Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Lamest Excuse To Trade A Card Is....

I used to get really annoyed when Tony LaRussa would throw players under the bus and then relagate them to the trade block.  Completely trashes the players value and any leverage that the Cardinals might have with the opposing team.  Colby Rasmus comes to mind, but the Cardinals won the World Series last year with Edwin Jackson starting playoff games.  

In dealing with card collectors I often wonder why certain collectors throw their own cards on the bus in a similar fashion.  I hate the Cubs, but I really enjoy having a Ryne Sandberg autograph as part of my collection.  You would like to trade for it?  Great, I want some good cards back.  

The past several months I have worked a few deals with an old card show acquaintance from St. Louis.  The guy is originally from San Jose, loves his Giants, and cannot stand the Dodgers.  He'll email out a list of cards he's looking to move every few weeks and I am never amazed to see the amount of Dodgers cards on the list.  

Good cards with good values dumped out on the market because they are Dodgers, or connected to the Dodgers.  Anyway, here's the damage this week.  

2011 Topps Triple Threads Matt Kemp BISON

2011 Topps Triple Threads Matt Kemp STATS

Monday, August 27, 2012

Two Allen & Ginter Autographs

I picked up a couple of older Allen & Ginter autographs last week.  The Allen & Ginter set has been a staple of Topps the past few years and the autographs are always on card making these a good target for autograph collectors.  I believe that the 2006 Allen & Ginter autographs are considered the benchmark, but there is always a few worth collecting every year.

2008 Topps Allen & Ginter Andre Ethier Autograph 

2009 Topps Allen & Ginter Evan Longoria Autograph

The Ethier was my original target in this trade since it was the only baseball autograph I was missing from the 2008 set.  The best baseball autograph in that set is Matt Kemp, but also includes Prince Fielder, Matt Holliday, and Manny Ramirez.  The rest of the cards are relatively easy to find whether you are buying or trading.  While picking up the Ethier I was offered a shot at the Longoria and went ahead and traded for it too.  Longoria usually has a few on card autographs every year and I did not own this card before the trade.  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

2011 Topps Finest Mike Trout Orange Autograph

I rarely buy into the value of high end rookie cards.  I collected Albert Pujols cards for more than 10 years and I have yet to add a 2001 Topps Finest or SPX auto to my collection.  Why?  Both cards used to easily sell north of a thousand dollars.  Currently they actively trade around 300-500 depending on the condition of the signature.  The 2001 Finest autos have aged poorly.  However, I have always maintained that if I backed into one cheaply I would trade for it or buy it.

I have also seen much more value in making sure that my high end additions to my collections are established players whose value has clearly had time to settle in the hobby.  For example, my two biggest additions to this point this year have been a Koufax and Mays autograph.  Value has clearly been established in both cases.

Which leads me to my card today.  I recently had a friend who owns a shop call me desperate to find a card.  He offered to buy it, which I didn't feel like selling.  So, I asked if he had anything good.  This was my answer:

2011 Topps Finest Mike Trout Orange Autograph

There really wasn't much else to choose from and I didn't want to puzzle together 10 cards to equal one high end card.  So, here I am drinking the Mike Trout Kool-Aid.  I saw him earlier this year at a Tigers game and was really impressed, so hopefully I won't kick myself in a few years.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

2012 Topps Finest Matt Moore Autograph/Jersey

I've been working on putting the finishing touches on my Topps Finest set for the year.  The cards this year remind me a lot of some of the 90s Finest products.  Anyway, I have assembled all of the base cards and started look for a good autograph to add to my set.  The checklist isn't really very full in the way of Cardinals and Rays.  The Cardinals autograph is Matt Adams and I already expressed my feelings last week about the price of Adams cards.

Which leads me to the Rays.  The Rays have one autograph in the set which is Matt Moore.  I do believe that this is the 80th Topps set that Matt Moore has signed for this year.  (Sigh) I picked up the Matt Moore card anyway and will add it to the giant stack of Matt Moore autographs I have picked up this year.

2012 Topps Finest Matt Moore Autograph/Jersey

Something to ponder.  After the 2009 season I was very happy to see Major League Baseball reduce the number of card producers down to one team.  The number of products released at the height of the Fleer/Donruss/Topps/Upper Deck haydays was ridiculous.  However, I feel that Topps is getting really lazy with some of the diversity within their sets.  Meaning this.  Take a few minutes to visit Ebay or Check Out My Cards, or your local card shop.  Pick a team.  Any team.  Who has signed for that team for Topps this year?  Guaranteed it is the same three or four players in almost every set.  Every once in awhile it's cool to get an autograph of a player who hasn't signed much in the past.  Just a thought.  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

2010 Topps Triple Threads Miguel Cabrera Triple Jersey MLB

One of my trips to the ballpark this summer was to Comerica Park in Detroit.  I was excited about the chance to give Albert Pujols a piece of my mind, see Mike Trout hit and play the field, and check out Prince Fielder in the English D.  However, I one of the best parts of the game was getting to watch Miguel Cabrera hit.  Cabrera often flies a little bit under the radar as one of the games best hitters.  He's almost always in the conversation, but people are quick to pick someone else.  Cabrera always hits 30 home runs, drives in 100 runs, and hits .300.  Plus, he always does it in a pitcher's park.

I have been dabbling in Cabrera cards during this baseball season and picked up another cool Cabrera Triple Threads cards last week.  This card is from the 2010 Triple Threads set and is numbered out of 18.  The three relic pieces are all white jersey.  While the MLB cards are some of the easiest to find in the Triple Threads set, I still like the overall look of the cards and will enjoy owning this card.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Three New Cardinals

 I picked up three new Cardinals cards last week and haven't had a chance to post them yet, so lets get down to business.

2012 Bowman Platinum Matt Adams

I've tried not to go too hard after Matt Adams cards this year.  First, I think they are overvalued.  His first certified autograph card issued in the Bowman set sold for weeks after the products debut or around $20.  Meanwhile, pitching prospect Carlos Martinez sold for roughly the same amount for an on-card autograph in the same set.  Martinez is much more highly regarded in terms of being a prospect on the field.  Adams's cards have still stayed pretty high even though he is blocked at first base by Allen Craig and is probably better suited playing DH in the American League.  The Bowman Platinum autograph of Adams is probably his nicest one of the year.  

I also picked up this Ozzie Smith dual jersey card.  I have a couple other jersey pieces from this set which has lots of good Hall of Famers.  This Ozzie card is numbered to just 126 and features two gray pieces.  I would be cool if the jersey pieces were powder blue, but it's still an Ozzie.  I will give kudos to Upper Deck for having a 90s picture of Ozzie on the card to match the 90s jersey pieces.  

Last card for tonight.  I picked up my third cool Ray Lankford card of the week.  This card is a multiple for me, but at $1 I cannot pass.  This is a Players Private Issue card from 1996 Topps Gallery.  This is a parallel set that ran in every Gallery set issued by Topps.  The 1996 version was the easiest to come across at 1000 print runs of each card.  Love the 90s.  By the late 90s, Topps had trimmed that number down to 150.  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

1999 Fleer Brilliants Gold Ray Lankford

It has been a great week for the Ray Lankford collection.  After collecting Lankford cards for more than a dozen years, it is rare when you see a new card that you need to add.  I have my favorites and will still get excited when I see a cool Lankford card that I already own, but I am ecstatic when I fill holes in my collection.  This week I have already added a 1998 Fleer EX-2001 Essential Credentials Now card numbered out of 49.  I cannot remember the time I added two new Lankford cards in a week.  It's probably been four or five years.  Anyway, here is the new addition:

1999 Fleer Brilliants Gold Ray Lankford /99
The scratches are on the case

This set was only a one year run for Fleer, but it is actually one of my favorite sets from the late 90s.  Fleer Brilliants had no autographs or game used cards, but was simply constructed on a few inserts and variations on the base cards.  There were three primary variations in the set: Brilliant Blues, Brilliant Golds, and 24 Karat Gold.  I am still missing the 24 Karat Gold version, but was happy to add this short-printed card to my collection.  Boxes of the Fleer Brilliants product can be found really cheap if you are looking for a fun and inexpensive box to bust.  

The Worst Card of 2012

I put together several sets during the course of a year.  Since I started blogging this year, I had been writing up a nice little snippet about each set giving some pluses and negatives.  A few weeks back Topps released it's 2012 version of their Allen & Ginter product.  Immediately I began to assemble the set, but was taken back by a name on the list: Don Denkinger.

2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Don Denkinger

For those who are not familiar with the legend of Don Denkinger I will gladly catch you up.  During the 1985 World Series, Denkinger was a part of the umpiring crew calling the I-70 series between the Cardinals and Royals.  The Cardinals jumped out to a 3-2 series led and were winning the sixth game heading into the ninth inning.  The first batter of the inning was Jorge Orta.  He hit a slow roller to first base where it was fielded by Jack Clark and flipped to Todd Worrell covering at first base.  Denkinger incorrectly called Orta safe.  Orta eventually came around to score to tie the game and later the Royals would win the game.  

The next night the Cardinals had to deal with Denkinger as the home plate umpire.  Hard to believe, but he tossed Juaquin Andujar and Whitey Herzog early in the game and the Cardinals lost the series.  Now, I am aware that there have been plenty of bad calls in recent baseball history.  However, none of them cost a player or team as much as Denkinger cost the Cardinals that season.  It's pretty hard to believe that an umpire who caused that much harm would be celebrated with a baseball card.  Way to lay an egg Topps.  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

1998 Skybox EX-2001 Ray Lankford Essential Credentials Now

My super collection of Ray Lankford took a big step forward this week with the addition of a 1998 Skybox EX-2001 Ray Lankford Essential Credentials Now.  There are very few Ray Lankford printing plates floating around in the world, so low print parallel cards are the next best thing in my world.  In fact, if Beckett would care to price accurately, they would find that parallel sets such as the Essential Credentials, Circa Rave, and Upper Deck Exclusives cards often draw premium prices.  Even on minor stars such as Ray Lankford.  

1998 Skybox EX-2001 Essential Credentials Now Ray Lankford 22/49

The Essential Credentials cards were featured in all the releases of the Skybox EX sets starting in 1996 and running all the way through 2003.  The print run for each card Essential Credential varies, but they are tough finds and have an attached premium on them after ten plus years on the market.  Every set also features a Now and Future version of the cards.  The 1998 set is my personal favorite.  The cards are everything to love about a set from the 90s.  

I found this card on Ebay about a week ago and probably paid a little bit more than I would have liked to, but I haven't even seen one of these cards in three or four years.  It seemed like a good idea to put one into the collection while one was available and floating around.  It adds to my two other Essential Credential cards of Lankford.  

1998 Skybox EX-2001 Essential Credentials Future Ray Lankford 50/52 

1999 Skybox EX-Century Essential Credentials 38/75

Friday, August 10, 2012

2012 Bowman Platinum Carlos Martinez Jersey/Auto

I've continued my work on assembling a 2012 Bowman Platinum set the past two weeks and my work is rapidly approaching it's conclusion.  I will post the base set at some point this weekend and give a little feedback to the good people over at Bowman.  In the meantime, I added my second autographed jersey card from the set this week.

2012 Bowman Platinum Carlos Martinez Jersey/Autograph 

This Carlos Martinez autograph is probably the best Cardinals autograph from the Bowman Platinum set.  There is an Oscar Tavares autograph, but it is a dual autograph with Charlie Tilson.  Tilson also has a solo autograph in the set.  However, I am not sure how great of a prospect Tilson truly will be and I think his autograph waters down the dual autograph card.  Despite having a short stint on the D.L. for a shoulder, Martinez is still pitching well and is considered a high end prospect.  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

2010 Topps Johnny Mize Bat Card

2010 Topps Peak Performers Johnny Mize Bat Card

I traded for this card last week and was happy to see it arrive in my mailbox this afternoon.  Mize is more noted for his years as a New York Giant, but did have a brief stint early in his career as a Cardinal.  In fact, Mize finished second in the MVP voting twice as a Cardinal during the 1939 and 1940 seasons.  Most importantly, he held the Cardinals single-season home run record from 1940 until 1998.  

The card itself from a Topps base set which is a little bit of a strike against, but I tend to think the vintage players from these sets tend to dry up quicker than the modern players.  For example, a quick search of Ebay shows there are no available copies of this card available at the moment and he same is true of COMC.  Rick Ankiel, Albert Pujols, and other modern Cardinals players in the same relics set have multiple copies available on both sites.  This is my first Mize relic card and I am hoping to add a few more.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

2012 Bowman Platinum Matt Moore Autograph/Jersey

I started to put together my 2012 Bowman Platinum set.  I am a little bit behind on a few of my sets for the year, but I had to put together the Platinum set.  In my opinion, this annual set has become the nicest prospect set that the Topps company has put out each of the past few years.  Sadly, I think it has based the Bowman base set by in many ways.  One of the biggest pluses for this set is the autographs.  I particularly liked the autos from last years set which were on a clean looking card with an on card autograph.

This years autographs are a little bit different, but they still have their pluses.  Mainly, I like that they added the jersey and patch pieces to the cards.  It's a nice wrinkle to the set and design.  So, here's my first autograph in my set building process for 2012 Bowman Platinum.

2012 Bowman Platinum Matt Moore Autograph/Jersey

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

2004 Upper Deck USA Baseball Matt Morris Autograph

This card was really cheap, but is a must have for anyone who watched the Cardinals during the past twenty years.  Matt Morris might have been the only decent pitcher on most of the late 90s teams and was a good solid starting pitcher for most of the early 2000s.  His run with the Cardinals did include one spectacular season in 2001 where he won 22 games and finished third in the Cy Young voting.  His career ended with a few years in San Francisco and a few starts with the Pirates.

2004 Upper Deck USA Baseball Matt Morris Autograph

Sunday, August 5, 2012

2011 Bowman Platinum Starlin Castro Jersey/Autograph

I have been expecting Starlin Castro's card value to come down.  Any day now.  Seriously.  It's not just because he is a Cub and I have a strong dislike for the team.  There is something about him that I just do not like watching.  For some reason I find several collector's who agree with me and have a Starlin Castro autograph of some variety they are willing to part with at a low cost.  I always take them up on the trade because as sure as I can find a Starlin Castro autograph, I can find someone who will pay full value in cash or trade for the card.

2011 Bowman Platinum Starlin Castro Jersey/Autograph

Perplexed, I have decided that for once I will hold on to this Starlin Castro autograph.  This is at least the fourth or fifth one that I have owned over the past two years.  Am I missing something that with him that I should be impressed by on the field?  I decided to consult my good friend

A quick glance at his year to year stats show that his power production has risen and he might have also finally mastered the concept of throwing the ball to the first baseman and not some dude sitting behind the dugout.  However, there are some serious alarm bells there too.  Examples, 16 walks in 400 plus plate appearances, an OBP of .305, and a stolen base percent hovering in the 60s.  His comparables, at 21, are still favorable.  There are four Hall of Famers on the list including Rogers Hornsby.  However, if one removes the age restrictions his similar hitters include Mike Aviles, Mike Caruso, and Cliff Pennington.  Yikes.

The gap between Cliff Pennington and Rogers Hornsby is pretty steep and if Castro turns out to be ordinary many card collectors will be out some nice change or cards they traded for Castro.  I am going to join everyone else in owning a Castro card.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

2005 Topps Fan Favorites Ron Gant

I really enjoy collecting the Cardinals and am especially fond of the 1990's Cardinals.  The team didn't win much during that decade, but I really enjoyed watching the teams play and attended a ton of games.  It was also a point in my life where I really took off with my baseball card collection.  Since that time I have slowly tried to amass as many Cardinals autographs as possible.

Sometimes the process of acquire Cardinals autographs is painful.  For example, Tino Martinez played for the Cardinals.  Tino Martinez also really wanted to play for the Yankees while he was playing for the Cardinals, couldn't hit home runs without the right field fence in Yankee Stadium, and excelled at rolling into double plays.  Now, a goal is a goal.  He wore the birds on the bat, so I need an autograph.  Luckily, I found one that was damaged and cost me under $5.  Job well done.

2004 Upper Deck USA Baseball Tino Martinez Autograph 

Which brings us to a card that I picked up this week on the cheap.  It's a Ron Gant.  In 1995, Ron had a really good season with the Reds and lead them to a playoff appearance.  It was a nice story coming off a motorcycle accident.  Gant signed with the Cardinals that off season and hit 30 home runs in his first season while missing about thirty games due to injury.  He helped the 1996 Cardinals get to within one game of the World Series.  Nice start.  In 2007, Gant hit .229 with 17 homers and 162 strikeouts.  In 2008, he hit .240 and managed 26 bombs.

Fortunately, in between the 1998 and 1999 seasons the Cardinals traded Gant to the Phillies for Rickey Bottalico and Garrett Stephenson.  I still needed a Ron Gant autograph.  Check.

2005 Topps Fan Favorites Ron Gant Autograph

Friday, August 3, 2012

Facebook Trade

It's been a busy July and my trade volume has been down this month due to vacations, trips, and the beginning of the school year.  I still had time to complete a trade two weeks ago with Jeremy, a collector from Arkansas, who runs his own Facebook Trade Group.  His group is one of the better and trusted groups around on the internet.  If you are looking for a good place to trade you cannot go wrong there.

I posted a few Nolan Ryan cards last month and had a few other nice Ryan pieces I have been sitting on for a trade.  Jeremy is a big Nolan Ryan collector and had plenty of cards to offer up for trade.  I ended up getting five nice cards in return for my lot of Ryan memorabilia cards.

First up, is a 2004 Flair Albert Pujols patch card.  This is a two color patch featuring a large piece of yellow and a small strip of blue.  The yellow is clearly part of the bat from the front of the Cardinals uniform.  While Pujols is not a Cardinal anymore, it is still a great addition to my Cardinals collection and I was really happy to get the card.

2004 Flair Hot Numbers Albert Pujols Patch

I also received a sweet 2009 Topps Sterling Ernie Banks 5 piece relic in the trade.  I have traded for several other Topps Sterling cards over the past few months.  The cards always look great and they are a fantastic way to get an affordable premium relic card of a Hall of Fame player.  This card is serial numbered to 25 and has two pieces of pin striped jersey, one white piece of jersey, and two pieces of bat.  

2009 Topps Sterling Ernie Banks 5 Piece Relic 

The other three cards were also very nice.  I received a Topps Tribute Ozzie Smith bat card, a Triple Threads Evan Longoria Triple Bat Card, and a Topps Heritage Carlos Beltran bat card.  

2002 Topps Tribute Ozzie Smith Bat Card

2010 Topps Triple Threads Evan Longoria Triple Bat Card

2011 Topps Heritage Carlos Beltran Bat Card

July Baseball Card Contest Winner

The winner for my July baseball card contest is Steven Drennen from Brooklyn, New York.  He correctly identified all ten cards from the pictures.  Congratulations and enjoy your card!