Tuesday, September 16, 2014

AL East Champions

For the first time since 1997, the Orioles have clinched the AL East Championship.  They did so today by routing the Blue Jays 8-2 in front of a hot crowd at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.  I'm so excited right now, I can't sleep, hence the late evening blog post.

The last time the Orioles were AL East champions, they won wire to wire.  I was a senior in High School and I remember one of the art teachers at my school was from Baltimore, so we would chat baseball every morning.  When they won the East, she gave me a photo from the Baltimore Sun that said "Wire to Wire", which I still have.

1997 was a tough year for me.  I lost a sister and a grandfather.  I remember spending the night at my cousin's house and watching the Orioles lose in the ALCS to the Indians.  That was a great team that was done in by some terrible bullpen performances that post season.
This Orioles team seems to be very resilient.  They have dealt with the losses of Matt Wieters and Manny Machado.  Sub-par seasons by Chris Davis, Ubaldo Jimenez and to a lesser extent, J. J. Hardy.  Buck Showalter has done an excellent job in putting the right pieces in place and getting the most out of his guys.

I'm so excited to be an Orioles fan right now!

(Thanks for the post card and Showalter card, Max S.).

Monday, September 15, 2014

Birthday Gifts From Jet

I apologize for unintentionally taking a week off from the blog this past week.  Long story short, I was called out to do a major project for work and I was unable to get to scanning and blogging cards.  Add in that I was not in the mood to blog about recent Chris Davis acquisitions on Friday and then being out of town for the Carolina Panther game this weekend, I got a much deserved break.

Also, Sunday was my birthday.  I have received a few birthday packages from some friends and the first of which that I'll show is what I got from my buddy, Jet, from Instagram.

Jet hooked me up with a few cards that would help with my set needs, like the above 1959 Topps Steve Korcheck.
I helped Jet recently with upgrading the Rube Walker in his 1954 set and in return, he sent me the card that was being upgraded.  Pretty nice card that I'll likely hold onto until I try the 1954 set.
The big pieces from his birthday package were these two 1948 Bowman cards that I needed for my set.  The above card is #42 in the set, Ray Poat.  Poat (b. 1917 - d. 1990) played in the majors from 1942 to 1944 and 1947 to 1949 for the Indians, Giants and Pirates.  He was 22-30 over his career with a 4.55 ERA and 178 strikeouts.
The other '48 Bowman was card #13, Willard Marshall.  Marshall (b. 1921 - d. 2000), a Richmond native, played at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC.  I thought that was a pretty cool tidbit of information there.  He played in the majors from 1942 and 1946 to 1955 for the Giants, Braves, Reds and White Sox.  He had 1,160 hits, 130 home runs and a lifetime average of .274.  He was a three-time All Star and finished as high as 16th in the NL MVP voting (1947).  Not a bad career at all!

Those two cards knock my 1948 needs down to 15 cards.  I have completed 69% of the set and already have most of the major rookie cards out of the way, except for the Rizzuto.  I'll have to start being diligent in looking for one of those.

Thanks so much for the gifts, Jet.  The best part of the package, of course, was the birthday card and notes that Jet included.  I always love getting notes and letters and what he wrote was really great.  I definitely appreciate having such a good friend.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Care Package From Alex R.

I got a care package in the mail a few days ago from my friend, Alex, from the Chicago area.  I believe this is my third package from him and he seems to have some good luck in pulling O's cards. The above 1989 design Chris Davis is a really awesome looking card.  The first batch of cards I ever got was from the 1989 set, so it will always have special significance for me.  The set itself may not be worth much at all, but it will always be a favorite of mine and I know there are others out there who share the same feelings.
I do like some colored parallels as well, however, I still believe that Topps could have picked any other shade of green and these cards would look a lot better.  I'm no design major, but doo doo green is just not aesthetically pleasing to me.
Ah, that's more like it.  I like the blue parallels.  This is a great shot of young Gausman, who now sports glasses. Like me.  Woo hoo.  Anyway, Topps is cranking out various colored parallels and rainbows of cards are ever challenging, but when I get some for free from my friends, I am definitely appreciative.
Finally, here is an intriguing card that Alex sent along.  This 1996 Leaf autograph (on card) of Jimmy Myers appears to have been issued following 1996 Spring Training as the card states that Myers was a surprise in ST.  He was a non-rosted invitee who made the trip north for Opening Day that season.  A look at Myers's baseball-reference page shows that his miracle ST didn't last long as he appeared in 11 games for the 1996 O's.  He had a 7.07 ERA with a 0-0 won/loss record.  This would be the only taste of the majors he would receive and those Orioles would go on to lost in the ALCS to some team whose name escapes me at the moment.......... bad memories.

Anyway, thanks so much for the care package, Alex.  I really appreciate it!  I'll be sending some Hanley Ramirez cards your way soon.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Cards From Andrew - In Person Package

I have had this team bag of cards on my desk for a while now.  Two months, almost.  Andrew handed me these cards upon our meeting in person this summer, and I have been waiting to post the cards, for no apparent reason, except to have something to talk about on a rainy day.  Well, it is raining, and I figured I have waited long enough, so here we go.

Both of the cards I am showing come from 2009, and I hadn't noticed before, but the 2009 O Pee Chee card is actually from a game between the Rangers and Orioles, before Orange Crush was sent to Baltimore.  It's a small world.

The O Pee Chee set was forgettable, like O Pee Chee offerings always are.  Not a bad looking card, really.  It's just, I don't know, O Pee Chee.  Cool thing is, I didn't have it in my collection, and as always, Andrew hooked me up.
Another forgotten set was Topps Ticket to Stardom.  I actually liked Ticket to Stardom when it came out.  I opened quite a few packs and pulled a few nice autos, even an auto and piece of ticket for some player (can't remember who it was, but I held onto it).

Thanks for the cards, Andrew!  As always, I appreciate it, and I almost have a package ready for you.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Instagram Trade WIth Tud - TCMA Hall of Famers

I completed a trade with a guy on Instagram named Tud (yep, that's his name.  As far as I know it's not short for anything) who uses the Instagram handle muffin_sports_cards.  He is a Texan, and one of the nicest people I've met on there.  Just a genuinely nice guy.  It was really easy to trade with him.  I sent him a few vintage cards, and in return, I got a stack of 18 TCMA Hall of Famers ranging from 1977 to 1980.
Quite a few of them will go into my PCs, like the Bob Feller you saw above, or this Jimmie Foxx.  I grabbed a few more of them to send as freebies in some care packages to a couple friends as well.
This set is pretty nice, as it is an opportunity to own a card of a Hall of Famer who might not have too many regular issue cards, like Joe Sewell.  I have his 1922 American Caramel, but there isn't a whole lot else out there of him.  I was glad I was able to complete this deal with Tud and by talking to him, I know we will do a bunch of deals in the future.  He's a real good guy.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Instagram Trade With Bryce

Hey, look!  I got a Cal Ripken card that I didn't have in my collection!  This 2013 Topps short print of Cal was part of the 2013 Topps Update set, of which there were two different shots of Cal.  One was the SP (this one) and another was a SUPER short print.  I can't remember what shot was used for his SSP, but a search on Ebay revealed none at the moment.  Oh well, doesn't matter.  I got this one from a kid named Bryce on Instagram when I sent him a Wily Peralta pink parallel from 2014 Topps and some Brewers extras (mostly some Robin Younts that I pulled for a failed trade).

Bryce had contacted me once before about a trade, but it didn't really get off of the ground.  This time around, we agreed to a deal within minutes, and got everything ironed out.  I plan on trading with him again in the future, especially is every deal with him is this easy!

Thanks for the cards, Bryce!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Surprise Package From Matthew

Recently, I got a nice package from young Matthew, a friend of mine who I have been helping along in the hobby.  He has a blog that he has just now started back up, Matthew's Card Collection, he's working on adding more content, but I believe he is 11, and has school and sports taking up his time as well.

I consider Matthew a friend, but he is also a really good friend to my son, Chris.  Matthew sends Chris random cards as surprises fairly frequently and they talk on Skype together every now and then.  If I have made Matthew feel welcome in the card community, he has returned the favor with Chris.  Chris has a couple cards set aside for Matthew that I will send him shortly, once I finalize my next package for him.

So, if you haven't checked out Matthew's blog, please do.  We need more and more young folks getting involved in the hobby so that the future of the hobby is secure, which I think it is.

Thanks for the cards, Matthew!