Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Meh Kind of Autograph

I try to pick up an autographed card of every Cardinals player that I can possibly find.  I prefer to go the certified route, but sometimes I have to pick up a few things from a reliable autographer.  The Cardinals added a few new players at the trade deadline that sent me looking for two new autographs.  I already owned a copy of a Steve Cishek autograph and traded for a Jonathan Broxton autograph.  I still need to post that card.  I also needed a Brandon Moss card and found a pretty nice copy of an on card autograph out of Tier One

Not a great looking autograph, but I am happy that this is an A's card over the Indians and Red Sox.  While I was initially excited to see Brandon Moss in a Cardinals uniform his performance during the first handful of games has left Cardinals fans feeling rather disappointed.  I am still hopeful that this trade will still work out since the Cardinals have Moss for next season too.  At this point I am feeling a little bit meh about my latest pickup.  Moss has hit in the past, but right now he looks completely lost at the plate.  Lets hope that Moss kind find his swing in the next few weeks and this trade does not end up going down with other players like Todd "Third Degree" Burns.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I Love The 80s

People love to reminisce about their childhoods.  As someone born in the late 1970s, most of my childhood memories are from that awesome decade known as the 1980s.  So many things to love about the 1980s: music, horrible clothes, funny movies, baseball, baseball cards.  Maybe most people would not put baseball and baseball cards on their list, but I was first introduced to this hobby in 1983 and it has been good to me ever since.

I remember all the great cards I collected in the 1980s and all the players on those cards.  Of course the Cardinals and all of their speedy Whiteyball Era players were my favorites, but other names stick out too.  Which brings me to this evenings card......

I know I have spent time in the past railing against unlicensed products, but I have actually been looking into some of the Panini cards recently and found that there are some great names from the past in their products.  Especially if you are looking for some good 1980s names.  The product this card hails from, Immaculate Collection, also has autographs of Bob Denier, Fred McGriff, Andre Thornton, and Mookie Wilson.  This card was actually been sold by an Ebay seller who had a few other cards I was looking into buying.  Seemed like a nice card at a decent price, I went for it.  I need to track down a copy of the Garry Templeton autograph from the set, heard he is in a Cardinals uniform, well an unlicensed Cardinals uniform.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Missing the Stro Show

Have you been watching the Blue Jays since the trade deadline?  They have been red hot and winning everything.  Well, until they starting playing the Yankees this past weekend.  I have never really minded the Blue Jays and like some of the players that they have added to their team.  Tulo and David Price are both cool players.  As a former Durham Bulls player, I am a huge fan of David Price and still enjoy collecting his cards.

When Price was traded a week and a half ago, I went out and spent a little bit of time searching out his cards to see if I could find any Tigers fans dumping some cards cheaply.  I did not find that, but I did a really cheap Marcus Stroman card.  I miss Stro.  He's still busy and Twitter, but it's not as entertaining as watching him pitch.  Well, except for when they traded for Price and he was in class....


It's been awhile since I have added a new Stroman card to the collection.  His autograph has always been pretty simple, but I love the look of the blue ink with the blue from the Blue Jays uni and his glove.  They look nice on the dark black and gold background.  The card is numbered to 399 copies, which is quite a few, but still a great looking card.

Sunday, August 16, 2015


I did not spend a lot of time on cards this weekend, but did spend a few minutes Friday night sorting through a box of old Cardinals cards and autographs I had picked up long ago.  There were a few really cool cards in the box that I had completely forgotten about over the past five or six years, but one really stood out from the rest of the cards.  How did this card end up neglected in a box of cards featuring former Cardinals players like Brendan Ryan, Ryan Ludwick, and Andy Benes?

No idea, but it's been sleeved and placed in a box with some nicer Cardinals cards.  If you are not familiar with Lonnie Smith I will give you a two minute run down on "Skates".  He came up with the Phillies in the early 1980s and was used as an extra outfielder off the bench.  He was actually an important bench player on the 1980 Phillies World Series team.  The Cardinals traded for him before the 1982 season, and like all fast athletic outfielders, Whitey Herzog turned Lonnie Smith loose on the bases.  During his three seasons as a Cardinal he stole 68, 43, and 50 bases.  He played part of the 1985 season in St. Louis and stole 12 more.  Lonnie Smith started the season on the DL and the team called up Triple A outfielder Vince Coleman to fill the void.  Coleman went on to steal 110 bases, Lonnie got traded to the Royals.  

His time as a Cardinal is how I best remember Lonnie Smith.  He was not the biggest base stealing threat on the team, did not have a ton of power, and was not a great defender.  The guy was still a winner and a fan favorite in St. Louis in the mid 80s when I first moved to St. Louis.  I ran into Lonnie Smith again towards the end of his career when he ended up back in the National League with the Braves.  I know baseball fans always remember the core group of pitchers with those 1990s Bobby Cox teams, but Lonnie Smith was an important player at the beginning of that run for the Braves.  

His best year with Atlanta was in 1989 when he hit 21 home runs, a career high, and lead the National League in on-base percentage with a .415 mark.  He put up a .384 mark in 1990 and a .377 mark in 1991.  Lonnie ended his career with the Orioles in 1994 posting almost 1,500 hits and a slash line of .288/.371/.420.  Combine that great on base percentage with 370 steals and it's easy to see why Topps put him in the All-Time Fan Favorites set back in 2005.  Lonnie also ended his career with three World Series rings (1980 Phillies, 1982 Cardinals, 1985 Royals) and two League Championship rings (1991 and 1992 Braves)  Great player.  

Allen & Ginter Part 4: Minis

On to one of my favorite parts of the Allen & Ginter set: The minis.  I feel like my box had some good minis in it starting with my box topper which was an extra pack of minis.  The pack held five red bordered mini cards which were all numbered to 40.  Here's a look at the five cards.....

Some pretty good names in that group of cards.  There were other color bordered in the Ginter set beyond the red.  The black bordered minis, which are always the most common, look really nice this year.  In putting together my base set, I almost always put together a team set of black bordered minis for the Cardinals and Rays.  Here's a look at what these cards look like in this year's Ginter set....

I pulled a Lackey black border out of my box, which will make putting together the Cardinals team set a little bit easier, but these cards are not hard to find and not very expensive.  Most of the time I can find most of the team set for a few dollars on Ebay, or COMC.  I like the design of the black cards this year.  The design around the edges of the card are a little less heavy feeling.  

I also pulled a Ginter flag card from my box.  I pulled a copy of the Hank Aaron version of this card last year and completely missed it because I was not looking for these when I opened my box.  This year I turned over all of the minis as I went through and I opened the box.  Kind of makes me wonder how many of these I have missed over the years?  Hmmm.  Might need to go back through some boxes.  Anyway, this year I pulled Greg Holland and promptly traded it away to a Royals fan who was annoyed by their ownership of a Cardinals card.  

Lots of cool mini inserts too.  I like those Hoist the Black Flag cards on the right side.  Might have to make that one of the non-sport sets that I put together this year.  Wonder if any of these pirates are in the set?  

Friday, August 14, 2015

Friday Five: Top 5 Sets From 2006

5. 2006 Bowman Heritage

I miss Bowman Heritage.  I get to talk about this set one more time on one of these Friday Five posts and then it is gone.  Sort of wish there were more cool old Bowman sets that Topps could rehash, but the original Bowman products did not stick around too long.  I will wait patiently until they decide to rehash the 1989 Bowman set, hopefully there is a Royce Clayton autograph in the set.  This set was a 300 card with the majority of the high numbers over 200 being short printed.  I believe that the "official" Prince Fielder rookie card is in this product, but I always give the nod to the Upper Deck Prospect Premiers card in spite of the fact that the 2006 cards, across all brands, had that cheesy rookie card logo.  In fact, the vast majority of the players in this set with the rookie card logo had rookie cards in previous card years.  The most egregious rookie logo cards in this set were players like Justin Verlander and Jared Weaver who not only had rookie cards made in prior years, but they were also Bowman cards.  A cool design helped this set make my list.  

4. 2006 Topps 52

The 1952 Topps set is a classic.  Sometimes Topps goes to that well a few too many times.  At the time this set was released I kind of thought it stunk and I completely ignored the product.  A few years later I found a really cheap box somewhere online, busted open the box, and was hooked.  Sure, there are some not so great names floating around this "rookie card" product, but there are enough cool players in here to make the product worth while.  Let's not forget the fact that the set is also loaded down with all kinds of cool on card autographs.  

Boxes are still floating around and are not too expensive if you want to press your luck looking for a cool autograph.  The singles of most of the autographs can be found pretty on Ebay and are pretty affordable.  The other highlight in this set is the Mickey Mantle card which has different variations based on the background color of the card.  There are half a dozen different versions of the card, which make it a pretty reasonable variation to find, and complete the set.  Definitely a set that has grown on my over the years.  

3. 2006 Topps Heritage

This was a pretty fun set to put together and I really like the simplicity of the 1957 Topps set.  The short-prints in the set were concentrated in the middle of the set, 300s, with a few scattered around the low numbers.  As a Cardinals fan I consider this set a really important set for one reason: It marked the last really high quality Stan Musial autograph.  Stan still signed autographs for a few more years, but his signature really seemed to decline after this product. Do I own a Stan Musial autograph from this set? 

The coolest thing in the world is when you buy a box and get a big hit card from a team or player that you collect.  This is the last Stan autograph I pulled out of a box and it is definitely a really cool one.  I bought this box from a card shop on Duke Street in Durham, it's long gone, and was incredibly happy to land this one.  Unfortunately I was surrounded by a bunch of high school kids playing Pokemon cards.  Probably why the card shop is gone.  This is a must have for any Cardinals fan.  

2. 2006 Upper Deck 

This was most of my summer card collecting in 2006.  The Upper Deck set went giant that year with a 1,250 card base set which was put out in three parts.  There were two 500 card series with a 250 card update that was issued later in the year.  The boxes were not too expensive and there were some above average autographs in here too.  I also like this design with the borderless look and the player name printed across the bottom in the middle.  The foil team logo gives it that Upper Deck feel.  This card also features the dreaded rookie card logo I was talking about above. 

Which leaves the no-brianer......

1.  2006 Allen & Ginter

Easily the best set of 2006.  Incredible first set with an equally awesome autograph checklist.  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

2015 Allen & Ginter Part 3: Standard Sized Non-Sport Inserts

I am going to split the non-sport inserts into two posts.  I will talk a little bit about the non-sport minis on a post I am working on just about the different minis available in this year's Ginter product.  The non-sport inserts have long been a popular staple in Allen & Ginter and something that I have enjoyed collecting over the past decade.  I usually end up putting a few of these together every year.  I have not quite decided where I am going with these this year, but here's is a look at two sets that I am considering adding to my collection and two that I have crossed off the list....

Ancient Armory- This is a 20 card set, and while I pulled a few of these from my box, I am probably not going to put this set together.  This reminds me of the lower level of an art museum where there is inevitably some room filled with fancy swords and spears.  There are also a things that are club like objects from Mesopotamia.   Not too interested.  How could Topps have improved this set?  Perhaps if they had put in an iron maiden I would have been more into collecting this set.....

Menagerie of the Mind- Maybe.  It's 20 cards, and while I expected this set to be more Dungeons and Dragons, there are cards for leprechauns and unicorns.  Also a zombie card, making this an all around interesting mix.  This set seems to lack a little bit of direction.  What could Topps have done to make this set better?  Perhaps a Lucky Charms set, or a villains of Austin Powers set.  Again, not sure this is the set for me. 

What Once Would Be- This is only a ten card set and I kind of dig the artwork.  A definite possibility.  There is a mail parachute card too, got to find out what that's all about.  No video here?    

Keys to the City- I like this set too.  It's 10 cards, there is an Arch card, and an Alamo card.  I think I am sold on this one.  Check back with me next week.