Thursday, November 15, 2018

A Canadian Trading Post

I received a surprise e-mail from a reader of the blog / member of Trading Card Database - Karsal

I really have to get caught up on my Trading Card Database entries, I probably have a couple thousand Twins that need to be cataloged, and then I really need to get some more of my collection listed so I can get organized for once!

It was a very familiar opening, I have some cards from your want list, do you want to trade? Yes, indeed! We agreed to a blind trade, and Here are some of the cards that arrived this week.

The Vizquel card is great because he's wearing Jackie Robinson's number. Terry Steinbach (A MN product!) doing an updated version of the great 1973 Johnny Bench card. Mike Brown fits the sunglasses mini collection, Dan Graham is part of the bat rack collection, and Luis Polonia was just a fun photo.

There were also some recent Twins thrown in for good measure.

This is a 2001 reprint of Puckett's Topps rookie card, I hope Topps will be able to release new Puckett cards again some day, there are plenty of opportunities in Archives to see Puckett in other designs.

Last but not least, Brad Radke was a life-long Twin and a prototypical frontline starter for more than a decade.

Thanks so much for the trade, and I've sent a return package this afternoon!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Rookie of the Year / Year of the Rookie

The BBWAA will name the Rookie of the Year winner in the NL and AL today. The finalists in the NL are Juan Soto; Ronald Acuna, Jr.; and Walker Buehler.

In the AL, it's a pair of Yankees - Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar - as well as Shohei Ohtani, the Angels two-way sensation. I don't know who's going to win - it seems like you can make a compelling case for all 6 of the finalists. But what is amazing to me is the sheer volume of talented rookies this year. 

They may not have had quite the years that the ROY nominees did, but one has to wonder who will end having the most prolific career. In Soto's shadow, Victor Robles may have been overlooked, but he will likely be a steady presence in the Nationals' outfield and should get an opportunity in 2019 if Bryce Harper signs elsewhere. Harrison Bader was the Cardinals' primary Centerfielder as a rookie, hitting 12 homers and stole 15 bases. Brandon Woodruff made only 19 regular season appearances, but was a key part of the Brewers' postseason strategy, and came up big on the mound and at the plate, hitting a homer and earned the victory in Game 1 of the NLCS. Brian Anderson was used in RF and at 3B in Miami, collecting 161 hits including 34 doubles in 2018. 

Jack Flaherty had a stellar rookie year, striking out more than a batter per inning, and may have even had a case instead of Buehler to be the runner up finalist to Acuna / Soto. Buehler ultimately is the best choice, though Flaherty had a great season - which guy will have a better sophomore campaign is anyone's guess!
Ozzie Albies played 57 games in 2017, so he wasn't even eligible for the 2018 Rookie of the Year, but at just 21 years old, he hit 24 homers, 40 doubles, and scored 105 runs for the Braves in his 2nd year. Will Albies or Acuna have the better career?

Then there are the guys that were technically rookies, even though they were already household names  like Rhys Hoskins and Rafael Devers, that had big impacts late in 2017 and carried over into 2018. Austin Meadows was traded to Tampa Bay in the Chris Archer deal, and he'll team up in 2019 with Willy Adames. Adames will be 23 years old, and Meadows will be 24 - and both appear poised to break out for big sophomore seasons.

I didn't even mention Jorge Alfaro, the Phillies' Catcher, or Ryan Yarbrough of the Rays, or A.J. Minter of the Braves, or the A's super reliever Lou Trevino. In 2017, most of the attention was (rightfully) on Judge and Bellinger and that seemed to be it for rookies - this year is seems like there are many more standout performers.

Which players do you think are in it for the long haul? Who am I snubbing?

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Ring in the New Year - with Secret Santa

I participated in the Secret Santa trade extravaganza for the last two years, and I'm really looking forward to joining in again in 2018! 

"Hey, did you hear? The Secret Santa gift exchange moved to A Penny Sleeve for your Thoughts!"

"Course I did, meat! I wouldn't miss it for the world."

"What if I'm not really into baseball cards- maybe I'm a football fan?"

"Not a problem, champ! Each Santa will spend $10 on something fun to fit YOUR collection! Like, maybe you just started a mini-collection of players talking on the phone . . . "

"Sounds like a great deal! I'll have pepperoni and green olives on the first one and- hang on, got another call coming through- Secret Santa? HECK YES, Sign me up!"

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Saturday? Why, That's Card Show Day, Of Course!

I saw several tributes to Willie McCovey on the blogs this week, and I thought about putting one together myself. He is the very first Topps All-Star Rookie, after all! When I pulled my 60s and 70s binders off the shelf, I noticed that my McCovey collection was sorely lacking. I was hoping to score his 1961 or 1963 cards, but didn't find either one at today's card show. I did find a nice 1970 All-Star card, which my scanner decided to crop very close.

I made a ton of progress on my 1959 set, too. I saw a Bob Gibson rookie last month that was actually in the price range I was willing to spend and I set aside funds specifically to buy it, but the vendor wasn't at the show. So that meant re-investing that dough in Rocky Bridges, a trio of Bobs, and Gene Baker that seems to be showing the ball around its new home.

I added both suits, and even though Giles was in much better shape, he was also cheaper than Card #1 Ford Frick. The most I spent on a '59 was $15 on this hi-number Jim Perry rookie card.

Whee, team cards! Detroit and the Dodgers were upgrades.

This was the card I was really hoping to find after missing out on Bob Gibson- now that I have Johnny Temple, I've completed the '59 Cincinnati Team set!

It was a vintage only day at the show, I finally caved and spent the $3 on the ugly ugly Killebrew card. I also added another 70s McCovey, this time from 1971.

The big ticket item this show? Ted Kluszewski! This was one of my 2018 collecting goals, I passed on several versions of this card before finding one I really liked. I normally don't care much about condition, but I really wanted this one to be sharp and clean with vibrant color.

"Leading muscle man" indeed. Suns out, guns out Ted!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Players Gonna Play

This year was the 2nd Annual Player's Weekend Celebration, where players can wear any socks they want.

Topps released a set again this year, picking a handful of players from each team - I was of course looking for the Twins' set.

La Makina is my favorite of this bunch. Apparently there were also special short printed cards (please don't die of shock) if a person purchased 5X or 10X sets. Well, that's kind of dumb. Enough re-sellers bit on that, so there are 14 Logan Forsythe short prints and 10 Tyler Austin short prints that I will never see in person.

I did, however, buy my set directly from Topps, which gave me the possibility of getting a bonus card later on... and boy it was a doozy:

It got dusty in this room all of a sudden... Joe dons the tools of ignorance one ... last ... time! Mauer's last game of 2018 just may be the last game of his career, and it was a memorable day, from his Twin daughters greeting him at first base before the game, to a opposite field double in his final at bat, and finally his brief stint behind the plate and long standing ovation from Minnesota fans.

This was nice surprise to add to the 5 card set - I'm hoping that next year will have a a Twins set that features a first place finish!