Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Big Cat's Lost Year

I did not touch any packs of Topps Archives Signature this year, but I do have a few cards from the set that I have picked up over the past month or two since the product first hit the shelves of my local card shop.  There were some interesting selections in the set as far as Cardinals cards go since most of them are probably better known for wearing some other uniform.  Take it a step further, their Cardinals years were not very kind.

There are four of them, and I do not have them all yet, but I am getting close.  I am going to start off tonight with my favorite out of the bunch...

The Big Cat.

Galarraga only spent one season on the Cardinals and broke his hand on a hit by pitch in one of the first games of the season.  He never quite recovered and had one of the worst seasons of his career.  The Cardinals let him go, the Rockies signed him, and the rest is history.

Obviously the majority of Galarraga cards in the set are Expos and Rockies cards, but Topps always manages to squeeze into Archives Signatures those brief stops during a player's career that's fans my not always remember well.  I am not sure how many people remember Big Cat on the Cardinals, and even though it was not his best year, I have always liked Galarraga and am happy to own this card.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Things I Am Sorting Part 8

It's been about a month and a half since I posted my newest set project trying to complete the 1999 Skybox E-X Quisite set.  This was actually an insert set for the 1999 Skybox EX Century set, but I liked the cards, there were a limited number of cards in the set, and I thought it would be cool to possible put together a bunch of insert sets from one particular set.  Dare I say Master Set.  I said, not sure I will follow through.

In the meantime, I was short eight cards to finish the set when I last posted on the set.  I am happy to say that I have been able to track down all eight cards relatively quickly.

I picked up three of the cards in a trade with a fellow collector for some set needs that they were looking to fill and the other five cards were all less than a dollar on COMC.  I love COMC.  I have updated my completed set tab up at the top of the page to show this set as completed and will be posting a new set project or two in the next few days.....

The Completed Projects Tab at the top of the page has also been updated....

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Venerable Old Card Part 30

The Durham Bulls had a new coach on their staff this year to pair with returning manager Jared Sandberg and pitching coach Kyle Snyder.  Sandberg and Snyder both have connections to the Bulls, or the area: Sandberg played in Durham during the 2000 season running through 2004.  Snyder pitched down the road from the DBAP for UNC.  

The Bulls hitting coach this previous season was former Cubs outfielder Ozzie Timmons.  I say he was a Cub, because I am sure that most people don't remember his time on the Reds (6 games), Mariners (26 games), or Devil Rays (12 games).  He did squeeze in almost 350 at bats during two seasons with the Cubs in the mid 1990s.  More importantly, he also spent a summer playing for the Durham Bulls and he was really really good that year.  

Probably means that I would have found a reason to pick up this card of Ozzie whether he spent this year coaching for the Bulls or not.......

This is a sweet card.  

Ozzie Timmons was a Durham Bull during the summer of 2000 posting a .300/.393/.540 slash line with 29 home runs, 32 doubles, and 104 RBIs.  His season was good enough to get him up to Tampa for 12 games in September, 42 plate appearances, where he hit .341/.357/.707 with 4 home runs and 3 doubles.  Sounds good, but Timmons left MLB the next year to play for the Chunichi Dragons in the Japanese Central League.  

Timmons has spent a few years coaching in the Rays system and was even promoted this September to join the Rays for the last few weeks of the season.....

I am guessing that Timmons should be back with the Bulls next season to help out as the hitting coach again.  It's nice to add another cool Durham Bulls card to the collection, coaches count too.  

Five Star Is My Friend

I have always really loved the Five Star product.  I am not really big on actually opening those expensive boxes myself, but I really enjoy picking off some of the singles from different trade groups and Ebay.  There are a bunch of different Cardinals players in this year's set, but with Aledmys Diaz being the highlight of the players available, I have decided to set my sights a little bit lower.  As much as I loved these cards, spending more than $50 on a rookie card is not always my style.  Especially when the price of his cards seems to be dropping slowly.

Maybe soon on an Aledmys autograph.

The selection of Durham Bulls players in this set is sparse, but I picked up the lone autograph of a former player.  This is a great looking card....

The scan does not do much to show off the card stock used on the card, but it is the typical thickness that Topps has used since they first started this brand a few years ago.  I really like the light colored frames around this year's cards, the darker backgrounds, but they also did a nice job of giving the players a clear light space at the bottom to sign the cards.

Snell's autograph is not the prettiest, but he has easily been the best prospect to pass through Durham the past two years making him an easy choice to track down in new card products.

I know the season is over, but if you have not seen Snell pitch a game yet, it should definitely be on your list of players to check out next year.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Trading Card Co-Op Part 3: Babes In Card Land

I was boxing up a few cards late last week, figured I would have some down time during Hurricane Matthew, so I ventured into the Trading Card Co-Op for a few 200 count boxes.  One does not simply walk into a card store however and just buy boxes, we still have to check out the cards.  Right?

I also brought along my newest assistant to help me look through the cards.

A child's first trip into a card store is a big deal right?  I am not sure what kinds of cards my daughter likes yet, what team she is going to cheer for, but it's a monumental occasion nonetheless. She slept on the trip into the card store and the first fifteen to twenty minutes that we were at the store.  Not much hep initially.

Since she doesn't really have any opinions on the baseball card front at the moment, I went ahead and picked out the cards that I thought she'd like best.  Let's take a look.

First up is an older Topps autograph.  I am pretty sure that I have a few Pat Burrell autographs in my collection already, but I was also pretty certain that I did not have this card.  I was right.  Pat was the first overall draft pick back in 1998.  He was sort of the hot rookie card guy back in the late 1990s.  I am not sure that people were crazy for Pat the Bat cards like current collectors fawn over Kris Bryant, but he was definitely popular.  Pat was briefly on the Rays towards the end of his career.   Little girl approves.  

There were two framed Ginter cards in the same box as the Pat Burrell card.  When I am watching baseball with my daughter she really enjoys looking at the black framed pictures in my baseball card room.  Babies like contrast.  I am pretty sure that she would have liked these cards if she had been awake to gander at them.  I like that the Braun card has a gold background on the mini and the Upton is a Buyback from last year's Ginter set.  I have a few of the Cardinals buybacks, keep meaning to post them...another day, another post.  Frames, that is what was important here.   Again, little girl approves of these cards.  

Last two.  

I picked out two cards that would fit my collection a little bit better than the three up top.  I still like those cards, but they do not exactly fit in with the whole Durham Bulls, Cardinals, and Rays thing.  So, the card above was a nice pick up that the store manager Jimmy had set aside for me along with the card below.  The Longo patch is from this year's Museum Collection....

The card above is an Alex Reyes autograph out of Bowman Inception.  This year's autographs are not his first, so they are a little bit more affordable than some of his previous Bowman graphs.  He's going to be a good one.  Since these two cards fit my collection, and are great looking cards, I am sure that the little assistant would be happy that I added these two cards to my collection.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Venerable Old Card Part 30

For the first time in five years the Cardinals missed the playoffs.  While the team has some nice young pieces on the roster, clearly the team needs a few adjustments if they are going to compete with the Cubs next year.  One of the likely changes is that the team will pursue a new centerfielder, move Randal Grichuk to left, and allow long time fixture Matt Holliday walk.

Holliday first arrived on the Cardinals in 2009 in a trade with the A's and has been a fixture in left field ever since.  For the last eight years he's been a pretty consistent performer: 20 home runs, close to 100 RBIs, a .300 batting average, a high on base percentage, and a little shaky outfield defense.  The Cardinals have also won a World Series and made the National League Championship Series three other times with Holliday in the lineup.

In his supposed last at-bat as a Cardinal, he ended up with another one two days later, he went yard against the Pirates.  A cool ending to some great years as a Cardinal...

I have watched most of Holliday's time with the Cardinals from away from St. Louis, but he actually spent a few years playing in North Carolina on his way to the Majors with the Rockies.  Holliday was drafted in 1998 and squeezed in about 30 games with AZL Rockies before the end of the summer.  His first full year was spent in the South Atlantic League with the Asheville Tourists.  

One of his first baseball cards featured him wearing a Tourists uni. 

If you do not remember the Just Minors cards they are still really easy to find and are really cheap.  They actually have some pretty cool autographs too.  I dabbled a bit with them back in the late 1990s, but I was not a huge Minor League collector at that point, so they did not hold my interest.  Pretty fun cards to look at now.  

Also note that Holliday is a third baseman on the card.  He actually played the infield until 2001.  In his first two and half years in the Minors Holliday made 79 errors at third.  While he was not a good defender in left either, that's a ton of errors.  

Holliday also later appeared for the Carolina Mudcats, but they were the Rockies Double A team at the time.  I am not sure if Holliday has a team issue Mudcats card, but if he does I will find it at some point.   He does have a 2002 Upper Deck Minors card with a Mudcats logo on the front of the card, but he is wearing an Asheville uniform on the card.  

The Mudcats did have a banner for him in the outfield, until they took it down.  

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Things I Am Sorting Part 7- 2016 Heritage Minors

My schedule has been completely off today.  I intended to write this post this morning when I woke up, then it was suddenly lunch time, and then I was stuck on the awesomeness of the NC State-Notre Dame game.  The game was in Raleigh in the rain and wind from Hurricane Matthew.

There are all sorts of funny pics, gifs, and videos floating around the internet if you want to see plays slipping and sliding around in a hurricane.  The important thing that the Wolfpack won the game....

On to baseball cards.

I spent a little bit of time earlier in the week hanging out at the Sports Card Co-Op in Raleigh.  I had done a short write up a few days back about a pair of single cards I picked up at the store, the hit cards I pulled out of Heritage High Numbers and Heritage Minors, but promised a little bit more in depth run down on both products.  I am going to start with Heritage Minors since it is always one of my favorites every year.

A quick review of my hits from the box.....

I landed two autographs in the box; promising Astros prospect Francis Martes and Royals pitcher Nolan Watson.  Martes is a solid prospect and is in the Top 100 Prospects of several major publications.  Watson is a fringe prospect at this point who has not missed many bats in the lower levels of the Minors.  

I also landed a Hunter Harvey relic card.  It's a relic card, not sure what else I can say here.  

Heritage Minors always has the same design as the Topps Heritage set which is a copy of the 1967 Topps set.  There are several products every year that have Minor League players, but the Heritage and Pro Debut are the only two with pictures of the players in their Minor League uniforms.  Here is a look at two of the base cards, I picked out Durham Bulls players....

There are also parallels for the base sets.  In previous years there have been all sorts of different colored parallel cards, but this year I have only seen the blue.  Out of my box of Heritage Minors I pulled an Austin Gomber parallel card.  Pretty good one to land.  The card is numbered out of 99.

My other two highlights out of the product are the League Leader cards.....

You don't see many Minor League sets with League Leader cards.  It's cool to see that Topps included players from across the different levels of the Minors and not just one league or one level.  While some of the short seasoned leagues aren't really well represented on the counting number stats, there are all sorts of players from all sorts of leagues on these cards.

and my final highlight is the remakes of the 1967 Topps Stickers which feature both players and mascots.  

There is a Wool E Bull card in this set which I did not manage to pull, so that will be high on my list of cards to find in the very near future.  I pulled five of these out of my box and am seriously considering working on this set this fall.  Should be fun.  

Overall, I love Heritage Minors.  Always a really cool product if you are a Minor League baseball fan and it's not exactly expensive either.  Collectors shell out all kinds of money on Bowman, these are the same players, but I think the set is a little bit more fun to assemble.