Thursday, August 29, 2013

Durham Bulls Chipper Jones Bobblehead

I forget about all of the other things that float into my collection beyond baseball cards that would be cool to post in my blog space.  I had a cool piece enter my collection this week that I have decided to share.  Maybe I will post a few more during the next week.

The past week the Durham Bulls honored former Braves third baseman, and future Hall of Famer, Chipper Jones.  The team had a ceremony before the game where he became the fourth Durham Bulls player to have his jersey retired.  The others are Johnny Evers, Joe Morgan, and Crash Davis.  A work event prevented me from attending the game, so here's a picture from the Durham Herald-Sun.

Jones played seventy games for the Durham Bulls at shortstop as while he was in A ball.  While he was not in Durham a long time, it does not take a long appearance in a Minor League city for a player to have a huge impact.  I remember watching Evan Longoria and David Price play for the Bulls, and while their stay in AAA was short, I am sure they will be among the best players I get to witness playing minor league baseball.  My baseball fans in the area who witnessed Jones brief stay with the Bulls say the same thing about him: short time, great impact.

Besides missing out on the ceremony and seeing Chipper Jones in person, I also missed out on the Stadium Giveaway of a Chipper Jones bobblehead.  Luckily, someone was kind enough to pick me up an extra bobble which I really like:

Chipper Jones time in Durham came in 1992, so the polyester Bulls uniform and plain blue hat fit the era perfectly.  The face is not a dead ringer for Chipper, but it's not too far away.  The base is also kind of a cool oval shape, though I would liked to have seen a bobble of Chipper hitting.  The back of course features the most important feature of the bobble:

The retired number 10 of Chipper Jones.  I was curious about where and when Jones started wearing the number 10, but could not find any history of his jersey numbers in the minors.  Overall, I really like this bobble head and proudly place it on my Durham Bulls shelf in my man cave.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

2013 Bowman Platinum Hak Ju Lee Jersey/Autograph

Time for a quick post tonight, but just barely.  My job, not as a blogger, is keeping me quite busy this week, so I am doing one card.  Fast.  I've had a great summer finding and adding Hak Ju Lee cards to my collection.  I saw one of the first home games the Durham Bulls played this spring and was greatly impressed by the Rays prospect.  This Bowman Platinum card is my latest addition.

2013 Bowman Platinum Jersey/Autograph 

While it has been a great summer for me to add new Hak Ju Lee crds to my collection, this has been a lost season for the future shortstop of the Rays.  Lee's weakness was long considered his offensive production, but he lead the International League in hitting for the first few weeks of the season before tearing a ligament in his knee and missing the remainder of the season.  I am not sure if the Rays will send Lee back to AAA next season, or if he will just jump up to the Majors.  I suppose that it all depends on his performance in Spring Training, but from what I can tell Lee is already able to play defensively at a Major League level.  I would be happy to see Lee make the Rays next year and will not complain if he is in Durham for another season.  Hopefully the knee is doing well.  

Monday, August 26, 2013

Favorite Non-Sport Ginters Part 2

Start this thread a few days back, but here's a look at my favorite non-sport Ginter cards from 2010 through the present 2013 set just released a few weeks back.

2010 Ginters
The 2010 Ginter set featured several non-sport sets with a good mix of topics and sizes.  Several of the sets were smaller with five and ten cards.  There were three large sets, Animals, Lords of Olympus, and Monsters of the Mesozoic.  The Animals set was a fifty card set and the latter two sets were each twenty-five card sets.  My personal two favorites from this set were the Monsters of the Mesozoic and the Sailors of the Seven Seas set.

2010 Topps Allen & Ginter Sailors of the Seven Seas Sir Francis Drake

2010 Topps Allen & Ginter Monsters of the Mesozoic Iguanodon 

2011 Ginters 
The 2011 Allen & Ginter set featured some really cool non-sport cards.  If I had to pick a favorite year for the non-sport Ginters this might be the one.  The sets, again, ranged greatly in size but there subjects included Animals in Peril, Bearded Figures (Brian Wilson included), Floating Fortresses, Step Right Up (Circus Themed), and my tow favorites Uninvited Guests and Mysterious Figures.  

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter World's Mysterious Figures D.B. Cooper 

The Mysterious Figures set includes The Man in the Iron Mask, Nostradamus, and famed high jacker D.B. Cooper.  It's a smaller set at only ten cards, but I really like the art work in the set.  Definitely worth checking into, but a few of the cards are a little bit tricky to find.

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Lemp Mansion Uninvited Guests 

I had to get the Uninvited Guests set for the Lemp Mansion card alone.  This Ginter set features buildings and structures with a history of hauntings.  The Lemp Mansion has the reputation of being the spookiest and creepiest building in my childhood home of St. Louis.  If you are into ghosts and the whatnot here is The Lemp Mansion, as presented by The Ghost Hunters.  

2012 Ginters 
The 2012 Ginter set offered collectors a chance to collect cards of Historic Turning Points (Battles), Military Leaders, Giants of the Deep, Musical Masters, and People of the Bible.  The People of the Bible cards were not inspired by this Simpson's clip and Methuzula was not included.

Instead I have to side with the World's Tallest Buildings and Man's Best Friend as my two favorite non-sport sets from the 2012 release.  

2012 Topps Allen & Ginter World's Tallest Building Woolworth Building

I like the buildings on these cards.  Not only did Topps include some of the really tall buildings around the country, but they picked ones with personality.  Sorry, the Sears Tower (or whatever it is these days) is not cool looking, it's just really tall.  The Burj Khalifa has a little more personality. 

2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Man's Best Friend Collie

I do not own a dog, but the day is fast approaching when I will bothered unmercilessly until I cave and spend a Saturday afternoon driving through tobacco fields to find my son a dog.  I grew up with dogs, so I am coming to grips with the fact that I will own another one soon enough.  For the moment this is my son's favorite stack of cards to look at in my card room and he's taken over several of my dupes from this set.  Since my son loves this set, it makes the list.

2013 Ginters
I had to put together the baseball card set first, that is my priority, then start to assemble the non-sports cards.  It's still a work in progress and unlike the other sets on this list, none of these are complete, but they are my current targets.  First up is the Famous Finds set.  

2013 Topps Allen & Ginter Famous Finds The Tomb of Qin Shi Huang

I picked this set mainly for the card above which features the famous Terracotta Warriors.  I actually got to see the Terracotta Warriors in person at the Art Museum in Memphis while I was in college.  One of the coolest things I have ever seen in a museum, so I am putting together this set.  Some good looking card for sure. 

2013 Topps Allen & Ginter One Little Corner Sun

I liked the looks of the One Little Corner set, which features different bodies from space, so I made this my second non-sport target from the newest Ginter release.  I have about half of this set so far which is another non-sport collection that reminds me a lot of the original Ginter cards.  

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Favorite Non-Sport Ginters-Part 1

I've been spending a lot of time this week on the newest Ginter set and figured I should do a fun post on some of the cool Ginter cards I have added to my collection over the past several years.  The 2013 release of the Allen & Ginter set marks the eighth release of the product by Topps with the first coming in 2006.  The original Allen & Ginter sets featured a lot of pop culture types of cards, almost almanac like, if that turn could be used.  Topps did a great job of keeping some of that feel alive by including a few non-sports cards in each set.  Here are my favorites from 2006-2009:

2006 Allen & Ginter

This set was the weakest in terms of non-sport cards within the Master Set.  There were the usual non-sport cards within the base set, which mainly focused around U.S. Presidents and a few notorious figures such as this cool card of outlaw Billy the Kid.

2006 Topps Allen & Ginter Billy The Kid

The 2006 set was really much closer to the T-206 set and some of the other vintage remakes that Topps has put out in the past, rather than the Ginter sets of put out the last few years, which do a better job of duplicating some of the original traits of the the Allen & Ginter set.  The rest of the inserts were dominated by autographs and relics, though there were a few others, such as the Postcards set shown below.

2006 Topps Allen & Ginter Vladimir Guerrero Postcards Front

2007 Allen & Ginter

This was the first year that the Ginter set took on it's current look in terms of non-sports cards.  The 2007 Allen & Ginter set featured three such insert sets: Snakes, Flags, and Roman Emperors.  There is a very good original Ginter feel to these three sets.  The snakes set is pretty cool, but I really like the Flags and Roman Emperors sets.

2007 Topps Allen & Ginter Flags Columbia 

All three insert sets are featured on the miniature card format with the Flag set being the largest at 50 cards.  The original Ginter sets had flag cards, so this is a good attempt by Topps to recreate the original feel of the cards.  The subsequent Ginter sets also had flag cards, but they often tied into baseball, such as the 2008 State Flags set which featured players and the flags of their home states.  The set has more of a feel like the Bowman International cards....

2008 Topps Allen & Ginter State Flags Ryan Zimmerman North Cacilacky

The Roman Emporers set was also good in the 2007 set with a grand total of 10 cards.  Collectors can get a miniature sized history lesson on the lengthy history of the Roman Empire by putting together this set and reading through the snippets on the backs of the cards.  

2007 Topps Allen & Ginter Roman Emperors Titus

2008 Allen & Ginter 

The 2008 Ginter set picked up right where the 2007 set started and offered collectors more cool non-sport cards.  There were once again three primary non-sport inserts, all minis, in the 2008 release with Topps offering World Leaders, Deadliest Sharks, and World Icons.  My favorite two were the World Leaders and the Deadliest Sharks.  Again, the World's Leaders set was a large insert set of 50 which made a little bit more challenging to assemble.  

2008 Topps Allen & Ginter World Leaders Nguyen Tan Dung

My other favorite from the 2008 release was the Deadliest Sharks set which only featured five cards.  The cards aren't really hard to find, but I really enjoy the set.  Not sure why, just so.  

2008 Topps Allen & Ginter Deadliest Sharks Oceanic Whitetip Shark 

The 2008 set also featured the Pioneers of Aviation set, but I have never added any cards from that set and never pulled any out of packs.  They are really cheap on Ebay and it appears that there are only five cards in the set.  

2009 Allen & Ginter 

My two favorites from the 2009 Ginter set were the National Heroes set and the World's Biggest Hoaxes set.  The National Heroes set, again, had the feel of the some of the original Ginter cards from the late 1800s.  

 2009 Topps Allen & Ginter National Heroes Rigas Feraios 

The hoaxes set though is really cool.  Lots of cool cards in this little set with a shout out to Enron, DB Cooper, and Cold Fusion. 

2009 Topps Allen & Ginter Biggest Hoaxes Cold Fusion

Was this card based on the plot of a Val Kilmer movie?  Roger Moore was way better in this role...


Two New Inception Cards

The Inception set has been out for awhile and I am still adding pieces to my collection.  The set lacks some of the star power of other Topps releases this season, but there are many things that I really like about the set.  First off, the set has a great design.  The cards remind me a little bit of the Five Star product released at the end of last year, but without the ridiculously thick card stock that chips.  Second, you have to love when card companies take time to get the players to sign the actual cards, not a bunch of stickers.  Third, while the set lacks the star power of other Topps set the prospects who signed for the set are high end prospects or are worthy of checking out.

Months after the sets release, I am enjoying the fact that the autographs seemed to have settled in price and allowed me to add a pair of great looking autographs for a small amount of money.  Less than $10 shipped.  My new cards:

2013 Bowman Inception Taijuan Walker Autograph 

The guy pitches in the Mariners minor league system.  He's got only 22 wins in four minor league seasons and this season his record stands at 8-10.  I partially understand the price of his cards if you are just looking at the superficial statistics like wins, but this guy is going to likely be a very good player.  While he is 8-10 in two stops at AA and AAA this year he is the youngest player in both leagues at 20 and is averaging more than a strikeout an inning while maintaining a three to one strikeout to walk ratio.

Baseball America rates him as the #5 overall prospect in the game and there are rumblings that he could be called up in a week when the calendar turns to September and the Major League rosters expand to 40.  I also understand collectors being cautious with Mariners prospects after the likes of Dustin Ackley and Justin Smoak, have left people with disappointment and lost investments.  I have a better feeling about Walker.  

2013 Bowman Inception Jake Odorizzi Autograph 

I also added another card of Rays prospect Jake Odorizzi.  I have added several others this summer including his Inception Jersey/Autograph.  Odorizzi is currently pitching for the Durham Bulls who just clinched their sixth International League Southern Division Championship in the past seven years.  I am guessing Odorizzi could get a spot start for the Rays down the stretch, but is likely in AAA until he is given a crack at the rotation next spring.  

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Atomic Awesomeness!

There are some great inserts around from the 90s that I wish card companies would bring back and reintroduce into their products.  Parallels and chase cards nowadays can be complicated and overdone.  How many different color variations does Topps put into some of their sets now?  The fact that there are collectors make whole rainbows, not half a rainbow, out of one players cards should probably tell you that there might be a few too many.

This past week I had the chance to go back in time and chase down a parallel of one of my favorite players.  I've been looking for a 1997 Bowman's Best Atomic Refractor of Ray Lankford for some time, but had not been able to pin one down yet.  I found one on Ebay about a year ago and got busy the day the auction closed and missed the card.  Another one popped up recently that I watched for a long time.

1997 Bowman's Best Ray Lankford Atomic Refractor 

I was not sure I wanted to pay more than $5 for this card plus $3 in shipping, but the seller eventually came down and I was able to pick up the card.  I can now say that I have the 1997 Bowman's Best "Rainbow" of Ray Lankford card.  You know, all three of them.

I used to love finding the Bowman parallels in the late 90s when the card set simply had refractors and atomic refractors.  The refractors generally came two per box and atomic refractors came one per box.  Simple, no serial numbers, and no crazy colors upon colors.  The cards are still highly collectable too and many cards fans of the 90s are willing to pay good money to pick up a copy of a refractor or atomic refractor of their favorite players.  Perhaps Topps should try this simple approach with some of their 2014 products.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Pair of New Cards From Facebook

A picked up a new pair of cards late last week from a Facebook friend and have been a little too backlogged with all of the Ginter posts this week to post the new acquisitions.  I have been not very active on my Facebook trading page in recent months, but still try to maintain some contact with a few of my favorite traders around the different trade pages.  It seems like many of the collectors around Facebook have become hooked on raffles, which really are not my cup of tea.  So, here are two quick cards for this evening.

First up tonight is a 2013 Topps Matt Moore autograph.  I actually did not pick up very many base autographed cards out of the two Topps series when they released earlier in the spring and fall.  The Moore card was on my radar, but I had not found it for a price that I liked until now.

2013 Topps Matt Moore Autograph 


While the card features a sticker autograph I really like the design of the card with the giant Rays logo behind the action shot of Moore throwing a pitch.  He's also have a great season with a 14-3 record and almost a strikeout per inning.  Moore is one of my favorite former Durham Bulls.

Next card:

2012 Donruss Elite USA Baseball Dom Nunez Jersey/Autograph

I took a flyer on a Dom Nunez card.  I am going to put this card in a box for the next four or five years and forget I have it.  Hopefully when I find it I will be pleasantly surprised and happy.  Nunez appeared last summer with the High School All-Stars at USA Baseball.  I heard some good stuff about him from some locals, so I figure he might be worth a gamble.  This summer the Rockies selected the infielder in the sixth round and assigned him to the Pioneer League.  He is currently hitting under .200, but half of his hits are extra base hits.  Maybe this card works out, maybe it does not.  It's one of the fun things about this hobby.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Box I Got vs The Box I Want Part 3

During the first two posts in my set about my Ginter box break I have shared my box topper, followed by a trade, and my relics cards, also followed by a trade.  There was also that Rollins autograph.  For the third installment of posts on my Ginter box I will focus on the base set.  This year's set is 350 cards deep and features 300 regular cards and 50 short prints.  The final 50 cards in this year's set are the short prints.  

Unfortunately it is mathematically impossible to complete a set by ripping a single box of a product and often when it is possible, collation usually prevents it from happening.  Ginter boxes are actually quite well collated with few dupes, but collectors attempting to put together a complete set are left with something of a challenge.  I assembled my complete set, including the short prints, in just over a week through a few trades and by purchasing up a few lots of cards on Ebay. 

Here's my quick take on the base set:

2013 Topps Allen & Ginter Evan Longoria 

Allen & Ginter has become an annual release from Topps and I would venture to say that it is probably one of the more anticipated products every year.  While I do not have the sales numbers to prove the products popularity, it is often hard to find boxes of this product on Internet Card Stores, such as Atlanta Sports Cards, after the first few days.  There are still boxes floating around on Ebay, but they dry up within a few weeks too.  The base cards of the Ginter set are always on a white background and feature some sort of border inspired by some of the original Ginter cards.  

I always think of the base set in three parts: current baseball players, vintage baseball players, and pop culture cards.  The Longoria pictured above is one of my favorite current players in this years set.  I like the horizontal card design, most are vertical, on this card and like the picture of Longoria's follow through.  I would say that sixty percent of the set is made up of current baseball players.  

2013 Topps Allen & Ginter Willie Stargell

The other forty percent of the set is composed equally of the pop culture cards and vintage baseball players cards.  The vintage players are pretty cool, but Topps can be a little bit repetitive with the older players they include in some of their sets.  Why is there always a Wally Joyner (Wally Joyner 117 OPS+, Ray Lankford OPS+ 123.  More Lankford)?  I like looking at the pictures on the vintage cards and often like looking at the different unis on the vintage player's cards.  This year I really like this Willie Stargell card with the yellow Pirates helmet and the black pinstriped polyester uniform.  The are plenty of other good ones in this year's set. 

2013 Topps Allen & Ginter Nik Wallenda

The final segment of the set is the pop culture segment.  The original Allen & Ginter cards were actually filled with all sorts of cards like these.  The pop culture segment can also include, besides people, places, events, and objects.  I always thought of the original Ginter cards as being really informational.  This year's set is mainly filled with people, but also has a fair number of places mixed into the set too.  I am going to post a little more about the non-sport cards in the Ginter sets this weekend.  

Monday, August 19, 2013

That Other Guy

Sometimes when trades are made baseball fans get caught up in the players on the Major League level and forget all about the other players involved in the transaction at the minor league level.  During this past off-season the Rays made a large off-season trade with the Royals sending their front line starting pitcher James Shields to the American League Central in exchange for Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery, and Patrick Leonard.  The Rays also gave up Wade Davis and Elliot Johnson, but most of the evaluation of the trade has focused on Myers, Odorizzi, Montgomery, and Shields.

While Shields is only sporting a .500 record at 8-8, he has been an innings eater and provided quality starts for the Royals.  The Royals are 8 games behind the Tigers in the Central and 5 behind the A's and Rays for the Wild Card spots, but when have the Royals been close enough to sniff the playoffs?  The Rays have certainly done well with Myers and Odorizzi and Montgomery pitching well in the minors.  The trade may very well tilt further in the Rays favor if Odorizzi or Montgomery evolve into a solid Major League pitcher capable of providing the Rays with a quality starts and innings.

There is also that other guy in the trade: Patrick Leonard.  Not much has been said about the inclusion of Leonard in the trade, but he's definitely an intriguing talent for the Rays to try to develop.  He spent his senior year of high school playing for former Astros second baseman, and future Hall of Famer, Craig Biggio.  At 6'4 and 225 Leonard has some serious size and serious power.  The Royals selected the former third baseman, turned outfielder, in the fifth round of the 2011 Major League Draft.

Since his trade to the Rays, Topps has included him in their Bowman, Topps Debut, and Bowman Platinum releases.  I was able to pick up a copy of his Bowman Platinum card last week, which features a large chunk of bat and an autograph.

2013 Bowman Platinum Patrick Leonard Bat/Autograph 

There are 200 copies of this cool Leonard card, but almost every single copy of the card is probably on Ebay, or has been on Ebay.  The price is rather low for the potential player that Leonard could be down the road.  Copies can be acquired for less than $5 shipped.  Even if you do not like the Rays this is a pretty sweet card for that price.

Part of the lackluster card market for Leonard could be a slight decline in his performance on the field this season.  However, it seems like many card collectors ignore the performances of minor league players and purchase and trade blindly solely on the word of experts and prospect rankings.  Why isn't everyone buying George Springer cards?  Leonard's average and homers have both dropped in his step up from Rookie League to A Ball, but his doubles have almost tripled.

Leonard is still only 20 and given the Rays ability to constantly stock their Major League team with ready and able bodies from the Minor Leagues, $5 seems a small gamble to take on a player like Leonard getting some opportunity to produce someday down the road in Tampa.  While WIl Myers hit for a high overall average, he also experienced droughts in power before his breakout performance in 2012 playing in AAA.

The Box I Got vs. The Box I Want Part 2

This weekend I started a set of posts on my 2013 Ginter box I bought last week and how I am reshaping my hit cards to better fit my collection.  During my last post I focused on my box topper, which was a Josh Hamilton, but I turned it into a Miguel Cabrera.  My relic cards will be the subject of today's post which I will say might have made some really happy.  I was not so happy, but I cashed in on a really good pair of relics and landed four cards that better fit my collection.

So, here are my two relic cards:

2013 Topps Allen & Ginter Nick Saban Used Shirt? 

2013 Topps Allen & Ginter Nelson Cruz Jersey

Nelson Cruz is just kind meh, but I know a lot of people that would have been hoping up and down if they had pulled that Saban shirt card.  Honestly, I do watch college football, but it's somewhere down on the list behind baseball and college basketball.  I do follow and watch NC State and Mizzou I would not say I am a die hard fan.  I can watch any baseball game and be pretty happy, not so much with football.

Saban once stepped over a player have a seizure to go sit in his office.  Saban gave his quarterback a spanking once on national television.  From the perspective of a casual fan he seems like a bit of an asshole.  I do not care if the guy wins, he's like college football's version of John Calipari.  Although, I am not sure that Calipari ever looked like this....

So, obviously the Saban card was getting shipped out, but I just was not sure what kind of haul I could get for that card.  I have known a Bama fan or two and know they can be a little bit over the top, so I was patient, and played my cards well and cashed out Little Nicky for a pretty good haul.

2013 Topps Allen & Ginter Paul Goldschmidt Autograph

2013 Topps Allen & Ginter Chris Archer Autograph

Not a bad thing ever to dump a relic card for two autographs.  I was especially happy with the Goldschmidt autograph.  He's have a great season and I feel like his cards are probably underrepresented in my collection.  The Archer is self explanatory: Durham Bulls, Raleigh native, and Rays.  Goodbye Saban.

Which left me with the Nelson Cruz.  I decided to package the Cruz jersey together with a couple of other Rangers relics and traded them to a Rangers fan who had pulled two Cardinals relics of Matt Holliday and Adam Wainwright.

2013 Topps Allen & Ginter Adam Wainwright Jersey

2013 Topps Allen & Ginter Matt Holliday Jersey

Both cards are welcome additions to the collection and got me started on putting together my Cardinals team set from the Allen & Ginter set.  Overall, I was happy with my two trades.  I started out with two relic cards, one average and one above average, and walked away with a pair of autographs and a pair of jersey cards from the Cardinals.  More Ginter later in the week.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

2001 Fleer Focus Ray Lankford Green Parallel

The Fleer Focus set was released several times in the early 2000s by Fleer.  The set was a pretty standard release for Fleer during that time period.  The boxes weren't overly pricy and collectors had the opportunity to pull a decent autograph or relic card.  The Fleer Focus product also gave the collectors the opportunity to find a couple of different parallels of their favorite players.  In a cool twist, Fleer did not run the standard parallels of 50, 100, and 500 or other common numbers that card companies run their parallels to.  Instead, Fleer ran a lot of the parallels in the Focus set to player's stat lines with each stat being a different colored parallel.  Donruss also had parallels that ran to the player's stat lines, but Fleer started these cards with Focus.

2001 Fleer Focus Ray Lankford Green Parallel

I was recently able to add the Ray Lankford green parallel collection this week.  The green parallel is numbered to the players Batting Average or their ERA.  In this case, Ray Lankford had a batting average of .253 during the 2000 season, Fleer made a grand total of 253 copies of this card.  Ironically, better position players would have a greater number of parallel cards in this set, while pitchers would likely be the opposite.

While Ray Lankford was a career .272 hitter he had a low year in 2000 with knee issues and missed almost 30 games to start the season.  In fact, the first months of the 2000 season the former Cardinals outfielder only hit .176.  Lankford would put up a similar .250ish line for the Cardinals in 2001 before the team traded him to the Padres for pitcher Woody Williams.  Not the hardest parallel to find, but still a welcome addition to the Ray Lankford collection.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Box I Got vs. The Box I Want Part 1

I have been flying a little bit low on wax this year.  Reorganizing my collection has meant holding the line on adding large lots of single cards and more focus on assembling card sets from small lots and then filling in with single cards from trades and purchases from secondary market websites such as Ebay.  There are sets that I still have not missed with the wax such as the base Topps sets and Gypsy Queen.  One of my other targeted sets, Allen & Ginter, also released recently.  I had to get a box.

I shared my cool hit from my box on the site earlier last week, with my cool autograph of musician Henry Rollins.  It was a cool card, so I will share again.

2013 Topps Allen & Ginter Henry Rollins Autograph 

Now, the rest of my box was pretty disappointing.  I love Ginter and I loved the look of the cards this year, but I feel like my disappointment had more to do with the players on the hit cards I pulled more than the actual content of the box.  The set is incredible and I have been working hard to put together the base set including the short prints.  So, what do you do when you open a cool box, love the set, and hate the hits?  Swap them out.  I went to work in the middle of the week and came up with some good trades and great improved my take away from this product.

Tonight I will start with my box topper.  When you buy a box with a topper and it's a dud it sets a bad tone for your entire box.  I felt really sad when I ripped open my oversized box topper pack and was staring back at this:

2013 Topps Allen & Ginter Josh Hamilton Cabinet Card

Hamilton has turned into one bad player since he has left the Rangers and joined Arte Moreno's band of underachieving/overpaid band out in Anaheim.  Luckily, Hamilton is a local Raleigh guy and loved by a lot of people in central North Carolina.  His cards are pretty easy to pass on around the area if you are willing to listen to stories about how the person met Hamilton at a Target or Cook Out or something.  Like all Hamilton cards I was able to successfully pass this card on locally for......

2013 Topps Allen & Ginter Miguel Cabrera Cabinet Card

I am not sure the person who swapped me this card has actually paid attention to what's happening this season with this two players, but I walked away quickly got in my car and drove away.  While the Cabrera card is a better card, both are very attractive cards, and very well made.  I love the design with the black and white photo and cool frame.  Even the backs of the cards are really cool....

I love the design and writing around the edges of the card and always like how Topps puts the vintage ads on the backs of the retro brands like Ginter, T206, and Gypsy Queen.  Gives the card a good authentic vintage feel.  Happy to add this Miggy jumbo to my collection and honestly like the cards enough that I might try to assemble a collection of box toppers once I have my base set put together.  

2013 Bowman Platinum Kolten Wong Jersey/Autograph

I am in need of a few more Kolten Wong autographs and was happy to add a new on earlier this week. A busy week at work has kept me from typing and posting this card, but I was really happy about this one.  For those who are not familiar with Wong, the Cardinals drafted him out of the University of Hawaii in 2011.  He's risen up through the minors during the past year and a half and actually made his Major League debut yesterday for the Cardinals.  Here's a look at the card:

2013 Bowman Platinum Kolten Wong Jersey/Autograph 

Wong's promotion onto a full Cardinals roster means that someone is going to lose some playing time.  Most are pointing at Cardinals third baseman David Freese.  With current second baseman Matt Carpenter enjoying a career year, most do not see him losing playing time.  Carpenter's natural position is also third base.  Add in the fact that Freese is not hitting, has always been a little suspect in the field, and you've got some time riding the pine.  

The Cardinals have had a bit of a revolving door at second for the past decade, so the addition of Kolten Wong will hopefully provide a little stability at the position moving forward.  It will be nice to have a solid performer manning the position for the next couple of years rather than waiting to see who will fill in the role occupied by Mark Grudzielanek, Tony Womack, and other notables from the Cardinals pile of retread second baseman.

On to the card.  I have added a few Bowman Platinums this summer, but this has to be one of my favorites.  It's a sticker autograph, which is a downer, but Wong is a pretty consistent signer with a clear autograph that looks something like Kolten Wong.  The jersey piece is also cool.  Though it is not clear on the scanner, it's allergic to Royals/Tar Heels colors, the jersey swatch appears to be from the Futures Game in 2012 at Kaufmann Stadium in Kansas City.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pudge? Where's Raffy?

I ran across a really inexpensive dual relic from the early 2000s this week when I found a really nice dual bat of Ivan Rodriguez and Alex Rodriguez.  This card hails from the 2001 Upper Deck MVP set, which has some great relic cards for a cheap box, and features the two former All-Stars as Rangers teammates.

2001 Upper Deck MVP Ivan Rodriguez/Alex Rodriguez Dual Bat Card

While the 2001 Rangers were a pretty good offensive team with the two Rodriguezs, Raffy Palmeiro, Ruben Sierra, Michael Young, and Rusty Greer the team finished in last place 16 games below .500.  I guess signing ARod for 250 million then letting Darren Oliver and Rick Helling anchor your rotation is not a great idea.  Anyway, I have spent some time over the years collecting the relic cards from this set, batting gloves and dual bat pieces, and have whittled my checklist down to a Raffy card.

If it weren't a busy week I would scan all the cards, batting gloves too, and post them.  However, I do work a job that pays money and I have an Open House tomorrow night.  Might be nice to be prepared. So, instead of a whole set, I bring you my five favorite dual bat cards from the 2001 Upper Deck MVP set.

2001 Upper Deck MVP Chipper Jones/Rafael Furcal Dual Bat Card

A future Hall of Famer, and former Durham Bull, in the person of Chipper Jones and a shortstop from the Cardinals 2011 World Championship team.  What's not to love?  

 2001 Upper Deck MVP Carlos Delgado/Jose Vidro Dual Bat Card

Anytime you can find a cool Expos card is a good day.  Anytime you can find a cool Expos card without Dawson, Carter, or Vlad is double cool.  Not sure I dig Delgado, but if Upper Deck had done an Orlando Cabrera/Jose Vidro card the awesome meter might have exploded.  

2001 Upper Deck MVP Jose Canseco/Ken Griffey Jr. Dual Bat Card

I really have a nice collection of Griffey cards for a non-Griffey collector.  Then I have this conversation piece with Griffey and Canseco.  

2001 Upper Deck MVP Frank Thomas/Sammy Sosa Dual Bat Card

There are not many Sosa relics, or Sosa autographs, floating around out there.  I like this one with Frank Thomas and the two good Chicago players from the time.  I could have also put the Magglio/Frank Thomas card here too, but Sosa.  

2001 Upper Deck MVP Kerry Wood/Rick Ankiel Dual Bat Card

Neither really lived up to the hype, but it's a really sweet card.  I like that Ankiel is hitting even though he would have been a pitcher at this point in his career.