Sunday, June 30, 2013

E & E Card Shop -Rolesville, North Carolina

I have lived in and around the Raleigh-Durham area now going on eight years.  During that time I have not found a card shop that I would call my own.  During the past year or so of blogging I have posted a few things about card shops around St. Louis during a trip back last spring, but basically nothing from my hometown.  There used to be one in Durham, but that closed a few years back.  There was another one that I visited a few months ago, but that apparently closed.  It's pretty surprising that a place like Raleigh, or Durham, or Chapel Hill would be devoid of a decent card shop, but that's one of my biggest predicaments in collecting.

Currently, I am working on finishing up leg one of my reorganization project, update this week along with a few set posts, when they need became urgent for me to buy a few new boxes.  I could have ordered them online and waited a few days, but I share my house with a two year old, so time was not on my side.  I decided to be bold and check out my local options and stumbled upon a listing for a card shop in Rolesville, North Carolina which is in the northeastern part of Wake County, on the other side of Raleigh, from my hometown of Apex.

I hoped in my car and drove up to the store managing not to get too lost.  I might have circled the Food Lion in Rolesville a few times, but nothing too bad.  The shop, the E & E card shop is a quaint store along Main Street in Rolesville.  Like many of the towns in central North Carolina, Rolesville had been a quiet little southern town that is slowly being swallowed up by a city.  In this case Rolesville is sandwiched in between Wake Forest and Raleigh.

I entered the store, which is run and owned by two brothers who were both in store working, and specializes in sports cards and NASCAR.  They have two walls of cards and a large wall of NASCAR stuff, we are in North Carolina, and another wall with miscellaneous non-sport cards and trinkets.  Overall, a really nice environment for cards and the owners were really helpful.  My favorite part of the store was the wax wall behind the front counter.

The owners had a nice selection of newer boxes at good prices, but they also had some great old wax.  It's cool to sit in a card shop see boxes of newer products like Topps Series 2 and the Panini USA Baseball boxes then look up a shelf and see a box of 1995 Flair stuck in between a 1997 Fleer Ultra box and a bunch of old 90s Pacific boxes.  Really cool.

The other card wall is filled with factory and hand collated sets.  Again, like the Wax Wall, there were plenty of cool sets stuck in among the normal sights and sounds of a big lot of factory sets.  Best of all, while waiting to be checked out, one of the owners took a few minutes to show me around the back room of the store where they had a whole store room of old sets, 70s, 80s, and 90s Topps to large 3,000 and 5,000 count singles boxes of commons and even more old wax.

So, beyond my boxes for my project I did snag a factory set of 2010 Topps USA Baseball cards.  I left it sealed of course, but I already owned a few of the base cards I had bought as singles.  George Springer is scanned and pictured below.  Definitely a set that flies under the radar with lots of good names...

2010 Topps USA Baseball George Springer

I did not take pictures of the shop today since it was my first time there, normally does not stop me, but I had the feeling I should pass on the pictures for today.  It is nice to find a good card shop in the area, sort of, after years of not having a good card shop near me.  I will be making a return trip to the E & E card shop again soon and will be picking up something cool, probably some old wax, to share in this space.

Best of the Rest for June

I posted a lot of my extra pickups this month to my Facebook "Like" page just to float out some of the things that come into my collection that do not necessarily make it into a post because they are small, I do not have the time, or they are being flipped around for other cards.  I like the idea of showcasing cards in other ways outside of this space and have started working on putting pictures here and there of some additional cards and projects that I am working on with my collection.  Anyway, without further delay here is the Best of the Rest Top 5 for June:

5. 2012 Topps Chrome Drew Smyly Autograph 

Smyly is having a pretty solid season for the Tigers.  He's not in the rotation, after being given several chances, he's settled into the long relief role for the team.  So far in 2013 the University of Arkansas product is averaging a strikeout per inning and has a perfect record at 3-0.  I had actually considered putting a Adeiny Hechavarria card here for the Rated Rookie logo alone, but he stinks.  Possibly the worst position player, batting wise, in the Majors?  I vote yes.  Long reliever it is, cool Rated Rookie card below.  

2012 Panini National Treasures Adeiny Hechavarria Autograph 

4. 2010 Topps Debut Hak Ju-Lee Jumbo Jersey 

I was happy that the Rays brought Lee up from AA to play shortstop for the Durham Bulls this summer.  Immediately I rushed out and started picking up his cards knowing that the addition of Lee on the AAA roster meant that Mike Fontenot would spend the summer riding the pine.  Lee played well briefly for the Bulls before suffering a season ending knee injury.  I am still collecting his cards and think he is up with the Rays at some point next year.  The major concern surrounding Lee has always been whether or not he would hit, but he did very well offensively this year in the International League.

3. 2009 Topps Pat Neshek Autograph

Who is the best signer of all-time?  If I had to make a list of great signers this guy would be really high up on the list.  The A's right-handed reliever runs his own baseball card blog, has his own cool collection of cards, and openly advertises the fact that he will sign cards through the mail.  Though I have often contemplated sending Neshek something cool to sign.  I am not a big through the mail collector, but luckily Topps included a few of his autographs in their 2009 set.  

2. 2007 UD Black Victor Martinez Autograph 

This is a cool card from a really cool set.  A manupatch of a Venezuelan flag with an autograph?  Why not.  Not sure about that sticker autograph, but overall really cool looking card of a pretty good player.  Just not this year.  Still gets the number two spot in my countdown on the hopes that V-Mart can bounce back in the second half of the year.

1. 2009 Topps Tribute Prince Fielder Dual Jersey/Autograph 

This is a great card, but it was in my collection for a few days.  I traded for it, got it out of the mail, scanned it, repackaged it, and mailed it away.  Still it's a Prince Fielder auto, so it's pretty nice.  Hmmm.  Maybe I should have kept this one.  Seriously, sometimes I stumble upon a card that someone is trading away, or selling for well under value, and will pick it up and flip it around for something good.  In this case, this card and a few other Tigers cards were sent up north for a few Tribute cards.  

Saturday, June 29, 2013

2013 Panini USA Carlos Rodon and Trea Turner Cards

I picked up a pair of cards from 2013 Panini USA Baseball this week featuring NC State baseball stars Carlos Rodon and Trea Turner.  NC State, my alma mater, had one of its most successful seasons ever on the diamond in large part to the exploits of these two players.  Last summer both played on the USA Baseball college team, so both have appeared in the Panini USA baseball releases the past two summers.  I've added several cards of both players to my collection already and was happy to add another pair this week.

2013 Panini Pride Carlos Rodon 

The Rodon card is pretty cool.  At first glance I thought that the flag might be a manupatch, but it is not.  Still a really nice design and a good photograph of the left-handed hurler delivering a pitch.  The back of the card lists Rodon as an infielder too, but I am pretty sure that he will not be playing anywhere besides the pitchers mound once he gets drafted.  Rodon does have a few autographs in the Panini set this year, but the prices are a bit high.  I will work on it.

2013 Panini Game Gear Trea Turner Jersey Card

My newest Trea Turner card features a small swatch of jersey.  While Turner has several cards in the new Panini USA set, he has no autograph cards.  He does have a base card and a few relic cards, but I think I am going to just stick to the one since they are very ordinary looking.  No patches, or anything unique.  The shortstop out of Florida is one of the top base stealers in the country and has a little bit of pop in his bat too.

Interestingly enough, ESPN recently ran an Insider Story, written by Christopher Crawford, examining the possibility of these two NC State sophomores landing in the first two slots of the 2014 MLB amateur draft.  The highest two drafted pair of teammates in the history of the draft were UCLA pitchers Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer.  So, what are the chance that these two great college players top Cole and Bauer?

I think it all depends on where Turner sits at the time of the draft next year.  Rodon is a big, hard-throwing left-handed pitcher.  He tops out in the mid to upper 90s, sitting around 95-96, with great secondary pitches.  He is a slam dunk top draft pick.  I am not sure of any team that would not want the left-hander.  His only knock is that NC State has pitched him a lot.  Turner is a speed guy, scores runs, fields well, but would you draft that kind of player in the first few picks?  Not sure that I would do that with a high draft pick, but then again I am not making any draft picks.

2010 Topps USA Baseball George Springer Triple Jersey/Autograph

I started a bit of a new collection this week with Astros outfield prospect George Springer.  I am by no means after every Springer card under the sun, but I have been thoroughly impressed with his performance and have decided it is worth my time, money, and cards to own a few of his cards.  Having USA Baseball nearby offers great opportunities to see good young players.  Honestly, I missed on Springer and did not really get into him as a player until this year.

In many ways, while Springer was playing for USA Baseball, he reminded me a lot of Pedro Alvarez.  Great college mashers with big long swings.  The results often look pretty in college while they are facing weak pitchers, but when they get into the minors the long swings mean lots of whiffs and not always the most promising baseball careers.  While Alvarez played for USA Baseball I saw him hit some pretty impressive home runs, but he had a long swing.  Springer was the same way.  Marlins draft pick, and former UNC third baseman, Colin Moran has the same thing going on.

While Springer's strikeout totals remain high while playing in the minor leagues, his on-base percentage has hovered around .400 this season.  Further, Springer has several 30 stolen base seasons under his belt in the minors.  So, while he will swing and miss quite a bit, Springer still finds his way onto base and punishes opponents with his speed and base running.  Sold?  I am, so here is the first of many George Springer cards that will walk into my collection.

2010 Topps USA Baseball George Springer Triple Jersey/Autograph

The 2010 Topps USA Baseball set is one of my favorites and features some great names.  Earlier this week I posted a pair of sweet Gerrit Coles from this set making this card my third card from the set for the week.  While I prefer the on-card autographs in the set, I still really like the looks of this card.  Three nice pieces of jersey to go along with, at the time, the UConn sluggers autograph is pretty sweet.  

The Springer autographs are not rock bottom basement steals at this point hovering in the mid teens, but considering how he is playing, there are lesser prospects with far more expensive cards.  I know that part of the problem is that Springer plays with the Astros, but I honestly do not think the team is the wreck that people make them out to be.  

Currently, the Astros are one of the worst teams in Major League Baseball and are likely to finish the season near the bottom of the standings.  However, almost all of the Astros minor league affiliates are finding success on the field with a good pool of prospects.  For example, the top two Houston affiliates, are highly competitive.  The AA affiliate in Corpus Christi won the first half title in their Texas League Division and are in first place in the second half standings.  The AAA affiliate in Round Rock sits in third place, but they are well above .500 and are only 2 games out of first.  The Astros are going to be good again in the near future and I am betting that George Springer is a big part of their future.  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

2012 Panini National Treasures Chris Archer Autograph

Really busy tonight with the end of the school year, so I just have time for a quick a post.  I've been slowly working on putting together a collection of Chris Archer cards.  I saw him pitch earlier in the spring for the Durham Bulls and saw him a few times last fall.  I've been really impressed with his performance so far in both AAA and in a few appearances with the Rays.  Add in the fact that he's a local product from Clayton, North Carolina and you have got a great player to collect.

2012 Panini National Treasures Chris Archer Autograph 

I am not normally one to collect non-licensed baseball cards, but this is my second Archer card from a Panini product.  Honestly, I really like the looks of this card despite the fact that the card does not feature any logos.  In fact, given the two-toned hat I had wondered if the picture on this card might actually be from a Durham Bulls game.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

2010 Topps USA Baseball Gerrit Cole Autograph

I have been working on picking up some younger players for my collection.  Nothing crazy like a Carlos Correa autograph, or anything in the triple digits, but nice mid-range priced rookie cards.  Mainly cards that are in, or around, the $20 dollar range.  During the past month I have added autographs of: Anthony Rizzo, Marco Gonzalez, Corey Seager, Marcell Ozuna, and Justin Upton.  All potentially high end autographed cards of younger players who have shown some potential to have a big impact for their teams.  

This week I am working on two of my bigger projects: Gerrit Cole and George Springer.  If you do not know those two names you are probably not paying much attention to the baseball season.  I guess Springer is in the minors and will be in another post this weekend.  Maybe again the week after that too.  Cole was a high draft pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates and recently made his successful debut for the team.  

After watching Cole in the International League and the USA Baseball program I decided to keep an eye on the Gerrit Cole market.  His cards have always been pretty well thought of and fairly valuable.  Despite his success in AAA and his high profile debut the card market around Gerrit Cole has not shifted too much yet.  However, I decided that this might be my last chance to get in on the "ground floor" so to speak.  Meaning, if Cole continues to have an impact in the Majors and the Pirates continue to be a player in the National League playoff race, I would expect that the market on Gerrit Cole cards might take off.  If not?  Not a very expensive gamble.  

2010 Topps USA Baseball Gerrit Cole Autograph 

I picked up a nice on-card autograph of the Pirates hurler and also managed to also pick up a really nice jersey card too.  This card is from the 2010 Topps USA Baseball set when Cole appeared on the National Collegiate Team.  He starred in college at UCLA where he and teammate Trevor Bauer made history for being the pair of drafted teammates in the MLB Amateur Draft.  

2010 Topps USA Baseball Triple Jersey 

Monday, June 24, 2013

2010 Donruss Elite Patches Matt Harvey Autograph

2010 Donruss Elite Collegiate Patches Matt Harvey Autograph 

There are not many nice things that I have to say about the blue Carolina schools, especially the powder blue wearing one at the south end of 15-501.  "Go To Hell Carolina" is not a phrase reserved only for a football game or a few basketball and baseball games, but almost everyday.  Cannot say that I really dig schools with fake classes or Hansbrough.  

However, I will give a brief tip of the cap to the Heels baseball team this evening and the wonderful season being crafted together by UNC alum, and New York Mets pitcher, Matt Harvey.  In 16 starts this season the second year pitcher has posted a 7-1 record with a 2.05 ERA and 121 strikeouts in 110 innings.  While most have taken notice of Harvey's performance this season, he also put together a solid, yet brief, appearance with the Mets in 2012 too.  During his rookie campaign he only went 3-5, but post an ERA of 2.73 with more than a strikeout per inning and less than a baserunner per inning.

Of course, Harvey's connection to the Mets and Tar Heels somewhat limited my interest in his cards.  Then again I am interested in a Matt Harvey card if you are interested in trading a card, like the one pictured above, to me for the right price.  So, what is the right price for this piece of cardboard?

Let's just say the reorganization project might be paying off some dividends.  I have not necessarily sold off any of my doubles or triples, maybe some quadruples, but I have floated out the fact that I have surplus quantity at the moment.  So, the question was posed to me?  How many A-Rod doubles does one collect in amass in thirty years?  I recently found the answer to that question and cashed in a chunk of them for a Matt Harvey autograph.

Now, some of the A-Rod cards were very nice.  A few relics, but I still am liking the idea of having a smaller collection if the quantity I am sacrificing will land me some nice pieces for my collection.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

2013 Topps Gypsy Queen Anthony Rizzo Autograph

This is an unprecedented second Cubs post of the week, but I picked up a card of Anthony Rizzo.  I have actually been looking for a little while, but he's definitely someone whom I had a price range in mind.  Basically meaning that if the value of his cards had stayed high I would have skipped him over completely and done without owning his autograph.  I've explained several times on several different posts my reluctance to pour too much money into high end rookie cards, but I get even more cautious when they player actually reaches the majors and does little to maintain the value of their cardboard.

Rizzo was originally a very well thought of Red Sox prospect which always tacks a few extra bucks onto the value of the card.  It's not a bad thing and I have to deal with this as a Cardinals fan at times on certain players.  Rizzo was then traded to the Padres in a high profile trade for Adrian Gonzalez.  Collectors still kept interest in Rizzo since he was now with a team that was going to play him.

Of course, Rizzo made his Major League debut with the Padres and bombed.  He posted a line of .141/.282/.242 in roughly 50 games with only 1 home run.  The Padres package up Rizzo to the Cubs and collectors ignore the ugly line posted in San Diego.  You know the excuses with the Padres: the park is too big, pitcher friendly, etc, etc, etc.  Throw in a good half a season playing on a terrible Cubs team with a line of .285/.342/.463 and you not only had collectors maintaining the prices of Rizzo autographs, but actually driving them higher.

First off, I still remember his terrible line for the Padres.  Two, most of his line and power numbers came from one and a half really good months.  Rizzo's June splits with the Cubs were .330/.375/.567 and September was similar.  July and August were ugly.  Add in the fact that two teams traded him and I am not sure I am totally trusting anything with Rizzo.  His line for this year is not what it was for the Padres, but it's not exactly setting the world on fire either.

Yet, there are many Rizzo pieces of cardboard floating around with price tags of $20 or more.  Scary and ridiculous.  I have seen a few really cool pieces floating around from Topps Museum and Gypsy Queen, but some of those are even higher than the $20 range.  Luckily, Rizzo played against the Cardinals last week and went 1 for 11 during the series with no power.  I was trading emails with a shop owner friend from my days in St. Louis when he dropped the Rizzo card on me.

2013 Topps Gypsy Queen Anthony Rizzo Autograph 

It seems that this card was blocking up his display case with a $20 price tag.  No takers and lots of low ball offers.  Luckily, I had been working on my reorganization project and managed to float him a lot of Cardinals singles for this cool looking on-card autograph of the Cubs first baseman.  I am not sure what dollar amount I can put on a box full of singles, there were a few nice Pujols cards in there, but I think I am pretty happy with my take away.

2007 SP Authentic By The Letter Troy Tulowitzki Autograph

2007 SP Authentic Troy Tulowitzki Autograph 

A nice card to start off my Sunday morning.  I picked up this Tulowitzki By The Letter Autograph early last week and what's not to love about this card?

First, the card itself is awesome.  This is one of my favorite autograph sets out there.  Sure the letter patches are all manufactured, but it's still a really cool design.  Bonus if you can find a sharp autograph on one of the letters like this card has.  The By The Letter Autographs do not fade or wear like the Sweet Spot autographs, but signing a small letter with a paint pen certainly has yielded some interesting looking cards out of this product over the years.

Second, Tulowitzki is one of the better players in the league when he is healthy and quite possibly the best shortstop in the game.  The top three comparable batters on his Baseball Reference page are all Hall of Famers and if he stays healthy, should have another good five plus years of good numbers to add to his resume before he starts to slide.  I like that he's not only a great offensive player, but also is an above average fielder at a premium position.  He's not Ozzie Smith, but he's no slouch either.

Off to work on my other job.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

2008 Topps Allen & Ginter Ian Kinsler Autograph

A few years back I was a pretty big fan of Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler.  Seemed like a good young player with a promising future, but he seemed to trail off a bit in recent years causing many Rangers fans to speculate about his future with the team.  Add in the presence of uber-prospect Jurickson Profar and many have been Rangers fans have been eager to see Kinsler hit the road.

At some point in there, I slowed down my Kinsler collection and even traded off a few of my nicer pieces.  Between 2010 and 2012 Kinsler's batting average fell from .286 to .256 and his on-base fell from .382 to .326.  This year has been a little bit better season for Kinsler despite the fact that he has dealt with a few injuries along the way.  His average is back up to .303 and his on-base is .374.  He's also hit with some pop blasting out 7 longballs and 11 doubles in 47 games.  

Kinsler's resurgence this season has helped rekindle some of my interest in his cards and lead to me picking up this great looking card in a trade earlier in the week:

2008 Topps Allen & Ginter Ian Kinsler Autograph 

This is a great addition to my collection and a card that I had previously owned at one point a few years back.  While Kinsler does have quite a few autographs floating around out there, he does not have a ton of on card signatures like this one.  Plus, I always like adding an Allen & Ginter autograph.  Almost always a nice set with plenty of good signatures.  I also picked up a nice 2013 Topps Archives bat card of Kinsler in the trade:

2013 Topps Archives Ian Kinsler Bat Card

I had not added any relics cards yet from the Archives set, so I guess this is a nice way to fix that problem.  

Friday, June 21, 2013

2013 Topps Archives Fred McGriff Autograph

2013 Topps Archives Fred McGriff Autograph 

I have been wanted to add an autograph of the "Crime Dog" for quite a number of years, but he's not a huge signer and the price of his autographs seem a little bit high.  I saw this card on the Archives checklist last month and really loved the design and look of this card.  The 1989 Topps set was a favorite from my childhood and even love the picture of McGriff wearing the old Toronto Blue Jays uniform.  Seeing a McGriff autograph under $20 helped me make the decision to jump on the chance to add this card to my collection.

McGriff collectors are some of the most loyal in the hobby and have pushed the price of his cards over the years.  The values of his cards are also helped by the fact that he has a limited number of autographs out on the market, but most Crime Dog fans insist that he is a Hall of Famer and reflect this opinion in buying, selling, and trading cards.

Personally, I am of the opinion that McGriff is not a Hall of Famer, but he is a very good player whom I enjoyed watching.  He was one of the offensive stars on the great mid 90s Atlanta Braves teams, made numerous All-Star teams, won the home run crown twice, and has some pretty impressive overall career numbers.

McGriff fans will often point at the fact that some of McGriff's career statistic comparable players include Hall of Famers such as Willie McCovey, Willie Stargell, and Eddie Matthews as well as players fans consider to be future Hall of Famers like Jeff Bagwell.  However, I like to look at McGriff's season by season comparable players for a little bit more depth and perspectives on his numbers.

While McGriff's career numbers compare favorably to a handful of Hall of Famers his individual seasons merely suggest he was an above average player.  There is not on member of the Hall of Fame in his list of season comparable players on Baseball Reference outside of Willie McCovey's age 40 season. In fact, looking at his OPS+ he had a handful of season where his performance was outstanding.

Again, just my two cents on the Crime Dog and still a very welcome addition to the card collection even if I can only say that he was a really good player.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

2013 Panini Marco Gonzales Bat Card

A quick card for the morning belongs to Cardinals first round draft pick Marco Gonzales.  Yesterday, Gonzales officially signed with the team and even took time to throw his first bullpen session.

I also managed to pick up a brand new Marco Gonzales card yesterday from the 2013 Panini set.  Whle the Cardinals drafted Gonzales out of Gonzaga as a pitcher, he also managed to play out in the field as well.  Gonzales hit .311 with a .375 on base percentage, but only managed to slug .389.  Not a bad line, but also not great.  

2013 Panini USA Baseball Marco Gonzales Bat Card

A little bit different seeing Gonzales as a hitter, but it's still a welcome addition to the collection.  This is now my second card of the former Zag I have added in the past week.  Looking forward to adding a few more soon, but hopefully I can find a card with Gonzales wearing the birds on the bat.  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

2013 Topps Museum Collection Matt Holliday Quad Jersey

Matt Holliday is having one of his worst seasons as a professional baseball player.  Currently, he's about 40 points off of his career batting average, 30 points off of his on-base percentage, and most alarmingly 90 points off of his career slugging percentage.  His home run total is still on-pace for around 25 home runs and almost 90 RBIs.  Does not sound bad, but the Cardinals pay their left fielder $16 million dollars to be an offensive force.

The decline in Holliday's performance has also lead to a decline in the price of his cards.  The most notable drop can be seen in Holliday's autographed cards where the prices have dropped from the $20 to $30 neighborhood to the $10 to $20 neighborhood.  The decline in prices can be seen with some of Holliday's other cards too, but you have to be a little bit selective to take advantage of the discount.  Take this card for example:

2013 Topps Museum Collection Matt Holliday Quad Jersey 

When the Museum Collection set dropped in late May the Holliday quad jersey cards were selling for around $20.  The patch version was selling for $30.  The further the release date of Museum Collection gets in the rear view mirror, the lower the price gets on this card.  Currently, the price of this card is south of $10.  Isolated incident?  I also picked up another nice Holliday card that followed the same pricing trend as this Museum Collection card.

2013 Topps Archives Gold Matt Holliday 

I loved the new Topps Archives cards this year and was excited to see the 1985 design.  Even happier to see Matt Holliday on one of these cards.  I immediately kept my eyes open for the gold version of this card.  The card prices started out between $5 and $10 on this card, but can now be had for $1 to $2.

I know that some people can find this trend with other cards and often attribute the drop in price to settling in the secondary market or a decrease in the popularity of the set and singles after the sets initial release.  However, Cardinals fans and collectors tend to be pretty loyal and many of the established players on the team tend to have stable prices.  The same can be said of other well established players on teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Braves.  For example, the gold parallel of the Yadier Molina card from the Topps Archives set has consistently hovered around $5 for the past month.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

2002 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Fergie Jenkins Autograph

The Cardinals and Cubs are on tonight, but I am flipping my television over to the College World Series Game between the my NC State Wolfpack and the UCLA Bruins.  It's pretty unusual that I would purposely miss a Cardinals-Cubs game, but honestly the rivalry does not have much juice to it at the moment.  I am sure that Busch Stadium is packed and I am sure that there are a few Cubbie Bear fans running around doing a little bit of talking.

Despite the large crowd the internet chatter around these games has died off considerably in the recent years.  Sure the Cubs are almost mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but that never stopped this rivalry from being one of the best in the game.  Yes, the Cardinals have been to the last two National League Championship Series and have won two more World Series over the last decade, but that did not stop Cubs fans in the past.

I think the real difference at the moment centers around the fact that the Cubs are pretty much hapless and hopeless.  In the 1980s the Cubs had star players like Lee Smith, Ryne Sandberg, and Mark Grace.  There was always next year and they actually made the playoffs in 1989.  Same in the 90s and 2000s.  A little more Sandberg, throw in Sosa, Prior, and Kerry Wood.  Mix in a playoff appearance in 1998 and 2003 and you've got a happy fans base.

I know lots of other fans bases that would be irked only making the playoffs once a decade, but the system seemed to be working great for the Cubbie Bear crowd.  Now, I am not sure what has happened to the Cubs.  Their team is horrible, there is no help on the way, and their fan base seems a little bit depressed.  Cardinals fans seem to almost feel a little bit sorry for the Cubs.  Maybe.

With the series coming up, I took stock of my recent Cubs acquisitions and noticed that it had been a long time since a new Cubs card had appeared in this space.  There was a Lee Smith card last week, but it was clearly posted in a Cardinals themed entry.  It's been a few months, so for less than $10 I picked up a Hall of Famer appearing in a Cubs uniform.

2002 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Fergie Jenkins Autograph 

I actually try to pick up as many Hall of Famers signatures on cardboard as possible, so despite being a Cub, I was quite pleased to add this nice looking card to my collection.  Factoring in the price and the great look of this Sweet Spot autograph and I am feeling good about allowing a Cub card into this space.  Here's hoping for a Cardinals win this evening, also Go Pack!  

Monday, June 17, 2013

2012 Panini USA Baseball Marco Gonzales Jersey/Autograph

2012 Panini USA Baseball Marco Gonzales Jersey/Autograph 

I seriously have no insight on Marco Gonzales and am wondering how is going to fair in the minors on his trip up to the majors after being selected by the Cardinals as the nineteenth pick of the 2013 amateur draft.  I live ten minutes from the USA Baseball complex in Cary, North Carolina and spend a little bit of time each summer checking out the team.  There are plenty of good college players that come through town and plenty of future MLB talent on display on the diamond.  Now, I see that Gonzales has a USA Baseball uniform on the card, but I just do not know anything about him.  Seriously, was he on the team?  Apparently, he pitched in a few tournaments overseas that I missed.  In particular, there was one in the Netherlands, sorry I didn't fly in, where he won the MVP award.

The Cardinals have certainly earned the trust of their fans in recent years with their excellent minor league system and home grown talent, so I am not sure if I should really worry about this selection.  Seriously, Gonzales was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, given annually to the top college baseball player, and also won the player of the year in the West Coast Conference.  I am going to go ahead and chalk my lack of Gonzales knowledge up to the infamous "East Coast Bias".  If he played in a different time zone, there's only one that counts, then I would have been all over Gonzales two years ago....

Living here in the middle of Tobacco Road I hear plenty about all of the great ACC schools and I even attended an ACC school.  Carolina goes to the College World Series all the time, Georgia Tech sent Matt Wieters, V-Tek, and Nomar to the majors, FSU is always in the Top 10.  That's some excellence right there.   The SEC is just to our south and they have plenty of good baseball teams.  The other Carolina is great, Florida, LSU, etc, etc.  College baseball is great here in the south.  Heck, look at the roster of the USA Baseball.  Of the fifteen players currently scheduled to appear on this summers squad, ten of them are from ACC or SEC schools (I am counting Louisville and their hideous unis).

So, how good are the ACC and SEC schools compared to the rest of the NCAA field?  Let's look at the College World Series winners over the last thirty years.  The SEC has won a total of 9 championships: A pair for South Carolina, six for LSU, and one for Georgia.  The PAC-10, or PAC12 is second with seven.  The ACC?  Zero.  Sure, Miami has won a bunch of titles, but they won all of them as a member of the Big East.  Not the ACC.  In fact, the last time that the ACC won a national championship in baseball was 1955 when Wake Forest defeated Western Michigan.  Honestly, as much as it pain me to say it: the ACC in baseball talks like it's basketball season, but plays like it's football season.  Enjoy the card.

One Win Down, Go Pack!

I am not really big into empty, cardless posts, but here's the first in a long time.  It was a big baseball day around Raleigh-Durham.   More details sometime this week.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

2012 Topps Tier One Al Kaline Autograph

I try to save my Ebay Bucks away for a raining day.  Sometime when I see a card that would look good in the collection, but does not necessarily fit the card budget at the moment.  I've done well with trading the past couple of weeks and spent little when I've need to buy, so the Bucks have been sitting on the sidelines.   Last week I received a use or lose it email from Ebay, so I decided to find the best possible card to use my bucks on and came up with:  

This Al Kaline Topps Tier One Autograph cost just enough that I ended up spending a whopping fifteen cents out of my own PayPal account for this card.  I am not huge on many of Ebay's policies and have noticed many card collectors fleeing the site in recent years for sites like Check Out My Cards, or more recently the Collector's Revolution.  However, I do really enjoy the Ebay bucks program which offers a small rebate back on purchases made on the site.  Ebay issues a certificate quarterly which I like to think about as basically earning a free card, or a discounted card every once in awhile.  

As far as the card goes, Tier One was a really nice product last year and I already have several of the autographs from the set in my collection.  Adding this Kaline autograph is a really nice late addition.  He's a Hall of Famer with a really nice clean signature.  Especially when it's on the card and not on a sticker.  

Saturday, June 15, 2013

2012 Bowman Draft Gold Corey Seager Autograph

Going local to start off my Saturday.  I ran into a local collector looking to move some of his cards and had some interest in adding a nice card of Dodgers prospect Corey Seager.  Seager is a North Carolina product from Concord which is north of Charlotte where he was drafted by the Dodgers out of high school.  He was drafted in the first round of the 2012 draft and is viewed by many as top prospect.  Currently, he is playing shortstop for the Great Lakes Loons in the Midwest League.  Seager is putting up a .282/.349/.450 line with 4 homers in 36 games.

2012 Bowman Draft Gold Corey Seager Autograph

As far as the card goes, Seager has several autographs out on the market, but his Bowman Draft autographs are considered the best of the bunch.  My copy is the gold parallel limited to a print run of just 50.  While the 2012 Bowman sets lacked some of the pizzaz of the 2011 and 2010 editions, there are still several solid prospects in the set including this guy.  The regular version of this autograph runs in the $20 range with the colored parallels drifting north from there.  

Thursday, June 13, 2013

2012 Bowman Chrome Marcell Ozuna Autograph

I am not really into the really high end rookie cards of players in the Minor Leagues.  I find them to be rather risky and often disappointing to say the least.  Let's face it, so many great minor league players are hyped into being the next somebody.  Often many of them turn out to be solid Major League players.  A few of them even go on to be something better, whether it be an All-Star caliber player or potential Hall of Famer.  

The problem is this.  Take a guy like Oscar Taveras.  He's listed as one of the top two or three position player prospects in all of baseball.  He's going to hit something in the big leagues and likely be a very good Major League player.  His autographed rookie cards are selling for over $100 currently on Ebay.  Yes, I do own one.  No, I did not pay $100.  So, let's go high performance and say that Taveras is what people say he is and turns out to be similar to Vladimir Guerrero.  Have you seen the prices of his cards?  There are not $100.  Obviously, if you aim for a lower quality player you are probably going to get a lesser valued piece of cardboard.  

So, what can collectors do to try to add valuable rookies to their collection without paying an arm and leg?  I look for players flying under the radar.  They might not play for a great team, or they might not hit for much power.  There are plenty of reasons why it happens, just know there are bargains to be had.  My biggest low radar player of 2013 is Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna.  Snazzy autographed rookie card pictured: 

2012 Bowman Chrome Marcell Ozuna Autograph

The cost of this card on Ebay is around $20-$25.  If you find someone who is willing to trade it you have the, "Sure it sells for $20, but he's on the Marlins and has no power"  Final price, $15 in trade.  Now, Marcell does play for the Marlins, but I swear they will be better really soon.  Help is on the way and this guy is a big part of it.  He does not hit for power, but neither does Manny Machado.  Machado is leading the universe is doubles.  Ozuna has 13 doubles in 48 MLB games.  If he played a full 162 that would be more than 50.  

More importantly, check his OPS+ which is 119.  Not bad, but not too impressive.  Take into account that he's only 22 and in his first full season and that 119 number is a little bit better.  Last year Bryce Harper's OPS+ was 120 and Manny Machado is at 124.  Not bad company considering he hits for a good average and is likely to develop a little bit more pop in his bat as he ages.  

Honestly, for $15 what do you have to lose?  It's a pretty safe bet that this card will retain a pretty nice value for the next year or two as Ozuna gains some popularity around the game and his cards become more collectable.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

2007 Topps 52 Chase Headley Autograph

This is the first year in a long time that I have not fielded a fantasy baseball team.  Looking back over my records on various websites I am going to say that I started my first team my junior year of college.  That was a pretty long time ago.  Over the years I had some great teams, some not great teams, won a few leagues, and come in last a few times.  It was always fun to see a few surprise players emerge every year and a few other players disappoint.  This year has been busier and my schedule is not getting any easier, so this year I am putting my irons in other fires.

My team last year was greatly helped by surprise player Chase Headley.  Headley was one of the best third baseman in all of baseball last summer posting a line of .286/.376/.498 along with 31 home runs, 31 doubles, and a Wins Above Replacement of 6.0.  All while playing half of his games in one of the worst hitters parks in the league.  Headley performed so well that many writers speculated that the Padres would cash in on Headley's 2012 performance and trade him for a bundle of prospects.  Sounds like a good player to own an autograph of?  Of course it does.

2007 Topps 52 Chase Headley Autograph

Unfortunately, Headley is having a terrible year.  While I am not playing fantasy baseball, I often hear about other people's teams.  Most disappointing player:  Headley.  Sure, there are people who speculated on some minor leaguer and missed, but that's to be expected.   Headley's line has plummeted down to .225/.330/.353.  Unhappy fantasy owners galore.  I am not sure if the Padres are still going to trade their third baseman at some point this year, but it seems they might have missed a great chance to get their maximum value this off season.  It seems likely that the Padres will have to accept less for Headley or let him spend some more time in San Diego in hopes of reestablishing a little bit more value.   Fantasy owners face the same dilemma, but I would guess that many owners might just cut Headley free at this point.  

Similarly, last season represent a great year for Headley collectors.  The Padres star has only a few certified autographs and went from common prices up into the $15-$20 range by the end of last summer and into the fall.  This year?  I bought this card for $4 shipped.  The stamp and delivery confirmation cost $3.10.  Throw in a bubble mailer and I paid very little for this card.  Why buy such a card?  

One of the best parts of playing fantasy baseball is speculating on player performance.  When do you get rid of a player?  When do you pick up a player?  What types of players do you pick up and when?  Headley is a great risk for card collectors.  Fantasy owners?  Maybe if you're in a keeper league or the Padres decide to sell low.  

Headley has actually played the same amount of games on the road as at home during his career.  He has posted a .241/.331/.368 line at home with 97 extra base hits.  His road line is considerably better.  Headley's road line is .295/.363/.454.  Huge difference.  I am guessing that Headley will eventually end up on another team and produce a line closer to his road stats.  In the meantime, I have an inexpensive Headley autograph.  If he plays well I can get a nice return on my autograph, and if not, I can think of this card as my trophy from last year's fantasy baseball team.  

Monday, June 10, 2013

Master Archivist of Cardinals Autographs Not Necessarily In Cardinals Uniforms

Beyond the Delino DeShields autograph, there were four other autographs in the 2013 Topps Archives set of Cardinals players from the past.  While they do not all appear in Cardinals uniforms in the set, they all appeared on the Cardinals for at least half a season.  Two of the autographs were first time certified autographs that I was excited to add to the collection.  The other two were good additions too.  Let's start with the first time signers:

2013 Topps Archives Bob Tewksbury Autograph 

Tewksbury played for the Cardinals for several seasons in the early 90s.  He was the best pitcher on those teams, which were not really that good.  Tewksbury won double digit games every season he pitched for the Cardinals and was also successful pitching with the Twins, Padres, and Yankees.  His pitching style can best be described as extremely slow.  Only once during his 13 year career did he strike out more than 100 batters.  In fact, one of Tewksbury's most memorable career moments was when he threw Cardinals first baseman a 44 MPH pitch with the Twins.  McGwire did not get a hit that game.  

2013 Topps Archives Chuck Finley Autograph


Finley only appeared for the Cardinals during the second half of the 2002 season.  The Cardinals traded Coco Crisp, he might have been Covelli at that point, from the Indians to replace deceased pitcher Darryl Kile.  Finley won half of his starts for the Cardinals during the regular season and struck out almost a hitter per inning.  He also picked up a win against the Giants in the National League Championship Series.  This is Finley's first certified autograph which should be pretty popular with Angels and Indians collectors too.

The last two cards are players whose autographs already appear in my collection:

2013 Topps Archives Lee Smith Autograph

Lee Smith actually has a pretty healthy supply of autographed cards out on the market.  A fair number of them appearing in a Cardinals uniform.  While Smith had some good years as a Cardinals player, he also had some really rough years wearing the birds on the bat.  While I am certainly not a Cubs guy, this is how I best remember Lee Smith.  Just not against the Cardinals.  

2013 Topps Archives Gary Gaetti Autograph

Last, but not least, is a new autograph of "The Rat".  Gaetti played part of two seasons for the Cardinals at the end of his career and was not all that great.  He did hit a grand slam against the Braves in the 1996 National League Championship Series, but I think that was his lone Cardinals highlight.  Gaetti also won two World Series with the Twins and later went on to be a first base coach for the Durham Bulls.  Currently, he is managing the Sugarland Skeeters.

I'd also like to take a moment to wish my alma mater, North Carolina State, the best in their appearance at the College World Series.  GO PACK!  Go To Hell Carolina!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

2013 Topps Archives Delino DeShields Autograph

I saw the checklist for the 2013 Topps Archives set I knew I had to pick up a Delino DeShields autograph.  He's never had a certified autograph before this card and honestly he is such an interesting person to so many different fan bases.  Why would you not want a Delino DeShields autograph?  Maybe if your a Dodgers fan you could live without the memories of Delino DeShields.  So, besides having a cool name let's look at the card and some different motivations for owning an autograph of this former Major League second baseman.

2013 Topps Archives Delino DeShields Autograph

Montreal Expos Fans- I am always surprised at how many people collect Expos cards.  It's surprising that there are several out there, but I will admit, they are really cool cards to look at.  DeShields started his career north of the border with the Expos in the early 90s when they were bringing up players like Larry Walker, Marquis Grissom, and Wil Cordero.  Throw in a few nice veterans like Dennis Martinez and you have got a good team.  Of course, the best reason for loving DeShields is the fact that the team traded him to the Dodgers for a young Pedro Martinez.

Los Angeles Dodgers Fans- Read the last sentence of the Expos paragraph.  Let that soak in.  Every team has their bad trade.  This is the Dodgers.  Batting average under .250, OBP under .330, and an OPS under .700.  Yikes!

St. Louis Cardinals Fans-My reason for getting this autograph is that he actually put on the Birds on the Bat for a game.  Of course, while DeShields played terribly for the Dodgers he had two great years for the Cardinals.  Batting average in the .290s, OBP in the .360s, and an OPS over .800.  Add in the fact that he spent a year and half of his time in St. Louis getting on base in front of Mark McGwire.  Add all of that up and this is a pretty good card for any Cardinals collector.  Although I question him having the first five seconds of an En Vogue song played as his at-bat music for two years straight.  It still ranks as the all-time worst at-bat song in Cardinals history.

Baltimore Orioles Fans- As a resident of the middle Atlantic region I run into many Orioles fans in these parts.  I am often told the tale of their terrible owner.  First, he signed free agents that did not work out.  Then he went cheap.  DeShields was a free agent that did not work out.  In three seasons with the Orioles he played well for one season where the Orioles were terrible and was injured and below average the other two seasons.  Coincidently, the Orioles were terrible the two seasons that DeShields played poorly.  Orioles fans do not like to hear that.  

Chicago Cubs Fans-How do these types of players usually work out for the Cubs?  This was not any different.  DeShields was somewhere around the player that he was on the Dodgers and Orioles.  Not good.

Summary-DeShields was a solid Major League player who is remembered by many fans for having a cool name, wearing a double flapped batting helmet, and having terrible at-bat music (I am not letting it go).  If you were an Expos fans and Cardinals fan you probably remember DeShields helping out your teams with some good solid second base play for several seasons.  Throw in decent defense, a few stolen bases, and a Pedro Martinez trade.  Cubs, Orioles, and Dodgers fans....not so much.

Besides being a former Major League Baseball player, Delino DeShields also has extremely talented children.  Even if one of them is a Tar Heel.

2010 Topps Tribute Johnny Mize Jersey Card

Small post to start off the week.  I had the good fortune to pick up a card of a Cardinals Hall of Famer at the end of last week.  I am not sure exactly what hat Johnny Mize is wearing on his Hall of Fame plaque, but he started off his career as Cardinal.  I think that many people associate him with the Giants and Yankees, but card companies have issued a few nice pieces of cardboards with him pictured as a Cardinal.

Mize actually played his first six seasons in St. Louis during which he won a batting title, two home run titles, led the National League four times in slugging percentage, and three times in OPS.  The Cardinals traded Mize to the Giants where he missed a few years because of World War II, but still had a couple above average to great seasons before closing out his career with the Yankees.

I guess the Mize factoid that always sticks in my mind was that always sticks out to me was the fact that he held the Cardinals single season record for home runs (with 43 in 1940) until Mark McGwire's record breaking season of 1998.  That season now ranks 6th on the Cardinals all-time single season home run list behind McGwire's 1998 and 1999 seasons (70 and 65 home runs) and three Pujols seasons (49-2006, 47-2009, and 46-2004).

 As for the card, this is my second Mize card that I have added to my collection and the best one yet.  I like the jersey piece on the card since it is an actual old piece of jersey and not something he wore in some Old Timers game twenty years after he retired.  Upper Deck put out a few nice Mize cards around 2004-2005 and Topps put out several different cards during the 2010 and 2011 seasons.  I've got my eye on another Mize card, so hopefully I will have another one to post in a few weeks.  

Trio of Sweet Tribute Cards

I picked up three new 2013 Tribute cards this week in a trade.  Each of the new cards is equally cool in it's own way, but I am always happy to add a nice new autograph from a great set like Tribute that features on-card autographs.  So, let's get started with the first only non-autographed card in this trade.

2013 Topps Tribute Green Yadier Molina 

This card actually started this trade.  My brother in-law pulled this card out of a pack of Tribute and we started working on a trade.  It can be tough to find cool Molina cards since he longer signs autographs and rarely has any new relic cards.  There are a few floating around here and there, but there is a definite premium on the cards and a serious lack of supply.  Of course, there are always parallel cards.  This card is limited to just 75 prints on really nice card stock and features a picture of Yadier in his catcher's gear.  It's been awhile since I have picked up a Yadi card, so I decided to go ahead and trade for this card which helped me land two more nice autographed Tribute cards.

2013 Topps Tribute Andy Pettitte Autograph 

I think at one point I owned a 1996 Leaf Signature Andy Pettitte autograph, but it has been awhile.  Pettitte, in my opinion, probably is one of those Hall of Very Good players and not a Hall of Famers, but he has been around forever and won a lot of games.  In fact, he picked up his 250th win yesterday.  Outside of his win total, I am not sure what Pettitte does really well.  His Baseball Reference comparables page is filled with other really good pitchers, not Hall of Famers, like David Wells, Mike Mussina, Kevin Brown, and Charlie Leibrandt.  

Despite being a little short on Hall of Fame credentials Pettitte has some pretty good and valuable cardboard floating around.  He's a definite fan favorite in New York, you can find an occasional Astros fan, and his cards are in pretty high demand.  Hall of Very Good Player with Hall of Fame prices.  It happens.  

2013 Topps Tribute Matt Moore Autograph 

Last, but not least, is one of my favorite former Durham Bulls.  Matt Moore is off to a really good start this season in Tampa sitting at 8-1 with an ERA just below 3.  I picked up a bunch of Moore autographs last year, but this is my first of 2013.  Moore has a great signature and his autographs have come down a little bit from last year making them a little bit more affordable.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

2010 Topps Tribute Justin Upton Dual Jersey Autograph

Apparently I have been collecting the wrong Upton the past few years.  After watching B.J. Upton spend a little time with the Durham Bulls a few summers back, I decided that I would collect his cards.  I've even featured a few of them during the past year on this space.  All the while I was aware that there was another Upton roaming around the Majors, but I just never got a really good feeling watching Justin Upton.  Silly reason not to pick up a card of someone, but I am usually pretty good at this sort of thing.

Never went crazy on Delmon Young even though he was a number one overall pick and a Durham Bull.  I ran away from Tommy Hanson cards the first few years he was in the bigs.  Josh Hamilton?  I've owned at least fifteen different Josh Hamilton autographs.  They only I've actually kept is one copy of his 1999 Topps Traded autograph.  That's it.

I am not sure what has always bothered me about Justin Upton, but at least part of my worry in picking up one of his autographs has always been justifying the price.  While he cards are not the most expensive autographs in the world, there hard to find for less than $10-$15.  He also has a lot of early, low print run cards that can cost a pretty penny too.

I thought his cards would pick up some steam with his trade to Atlanta and his perceived great start in a Braves uniforms.  While the younger Upton is hitting home runs in bunches this year in Atlanta, he still appears to be a very similar player to the one I did not really like in Arizona.  However, he is playing much better than his brother, not hard to do at this point, and he is in a better baseball town.

Well, we've all got to spend our Ebay Bucks somewhere and it never hurts to do a little combined shipping and pick up a few cards that you are looking for and not just the one.  I was actually looking for a few other things and stumbled upon this card:

2010 Topps Tribute Justin Upton Dual Jersey Autograph 

The card would be way better if it weren't a sticker autograph, but I guess I can now say that I own a Justin Upton autograph and that I did not grossly overpay for it.  The card is limited to 50 print runs and comes from a premium Topps product.  I am going to go ahead and put this in one of my boxes of autographs, but might consider flipping it around to some lucky Braves fan if Upton goes on a good tear once it gets hot in Atlanta.  

Complete Set: 2013 Topps Archives

I am amazed at how quickly I can assemble a set sometimes without busting open a pack of cards or winning a single Ebay auction.  I managed a few trades with a couple of friends that like to participate in case busts and put together my very own 2013 Topps Archives set.  I put this set together last year and really enjoyed see all of the designs of the past Topps sets.  While I wonder at times if Topps rehashes some of their old designs a little too often, I like that the Archives set uses a few of the less used card designs in this years issue of Archives.  So, let me tell you a little bit about the set and show off the card designs in this years set.

2013 Topps Archives Mike Trout 

The most recent of the four reused designs in this year's set comes from the 1990 set.  While the actual 1990 set is generally missable, I do kind of dig the design used on the cards.  I am not not sure why I like the style of these cards, but I do.  I guess it is not a black or white border, which is hard for Topps to see beyond sometimes when they issue their base sets.  Of all the 1990 cards issued in the Archives set this year I kind of dig the Trout card the best.  

2013 Topps Archives Robin Yount

The Topps Archives set also features several players from the past throughout the set.  Names like Musial, Ted Williams, and Jackie Robinson are common historical cards in Topps sets and again make appearances in this new release.  While I like that Topps incorporates a little bit of history into the base set of Archives I really like the cards that fit the original era of the cards.  For example, as a Cardinals fan I love that Musial is in the set and featured in the 1990 designed part of the set.  However, cards like this Robin Yount and the Reggie Jackson below seem to fit the card design a little better since the players where active during the actual release of the original set.  

2013 Topps Archives Reggie Jackson 

Overall, I think that the 1982 design is my favorite in the set.  While I started collecting cards in 1983 and missed the 1982 cards as a kid, I have assembled the set (several times) as an adult collector and I really enjoy the cards.  My favorite two cards in the 1982 design are the Shelby Miller "rookie card" and this cool Reggie Jackson which is actually similar to the 1982 Topps Traded Reggie Jackson card.  Mr. October actually is pictured on the Yankees in the base set, but the traded set featured Jackson in his Angels digs sporting his tinted glasses.  

2013 Topps Archives Chris Davis 

Lastly there is the 1972 designed cards.  I am kind of indifferent about this set.  I think I have picked up a bunch of the Cardinals cards from this set, but I do not go out of my way for them.  I guess a lot of people like it for the Fisk rookie, but I like the 1971s better for my fun 70s card set. 

Overall, the 2013 Topps Archives base set is a pretty nice looking product.  I like the set designs that Topps put in the product and I like the selection of players they used filling the set with a good mix of current and vintage players.  My one improvement would be to have the vintage players match up a little bit better with the card designs, but I understand that Topps also wants to fit some of classic players into the set that do not necessarily fit into the same time period of as the card designs.  I will be making a follow up post for the Archives set to show of my favorite part of the Archives release.   

Friday, June 7, 2013

2012 Panini Elite Seth Maness Extra Edition Autograph

Starting off the weekend with a small pick-up from the past week.  While Panini is not necessarily my favorite card company I continue to be impressed with the wide selection of players that they have sign for their different products.  This season the Cardinals seem to be flying through players, but almost every minor leaguer brought up to St. Louis has some sort of card in a Panini product.  A good handful even have a signed card of two floating around on the secondary market.  I have been really impressed and over looked the fact that the cards are unlicensed and do not feature any uniform logos.

2012 Panini Elite Seth Maness Extra Edition Autograph

Maness has been up for a with the Cardinals for a few weeks now and has pitched in 15 games heading into tonight's game against the Reds.  His numbers are pretty average, but he already has 4 wins.  He's done a nice job of helping the team through a rough patch with some injuries and players underperforming.  Besides pitching for the Cardinals, Maness also pitched in college for the East Carolina Pirates and is originally from Pinehurst, North Carolina.  Always good to support some local kids in the show and East Carolina has been a pretty good baseball team as of late.  This is the only autograph card that Maness has out on the market, but there are 722 of them floating around.  They are inexpensive.