Thursday, February 20, 2020

Cards I Love Part 19 - 2001 Bowman Heritage(s) Albert Pujols

We have now reached the Albert Pujols portion of these posts.  I am not saying that the final 10 cards are all Albert cards, but there are several left.  I wanted to hold these cards off towards the end of the month, so that I would have a little bit more time to write and add on to the rough outline of the posts.  I started writing about baseball cards in 2012, the same year that Pujols left the Cardinals for the Angels. 

I was not really thrilled about it at the time, and I have probably not spent enough time on his cards during the past 7 plus years.  I had a huge collection of Albert Pujols cards while he was a Cardinal, many of them are still here.  I cut down on the volume when he went to Anaheim.  I would really like the chance to sit down and type out some thoughts on some of these cards. 

First up, my favorite Albert Pujols rookie card(s). 

The 2001 Bowman Heritage is one of the simplest Pujols rookies, which is what makes it so great.  The card has a black and white photo, a plain white border, and old school card stock.  Simple is better in this case.  Much better. 

I love modern cards as much as the next person. There are tons of Pujols rookie cards with serial numbers, autographs, die-cuts, foil, relics, and all sorts of other attributes that belong on a card made in 2001.  Many great cards, and a few really bad ones.  Yep, there are bad Pujols rookies. 

Donruss Class of 2001. 


I do have one other Bowman Heritage Pujols rookie card, only this one has never made an appearance on the blog.  The Bowman Heritage card pictured above has appeared in a couple of other posts.  The other one is a bit of a hard card to find these days.  The card below was a promotional item that Topps gave out at the National Convention in 2001. 

Same basic concept with a different picture.  I don't know how many of these cards are around, I just know they have become rarer and rarer.  I find it to believe that a card given out a convention is somehow hard to find.  I could see Topps giving these out by the truckload.  Maybe not.  

The back of the card has a Topps advertisement at the bottom of the blurb.  Love the 888 customer service number on the back.  

The regular card is my favorite, but the promo feels a lot like it would be ranked 1A if I were making a list of all my Albert Pujols rookie cards.  There are so many good ones though, a few more of them this weekend.  

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Cards I Love Part 18- 1999 Topps Mark McGwire #220

This is the Mark McGwire card with the 70 different variations.  The 70 variations are for each of the 70 home runs that he hit during the 1998 season.  I pulled my first copy of this card from my box of 1999 Topps Series 1 that I picked up the day after Thanksgiving that year.  

It was a pretty good variation to pull.  

I never really made a serious attempt to put together all of the 70 different variations.  Some are tough to find, some are expensive.  I think the steroid stuff probably was a bit of a wet blanket on taking on that project as well.  Instead of taking on the whole set, I actually went through all my ticket stubs, programs, and scorecards to figure out which of the 70 McGwire home runs from 1998 I saw in person.  

The most I have spent on one of these cards was for a #70.  I do not remember the exact number, but I want to say it was between $15-$20.  My favorite one though has to be the #3 variation, which was the first McGwire home run that I saw that year.  

This game took place on my 21st birthday.  I drove up to see the game with some college friends.  The card back has some good information about the home run, including the date, the pitcher, and the location in the stadium.  

In video form.  

I love these cards because they are a game specific variations.  They are attached to an actual game that I saw in person.  I think that if I had put together the whole set of variations together, they might have actually lost a little bit of meaning.  I pulled a few out of packs, and have roughly a dozen other variation cards.  Topps did something similar for Sosa in this same set, and again with Bonds when he broke McGwire's record in 2001.  

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Cards I Love Part 17 - 2016 Pro Debut Blake Snell Autograph

I collect Durham Bulls cards.  Old players, modern players, former players, or current players.  Really does not matter.  They have been a fun team to collect the past decade plus that I have been following the team.  I definitely have a favorite Durham Bulls player, and a favorite card of that Durham Bulls player. 

This is a pretty self-explanatory post.

There were 30 Blake Snell autographs post on here last year.  He's my favorite former Durham Bulls player.  My favorite Snell autograph is his Durham Bulls autograph from the 2016 Pro Debut set. 

There are not many recent cards on my list of 28 cards that I am posting this month, but this is one of a handful.  It is also the only card on my list that has a player in a Bulls uniform.  Kind of surprising. 

Monday, February 17, 2020

Cards I Love Part 16 - 1979 Topps Ozzie Smith

In my last post, I showed off my 1986 Topps Vince Coleman card.  It was my dream card in 1986, and I worked hard to track down a copy of the card.  Actually, I just opened a bunch of packs throughout the summer until I got one. 

I did have one card I wanted badly as a kid, but never managed to track one down.  In fact, at some point it became sort of an after thought.  I skipped over getting a copy year after year.  I am not sure how this happened, but I did not own a copy of an Ozzie Smith card until 2006. 

It's true. 

I was living and working in Durham at the time I picked up the card.  The school I worked at was not too far from a card shop in Durham that was on Duke Street.  I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the shop, but when you went inside, it was mainly filled with Magic and Pokemon card players.  Still, they had a decent number of single cards and baseball boxes. 

I had gone into the store with the intention of purchasing a 2006 Topps Heritage box one day after school, but my plans quickly changed when the employee running the store noted that I was wearing a Cardinals jacket, and they had some Cardinals singles they were looking to "unload".  That was the term he used.  When I think "unload", I take it to mean you are going to give me some sort of discount or deal.  I still listened to his pitch, flipped through the cards.  Base Topps and Upper Deck Pujols rookie cards for $100 is not really following through on "unload" though, so I passed. 

Except, there was one card that had a price that interested me. 

There was an Ozzie rookie with a sticker that originally read $80 in black ink, but there were several red lines marked through the price.  The new price was $25.  It was in really good shape.  I bought it. 

A little off center, but not too bad.  Great price for a great card, but my budget for the 2006 Topps Heritage box was obviously blown.  The shop did have several older boxes of cards that were marked 50% off, and some of them were decent products.  One of them was a 1999 Topps HD box marked all the way down to $35.  That's $60.   

I have pulled one Derek Jeter autograph in my life, which is somewhat incredible given the number of autographs he has signed, versus the number of packs of cards that I have opened during that time frame.  The one autograph?  

It was in the box of 1999 Topps HD.  

Pretty good day.  

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Cards I Love Part 15 - 1986 Topps Vince Coleman

I have written a lot about this card over the years, so I am going to keep this post short.  There are only so many times that you can write about a card.  A brief summary for your Sunday morning. 

There are a lot of people who have pointed out the lack of important rookie cards in the 1986 Topps set over the years.  The nine year old me strongly disagrees with that assessment of this set.  The Vince Coleman card is the best rookie in the 1986 Topps set.  It's important.  You should own one.  If you don't your in luck.  A lot of people do think there is a good rookie card in the 1986 Topps set, and this card is cheap. 

I spent my entire spring, summer, and fall in 1986 trying to pull a copy of this card out of a pack of cards.  My parents bought me two packs per week at the grocery store.  Plus there were trips to Ben Franklin during the week too.  Eventually, I landed one. 

Who wouldn't want the rookie card of the last player who stole 100 bases? 

We are at 32 years and counting since Coleman stole his 100th base of the 1987 season against the Mets in mid September. 

He ended the year with 109 steals. 

For some, the trio of Willie McGee rookies are their favorite first year Cardinal cards from the 1980s, but I gave Coleman the nod at the time.  I still like the 1986 Topps Vince Coleman rookie card more.  Nothing against Willie.  He's one of my favorite Cardinals, and I do really like his rookie cards.   This was I card I loved as a kid, and as an adult.  I still love it. 

I actually own the photo negative from the Topps Super version of this card. 

Same thing as the regular Topps card, just on a larger scale.  

Friday, February 14, 2020

Cards I Love Part 14 - 2003 Topps Chrome Record Breakers Stan Musial Jersey Relic

Did you read Part 13? 

No?  Read here. 


This is the second single card that my wife bought me at the card shop in St. Louis.  It was my Christmas present in 2006, along with the Yadier Molina autograph.  It's a Topps Chrome Record Breakers relic card.  The relic actually looks old, not just something from an old timers game, but who knows at this point. 

I really like this set.  I do not own the set, but I own a lot of the cards.  This is a good mix of a modern design with an older player.   

Can we talk about the record listed on the front of the card for a minute?  

I like math.  I teach math.  When I saw the number 86 extra base hits in a season, I thought that there was something wrong with that number.  That's a large number, but I know Pujols had several seasons near 100 extra base hits, and they were short of Musial's best seasons.  

So, entering the 1946 season the Cardinals Top 5 extra base hits leaders in a single season were:

1. Rogers Hornsby 102
2. Joe Medwick 97 
3. Joe Medwick 95
4. Jim Bottomley 93
5. Rogers Hornsby 90 

Johnny Mize actually had 86 during the 1939 season, which he later topped during the 1940 season.  The "record" total on the Musial card was actually good for only 8th best on the Cardinals all-time single season extra base hit list in 1946.  I say that as if it's a bad thing, the players on this list are all great names.  Also, the 1946 season was also early in Stan Musial's career.  Two seasons later in 1948, Musial had 103 extra base hits in a season, which is the actual franchise record.   

Stan hit 39 home runs, and managed to lead the National League in both doubles (46) and triples (18) during his record breaking season. All the time, pitchers only struck out Musial 34 times that season.  

Perhaps Topps should hire someone to do some better research on their baseball cards.  

Great card, and a great Christmas present. 

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Cards I Love Part 13 - 2005 Donruss Yadier Molina Autograph

I have known my wife since the Spring of 2006.  We played on a kickball team together that was made up of teachers called "The Playground Bullies".  We worked at different schools, but had common friends.  In all of the years we have been together, my wife has bought me exactly two single baseball cards.  She doesn't even try to keep track of what cards I have, or do not have in my collection.  It's just easier for her to buy me packs. 

She bought both of the single cards for me while we were in St. Louis for Thanksgiving in 2006. 

One of my regular stops in St. Louis used to be a small card shop in south St. Louis County called Southtown Sluggers.  It was a great little shop.  I worked in that part of St. Louis for awhile, and used to stop by the store from time to time after work.  Tons of interesting items, and lots of great cards to flip through.  I never took pictures of the store, but there are a few attached to a Patch article from 7 years ago. 

The article can be found here. 

A few St. Louis people have told me that Dave, the owner of Southtown Sluggers, still shows up at some of the bigger shows like the Cardinals Winter Warm-Up.  Not sure if that's true or not, but needless to say I do not get to any shows anymore in St. Louis. 

At the end of my visit to the card shop over Thanksgiving weekend in 2006, I went and sat in my car by myself for a few minutes while my wife picked out some cards to give me for Christmas that year.  One of the cards was a 2005 Donruss Yadier Molina Autograph. 

I have a whole stack of Yadier Molina autographs, but this one is at the top of my list.  Definitely a keeper, and a card I love.