Friday, June 30, 2017

Fernandomania in Minnesota?

The Twins called up Felix Jorge from AA Chattanooga to get a spot start against Kansas City this weekend. He's pitched well for the Lookouts, with an ERA of 3.26 and a decent walk rate of just 2.3 walks per 9 innings.

But the guy I want to talk about is Fernando Romero - I just received the card above from an eBay auction, and I'm trying to stay ahead of the game on his cards, I think he's going to be great.

Romero was promoted to AA to start this season, and in his last 6 starts he's 5-0, pitching into the 6th inning in each start. He's struck out 39 batters in that stretch against just 12 walks. In his last start he struck 6 in 7 shutout innings against the Pennsacola Blue Wahoos, which is Cincinnati's AA affiliate.

Romero is on the 40 Man, and should be in line for either a September call-up or a 2018 mid season audition similar to Jorge's shot this weekend.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

A Spot of 75s

Derrel missed National Sunglasses Day, but it's never too late to observe it. He's sporting mischievous eyebrows at a Jack Nicholson Level.  John of Johnny's Trading Spot sent over some 1975 Topps recently, and I am happy to have them!

The scanner did the best it could on these two, they were extremely miscut.

From the backs of those two, a pair of nicknames on the cartoons. Jesus is actually in really sharp, nice condition not counting the centering.

Some more great, colorful cards.

Thanks a bunch, John!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Scott, a fan of Florida baseball, followed up a great bubble mailer with an impressively stuffed PWE.

My junk wax want lists only go up to 1996 at the moment, but Scott found some great stuff to send that reached beyond the lists. I wonder who the hand model is for the Pedro pitch grips?

Larry Walker might never get a fair hearing as a Hall of Famer, but he's easily one of my favorites from the 1990s.

Some horizontal heroes

Here's a MEME - More Eddie Murray, Everybody!

Can't go wrong with Kirby Puckett.

The greatest leadoff hitter of all-time, and a guy who might have been the best leadoff hitter in the 90s not named Rickey or Raines.

Thanks again Scott! 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Shine On, You Crazy Diamond Stars

Happy National Sunglasses Day!

Fortunately, I have a mini-collection for just such an occasion. Please soak in the sun and celebrate responsibly.

The Center Square is an O-Pee-Chee Steve Trout that I just reeled in today from a follow up PWE from blog reader Scott (The Marlins fan). I'll share some more of the cards he sent my way soon. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

A Winning Formula

Saturday was not card show day, but it was a special day in the Twin Cities. Three Stars Sportscards (Facebook Page) was celebrating the Grand Opening of their second location in the area, a good sign for card collectors and hopefully a hint of a healthy hobby moving forward.

They had lots of big giveaways, including a raffle and some high end box breaks. I am more of a meat and potatoes collector, so I oohed and ahhhed from a safe distance while people racked up the sickest of hits. I was perfectly content to dive into a series of quarter boxes.

The Twins box had some fun stuff including this in-person auto from a young Pat Neshek, his first pro All-Star appearance came as a Single A pitcher in the Twins system.

Under glass, they had plenty of big ticket signatures and relics of guys like Judge and Trout, but I gravitated towards the Kennys Vargases and Max Keplers. I think I got a really nice deal on this Five Star Auto.

I think Graded Cards are lame, so when I saw this particularly sad PSA Grading Sample for just $2, I was happy to snap it up. Juan Gone is one of my favorite players, and the card actually looked very sharp to my eyes. I don't know that this is at all a rare thing, and I'm pretty sure that they were just trying to make room for newer things with their box o' graded cards, but it tickled me all the same.

I was a little harsh on Topps the other day about their abandonment of the Rookie Cup for Series 2, mostly because I was bitter for dropping more money on a Hobby Jumbo Pack than I spent on any other item that day. There were some cool cards in there. The Andrelton Simmons card is (flame emoji X3)

Some Twins were found inside as well - Curtain Calls is a good idea for an insert, though I wonder how many of those moments are also on Topps Now cards....

This saved the Jumbo Pack for me - I am on the fence about stamped buybacks, but if you're going to pull one, why not pull your favorite player of all time?

Best of luck to Three Stars (and all the local shops), I hope to spend lots of time there in the coming years!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Blog Bat Around - The Arbitrary Sources of My Subjective Collections

This Blog Bat Around is courtesy of Tom from Eamus Catuli! who in turn got the idea from Kin's comment.

What is it about the players you collect that made you want to collect them in the first place? Like many of my blogging colleagues, the hometown team(s) provide the foundation of my player collections.

My first player collection began all the way back in 1987 with one card -

My mother likes to tell a story about one of the first games I went to-  I was probably 4 or 5, and the seats we had were in the general admission section of the Upper Deck at the Metrodome, probably the portion of the section that in later years were cordoned off by large banners showing the Twins' retired numbers. We were, however, sitting dead center, so our closest professional athlete was Kirby Puckett, roughly 100 feet away and 50 feet below our seats. The batter crushed a deep line drive to right center field, and Puckett raced over on his tiny legs and made some impressive leaping/diving/acrobatic catch that dipped out of our sightline. The crowd's reaction was all that was needed to clue in to our family that Kirby had made the catch. As he headed back into view, the crowd's cheering got even louder, prompting him to briefly lift his cap, and his focus stayed squarely towards home plate. I grabbed my mother's arm and pulled her closer.

"Did you see that?!" I said.
"Yes, Kirby made a great -"

So, from that moment on, Puckett was my favorite player.

When I returned to collecting as an adult, I became more interested in the history of baseball, and a set like the T206 tobacco from the early part of the 20th Century held a certain appeal. When I started to look more closely at the checklist, I found another local connection - the set contained players from the minor league Minneapolis Millers. Among those players was the fascinating  Gavvy "Cactus" Cravath. What started as a quest to collect various Minneapolis/St.Paul and outstate Minnesota players turned specifically to this forgotten Home Run King of the 1910s. Cravath has all the ingredients for a great player collection target. Great talent; a long and winding road to success; a set of killer nicknames; and enough mystery to keep people interested.

Pioneers, innovators, and players that broke new ground are of particular interest to me. The only player I know of that broke a team's color barrier and played in a professional game in my lifetime was Minnie Minoso.  Whether or not you think the Saint Paul Saints are wrong to trot out old timers to get legitimate professional at bats long after their careers were otherwise over, I still think it is objectively cool to give the fans (and the players) a thrill. Kevin Millar was the latest guy to do it, hitting a home run this weekend at the age of 45.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Oh Really, Topps?

 See if you can guess what is wrong with this picture.

I'll give you a hint, the same problem is on all of the series 2 cards, specifically Julio Urias, Ryan Schimpf, Tommy Joseph, and Kenta Maeda.

Seager and Sanchez are correct. What are you doing, Topps?

Several years back I had to improvise and use the Heritage set instead of flagship to fill my Topps All-Star Rookie roster\, maybe I can do that again....

What? Why? I'm about to "REDISCOVER" football cards if you keep this up Topps.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Page Two - At The Bat Rack Frankenset

You may recall (but probably not) the first page of this Frankenset many moons ago, and I've finally been able to fill a second page!

Here's a Frankenset using a mini-collection of mine, players at the bat rack.

Rules -
9 different players
9 different card sets
9 different teams
player is at the bat rack (or bat pile) in or near the dugout
Have fun (most important)

Without further adieu, Page Two:

The backs:

10- Richie Ashburn 1983 C.C.C. reprints of 1953 Bowman Color
11- Darryl Strawberry 1988 Star (Darryl Strawberry Set)
12- Jimmie Dykes 1982 G.S. Gallery All-Time Greats
13- Jim Tatum 1993 Upper Deck 
14- Bruce Fields 1983 San Jose Bees Team Issue
15- Darrin Jackson 1992 Mother's Cookies San Diego Padres
16- Stan Musial 1977-84 TCMA Renata Galasso
17- Tim Gillis 1991 Classic Best Durham Bulls
18- Ernie Banks 2000 Upper Deck Legends

Finding a card for slot #14 took a looong time. I was able to find this one of Bruce Fields on COMC (good thing Fields also Hits, or I'd still be looking!).

Using the reprint for the 1953 Bowman Color was more than just for saving money, it also is smaller than the original, so it actually fits in the 9 pocket page. 

Hopefully I can get to the next page in less time it took to fill this one!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Would Calling Gavvy "Gabby" Make Gavvy Crabby?

One more card to add to my Gavvy Cravath collection - This is another strip card set. This is the 1920 W519 set, and this specific card was in the second, unnumbered series.  There's another variation of Cravath from the numbered series, which has a gold backdrop.

Here's the back of the card, nothing too fancy going on there! Other big names in this set were Babe Ruth, Eddie Collins, and Kid Gleason to name a few.

Friday, June 16, 2017

2 down, 5 to go!

This set chase is really heating up - I wanted to get the two remaining commons checked off the list, so I went over to COMC and picked them up as cheaply as I could!

I will be pickier with condition on 4 of the last 5 cards (Mantle is not going to be a card I worry about creases or corner wear), but these two I was mostly interested in getting into the binder.

20 errors in one season seems like a lot for a "Sure-Handed Fielder," but I'm guessing he had a good reputation in the league - he made the All-Star team for the second year in a row in 1955. He had league leading 25 errors in 1954, so I guess this was an improvement!

One crazy coincidence of adding these two cards now - in the offseason after 1956, Finigan was traded to the Tigers for Ned Garver!

Since it is COMC, I also went looking for more trouble and found some cheap thrills.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

My Favorite Marlin

A hero by the name of Scott contacted me via the blog to tell me had some of my 80s and 90s wantlist cards. In return, Scott wanted . . . Marlins! And Rays! 

The Hawk and Sheff were both Marlins I wanted, I was more than happy to send as many Fish as I could over to Scott in return.

The cards he sent my way came from as early as 1981 and as late as 2003. Scott painstakingly assaulted my Junk Wax wantlist, pulling cards from all across the era.

He really dug deep, for instance the Randy Johnson Pinnacle All-Star Salute insert card. It's probably not particularly rare, but when do you ever come across them in the wild?

Greats of the 1990s were in full force, flying through the air with the greatest ease.

Hall of Famers, and Barry Bonds!

Thanks very much for the cards Scott, and I was very happy to find a good home for some Marlins!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Frank-ly the Newcombe is greatly Aparicio-ted

Big thank you to Commishbob over at Five Tool Collector for this PWE

Both of these cards have fantastic bright colors - I think the scanner was a little unkind to Luis, seems sharper in person than scanned.

Last but not least, NEWK! No I'm down to just 7 cards to complete the 1956 Set. If you guys have any duplicate Mickey Mantles laying around lemme know!

Thanks again and I'll be looking to see if I have some 1970 Topps to send back your way soon/

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Digging In to Bunt and Opening Day

A Hot Dog at the ballpark beats Roast Beef at the Ritz -- Humphrey Bogart

The baseball mania has run its course. It has no future as a professional endeavor. — Cincinnati Gazette editorial, 1879

 If a horse won't eat it, I don't want to play on it. — Dick Allen

A Baseball game is simply a nervous breakdown divided into nine innings -- Earl Wilson 

The way to catch a knuckleball is to wait until the ball stops rolling and then to pick it up. — Bob Uecker

  When you start the game, they don't say "Work ball!" They say "Play ball!" — Willie Stargell

Baseball is like a poker game. No one wants to quit when they're behind, and no one wants you to quit when you're ahead. -- Jackie Robinson

 There ain't much to being a ballplayer, if you're a ballplayer. — Honus Wagner