Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A New Bull and a Tar Heel

I picked up three new autographs this weekend from two players with local connections to the Raleigh-Durham area.  Let's start off with a new player to my collection, new Ray and current Durham Bulls infielder Nick Franklin.  The second baseman came over to the Rays in the David Price trade and caused a little bit of disappointment amongst the Rays faithful.  I will admit that I had anticipated a huge haul of prospects for Price, but I think I am starting to finally wrap my head around what the team got in return.

Franklin actually appeared in Durham earlier this summer in the Triple A All-Star game playing for the Mariners Pacific Coast League affiliate the Tacoma Rainiers.  While his Major League stats leave a lot to be desired, Franklin has been a very successful player in the Minors and has remained a top 100 prospect throughout his career.  His overall career line in the minors stands at .284/.361/.450.  Throw in almost 200 extra base hits in 500 minor league games and you have a pretty good prospect. Perhaps a call up to Tampa this September?  I think so.

Nick Franklin has several autographs out on the secondary market and I managed to snag two copies of his Bowman Inception card from last year.  I have a huge chunk of this set, but no Franklin until this weekend.....

Now I have two.  The same person who was selling these Nick Franklin cards also had a Colin Moran autograph up that nobody was going to bid on.  He's a Tar Heel and he has not hit much of anything in the minors, but a $1 autograph is hard to pass by......

Let's change that statement a little bit.  Moran hit .296 with a .344 on-base at two minor league stops. The former Heel also had a .397 slugging in both stops.  That's 7 home runs and 27 doubles from a player who was considered the "best power hitter" in the previous summer's amateur draft.  The Marlins, who originally drafted him, passed him on to the Astros at the trade deadline.

Monday, September 1, 2014

A Trip Into Big D's Part 2- Cardinals (Mizzou too)

In the first part of my A Trip Into Big D's I highlighted the Rays cards that I picked up at my favorite local card shop.  Besides picking up a handful of sweet Rays cards I also picked up some really nice Cardinals pieces too.  Again, the card shop owner Jimmy found all of these cards for me.  Always awesome to have an extra set of eyes looking out for cool cards.  Let's start simple:

This is a game jersey card out of this year's Gypsy Queen set.  Nice looking card of the Cardinals young first baseman.  I am not quite done with completing the Cardinals autographs and relics from this set, but I am close.  Adams was a need.  Along with the Adams card I picked up a copy of an autograph from a former Mizzou player Martin Rucker.  

Mizzou had a bunch of good tight ends starting somewhere in the mid 2000s.  Rucker was an All-American and was one of the primary offensive weapons on the 2007 team that was a Big 12 Championship game away from the BCS Championship Game.  They still beat KU.  

More good stuff.  Back to baseball.  

Topps puts out a ton of parallels.  I swear collectors could go crazy trying to put all of these things together, or at least I would.  I know people who love these.  I really slowed down on parallels a few years back when Topps went wild with camo, pink, sparkles, pies in the face, etc.  Overwhelmed.  I think I have a pink card or two, but none of them are Cardinals and they are whatever I happened to wander into out of the box or packs I opened.  This Freese is numbered out of 50.  

Yes, he's no longer a Cardinal, but Game 6 of the 2011 World Series means I collect him.  He probably does not pay for many of his own beverages around St. Louis.  

I have not done a lot with Rob Kaminsky yet, but he's 19, was a first round pick, and has some really good minor league numbers in A ball.  I've heard good things.  His cards are inexpensive.  Why not?  Two more really good Cardinals.  

Love this card with the green background and the red on the Cardinals jersey.  Not a commonly seen combination, but it works here.  Throw in a nice autograph from the Cardinals top prospect and this a beautiful card.  It's a high number for an Oscar autograph, but it's also an on card autograph.  Last, but not least.....


One of the other customers at Big D's pulled this card and already had a Piscotty autograph from his appearance at the Triple A All-Star game from earlier this summer.  Jimmy picked it up for me and I was happy to give this card a new home.  The Cardinals have a crowded outfield, so who knows what the team will do with Piscotty, but this card is a keeper.  Well done Topps. 


One of my favorite sets from the past decade.  I loved the By The Letter Cards in the SP Authentic sets and always tried to add a few to my collection every year.  Thought this would be a good choice for this week's #MyCardMonday considering the awesome weekend Matt Holliday has put up against the Cubs.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Trip Into Big D's Part 1- The Rays

Yesterday marked the beginning of the college football season.  I started my day off by sleeping in, after a long week at work, and watched my alma mater NC State take on Georgia Southern.  The game was a little bit closer than most NC State fans would have liked to see, but in the end the Wolfpack picked up a W on a nice pass play by quarterback Jacoby Brissett.

After the game ended I decided to check in at my local card shop Big D's Cards in Raleigh.  It has been awhile since I had been into the store, but Jimmy, the owner of the store, has been busy tracking down cards for my collection.  I had a pretty good stack set aside over the past month or so.  The stack was big enough that I decided to break it into two posts.  Tonight, the Rays.  Tomorrow bingo.  

I have been looking for a copy of this card for awhile, but have had a bit of a hard time tracking this down from half a world away.  This card comes from a Topps Supreme which was a release slated for Asian markets only in 2013.  It is coming to the states this year.  Each Supreme box came with one pack with two autographs in each pack.  There are some good names in the set, but the boxes sell for around $75-$80 US dollars.  While I would love to pull a pack fresh Chris Archer card, I would not like to spend $75 for a pack fresh Chris Archer card.  Cards have a cool design and a nice look.  Happy that I finally ran into one of these for a good price and in the United States.  

Next up is a Desomnd Jennings Allen & Ginter card from last year.  I believe this completes my set of Rays autographs and relics from last years set.  Next.....

This is actually an Astros card, but Zobrist is now a Ray.  I count it as  Rays card.  I already have a copy of this card, which comes from the 2004 SP Prospects set.  However, it was sold to me as part of a larger lot of Zobrist cards.  I also got these:

More Astros, but another rookie.  This is a really cool set if you have never checked it out.  Some really cool rookies.  On to some more, non-Rays Zobrist autographs.......

A Topps Tribute World Baseball Classic Autograph of Zobrist out of 50.......

another from the same set out of 35.......

and the 1/1 for good measure.  

Monday, August 25, 2014

Commemorative Coolness

I hope you have enjoyed some of the older cards I have posted on here during the past few weeks.  I set a goal of posting more cards that were already in my collection when this year started.  It's been a busy past 30 days for me at work and I feel like I have had limited opportunity to post new cards.  The cards in my post tonight are two of my favorite older autographs in my collection and I consider sort of prized possessions.

In 1996 Upper Deck issued the SPx set.  The SPx brand had been a football and basketball brand prior to the 1996 year, but the baseball line followed a similar concept as the basketball and football lines.  The cards had a simple die cut design with a hologram picture covering the majority of the card.  The baseball version contained one card per pack with a limited few insert sets and parallel sets also included.  Two of the insert cards were a commemorative card of both Ken Griffey and Mike Piazza.  Each card also had an autographed parallel.

I loved the look of these cards and made both autographs a high priority a few years back.  Both look really good in my collection.

My copy of the Griffey autograph is fading a bit, but I keep it stashed away and rarely take it out of it's spot.  I would consider looking for another copy of the card, but many of the other copies are starting to look just like mine.  The Piazza autograph has held up well almost 20 years later.  Both cards can be found for around $100, but the Griffey has started to fluctuate in price based on the condition of the autograph.  One completed sale on Ebay recently sagged below $70, but the 'graph was badly faded.  Nice copies of the Griffey can still push $200.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


I have had a really rough month with posting cards consistently, but I really wanted to get a #MyCardMonday post up before the end of the weekend.  This week's card comes from the 2011 Topps Diamond Die Cut Set.  These cards could be earned by typing in a code from the back of a card into a website.  Some codes earned collectors vintage Topps cards, while others gave them a crack at one of these cool die-cuts.  I have a few I picked up that year.  For #MyCardMonday I picked a copy of Jon Jay:

I picked Jay because he is having a great season for the Cardinals.  The Redbirds have been a frustrating team to watch this year, but Jay is posting a .309/.280.401 line with a 119 OPS+.  All are career highs.  While many Cardinals fans thought he would not stay on the team through the offseason, he has been a pleasant surprise and one of the few consistent contributors to the team.  I loved collecting Jay cards the past few years and have not found as many this year, but looking back through the old ones always makes me happy.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Throwback Month- Stadium Club Triumvirate Die Cuts

A quick post this evening.  I have done a few posts over the years on die-cut cards.  I'm a fan and I hope you are too.  Some are better than others, like all types of cards, but the Stadium Club Triumvirate Die Cuts were the beginning of the line for me with die cut cards.  Topps issued there inserts from in the mid to late 90s Stadium Club sets and then recently brought them back for in the 2013 Topps Archives Set.  Within the run of Triumvirate cards, each team had three players.  Although there are a few years Topps put positions together.  Put the players from a team together and it looks like this:

The cards looked good without being assembled into a set.  Here are a few of the past designs along with my opinions (generally good) of the cards.  Cards are posted in order of date, not favorites.  They are all cool cards......

The 1998 set was one the Triumvirate set where the "sets" were by position.  You can see the centerfield label behind Ray Lankford.  I believe there is also a Bernie Williams card in this set and a Ken Griffey Jr.  The Junior might be lingering somewhere in my collection, but I am going to go out on a limb and say I do not have a Bernie, or his soft rock guitar.  This year had a simpler die cut, although the lace eyelets around the edge of the cards are actually holes in the card.  In a lot of ways this is the set which most reminds me of the new version issued by Topps in 2013 in terms of the shape of the die cuts.  

The 1999 version of the Triumvirate cards featured more intricate die cuts and the cards had slats cut into the cards.  I have never been into graded cards, but I was also tempted to send a few of these off to see what they would rate.  While the cards are generally plastic, I have seen these cards with dings on the points in the die-cuts.  The "sets" were by team in this issue.  

In 2000 Topps issued a simpler version of the Triumvirate cards.  The cards still had the slats, but the edges had a less complex design.  I really liked the background on the 2000 set.