Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Something Old, Something New ...

Yesterday was a big mail day for me.  I received 2 pwe's and 2 bubble mailers all full of Cardinals.  This may not sound like a big day for some, but I do not buy a lot of new packs or purchase much on EBAY.  It is even harder to find time to trade this time of year with Little League games going on.  I bubble envelope contained an EBAY purchase, while the other 3 packages were trades.  Marc from Remember the Astrodome packed one of the pwe's with a wide variety of team set hits.

The 1974 Topps All Star card finished my team set.  The 1964 Topps Rookie Stars is my first card from that set.  Both these cards were in excellent shape.

These are my first 2015 Bowman cards.  The Matt Holliday looks like he is leading a cheer instead of sliding into home

More 2015 cards I did not have, this time from Gypsy Queen. 

Two nice inserts from 2015.  The Carpenter is the silver version, not sure if it was from hobby or retail packs.  The Wainwright is the retail Foil version.

Last but not least are some Topps stickers, one from 2014 and one from 2015.  I do not have any other Topps stickers from the past few years, but was thinking about buying some to break open with my 6 year old son.  He is starting to show some interest in collecting and for $1 per pack, you cannot go wrong.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Trade Package from Nacho

Over the weekend I received my end of a trade I did with Chris from Nachos Grande .  I sent him a few set fillers and Larkins in return for some Cardinals.  First up are 2 cards need for my 2013 Cardinals Allen & Ginter set:

Only needing 139 to finish this set.

 Chris included a shiny 2003 Upper Deck Power Up Shining Through Albert Pujols.  He also threw in a nice 2000 Paramount Gold Kent Bottenfield.  In some ways I miss Pacific brand cards because of all the neat inserts and parallels, but I also do not miss trying to identify them.

The package did not come without a nice surprise.  I have seen some of the custom Allen & Ginter cards on other blog posts, but they are much nicer in person.  I wish I had the talent to make something this nice.  Job well done Chris!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Clapp for #172

One of the main areas of my Cardinals collection is autographed cards.  I try to get one card of every Cardinal who has a certified auto.  I am not too picky about the brand, but the player must be pictured in a Cardinals uniform.  I love hunting down the more obscure autos from sets like 1996 Leaf Signature.  While I love having 10 different Matt Adams auto, I also get enjoyment out of 1 Joe McEwing auto.  Last week I won a card on EBAY for $5 delivered that made the 172nd different Cardinals player I have a certified auto from.

2001 Bowman's Best Stubby Clapp

Richard Keith "Stubby" Clapp played a total of 23 games with the Cardinals during the 2001 season, hitting .200 with 1 rbi.  He bounced around the minor leagues, but never made it back to the Majors.  He is currently the hitting coach for the Blue Jays Double A team.

Clapp is somewhat of a cult hero in Memphis.  He played for the Cardinals Triple A team from 199-2002.  He would do a backflip every time he went onto the field.  He was the first player to have his number retired by Memphis.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

This is what Priority Mail looks like?

I have been trading/buying baseball cards on line for about 20 years now.  I have been very lucky not to have any issues with the postal service.  I have received a couple of pwe that were delivered in a plastic bag, but both times the cards inside were not damaged.  I guess my luck ran out yesterday.

I got home from work to find this priority box waiting for me:

All sorts of red flags on this one. First the tracking number provided states it should have been delivered on 3/30, almost 2 months ago.  Second, the received unsealed message below the return address is never a good thing as is the resealed tape the post office used.  Third upon picking up the box, it did not weigh hardly anything.  This box came from John at Johnny's Trading Spot .  Anyone who has traded with John knows he can pack quite a few cards into one of these boxes.  At this point I am not expecting much to be in there.  Here is what I found:

Torn newspaper and a lone Jim Edmonds card with 4 bent corners.  I almost was expecting some type of ransom note for the rest of the cards, but no such luck.  I guess someone at the post office needed the cards more than me.  At least I hope he/she is a Cardinals fan. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

One Last Auto from Memphis

Last post about my trip to Memphis.  Along with Sunday being Mother's Day, it was also my wife's birthday.  She did not want anything, just a nice weekend away with the kids.  I tried to buy her a shirt, but she was happy just being at the ballpark.  When we go to games, I try to get the kids to watch the game and not get up and walk around.  Our seats were in the sun and it was close to 85 degrees, so my daughter and I got up after the 5th inning.  We ended up watching the next 2 innings at the top of the section behind home plate.  While standing there I noticed a couple of guys in the top row with a radar gun that were charting pitches.  Turns out it Memphis pitchers Zach Petrick and Marco Gonzales.  Petrick is a decent pitcher who might make the big leagues as a reliever.  Gonzales has been in the big leagues before, even pitching in the 2014 playoffs.  He should be promoted once he rehabs fully from a should injury.

I go on to tell my daughter who they are.  We had the chance to met Gonzales at a Cardinals Caravan back in January of this year.  He was very well spoken, thanked us for coming out and being Cardinals fans.  My daughter remembered him being so nice, so she thought he might sign a ball for my wife.  She was somewhat scared to ask him, so I got his attention in between innings and asked him to sign a ball.  Once again Marco was more kind that I could expect, thanking us for coming and talking a little about his start the previous night.  He only lasted 2 innings, giving up 4 runs and taking a loss.  He joked he may get demoted to Double A instead of being called up.  At the end of our conversation he gave us this ball:

Sorry for the blurry pic, ball reads To Jennifer: Happy Birthday & Mother's Day!  My wife loved it and took it to school to show her students.  The other signature is Xavier Scruggs.  He was signing after the game and my son wanted to get him on his team ball, but grabbed this one by mistake. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

More from Memphis

As I mentioned in my previous post, I went to Memphis this past weekend to watch the Cardinals Triple A team play on Saturday and Sunday.  I admit I am extremely fortunate to have a family that loves minor league baseball.  My daughter is 10, my son will be 7 in July.  They both pick out favorite players to follow.  During a game last year in Nashville, Greg Garcia gave my son a ball and autographed it for him after the game.  Garcia played a handful of games with the Cardinals, having a walk off hit by pitch in one game.  He is a nice guy, but I am afraid he will be the 4A type player.   My son got 12 guys to sign a ball this weekend, including Garcia.  He asked Garcia if he remembered him from Nashville.  Garcia just laughed, winked at him and said sure.

My wife is also a huge fan.  I asked her a few weeks ago what she wanted to do for her 40th birthday, which was Sunday.  Her first thought was baseball.  Who would not love a woman who spends her birthday and Mother's Day at the ballpark.   She did receive a nice gift from the park, but I will save that for another post. 

My daughter and I spent our spare time getting autos on cards.  I try to buy minor league team sets at the Cardinals Winter Warm Up in January every year.  I can usually get them for $5 each.  Not all minor league guys have licensed cards, so minor league sets are a great value as far as having something to get signed. We had seats in the front row behind the Memphis dugout for both games, prime area for getting autos.

These 4 cards are from the 2014 Springfield Cardinals team set.  The Kurt Heyer on the bottom right is the only card we got signed on Saturday.  Every Saturday night there is a player or two that signs autographs as you walk in.  Tuivailala signed before the game.  Marco Gonzales and Zach Petrick were charting pitches during the game, but gladly signed in between innings.  Only a handful of people recognized them in street clothes.

Tim Cooney stopped to sign after he finished playing long toss before the game.  He made his MLB debut a few weeks ago, lasting only 2 innings while giving up 3 runs.  My daughter loved talking to him about his pink cleats he was wearing for Mother's Day.

Cody Stanley also made his MLB debut this year, hitting a single in his first at bat. 

These 3 cards are from the 2012 Springfield Cardinals set.  All 3 players have had brief stints in the Major Leagues.  John Gast and Keith Butler signed after playing long toss before the game.  Xavier Scruggs signed after the game.  He was the only player who used a pink bat that day.

Stephen Piscotty has been one of the Cardinals top 5 prospects the last couple of years.  He should make his debut later this year.  He also signed after the game.  He was very well spoken, but I guess you can expect that from someone who graduated from Stanford with an engineering degree.

This is my favorite card from the weekend.  It is from 2015 Topps Heritage.  Tuivailala signed it first before the game, Scruggs after. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

IP vs Certified

Over the weekend I attended my first minor league games of the season.  The family took a quick trip to Memphis to see the Triple A Redbirds play on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.  I will try to have a more detailed post about it later this week, but today I would like to compare an in person auto I received this weekend and a pack pulled auto.  Player in question is relief pitcher Sam Tuivailala. 

The Cardinals drafted Tuivailala as a infielder in 2010, but converted him to pitching in 2012.  He advanced quickly through the minor leagues, making his big league debut in September of 2014.  He did not fair too well, giving up 2 home runs over the course of 1 inning during 2 games.  He does have 1 appearance this year, but gave up another home run in one inning of work.  He does throw 100mph, but a lot of times it is straight.  He is still only 22, so hopefully he can develop another pitch and become a valuable reliever.

I bought this 2015 Topps auto off EBAY for $3.82 shipped earlier this year.  The card was selling for close to $10 when it came out, but once the newness calmed down, so did the price.  It is had to make out much from this auto, maybe the S in Sam and T in Tuivailala.

Sam signed this 2014 Springfield Cardinals card in blue sharpie.  The S is slightly different with a bigger loop, but I think you can make out Sam a little clearer on this card.  His last name looks to be consistent with the Topps card.  I am surprised he has not shortened his auto yet, though that might change once he make the Majors to stay.  Tuivailala was very nice to everyone, taking about 5 minutes to sign before he headed out to the bullpen.  Sunday there was not a very big crowd, so he even offered to take a pic with my kids.

He did get into the game on Sunday, pitching the 9th inning.  He hit 99 on the radar gun numerous times while allowing 1 hit.  Very nice guy, hope he develops into a solid bullpen piece for the Cardinals