Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Countdown to Opening Day #5

Well today is the day.  No it is not opening day yet.  This is the point in the countdown where I thought I would not have an autographed card to show you from a Cardinals player who wore #5.  Yes there is a rather famous first baseman who wore #5 for the Cardinals from 2001-2011, but I have yet to spend the money to get one of his autos.  The Angels have not called me yet with my $200+ million contract offer.  I guess the market is not there for a 39 year old office manager. 

After doing a little research, I found two other former Cardinals who wore #5 that have a certified auto.  Ron Gant has a autographed card in 2014 Topps High Tek, but I have not bought a copy yet. 

1996 Leaf Signature Extended Danny Sheaffer

Sheaffer was the backup catcher for the Cardinals from 1995-1997.  He only wore #5 during the 1995 season.  I love the 1996 Leaf set because of all the obscure players that signed cards for it.  Were else would you find autographs of famous Cardinal middle relievers such as Tony Fossas, Tom Urbani, and Mike Busby.  

Monday, March 30, 2015

Countdown to Opening Day #6 and Card Show recap

Cardinals fans will not have to guess very hard to figure out who will be featured in today's post.

2006 Fleer Greats of the Game Stan Musial 19/30

Stan was and probably will always be the greatest Cardinals ever.  I will spare you listing all his career highlights, but instead ask a trivia question.  Musial wore the #6 his entire career which started in 1941 and ended in 1963.  The Cardinals retired his number after the 1963 season.  Who is the only other Cardinals player to wear #6 since 1941?

I attended my first card show in years yesterday in O'Fallon.  It was a big 3 day card show with many autograph guests including many former Cardinals from various World Series teams.  I am working on getting a bat signed by the 2011 Championship team, so I got Arthur Rhodes.  I doubt I will ever get it finished (Pujols ), but Rhodes makes #11.  I also got Tommy Herr to sign a 1985 team ball.  This another project that will not be finished because Daryl Porter and Bob Forsch have passed away.  Herr made the 13th signature on the ball.

The show was advertised as having close to 100 tables.  I would guess over half were selling vintage cards only.  I did manage to pick up a 1975 Topps Keith Hernandez and a 1974 Topps Bake McBride for my team sets.  There was 3 or maybe 4 tables selling boxes/packs of modern cards.  I did have a laugh at one table with mostly junk era wax for sale at crazy prices.  1987 Topps for $60 anyone?  The rest of the tables had a mixture of singles or various Cardinals promo items like bobbleheads, programs, etc.  I was very disappointed in the singles selection.  Not a single dealer had 2015 singles for sale other than some select game used and autos.  No dime or quarter boxes to be found.  A few dealers had signs that they would give great deals on bulk singles, but if you cannot price your cards to start with I do not have the time to waste watching you look them up in a Beckett.  There were quite a few tables selling game used and autos for $2 or $3 each, but I only found 1 dealer who took the time to separate them by sport.  I ended up buying 6 cards for $20 from him.  I bought all of them for trade bait with certain bloggers/traders in mind.  Anyone know a blogger who collects Gary Carter?

I did find a Ray Lankford game used bat for sale for $75.  It was a beautiful uncracked Louisville Slugger bat from a seller I had bought from online before.  I was waiting for one of my autographs at the time, so I left it lay and planned on buying it on the way out.  WRONG CHOICE!  Bat was gone when I got back.  Not a big deal since I have 5 game used bats already, but I hate missing out on a nice deal.  

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Countdown to Opening Day # 7

Making this post a little early today because I am on my way to a card show.  Not counting the Cardinals Winter Warm Up, this will be the first card show I have attended in quite some time.  While I am going to get a couple of autographs, I hope the show will not be a flop.  It is a few minutes from St. Louis with close to 100 tables.  On to #7

2010 Topps Tribute dual bat/autograph Matt Holliday 15/99

Matt Holliday wore #15 when he first came to the Cardinals in 2009 in a trade from the Oakland A's.  He switched to #7 in 2010 and has worn it ever since.  Holliday has been a model of consistency since he came to the Cardinals.  He is almost a sure bet to hit close to .300 with 20+ home runs and close to 100 rbis.  He has fallen a bit with age, but is still a core player with hopefully a few good years left.  He may not be a great defender, but he plays smart and hits the ball about as hard as anyone not named Stanton.  I have always liked him, but he does get quite a bit of criticism around St. Louis.  I guess it goes with being paid over $15 million per season. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Countdown to Opening Day #8

Only 8 more days until games count.  Here in Illinois the grass is getting greener, and the weather is starting to turn a little warmer.  Baseball is almost here.  There have been plenty of Cardinals to wear the #8, but no true standout player so I will pick a few to highlight.

2014 Topps Tier One New Guard 29/399

Peter Bourjos currently wears #8, although the poor photoshop effort in the above card does not show it.  He was acquired in a trade with the Angels along with Randal Grichuk for former World Series MVP David Freese and Fernando Salas.  I cannot say much about him because he was hurt for a part of last season.  When he did played his defense was great as usual, but he did little with the bat.  It would be nice to see him get on base more, but I doubt he will see much playing time unless Jon Jay gets injured.

2010 Topps Chrome Allen Craig

Most people remember Craig wearing #21, but he did wear #8 during the 2010 season.  He was a vital part of the 2011 World Series team, but injuries slowed his career.  He was traded to Boston in 2014 for John Lackey.

2001 SP Chirography JD Drew

JD Drew is another player Cardinals fan may remember wearing a different number.  Like the picture in the card, he wore #7 from 1999-2003, but wore #8 when he was first called up in 1998.  Drew was a phenom who never quite lived up to his hype, but was a very productive player when he could stay healthy.  Cardinals fans remember him most for being part of the trade with the Braves that brought Adam Wainwright to St. Louis.  My wife had a crush on Drew while he was with the Cardinals.  I remember he was signing autographs at the same card show in St. Louis that Stan Musial and Enos Slaughter were at back in 2001.  I paid $65 for him to sign a ball for my wife.  He never even looked up or said hello.  Far cry from the $50 I paid for Musial who asked my name, where I was from, and shook my hand.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Countdown to Opening Day #9

Only 9 more days until the first Cardinals game on Sunday Night Baseball against the Cubs.  Continuing the count down, I bring you two players who wore #9.  First up is Terry Pendleton

2003 Donruss Recollection 35/53

Pendleton played with the Cardinals from 19984-1990.  He was a member of 2 World Series team in 1985 and 1987.  He hit one of the most memorable home runs for the Cardinals in 1987 against Roger McDowell of the Mets during a mid September game that helped the Cardinals maintain their lead in the division and eventually win he NL East.  He later won the 1991 NL MVP as a member of the Braves.  He is currently the Braves first base coach.

2001 Donruss Signature Team Trademarks 145/215

Enos "Country" Slaughter played for the Cardinals from 1938-1953.  He did not play from 1943-1945 due to military service.  He played on 2 Cardinals World Series Chapionship teams in 1942 and 1946.  He is famous for his Mad Dash during the 1946 Worls Series Game 7 where he scored from first base on a base hit to center field.  He was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.  

I have fond memories of both of these players.  The 1985 Cardinals are one of my favorite teams.  I loved the style of play of that team which used base running and excellent defense to get to the World Series.  Pendleton was a key part of that team.  I obviously never saw Slaughter play, but did have the pleasure of meeting him at a baseball card show in 2001.  Slaughter was 84 or 85 years old, but he was still pretty sharp for his age.  Stan Musial was at the same show.  He played the harmonica while Slaughter sang Take Me out to the Ballgame. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cardinals Countdown to Opening Day #10

I have seen numerous countdowns on other blogs covering topics such as favorite Topps set, best rookie card of the 1980s, best player at a certain position for your favorite team, etc.  The list could go on forever.  With opening day for the Cardinals a short time away, I will be counting down the days with a different Cardinals autographed card featuring a player or two with the corresponding uniform number.  There is one number I do not have an autograph for, I will let you guess who or you can wait and see.  First up is the #10 worn by Tony LaRussa:

Pictured is a 2010 Topps Tribute jersey/autoed card.  Tony managed the Cardinals from 1996-2011, winning 1,408 games and 2 World Series along the way.  He sits third all time in managerial wins with 2,728.  I doubt if he gets passed on that list anytime soon unless Bobby Cox or Joe Torre come out of retirement.  After working in the MLB office for 2 years, Tony took over as Chief Baseball Officer for the Diamondbacks in 2014.

I have mixed feelings for LaRussa.  You cannot argue about his success as a manger, and I appreciate him helping the Cardinals win 2 World Series.  I just do not like his my way or the highway style of managing.  He had numerous run ins with players that forced management into trading them.  I can understand the Colby Rasmus trade, but I still have a strong dislike to how he treated Scott Rolen.  I also cannot stand his use of relief pictures.  Why you need to make 4 pitching changes in the 8th inning with your team up by 5 runs just to ensure the righty/lefty matchup is beyond my understanding. 

Tony has also co-writen 2 books about his days with the Cardinals.  3 Nights in August was written in 2005, One Last Strike in 2012.  I have not read the later, but do own a copy of 3 Nights.  It describes baseball life during a 3 game Series with the Cubs.  I have read this book twice.  One thing that sticks out in my mind from this book is how LaRussa said he would never call out a player in public.  I am sure a few former players will disagree ( see Scott Rolen).

Love him or hate him, LaRussa has a permanent place in Cardinal history.  His number is retired by the team, and he was elected into the Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2014.  He was also elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014, although he chose not to be pictured in a Cardinals uniform on his plaque.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

2 #1s

A recent EBAY purchased arrived early this week.  I won these two 2014 Bowman Draft Chrome autos for around $10 delivered.

Luke Weaver was the Cardinals first draft pick going 27th overall. He is typical Cardinals draft pick, a polished college pitcher who could rise through the system fairly quick like Michael Wacha or Marco Gonzales.  I do not think he has the same potential as the other two, but he should be a servicable 4th or 5th starter, or maybe a short reliever.

Jack Flaherty was the Cardinals second first round pick, going 34th overall.  The Cardinals received this pick when Carlos Beltran signed with the Yankees.  Flaherty has higher potential than Weaver, but is 2 years younger.  I would guess it will be 3 or 4 years before he has a change to make the big leagues if he fulfills that potential.  I hope he gets assigned to the Cardinals low A team in Peoria so I can get a chance to watch him pitch this year.

Friday, March 20, 2015

First Blog Trade

Before I started posting on a blog, I loved searching other blogs to see what other people have to say about this wonderful hobby.  I tend to enjoy the player or team blogs more as that is what my collecting interests are.  One such blog is

Off Hiatus Baseball Cards

I am sure some of you have had the pleasure of talking and/or trading with Tony.  He is a Brewers collectors who also has some player collections.  Being a Cardinals fan, I have no use for the many Brewers I have acquired over the years, so Tony made a great trade partner.  I worked out my first trade on this blog with him a little while back and received a great package of Cardinals from him earlier this week.  Here are some of the highlights

Along with some other Cardinals from the last couple of years was this 2014 Heritage SP David Freese that completed my team set

I love the oddball sets that Fleer put out in the late 1980s.  It is more fun receiving these oddball than a common jersey card.

I have never seen these Cramer cards before.  The top row is from 1980, bottom from 1981.

Renata Galasso or RCI is another set that I have never heard of.  From what I could tell, these are from 1983 or 1984. 

I believed Tony finished 7 or 8 team sets while also starting a few new ones.  Thanks again Tony, look foward to our next trade.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

And Then There Was One

In 2014 Topps brought back the Tek brand.  The 2014 version was scaled down quite a bit from the 1998 version, 12 patterns as opposed to 90.  Throw in the diffractor version and player collectors had 180 cards to chase down from the 1998 set.  While I only have 3 of the Lankford diffractors, I have been stuck on needing pattern 4 and 77 to finish the 90 card base run for a long time.  Last week I got a email from a fellow Lankford collector who had an extra pattern 4.  It arrived yesterday:

If anyone can find pattern 77, please drop me a note.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Big City Medallion

I open very few packs anymore, just the occasional blaster from Wal-Mart.  I do make it a point every year to open Topps Series 1.  I love the design this year with the colorful fronts.  The basic white border was getting old.  I already have completed the Cardinals base set through an EBAY purchase, but still need some of the inserts, such as the  First Home Run inserts of Matt Adams and Matt Carpenter.  I was able to trade for this Matt Adams Medallion card last week:

If anyone has the Matt Carpenter Medallion, I would love to trade for it.  I do have the Bryce Harper Medallion still for trade if anyone needs it.