the 72’s…my quest begins

Ok, so this is the third in the trifecta of 1970 baseball card set build starts.  Again, to recap.  I had zero intention of starting to build these sets but just couldn’t pass up the condition and price of the cards from what i could see.  So, in order to keep it short tonight lets go!

72 TO Lot 1

A couple cards of note here are the Billy Cowan card with the perfectly situated photographer and Angels halo.  Not sure about the history of the card, but i can imagine the photographer was thinking…”man it would be awesome if i could capture Billy with the halo over his head if can just squat down…just a little…”  The other card is the Billy Martin card.  I like Billy for a few reason.  He was a badass, for good or bad, he was a tough guy and didn’t take crap…that kind of guy, the kind of guy that would get in a bar fight just of the fun of.  Not that i condone that kind of nonsense, but it’s just a little entertaining to me…Also, he was Rickey Henderson’s favorite manager and in my book, that’s good enough for me.

72 TO Lot 2

The star of this group of cards for me is the Dave Cash card right in the middle.  He was the starting third baseman for the Pirates on September 1, 1971…the first time a major league baseball team ever started an all black starting lineup, plus it’s a pretty sweet looking card.

72 TO Lot 3

Big card here is the Bob Grich…i guess.  There’s a lot of chatter about him being a Hall of Famer lately.  Honestly, i not too familiar with him or the impact he had with the Orioles and Angels during his 17 year career.  Just skimming over his stats, he seems like one of those guys that had a really nice career and did some great things, but i’m not convinced that i see a Hall of Famer with him…could be wrong, would love it if someone told me why i was wrong as i love to learn more about players before my years.

72 TO Lot 4Favorite card in this group, Matty Alou.  He looks like every other Alou too.  What a family business, huh?  Love it when you get the 2 or 3 generations or multiple brothers playing professional sports.  Makes me thing about how competitive those families must have been growing up, i would imagine a ton of very intense HORSE games in the driveway and maybe some bloodshed…or tears at the very least.

72 TO Lot 5Small group for the last run, but must say that my favorite card is the checklist.  Only because it’s a 45 year old card with very nice corners and zero marks on it…zero!  Those red blotches are the dealers marks that mean something to him…or somebody, but not me.  The Mickey Lolich card is pretty sweet too.

So, if you have some nice versions of these cards in your extras or doubles boxes drop me a line and let me know if you can help complete some of these sets.  Here is the link to the cards that i have…or need, depending on your point of view i guess.  1972 Topps Checklist.

The family and i had a great time this weekend and were able to enjoy the amazing warm weather on Saturday and Sunday…hope you guys had a great weekend and aren’t one of those towns buried by snow.

Here’s a nice song for the moment…been listening to some jazz this week and got stuck on some Flying Lotus for some reason.  He’s not truly in the jazz lane, but this song has a nice jazzy feel to it…plus King Kendrick.

We’re all snowflakes…

I grew up in Texas and snow is not a normal thing for me.  When i was 9 we had a huge blizzard in San Antonio, 14″ to be exact.  It was absolutely nuts…as a kid though, fantastic!    It was a freakish event that i will never forget.  Rafik and I missed a couple days of school and had the greatest time ever.  We watched Chris Marrou tell us about the school closures and hoped it would never end!  Our days were filled with bags of sugar to fuel the moments in between epic snowball fights and a rudimentary snow man construction site.  It was the greatest of times for every kid in town.

When we were able (forced) to go back to school, our classrooms had so many leaks that we were huddled en masse in the schools gym.  A very large, crowded and noisy gym.  A gym on the edge of child anarchy.  It was one conch away from being a snowy version of Lord of the Flies.  The teachers were on edge trying to keep us all in line for the couple of days.  We were being taught in a prefabricated building not suited for long division or lessons on social studies.  But they did it and they were the real MVP’s that week.

But now…

I’m a tall adult that likes collecting things like cards and books and also likes rap music.  I also like familiarity and something i can depend on…surprises don’t work well for me.  For the last month or so, my part of Portland has had 3 different weekends of snow…g’darn freakin’ snow!!!  Now, don’t get me wrong, snow is cool when you go to it and are able to look at it and touch it.  But when it comes to you as an unwanted guest, it’s a bit of an annoyance.  We haven’t have had a ruler lengths of snow, but enough to shut the city down a couple of days and keep me from work.  It’s also made my snow driving (sliding) skills ratchet up a tick or two.

All the snow that i was surrounded by made me cave and pick up a box of cards with snow flakes on them.  Subliminal marketing.  Well done Topps, you got me.  Now, let’s see what you gave me Topps.

One of the first things i noticed about these cards is the streaking on the card fronts.  Half of the cards in the blaster box contained the streaking.  Maybe the other bloggers have already touched on this and as usual, i’m late to the party, but it seems that the quality of these cards may have been left to be what they are.  Not super upset about it, but a little disappointed with these…especially the Kershaw card.

16-th-nick-castellanos

Another thing that was very noticeable is the large amount of white space, most notably on the landscape cards.  Guess that’s the Topps blizzard parallel…?  Seems like a little gradient or transparency could have been a savior for Nick’s card.

These cards were awesome in their original issue and Ricky Bones seems to be dressed appropriately for this card, while Mike Trout is attempting to catch a tiny little snowflake.  Is snow flake one or two words?  snowflake snow flake…

16-th-ra-dickey

Dickey Flakes should be a cereal, f’real.

Please let me digress a bit here.  Not sure if you have heard of Krampus, I hadn’t until about two weeks ago.  He’s an incredibly evil Germanic character created to scare the shit out of bad kids…to be honest, i saw a video of him and was a tad scared.  We used the Krampus tactic over the holidays to keep our little snowflake/snow flake in line.  For the most part it worked…but i feel guilty about it in hindsight.  I would point out the window, similar to what Carlos Correa is doing and say “I SEE KRAMPUS!!” and my child of 51 months would run off terrified, similar to what Jed Lowrie is doing.  The things parents do to get done what they want to get done the way they want it to get done.  Not my best parenting story…but sadly, it yielded the result i was looking for.

We now begin the bumpy snowflake portion of the blog post with a couple winners.  Dexter and Kris.  It’s a shame Ernie Banks didn’t get to see these guys win the title.  RIP #14.

If the card on the right was Steve rather than Nori Aoki, the hair on this pair would be most epic.  But it’s just Jacob and Nori.

My game used memorabilia card was Adam Jones which is pretty cool.  I really like Adam and often wonder what his career would have been like if the Mariners kept him..also wonder what the Mariners could have done with his dependability over the incredibly fragile and unreliable Erik Bedard…hindsight is 50/50 man..

So that’s my highlights from a Wal-Mart box of snowflake cards.  Rumor has it we may get some more snow in the next few days up here, climate change ain’t no joke…remember that we are all snowflakes/snow flakes and nobody is like us…even though those Adam Jones cards are pretty much the same thing.

2014 Topps S1 – Packs 3 and 4

Ok, here are some of the highlights from packs 3 and 4.  Nothing overly exciting or notable so this is mostly a post about what I got rather than “HOLY CRAP!! LOOK AT WHAT I GOT!”

In the previous post I pulled two Jean Segura Inserts and whattayaknow, in the third pack, I pulled another!  How many The Future is Now cards does this kid have?  Oh yeah, in the fourth pack I got the Future Stars version of Mr. Segura.  Here is a side by side comparison of the base bandit with eye black and without eye black.  Run Jean Run!

14 TO Jean Segura Future is Now

The next couple of pairings come with mixed feelings.

I love Jeet and think this could be the last season we see him in a  major league uniform.  I guess it’s going to depend on how he can recover and produce in the revamped Yankee lineup.  It’s going to be a whole different world without #2 at short…here’s hoping he has a great season and we get to see him pick it for another year or two…or three.  It will make his gift baskets so much more valuable, especially his balls that he gives to the ladies.  His scan partner is A-Rod.  I’m really glad he won’t be on the field this season.  I’ve mentioned many times in the past that I can’t stand the kid and hope he never rocks the pinstripes again.  Such a self-absorbed, neon orange chump.

14 TO Jeter ARod

These guys are the future for the Yankees rivals.  Bogaerts and Machado are going to be great players for so many years…oh…so…many…years.  Those Machado ears though.  Kinda with Xander was a Yankee…that’s my problem with the Yankees organization, they just don’t ever seem to develop major league talent.  They have tons of guys that have the potential, but it never works out for them.  Xander picked up some great experience in the World Series last year…good for him…

14 TO Machado Bogaerts

Up here in Portland as in many other cities throughout our beautiful country.  Beards have taken over. Along with beards, you have facial hair of many types, like curly mustaches.  I’ve never been a fan of facial hair and do my best to keep my face clear of facial hair other than the times I’m too lazy to shave.  One thing I would never do though, is sculpt my facial pubes in the same manner as Mr. New House.  It’s just way too much time sculpting and crafting in front of the mirror.  We have lots of guys with handlebar staches in this great town I live in and they are the only guys I will order an old fashioned from.  They are the ones who know how to make them properly.  Not with all that muddled fruit crap.  Just whiskey, bitters, sugar cube an orange slice and cherry.  Any bartender that muddles the fruit and turns your drink into a pink liquor concoction should not be trusted…and will more than likely not have a handlebar mustache.

14 TO Carlos Villanueva

Here is the hits part of our program.

First up.  Elvis Andrus.  A great glove and a mediocre bat.  So here is a bat card with a picture of him throwing a ball.  Nice photo/object coordination.

14 TO Elvis Andrus Bat Relic

Next.  Matty Alou.  One of the 83 Alou’s (actually, I think it’s just 4) that have played Major League Baseball.  It’s a buyback, which means now that it is stamped nobody will buy it back.  At least Topps went smaller with their foil stamp logo.

14 TO Matty Alou 1963 Buyback

Black Friday Heritage

So, I did some Black Friday shopping in my pajamas like a good American.

No, I wasn’t at Wal-Mart at 3am busting down the storefront and trampling mustached women in rascals.  Even better, I did it online over at the Check Out My Cards wonderful website.  I had been building up my cart for some time, nearly 6 months, and decided I needed to work on completing some sets.  Most of what I picked up was 2010 Heritage base cards, but I also picked up some New Age Performers from this past years set along with a couple Then and Now cards.

And here they are!

Miguel Cabrera involved in a deeply personal thought about SABRmetrics

13 TH Miguel Cabrera NAP

Yoenis Cespedes.  It took me about 5 tries to find this card, because apparently Yoenis is nearly impossible for me to spell.  Yoenis.

13 TH Yoenis Cespedes NAP

Billy Butler is both excited and nervous about the pitch he just hit…one can only wonder…

13 TH Billy Butler NAP

Check out the baby faced Aparicio and the babier face of Michael Nelson Trout.  I believe the Mathews/Dunn card would have been perfect if we could have gotten some chest hair on the Dunn photo…Taco meat for everyone!

13 TH Mike Trout Adam Dunn T&N

Time permitting, i’d love to scan some of my other pick ups from COMC…but i’m not sure time will permit in the next few holiday days.  One cool thing of note is that I have Boxing Day off.  This is the second year we’ve had this holiday since we were taken over in a not so hostile manner by a Canadian company.  I’ve heard positive things and negative things about the holiday, so i’m not sure if I should let my white guilt reign over me or if I should just buy some more baseball cards.  Any thoughts out there from our friendly neighbors to the north?

2013 Topps S2 – Packs 3 and 4

For the first couple of cards, I’m going to stick with the twofers…and it goes a little something like this, HIT IT!

As usual, I’m late for the bus on this one.  I just wanted to add my two cents on the whole celebration card that Topps seems to be putting out more and more each season.  I like the concept, and sometimes it works brilliantly as it does with the Francisco Cervelli card.  Then there are other times when it doesn’t work well, like this Derek Norris card.  It’s more of an Oakland A’s team card and I fully expected to see some team leader stats on the back of the piece of card stock.  If the camera man was a couple of inches to the right, nobody would know who this card is for, including the wonderful mlb-baby-making parents of Mr. Norris!  I would have thought it was for Reddick or that little dude squatting in the middle of the card.  Get it together Topps!

13 T Francisco Cervelli Derek Norris

Here are a couple more celebration cards.  Am I the only one that thinks Homer Bailey and Christian Bale are twins lost at birth?  Maybe they should be doing those cheesy State Farm Chris Paul commercials.  This is a good example of a celebration card.  You can see his Batman looking face and yet, he is still sharing a personal moment with Chris Heisey after his no-no last year.  The Ryan Ludwick card on the other hand is all kinds of terrible.  Not only is his face nowhere to be seen, his nameplate on the back is blurry!!!  At the very least this should have been a Jay Bruce card because his unbridled enthusiasm is…unbridled (first time using that word on the blog and i drop it twice!).

13 T Homer Bailey Ryan Ludwick

Alright, enough whining.  These making their mark cards are nice and the player selection is great.  I love that they went with the young future superstars for this subset.  Both of these guys are great players…and I kind of have a baseball crush on Manny Machado…the kid is all kinds of awesome.  I’m no Orioles fan and have no idea when he will make the move to short, if ever, but he is going to become their rock for the next 10-15 years like Jeter has been for the Yankees.

13 T Manny Machado Yoenis Cespedes Making their Mark

Bryce Harper.  Stud.  Kind of want to do a player collection of him.  I think this kid is great and i’m sure i’ve mentioned it here before, but I would love for Bryce to be my sons favorite ballplayer.  If everyone played all out each play like he did, the game would be so much more fun to watch day in and day out.

13 T Bryce Harper Chase it Down

Here is a nice little cut to the chase Ernie Banks card.  You can’t ever go wrong with Mr. Banks and some die cut action.

13 T Ernie Banks Cut to the Chase

Last card for the night was my autograph hit from the box.  Alex Cobb chasing history.  I’m going to chase some whiskey with a little sleep.  Goodnight collectors of the internets.

13 T Alex Cobb Chasing History Auto

 

2013 Topps S2 – Packs 1 and 2

It’s been a few weeks since i’ve done just a baseball post and I have a jumbo box of Topps Series 2 sitting here to my left.  Whattaya say we open it up slowly and see what we see kids!

There’s no need to go over the design of these cards since it’s been covered ad nauseam on your favorite bloggers website, so i’m just going to touch on the hits and fun cards that were pulled from the packs…two at a time.  Double your pleasure!

The first card is two cards, because i’m doubling your pleasure…remember?  I LOVE landscape base cards.  I think they are fantastic and would love to see more sets go this route…just for the fun of it, you know?  The only problem is that they don’t look as great when put in a binder which is where these two islanders are going.  HanRam, as some of you may know is one of my favorite players and along with Carl Crawford are the only two guys that I collect that haven’t played for the Yankees…yet.  Wait until they are 35, then they will be in pinstripes. Apparently that’s what the Bronx Bombers do these days.  Lose to the Orioles and sign old guys.  The Chapman card is also fantastic, plus he’s Cuban…and I love Cuba…PLUS he’s throws really really hard and fast.

13 T Hanley Ramirez Aroldis Chapman

The next two cards are one of the reasons why people hate Topps.  Although, I don’t think either one of these guys are SP cards they are still super gimmicky.  Of the two, I would rather be Justin Ruggiano becuase it’s either water or that crazy clear Ice Gatorade or something…I have no idea, the card doesn’t explain what is being expelled on his shoulder.  Anyone feel sorry for the sideline reporter on the Lombardozzi card?  Me neither…

13 T Justin Ruggiano Steve Lombardozzi

Alright, this is where is turn in to a singles hitter.  That said, here is Derek Jeter.  I love the Captain.  And there is nothing wrong with that, just like there is nothing wrong with starting a sentence with and.

13 T Derek Jeter

This is a cool card because it has Bryce Harper and the look of a child who got his hand caught in the cookie jar.  Brian is the older brother that gets in trouble for not keeping a better eye on his little brother.  Big Brother = Baltimore Orioles — Little Brother = Washington Nationals.

13 T Brian Roberts

Here is one of the 73 different inserts that Topps likes to entice people to collect.  I believe this is what they call an emerald card?  Please correct me if i’m wrong, and if you are correct, I will send you this card.  When scanned, it kind of looks like a forrest.  David didn’t do so well in the Home Run Derby this evening…on his home turf, but neither did Robbie Cano donchaknow.

13 T David Wright

Another insert, similar to the The Greats inserts.  Yes, I used The back to back.  As far as i’m concerned, this card would be better if it were Rickey Henderson.  Not to take anything away from the wizard, he was a phenomenal player, but when you have 73 inserts, it would be nice to get one of your favorite player, eh?

13 T Ozzie Smith The Elite

This rarely happens, but I pulled a box hit in one of my first two packs.  This heavy ass metal mettle coin card of Adrian Gonzalez.  I like this guy so much more now that his short stint with the Red Sox is over.  Great player, great cards…but still heavy.

13 T Adrian Gonzalez Proven Mettle Bronze 36:50

Box Break: 2013 Bowman

Bowman is one of those in between sets for me.  Do I buy packs?  A box and build the set?  Pull my favorites out and part ways with the rest of them?

I’m not a prospector, but I love to pull some of the great rookies that I read about.

I don’t put together too many sets, but I love to buy packs and sometimes a box of cards that I enjoy openings packs of.

I like inserts, but too many of them become overwhelming.

Bowman has a way of providing a response to each of these contradictions in my collecting habits.  When Topps brought back the Bowman cards in 1989, my friend Alex and I were all in.  The cards were weird and big and didn’t fit well anywhere, but they were cool and had a Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card.  Griff was the man in 1989 and his rookie cards were something every kid in America that collected cards wanted.  I had them all, and loved the oversized Bowman version (after the Upper Deck version of course…)  Although the cards weren’t that great.  The photography was a little grainy at times and the overall design was weak…plus the stat on the back were quite confusing and took some getting used to.  Either way I was going to collect this set…and all other versions that would come out in the future.  That was, until 1992 rolled around.  The card quality became significantly better and the rookie class was pretty stellar at the time (I still have my Raul Mondesi in a screw down holder, iknowright!).  1992 was also the time I began to realize I can’t collect everything…because I couldn’t afford it.  So I never completed the set and ended up getting rid of my other sets from the previous years.

13 BB Mariano Rivera Chrome RC Reprint

Fast forward to the future that is today.  The card quality has improved exponentially and in relation to the other stuff that’s being issued, Bowman is quite affordable.  I’ve purchased a box of these the past three years and took a bigger step this year and bought the jumbo pack box from Dave and Adam’s card world.  Here is my review.

13 BB Josh Hamilton Chrome RC Reprint

Card Design – 3 of 5

The overall design of the cards is quite simple, which I love.

13 BB Robinson Cano

13 BB Hanley Ramirez

No extra weird things going on here, just some simple graphics and all the basic information you need on a baseball card.  I do like the subtle variation on the front of the card that differentiates the Bowman Prospects from the Major Leaguers.  Bowman also carried this through as they do on the back of  the card with the numbering and color of the card stock.

Photography – 3 of 5

The photographs are your typical action photos mixed in with awkwardly posed for photos of young men in uniforms.  There are a lot of beards and facial hair in general around the world these days and the major league baseball franchise is no different.  I’m thinking Panini needs to do a facial hair card set.  Maybe Josh Reddick get the coveted #1 card?

13 BB Matt Kemp Bryce Harper Gold Border

Hits – 4 of 5

Like I said before, I’m no prospector.  I simply don’t have the patience or wherewithal to invest in people I don’t know and Bowman counts on people doing this.  That’s what makes this set so wonderful though.  If you do pull a great auto of a young talented player or a refractor you have a nice piece of cardboard.  If you don’t, well, you have something shiny to look at i guess.  Another thing with the hits is that you have to wait a couple of years for these guys to pan out and get a year or two under their belts.  Just because you are a top 100 prospect doesn’t mean you are going to be a star in the bigs.  All that said, It’s nice to get the ‘First Bowman card’ of a potential star.

13 BB Eddie Rosario Dorssys Paulino Top 100

Another thing that i really enjoy about the Bowman cards and the young stars is the names of these kids.  Damn.

13 BB Oliberto Amaya Calderon Maldonado Chrome

Review

Bowman is always fun to open and the cards are always a very solid quality.  I’m not sure if I will buy a jumbo box next year unless i plan to start building the sets again…but getting 32 cards in a pack is pretty cool.

13 BB Rodriguez Bundy Reed Rowen Gold Sparkle

The overall look and feel of the cards is great, nothing to complain about here, plus the price is right with Bowman, especially for what you get.

Mini’s are cool.

13 BB Skaggs Hanson Bradley Hensley Minis

So are Flags…

13 BB Davis Upton Alonso Maurer Hometown

and blue or maybe purple cards?

13 BB Brett Gerritse Blue Refractor 60:250and who doesn’t love them some autographs!

13 BB Eddie Butler Auto

13 BB Yordano Ventura Refractor Auto 79:500

13 BB Alex Meyer Auto