Saturday, March 30, 2013

2013 Topps Heritage Clubhouse Collection Lance Lynn Jersey/Autograph

I am a little bit behind on my work to finish up my Topps Heritage set for the year, but with Gypsy Queen being released this week, I decided to kick my work into high gear.  The Cardinals actually have a couple of really tough cards this year in the Heritage set which has required a little bit of extra effort in tracking down and trading for cards.  The best Cardinals card in the set is the dual David Freese/Stan Musial autograph, I would imagine this would be his last on card autograph, which is difficult to find and very expensive to actually acquire.  Maybe someday.  In the meantime, I have managed to add a nice autographed jersey card of Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn.

2013 Topps Heritage Clubhouse Collection Lance Lynn Jersey/Autograph

As you can see from the scan Topps only made a grand total of 25 of this card which made it a tough find.  There have been a couple floating around on Ebay and one or two on different trade sites.  The Clubhouse Collection jersey/autographs tend to dry out quickly, so I knew that if I didn't add this card soon I would probably have little chance of picking it up later.  In fact, there are less than 20 of these cards on Ebay currently, from all the different Heritage runs, and only two of them are under $100.  Both of them are the David Freese autograph which I am also hoping to add.  Considering the price of the other Heritage Clubhouse Collection Jersey/Autograph this card was a bit of bargain for me.  Now, I just need to track down one of those Freese/Musial dual autographs...

Friday, March 29, 2013

2004 Donruss Leather & Lumber Ozzie Smith Autograph

I was able to quick flip around a card from last week that I took in a trade for a card that I really wanted for my personal collection.  My Bernie Williams autograph found a good new home on one of the good Facebook trade pages.  In return, I added my fourth Cardinals autograph from the 2004 Donruss Leather & Lumber set with this great looking autograph of Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith.  

2004 Donruss Leather & Lumber Ozzie Smith Autograph

I already owned the Stan Musial, Red Schoendienst, and Lou Brock.  The new Ozzie autograph leaves me a Bob Gibson autograph away from completing the entire Cardinals team set of autographs from the Leather & Lumber set.  I have a couple of other sets where I have completed the entire run of Cardinals autographs, but there are always a few non-Hall of Famers in the set.  In addition to the Ozzie Smith autograph I was also able to land an autograph of Cardinals top pitching prospect Carlos Martinez.  

2012 Bowman Chrome Carlos Martinez Autograph

I have added a few other Martinez cards over the past year, but I am always in the market for autographed cards of Cardinals prospects.  Martinez is a hard thrower and had an off year in AA last year, but was still ranked 39th on Keith Law's prospect list on ESPN right in front of Red Sox phenom Jackie Bradley Jr. and right behind last year's Future's Game MVP Nick Castellanos.  Overall, two nice new Cardinals autographs for my collection.  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I Don't Trust Izzy

Two days ago I made a post about new Brewers pitcher Kyle Lohse and his lack of relic or autographs cards.  Bascially Kyle Lohse does not have anything really cool out on the market other than base cards and parallels.  Don't get me wrong, lots of people like collecting parallels and have a blast finding all of the different variations.  If that's your cup of tea I am certainly not knocking your collection.  I collect all the parallels of Ray Lankford and will admit that it is a challenge.  So out of the discussion around Kyle Lohse sprang up the question of whether or not I count in person autographs in my collection towards my goal of receiving an autograph of every Cardinals player I have seen in person.  My answer is yes, but I also will put an asterisk next to that answer.

2002 Fleer Tradition Jason Isringhausen 

One of the names that came up in the conversation was former Cardinals pitcher Jason Isringhausen.  Izzy joined the Cardinals for the 2002 season and was a mainstay as the Cardinals closer for several years.  Isringhausen is a local guy and was well received in St. Louis and had an autograph appearance at a mall in St. Louis shortly after he signed with the team.  I went and stood in line and walked away with a sweet signature from the relief pitcher on a Fleer card.  I guess Topps had not had a chance to airbrush him into a Cardinals uniform yet.   Izzy is slightly different than Lohse since he has a few jersey cards from All-Star game appearances, but for years I was under the impression that he had no certified autographs.

Then one day I wandered into the fabulous South Town Sluggers in South St. Louis County.  One of the best card shops out there if you have time and patience.  You never know what you will find.  One Saturday I am looking through the shop and I take a look at the box of Cardinals autographs.  And I found this:

1995 Old Judge Signature Series Jason Isringhausen Autograph 

I was a little confused at first, but the shop owner explained to me that the card came from a minor league set that was completely overproduced.  The set had some decent names including Derek Lowe, Jeff Cirillo, and Brian Giles.  I was shocked to learn of the Izzy certified autograph and immediately bought the card.  I paid $3.  After returning home I ended up finding dozens of copies of this card on various sites.  I just didn't look hard enough.  Lesson learned.


2012 USA Baseball Trea Turner Dual Jersey/Autograph

I picked up my second Trea Turner autograph during the past week in a trade on my Facebook page.  In case you missed my other Turner autograph, he is a speedy infielder on the NC State baseball team.  As a freshman All-American, he was invited to spend last summer playing for the college All-Star version of the USA Baseball team which tours around to various minor league parks and plays against different international teams.  Turner was then also included in the Panani set of USA Baseball cards last year.

2012 Panini USA Baseball Trea Turner Dual Jersey/Autograph 

If you spent much time reading my blog you probably know that I am not a huge fan of the unlicensed cards and therefore do not spend much time, money, or effort picking up cards from Panini or Upper Deck.  However, the USA Baseball cards are a fully licensed product and I am really impressed by the quality of work Panini has done on this set.  Maybe they can change my mind...a little bit.  To add to my Trea Turner card, I also picked up another card of a local North Carolina product in the way of Rays pitcher Chris Archer.  

2012 Panini Signature Series Chris Archer Autograph

You will notice that this card is also a Panini product, but it is unlicensed and does not use the team name, Rays, or use the team logo anywhere on the card.  I still rather enjoy this card though for a few different reasons.  First, the giant Rated Rookie patch up in the corner reminded of the Donruss cards of my childhood.  Always loved seeing that little logo on the bottoms of the cards even if the guy turned out to be a total scrub.  I also really liked the design of the card which Panini has also used on their college patches the past several years.  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

2000 UD Hologrfx A Piece of the World Series Brian Jordan Base/Autograph

I am a fan of the 90s Cardinals and of 90s baseball cards.  One of my true joys in life is finding an awesome Cardinals card from the 90s.  It's much harder than it sounds.  While the Cardinals are typically a good team with star players they were actually mediocre, at best, for much of the decade.  The start of the decade started with a transition over from the Whitey Herzog era of speed, defense, and pitching to the Joe Torre era of young players, washed up pitchers, and a cheap owner.  The team switched ownership in the middle of the decade and brought in Tony LaRussa.  In 1996, the team came within one game of the World Series before the Braves ran Glavine, Smoltz, and Maddux out for the last three games of the NLCS and won.  The rest of the decade centered around Mark McGwire.  While those teams also featured Gary Gaetti, Fernando Tatis, Edgar Renteria, Ray Lankford, Brian Jordan, and Ron Gant their pitching staff was anchored by Kent Merker.  

One of my favorite Cardinals players from that era was outfielder Brian Jordan.  Jordan came up with the Cardinals in the early 90s after spending a few years juggling minor league baseball and playing safety for the Atlanta Falcons.  The Cardinals eventually convinced Jordan to quit football and he became a mainstay in the Cardinals outfield along with Ray Lankford and Bernard Gilkey.  Later the Cardinals would trade Gilkey to the Mets and sign Ron Gant.  Jordan would be one of the most productive Cardinals of the mid 90s regularly hitting for power and average while providing above average base running and great defense.  In 1995 and 1998 he finished in the Top 10 in the National League in Wins Above Replacement.  My favorite moment of Jordan came during the 1996 National League Division Series when he hit a game clinching home run off of Trevor Hoffman.  

Jordan would eventually leave the Cardinals to sign with the Braves in 1999 and helped the team to a World Series appearance against the Yankees, but they lost to the defending World Champs.  That leads me to my card for the day.  During the summer of 2000 Upper Deck released the new product Hologrfx.  The cards were probably a step above retail products like MVP and Victory, but not very far.  The boxes tended to be in the $50-$60 range and the autograph odds were steep.  Most peculiar about the autograph list was the inclusion of a set commemorating the 1999 World Series.  The card set featured players on the Braves and Yankees with a series used base card for each player and an autographed version.  I added a base card of Brian Jordan to my collection a few months ago.  

2000 UD Hologrfx A Piece of the World Series Brian Jordan Base Card

A Piece of the World Series cards are not easy to come across and some of the cards are nearly impossible to find.  Especially the Yankees.  The autographed versions of the base cards are even harder to find.  One or two tend to come up each year, but they tend to stay away once the auction closes or the card is traded.  Currently, there are few base cards up on Ebay and COMC, but none of the autographed versions are listed or have been completed recently.  So, as a Brian Jordan fan and collector I was extremely happy to be able to add this card to my collection this week:  

2000 UD Hologrfx A Piece of the World Series Brian Jordan Base/Autograph 

I am aware that there are printing plates and limited print run parallels and plenty of other cards that are rarer than this card, but I would argue that this is probably the best Brian Jordan card that is out on the market.  I have spent the past three or four years looking for this card and this copy is the only one I have ever seen.  If you have a favorite player who played on the 1999 Braves or Yankees this card set is one of the most challenging finds out there.  

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Curious Case of Kyle Lohse

Collectors love when new players join their favorite teams and are often excited about jumping out and finding some cards of their team's newest player.  Yesterday, I got hit up by a Brewers fan five minutes about the news broke that Kyle Lohse had signed a three contract with the team asking for the low down on collecting Lohse cards.  What autographs are out there?  Relics cards?  Key rookie cards?  The usual set of questions.  Lohse has been on the Cardinals for the past five seasons and I usually do not hesitate in picking up something for every Cardinals player.  Except Kyle Lohse.

Nothing against Kyle Lohse, but I literally have no cool Kyle Lohse cards.  In fact, you do not own any either.  I promise you there is no need to look unless you own a printing plate of his Topps card.  Kyle Lohse is the most uninteresting man to collect.  Kyle Lohse has zero autographs.  Kyle Lohse has zero relic cards.  He does have four or five rookie cards from 2001 sets, but all of them can be found for less than $5.  He usually makes an appearance in the Topps base set every year, so I figure there is at least a handful of printing plates floating around.  However, looking around at completed items most appear to fall south of $20.

So, how rare is it that a player can hang out in the Majors for ten years and not appear on a single relic or autograph card?  I did a little checking on Baseball Reference yesterday and actually found that there are zero starters in the National League last year that did not have a relic or jersey card.  If that is expanded out to position players you can add names to that list, but not many.  For example, just looking at the Cardinals players from last year only Matt Carpenter and Tony Cruz fit in the same category as Lohse of not having a relic or autograph.  However, both of those players are backups and have had limited time on the team.

There are others scattered about that I am not going to track down, but in today's age of baseball cards Kyle Lohse is a rarity.  One interesting card of note for Lohse collectors and Brewers fans trying to pick up a Lohse card or two for their collections is his appearance in the 2009 Topps Ticket To Stardom set.  The set was based on ticket stubs and the tank is surprisingly dry on these cards on Ebay and COMC.  If a ticket stub is a relic then this is your best hope.

2009 Topps Ticket To Stardom Kyle Lohse Ticket Stub

I will add that I actually keep my eyes out for copies of this card and I do not think one has been posted on Ebay or COMC for at least a year.  There are only 110 copies of the card too, which makes me think that most of these cards are in collections and are probably the de facto Lohse relic for many Cardinals fans who have attempted to assemble a collection of his cards.  I am not sure what Beckett lists this card for in their pricing guide, but I bet if you put one up for auction you could toss the price guide out the window.

1999 Topps Stadium Club Kerry Wood Autograph

A little 90s goodness for your Tuesday morning.  I love finding cards from the late 90s and picked this card up last week.  The Stadium Club brand ran from the early 90s through the early 2000s with a brief comeback a few years ago.  The brand was initially billed as a premium card set and maintained it's focus on quality and great photography throughout its decade long run.  One of the features added to the set in the late 90s was the inclusion of autographs in the set.  The Co-Signers card were the most popular autographs in the set, but there were lots of good single signature cards in those Stadium Club sets too including this one of Cubs hurler Kerry Wood.

1999 Topps Stadium Club Kerry Wood Autograph

The most challenging aspect of hunting down the Stadium Club autographs is condition.  The autographed cards have the same high gloss finish that the base Stadium Club cards had making the autographs subject to smears, smudges, and fading.  Fading seems to be the most common problem, but they aren't as bad as the 2007 Upper Deck Sweet Spot set.  I was happy to see this Kerry Wood autograph and was able to swap out a few duplicate late 90s autographs for this card.  Kerry Wood was a good closer for the Cubs for several years and a great starting pitcher for a few years before injuries sent him to the bullpen.  He has several nice on-card autographs from early in his career, but his later autographs tend to be stickers. 

2001 Donruss Class of 2001 Bud Smith Jersey

I also picked up a cool Bud Smith jersey card in this trade.  I enjoy picking up Bud Smith cards which are really, really cheap.  If you look up his career numbers they are rather unimpressive pitching part of two seasons with a 7-8 record and an ERA of almost 5.  Bud Smith was also part of the trade that landed the Cardinals Scott Rolen from the Phillies and also did this:


Sunday, March 24, 2013

2012 Topps Tier One Kyle Seager Autograph

I am going with a Tar Heel today for my blog post.  Kyle Seager is currently the Mariners third baseman and was drafted from the University of North Carolina in the summer of 2009.  During his time at UNC, Seager was an elite hitter, but was always viewed as the second best hitter on his college team featuring Mariners second baseman Dustin Ackley.  Ackely was drafted in the first round by the Mariners, but also managed to also draft Seager during the third round.  Seager first arrived in the majors for a cup of coffee at the end of the 2011 season when he hit a pedestrian .258/.312/.379 with 3 home runs in 200 plate appearances.  So why would I pick up a Kyle Seager card?

2012 Topps Tier One Kyle Seager Autograph

Seager returned to the Mariners as their third baseman for the 2012 season.  Many people would argue that over the last season, Seager passed his former Tar Heel teammate as the best young player on the Mariners.  Seager's overall line for the season ended at .259/.316/.423 with 20 Homers and 86 RBIs.  More impressive is Seager's road split away from pitcher friendly Safeco Park where his line was .293/.324/.511 with 15 Homers and 60 RBIs.  I ended up with Seager on my fantasy baseball team last season and he really helped me out and I became a bit of a fan.  Hard to say about a Tar Heel.  Anyway, I've had my eyes open for a Seager autograph for awhile and was happy to finally add one to my collection.  

The Rookie Card Dilemma

I am not a big fan of high end prospects.  I've not been burned very often on high-end prospects mainly because I just simply will not cross that bridge.  Rather than buy the latest and greatest rookie sensation at some obscene price, I will take my time and end up with the same card a few years later at a much better price.  I remember during my junior year of college there was a huge rush over J.D. Drew cards.  People couldn't decide whether he was going to be Mickey Mantle or Stan Musial.  Everyone needed a J.D. Drew rookie card.  Drew got called up at the end of the 1998 season and hit .417 with 5 home runs in 41 at-bats.  Which of course started some insanity with his cards.

1999 SPX J.D. Drew Autograph

My favorite J.D. Drew rookie card was his 1999 SPX card which was autographed.  There was a really high end card shop a few minutes from my parents house that sold these for triple digits for a year and could not keep them in stock.  I did not buy one.  Instead, I picked up a Fleer Update set and a few nice Pacific cards.  However, I recently did manage to pick up this card and I paid a little more than $5 with shipping.  J.D. had a nice career, but nothing in the neighborhood of the Mick or Stan the Man.  

2001 Fleer Premium Albert Pujols

Even players with Hall of Fame careers have trouble living up to the hype of their rookie card prices.  During the summer of 2001, I made a dash to pick up as many Pujols rookie cards as I could get my hands on.  The base cards from products like Upper Deck, Topps, and others were not difficult.  However, higher end products with short printed, serial numbered rookie cards were quite difficult.  One of those Pujols rookies that I actually pulled from the pack was the 2001 Fleer Premium rookie, which actually came as a redemption for an unnamed rookie.  I got my Pujols card and saw the value of the card rise into the triple digits during the first few years of his career.  Of course, Pujols has diminished as a player on the field and the value of this card has slid south of $50.  Honestly, if I did not own one I would still not buy one for another year or two.  Albert still has a little bit more sliding to do over the next few years.  

My point?  Between the success of the Cardinals minor league system and the Rays minor league system I find myself at a point where many of the cards for players on the two teams are steep beyond their value.  Certainly that statement does not apply to established players like Adam Wainwright, Evan Longoria, Matt Holliday, or others that have been in the majors several years.  No, I am talking about players like Wil Myers, Oscar Taveras, Hak Ju Lee, Trevor Rosenthal, and others.  I picked up a Bowman Taveras autograph last summer for under $50.  The card now regularly sells for $110-$120.  That's a nice profit, but I can almost guarantee that at some point the card will come back down from that perch.  So, I've decided to take a little bit of a stand with this years group of rookie cards. 

2011 In The Game Heroes and Prosepcts Wil Myers

I recently saw the roster for the Durham Bulls and noticed that there were a few Top 100 prospects on the list of players.  Chris Archer, Wil Myers, and Hak Ju Lee should make this summer fun in the Bull City, but might make assembling a collection of Bulls cards a bit of a challenge.  However, rather then paying $100 for a copy of a Myers Bowman rookie, I was able to snag this In The Game autograph for around $25-$30 worth of cards in trade.  Archer has a few steep autographs, but also has several that are affordable and can be found for less than $10.  So, I am going to assemble my collection of Durham Bulls players this summer and pick up my new Cardinals cards too, but I am not going to over stretch on cards that I will be able to pick up at a fraction of the cost in a few years.  

Saturday, March 23, 2013

2010 Topps Triple Threads Ben Zobrist All-Star Game Patch

I spend a lot of my collecting time looking for players I have spent time watching during their time on the Durham Bulls.  Over the past decade the Bulls have had a fair share of successful major league players on their roster which has made my collecting a little bit easier.  I have a nice collection of David Price, Longoria, Hellickson, Desmond Jennings, and many others.  I even saw the Bulls posted their roster for the start of the 2013 season and have started working on picking up a few of the new names on the roster.

Sometimes a few of the former Bulls players slip through the collecting cracks and I miss out on some good cards.  It's not a bad problem to have to keep track of a highly successful minor league system that graduates many Major League Players up to the bigs.  Somedays it just gets to be a little much.  One such player is Rays super utility man Ben Zobrist.  I enjoy watching Zobrist and appreciate the contributions he makes to the Rays, but he does not have a ton of cards and most aren't worth going out of the way to collect.  There are exceptions.  

2010 Topps Triple Threads Ben Zobrist All-Star Game Patch

Zobrist rarely appears in the high end Topps products, but they do manage to throw him into the Triple Threads set every couple of years.  Zobrist usually gets an autograph and the card usually plays on his nickname of "Zorilla".  Topps also threw Zobrist into the Topps Marquee set two years ago with some nice quad relic cards.  However, I am really happy with my newest Zobrist card.  While it is not autographed, it features some fabulous patch pieces with an added bonus of being from the All-Star Game in my hometown of St. Louis.  


Friday, March 22, 2013

1998 Topps Tek David Justice

During my "vacation" at the beginning of the month I managed to add a few more of the Topps Tek cards I was still trying to track down to finish off my set.  As of last week I was down to a David Justice and a Jason Kendall.  Two cards from a set with no short prints does not sound too bad at all, but it is proving to be most challenging.  After looking for the past month and a half for the two cards, one of them finally appeared in an Ebay auction.

1998 Topps Tek David Justice

That one auction was the first time I had seen this card during that time on Ebay, COMC, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere else on the internet where cards are available for sale or trade.  I called several card shops around Raleigh, Charlotte, St. Louis, and other destinations too.  Nothing.  Basically, when I saw the card post I knew that if I did not win the auction I might not see another copy of this card for a long time.  I ended up winning the auction, but also paid almost $10 shipped for a base card of David Justice.  Pretty steep.

Finding this card has narrowed my list of 1998 Topps Tek cards needed down to just Jason Kendall.  Similar to the David Justice card, there are no 1998 Topps Tek Jason Kendall cards anywhere.  In fact, for a week or two I was wondering if the card even existed.   However, there is a picture of one, ONE, on Google image search.  While there are no short printed cards in this set, there are some Jason Kendall super collectors somewhere with a giant stash of these cards.  I just need one.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

2012 Panini USA Baseball National Team Jerseys Trea Turner Autograph

The NCAA basketball tourney is beginning this afternoon, but I am taking a little break to post my latest baseball card.  I am actually going to stick with the college sports theme of the day and post an autograph of a baseball player from my alma mater, and NCAA basketball participant, the North Carolina State Wolfpack.  While the Wolfpack have a nice history on the basketball court, they are trying to make a name for themselves on the diamond too.  Last year the team advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals where they battled SEC powerhouse Florida.  This year, they are ranked in the Top 20 and have some great talent that is worthy of your attention.

2012 Panini USA Baseball National Team Jerseys Trea Turner Autograph

One of my favorite players on the Pack baseball team during the past two seasons has been infielder Trea Turner.  Turner's main asset is his wheels.  In many ways he seems like the kind of player that would have fit in great on some of the Cardinals teams that I grew up watching in the mid 80s.  In fact, he led the ACC in steals last season with 57, just missing the conference record of 63 set by former UNC (and Orioles) second baseman Brian Roberts.  While he was stealing bases he also managed to hit .336 and was named to the Freshman All-American team by Baseball America.   

Now, I have actually been on the lookout for a Trea Turner autographed card to add to my collection since last fall.  At first there were a few autographs and they always ended quickly on Ebay, or they would be traded for something ridiculous in trade groups.  Look up completed listings on Ebay and you will see that they started out around ten dollars in January, then trickled into the mid teens, and last month around $20-$30.  This month the cards are crazy.  One had an asking price of $499 and it sold.  Hmm.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Turner is hitting .464 this season, or the fact that he hasn't been caught stealing yet either.  Anyway, if you see one at a reasonable price, this might be a good player to spend a little money on for the future.  

Monday, March 18, 2013

2013 Topps Cut To The Chase Set

I have finished up another one of my projects from the 2013 Topps Series 1 set during the past two weeks and have not had a chance to share some of my cards in this space.  I had originally mentioned the sweet looking die cut cards in my initial glance at the 2013 Topps set and then later again shared a Ken Griffey Jr. card that I picked up from the set.  It took a few more weeks, but I have now finished the whole insert set.

2013 Topps Cut To The Chase Stan Musial 

As mentioned before, the cards remind me a lot of some of the insert cards that Pacific put out in the late 90s which I loved to collect.  While these die-cut cards are not nearly as difficult to track down, and are seeded at a much higher rate, they are clearly among the more difficult cards from the 2013 Topps set to find cheaply.  The Ebay auctions for the Cut To The Chase cards tend to be very competitive and they do well in the trade market too.  The majority of the set has excellent player selection with my two personal favorite cards being the Stan Musial and Lance Berkman cards.  There are a few head scratchers.... 

2013 Topps Cut To The Chase Lance Berkman

I am slightly puzzled why Berkman makes so many appearances in the 2013 Topps set when he was injured and unproductive for most of 2012.  Not that I am complaining about Berkman cards, but the Cut To The Chase set does not appear on the literature for the second series of Topps meaning that this set is stopping at one set of 23 cards.  Perhaps Topps could have put in a Matt Holliday or Yadier Molina if they were looking for a modern Cardinals player to add to the set.  

2013 Topps Cut To The Chase Nelson Cruz 

The most puzzling card in the set is the Nelson Cruz card.  By my account he was probably the fourth or fifth best player on the Rangers last year and here is sits with a cool insert card.  Now, Topps did put a Josh Hamilton card in this set, but still Nelson Cruz?  Adrian Beltre hit way more than Nelson Cruz, is not afraid of walls, and was one of the top fielding third baseman in the league.  I guess they could have also picked Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, maybe even Albert Pujols.  All better than Nelson Cruz.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bizarro World: 2010 Topps Sterling Bernie Williams Autograph/Quad Jersey

Social media is a funny place.  I am on Blogger, Twitter, and Facebook.  I've dabbled with Instagram and Tumblr and a few others along the way too.  The funny thing about the card world on social networking sites is that you generally have a group of people you can trade with, know their card interests, and can get some trading done.  Then there are always a few lurker-bys.  You know, people that are on your Twitter feed/Facebook friends, but they have an odd niche collection or they just congratulate people on cards.  A few of them make ridiculous offers on the high end cards that you pull or trade for.

So, this week I actually made a trade with a person I've never trade with before on Twitter.  I've noticed the person's handle and they've made a comment or two on a few cards I've posted.  It all started last week when I made a fairly harmless Tweet about pulling a Hank Foiles card out of a box of Topps Heritage.  It was during my vacation.

2012 Topps Heritage Hank Foiles Autograph

Hank Foiles is an okay autograph.  I looked over the checklist for the vintage guys in Heritage this year and would have loved a Stan Musial or a Dick Groat, but an autograph is an autograph.  I snapped a picture and posted it up on Twitter.  Literally ten seconds later I got a Direct Message from a follower identifying themselves as the biggest collector of 1960s Angels cards anywhere.  I posted my only other 60s Angels autograph of Jim Fergosi (signed in person) and was offered a trade package that wasn't very inspiring which happens sometimes with niche collectors.  They only have what they collect and if it's unique enough then it's hard to price.  Like Ray Lankford.  So, I was forced to look at his best card, which he apparently just got and he moonlights as a Yankees fan.  Hmmm.

2010 Topps Sterling Bernie Williams Autograph/Quad Jersey

Now, normally I can get pretty snarky about just taking cards for the sake of taking cards.  I also understand that the Foiles autograph is his only certified autograph and has actually been a pretty busy card on Ebay, but I was offered this Bernie Williams card for the two aforementioned Angels autographs along with a Troy Percival/Scott Shields dual autograph and a Tim Salmon jersey card.  Not even a Bernie Williams fan, but I took the card.  After sending my cards out and receiving my new Bernie Williams I received another DM telling me that I've been wiped out of 60s Angels cards and then unfollowed.  Definitely a win on your part buddy.  Thanks for the card.  

1997 Donruss Signature Andres Galarraga Autograph

Every good Rockies hitter over the twenty years of the franchise's existence has undergone the same scrutiny over whether they are a thin air hitter or a hitter everywhere.  Dante Bichette was a Coors Field hitter and so was Vinny Castilla.  There are also players on the Rockies that hit everywhere.  Larry Walker, Todd Helton, Matt Holliday just to name a few.  One of my favorite early Rockies players was Andres Galarraga who signed with the Rockies after a disappointing stint as the first baseman for the Cardinals. 

1997 Donruss Signature Andres Galarraga Millennium Marks Autograph

To be fair, Galarraga actually broke his wrist after being hit by a pitch during the home opener playing for the Cardinals.  He sat a couple of weeks, rushed back to the field and hit a whopping .186 with 2 home runs before the All-Star Break.  After a few days off at the break, Galarraga would hit .296 during the second half of the year with 8 home runs.  Sure the power numbers were off, but Galarraga would end up catching the eye of Cardinals hitting coach, Don Baylor, who ended up managing the Rockies.  The Rockies signed Galarraga as a free agent that off-season, while the Cardinals traded for batting helmet tossing HOF Gregg Jefferies.  During the following season in 1993, the Big Cat would pace the National League with a .370 batting average, 22 home runs, and 98 RBIs.  Galarrage would go on to have five or six more solid seasons playing primarily with the Rockies and Braves, but he bounced around to the Giants, Rangers, Expos, and Angels.

Of course, I added this Galarraga autograph primarily because he appeared with the Cardinals, but I also always enjoyed watching him play.  He was a great hitter during his prime and was a really good defensive first baseman.  Probably not a Hall of Famer, but he's not that far away in my opinion.  Galarraga has several autographs floating around with most costing less than $20.  

Saturday, March 16, 2013

2000 SP Chirography Jose Lima Autograph

Jose Lima, or LimaTime, was one of the biggest personalities in baseball during the late 90s and early 2000s and a decent pitcher to boot.  During his career Lima will probably best be remember for his time on the Astros, but also made stops with the Tigers, Royals, Mets, and Dodgers.  Ultimately Lima would fall just short of winning 100 career games and a career ERA over 5.  However, most of bloated ERA came from a few years in the AL Central with the Tigers and Royals.

2000 SP Chirography Jose Lima Autograph

Lima's best years were the 1999 and 2000 seasons which were spent with the Astros.  During those two seasons, Lima won a total of 37 games, pitched almost 500 innings, and struck out over 300 batters.  Lima also starred around the National League as a national anthem singer before games and released a few merengue CDs.  Lima died in 2010 of heart disease, but was a great and gracious signer during his career leaving plenty of autographs floating around for collectors.  Most can be found for less than $10 and are always signed the same.  Lima has one the best autographs around and always took time to sign every ball and card the same.  A great addition to the collection.  

2013 Snorting Bull Blog Contest Winner

I announced a few weeks ago a contest for my readers giving them the opportunity to win a sweet Stan Musial card from the 2013 Topps set.  Entrance into the contest was simple.  Contestants simply needed to follow my blog on Blogger, Facebook, or Twitter.  I has originally planned on announcing my winner last week, but my job and a nasty cold got in the way.  After taking a little bit of time off from the blogging world I am ready to announce my winner of this beautiful Stan Musial manu card.

The winner of this years Snorting Bull blog contest is Twitter follower: Paul Woodin.  Congratulations and thank you for following along with my baseball card collection.