Saturday, June 30, 2012

Two New Nolan Ryan Cards

I've been helping a set collector I know back in St. Louis put together a couple of late 90's and early 2000's sets the past week or two and have picked up a couple new cards and a little more space in my baseball card closet.  The two of the highlights of my trading during the past week have been two sweet Nolan Ryan cards.

The first card is from the 2005 Prime Patches set and features a dual color piece of Ryan's jersey from the Astros.  I've put a few other cards from this set on my blog before and love some of the cool jumbo jersey and patch cards.  This card is half an orange and half a darker orange stripe.  The material is not right to be a patch card, but still a really nice card.

2005 Prime Patches Nolan Ryan Jersey

The second Nolan Ryan card is from the 2001 Fleer Platinum set.  Fleer probably put out fifteen to twenty products in 2001, but the Platinum set was one of the better releases.  The base set was solid and the inserts were above par.  This card is from the National Patch Time insert set and features a two color patch of Nolan Ryan from the Texas Rangers.  

2001 Fleer Platinum National Patch Time Nolan Ryan Patch

Monday, June 25, 2012

2003 Upper Deck Vintage Fernando Tatis Bat Card

I wouldn't say that I collect Fernando Tatis cards, but he provided one of the great baseball highlights of my life.  Some people, mainly Dodgers fans, may want to cringe and find something else to read at this moment.  On April 23, 1999 I was in Cape Girardeau, Missouri visiting some friends at college.  I was in the middle of my student teaching and was spending part of my time that spring living in my parents house in suburban St. Louis driving around teaching at a few different places.  I needed a weekend off, so I backed up my car and headed two hours south for some relaxation.

I was having a couple of products from south St. Louis, hanging out, and keeping an eye on the game.  When I witnessed a truly historic event which will likely never happen again.

Needless to say no other player has accomplished the feat of hitting two grand slams in an inning.  Fernando continued his highlight season for the Cardinals, fizzled, and was traded to the Expos.  He was out of the game a few years later and made a nice comeback for a season or two with the Mets.

Tatis has really inexpensive cards and a truly unique signature if you are in the market for an good autograph.  So, recently I spotted this card for under a dollar and had to have it for my collection.

2003 Upper Deck Vintage Fernando Tatis Bat Card 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Two New Cardinals Relics

I picked up a pretty cool pair of Cardinals relics cards earlier in the week in a trade with a collector in Georgia.  Both of the cards I received were of Cardinals players who also spent a little bit of time with the Braves.  First up is a 2007 SP Legendary Cuts Bruce Sutter card.  This card is the dual jersey version and has a cool piece of baby blue jersey.

2007 SP Legendary Cuts Bruce Sutter Dual Jersey 

Living in Raleigh and have attended NC State, 90% of the powder blue in my world represents football players who cannot beat State and basketball players with low IQs and lower reading fluency.  However, there were a couple of sweet powder blue jerseys around in the early eighties including the Cardinals.  Throw in a sweet shaggy beard and you've got a cool card.  

My second card is a Futures Game jersey card from the 2003 Bowman set.  I believe that this was the first set and year that the Futures Game Jersey insert set appeared in Bowman.  It's made a regular appearance most years since.  This particular card features Adam Wainwright in a Braves uniform.  He was later traded for the great potential of J.D. Drew.

2003 Bowman Adam Wainwright Futures Game Jersey 

Monday, June 18, 2012

1999 Pacific Revolution Jeff Bagwell Foul Pole

I really love some of the inserts from the late 90's Pacific sets.  Pacific was definitely part of the over abundance of cards at that time, but they were at least creative with their card set designs.  Especially some of the inserts.  There are plenty of cool die-cuts and designs within the old Pacific sets which are sadly lacking from the hobby today.  Case in point is this gem which I picked up for $2 recently.

1999 Pacific Revolution Jeff Bagwell Foul Pole 

The net card was used an insert in several different Pacific sets over the years, but the 1999 Revolution set was the first.  Pacific used the same insert in the 2000 Revolution set and also added a Dugout Net card to the 2000 Aurora release, as seen below.  

2000 Pacific Aurora Shawn Green Dugout Views Net Fusions

Note to Topps employees: Notice the player on the card has been traded, but there is not a bad airbrush of a Dodgers jersey.  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

1983 Fleer Jim Smith

1983 Fleer Jim Smith 

This is quite possibly the worst baseball card in my entire collection.  The condition of the card is horrendous and is compounded by the fact that it is a Jim (or Jimmy) Smith card.  I really don't know much about Jim Smith, but I do know that this was the first card that I ever pulled from a pack of cards during the summer of 1983.  

I lived in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania at the time and was in first grade.  My brother, three and a half years older, already had a card collection started.  My father had collected baseball cards as a kid (they got thrown away) and passed his love of baseball and baseball cards on to my brother and I.  Every week we would get a pack or two from the convenience store or grocery store.

 I didn't know too much about the game or about the players at the time.  Every week while we were driving home I would open up my packs of cards and read of the players names.  My father and brother would tell me the good cards and I would put my own two cents in over time.  I kept my eyes open for Cardinals cards and would get excited about pulling one from the pack.  Especially an Ozzie Smith or Tito Landrum.  

Over time, my collection grew and it is probably a little too big at current.  However, I would really like to thank my father for introducing me to the world of baseball cards that summer and starting my collection.  Even if it started with Jim Smith.  

I am hoping that one day my son will love baseball cards as much as I do and can enjoy building up his very own collection.  For the moment, I am putting off his collection in hopes that his early cards look a little nicer than mine.  Maybe not.  Happy Father's Day to all the dads.   

Saturday, June 16, 2012

2005 Playoff Absolute John Buck Relic Card

My original plan included sleeping in this morning, but somehow I ended waking up early on working on my cards.  I was trying to dig out a few cards to scan for a trade I started working on last night when I noticed my relics card boxes were shifting towards ordinary.  How many Ken Griffey Jr. jersey cards did Upper Deck make between 1998 and 2010?  A few too many.  There are many players in the same boat.  I do not mind owning relics cards and am particularly interested in Cardinals and Rays, but I don't need fifteen different bat cards of a player.  So, needless to say I will be unloading a few over the next few weeks.

After cleaning out two boxes I paid a visit to one of my all-time favorite materials cards.  A 2005 Playoff Absolute John Buck Relic Card.

As a baseball fan I am completely aware of who John Buck is and his incredible .163 batting average this season.  I love the card because it is one of the most unique relics cards I own in my collection.  Yes, I have big patches and cool pieces of patches and low numbered bats and jerseys.  When have you ever gotten a shin guard or chest protector on a baseball card?  In some ways I do not miss the Playoffs and Donruss sets that overpopulated the card markets in the late 90's, but they did make a cool relic card or too.  

Friday, June 15, 2012

2001 Pacific Ray Lankford Premiere Date

I spent my last weekend try to track down a new Ray Lankford card for my collection and found success with this card.  It is a 2001 Pacific Ray Lankford Premiere Date serial numbered 27/36.  I love the late 90's Pacific cards and this is going to be a definite favorite in my collection.  The Premiere Date cards were inserted one per hobby box in the 2001 set with a print run of 36 for each card.  

2001 Pacific Premiere Date Ray Lankford

Like many former card companies from the recent past Pacific issued tons of parallels for each card.  Many of the parallels had print runs of 100, 250, or 500.  The Premiere Date inserts appeared in almost every Pacific set and always featured a lower print run than the other colored variations.  I would highly recommend tracking a few down for your collection.  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Twitter Trade

I have been getting more and more into Twitter the last few weeks for trading.  There are some excellent traders there and great tools to showcase your collection.  In fact, I pulled off a trade earlier in the week with a collector from Ohio interested in a few Indians cards and autographs.  I received four big cards back and a few smaller ones.  I am going to stick to the big ones for tonight.

The trade originated while I was searching for a few cards during the MLB Draft Monday night.  I wanted to find a card of the Cardinals selection, Michael Wacha, and also find a card of Marcus Stroman.

Wacha is out of Texas A&M and was selected by the Cardinals as compensation for Albert Pujols.  He's supposed to be one of the better college pitchers, but we'll see once he starts pitching.  Stroman pitched at Duke.  Duke is usually not an exciting college baseball team to watch, but Stroman has been worth the price of admission the last year or two.  He's 5'8 and throws really hard.  Reminds me a lot of a right-handed version of Billy Wagner and was drafted by the Blue Jays in the first round.

2011 Bowman Sterling Michael Wacha Jersey

2011 Topps USA Baseball Triple Jersey Autograph

I also received two other excellent cards in the trade.  Last week I actually traded a Topps Marquee Matt Kemp Quad jersey, but was able to find virtually the same card.  I think the patches are in different squares.  

2012 Topps Marquee Matt Kemp Quad Jersey/Patch

Last, but not least, I also received an Albert Pujols rookie.  I am supposed to be down about Albert right now and I have traded off huge chunks of my Pujols collection, but I love this card.  There are a ton of Pujols rookie cards out there, but for my money this is about the best of them.  It's a really simple and basic card, but it is a good contrast to many of the more modern looking Pujols rookies.

2001 Bowman Heritage Albert Pujols

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Trade with Dodger Bobble

Three weeks left in the school year and I just completed my last hard week.  Really happy with my students and I have some time to catch up on my blogging and trading.  I completed another trade last weekend with fellow blogger Dodger Bobble.  He's got a great page and would strongly encourage everyone to check out his cards and bobbles.  Dodger Bobble also has a Facebook page.  I traded a handful of Dodgers autographs and a Matt Kemp Topps Marquee Jersey Card for three autographs and three jersey cards.  My cards included:

2012 Topps Marquee Carl Crawford Jumbo Jersey

2012 Topps Marquee Zack Greinke Jumbo Jersey

2012 Topps Museum Jaime Garcia Autograph

2009 Topps Tribute Andre Dawson Autograph

2012 Topps Museum Ian Kinsler Quad Jersey/Patch

2011 Topps Gypsy Queen Johnny Cueto Autograph

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

2010 Topps Pro Debut Eduardo Sanchez Futures Game Jumbo Jersey

I have been picking up the jumbo jersey pieces from the 2010 Topps Pro Debut Set the last few years.  The cards are some of the most affordable jumbo jersey pieces out on the market.  A quick scan of Ebay will show that you can pick up low end cards from this set for $5 or less.  There are some premium cards in the set such as; Mike Trout, Madison Baumgarner, Mike Stanton, and Jason Heyward.

Eduardo Sanchez is the last Cardinal that I needed from the set and was happy to find it recently for under $5.  He was on the team briefly last year and showed great promise before being shut down with a sore arm.  He was recently called back up to the majors in hopes of providing some decent relief pitching for the Cardinals, but has seemed to struggle with his control.

2010 Topps Pro Debut Eduardo Sanchez Jumbo Jersey

Saturday, June 2, 2012

2012 Topps Archives Set. My Favorite Thing.

I am putting together a set of the 2012 Topps Archives set.  I've had a really good time trading for lots of cards and opening packs.  The heavy lifting in putting together any set is finding all of the short prints and inserts without paying an arm and a leg in trade or cash.  It's always a bonus to get something special from each set too.  I got a cool autograph.  I got a cool relic card.  The base set of the 2012 Topps Archives set has really caught my eye this year.

In the past Archives sets, the cards all had different designs from different Topps sets throughout the years.   This year's set though features four different types of base set designs with the majority of the players coming from today and a few older players thrown in throughout.  There are cards with designs from the 1954 set, 1971, 1980, and 1984.  The 1984 design cards really caught my eyes and attention.

My first full year of collecting was 1984 and I vividly remember the cards like it was yesterday.  It's one of those old sets that I look through a few times a year.  The last two weeks I have probably looked back through the set twice and yesterday picked out a cool card to compare with a current Archives card.  My winner?  (My scanner is being snarky today)  This awesome Floyd "Sugar Bear" Rayford card.  Polyester uniform, bad puffy facial hair, powder blue unis.  Did I mention Floyd Rayford?

I've also gone through the Topps Archives set and spent a long time looking at the cards.  I love how Topps got a lot of little details into the 1984 design.  The backs are perfect and the color schemes on the front match the teams color schemes from the 84 set.  The Nationals even have the design from the Expos.  My favorite is Allen Craig.  

Friday, June 1, 2012

2012 Topps Archives Ray Lankford Autograph

One of the first players I ever started collecting was Ray Lankford.  A few weeks back I documented my Top 10 Favorite Cards of him.  The last Ray Lankford cards were produced in 2002 during his last season with the Padres.  He would sit out the 2003 season and return to the Cardinals for the 2004 National League Championship.  However, despite playing in 81 games that season and taking over two-hundred at-bats Ray Lankford did not have a single card made that year.  John Mabry played in roughly the same amount of games, but somehow he made an appearance as a Cardinal in the 2005 Fleer set.

So, it has now been 10 years since my favorite player has appeared in a baseball card set.  This is pretty ridiculous given the fact that he was basically the best player on the Cardinals for the majority of the 1990's and ranks highly in several categories among the Cardinals all-time offensive leaders.   A quick check of Baseball Reference shows that Ray Lankford's similar batter during his career was Kirk Gibson.  Other names on the list include Raul Mondesi, Larry Doby, and Eric Davis. While he his career has one less dramatic World Series home run than Gibson, he is probably not seen by many fans as being in the Hall of Good Category.

I was excited to see this card released with the 2012 Topps Archives set.

2012 Topps Archives Ray Lankford Autograph