Tuesday, June 26, 2018

2 Weeks Behind

I admit it was tough watching everyone else show off the new Topps Series 2 cards 2 weeks ago.  It was tempting to open a hanger pack or two from Wal-Mart, but I resisted the urge and instead was able to make a trade with Trading Bases member Ron B for the entire Cardinals set.  Ron also include a few extras.  I will not show off the entire set, just my favorites.

Call me strange, but I was excited to see cards of 2 backup infielders included.  Garcia has not had a card since 2010.  This is the Mejia card I wish I had this past weekend.

Also included are cards of 2 relievers.  Sheriff has joined a recent line of Cardinals pitchers who have under TJ surgery.  Norris is putting together a nice season as the Cardinals closer.  Since no one else on the team is standing out, it may not be crazy to see Bud in the All Star game in a couple of weeks.

Futures Stars / Rookie Cup cards are some of my favorite base cards.  It is always interesting to see who Topps thinks will be a star.  These 2 may not be stars yet, but hopefully will be solid everyday players for a few years.

The Pham foil card is a great shot from the Series 2 set.  The Carp 1983 insert is actually from Series 1, but still a welcome addition. 

These pair of Harry cards are my first from 2018 Diamond Kings.  This year's design is a big disappointment after I loved last year's. 

 I already have the 2 Ozzie base cards, but the 95 Zenith is such a sweet shot I had to show it.  I doubt if you will ever see another player wear a helmet like the one Ozzie has one in the Bunt Program card.  Heck even the standard ear flap one seems to be going out of style in place of the one with the jaw guard or whatever that extra piece is called. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

Memphis Trip: Star Wars and Baseball

If you have read some of my past posts, you know my love of minor league baseball.  Two big reasons are the great promotional items and the chance for in person autographs.  A few weeks back I noticed the Cardinals Triple A team in Memphis was having Star Wars night this past Friday with the big draw being a Harrison "Darth" Bader bobblehead giveway.  Work has been a little slow this month with the excess rain here in southern Illinois, so it was not a problem taking off Friday to make the 5 hour trip to Memphis.   

We arrived in plenty of time to receive the bobbleheads handed out to the first 1,500 fans.  I think I like this one better than than one I received in Peoria in May.  It was nice that all four of us received these, as I can sell the extra 3 to pay for the cost of the tickets and parking.  The tickets were cheap also as for $64 we received 4 tickets in the front row down the first base line, 4 hot dogs and sodas, and 2 coupons for large pizzas from Papa Johns. 

The programs were simple but nice.  This is more of a flyer as it unfolds to show a color poster on one side, with a score card on the other.  Wish I had spotted these sooner because ..

it would have looked great autographed along with this 2018 Bowman Chrome card.  It is very true what is said about O'Neill's stature.  While he is somewhat short, he is built like a stack of bricks.  He signed before the game after he finished warming up.

Alex Mejia signed on his way out to warm ups.  My son and I have gotten him before.  He is one of the nicer guys around.  I wish I had his Topps Series 2 card with me.

Luke Voit also signed after he finished stretching.  We got the top 2 cards signed on Friday, the bottom 1 on Saturday.

The bottom Voit was part of the 2017 team set that I bought for $5.  Lots of good names in the 35 card set like DeJong, Bader, Pham, Weaver, Flaherty, etc.  Topps could learn something from Choice with the simple yet crisp designs.  No tidal wave fronts on these cards. 
Memphis trailed 4-0 for most of the game, but chipped away late and scored the game winning run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 8th.  After the game, I was able to track down a player I had been trying to get an autograph from for 3 years.

Poncedeleon was the last player I needed to sign 2 of these posters.  These were given out at a Peoria game in 2015 on a Signature Sunday where the entire team usually signs except the starting pitcher and catcher.  Poncedeleon started that night and was promoted to Palm Beach the next week.  He was hurt during Spring Training in 2016 when I was in Florida.  He was scheduled to start 2017 in Springfield, but an injury to a Memphis pitcher resulted in him being promoted 2 days before the home opener which I attended.  During a game in May, he was hit in the head with a line drive and missed the rest of 2017.  I saw him in Spring Training this year, but was never close enough to get an autograph.  As luck would have it, he was sitting in the stand Friday night charting pitches.  I waited until after the game was over to ask him to sign, but he denied me at first.  About 2 seconds later, he comes back and says how cool the poster was and signed both.  Persistence pays off.

Saturday nights game was not as eventful.  Besides the Voit card, we got 2 other autos.

Arozarena took his time and gave a great signature.  I am not sure if that is a happy face on the far left.

Patrick Wisdom is hands down the nicest player I have ever met.  He takes time before the game to sign, and also signs after the game by the dugout until everyone gets something.  An usher says he does this every home game.  I hope he finally gets a call up this year after being overlooked for a September call up last year.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Quick 1 Card EBAY Win

Nothing too exciting to show off today, just one card that arrived from EBAY yesterday.

This is my first 2018 Finest card.  Alcantara is not with the Cardinals anymore, but Topps was too lazy to make a Marlins card of him so I could not pass up a Cardinals auto for less than $5 delivered.  He was part of the Marcell Ozuna trade back in December 2017.  No reason that a spring training photo in a Marlins uniform could not have been used.  At least the auto is on card.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Shiny Trade Package

Trading has been a little slow for me the past month.  A lot of nightly and weekend baseball games cut back on my spare time, but things will be slowing down after next week.  Last week I was able to swing a trade with TCDB member colonel98801 for a nice chunk of Cardinals wantlist hits, most of the chrome variety.

These 1998 Topps Chrome cards did not scan well at all.  The cards do not have all the scratches on them that showed up on the scan.   They do however have the typical bending issues. 

The league leaders card looks great in Chrome.  I love the stitches on this 1999 card.

Bowman Chrome scans just as bad as Topps Chrome.  These 2000 cards do not look nearly as dark as the picture shows.

These are my first cards from 2000 Bowman Chrome Draft.  I had to look up a checklist to make sure what set they were from, as the cards are not numbered BDC like more recent sets are.

2000 Stadium Club Chrome scanned a little better, although it looks like Renteria's foot is fading away.  Maybe it is the sunlight that creates the illusion.

2001 Chrome had a base and Traded version.  The bottom 2 are from the Traded set.  Clapp is the manager at Triple A Memphis.  He was like a number of other Cardinals utility players like Bo Hart and Joe McEwing who had some success during their first month or so in the Majors, but then fell off big time.  Clapp has done well so far in his managerial career and may be in line for a promotion in the near future.

2003 Topps Chrome are my favorite cards from the package.  Something about the blue border makes these cards really stand out.

I just mentioned yesterday about the large number of McGwire cards that are on my wantlist.  These 2 1999 cards shorten the list.

I do not mind these 2005 Bowman Heritage minis as much as the GQ or A&G minis because they are slightly larger and easier to handle.  Both these guys peaked at Double A before being released.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

2 Shows in 2 Weeks

My son's travel baseball season ending last weekend.  I know it sounds early, but a lot of the players also swim, play soccer, and football.  It can be tough asking a 10 year old to choose in between sports, so we agreed to play baseball from April-June.  As a result, I now have a lot of free time on the weekends.

For the last few years, it has been a ritual to attend a minor league baseball game on Father's Day.  However, this year none of the local teams were playing at home and I was not too thrilled to go sit in 90+ degree weather and watch the Cardinals struggle against the Cubs.  Instead, I chose to drive to St. Louis on Saturday to attend a card show with my son while my wife and daughter went shopping.  A win-win for everyone involved.

I attended the 3 day show at Machinist's Hall back in April with some decent luck at the bargain boxes.  This 1 day show was advertised as sold out, so I thought why not.  The bargain boxes were once again my main target.  I spent the majority of my 1.5 hours at a dealer's tables who had 6 3,000 count boxes full of quarter cards.  Along with about 20 cards of trade bait, I did find a few Cardinals.
It is so nice to be able to pull up my collection on the TCDB website while I am at a show.  I swore I had the Grichuk gold and Sierra pink card, but I was wrong.  Although all are former Cardinals, I will not pass up nice quarter cards.

I am surprised I do not find more cheap McGwire cards at shows.  There are a ton of them I still need.  The 1999 Ultimate Victory McEwing card was hidden with a bunch of other short print rookies from that set.  I almost grabbed a stack of them, but I could not remember anyone that was collecting that set.

There were also a ton of minis from various years, but I keep my mini purchases to strictly Cardinals. 

I bought these Piscotty cards from the same dealer I bought a few cards from at the Evansville show the previous weekend.  He restocked his former Cardinals box, but these were the only ones I needed. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Thank You for the Thank You Card

A few weeks ago I posted about a 2018 Bowman Shohei Ohtani sent me as a throw in for mailing a trade a little late.  I offered the card up as a freebie and was glad to see that Angel collector Tom from The Angels, In Order  claimed it.  I did not need anything in return, but being the great guy that he is, Tom sent me a thank PWE. 

Flaherty pitched a decent game last night to help the Cardinals avoid a sweep against the Cubs.  He threw 5 shutout innings, but needed close to 100 pitches to do it.  The Cardinals did not score until the 6th inning, so Flaherty did not get the win.  Of all the Cardinals young pitchers, he is the one I am most excited about.  He throws in the mid 90s with 4 pitches he can throw for strikes.  At 22, he has plenty of time to learn how to keep the pitch count lower in order to win more games.

1982 Fleer Stamps are about as plain as you can get.  No team or player name on the front, just a number in the lower left hand corner.  The backs of course are blank so they can be stuck in an album.  Most Cardinals fans know Bruce Sutter and Bob Forsch, but how about Gene Tenace and Dane Iorg? 

Thanks Tom for the great cards/stamps.  I agree with your note that we will have to strike up a larger trade sometime.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Small Card Show Recap

Anytime I travel over the weekends, I always make it a point to check the Beckett website in hopes of finding a close card show.  This past weekend I was in luck as my son had a baseball tournament in Evansville, IN.  There was a small show at a run down local mall that advertised 20 tables.  I had been to a show at this location before without much luck, but we had 2 hours to kill in between games so I was able to dig up a few cards.   

There was only one vendor who had quarter cards.  I was able to pick 3 former Cardinals that I needed.

I also found some trade bait in the quarter box.  Anytime I can find numbered cards of certain teams or superstars for 25 cents, I will take them.  I was a little surprised to find the 2 2017 Draft green refractors #ed to 99 in the box.

My only other purchase of the day were some Cardinals from my 1970s wantlist.   Vintage is not one of the usual things I look for at a show, but these were in pretty good shape and the vendor was very talkative.  The 1973 Busse was the last card needed for my team set.


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Better Than A Blaster: The Bench Edition

My latest purchase was actually a little bit cheaper than a blaster.  The Bench member Brettfan runs sales a few times a year that are broken up into team lots.  You can buy all, or just what you want.  I spent $16 on 28 colorful and shiny Cardinals.
First up are a couple of 2012 Chrome refractors.  The Carpenter is #ed to 199.  The Adams is not numbered, but the orange really stands out.  It is great to see him having a solid year in Washington.

Neither of these are numbered, but both are cool in their own way.  The Induction insert was a clever way for Panini to get around the license issue.  It is pretty hard to make out the STL on the HOF plaque.  The Red Prizm card goes great with the Cardinals uniform, although it would look better with a home jersey.

Normally I am not a fan of non standard sized cards, but 2013 Panini Cooperstown Coglan's Chips are not easy to find for 25 cents each.

The lone card from 2014 was this Rosenthal Finest Blue refractor #ed to 125.  Maybe my eyes need tested, but it looks more purple to me.  The Martinez is #ed to 250, while the Wacha is #ed to 99.  For the second time in his career he took a no hitter into the 9th inning on Sunday, but lost it with no outs.  When he has a good change up going, he can dominate.

Panini is like Topps in that they reuse photos.  This 2016 Gold Press Proof #ed to 99 looks just like the above 2013 Red Prizm.  The Black Border #ed to 199 looks to be the same pose, but Molina is wearing the home white jersey in this one. 

Nothing flashy about these 2016 Chrome Refractors.  Once again for a quarter each I will take them. 

The Bowman paper parallels do not pop as much as the chrome cards, but this 2016 #ed to 99 is still pretty sharp.  The 2017 Bowman Chrome refractor Hudson is #ed to 499.  He is in the Triple A rotation right now, but could end the year in the St. Louis bullpen. 

Finest refractors are another type of card I do not see very often at shows.  These purple refractors #ed to 250 were 50 cents each.

 Carlson is one of my favorite under the radar prospects.  He will not turn 20 until October.  He is struggling a bit at High A Palm Beach, but that park is not a great one for hitters.  If he does not pan out as a hitter, I would not be surprised to see him converted to a pitcher.  He has a cannon of an arm.  The 2017 Draft blue paper is #ed to 150, the purple Chrome is #ed to 250.

Purple cards showed up a lot in this package.  The Martinez #ed to 150 is my first Topps Inception card.  I did not know the cards were a lot thicker than Topps flagship.  The Piscotty purple refractor is #ed to 299.

More Topps Chrome refractors for a quarter each, although the Carpenter is the prism variety. 

The second green card of the package is from 2017 Gypsy Queen.  Neither one of these Molina cards are numbered, but it is always nice to add more Yadi to the collection.  Last night was his first game back since taking a foul ball to his manhood.

The last 2 cards are both Donruss parallels.  The 2017 Stat Line card is #ed to 217, while the 2018 Gold Press Proof is #ed to 99.  Not the most attractive cards, but numbered parallels that only cost a quarter are hard to pass up.


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

4 Pack and a Very Nice Freebie Up for Grabs

My mailbox sat empty for about 10 days until a trade envelope arrived yesterday from TCDB member KMack.  We agreed to this trade a few weeks ago, but he was out of town and could not mail until last week.  I was fine with that as he was very honest up front.  I sent my end a two weeks ago with full faith I would receive my Cardinals lot. 

I have mentioned before I am a fan of 2018 Bowman.  I am planning to go visit a Target this weekend and buy a Mega Box if I am lucky enough to find one.  If not, I will use that $15 to buy some Cardinals singles from the set.

I received the Cecil gold card in an unexpected trade package a couple of weeks ago, but I am sure there are other Cardinals collectors that will give it a good home.  I am getting close to 650 different McGwire Cardinal cards.  That total could get close to 1,000 if I ever track down all of his cards on my wantlist.

KMack also included another card in the package because he sent a little later than what he thought he would.  I was not expecting anything extra, but it is also nice to receive something you had no idea that was coming.

I know a lot of collectors already have a copy of this card, but if anyone wants to claim this one I would be happy to pass it along to them.  I am not doing the set and would not feel right trading it to someone.  Shoot me an email with your address if you would like it.