on Sundays.  Of course my son thinks we should make the 3 hour trip back to Peoria some time this year for those 2 autos. 

The Chiefs also give away a 11x16 player poster on Sundays to the first 1000 fans.  We got 2 of them autographed by Chris Chinea.
He is a catcher/first baseman who has hit over .300 most of the year while being one of the better run producers on the team.  

The Chiefs also won Sunday's game, 5 to 2.  Dozer Park is a big park, so it was a shock to see 3 home runs.  Our seats were 3 rows from the field by the Chiefs dugout, so of course my son got a ball thrown to him after the 3rd inning.
This will go well with the other 18 balls we got from BP the night before. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

BP with the Peoria Chiefs

The family and I made our third trip to Peoria this year to catch 2 Chiefs games on Saturday night and Sunday night.  I had another BP package to use before the end of the year.  I highlighted the first BP experience in this post.  As a quick recap, I paid $60 for 4 tickets, a parking pass, and the privilege to be the only people to watch batting practice.  Factoring in tickets are $10 each and parking is $5,  you would be hard pressed to find a better value in baseball for $15.


My son and I roamed around the outfield and foul lines tracking down balls while my wife and daughter sat close to the Chiefs dugout in the shade.  They did track down a few ball that landed in the seats.  For the most part, the 18 balls we collected were home runs.  All are Midwest League balls except for the bottom one on the right.
It is hard to make out the logo, but this is a NCAA ball.  Bradley University also plays at Dozer Park, so I am guessing this may have been left in the grass after a game or put into the Chiefs supply by accident.  I will admit I dropped a home run ball hit right to me.  I was standing just behind the left field fence at the time.  I moved maybe a step or two and had the ball hit off my right hand.  Next time I will bring my glove.

While us boys were busy getting baseballs, the ladies were trying to get a couple of autos for me.  They had one success, and one failure. 
Sierra is the Cardinals 6th rated prospect.  He signed going off the field by the dugout after the Chiefs were finished.  He also signed for us the last 2 times we were in Peoria.  Nice kid whose English is getting better.  His sig is pretty good legible for a Latin American kid.

The other auto I was hoping to get was Jake Gatewood from the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.  He is the Brewers 24th best prospect.  He is a shortstop with a lot of power potential.  He put on a good show in BP, hitting 4 or 5 home runs.  I had a 2015 Topps Heritage Minor League card a friend wanted to get signed for his set.  The girls asked him after his round of BP, but he said later.  No problem, they could try after BP was over as the team was walking off.  He brushed them off again saying he had to see the trainer.  Not a big loss, but hard to understand how he could not sign 1 card with absolutely no other collectors around. 

The ladies did not get shut out thought.  After the Chiefs finished their BP, they moved to seats behind the visitor's dugout to try for the Gatewood auto.  After the first round of BP, my daughter received this from Rattlers outfielder Carlos Belonis:

She was beyond excited because my son has received 2 bats before, but she has none.  This one is in great shape, no cracks or breaks.  The cupped end has a small chip as you can see from the pic below.
Since the bat had no name or other markings on it, we had planned to have some Chiefs players sign it until be saw the knob.

I think the bat knob decals are cool, so we will keep the bat as is unless we see the Rattlers again.

 It was 5:15 by the time BP finished.  I took all the balls and bat out to vehicle and grabbed a few cards for the Mobile On the Run Tour guest Lee Smith.  I was shocked by how few people were in his line.  The autos were free, plus the played for both the Cardinals and Cubs and is a border line Hall of Famer.  He is still a very large man, but was talkative as can be.

 Once inside the stadium, we hoped in line for Signature Saturdays.  There were a total of 7 different Chiefs players who signed one of our balls from BP.


It was a perfect night for a game.  The weather was overcast with a nice breeze.  The Chiefs won 1-0 in a little less than 2.5 hours.  The fireworks show after the game lasted 15 minutes and was better than the 4th of July show in my hometown.  All in all a fun day at the park.