Monday, October 20, 2014

Darth Carp

I ran into this card in an auction on Facebook.  There is such a group and it actually runs quite smoothly.  No fees.  I like it.  I scan the page here and there and find some good cards and good bargains in the room.  Most Carpenter autographs, outside of his 1999 Skybox Autographics card, are Upper Deck cards with low print runs.  While they do not sell for really high amounts, they can be tough to run across.  I was happy to shell out a few bucks for this nice Carp with the Jays pre Darth Carp.  

If you do not know the legend of Darth Carp, there were no field microphones on when Carpenter pitched for the Cardinals.  Do you read lips?  Watch until the end.  Darth Carp.  


I wrote a post yesterday about the hits I pulled out of a box of 2014 Topps Update.  I usually will give my two cents about the base set, but for this post I skipped the subject.  The base sets always mean something to me.  I like looking at the photography, the players in the set, and al sorts of other little things in each of the sets.  I always have favorites.  This year's Update set had a clear favorite in my book.  It's card 113 and looks like this:

The Cardinals had a long year in spite of the fact that they made it all the way to the National League Championship Series.  The offense was down and the team struggled with injuries and consistency throughout the year.  One of the real bright spots for the team was supposed to be young outfielder Oscar Taveras.  It started off well and was happy to see Topps include his debut in their set.  It looked like this:

Taveras ended the year batting .239 and really struggled to find playing time this year in a crowded outfield.  I wish Mike Matheny had found him more at bats at times this year, but I am sure his time is coming sooner than later.  I need to go find a few of the other versions of this card.  

Sunday, October 19, 2014


The playoffs in the minor leagues can often mean a new group of players.  The Durham Bulls made this year's International League playoffs after they won their division.  Throughout the year the team used a combination of Ali Solis and Curt Casali as catchers.  However, towards the end of the season Casali was called up to Tampa leaving an opening in Durham.  Enter Montgomery Biscuits catcher Luke Maile.

Maile is a former Kentucky Wilcat and was drafted by the Rays by the Rays in the 8th round of the 2012 MLB Draft.  Maile seems like he could be a decent catcher, but should be back in Durham again next year for a little bit more seasoning.  That said, today's #MyCardMonday is a little bit of a head start on picking up next year's Durham Bulls cards.

This is Luke Maile's only certified autograph and comes from the 2012 Donruss Elite set.  While this set has some really cool patch cards featuring the logos of the college players who signed for the set, Maile only has this basic autograph.  The card features a sticker autograph and a picture of Maile in his Kentucky baseball uniform.  There are colored parallels of this card, but they a little outrageous for a guy who hits .270 in the minors.

2014 Topps Update

We are getting near the end of the 2014 baseball card calendar.  The release of the Topps Update set usually represents the tail end of the year.  There are a few things hanging around out there, like Bowman Draft and some really high end $400 a pack autograph thing, but not a lot left.  I picked up a jumbo box of 2014 Topps Update at my favorite local card shop here in Raleigh Big D's Sportscards.

I have the base set of the 2014 Topps Update set pretty much put together out of my jumbo box, but I am still going through and sorting things out for all of those photo variations and sparkle cards.  Cardboard Connection has a really good checklist if you are looking to figure out which packs of cards are short printed.

So, let's skip past the base set for the moment and look at the hits out of the boxes.  My autograph:

I am not sure if I am going to redeem this card or not.  I have only picked up two redemptions this year, but my first card is still outstanding.  Not sure that I am really going to see this one through, but I really like the Strata cards.  Perhaps a trade, or I can sell it, and redirect the fundage.  My relic hit......

I could not ask for anything better than this card right now.  Jeter is a great hit.  Again, not a card I will probably hold onto, but should bring back something nice in trade, or sale.  My manu-card.....

This is my second or third cool Joe Morgan insert that I have picked up this year.  I have another one or two of these that are on the way, but this is a pretty nice looking card.  Not the thickest manu card that Topps has put out this year, but I really like the World Series theme that Topps has running in this year's Update set.

My other inserts:

I really like the insert sets in Update.  The minis have been a favorite of mine throughout the year and I have a few more to chase down now.  The World Series cards are really nice and the Power Players cards look a lot like something out of the late 90s Topps sets.  I picked up one other card from my box, a black Julio Teheran, and traded the card to the owner of Big D's.  Jimmy is a pretty big Braves fan.  I landed these three cards.....


Lost In the Post Office

I really try to love the Post Office.  It's a necessary evil.  No, they are not always efficient.  However, supporting the Post Office somehow feels a little bit like supporting a local business.  Where would my card collection be without the Post Office?  Again, a necessary evil.

During my trip last week I had my mail held and the Post Office managed to lose all of my held mail. I do not mind if they lose my bills and those annoying grocery store ads, but you cannot lose my baseball cards.  I was determined and it only took a week, but my carrier happened upon them finally yesterday morning.

Here's what was in my mail.

I was really excited to get my hands on a Alex Bregman card.  He's currently a shortstop at LSU, but has several autographs out already in USA Baseball products.  I saw Bregman play for the college version of the USA Baseball team and was incredibly impressed.  Others have taken note and his card prices have started to pick up.  I do not think that he's going to be the first pick or anything, but I would guess he's in the first half of the first round.

I am still going to try to add a few more of his cards beyond this autograph and he will be a player you should watch this spring as the college baseball season starts.  A good season and a deep run into the NCAA tournament could help his cards out even more.  

Speaking of LSU, I also picked up a copy of another Bowman Platinum Mike Mahtook autograph.  Mahtook was an All-American at LSU where he won an SEC batting title and was a member of the 2009 College World Series Championship team.  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Friday Five: My Top Five Kansas City Royals

I meant to post this last night.  I laid down in bed and was watching a Magic School Bus with my son.  I fell asleep.  Here's my second Friday Five, but on Saturday.

I do not spend very much time on the Royals on my little blog space.  Only 17 posts where the Royals were tagged in my two plus years blogging about cards is a pretty tiny amount considering I almost make one post per day.  In fact, it was pointed out to me about a year ago that I do not make enough Royals posts and I was "ignoring" the other team from Missouri.  Today, and perhaps the next week, the Royals will get their moment in the sun on my blog.  For my second Friday Five post today I present:


I could have made the logo bigger.  This list is not "The Best Royals, it is the Royals players I remember as Royals who were good and enjoyable to watch.  For example, Rick Ankiel was on the Royals and I am a big fan.  I also think of Rick Ankiel as a Cardinal and understand he was not really all that good on the Royals.  Not on the list.  Neither is Todd Benzinger, whom I saw hit a grand slam at the K once.  Although I think it was Royals Stadium at the time.  No matter.    Royals fans may not like my list, don't hate me because I am from St. Louis, but I think it's pretty fair.  

Honorable Mention: Bo, Mark Guicza, Greinke, Willie Wilson, Danny Tartabull, and Brett Saberhagen 

5.  Dan Quisenberry  

He was a Cardinal, but more memorable as a Royal.  Quiz was your typical awesome 1980s relief pitcher.  Funky pitching style, sweet mustache, and he pitched more than 1 inning.  He led the American League in saves five times during his career and he ended up saving more than 200 games for the Royals.  Also had 6 saves as a Cardinal.  I did not know before this last week that he actually ended his career with the Giants.  Really cool pitcher, sad he left us a little too soon.  

4. Kevin Appier 

I tossed back and forth a few different pitchers for this last.  My most vivid memories of Royals pitchers, outside of the current group, is Appier, Gubicza, and Greinke.  While I considered Gubicza for his cool heavy metal t-shirts and Greinke for his Cy Young Award, Appier was really a much better Royal than either of those players.  Some of that has to do with time, Greinke was on the Royals for a shorter time, but is having a better overall career than Appier.  Just not with the Royals.  Appier played in KC for 13 years, won 115 games, and struck out almost 1500 hitters.  He is the team's all-time leader in strikeouts, third in wins, and also leads all Royals pitchers in WAR.  Appier also had that weird delivery where he looked like he was tilted back at an odd angle.  

3. Carlos Beltran 

I always really liked Beltran as a Royal.  I felt really bad for the team when he was traded away to the Astros.  I am sure if the front office had planned a little better with the Mike Sweeney contract, they would have had a better chance to hang onto the very talented center fielder.  I think Beltran is at the point where he is bordering on Hall of Fame numbers, but he was largely ignored for the first seven years of his career in KC.  The switch hitting center fielder posted almost 30 home runs, 100 RBIs, and an average around .300 almost every year he was in Kansas City.  Won a Rookie of the Year too, but should have made a few more All-Star game appearances.  

2. Alex Gordon 

My favorite current Royal.  Alex Gordon is an elite defender and a pretty good offensive player too.  I would actually say that if my list were based on talent, Gordon would be lower down the line here, but we all need a little "grit" with our baseball at times.  Watch the first game of the World Series, ignore the batting average, on-base percentage, and home runs and just enjoy watching him play the game.  On top of all of the "grit"  Alex Gordon has one of the best rookie baseball cards of the past decade.  That boasts him up at least two or three spots on this list, right? 

1.  George Brett 

3000 hits, Mr. Royal, etc, etc, etc.  Pine Tar Incident.  

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Friday Five: Top 5 James Bond Movies

I have really had a good time making these posts the post few weeks.  Thank you for taking time to read my lists, both baseball related and non-baseball related, that I have posted.  This week I am going to put up two more list with one list being a baseball list and one list being a non-baseball list.  James Bond movies are obviously not a baseball list.  I have always enjoyed these films and they always seem to pop up on my radar at some point for background noise at night while I am working on school work.  I kind of drift between 80s and 90s music, detective shows (I have been on Motive for the last year), and movies.

There are many random movies I will put on for background noise, but nothing that is new or never viewed.  I have seen all of the James Bond movies and know them well.  After watching them and watching them and watching them some more they are still entertaining....well not this one.....

Which has my vote as the worst James Bond movie and is my almost only unwatchable.  Tosca isn't for everyone....... Here are my five favorites in order......

5. Casino Royale (2006)

The only modern Bond movie that is on my list of great Bond films.  The film is sort of taking the franchise back to square one and starts off the viewers from the beginning of Bond's career as 007.  The plot of the movie is sold and Craig does a great job as Bond.  Better than any performance turned in by the likes of Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, or Pierce Brosnan.  The plot of the movie does a good job of showing viewers a lot of background on the James Bond character.  Easily the best of the modern Bond movies.  My one critique with this movie does not actually involve this movie, but the follow up movies behind this story.  We have already discussed, Quantum of Solace is terrible, and Skyfall seems to present a sort of end of the line for Bond.  If the franchise is going to be reset, then why rap it back up in three films.  Skyfall, by the way, is a decent movie.  

4.  Dr. No (1962) 

First film in the franchise belongs on the list, but it was not the best early Bond film.  Harry Saltzman and Albert Broccoli created a partnership to make the Bond films after Saltzman won the rights to the James Bond book franchise.  Connery does a good job in the movie, but the film was cheaply made and it shows at different points during the movie.  In 1962 money it was filmed and produced for just over twenty thousands pounds.  I don't have a pound sign on my computer.  I'm told, if I am doing my math correctly, that is just under a half million pounds today.  I think that means cheap.  The two producers originally wanted Carey Grant to play the role of James Bond, but he only committed to one film.  

3.  From Russia With Love (1963)

This early Bond film was important for several reasons.  First, it introduced viewers to the crime organization Spector.  Many of the early Connery films circled around his fights with the different villains from this crime syndicate.  Here's their introduction.....

The plot of the film was really good too with Bond running around Turkey and Eastern Europe on trains trying to get his hands on a code cracking device which will help the West battle those pesky Soviets.  The movie has great henchman from Redd Grant and his garrote watch to Rosa Klebb and her knife shoe.  Of course, Bond had his on gizmos and gadgets in this film as viewers are introduced to the character of Q Branch.   

2.  On Her Majesty's Secret Service

This one flies under the radar.  I know several Bond movie enthusiast who hate this film.  Really, I think it boils down to the fact that it's an earlier Bond film and does not star Sean Connery.  Of course, the last two or three Sean Connery movies were well written, but not great performances by the best known Bond actor.  Just my two cents.  The movie has a great plot and tons of great action scenes.  I love the ski chase.  One of the best chase scenes in any Bond movie.  Sweet music too.  

1. Goldfinger

Yes, it's number one on everyone's list, but what's not to love.  Gold, Atomic Bombs, a Korean Henchman with a killer hat, Fort Knox, Pussy Galore, Communist countries conspiring to bring down the west.....Gold painted girls and this cool laser scene.   If I had a trophy I would mail it to Sean Connery and Gert Frobe.