Thursday, February 25, 2016

2 Plummers in 1 Day

You never know what type of weather to expect when you live in Southern Illinois.  Last weekend was sunny with temps pushing 70 degrees.  Yesterday brought blizzard warnings for much of the state with 3-5 inches of snow and wind gusts up to 40mph.  My area was lucky in a sense because we did not receive any snow accumulation, but we did get 2-3 inches of rain.  Early forecast for this weekend is sunny and 60 degrees.

All the rain reminded me of  time a few years ago when my basement flooded due to a drain backup.  A plumber came and cleaned everything out before there was too much water on the floor.  Luckily there was less than an inch of water with the some drywall being the only thing of note damaged.  I had a little chuckle when a trade package yesterday contained 2 plummers.

Nick Plummer was the Cardinals #1 draft pick in 2015.  I have mentioned before that he played high school baseball in Michigan where the batter started with a 1-1 count.  I would guess I have an outside chance of seeing him play in Peoria later this summer. 

The second Plummer is not as nice as the auto, but I still needed it for my team set.  The Cardinals selected Jake Woodford 39th in last years draft with their competitive balance pick.  It is almost comical they get an extra draft pick for being a so called small market team, but yet still make the playoffs almost every year.  I admit that system needs to be fixed.

The trade packaged also included a handful of inserts.  The Yadi is a refractor from 2013 Bowman Chrome.  I still have a hard time realizing Taveras is no longer playing baseball.  Yes it was a trajedy, but hopefully a lesson learned for other young players.

A couple of minis featuring the Big Puma and often injured Jaime Garcia.  I read early today that this is the first spring in 5 years that he is healthy.  I would like to think he will have a career year since he will be a free agent after this season, but I would not bet on him staying healthy.

These may appear to be base 2011 Topps, but a closer look at the upper left corner shows them to be Target Throwback variations.  The backs also differ from the base cards due to lack of the glossy finish.  Hard to believe Freese is still sitting at home with a team. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Orange Tribute

Yesterday I received one card in the mail from a trade I completed on The Bench website. 

2015 Topps Tribute Orange Relics

I believe this is my first relic from the Topps Tribute brand.  The orange design really makes the card stand out.  I was having a hard time deciding what type of hat Wainwright was wearing in this photo until I discovered this card while putting the Tribute card away.

2014 Topps Update All Star Stitches

Same photo, just a not a close up version like the Tribute.  I am sure Topps will use the same photo somewhere in one of their 2016 products.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

IP Recap: The Bird and Brian

Spring training started late last week for pitchers and catchers for the Cardinals along with most other teams.  Today is the first full workout for all Cardinals players, meaning exhibition games are right around the corner.  I have a love/hate feeling for this time of year.  I love the fact baseball has started.  I hate the fact February also starts dance competition season for my daughter.

OK, hate is too strong of a word.  Dislike may fit better.  My daughter has danced in various competitions the last 4 years.  There is anywhere from 4-5 competitions each spring that we drive at least two hours to, with a national competition in Ohio being a 7 hour drive.   Youth sports can be expensive, but dancing is right up there with it.  Monthly class fees, costume fees, and competition fees add up very quickly.  Worse yet, you cannot sell a used dance costume that you outgrow like you can with a baseball glove that is too small.  I support my daughter 100% while she is dancing and enjoy watching her during her 5-6 minutes of stage time.  It is the other 3-4 hours of time watching young girls shake body parts they should not that leaves me thinking when will this end.  At least this appears to be her last year dancing, as sports will take a more prominent place in her life during junior high.
Last weekend was her first competition in Collinsville, IL.  I was lucky enough to be searching the internet last week and found out a sporting goods store in St. Louis was having a baseball expo with former Cardinal Brian Jordan signing autos for free from 12-2.  Since it was just a 20 minute drive from the dance competition, my son and I were able to get away for it.  I had been to one of these signings a few years ago when Willie McGee was there.  People were lined up 2 hours before he started, so I did not wait around for the slight chance to get his auto.  This year was completely different.    

  We arrived about 12:30 and found the line was less than 30 people deep.  While waiting in line, my son got his first auto of the day

 Cardinals mascot Fredbird

Fredbird helped passed the 10 minute wait until we got to the front of the line.  Jordan signed my son's bat that has about 40 other signatures on it.  He was very nice and took a picture with him.  I got 2 cards signed.  

We put our autos back in the van and went back into the store to hit in the indoor batting cage.  After we finished, I noticed Jordan had less than 10 people in line.  The workers said anyone can jump back in line if they wanted since there was still an hour left for the signing. I got one more card signed.

The store was providing free 8x10s for anyone that did not bring a ball or card with them.  My son grabbed one.

All 3 cards came out nice, but the photo is great.  Nice big bold signature with his full name.  He thanked us for coming and being Cardinals fans.  I cannot argue about 5 free autos.  The store was even giving away free hot dogs and water.  I almost felt guilty getting all the free things, but I did end up buying a bat for my son. 

All in all a great day.  My daughter's dance group finished first in both her routines, so everyone left happy.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Classic Variety in a Trade Package

I think some of my favorite trades are with other Cardinals fans.  Whether it be with fellow bloggers, message board members, or email friends it always nice to exchange my extra cards for some wantlist hits.  My box of Cardinals doubles is well over 2000 thanks to numerous blind team trades.  I have them sorted by year to make trading a little easier.  Sometimes I even find a card that I need or a variation that I overlooked while going through the box.  Last week I sent a package to an email trader with a small stack of early 1980s Cardinals.  My end of the trade arrived Tuesday.

 I do not have many of the Classic cards from the late 1980s or early 1990s.  I had planned to buy some during the COMC Black Friday sale last year, but was shocked at some of the prices.  The 2 purple cards did complete one of the 1989 sets.

I am not a huge fan of the Topps Big cards.  The front has too much going on with the color splash, action photo, and the player close up. I doubt too many players were flattered with the close up shot.  It looks like Todd Zeile was heavily medicated for his pic.

I think Topps realized smoke/fog border did not work for the 1989 Mini League Leader set, so they cut it back to just 2 corners for the 2016 flagship set.  I don't think either design is that great.  I did purchase a big chuck of Sportflics from COMC on Black Friday, but did not have the Terry Pendleton.  The Steve Peters 88 Donruss Rookies finished that set.

Pacific put out a ton of sets in 1999.  They did utilize unique designs and included a nice variety of players.  McEwing was somewhat of a cult hero when he came up, earning the nickname Super Joe.  His star did not last long, but he is still around as a coach in the White Sox minor league system.

Edgar Renteria has been the longest tenured starting shortstop for the Cardinals since Ozzie Smith retired.  A good all around player who was not outstanding at one thing, but did everything well.  He bounced around to 6 different teams after leaving the Cardinals in 2004, but was still a solid player.

I am a fan of the Topps Heritage brand, but 2008 was a down year for me.  I know Topps had to follow the 1959 blueprint, but the bulleye design does not work for me.  Ankiel's card looks like a most wanted poster.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Late to the 2016 Topps Party

2016 Topps Series 1 has not been out for 2 weeks yet, but it seems like longer than that by looking at all the breaks and posts about it.  I did not have any luck finding packs/boxes at my Wal-Mart the first couple days after release, so I went the trade route to get my team set.  I cannot tell you the last time I bought a hobby box, but I will purchase the occasional blaster every now and then.  A home loan and 2 children makes for a small hobby budget in my household.

The Cardinals have 9 cards in the base set.  My favorite shot is the Matt Holliday sliding into home.  I like the action photos, but the cards seem a little to up close.  The full bleed photos are also nice, but I do not know what to think of the white cloud/smoke.  On some cards it is ok, but others like the Molina card it takes away from the background.

Topps always features Musial in a few insert sets.  Pressed into Service cards feature position players who pitched in a MLB game.  You may not have known that Musial was a pitcher in the minor leagues before he hurt his shoulder.  I think his career turned out ok. 

The rainbow foil parallels are back this year.  Not a bad looking card, but is it necessary with the other parallels like Gold, Black, etc?  I can do without the wacky sticker inserts.  The Perspectives are excellent looking cards.  They have the full panoramic feel of being in the ball park. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

A Rainbow Anniversary

Earlier this week I was updating my wantlist link on my webpage when I noticed today is my one year anniversary of starting this blog.  I have never been known as a very talkative person, and the same holds true to my blogging.  I average a post about every fifth day.  I do enjoy reading others' blogs daily, but sometimes just do not have anything to say of my own. 

The bulk of my posts feature cards I have received from numerous sources: the blogging community, EBAY, trading websites, etc.  I also throw in the occasional autograph recap from the minor league games my family attends or a card show review.  My posts are not meant to invoke any deep thoughts about baseball or card collecting.  Rather, I just enjoy sharing my experiences and collection with others.

Very few of my posts feature my favorite player, Ray Lankford.  I am down to needing a small amount cards of his, most being low numbered or 1/1s.  I believe I picked up 3 cards of his that I needed in 2015.  This year I plan on featuring more of my favorite Lankford cards.  Maybe I will try a weekly type post.

The first anniversary is traditionally considered the paper anniversary.  Unless I get some unexpected mail, I will not have any new cards to show off so I decided to share my favorite Lankford rainbow.  A lot of collectors show a rainbow of Topps or Bowman cards made up of different colors of refractors.  Lankford retired before the refractor trend started.  My Lankford rainbow is only 3 cards, but oh what a beautiful three cards they are.

1998 Donruss Crusade Green 225/250

1998 Donruss Crusade Purple 51/100

1998 Donruss Crusade Red 20/25

I think the Green version looks the best, but the red is not bad.  I have seen the Green and Purple version pop up on EBAY every now and then, but the Red never seems to surface.  I purchased my copy about 3 years ago for under $30 delivered.  That may sound high, but check out what recent completed auctions have closed for.  Crazy money

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

5 from the Wanlist

Yesterday's mail brought another trade package from a deal I made on the Bench.  I traded one of the 2014 Bowman Draft autos for 5 hits to my team sets.  I do not mind trading autos or game used for commons.  If someone is willing to go through my 20 plus pages of Cardinals wants to make a trade, I will more than gladly send an $8 auto their way.

I am not sure why Fleer decided to put out the Fall Classics set in 2002.  Yes the set highlights former players who played in the World Series, but it seems too similar to the Greats of the Game set to me.  Regardless, I will always trade for a nice Musial card.  I like the black and white photo on this one.

My scanner does not like Leaf Certified cards from any year.  These 2 are from the 2005 set.  I have seen both photos on numerous Leaf/Donruss cards.  I guess Topps was not the first to recycle photos.
2010 Topps 206 was a pretty boring set.  White borders with posed photography equals little eye appeal for me.  The backgrounds are pretty bland also.  Topps could have at least put the team logo or maybe a city icon like the Arch in the background.  I am pretty sure that is not Busch Stadium that Bryan Anderson is sitting in. 
Yadier Molina makes his second consecutive appearance in a trade package.  I do like the close up Topps used for this 2010 National Chicle card.  I am not sure if there is any significance of the background color scheme, but I love the shot of Yadi wearing his tools of the trade.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Serial Numbered Trade

The trade packages continued to arrive over the weekend with another package from a Bench trading partner.  I sent 3 #ed cards from the EBAY chrome lot his way and received several nice Cardinals in return.

 This 2004 Greats of the Game insert is numbered 1128/1928.  I was not sure why it was numbered to 1928 since the Cardinals did not win the World Series that year.  Turns out all the cards in this set are numbered to the player's rookie year.  Martin was a key member of the Gashouse Gang that won the Series in 1934.  He was nickname the Wild Horse of the Osage because of his aggressive base running.

I liked the Donruss Classics set that came out in the early 2002.  The 2002 set included shortprints of past stars and rookies that are numbered to 1500.  Garcia played 2 years in Double A for the Cardinals in 2002 and 2003 before leaving as a minor league free agent.

The 2004 Leaf Limited set consisted of all serial numbered cards.  This Pujols #ed 388/749 is from easiest tier of cards to pull.  Other cards are numbered to 499, or rookie autos are numbered to 99.  Very shiny cards that do not scan well.

My favorite card from this trade is this 2005 Playoff Prestige Xtra Bases Red Yadier Molina  #ed 97/150.  This set had numerous colored parallels numbered to different quantities. 

The only card not numbered in the package was this 2004 Diamond Kings Marty Marion.  I liked the simple look of the cards with the painted portrait in the middle.  Panini has done a good job of reviving this brand the last couple of years. 


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Big, Sticky, and Fun

Last night I had to venture to Wal-Mart to pick up a few oddball items like light bulbs and Draino.  Of course my route led me by the card aisle as I was hoping to find some 2016 Topps.  It seems some Targets and Wal-Marts  get flagship Topps before it hits the hobby stores.  I did not have any luck, but at least I had a trade package waiting for me from yesterday's mail.  This was package from a Trading Bases member that involved 2 Orioles cards from my recent EBAY spending spree. 

The big in the package were these 2 1984 Donruss Action All Stars.  Donruss put out these sets during the mid 1980s that featured cards about twice the size of a normal card.  If you look closely at the Hendrick card it may seem like the logo on his helmet was photoshopped off, but I am guessing it may have been spring training game.  If not, I suppose it was foreshadowing of things to come 30 years later.

 The sticky in the package were Topps Sticker Backs from 1988-1990.  These 4 four 1988 stickers are actually the backs of the card with the front featuring 2 stickers of other players that would fit into an album.
These are also the sticker back variations.  These 8 cards completed the 3 teams sets, but I still need a ton of the regular stickers.

This 1993 Upper Deck Fun Pack Ozzie Smith reminds me of a Fleer Provisions card.  The McGwire is from the 1999 Upper Deck Challengers for 70 set.  I would hate to count how many cards Upper Deck produced of McGwire across all their brands in 1999.  Makes me glad to collect a semi star rather than a superstar.

One last Ozzie in the package from the 1992 Upper Deck Team MVP set.  I had never heard of this 50 card set before.  These 2 are the only Cardinals featured in the set.  I was a little shocked how well the holograms scanned. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Mac 4 Pack

I received another trade envelope last weekend in exchange for some of the EBAY chrome lot.  This one came from a trader on the Trading Bases message board.  This trader claimed 2 of the Braves cards and 3 of the Triple Threads.   

 I still collect cards of McGwire despite the PED use.  It would be nice if a few others would follow his lead and admit their guilt ( Bonds).  I doubt it will help their HOF status, but at least they might save a little grace in collector's eyes.  The Opening Day and MVP cards finished team sets.

I am a fan of Topps Heritage, just not of all the SPs in the base set.  This was the only Cardinals sp in the 2015 set.  It also finished a team set.

I do not remember many inserts in Finest other than the refractors, but this 2014 Vintage insert was very well done.  It does have a refractor type finish to it.

This is my first Matt Carpeter jersey relic.  I have a bat relic and auto already, so this completes my trifecta.  I usually try to obtain a jersey, bat, and auto card of each player.  I am content after that, but will always accept any in trade that I do not have.
This is my second Flaherty auto.  The die cut and low numbered auto helps some, but that is a rather bland photo.  Elite does have autos of players who otherwise may not have one, but they remind me too much of Signature Rookies.  Another brand that I do not actively seek out, but will accept in a trade.