Friday, January 31, 2020

Is it Lunchtime?

I just got back from my lunch break.  What better time to highlight a pwe from TCDB member CubinSTLsets.  We made a small trade earlier this month where he could not find a card.  I told him not to worry about, but last week he sent it along with 3 others.

This 1981 Topps Squirt was the missing card.  I do not think I have ever drank a Squirt before.  Those citrus drinks are not my thing.  The color scheme makes me think more of Mellow Yellow.

I remember eating boxes of Mac n Cheese to get these cards on the back of the box.  I have seen this card hundreds of times, but never had one.  Now I do.  You can almost call this a Panini card with that glaring logoless cap.

These well loved Hostess cards are from 1976.  I love these vintage oddballs.  The design is rather simple, but I love the character of the blue uniforms.  Also check out Simmons locks and McBrides side burns.  The 1970s must have been a good time.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

OPC From a PWE

I should be caught up with my trade recaps by the end of this week.  Being gone 3 days for the Cardinals WWU and posting the highlights has put me a little behind.  Today's package arrived late last week from TCDB member Halfnard.  Most of my trades of late have been of the pwe variety.  I have no problem with this.  Not sure how many I have done, but I have yet to receive any damaged cards.  Hope this does not spoil my good luck.  On with the cards.

These 1979 O Pee Chee cards are far from mint, but I knew that going into the trade.  Nothing wrong with a little character to the cards.

This actually the second 1995 Electric Diamond Tewksbury card I received last week.  When I proposed this trade to Halfnard, I forgot I was getting this in another deal.  If Kerry does not need it, it will go into the trade pile.

Alan Benes was far from a flame thrower despite what this 1996 Topps Laser card shows.  All the pitchers in this set have the same background.  The hitters feature a red base runner or black batter.  Fun little set, but I can imagine the die cuts edges being bent on some cards if they are kept loose. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

A Little Fire and Cards

Catching up with some trades that arrived last week, today's recap is a pwe from TCDB member Hittinaway. 

My son's 2019 Topps Fire set is coming along nicely.  Just 24 more until the 200 card set is finished, but he still has some big names like Acuna and Alonso to track down. 

The 2002 Topps 206 had a ton of Cardinals if you count all the variations.  29 to be exact.  I still need 8 of them.  The 2015 Bowman Chrome set was more manageable with only 8 Cardinals.  I just need #44 John Lackey to finish the team set.

Rounding out the package are a couple of inserts.  The 2006 SI Max Action has a nice shot of Edmonds making one of his many highlight catches.  It was always fun watching him play centerfield in his prime.  I sure hope Alex Reyes has a prime with the Cardinals.  He has been hurt the last 3 years.  He is still only 25, but time could be ticking away.  I look for him to be a reliever this year if healthy, then move into the rotation next year.   Fingers crossed.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Catching Up with 2019 Inserts

It is crazy to think 2020 Topps Series 1 will be out next week.  If you are lucky, maybe you will find some blasters at your local Target or Wal-Mart earlier than the Feb. 5 release date.  I do not have any plans to buy any right now, but if I can find a team break with the Cardinals available, I may join.  Otherwise I will rely on trades to obtain the Cardinals base cards.

Even though 2020 cards are almost here, I am still tracking down a bunch of Cardinals from 2019.  I am making good progress with most of the base cards, but can still use a lot of the cheap Topps inserts and parallels.  Last week a trade with TCDB member Coleman23 brought a nice stack of them my way.

I was glad the Cardinals did not resign Ozuna.  I would rather them gain a draft pick, save $18 million, and let Tyler O'Neill and Lane Thomas play,  Ozuna may have a monster year in Atlanta, but I think the young guys will do ok in St. Louis.

I hope Topps cuts back on the number of parallels.  Rainbow foil and gold are fine, but did we really need a 150th set last year? 

I found the Greatest Seasons and Greatest Players inserts confusing.  Are they from the same set?  If so, why is numbering different?  I do like the All Stars set from Topps Update.  The red, white, and blue color scheme usually looks good on any card.  The Mikolas is the lone 2018 card from the package.  Hard to tell, but it is a Metallic parallel.

I also like the Iconic Reprints from Update.  Doubt I will ever own the original cards, so these will have to do.

Unlike the 2018 set, I have very few parallels from 2019 Big League.  I will have to do a better job of looking out for these.  Although it is a budget brand, I have liked all the Big League designs.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Back to the Bench

I usually do not post on the weekends, but I have a huge stack of trades that I need to recap before I file the cards away.  The first came last weekend while I was at Cardinals WWU.  It was a trade with The Bench member Polar Bear 67.  I traded him a handful of Blue Jay autos in exchange for 2 nice Cardinals.

This is my 8th game used card of Wainwright.  The patches are not the most exciting, but it is my first quad piece and first from Topps Museum.  Very well made card that is super thick.

This is also my 8th Kolten Wong autograph.  This is from 2015 GQ set.  Nice looking on card auto.  I think I have finally figured out how to get my scanner to work properly with my new laptop.  I hope I will no longer show cards with the top border cut off.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Cardinals Hall of Fame Musuem

If you read any of my posts this week about the Cardinals Winter Warm Up, you will recall the presentations hosted by the Cardinals Hall of Museum. The first 50 people received a mystery bobblehead from the previous years.  I never did score the Branch Rickey I was hoping for, but did come away with 7 bobbleheads to trade or sell.

A few weeks ago I renewed my family membership.  The Museum posted a special on their Facebook page on January 7th, national bobblehead day.  In addition to the 2 new bobbleheads given out in 2019, I also received a third bobblehead.  I chose a Dizzy Dean that I already sold for $40.  The 2 new bobbleheads are only available with a membership.  They were not given away at the WWU.
I will be the first to admit that I cannot stand Tim McCarver as an announcer.  Never liked him on Fox, hate it even more when he does games for the Cardinals regional network.  He did  however play on 2 World Series Championship teams in 1964 and 1967.  He was later part of the famous trade that helped start free agency.  McCarver and Curt Flood were the main players headed to Philadelphia in exchange for Dick Allen. 

Pepper Martin was a member of the Gas House Gang teams of the 1930s.  This bobblehead plays a small musical clip.  I find it corny and cool at the same time.  Martin was the leader of a group of players who formed a band know as the Marvelous Mississippi Mudcats Band.  I am not sure if they played anywhere in public, but would play all the time in the clubhouse after a Cardinals win.

If you would like more information about the Museum, check out this link.   If you are ever in St. Louis, I highly recommend a visit.  It is right across the street from Busch Stadium.  It is a great way to kill a few hours.     

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Cardinals Winter Warm Up Day 3

Monday brought the third and final day of WWU 2020.  Unlike the first 2 days that run from 9-5, Monday is a little shorter with hours 9-3.  Right away we had 3 autographs to get from 9-10.  First up was Matt Carpenter.

Much like the DeJong ball, this one turned out great.  I always try to bring my own pens and sharpies instead of using the ones supplied.  By Monday they could get dried out.  The Bic Cystyal really stands out for baseballs.

Next up was a player that I have never received an auto from.

Mike Tyson played for Cardinals during the 1972-1979.  He was not much of a hitter, but did play a decent second base.  I was lucky to have doubles of both his 1976 and 1979 Topps.  The 1976 is now my oldest autographed card. 

Our third autograph in the first hour was former outfielder Bernard Gilkey.

He signed a few years ago at WWU, but I failed to prep the card.  These look so much better.  After getting the 3 autographs, my son and I meet up with a collector from a Facebook group to trade one of the Rogers Hornsby bobbleheads I received on Saturday.

The Cardinals have made a ton of Molina bobbleheads.  This one was a stadium giveaway in 2015.  After the exchange, we went down to the vendor area.  While we were waiting in the Carpenter autograph line, a very generous couple gave us a free autograph ticket for someone signing after at 1:00. I had a ticket for this player already, so I needed to find another item to get signed.  I will show that in a bit.  I did find a vendor with a 11x14 picture I had never seen before.

This photo shows the Cardinals outfielders from the 1993 and 1994 seasons.  Ray Lankford, Bernard Gilkey, Brian Jordan, and Mark Whiten all shared time during those years.  Wish I had found this the day before.  I would have had Gilkey sign it.  It will be a project for the future.

We also stopped by the Peoria Chiefs booth.  I have known the Chiefs GM for a few years dating back to when he was a ticket rep for the Memphis Redbirds.  We had a nice chat about the upcoming 2020 season.  I did buy a bobblehead while there.

This Gorman bobblehead was given out to the first 1,000 fans in Peoria on May 17, 2019.  I heard the lines that night were pretty crazy to get one.  The Chiefs always have some extras made to sell or give away as ticket incentives.  I have seen these sell for $30 and over on EBAY.  I gave $15 for this one.  

After a quick lunch, we went  back to the autograph area for the last time to get our final 3 players.  First up was Ken Dayley.
Dayley signs at almost every WWU.  I have gotten him before, but William from Foul Bunt needed a 1987 Topps for his set.  This one turned out pretty nice.

The next signer was also someone I had gotten from a previous WWU.

Mathews pitched for the Cardinals from 1995-1997.  He was traded to Oakland in the Mark McGwire deal.  Just like the Andy Benes card from Day 1, the Finest card looks great.  

Our last signer was Kolten Wong.
He won his first Gold Glove award in 2019.  I had brought this ball with me, but did not have anything to use for the free ticket we received earlier in the day.  I was hoping one of the vendors had a mini gold glove, but no luck.  My son picked out a nice 8x10 from the same vendor I bought the 11x14 from.

I bought a holder for this so my son can display it in his room.  And that wraps up WWU 2020.  We had a great time getting 28 autographs and 7 free bobbleheads.  The crowd was about the same as previous years, maybe a bit larger.  I will note that the players were very friendly this year.  Even the current players were very nice.  Not that they were not in previous years, but this year a lot of them thanked us for coming, shook hands, or just said hi, how are you doing.  Some years it is just a rush to get through the line that they do not even have time to say anything.   


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Cardinals Winter Warm Up Day 2

After a successful Day 1 at WWU, Day 2 did not start out the greatest.  At 3:00 Sunday morning, my son and I were woken up to the sound of a couple having a yelling match two doors down from our hotel room.  This went on four 30 or 40 minutes before police showed up and escorted the female/wife away in handcuffs.  That took another 30 minutes.  Already after 4:00 now, the guy next door decided to crank his TV up to drown out the nose.  The idiot did not turn it down the rest of the morning.  When we went to breakfast about 7, he even had his door cracked.  Before we left for church, I made sure to slam his door shut for him.  Not sure if it woke him up or not. 

By the time we left church and made it to WWU, it was about 9:30.  Our first stop was the autograph area.

This is the first time we have gotten Bo Hart.  I do not recall him being at any of the other WWU that I have attended.  Always nice to add a new Cardinals signature to the collection.

Dylan Carlson was signing at the same time as Hart.  He is the Cardinals #1 prospect, and is ranked in the top 50 overall.  Very quiet and polite for a 21 year old.  I am guessing he starts the year in Triple A, but will be up after the All-Star break or before if an outfielder gets hurt.  The ball on the left is a Rawlings Official MLB, the one on the right is a 2019 Futures Game ball.

Carlson also signed a 8x10 that I completed after we took a short lunch break.
Nolan Gorman is the Cardinals #2 prospect.  He should spend most of the year in Double A.  I doubt if he reaches the Majors this year as a 19 year old, but he is considered the 3rd baseman of the future.
The gold paint pen did not turn out that great, but it is still a cool photo of the 2 prospects from the Futures Game.

I already had Gorman on an official ball, so I went with a Futures Game ball for him also.  After Gorman we went straight to another signer I had never gotten before.

Pagnozzi seems to be making more appearances in the St. Louis area.  At one time he was working as a scout/instuctor for the Diamondbacks.  I am not sure if he is anymore.  He was not much of a hitter, but did win 3 Gold Gloves in the early 1990s.     

We finished up with Pagnozzi about 1:00.  There was a 2:00 Museum presentation highlighting the 2019 events held there. People were already forming a line to get one of the 50 free bobbleheads, so we jumped in it.  We were 46 and 47.
Willie McGee was the mystery bobblehead this time.  Once again I had him.  The Museum held 6 presentations during the WWU that they gave away bobbleheads.  My son and I attended 4 of them.  I later found out that the one bobblehead I need, Branch Rickey, was not available.  At least I have a few to sell or trade for others I need. 

I have not mentioned it yet, but all weekend the Cardinals Authentics store was holding trivia for a chance to win a prize.  They would announce the time on their Twitter account.  We made it a few times on Day 1, but never knew the answer.  After we finished the Museum presentation, we had 5 minutes to get to the Authentics booth to hear the next question.  Good thing we made it.

The question was who was the last left handed Cardinals hitter to lead the league in home runs.  First guess was Musial, second was Lankford.  Both wrong.  I guessed Johnny Mize and won this sweet 12x16 Red Schoendienst autographed canvas.  It is authenticated to a signing in 2015.  I was thrilled with this prize, as some of the other prizes given away were game used baseballs or a bottle opener. 

We had 1 other autograph to get on Day 2.  Paul DeJong was scheduled to sign on Day 1, but his flight from Minnesota was cancelled due to bad weather.  In previous years some players would not show up due to weather, but DeJong made the extra effort.

This 2019 All Star ball turned out beautiful.  DeJong thanked us for showing up and waiting a day on him.  I have always liked him, but have an even greater appreciation for him now.  I love the way he signs his name, not just a scribble. 

It was a little after 3:00 by now.  I wanted to be back in the hotel room by 5:30 to watch my favorite team the 49ers play.  We did a quick walk through the vendor area before we left and stopped at the Springfield Cardinals booth. 

It has become a tradition for me to buy a $5 team set at the WWU from the previous year.  This 2019 is a big one with 43 cards.  I like how they included MLB rehabbing players like Martinez and Carpenter.

We left after buying the team set.  After grabbing some dinner at Steak N Shake, we made it back to the hotel for opening kickoff.  I was shocked how easy the 49ers won.  Kansas City will be tough to beat in the Super Bowl.  So after a rough start to the day, things turned out pretty well.  Some great autographs, winning an awesome trivia prize, and a 49ers win.  Day 3 highlights to come in the next post.  


Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Cardinals Winter Warm Up Day 1

I consider Martin Luther King Weekend the best weekend of the year.  Mr. King did many wonderful things for our country, but that is not the reason I love this weekend so much.  Since 1997, the Cardinals have held their annual Winter Warm Up this weekend.  3 days of nothing but Cardinals baseball filled with autographs, awesome memorabilia, and just hanging out with thousands of fans.

This was my 10th straight year attending.  It started as just my wife and I, then both my daughter and son joined us, and most recently it turned into a father and son trip.  Last year my son could not attend because of the flu.  We got a small health scare on Wednesday when he developed a cold, but it did not keep him from attending this year.  We attended all 3 days this year.  Today I will recap Day 1 from Saturday.

We arrived shortly before the doors opened at 9:00.  Before long we were in our first autograph lines.

Alan and Andy Benes sign almost every year for free.  Before too long I will have all the base Topps cards signed.  The 1997 Finest card looks great in person.  I was a little worried the protective film would not come off, but a minute or two with a hair dryer fixed that problem. 

Our next stop was a 10:00 presentation from the Cardinals Museum staff about the history of the World Series trophy.  I did not know that the Cardinals won the first version of the current trophy in 1967.  The Museum was also giving out a mystery bobblehead to the first 50 people in line for the presentation.

I already had this Dean bobblehead, but I sold both of ours to help pay for some autographs.  Since 2015, the Museum gives away 2 different bobbleheads each year if you buy an annual family membership for $85.  These are a lot better quality than the typical ones given away at the stadium.  They are also more rare, so selling them is not a problem.  

After the presentation, we hit up the vendor area.  I remember the first few years I attended WWU it was packed with baseball card dealers.  It has shifted to more memorabilia now.  We did not make it through the entire area, but I did find a couple of bargains.

 Anytime you can find an autographed 8x10 of your favorite player for $5, you buy it.  A local shop in Belleville had Lankford in for a signing back in 2018 that I attended.  I saw this picture then, but had other things to get signed.  Good thing I waited.

Vince Coleman was also at that signing.  He and Lankford were inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame the day before.  Here is my recap of that weekend.  This 8x10 was $15.  As you can see, both signed it plus it is Beckett authenticated.  My son waited while I flipped through the boxes with the photos.  The worker who took my money noted how well behaved he was and gave him this:

This 1978 Topps Hrbaosky is in better shape than the one I have.  Al signs a ton in person around St. Louis.  I have a few of his cards, but nothing this old or nice.  This one will go on my son's dresser.

We next hit up a 12:00 Museum presentation highlighting the career of recently name HOFer Ted Simmons.  We were numbers 50 and 51, so only 1 bobblehead this time.
I also have this bobblehead, but planned on having it signed some time later this year.  As we left the room, someone offered me $50 for it.  I plan to use the $50 to get a Simmons autograph later this year.

We only had 5 minutes left to get to our next autograph signing.  Players sign for 1 or 2 hour time frames.  I knew if we attended the Simmons presentation, we would cut it close.  We were the last in line.
A few years ago a Motte autograph would cost $30-$40.  Now that he is retired, it was free.  I love the dual signed card with Tyler Lyons.  Since we were that last in line, he talked to us a few minutes about closing out the 2011 World Series.  He remembers being on the bottom of the dog pile after game 7.  He shouted out that his pitching had was getting crushed.  Yadier Molina told him to enjoy the moment and that he would not need that hand until February. 

After taking a break for lunch, we hit up the 2:00 Museum presentation about preserving your card and memorabilia collection.  We both received the bobblehead this time.

Again I already had the Hornsby.  I am a member of a Facebook group who collects Cardinals bobbleheads.  I managed to trade one pretty quick, still have one left.  Will show the results of the trade in my day 2 recap since that is when I received it. 

We had 2 more autographs to get on the day. First up was Harrison Bader.
I bought this 10x14 card from Topps during the 2018 Black Friday sale with the intent of having it signed at the 2019 WWU.  His autograph tickets sold out very fast that year.  With his down year in 2019, his tickets were not in as a great of a demand.  This turned out really nice.  Bader has started to sign his full name.  Earlier in his career it was a HA B. 

Right after Bader, we got Andy Van Slyke. I have never seen him at the WWU before.

I started this ball back in 2009.  Thought it would be neat to see how many players from the 1985 World Series team I could get.  Van Slyke's signature is the 15th .  It will never be complete due to some players passing on, but it is a fun project that reminds me of a great team.  That wrapped up our day 1.  It was a long day.  We did not leave until a few minutes after 5:00.  Sunday would be less hectic.  More on that in tomorrow's post. 

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The Back & Forth

One of my best trading partners is Trading Bases member Ron B.  I would guess we traded 15-20 times last year.  Quite a few of those were open ended where one of us sent an unexpected package.  I sent him a small pwe the first week in January hoping to get a jump on him this year.  Before that pwe arrived, he had already sent a big package my way. 

Ron always makes sure my son receives an Altuve or 2.  Is it bad for your 11 year old to know a trading partner's address by heart?  The Mythical insert is gorgeous in hand.

Ron is a retired school teacher who works a few hours a week at a local card shop.  I would consider that a dream job.  Best part is he lives close to Boston where Cardinal cards are easy to find and cheap.  Wish I could find colorful inserts like these for less than a quarter.  The color helps offset the lack of logos.

He even finds Topps brands on the cheap. 10 cents each is not bad.

His shop has quite a few so called treasure hunters who bust boxes for the big pulls and leave everything else at the store.  I will gladly take those scraps.

He can even find a parallel #ed to 229 on the cheap like the Dean card.  The Freese card is my first with the Gold Rush stamp.  I am not familiar with this parallel.  I would guess it was some sort of Topps box set in 2012, or maybe a type of buyback.  At any rate, it is a cool card of the recently retired World Series MVP.