Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I Lost Ray, But I Got...Part 4

I recently lost out on a Ray Lankford card that I really really needed for my collection.  Lost would be an understatement.  The card ended up going for more than $180.  Considerably more than my price range for buying the card.

Luckily the seller had a few nice other cards that were also up for sale.  All of the cards I ended up with were less than $5 and could be argued, by some collectors, as better players than Ray Lankford.  Of course, I love Ray.  He was awesome, but some of the other cards were really nice.  So far I have shown off a Juan Encarnacion (member of the 2006 World Champion Cardinals), a Matt Morris (member of the 2004 National League Champions), and a Fernando Tatis (ummm....Two Grand Slams in an inning).  I will post three more cards today which are really nice late 90s insert cards.  First up, the only non-Cardinal of the group.....

I understand that Giambi is caught up in the whole steroid thing, but he was still a good player during the late 90s and early 2000s.  He also managed to bounce back from everything, stick around the league for awhile, and serve as a pretty good role player for the Rockies and Indians.  I even saw recently that he is still putting himself out on the market and willing to still continue his career.  Next.

Scott Rolen was a great player for the Cardinals who had a not so great ending to his career on the team.  The former Phillie, Cardinal, Blue Jay, and Red ended his career with more than 2000 hits, 300 home runs, and ranks as the 10th best third baseman in baseball history according to JAWS.  As a Cardinals fan, he was one of my favorite players on the 2004, 2005, and 2006 Cardinals teams that produced a World Series title, a National League Championship, and three National League Central Championships.  One of the favorite Rolen moments was his Game 7 home run off of Roger Clemens in 2004.  

Final card belongs to another mid 2000s Cardinals great, but pictured as an Angel.  Last card for this evening belongs to none other than Mr. Jimmy Ballgame.  

Big fan of Jimmy Ballgame and was excited to get a really cool late 90s insert of him.  This card is a subset of the regular Donruss Crusude cards.  The print runs run the same as the regular Crusade cards with two sets of the cards, a green set numbered out 250 and a red numbered out of 25.  Edmonds played on all of the same teams that Rolen played on and was eventually traded to the Padres for future Postseason Cardinals hero David Freese.  Before he left Edmonds hit one his own important postseason home runs.  

All-Star Triple Threads

Topps has spent much of this year cycling through the same few Cardinals and Rays players in their sets.  I love Lance Lynn, Kolten Wong, Jake Odorizzi, and others, but really let's get some new faces in here.  I have already harped on this several times this year, so let's move on.  I have checked out some of the Triple Threads cards floating around, but have been a little bit slow to pick up any of them.  I was thinking along the lines of something cool and unique.  I found one.

The blue is not right to be a Rays jersey and they never wear orange.  I was interested, but I have seen Romero relic pieces like this before in the Bowman Future Games relic set.  Topps usually puts these cards in the Bowman Draft set and fills them with some nice jersey and patch pieces from the Futures Game.  The pieces are usually small, so I am sure there are some extra pieces hanging out somewhere.  Here's a look at Romero in his Future's Game jersey.

Leftover jersey pieces is something that Topps has been doing this year in their sets this year.  Still a really cool card and a nice add to my collection of Rays and Durham Bulls cards.

Monday, September 29, 2014


Second copy of this card which I picked up a few days ago....

Fight On Boxberger!

My fall break has finally arrived and I have a few weeks to spend doing the things that I want to do.  This is my second break of the year, with winter break being first.  Other schools are just starting up and I am already a quarter of the way through my school year.  I spent the weekend on total relax mode which meant no posts, but I got to spend some good time with my parents, wife, and son.  Even went to a college football game and almost saw my alma mater, NC State, pull over a huge upset against Florida State.  The NC State quarterback is awesome....

So, what to do with the rest of my break?  I am going to do a little bit of traveling, but I also have a stack of cards sitting on my desk which need to be scanned and shown a little love on this blog.  I might also open a few boxes.  Bowman Chrome just came out and I have a jumbo box sitting at my local card shop.  Stadium Club looks cool too.  So, here's the first of my cards I need to catch up on....

I am a pretty big fan of Rays pitcher Brad Boxberger.  He briefly appeared for the Durham Bulls this year, after coming over from the Padres in a trade, and was lights out.  I even saw him close out a no hitter for Mike Montgomery.  After he was called up to the Rays he continued to dominate posting a 5-2 record with a 2.37 ERA, 104 strikeouts in 64 innings of work, and ERA+ of 158.  Kind of flying under the radar.

His rookie card is apart of the 2009 Donruss Elite set which featured draft picks in their college uniforms.  These patches are really cool and have always been some of my favorite prospect cards to find.  It's too bad they do not make these anymore.  Anyway, Boxberger was a USC Trojan and is shown on his card in a Southern Cal uni with a patch and an autograph.  This is my second copy of the card and was extraordinarily cheap on COMC.  

Another one of these in a day or so, but until then if you have never seen Boxberger in action.....

Thursday, September 25, 2014

90s Coolness + NC State Player = Mind Blown

I love cards from the 90s.  Huge fan of almost anything from that era.  It does not really matter whether it's high end, low end, beginning of the decade, or end of the decade.  I just love the 90s.  One of the great products from the 1990s was the Metal Universe set.  The brand started in the mid 90s and featured a weird blend of pictures and other stuff.  All depends on the year.  Some year the players on the cards look like something out of Terminator and other year's the have odds and ends in the background.  Here is an example...

and the raised surface of the 1990s version of these cards makes them terrible to scan.  Which leads us to the newest pick up I added to my collection.  I was actually perusing a few baseball cards when I ran across a trader who had a few cards I wanted and a nice NC State basketball card too.  Baseball cards sometimes this week.  Until then I we will just have to enjoy this card:

I have added a card or two of Lorenzo Brown before.  He has some nice looking cards and they are really inexpensive.  This card has some obvious appeal to NC State fans with the red tint.  The card is numbered to 150 copies.  Not great, but did I mention it's red?  Very fitting and a nice look for a former Wolfpack favorite.  So, this is normally when I post a video to show off something cool that Lorenzo Brown did in a game.  Like that time he had 11 assists in a game against UNC, or that time he led the Pack to the Sweet 16.  Nope, something bigger is happening in Wolfpack land this weekend.  Just remember, the last 5 times Florida State has come to Raleigh and played an unranked NC State team, they have walked away with an L.  GO Pack!  Beat the Noles.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Black Diamond Belle

One of the best baseball villains of the 1990s was Indians/White Sox/Orioles outfielder Albert "Joey" Belle.  His career started with the Indians in the last 80s, when he was briefly known as Joey, and was an MVP candidate by his second full season in 1992 when he posted a .260/.320/.477 line with 34 home runs and 112 RBIs.  The next four seasons (1993-1997) saw Belle finish in the Top 10 in MVP voting and make the American League All-Star team.  Honestly, I have no idea how Belle did not win an MVP award during that time.  Actually, I know why he did not win, but still he was an awesome player.  

Starting in 1994 Belle was one of the best offensive forces in baseball.  People really underestimate his 1994 season when he posted a .357/.438/.714 with 36 home runs and 101 RBIs.  His OPS+ that season was 194, which is one of the Top 100 marks for a season in Major League Baseball.  He could have easily won an MVP, except Frank Thomas....who posted the 26th best season ever, measured by OPS+ with a .353/.487/.729 line with 38 home runs and 101 RBIs.  Is there a wrong answer?  Not really.  

In 1995, Belle posted a 50 home run season, when the number meant something, and also managed to get the hapless Indians franchise to the World Series.  MVP worthy?  Yes, probably so.  Here was the deal with Albert if you are not familiar.....

Really awesome hitter.....

Really not cool.  

So, needless to say a lot of Albert's antics failed to win him popularity contests, but he was really good in his prime.  After he left the Indians he landed with the White Sox for two good years before leaving for the Orioles.  He was still a good player on the Orioles, but a hip problem slowed him down and he ended up retiring after collecting a lot of money for not playing.  His last official season on the field was 2000, but he collected pay checks until 2003.  Which is probably a good reason why most Orioles fans are not big fans of the Albert Belle cards.......

I still like Albert and I like his cards, which is why I picked up this card recently.   This bat card is another early on bat relic card from Upper Deck out of their Black Diamond product.  Back when bat cards and jersey cards were actually pretty tough pulls.  I always really liked these cards, in terms of design, and have been able to find a bunch of them for my collection.  However, unlike some of the early Upper Deck relics some of these can be found dirt cheap depending on the variation of relic you find.  The rarer, and much more expensive versions of the Black Diamond relics, have multiple relic pieces, like this Chipper Jones. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I Lost Ray, but I got...Part 3

To summarize Parts 1 and 2.  I lost a Ray Lankford card on Ebay.  It sold for a lot.

I still ended up picking up a bunch of Donruss Crusade cards from the same seller, all but one cost me less than $5.  So, far I have shown off a nice Juan Encarnacion and Fernando Tatis.  Both nice additions to collections and both former Cardinals.  Today, I have a player actually pictured in a Cardinals uniform.

This is actually my second copy of this card, but the Crusade cards are nice, and for less than $5, I am happy to have two copies. Morris was one of the better pitchers on the Cardinals in the late 90s.  While the Cardinals teams from that era were brimming with offensive fire power, the rotation was headlined by Morris, the two Benes brothers, and Donovon Osborne.  There was also Kent Merker, Manny Aybar, Kent Bottenfield, and Mark Petkovsek.  Needless to say, the Cardinals did not make an postseason appearances with that rotation.

Talk amongst yourselves: Alan Benes would have been better than Matt Morris.

Morris actually ended up being a solid starter for the Cardinals and even had a few memorable seasons that few people seem to remember.  Most notable was his 22-8 season in 2001 where he finished 3rd in the Cy Young voting.  After that season, Morris slowly started to slide and left the team after the 2005 season for the Giants.  He ended his career as a Pirate.