Wednesday, December 23, 2015

It's always nice to get Christmas Cards

Over the last week or so many bloggers have been posting about various Christmas gifts they have received in the form of cards or other sports related items.  I did not receive a truck load of cards, but did get a nice envelope in the mail last week from fellow Cardinals collector Eric.

I met Eric on The Bench a few years ago and we have traded Cardinals duplicates numerous times.  I have 2 or 3 other Cardinals fans that provide a trading ground for my many doubles.  It is very rare to receive a flat rate box full of Cardinals that I need, but with a little work most of them find good homes.  Whether it be through trades or having my wife give them out to her students, there is always some Cardinals fan who can use a 1991 Fleer team set. 

Speaking of yellow bordered sets, Eric included these four 1991 Swell cards.  Yes that is the same Joe Garagiola that used to broadcast Saturday afternoon baseball with Vin Scully.  Hands down the best broadcast duo ever.

I cannot say I know who Milt Ramirez was, but it is nice to mark his 1971 Topps card off my wantlist.  It is off centered and has some soft corners, but is in great shape otherwise. 

I have said it before, but I have a soft spot for members of the 1985 Cardinals team.  Not much power on that team, but man could they run.  Maybe Don Dekinger can rest easier now that the Royals won a World Series without his help. 

I have expressed my dislike for mini cards before, but these 3 are not all bad.  Ronnie Belliard was the starting second baseman in the 2006 World Series.  I cannot say I remember much about him other than the long dread locks.  The Shelby Miller Bowman Chrome is a refractor.  I hope he can continue his 2015 success that he had in Atlanta in his new home of Arizona.  The Simmons is a 1978 Hostess card that I have not ever seen before.  If it was not for Jonny Bench,  Simmons would have been more of a household name during the mid to late 1970s. 

The 1998 Pacific set has some nice photography, but the busy nameplate at the bottom takes away from the full bleed photos.  It would be nice if Topps came out with a set that featured the entire team like backup catchers.  I doubt if there are too many Mike Difelice Cardinals cards out there. 

I have always like the Bowman Silver Ice cards.  They are really sharp in person and look great signed in blue sharpie.  With the signing of Mike Leake yesterday, it looks like Tim Cooney will be back in Triple A until a starting pitcher gets injured.  Bowman Xfractors are not quite as nice.  For some reason the checkered/box pattern reminds me of the Minecraft game.  Zack Cox has been one of the few recent #1 draft picks that did not pan out for the Cardinals.  He was traded to the Marlins at the 2012 trade deadline for Edward Mujica.  The Red Schoendienst is a Green Framed Gypsy Queen card.  Hard to go wrong with a Hall of Famer who still attends spring training even though he is over 90 years old. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

It took until December to get #2

Collecting a player who retired in 2004 can have its challenges.  Ray Lankford was a popular Cardinal, but not on a national level.  Topps has not continued to produce cards of him like other retired Cardinals such as Ozzie Smith and Stan Musial.  I can count on two hands the number of new cards he has appeared on since 2005, and that is including the different versions of Leaf Memories from 2012-2014. 

I also have a rather complete Lankford collection.  By my best count using Beckett Collections, I have 916 of a possible 981 Lankford cards produced including 1 of 1s.   As a result, it can be months before I see a Lankford card I need be listed for sale or offered for trade.  I do my daily check of auctions sites and see the same cards listed over and over again, but I keep going back hoping to find something I need.  My search paid off in August when I found this card on COMC:

1999 Omega Premiere Date #ed to 50

I do not think I could hit the buy it now button quick enough.  This is the 2nd card I have crossed off my Lankford wantlist this year. It fits nicely in my binder along side the other 3 versions of this card:

Base Card

 Copper #ed to 99
Gold #ed to 299

I was torn on whether on not to spend $3 to have it shipped to me right away, but I decided to wait until the Black Friday free shipping promotion.  I waited 6 months to even find a Lankford I needed, so the 3 month wait on shipping was not too bad.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

COMC in Motion

I have seen several blogs post about what they bought from COMC during the Black Friday sale.  I have been waiting patiently for the free shipping promotion since I bought a card in early August.  $3 to ship one card is not that far out of line with some EBAY rates, but when you know there is a good chance you can get free shipping, it pays to wait.  So I spent the weekend looking for 19 more cards from my various Cardinals wantlist. 

I started my search by trying to find autos of Cardinals players I needed that cost less than $3.

I paid less than $2 for the Crudale, Kopp, and Rust.  Cliff Politte cost me $2.75, but it is the silver foil version.  None of these 4 pitchers had a long MLB career, although Politte was a member of the 2005 White Sox World Series team.  These four brought my total of Cardinals certified autos to 195 different players.

I have many base cards on my team wantlist dating back to 1970 that are not too hard to find.  There are a lot of common cards on that list along with some short print cards and some oddballs.  I decided to try to find cards that I do not see on trade lists very often, or when they do pop up on auction sites are over priced.  I set my spending limit at 50 cents per card.  My search led me to Sportflics.

 I bought my first pack of baseball cards in 1986.  Topps, Fleer, and Donruss were the only cards I had heard about until I attended a card show in early 1987.  I was shocked to see a dealer had Sportsflics.  My 10 year old self was fascinated by these cards that would show different images when you moved them.  Though they are not very expensive, I cannot tell you the last time I saw a dealer that had these for sale at a show.  I bought these 2 1986 cards of Vince Coleman and Tom Herr for 38 cents each.

I did not have any Cardinals from the 1988 Sportflics set.  I know these do not scan the greatest, but you may notice the Doug Decinces card in the lower right looks like an Angels card.  Doug finished his career in 1987 by playing 4 games with St. Louis.  The back of the card has a Cardinals emblem, so I guess it is considered part of the set.  All nine of these cards were also 38 cents each.

I did not realize Sportflics made a set in 1990.  I was even more surprised to find I already had 2 Cardinals from this set.  Keeping with the theme, these four cards also cost 38 cents each.  I only need the Ozzie Smith to complete the team set, but did not want to pay the $1.50 price tag for it. 

19 down, 1 more to go.  I will save the last card I bought for another post.  It is the one that I bought back in August.  I spent a total $15.10 for the 20 cards.  Not bad, but even better when I received $5 site credit from my scratch off card. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

No More Mafia In St. Louis

So the Cardinals finally made a move today, trading Jon Jay to the Padres in exchange for Jedd Gyorko and close to $7 million.  I will admit I do not know much about Gyorko other that what I read this morning, but it seems like the Cardinals should do ok with the deal.  They were needing a utility infielder who could hit left handed pitching better than Kolten Wong.  I hope Matheny plays him enough that Peralta and Wong do not wear down this next year like they did in 2015.  Gyorko also comes a lot cheaper than Ben Zobrist, although he is not the same caliber of player.  If he can hit .270 and hit 10-12 home runs, he will be a good pickup.

Jon Jay was a serviceable outfielder for the last few seasons.  He was the starting centerfielder for the 2011 World Series team after Colby Rasmus was traded in July.  He hits close to .300 and plays a decent centerfield, but has little power.  With the emergence of Randal Grichuk, Tommy Pham, and Stephen Piscotty, Jay saw very little playing time the second half of 2015.

With the trade of Jay and Tony Cruz last week, the Cardinals no longer have any members of the self proclaimed "Memphis Mafia".  David Freese, Allen Craig, Daniel Descalso, Jay, and Cruz all played together in Memphis before being promoted to St. Louis. Excluding Cruz, the other four played big roles in the 2011 World Series.  At least they all will have a World Series ring when they retire. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Early Black Friday Purchases

Like millions of others people, I did some shopping on Black Friday last week.  Most of mine was done in the comfort of my office, although I did venture out about 7:00 Friday morning to hit up a couple of stores.  I did mange to find 20 Cardinals cards from COMC that will be shipped for free, but that was not my only Cardinals related purchase.  On November 14th my not so local cards shop located 2 hours away was running a sale.  I had nothing better to do that Saturday so my son and I made the trip.  The shop gave plenty of Facebook previews of items for sale so I had a good idea of what I might get.  They also ran a 10% sale on anything in the store.  I purchased some various top loaders, snap cases, and boxes but I will not bore you with those details. 

A big part of the sale was unsigned photos.  I bought this 11x14 Kolten Wong picture for $3.  I love this photo for a few reasons.  It shows Wong rounding first base after hitting a walk off home run in the 2014 playoffs.  Wearing the #16 and sporting the high socks also make it a cool photo.

There were also many signed photos for sale.  I bought this Matt Adams 16x20 autograph pic for $25.  This photo was taken after Adams hit the go ahead home run off Clayton Kershaw in game 4 of the 2014 Division Series.  The Cardinals would go on to win the game and the series that night. The reaction of both Adams and Clayton Kershaw is priceless.  I am a big Adams fan, but have my doubts whether he will be with the team next year.  Injuries and an inability to hit lefthaded pitching have limited his playing time the last 2 years.  At least this photo will serve as a reminder of the good times.

I spent a total of $36 for everything the first time I was at the shop.  My wife called before I left town to see what I had bought.  She told me to go back and pick out something my mother in law could buy me for Christmas.  It is always nice to spend other people's money at the card shop.  I took it easy on her and bought 3 ROMLB and a bobblehead for $60. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

My Group Break Haul from Nacho

I would guess many of you have been following Chris's massive group break over at Nachos Grande.  This was the first group break I have ever been a part of and I was lucky enough to snag the Cardinals.  By reading the blog and watching the videos I knew what cards I would be getting, but Chris managed to fill up a small flat rate box with a bunch of other Cardinals that arrived earlier this week.

 I was able to finish my 2015 Topps Chrome set with the Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha cards. 
I already had the 2015 Heritage High Numbers team set, but these cards will come in handy for in person autos. 
There were plenty of 2012 Prizm cards in the box, but I forgot to scan the Stan Musial that complete my set.
The second Panini brand included in the box break was 2012 Cooperstown.  The brown border reminds me of 1987 Topps. 
I have a few of the 2015 Stadium Club Cardinals, but have not seen any of the black and white base cards.  I guess these are for the retired players.  Great looking cards whether they are in color or black & white.

I was rather lucky with the 2014 Stadium Club box.  I still need 2 or 3 to finish my set, but these 5 base cards were a nice addition.

Chris pulled 2 Cardinals autos out of the 3 mini boxes.  I think I may have to ship him my boxes to open.
I also received 4 inserts out of the various boxes.  The Stadium Club inserts are just as nice as the base cards.  The die cuts are a nice touch.  I may have to track down a Wainwright and Molina to go along with the Heyward.
Among the many extra that Chris included were these 4 1982 Topps.  Three of them were condition upgrades to my set.

I was most excited to see these 2011 Topps Attax cards.  I had only one of these before and thought it was an insert, but now know I need just 2 more to finish the team set.  Overall a great haul for my first group break.  Big thank you to Chris for running it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

2015 Topps Update Cardinals Team Set

My second EBAY win from last week arrived early this week in the form of a 2015 Topps Update Cardinals team set.  I have been looking for a blaster box at my local Wal-Mart since Update came out in mid October, but have either been too late or they have not stocked any yet.  The nearest Target store is located about 60 miles away, so I did not have a chance to get any of the Mega Boxes that included Update Chrome.  While buying a team set is not nearly as fun as opening packs and making trades to complete a set, it is more cost effective.  The 18 card team set cost me a little over $4 delivered.

The photos are not quite as nice as Stadium Club, bet they are a lot better than the posed shots from Heritage.  This Brandon Moss card shows him being mobbed after hitting a walk off single in early August.  I did not like the trade deadline deal the Cardinals made to get Moss in July that sent Rob Kaminsky to Cleveland.  Kaminsky is a lefty who throws in the low 90s with great control.  He should be a good #3 or 4 starter in a couple of years.  Moss hit .250 with 4 home runs for the Cardinals.  He is arbitration eligible for the third time and will most likely cost close to $8 to keep.  Matt Adams is about the same type of player at about a fourth of that cost.

Here are 2 great horizontal actions shots.  Pham finally managed to stay healthy enough to have an extended stay in the the Majors after 7 years in the minors.  He should be a very good 4th outfielder who can do a little bit of everything.  I would love for the Cardinals to resign Heyward, but not at the price I think he is going to get.  I think someone will give him 7 or 8 years pushing $22 million per year.

Update always seems to highlight All Stars.  This year it seems each team had a card depicting all their All Stars on one card.  Love the photo, but have to say those are the most ugly caps in recent memory.

It is my hope that this is the last base card I will have showing Kozma in a Cardinals uniform.  Always a great defender at short, he managed to stick around the last 3 years because of his base hit that won game 5 of the 2012 NLDS against the Nationals.  It was absurd the Cardinals kept him on the roster all year because he was out of minor league options.  If another team wanted to claim a backup infielder that hit .150 , more power to them. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

1988 Cardinals Smokey Bear Set

Yesterday's mail produced 3 bubble mailers and 1 flat rate box of cards.  The box contained a huge stack of Cardinals from Nacho's group break, which I will cover in another post.  One bubble mailer contained cards from a trade, while the other 2 were EBAY purchases.  One of my EBAY purchases was a 1988 Cardinals Smokey Bear set. 

From 1987-1991 the Cardinals gave away a team set featuring Smokey the Bear at certain promotional games each year.  1988 was the nicest of the five sets because it featured a full bleed photo on the front rather than a white border. 
The backs featured  player info along with a Smokey cartoon with a fire safety tip.  The 1988 set was numbered 1-25.  The 1990 set was the largest, containing 28 cards.

The Smokey cards are quite a bit larger than the standard card.  The 1989 set is 4x6, while the other 4 sets measure 3x5.  Maybe this is where Fleer got the idea for the 1994 Extra Bases set. 
One thing I love about these stadium give away sets is the selection of players.  Tom Lawless and Bob Horner do not have many Cardinals cards other than Topps base cards from the mid to late 1980s.  Jose Batista may have the most famous bat flip in recent years, but in the 1987 World Series Lawless had a memorable one.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Size Does Matter

Earlier this week I saw a blog post with a caption that read "I live my life 2.5 x 3.5 inches at a time".  As a fan of the Fast & Furious movie franchise, I loved this quote.  How awesome is it that someone can take a quote from a movie and relate it to your favorite hobby?  Of course the  2.5 x 3.5 inches refers to the size of a standard baseball card.  Earlier this week I received a trade package from Justin at Mets Cardboard that supports this quote, but also adds a footnote to it.

This was my second consecutive trade package that featured Mark McGwire.  This is a 1998 Score Complete Players insert.  There are 3 versions of this card, this one is version B.

Justin set along 5 different set hits to my team wants.  The Adron Chambers completed my 2012 Topps Heritage team set.  The Jack Clark is my first Cardinals from the 1985 Fleer Update set.

These 1971 Topps cards are in pretty good shape.  A little corner wear, but otherwise great shape for being over 40 years old.  The Cardinals were not very good during the 1970s, but did have some household names like Brock, Gibson, and Schoendienst.

Topps has a rainbow of colored parallels not only in the flagship brand, but Heritage as well. Finding colors like red sparkle, Target red, gold, Wal-Mart blue, emerald, and a Heritage black made me feel like I was opening a bag of skittles.

This 2015 Topps Pin card is the standard size, but is a lot thicker.  I will have to visit a card shop or show to find a top loader thick enough for this card. 

What, a non Cardinals card? Not really, the back says Fiore was drafted by the Cardinals so this 1989 Topps Big finishes a team set.  I guess Topps Big can be considered a cousin to 1989 Bowman since it is also slightly larger than a standard card.  It measures 2.5 x 3.75 inches.

Gypsy Queen has included several types of minis the last few years with different types of backs.  This 2014 Stan Musial is just the regular version mini  measuring 1.5 x 2.75 inches.

Pacific had some unique inserts in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  This is a 2000 Crown Royal Card Supial insert measuring 1.25 x 1.75 inches.  Very easy to misplace this card.  I guess Pacific was trying to catch up with the Topps micro fade of 1991 and 1992. 

It was very easy to work out a trade with Justin.  He uses Zistle for his wantlist and tradelist.  I do not have a Zistle account, but may have to consider one after this trade.  Thanks Justin!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Cardinals Trade Molina for .... Pujols?

Before I started writing this blog, I enjoyed reading the blogs of other Cardinals fans like Kerry at Cards on Cards and Brady at St. Louis Cardinals Cardboard.  In a way reading their blogs inspired me to start sharing my Cardinals collection with other bloggers.  It has also giving me trading partners to swap my doubles with.  Last week I received a nice package from Brady in exchange for some Molina cards and a Ron Gant auto I sent his way. 

A six pack of Pujols cards to start things off.  The Diamond Kings cards is my favorite, wish Donruss still had an MLB license.  I do like the current version of Diamond Kings, but it is not the same without the logos.  I can say that I do not miss all the sets Fleer put out in the early 2000s.  Hot Prospects, Flair, Patchworks, Focus, Futures, Tradition are just a few of the many.

This Pujols insert is from 2007.  I like the action shot, the background not so much.

I have said it before, but I am a sucker for cards of past Cardinals.  These 2001 Topps Archives Reserve cards show 2 Hall of Famers, although Carlton is most remember for being a Philly.  The Cardinals trade of him for Rick Wise may be the worst one in their history.

Big Mac was also present in the package.  I do wish he would return to St. Louis as the hitting coach.  The Cardinals have relied on their pitching too much since he left for LA, but I guess you cannot blame a guy for wanting to be closer to his family.

The highlight of Brady's package was this 2014 Stadium Club Oscar Taveras autograph.  I believe this was one of his last certified autographs before he passed away last October.  I certainly do not condone how he took his own life as well as his girlfriend's by driving drunk.  It is hard to think about what might have been for the Cardinals most prized prospect since Pujols. 

Thanks Brady for a great trade!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I Got High from Opening the Mail

Monday I received one bubble mailer from a trader on the Trading Bases message board.  We worked out a trade where I sent him a Brewers auto for a 2015 Topps Chrome Refractor auto of Xavier Scruggs.
A nice shiny card numbered to 499 with a sharp blue on card autograph.  Scruggs does not have the nicest auto, but at least you can somewhat make out the first letter in his first and last name.  This was the only card I was expecting in the envelope, but out popped these also:

These are the only Cardinals in the 2015 Topps Heritage High Numbers set.  Although I will most likely receive all of these from Nacho's group break, it is always nice to receive something unexpected no matter how valuable it may be.