Sunday, March 30, 2014

My Yankees Collection - 1953 Bowman #59 Mickey Mantle

When I first started this blog back in 2012, there were numerous cards in my collection that I simply couldn't WAIT to share with you guys.   They are the keystones of my collection for many different reasons and many of them are cards that I never, EVER thought I would own or be able to enjoy.

What I did have, I always told myself that I would space my posts about these gems about as far apart as I could.   Why use up my 'awesome' material in the very beginning?   If I show my 'best' cards right off the bat, I won't have anyone who will give a flip about following my blog for journeys in set-building or appreciation for beat up common cards from the junk wax era of my youth.

I was a fool.

I've learned a lot since I rediscovered our Hobby back in 2011 and a lot of my education came through correspondence learning from you all - the "Hobby Blogosphere" & online community.   You all welcomed me back with open arms and I am forever grateful.   

SO what have I learned?

First, hat there will always be appreciation, by someone and for some reason, for just about every card in my collection or every Hobby endeavor I undertake - no matter what!   And second, awesome cards are exactly that and tomorrow is never share as much as you can, whenever you can!

Ladies and gentlemen, here is one of my favorite cards:

It's a 1953 Bowman (color) Mickey Mantle!   I never thought I would own a true base card of the Mick.   Their prices are sky-high and Mantle cards will simply always be the most sought-after cards in the baseball card world.   But that never stops me from searching and waiting...hoping for the right opportunity to find a well-loved copy of one of Mick's cards that fits my budget AND still resembles an actual card.

I found this particular card on the Bay of E one day and couldn't look away.   The picture on this card is well known, often utilized for media purposes.   And who can blame the choice?   It's a young Mantle with the whole world in front of him after his first All-Star selection and second World Series title the year before.   The posed image is typical for a majority of the '53 Bowman set (ah, the Pee Wee!) but it offers a clear depiction of a wistful Mantle completing a bare-right-handed swing in his Yankee pinstripes.   There's not a cloud to be seen and it looks like it was a great day for baseball in the Bronx.   I am fairly certain it's Yankee Stadium in the background...the placement of the lights, pole, decks, bleachers and billboards seem to check out - let me know if I'm wrong!

This particular card caught my eye because, even though it is creased and a bit is fairly well centered and none of the folds or marks take away from Mantle himself. I wish the crease across his hands could be a little lower....but so be it!   The corners are rounded but all things considered, not bad.   The top right-hand corner is certainly the hardest hit portion of the card, but it is something I was absolutely fine with.

Here's a close-up of Mantle.....just because.

But how about the back?   I am sure the back's condition had something to do with the great value I was seeing in its offering price, but I was reassured because I could still read everything.   That is important to me, so the fact that the vertical stain on the left didn't block any of the letters or design was a big win.   You can see the reverse damage from the huge crease I described above but even that doesn't seem so bad in the lower left corner of the back.   All in all, I was satisfied with the card and knew I would treasure I entered a bid!

I love the write-up on this card back.   The usual bio-data resides at the top but the paragraph below really dishes out some great Yankee history.   It refers to Mantle as "the youngster" and makes a prediction that Mickey "...inherited the...centerfield spot from DiMaggio...and should hold it for many years to come."

Good call, Bowman.   And bonus points to them for using the past participle of "bear".   Much respect. 

Interestingly, Bowman makes it a point to reference Mantle's shortened season with the Yanks in '51 by pointing out that he only played in 96 games and....wait, finished the season in KC?   That doesn't reconcile with my recollection or the records.   I show Mantle missing from the Yanks roster between mid July and late August?   He then returned to finish out strong, head to the World Series and went 1 for 5 with a run scored and 2 walks (and one BADLY injured knee) against the Giants in less than two Series games....?

What in the world?

Huh.    More research, maybe?   Anyways - here's the glorious back to this awesome card: 

I don't know why I took this next shot - maybe to show myself that my Mick is relatively flat, after all?   I know I'm committing a major sin by releasing this treasure from its ill-suited top-loader....but until I get this card confirmed as a "POOR - 1" by PSA one day (and I will).....I choose to truly enjoy it.   Hold it.   Feel it.    Relish it.

Oh, and I'm also a card stock junkie.   SO here ya go:  

Fantastic stuff.   I love this card and am very excited to have it in my Yankee collection and be able to share it with you guys.   I don't feel like I can say that I have a Mantle Collection.....yet.......but my search will never end and that hope never truly dies.

Thanks for reading and KEEP COLLECTING!

Friday, March 28, 2014

2014 Topps Heritage - The Decision to Build

They got me again with their card stock tractor beam!

I normally don't do racks, but when I do...I do 'em big.

If you follow my ramblings on Twitter, you know that I am a big time nerd, play fantasy sports and recently had a lot to say about the new Heritage set from Topps.   I picked up a few rack packs from Wally Mart on that post-release Monday to check them out.   I love the 1965 design but, for some reason, I need my Heritage cards to be printed upon that nice thick card stock that disappeared during last year's Heritage release.   Yes, I know that some of that stock swapping has to do with actual historical accuracy.....ridiculous notion for a product called "Heritage"!

The result?

Oso Blanco - Beard - Pennant - ROOKIE CUP combo in 1st pack NEVER HURTS

EXHIBIT A - Why a brand like Heritage is loved by collectors like me who value...old card backs

I love them!   The pictures and images for these cards are as BLAND as ever.   So simple, so staged weirdly perfect.   That card stock is nice and thick and when you take a whiff of a fat stack of these bad boys - it's nothing but pulpy, cardboard-y goodness.   Where are you going?   No slippery gloss and syrupy odor 'round here.   No serial numbers or super-short printed action/logo variation cards in my packs...

Colon & Marichal - WHAT could be weirder?

Smile, Freddie.

So, why do I love them?   Again, these are just simple baseball cards....but that's exactly what I like to collect sometimes, particularly when I'm building a set.   I pulled 76 base cards out of 4 packs in addition to 4 inserts (a couple of which I liked).   No duplicates!   Wait...upon further reflection, I think that stack of 76 included 3 SPs, one of which was my ONLY colored parallel.   I like those numbers.   I also love card backs from the days of yore - and these are a perfect example.   The drawings and cartoon-ish font upon a sea of baby-blue.......dude, what could be better?   Sure, a relic or an autograph or a card with an old postage stamp would have been cool to pull (and helped me reclaim some of the investment) but I am quite content and now, perhaps foolishly, on a mission to build the set!

I am a little disappointed in the fact that Topps decided to place a high percentage of star players in the SP portion of the release.   I think this is a huge mistake and a potential trend that could really damage the hobby - let's hope it doesn't persist!

Let me know if you have any cards from this set to trade, sell, whatever.   I will post my NEEDS list in a new tab to the right - my first new tab in quite awhile.   Check it out!   I will try to keep it updated as best I can and begin to list duplicates that I have for trade if/when they arrive.

Keep collecting!


Sunday, March 23, 2014

My Hall of Fame Collection - 2000 Fleer "Greats of the Game" Bert Blyleven Certified Autograph

I'm always game to add cards and memorabilia of Hall of Famers to my collection, regardless of teams or the player themselves.

In this case, I was able to scoop up this Blyleven autograph for just a couple of bucks.   The auto by itself is a really nice one, but Bert goes above and beyond with a "#28" inscription.   I think it looks great and is nicely slanted to fill up the 'auto-space' provided for Blyleven by Fleer.

Speaking of Fleer's design, I really dig the simplicity of this set.   The silver foil in the corner is sharp and the full color action photo with name and team logo make for a nice card, if not an ideal piece of memorabilia on its own!   Here's the card:

Blyleven is sometimes considered to be a controversial HOF selection.   Fans of other players who have not garnered selection, pitchers in particular, often cite Mr. Blyleven and his statistics for argumentative purposes.   He never won the Cy Young Award or an MVP but was a 2x All-Star and World Series Champion with one no-hitter to his name.   He wasn't elected until his 14th year of eligibility in 2011 and I believe it is his place on the all-time strikeouts list - 5th - that earned him his entry.

And rightly so!   Interviewed players that faced Bert have consistently praised him for his 'nasty' stuff and he was certainly a dominant pitcher during his time.

Here's the back:

Ho-hum :)

I'm ecstatic to add a Bert Blyleven autograph to my HOF Collection!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

My Mattingly Collection - 2000 Upper Deck Legendary Lumber Bat Relic Card


I absolutely love this card.   Mattingly is my favorite all-time player and I pick up just about every relic card of his that I can at a reasonable price - which can be a real challenge sometimes!

I snagged this one, though.....and Upper Deck REALLY delivered.   The design is brilliant, mixing in Yankee blue and pinstripes alongside a black & white photo of a classic Mattingly follow-through.

But that's not the best part.

The best part, to me, is the carved "NY" Yankees insignia in the bat relic that allows for a bold blue color on the card to shine through and really make it POP.   Here's the card:

We even get a classy silver foil facsimile Donnie autograph at the bottom.  Great balance!   Here's a closer look at the bat relic:

And here's the back:

The standard blurb and a repeat of the picture on the front, something that we saw with my earlier post on the Jeter/A-Rod relic card.   Undoubtedly, must have been a standard policy.   The continuation of the bold blue stripe on the back is terrific.

Great card - very, VERY ecstatic to add this one to my Mattingly collection.   It MIGHT overtake another Mattingly relic in my collection......MIGHT......but this other one is pretty stellar :)

Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 21, 2014

My Yankees Collection - 2000 Upper Deck SPx Jeter & A-Rod Winning Materials Relic Card

Okay, I am just on a roll with these Hobby Ice Age cards being added into my collection....

I love Jeter and am ambivalent towards A-Rod.   Yeah, there's a lot to hate and I am certainly not shedding any tears over his absence (and possible departure?), but I feel like he has been singled out from a larger group of players.

One positive side-effect of the A-Rod disdain is that his cards and cards on which he appears can be had for a little bit less these days, so I was able to scoop this JETER relic card up for a reasonable price!

Yeah, a "game-used base" will always be kind of weird to me, but it's a nice change of pace.   I wish you could look up exactly which game it is from - I suppose then you could check out the box score and figure out who else might have touched the base?   That could be some fun you see the DIRT (game used!) on the base piece?   Cool!

The pictures are pretty solid.  I love the big smile from Jeter and A-Rod's sweet shades.   And let's not look past the fact that this is a bat-relic card for a 500 HR Club member.   PEDs or not, he's on that list statistically.

Here's the back:

I'm a little puzzled as to why they couldn't use a couple of different photos for these guys on the back, but I know how expensive it is for companies to maintain licenses for use of materials......

In the end, this is another great Jeter relic for my Yankees Collection and I'm thrilled!

Thanks for reading -

Thursday, March 20, 2014

My Kimbrel Collection - 2013 Panini Pinnacle #60 "Artist Proof"


I'm a free market kind of guy, so I rarely have bad things to say about different baseball cards - but I feel compelled to comment on this Kimbrel.   I am very happy to add to my Kimbrel PC, but this is a prime example of a poor photo/design choice by Pinnacle.

Pinnacle has some great stuff in their portfolio.   I can remember some favorites from Collecting Period I in the early 90's and I'm sure they had some stellar releases during my Hobby Ice Age.   And even today, I've picked up some BEAUTIFUL cards from Panini.

But this just ain't one of them.

The black card design that is engulfing a Craig Kimbrel that appears to be wearing an all-black, no logos (I know, licence) uniform really kills what might have been a cool "coming right at you" type of baseball card.   The "Artist Proof" foil label just pours salt in the wound here.   It's like he's suited up for the Night's Watch or something.   

Sorry - totally geeked out on you guys with a Game of Thrones reference there.

Here's the card; what do you guys think?   "Or am I being obtuse?"

Shawshank reference. On a roll here.....

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

One of My Favorite Cards - 2013 Bowman Wil Myers Rookie Card

I'm impressed by Wil Myers, so I felt compelled to snag this Bowman rookie card of his when I had a chance.   

I can remember first hearing about Wil when the Rays dealt James Shields and Wade Davis to KC in return for Myers, Jake Odorizzi (another great young player, a pitcher) and two other players.   I know a lot of Royals fans were crushed - and I can now see why.

Myers came up last year in June and I was unlucky enough to watch him blast his first home run.   Actually, it wasn't just a home run, it was a grand slam.   And I say "unlucky" because young Wil stroked his first 4-bagger off of CC Sabathia and my Yankees, in Yankee Stadium no less!   Well done, kid.

Yanks won the game, though :)

But anyways, this young fellow would go on to earn the AL Rookie of the Year award and seems destined for many more bombs and contributions to his club's efforts in the years ahead.   The Rays will surely be a nemesis of the Yankees in the AL east this season.

Bowman is not known for its amazing design but I really enjoy this card.   The action shot of Myers' glove closing around a fly-ball is a nice treat.   It's well-centered on the card, the colors work and a fielding picture for Myers was a nice surprise!

I didn't show the back because the picture I took was out of focus and made my head hurt......or maybe that's just the memory of his slam on June 22, 2013?

Good luck, Wil.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Yankees Collection - 2010 Topps Chrome #214 Ivan Nova RC Certified Autograph

Here's another example of what is quickly becoming the 'must have' card for me when it comes to my PC's or favorite players from the teams I collect.

The " 2___ Topps Chrome RC auto" is usually dependable for being a nice looking card.   The "RC shield" always goes a long way with me and any certified autograph, while usually keeping most cards out of my price range, is a welcome addition!

Here we have Ivan Nova's version from the 2010 Chrome set.   Shield?   Check.   On-card signature?   Check - and this one looks really nice in the blue ink with just the right amount of tilt to fill up the auto-space.   The overall color scheme fits together nicely!   Awesome picture of said rookie?   Not so much, but I can deal with that.   Here it is:

Great color scheme! Awful reflection of collector, DOH!

Nova and his compadre Michael Pineda are going to be an essential key to the Yankees' success this year.   In the field and at the plate, we are a team in quasi-transition.   Some highly paid talent was brought in, yes....but this is not the team of old.   200 home runs will not be reached, in my opinion.   I think Girardi will have to run a lot more, and earn some wins the hard way - which I am ecstatic about.

That also means that we can't have our starter getting blown out of the water early or, frankly, blown out of the water at all.   Our staff needs to be dialed in and working hard to keep ahead in counts and any batted balls on the ground.   Should be simple, yeah?

Ivan had a great season last year - he was almost an unsung hero, in my opinion.   Kuroda collapsed as the post season approached.   Sabathia just kept getting was hard to watch, but this kid picked up the slack as best he could and he did it well.

Here's the back of the card:

Let's Go Yankees!

Exit question - what's the classic baseball word that serves as a synonym for teammate, fellow player/pitcher?   I know there's a word for this and I just can't remember right now....

Thanks for reading....

Monday, March 17, 2014

My Braves and Hall of Fame Collection - 1998 Donruss Greg Maddux Statistical Standout #'d 23/2500

I collect vintage baseball cards, build a set every once in awhile....sample new releases here and there and chase after cards of my favorite teams and players.

Some of my collecting focuses on the collecting years of my youth - '79 through about '93 or so.....okay, my birth up through my youth.   I call it my FIRST collecting period.

Then, I began rediscovering the hobby in 2011 upon the discovery that I would be having a son.   It only seemed natural and I've really enjoyed it.   Every second of it.   A little TOO much, sometimes.

That leaves a gigantic hobby gap for my collection in the cardboard universe - nearly two full decades!   What happened during these years?   What were the cards like?   What did I miss?   I enjoy reading about and viewing cards from this 'missing' era of mine.   They usually range across the entire collecting spectrum - from horrible, silly and over-cooked to foily-sweet and action-packed.

I don't know the rules about when to use a hyphen.   Any tips, Night Owl?

Every once in awhile, I get the chance to add a card from this era to my collection.   I will usually ensure that it fits into one of my team or player collections or portrays a Hall of Fame player.   In this case, I was able to fit into two of those categories: 

As many of you are painfully aware, I am a Braves fan.   The Braves were the "local" (5.5 hours) team for me as a kid growing up in the Redneck Riviera and it was a BLAST!   Games tickets were cheap, the Murph was THE man and I was able to enjoy the "Bums to Pennants" transition that kicked off in 1991 with a Sid Bream slide.

Therefore, I'm a Maddux fan.   He wouldn't join Atlanta until '93 but the following 10 years resulted in some of the finest team pitching I've known in my lifetime.   I began watching Maddux in Fulton County Stadium whilst sucking down cokes and sighed heavily as he headed back north to Wrigley in 2004.   From starting high school to being underwater in a submarine.   That's quite a journey and Greg was a part of it when I combed the sports pages.

When I saw this 1998 Donruss-Leaf-50th-Anniversary-Statistical-Standout card, I knew I had to have it.  IN fact, I might have to find MORE of these cards!   I think they're fabulous.   The black and white (sepia?) background photo of a glove with a ball is perfection.   Yes, it has the worst looking Maddux signature EVER scribbled across it....but it works for me.   The "Leaf" and "Statistical Standout" foil stamps are just enough and placed just right on both sides of our post-delivery and colorful hurler.

How about the back?

Out of 2500 :)

Okay, the mug shot is a bit meh, but the Don Mattingly-jersey-number-serial-numbered-out-of-2500 aspect of this card makes me happy.   Illogically so.   20 walks in 1997!?!?   And there's that glorious ball & glove again....

Love this card.   Sorry I missed it the first time around, but that's what's great about our hobby - when it comes to cardboard, time is on our side.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Quest For '60: #465 N.Y. Yankees Coaches

It's been too long since I had an update on my progress with completing my Dad's 1960 Topps set - but this is a great way to dive back into the fold!

For just a few dollars, I was able to cross this one off the 'want list' and it's a beauty.   Sure, a banana yellow doesn't necessarily enhance the floating Yankee heads......but they are Yankee floating heads so there is a lot for me to enjoy here.

This is a great collection of Yankee royalty!   As the card back points out, Crosetti was a 2x All-Star shortstop and won......wait for it......17 World Series titles while playing on teams with Ruth, Gehrig and DiMaggio.   Did you know he hit ONE home run in all of his World Series' appearances?   Sure did - and he belted it off of the Cubs' Dizzy Dean to give the Yanks a lead in Game 2 of the '38 Series.   Bill Dickey, a Navy man in World War II, was an 11x All-Star catcher that set the standard for golden-age catchers.   He was elected to the Hall of Fame, but he only won 14 Series titles.   Womp, womp.


Ralph Houk was an Army hero during World War II and returned home to both successfully play and manage the game for many years.   He kept the troops together during that magical summer of '61 and later relinquished the reigns to his catcher, Yogi Berra after the '63 season.   Ed Lopat won 5 titles with the Yanks and was an All-Star in 1951.   He was considered one of the "Big Three" for the Bombers' rotation, along with Allie Reynolds and Vic Raschi. 

Considering all of this, I'd have to say that this collection of floating heads might be immune to ANY color Topps might have splashed around them!

And the back:

A great card and this one was in really good shape, too.   I'm thrilled to be that much closer to finishing my Quest for '60.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

My Rizzo Collection - 2014 Topps Base

Typical me.

I got so excited about my '93 Topps Finest Mattingly from the Lost Collector that I forgot to showcase the other goodies he dropped in the package.....

Most importantly - my first Rizzo of 2014!   A beautiful base card that just REEKS of Cubbie goodness, this Rizzo shows a sunny day at Wrigley with an eye-black loaded Anthony headed to first base after a rope into right field.   The colors on the card look really sharp.   I like it.

Here's the back.   It definitely tells it like it is - Rizzo still carries a tremendous amount of potential to be at the center of a young and talented Cubs team.   Castro, Rizzo, Baez, Almora, Soler,  Bryant......what might be?

Yep.......that's a "WAR" column!

.....and, probably with a grin on his Syracuse-loving face, LC threw in some Notre Dame basketball cards.   This first one is of our turtleneck-sweater-loving coach, Mike Brey.   Brey is a good guy who has coached some talented teams into the latter stages of the NCAA tournament a few times, but we just can't seem to get over that hump.   I had the chance to meet Coach Brey when I ran into him in New Orleans during the 2012 Final Four.   He was very nice and took a few moments to speak with me.....unfortunately he was quickly supplanted as my top memory a few hours later when I wrapped my arm around Erin Andrews.


Ugh.  Great camera work, Ryan.   Here's what former Irish player Monty Williams looks like with your eyes crossed:

...which, coincidentally, is exactly how ND basketball has looked to me all season long.


Thanks for the hook-up, AJ!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Spring TTM 2014 - A Payoff Pitch!

For the first time in two years, the excitement of spring training and another baseball season inspired me to send off some TTM autograph requests to various players & coaches from numerous teams as they all gathered to kick off the 2014 season.

About 33 went out, by my recollection, which isn't too shabby.   I had plans for many more but I am trying to be smarter about my hobby pursuits.   I had to cut costs this year, so I neglected to purchase my usual packs of "Signature Cards".   I considered sending some cards from my collection but I have a dream that one day I will turn some of my autographs into beautifully mounted & framed auto/picture combination pieces.   Cards don't work so well for that but plain index cards do - and plain index cards are cheap!   So, planning was going well.   I was under budget at about $1.05 per request and I was on time.

Here's the catch - I went for the gusto.   Typically, you have to make a strategic decision as a "TTM-er".   Do you want to target younger and lesser-known players with the hopes that they will have smaller fan mail requests to dig through/select from or do you want to target "stars"?

I opted for a mix this spring, with a slight and uncharacteristic bias towards some big names.   Was I throwing money down the drain?   Statistically?   Definitely.   But I'm cursed as an eternal optimist and in a weird way, I love writing those letters to those favorite players.   You see, when I'm putting down my thoughts and praise and best wishes (with a small request at the end!), I imagine every single one coming back.   It's tantalizing and requires a heavy dose of imagination/wishful thinking - but it sure helps to push my weary hand along as I use valuable time towards what might be some very unproductive results.

So the letters went out and time just kept on tickin'.......I timed my mailings to coincide with pitcher & catcher arrivals, my attempt to try and be at the proverbial "head of the TTM line".   This date varied for every team, so I planned accordingly with a staggered approach.


All teams had reported and then full squads began workouts....


The spring games started.


And then SOMETHING.   Yesterday.

A small envelope with my own handwriting scribbled across the front showed up in my mailbox with a postage stamp from instant smile rolled across my face and I carefully sliced open the envelope, being sure not to bring harm to anything that might be inside.   There was my index card!


I flipped it over in my hands since I had purposely used two-sided blank cards to avoid any line issues.....


Crap.   But wait!   There was more in the envelope.....a......card?!

Hell yes.   A card.   THIS card, to be exact:

The $30M Man himself, Clayton Kershaw.   Some consider him to be the best pitcher in baseball right now.   I know I do - and he really doesn't have a lot of love in my collection.   A few base cards here and there, but no relics or rookies and certainly no autographs.

Consider that hole plugged.

This card is from that Hobby Ice Age that occurred between my Collecting Periods I and II.   It's a Goudey throw-back, I suppose?   The Kid makes an appearance at the bottom.   Strange, but I don't care.   Kershaw's "22" inscription is a bit difficult to make out on top of the glove.....but again, couldn't care less.

Will any more of my requests from this year find their way back home?   Hey, if they do - bonus.   I couldn't be more content.

Clayton Kershaw was kind enough to send me this card and sign it before he dropped it in the envelope.   Thank you, Mr. Kershaw!   So far, this has been your BEST delivery of the year for me!

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend -


Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Treasure From The Lost Collector!

It's always a great day when a package arrives from my friend, AJ.   He was one of my first trading partners when I joined the blogosphere (as a reader) back in early 2011.   He gave a lot of great encouragement as I mulled over the idea of Ryan's Pitch and he inspires me to always strive to be a better Yankees fan.   He runs one of the finest blogs in our community and maintains a TTM success rate that exceeds the hobby average by about 1,000%!

Off the collecting field, we also compare notes from time to time as fellow dads and I'm always on the lookout for new HOF cards I can send to him for his son's collection.   A little while ago, I sent over an old beat up Red Schoendienst that I thought might plug a hole in a page.   I was happy to assist!

Well, that rascal went and returned the favor with a Don Mattingly card that I've been wanting since......well, since the lovely thing was created - HELLO, gorgeous:

Rainbow! Mustache! Pinstripes! Stars! Foil! Eye Black! DONNIE!

I mean....LOOK AT IT!

Amazing to go from a single '93 Topps Finest in my childhood collection ( a Jeff Bagwell that I ought to share on here pretty soon....) to a full hat trick in a matter of weeks!   I fawned over the early 90's wholesomeness of Nolan Ryan's Finest card in a previous post - but this Mattingly, my favorite player of all time, take the cake.   It MUST be the finest Finest card I will ever own!

Here's the back:

Drafted a couple of months after another epic arrival on earth.

AJ - thank you!   Thank you very much!   This card will be treasured always.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

One of My Favorite Cards - 2011 Bowman Platinum Michael Choice - Certified Autograph

Picked this card up for a couple of bucks.   I told you I was dabbling in prospects!   Michael Choice is another player I have picked up for my dynasty fantasy baseball team.   His power potential intrigued me as he worked hard in the A's organization last year.   The A's made another great run in the fall and Michael had an effective impact while he was called up for coffee towards the end of the season.

Choice was traded to the Rangers this winter and is competing hard for a starting slot on the roster under the careful eyes of Ron Washington -in fact, Mr. Washington has even noted that he expects Choice to have an impact on a daily basis.   Which is great but from a fantasy perspective......we'll have to see.   With Choo and Rios' arrival in Texas, it looks like Michael will have to compete with Leonys Martin for that final spot.   

Hopefully, he'll get his shot.   He comes with a record of both power and patience, a rare combination.   According to his card below, he went deep seven times in thirty games during his debut.   That's pretty stellar.

It will be exciting to watch and while this card might not last in my collection forever, I'm enjoying it for now.

Thanks for reading!


Monday, March 10, 2014

My Jagielo Collection - 2013 Bowman Sterling Certified Autograph


My Eric Jagielo collection has grown.   Kicked off a couple (few?) weeks ago with my first "1/1" Jagielo printing plate, I have now acquired a second autograph of the Irish Yankee from the Bowman Sterling set - here's a look at a very well slanted, on-card signature :)

The card is simple but sweet and the cold metallic theme of this Sterling design works well with the manly color scheme of the New York Yankees.

Yes, their full name for effect.   Here's the back:

I did not know that Jagielo was only the 3rd Irish player to be a first rounder?   Let's see...was it Jeff Counsel?  Was it Yaz? Who were the other two, I wonder?   I need to look this up!

Welcome to the PC!

Thanks for reading -


Sunday, March 9, 2014

My Braves Collection - 2013 Panini Evan Gattis "Home Town Heores" RC

El Oso Blanco!

I can't wait to see what Gattis has in store for us this season.   He smashed his was through an amazing April and May last year while McCann and Freddie battled through various injuries and recoveries.....he won me over instantaneously as I observed during the first time Is aw him bat - "hey, he's not wearing any gloves?!"

Much respect.   My hands sweat like a....well, I would have to wear gloves.

Gattis' journey from everyday working man to big league star is a lot of fun and keeps some hope alive for lots of young aspiring ball players.   His potential every-day contributions also keep the hope alive that the Braves might, might one day make it back to the Series and bring another title home to Atlanta.   Lord knows they are well overdue and nothing would send me into a baseballgasm faster than another Yankee-Braves Series.

Oh, you didn't know the Yanks were Series-bound this year?

Sorry - back to Gattis.  And this Panini Home Town Heroes card.   It's simple but I like it.   It's not licensed but I like it.  I like the card stock, which I am a weird sucker for (see Heritage of old).   I dig the retro-looking Atlanta pennant design.    OH!   A cute little "RC" logo, too?   Why, yes, please!

Here's the back.   At first glance, it's a little "meh".....but then the diamond incorporation starts to entrance me like Scarlett Johanssssson......the name banner centered over a simply stated 'Gattis: Origins' write-up is a great way to bring it together.   Any card back that uses the term "hulking presence" is a winner, as I have often been referred to in the same fashion - just not as a batter in the major leagues....or in baseball in general.....or in sports.......dammit.

Hit one for 'hulking' dudes everywhere, El Oso Blanco!!!

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, March 8, 2014

One of My Favorite Cards - 2013 Bowman Byron Buxton

I collect Yankees and Braves, both teams of which I am a fan....but I also love baseball in general and have become intimately familiar with the vast sea of talent in the sport's minor league system.   This has occurred for many reasons:

- I read other blogs
- I read hobby articles
- I see the insanely priced baseball cards of players who have never played in the majors and assume that somebody thinks they're REALLY good
- I also participate in a dynasty fantasy baseball league that deals with prospects and minor leaguers

Yes, prospects have become QUITE the beast to deal with in today's fast-moving and highly speculative collecting world.   I don't dabble all that much in it but, here and there, I will pick up some cards or memorabilia for a young talent I take an interest in.

One such talent is the electrical young OF outfielder in the Twins organization, Byron Buxton.   I believe he was recently the cover boy for Beckett?   Anyways, I managed to draft Buxton onto my dynasty team last season.   Did I know a lot about him?   Nope.   His name is cool.   It sounds like a baseball name.   He posts funny stuff on Twitter (@ryanspitch !) and he was a consensus "you have to draft this guy if you can" kind of guy for baseball prospect experts.

I'll go with that.   So, here's my first Byron Buxton card:

Sparkly.   What is this variation called?   No, it isn't his most coveted card and it isn't graded and it isn't even a RC (I think?) and it isn't autographed or have a piece of his's just a baseball card.   I think it's pretty sharp looking, though and the fact that he's caught in a "duck face" pose makes me chuckle.

Here's the back:

There you go!   " weakness......blazing speed......"

Again, this particular card isn't special to many folks, but I really like it and for a couple of "bucks", I am glad to have a card of "Buck" in my collection.   As a fantasy manager - GO BUCK, GO!

Thanks for reading,


Friday, March 7, 2014

My Yankee Collection - Behold.....MUNSON!


I have been wanting  - nay, dreaming of adding this car to my collection ever since I laid eyes upon it.   I wish I could tell you that I drooled upon the LCS display cases of my youth whilst staring into the dust and baseball greatness that is Thurman Munson's 1971 Topps card.....but I can't.   

Honestly, I don't think I truly discovered this gem until my passion for the sport of baseball and our wonderful hobby was reignited, circa 2011.   And you know what?   Better late than NEVER!

I love this card. My appreciation for Thurman Munson grows with everything that I learn about him.   Apparently he played with a lot of energy and eagerly embraced the role of leader in a Yankee clubhouse that found itself in a precarious transition as the Bombers stared at the empty locker of a recently retired Mickey Mantle....and a quick look at his stats from an abbreviated 10 year career quickly shows that Thurman was well on his way to the Hall of Fame.

This card captures so much of what I love about vintage ball cards.   Well....vintage for me :)

The design is very typical of the day but maintains a quieter monolithic dignity than its cousins in '68 or '72.   The black border is definitive and is well known for causing issues for collectors wishing to find copies of them in great condition.   The edges are hard to keep "crisp" - just ask '85 or '87 Donruss and they'll raise their beer mugs in agreement.   Centering is probably the biggest culprit.

Enough chatty kathy - here's my copy of the card:

Why yes, my Munson has been graded by PSA.   This is a new development in my collecting habits that I will begin to discuss at greater length in the coming posts.   I'm really enjoying, for many reasons, and I love the healthy debate that always ensues regarding graded cards.   Am I 100% graded cards now?   No way, dudes.  

But I DO love this graded copy.   I picked this one up for less than the cost of a blaster, shipped.   No, it's not going to pay for my kids' college tuition, but I jumped on this card because I really liked the centering.   After extensive shopping on-line, it is easy to determine that well-centered versions of this card are hard to come by.   They are often cut short on the right side and this discrepancy is easily discerned by comparison of the black border strips on both sides.   Here's a close look at the card itself, in the proper orientation:

AH!   How and why do I love thee?

- Team Name
- Player's Name
- Position
- ROOKIE CUP!!!!!!!
- Thurman freakin' Munson
- A well-placed facsimile signature
- Action photo
- dust cloud
- old-school catcher's gear
- sideburns

Here's the back, my friends:

"A fine receiver with a strong arm, he releases the ball as fast as anyone."   I swear, you CAN'T beat the back of old baseball cards.   I find it interesting that he was the 8th best batter in the AL at .308?   Pretty cool.

Let's take a closer look at the action.

I'm so pumped to have this card in my collection.   Sure, the corners are a little banged up and the "top" edge is less than perfect - but I think that suits Thurman just fine.   He died four months after I entered the world, so I don't have a tangible 'baseball relationship' with Mr. Munson as a viewing fan, but he has certainly earned a spot in my collecting heart alongside many other great players.

Do you have any memories of watching Thurman Munson play?

What are your thoughts on this card?   His official rookie card in the 1970 Topps set is often overlooked and rarely spoken of with the same enthusiasm as this '71.  In fact, I believe both cards are valued relatively the same?   I wonder how often that happens for a player?   Might be a research project there.....not hard to see why as it is a dual-rookie card that he shares with fellow Yankee, Dave McDonald.   No action shots :) or stirrups...or dust cloud....

What are your thoughts on graded cards?


Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekends!