Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Winter Warm Up Clean Up

Over the past couple of weeks I have been putting my card room back in order.  I have scanned and filed away all the cards from my January and February trade packages.  I also discovered a 2016 Springfield Cardinals team set that I had purchased at the Cardinals Winter Warm Up that I have not had a chance to open yet.  Here are a few of the notable players from that set.

Rowan Wick is Rick Ankiel in reverse.  He was drafted as an power hitting outfielder and enjoyed some success in rookie ball before failing to hit in A ball.  He was converted to a pitcher in 2015 but hurt his arm before he saw much game action.  He pitched very well for Springfield in 2016 and was invited to the Arizona Fall League.  He throws in the upper 90s, but does not have much of a secondary pitch yet. 

This might be one of the first baseball cards ever featuring a player holding a hunting knife.  Springfield hosted the 2016 Texas League All Star Game where Voit would win the Home Run Derby.  In my book he is a right handed Matt Adams.  Both are big first baseman who can hit for a decent average with power.  I doubt if Voit will have as much success as Adams though since he is already 26 years old and yet to play in Triple A. 

Dejong was a 4th round draft pick in 2015 who spent all of 2016 in Double A after skipping High A.  He showed good power, but batted .260.  The Cardinals plan to move him to Triple A in 2017 and start at shortstop.  He has the arm strength to play there, but I am not sure about the range. 

Bader was a 2015 3rd round draft pick who also skipped High A.  He started on fire in Double A last year and earned a promotion to Triple A Memphis.  The level of competition was better there and he ended the year back in Springfield.  He should start 2017 back in Triple A Memphis with an outside shot of making it to St. Louis if an outfield or two gets hurt.

I have mentioned Weaver in a few other posts in recent weeks.  I would be surprised if he makes the Cardinals opening day roster.  With only 1 start in Triple A last year, he could use more experience before he becomes a consistent Major League pitcher.  I would not be surprised if he spends a year or two in the bullpen before getting a chance to start.

This is my favorite card and player from the set.  It would be interesting to find out if Kelly hit a home run during this at bat, or if it was a mile high pop up.  All signs point to Kelly spending some time in Triple A this year before you becomes Yadier Molina's full time backup.  With Molina being a free agent after this year, it will be interesting to see how the Cardinals handle Kelly.  I believe the Cardinals will resign Molina for 3-4 years so he can retire as a Cardinal.  In the last year or two he may turn into Kelly's backup. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

No Logo Needed

We have said it many times that recent Panini baseball cards products would look so much better with team logos.  Due to the Topps monopoly, that is not going to happen anytime soon.  I agree with the majority that the airbrushed photos are hard to look at, but some of the card designs make for that.  I received a small trade package over the weekend with a few good examples.

My scanner took away the foil finish on this 2015 Career Stat Line card.  It looks much sharper in person.  I am guessing Holliday is wearing a throwback uniform.  I am guessing the shot is from Wrigley because of the brick wall, so that rules out a spring training uniform.  No airbrushing needed on this photo.

2016 Donruss Optic used some colorful borders for parallels.  This purple version is pretty sweet.  Once again Panini used a photo that did not require alteration.

This is my favorite card of the bunch.  It is a 2014 Panini Prizm Red, White, & Blue Pulsar parallel card.  Other than the lack of the cap logo, this card is just simply awesome.  It may look like it is textured, but it is not.  The markings remind me of tire tracks. 

The last card in the trade package was this 2010 Topps Blue Backs mini.  This card is far from a home run in my book because of the ugly green and yellow and the fact it is a mini.  But it is a Cardinals card I did not have, so I will give it a good home.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Spring Has Started!

Although spring training started last week for most teams, today feels like the real first day with the start of games.  I watched the entire 9 innings of the Cardinals 8 to 7 loss to the Marlins.  Fowler got on base twice and Matt Carpenter drove him in both times.  I hope this is a pattern that happens a lot this season.  Another positive was an error free game for the Cardinals.  Last spring the team played bad defensive baseball that carried over to the regular season. 

My mail today also brought another sign of baseball season getting closer.
My season tickets for the Peoria Chiefs arrived today.  It does sound strange to be a season ticket holder for a team that is 3 hours away from me, but the Chiefs make things very easy.  I bought a flex plan that includes 20 undated dugout tickets that can be used at any time in any quantity.  I can take 20 people to one game, or take 4 people to 5 games.  I have to definite dates picked out yet, but hope to make a couple of weekend series in late summer once my children are finished playing.  One major benefit I am looking forward to is the chance to take batting practice on the field.  May have to break out the video camera for that.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

My First 2017 Cardinals

I have not purchased any 2017 Topps yet other than the pack I gave away in last week's contest. I doubt if I will buy any Series 1 packs since I was able to complete 2 small trades with Trading Bases members to acquire all the Cardinals base cards.  Both of the trades came in over the weekend.

Neither Reyes or Duke will throw a pitch for the Cardinals this year after having Tommy John surgery.  Reyes of course is the bigger lose.  He was a strong Rookie of the Year candidate who was most likely going to be the Cardinals fifth starter.  Duke was a good lefty reliever last year after he was acquired from the White Sox at the trade deadline.  

 Here are two more guys who will not be playing for St. Louis.  Moss signed with the Royals as a free agent, while Garcia was traded to the Braves.  I wonder if he would have been traded if the Reyes injury happened sooner.  

Pham and Adams project to be backups at this point, although with a strong spring Adams may force the Cardinals to move Matt Carpenter back to third.  He lost 30 pounds this offseason doing Pilates and eating healthy.  I hope that will help him hit lefties better.

You could be looking at the Cardinals 3-4-5 hitters to start the season, though I would be Diaz will hit second and Matt Carpenter will be third.  Piscotty is a better all around hitter, but Grichuk has more power when he can make contact.  Along with Dexter Fowler in center, I hope their outfield defense will be better than last year.

Other than Carlos Martinez, the Cardinals have a lot of question marks in the starting rotation.  Wainwright is a year removed from an Achilles injury and also a year older.  At 35, you have to wonder how much longer he can throw 200 innings per year and be effective.  It would be nice to get another 3 or 4 years of 12-15 wins out of him.  Wacha burst onto the scene in the 2013 playoffs and was an All Star in 2015, but shoulder problems have plagued him the last year and a half.  He stands to be the 5th starter with Reyes out.  Weaver was the Cardinals first round pick in 2014.  He tore up the minors the first part of last year and was serviceable in a handful of starts in August in September.  I think he could use a half season or so in Triple A to gain more confidence and fine tune his secondary pitches.  He does get the honor of starting the first spring training game on Saturday.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Inserts from Kerry at Cards on Cards

Finishing up the lot of Cardinals that Kerry from Cards on Cards sent me last month, here are some of the inserts that I needed.

These 1996 Summit Foil cards would look better without the black pin stripes, but they are still sharp.  Much better than the plain white base cards.

I have never seen this 2001 Topps Traded insert before.  I guess now I have a Cub card in my personal collection. 

I am a fan of the Topps Rookie Cup tropy cards.  I like the fact that 2005 Rookie Cup reprints used some of the vintage cards that do not show the modern cup that I am familiar with.  I remember Corrales more as a manager than a player. 

Topps Chrome refractors always look nice regardless of the year.  These 2 2008 cards showcase a couple of short term Cardinals.  Washington only played a few games for the Cards in 2008, while Glaus was the regular 3rd baseman in 2008.  He started that way in 2009 before he got hurt and only played 14 games that season. 

Brian Barton was a rule 5 pickup from the Indians that played all of 2008 for the Cardinals before playing one year with the Braves.  The Cardinals also had a utility infielder that season named Brian Barden.  I remember listening to a couple of games where Barden would pinch hit, get on base, than Barton would pinch run.  Talk about confusing.  These 2 2008 SP Authentic Rookie Exclusive cards were inserted into retail packs only.

2008 Stadium Club First Day Issue cards had 2 versions: a hobby version numbered to 599 and a retail version with just the stamp on the front.  These are both retail versions.  The Cardinals traded Perez to the Indians as part of the Mark DeRosa trade.  He had a few good seasons as the Indians closer before getting in trouble for smoking pot.

Before Topps Target versions were colored border cards, they featured a throwback logo on these 2009 cards.  The backs also lacked a glossy finish.  Joe Mather was an athletic outfielder who never could hit enough to stick in the Majors.  He was playing the outfield for the Springfield Cardinals at the first minor league game I ever went to in 2007.  Very nice guy with the nickname Joey Bombs.

I like the blue bordered Wal-Mart cards.  The Toys R Us purple version look better, but are much harder to find.  I would guess that has more to do with the price than the availability.  In my areas TRU blaster boxes are at least $5 higher than the same blaster at Wal-Mart. 

Big thanks to Kerry for all the great Cardinals.  Hope we can do it again some time this year.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Continuing the Cards on Cards Trade Post

Next up in my trade recap with Kerry from Cards on Cards are the base cards I needed from the 2000s.

My collection is severely lacking in early 2000s Topps Chrome cards.  I think this Tatis is just the 4 or 5th one I have from the 2000 set.  This card highlights the 2 grand slams he hit in one inning, both off of Chan Ho Park.  I say Tatis at a card show last summer and was surprised how small he was.  I stand 6 foot tall and he was a good inch or two shorter.  He sure packed in a punch in his small frame.

I like the 2002 Donruss Originals sets.  It has a nice selection of players and uses some classic retro designs.  Sort of their answer to Topps Archives.  I hated the fact Fleer put out so many sets in the early 2000s that had #ed rookies.  This 2002 Focus is not numbered thankfully.  Just like the 2000 Chrome set, I have very few 2002 cards.   

Hard to believe I still need common Topps Opening Day cards, but I do.  Same goes for Bazooka.  Vina was a solid second baseman and leadoff hitter for the Cardinals from 2000-2003.  I would guess most fans remember him being the victim of an Albert Belle forearm shiver while he was playing for the Brewers.

Womack took over for Vina in 2004, but only lasted one season.  Hoffpauir played 8 games for the Cardinals in 2009 before signing with the Blue Jays in the offseason.  He would play only 13 more games in the Majors the rest of his career.

From the looks of these 3 cards 2005 was the year of the white border.  I like the Topps Rookie Cup design the most.  It was nice to see Topps use a different photo than what was on the player's rookie card. 

2008 Finest has to be one of the ugliest Finest designs Topps ever produced.  The border is terrible and the photo is cropped too much.  Niko Vasquez made it to Double A Springfield before being released in 2012.  Last I knew he was playing independent ball in Marion, IL.

If looks could kill Joel Pineiro would be Freddy Krueger.  This is the black border parallel of 2009 O-PEE-CHEE.  Black and yellow on a card does not look very good to me. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

1990s Goodies from Kerry

Continuing my trade recap from Kerry of Cards on Cards fame, here are a bunch of 1990s oddballs.

Classic, Swell, and Pacific Legends are not the typical 1990 cards you see everyday.  I find it very funny Bob Horner is considered a legend.  If you do think of him as a legend it is more likely as a member of the Braves.

These are my first 1991 Topps Archives cards.  Not very many household name there, not even for a Cardinals fan.

Classic put out 3 different sets in 1991: Series 1, Series 2, and Game.   I believe purple is the Game series, green is 1, and red is 2.  

1992 Classic had the same 3 versions.  I have not done my research yet to figure out what is what.

Kerry informed me he has never been to Canada, and that a lot of these cards were duplicates.  I will gladly take duplicate O-PEE-CHEE Cardinals anytime.

It is nice to see not all the 1992 Panini Stickers found their way into a book.  Back in my younger days I would have found a place for them.  

I had never even heard of 1992 Topps Kids before I received these.  Where were these cards hiding when I was a kid in 1992?  

I had not heard of the 1993 Milkbone set either.  Nice to see man's best friend getting some cardboard love also.  

If you need to brush up on your Spanish baseball terms, I suggest looking over 1993 Pacific cards.  I had 2 years of Spanish back in high school that I can say helped me very little with reading the card backs.  Of course that was over 20 years ago.  

1993 Panini stickers are a lot more colorful than the 1992 version.  The stickers are also slightly larger.  

 Another set I had no idea that existed is 1994 Stadium Club Draft Picks.  The Cardinals sure did not do a good job in that draft by picking Dale in the second round.

I know this is not an oddball, but I love 1990s Finest cards.  It is very hard not to peel the coating off.  I have done this with duplicate Cardinals and the cards look so much better.  

I am not a fan of the player profile on these 1996 Pinnacle Aficionado cards.  It makes the player look like a ghost watching himself in action.  

1997 Finest added player descriptions to the front of the cards, although I do not think of Royce Clayton as a warrior.  I do not like the bronze background as much as the green diamond on the 1995 version.

At first glance these may seem like 1997 Pinnacle cards, but they are really New Pinnacle cards.  With names and ideas like that, I can see why Pinnacle did not make baseball cards very long.  I do like the photography on these.

 Back in 1998, JD Drew was about as hot a card as anyone.  This Donruss Signature and his Leaf Rookies & Stars cards where very hard to find at reasonable prices.  

The name plate on these 1998 Paramount cards is way too difficult to read.  Pacific was very busy in the late 1990s cranking out 5 or 6 sets a year with each one seeming to have 10-15 parallels apiece using every color you could imagine.  I do miss some of the designs, but not the headache trying to figure out what type of card you just pulled.

Rounding out today's post are 2 1999 Pacific cards.  A much cleaner look than the Paramount cards.  Although card companies went overboard with production in the 1990s, I do miss the variety of cards that were offered back then.  Now I get excited to find Topps putting cards in pizza boxes.  Maybe this year we will see the return of Kraft Mac N Cheese cards or Post Cereal cards. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Contest Time

In honor of my 2 year blog anniversary this week, I thought I would throw a small contest.  Here are the goodies you can win.

Nothing high dollar, but maybe you can pull something good out of the pack.  I had a hard time trying to figure out the contest the last few days.  With the terrible news that Cardinals pitcher Alex Reyes will need Tommy John surgery, I thought I would showcase a couple of his cards for the contest.

2014 Bowman Red Wave Refractor #ed to 25

2014 Bowman Red Ice #ed to 25

The winner needs to pick the correct serial number for either one of the cards.  You may only guess once, but you can guess for both cards.  Please indicate the number for each card, for example the wave is 1, and the ice is 25.  Hope that is not too confusing.