Friday, May 24, 2013
I've got a little bit of a milestone coming up soon and a little bit of a giveaway to go along with it. Oops, I may have said too much.
Who is this week's victim, and why do we care? Pat Putnam was a first baseman who played in parts of eight major league seasons over the course of his career. He finished fourth in ROY voting in 1979 as a member of the Rangers and had a few productive if unspectacular seasons with the bat.
Why is this a thing? After spending most of his career in the Rangers organization, Putnam was traded to the Mariners prior to the start of the 1983 season. He'd spend most of his final two seasons there, before a late season deal brought him to Minnesota. Topps only had 14 games to capture Putnam in action with the Twins, and failed to do so, settling for this ghostly image of Putnam in... heaven?
Airbrushed Fridays is a regular, weekly feature as the name seems to imply. If you know of a card with an altered photograph that you'd like to see featured, please contact me. You probably won't win anything other than a hyperlink and a copy of Dustin Diamond's "Behind the Bell", but you never know!
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Welcome to the Cards on Cards Trade Bait Bonanza. There's nothing very earth-shattering here, but each card is at least worth talking about, in my opinion. I will keep this post permanently linked on the sidebar, and will bump it to the top of the blog every time I add new cards. The most recently added cards will be at the top of the post. If you're interested in anything you see here (or anything else among my "Up For Grabs" posts or set doubles) please send me an email and we will talk.
Jeff Bagwell 1990 CMC #739
The Bagwell for Larry Andersen trade still stands as one of the worst of all-time. One of the original Killer Bees, Bagwell spent his entire big league career with the Astros. I realize that the further that we distance ourselves from the '90s, the less impressed we are with the whole thing. I could see that turning around eventually.
Brandon Beachy 2011 Topps Chrome #176
Tommy John surgery is becoming a rite of passage for young pitchers. People were excited about this guy before he went under the knife last year and they will, presumably, be excited once again if he returns to peak levels in another year or so.
Robinson Cano 2012 Topps Heritage New Age Performers #NAP-RC
Cano is one of the best players in baseball at a position where stars are slim-to-none.
Carlos Gonzalez 2008 Bowman Chrome Draft #BDP19
Sometimes I have a hard time differentiating between fantasy value and baseball card value. CarGo is a terrific young outfielder and someone anyone would love to have on their team, fake or otherwise. No one seems to give a crap about his baseball cards, rookie or otherwise. I would like to see that change.
Carlos Gonzalez 2008 Topps Stadium Club #128 [5 available]
Bob Feller / Pedro Martinez 2001 Topps Heritage Then and Now #TH8
One of the things that motivates me to go to card shows is that it seems to be the only way I have a chance in hell of acquiring 2001 Topps Heritage cards.
Matt Holliday / Jeff Winchester 1999 Topps #442
Poor Jeff Winchester. I wonder if he hangs out in bars telling people that Matt Holliday was on his rookie card.
Josh Hamilton 2000 Topps Gold Label Class 3 #62
Some people have player collections that only include cards of a player on a certain team, or in some cases only excluding a certain team. I wonder if there are any Devil Rays-only Hambone collectors.
Josh Hamilton 2000 Topps Gold Label Prospector's Dream #PD10
Mark Langston 1984 Fleer Update #U-70
Langston is a 4-time All-Star and 7-time Gold Glove winner. 1984 Fleer Update cards don't exactly grow on trees.
Greg Maddux 1994 Church's Chicken Hometown Stars #4
Nothin' says lovin' like a regional food issue superstar card. The strange thing about this card, aside from the fact that it is officially a Chicken Card, is that it was produced by Pinnacle and basically looks like a Score card on the back. Yet, there is no MLB license for some reason.
Ozzie Smith 1982 Topps #95
Just a classic early Ozzie card from the hockey stick set that I have in duplicate.
Carlos Quentin 2004 Bowman Chrome #202
It's a true rookie card of the guy who fought that guy for some reason.
Pablo Sandoval 2006 Bowman Heritage Prospects #BHP36 [3 available]
Sandoval is probably best described as the Big Papi of the west. It's surprising to see that he's just 26 and that his power is probably still developing.
Curt Schilling 1989 Donruss #635
It's hard to make a convincing argument that anything from 1989 that doesn't have Griffey in the name somewhere is actually trade bait, but if you take this home you can gaze into the smarmy eyes of a young Curt Schilling. I am pretty sure I have a few of these, but this one is pack fresh!
Starling Marte 2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP178
Marte is putting together a really nice season as the Pirates are still very much in contention. If you're reading this, keep in mind that I am writing this in May.
Mike Trout 2012 Topps Opening Day #85
Trout cards should be handled with rubber gloves, or, preferably, not at all.
Troy Tulowitzki 2007 Upper Deck Masterpieces #34
Tulo is one of the best shortstops in the game and has his own chant. What's not to like?
Joey Votto 2008 Topps Heritage #146
I love the 1959 Topps design.
Michael Bourn - 2005 Topps Chrome #471
Bourn is a valuable fantasy player and two-time All-Star, but is not exactly a household name. This card is a true rookie card, as far as I know.
Chipper Jones 2002 Fleer Tradition Diamond Tributes #12
A house Chipper owns apparently exploded recently, but no one was hurt. Everyone knows Larry, and this is an odd looking insert from a decade or so ago.
Mark Grace / Darrin Jackson 1988 Fleer #641
I don't remember owning this card as a kid. I had his less desired Donruss rookie card, but no Fleer. I bought this at a card show a couple of days ago for 5 cents for some reason. (I also bought a 1984 Donruss Tony Fernandez for the same price, but I'm not sure what I'm going to do with that.)
Derek Jeter 2003 Upper Deck Victory Orange #54
This set seems to have been a colossal failure, but it has a brightly colored multi-tiered parallels, and that's alright with me. Orange is apparently "Tier 2", with 1 being the most common parallel (green) and 5 being the least common.
Manny Machado / Dylan Bundy 2013 Topps Heritage #201 - CLAIMED
This seems to be destined to be the "hot rookie card" of the year, or at least in the Heritage set. Topps at least was kind enough not to banish it to short printdom. I've been fortunate enough to pull two of them from packs, so I can share one with whoever claims it.
Jack Morris 1979 Topps # 251
My scanner apparently hates vintage cards and other cards with thin white borders these days. This card actually has a thin border on the top, not that you could tell by the scan.
Fred McGriff 1993 Topps Finest #106
The inaugural Finest set is revered as if a priceless work of art, a gem of a limited set in an era of vast overproduction. When I look at the "all-stars" design, I sort of get what the hype is about.
Juan Marichal / Justin Verlander 2012 Topps Heritage Then and Now #TN-MV
Topps Heritage has done the Then & Now thing every year since its inception. Sometimes the pairings are odd, and sometimes it's just two great pitchers like this one.
Mike Mussina 1997 Topps Stadium Club Matrix #21
I know almost nothing about this card, other than that it's some sort of shiny parallel. It's very shiny. Mussina isn't quite the household name he was during the '90s and early '00s, but he was an undeniably great pitcher.
Phil Niekro 1979 Topps #595
Another card that was artificially trimmed by my scanner. This Knuckle Brother looks absolutely thrilled to be taking part in this photo op.
Bruce Sutter 1979 Topps #457
Blah blah blah cropped image blah. I have no recollection of Sutter as a Cub, but history and Topps tell me otherwise. He looks silly without a beard, which is exactly the opposite of how I feel about 98% of guys I encounter on the streets of Portland every day.
Mike Trout 2012 Topps #446
This is just a lowly non-rookie Topps base card, but Mike Trout's card prices have inflated to the point of absolutely absurdity. He's off to a slow star. I don't really feel one way or another about him, but I am taking a little bit of solace in the fact that the Angels have not dominated the league since Pujols arrived.
Mike Trout 2013 Topps Opening Day Superstar Celebrations #SC-23
Speaking of Pujols, he appears here to share a little bit of the limelight with Trout on this brand new Opening Day insert card.
1993 Topps Finest Dave Winfield #162
In contrast to the McGriff card above, this just doesn't look all that exciting. I'm sure I'd feel different if I had the coveted refractor version in hand instead.
Mike Trout 2012 Topps Heritage #207
Here's one last Trout. This is his first (major league) Topps Heritage card, but not a rookie card. If it was a rookie card, it would literally be worth $7,136,549.
The long time affordable group break host Cardboard Collections held a box bust of fancy cards from more than a decade ago, which is also how things usually become affordable in the first place. It seems that no one was able to squirrel away large sacks of lucre with dollar signs on them by investing in Topps Gold Label or, shockingly, something called Pacific Online. The former looks classy and attracts fingerprints like crazy while the latter looks hilarious dated and kind of terrible. I am all about terrible cards if they are Cardinals and not already in my collection, so I jumped at this opportunity. And now I have landed. With cards.
My "other team" in the break ended up being the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in their salad days. I now have a couple of early Josh Hamilton cards to trade. I don't know if there's much of a market for his early stuff as it was a dark time for him and you can barely connect Josh Hamilton the Burned Out Prospect to Josh Hamilton the Very Well Paid Angel.
This one is an insert. These are both headed to the Trade Bait pile, which I still need to work on getting live on the blog.
It doesn't seem like McGwire has had much of a positive effect on the Dodgers since taking over as their hitting coach. I also read this article (column?) and wondered if the LA Times is still a real paper.
Ah, Pacific Online. I don't really even know what to say about this set other than that I've heard rumblings that it's huge and daunting and scary. All I do know is that it prints two URLs on the card, one that redirects to a better known address and one that has probably been defunct for a decade.
I'm not positive, but I think this might be my very first Lance Painter Cardinals card. If it's not, I know that I don't have many. Painter was one of the first Cardinals I got to know better through video games than from actually watching on TV. T.J. Matthews was another one of those players. I miss my old MLB PC game.
Colbey often sends me extra Cardinals cards (which reminds me, I need to send something back!) and this time was no exception. The hand-numbered Allen Craig Heritage mini was icing on the cake, but I still feel weird when I look at this card. I love getting a rare Cardinals card, and one of an excellent first baseman at that. I get that hand numbering cards is supposed to be a sign of a precious rare item, like a little craftsman touch or something. So why do I get a weird feeling when I see this, like what the hell kind of teenager was given a coffee and a sandwich and made to sign a bunch of baseball cards over at Topps HQ? I never got these feelings when I first got a hand numbered Allen & Ginter mini, but these just seem weird. All I can think of is some poor intern drawing on cards for no pay whatsoever.
Another part of me is very happy to own this, of course, and wonders where the other 99 are at.
Monday, May 20, 2013
The Topps monopoly forces me to pretend from time to time that there's an alternative to their usual brand of products. It's times like these that I look forward to buying Bowman cards just to get my hands on something "different". I know full well that these are Topps cards with a different logo on the front, but I still like to have my pretend time, okay? And in recent years, they have done a good job with adding a few extras to the otherwise stale product. This year continues that run, with a not entirely offensive card design.
Like many other Topps products, Bowman is available as a rack pack containing three separate sealed packs with a bonus three-card pack. This set's bonus cards appear to be purple parallels of their prospect cards.
I've never heard of any of these purple guys, but Bowman is a brand that will often cause whatever the opposite of name recognition is. I must have looked at Todd Kibby's card ten times before I realized his last name wasn't "Kirby".
A little searching reveals that Wisler was drafted out of high school in 2011 and has, as of this month, already moved up to the AA level. He could be one of those prospects that I've been hearing so much about.
Within the three packs, there's the usual configuration of a couple of chrome cards, a couple of prospect cards, a gold parallel and occasionally something inserted at a less than 1:1 ratio. One such thing that is new this year is these Cream of the Crop Mini Refractors. 5 players from each team were selected, making this insertfest larger than the actual prospect set itself.
I dislike the Reds, but I am starting to believe my "most hated" member of the team has drifted from the Brandon Phillips/Johnny Cueto territory mined by that brawl several years ago to the broadcast booth. Thom Brennaman has always irritated me to some extent, but I can no longer listen to him (or his father) on the air without getting a bit angry.
I'm going to Seattle in part to see the Mariners play in a few weeks and I'm hoping to see Felix on the mound. The Mariners offense is still in disarray and now the pitching isn't nearly as good as it was, so Felix must feel like he's trying to get out of one of those horrible pits in the Atari 2600 adaptation of E.T. when he's on the mound sometimes.
With 33 cards in the package, I just hoping to come out of it with one Cardinal card, and Seth Maness made that happen. Maness has struggled a bit since joining the bullpen recently. As a starter in the minor league ranks, he pretty much never walked anyone, ever.
Mark Reynolds is starting to look like a legitimate ballplayer again and less like a cartoon villain, eager to swing three times at any given pitch.
Is this guy really the ace of the Cubs right now? This is what passes for "ace" material these days?
Back for 2013 are the Silver Ice parallels that all of the kids love these days. I hear the kids are having Silver Ice parties every weekend, where they gaze upon their shiny cardboard for hours on end. I mean, that's what they do, do they?
This also fell out of one of the packs. I don't know what it does, but unless it's giving me the chance to instantly win a free card for some reason, I don't want any part of it.