Monday, October 20, 2014

An Assortment of Goodies From My Buddy Max

My good friend Max sent me a couple more packages recently and these were slammed full of awesome stuff.  He sent me 4 Orioles signed post cards.  Among them was this Milt Pappas.  Pappas was most remembered for being the piece that brought Frank Robinson to Baltimore.  Other signed post cards Max sent were Al Bumbry, Chris Hoiles and Tippy Martinez.
Max sent me several Conlon Collection cards, most notably this Ty Cobb.  I have the complete set of these, which I picked up at the National a few years ago, but I'm always happy to accept more of them.  They're always fun to look at, especially the players who weren't Hall of Famers that they included in the set.
Speaking of Hall of Famers, Max added a bunch of random Hall of Famers inserts in his packages.  One of them was this 2009 Topps Career Best Legends Walter Johnson.  I just talked with my buddy Andrew on Skype the other day about all-time great pitchers and Johnson was one of the ones who's stats we spent a lot of time analyzing.  I need to record some of these discussions.  They would make for great blog or Youtube posts.
Finally, Max sent along some oddball stickers like this 1982 Topps Stickers Carl Yastrzemski.  This is a pretty cool piece from later in Yaz's career that I had never seen before.

Max is a realy awesome guy whom I've spent a lot of time getting to know recently.  He's one of the best traders on Instagram, and one of the best all-around people that I've met.  I'm certainly happy that I have been able to help him out with his collection, and I'm even happier that we have built a friendship from it.  If you are on Instagram, I recommend you follow him, @graphinchitown.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Thoughts on 2014 Topps Update

I picked up a jumbo box of 2014 Topps Update the other day from my local card shop.  I felt like I did really well with what I got.  The above Joe Mauer jumbo patch card was in place of the manufactured patch card (I was really happy about that).  This card is numbered 25/25.  Like I said in a few earlier posts, I really like patch cards, so I think I'll hold onto this one.
The All Star Stitches card was a PC item for me, this Adam Jones.  That makes two recent boxes that I've gotten where my relic hit was Jones.  Not bad!

I also pulled a black parallel Jose Abreu All Star card and a Rougned Odor auto.  I was able to collate most of the set, I lack only 5 cards.  I will post them on my wishlist page shortly.

I took out all of the rookie cards that I want to keep, all Orioles, and then other teams for friends of mine.  I was left with a small stack of random base that I intend to sell.

In all, I was very happy with my jumbo box of Update.  I wasn't going to get a box this year, but decided that I would.  I'm glad I did, because really, I do enjoy the Update set every year.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Some Reimolds From Ryan

I visited my good friend, Ryan a few months ago to see the Richmond Flying Squirrels play the Bowie Baysox.  If you recall, this was the last game for Nolan Reimold in the Orioles organization and Ryan and I wanted to see Nolan before he was DFA'd.  Nolan ended up with the Blue Jays, then the Diamondbacks. He is now a free agent and should be picked up by someone for next season.

Ryan gave me a nice stack of O's cards when I visited and a bunch of them were minor league cards of Nolan.  I didn't have any of them, so I was glad Ryan hooked me up.
I hate that Nolan is no longer an Oriole, but I still am a fan and wish him well.  I really hope he gets a nice contract with someone and can stay healthy.

Ryan is a great guy and one of my best friends in the card community.  We do a lot of things together, be it Fan Fest or going to different games.  I know he was hurting as bad as I was when the Orioles were defeated in the ALCS by the Royals, but we both know that the O's will be back next year.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Brian Roberts Announces Retirement

I knew it was coming.  I knew it when he was released by the Yankees earlier this season.  Brian Roberts's playing days are over.  After playing 14 seasons in the majors, Roberts has decided to hang up his spikes.  This is a bit of a tough moment for me, because he was the first player I really got behind in the post-Cal days of my collecting.  I had taken a sabbatical from collecting after 1996 and got back into it after seeing a game with a friend in 2005.  Roberts hit a walk-off home run against the Yankees at that game and I was hooked again.  When I got home from the trip, I immediately started buying up cards just so I could add Roberts to my collection.  I have a pretty stout Roberts PC.  I have: 1 Orioles jersey, 1 2005 All Star jersey (thanks Lisa!), 2 signed baseballs, a signed bat and a ton of cards.  Above, you can see his 2001 Donruss RC; Below is his final card, 2014 Topps (with the Yankees - uggh).
Roberts closes his career of 14 seasons with 1,527 hits, 97 homers and a career average of .276.  He hit 50 or more doubles three times in his career.  He finished as high as 18th in the AL MVP voting (2005) and was a 2-time All Star.  Roberts won't get into the Hall of Fame, but he will get into the Orioles Hall of Fame.
Roberts was the bright spot on several bad Orioles teams and I will miss him.  He was a North Carolina native and always seemed to be pretty nice (although didn't say much) the few times I met him.  I will retire his PC, but I do plan on filling in some gaps from time to time; mostly rainbow stuff.  Maybe a relic or auto here and there.

Thanks for the memories, Brian.

A Surprise Care Package From Michael

I got a nice surprise package in the mail last week from my friend, Michael, who lives in Texas.  He and I chat almost daily about all sorts of things and sometimes baseball.  Michael had told me that he recently went through some boxes of cards from his childhood and came away with a bunch of Orioles that he wanted to send my way.  In the package, Michael managed to include a couple Cals that I didn't yet have in my collection.  The above 1993 Upper Deck Fold Outs is a surprise, considering I was all over new Ripken cards back then.  This one must have eluded me.
Another card I didn't have was this 1998 Pinnacle Piece of the Game Ripken.  This one didn't scan nearly as good as it looks.  There is a ton of foil on the card, and my scanner doesn't pick it up well sometimes.

Among the other cards in the package, Michael included some Hall of Famers and some Conlon Collection cards, always a favorite of mine.

Thanks so much for the package, Michael!  Follow him on Instagram: texasbaseballcardz

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Surprise Package From Matt

I came home today to an unexpected bubble mailer in my mailbox from Matt.  I was blown away when I opened it up and saw these two autographed cards inside.  The above dual auto came out of 2007 Upper Deck Exquisite and looks so sharp.  I thought UD Exquisite and Ultimate were great high end products.  I don't have too many Markakis autos, so this goes nicely into the PC.  The Jon Knott auto actually looks really sweet, although Knott didn't last very long as an Oriole.

Knott played 7 games for the O's in 2007 where he had 3 hits, one home run and 4 RBIs.  He wasn't seen in the majors after that.  I remember when the O's picked him up.  I remember hoping that he would pan out as a solid player, but it just wasn't meant to be.
Matt also sent me this 2014 Panini Prizm Rick Dempsey auto.  I didn't have a single Dempsey auto, so this was a welcome addition to my Orioles PC.

Thanks so much for the cards, Matt!  Please go check out his blog, Bob Walk The Plank.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

No Crying In Baseball

“[Baseball] breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall all alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.”

― A. Bartlett GiamattiTake Time For Paradise: Americans And Their Games

While I have been reminded today by coworkers, friends and family that baseball is just a game and that I should be happy that the Orioles made it to the ALCS for the first time since 1997, I must admit that I got greedy.  Listening to all of the experts say that this could be the Orioles year to finally make it to the World Series for the first time since 1983, I bought into the notion that this really could be the year.  I had purchased ALDS tickets and watched a magical comeback against the three headed monster Tigers rotation, sweeping that series.  I told my friends that while the ALCS might go 7 games, I was confident that the Orioles could handle the Royals.  I told a few friends that there was no way in hell the Royals would sweep, when the Orioles got down 0-2.  Well, I was wrong.  My team was just swept out of the ALCS by a young, hungry Royals team.  I did not enjoy seeing the Royals players acting like high schoolers on the field with their celebrations after every hit; Jarrod Dyson's trash talking and Jeremy Guthrie's poor wardrobe choice.  The only problem is, it's not bragging if you can back it up.  The Royals brought a tough-to-defend game into the ALCS and simply beat the Orioles.

The most frustrating part was the sheer luck involved in each Royals win.  The series could have easily gone the Orioles' way, and I would be the one celebrating.  However, I am not.  I feel like I watched a friend pass away as the Orioles' 2014 season came to a close with a resounding thud.  I choose not to remember the 2014 season by seeing my team on its deathbed, I will choose to remember the 2014 season as my son, my friend Ryan and I walked out of Camden Yards on October 3.  Our throats hoarse from cheering on the Birds in that dramatic come from behind win.  Camden Yards was more packed than I had ever seen it.  Baseball is back in Baltimore.  Fourteen straight years of losing appears to be in the rear view mirror.

I am reminded that as good as we all felt as we walked out of that stadium several days ago, there were Tigers fans who felt the way that I do now.  Remembering that feeling is the reason why folks who know me never see me brag or gloat about my team.  This is why I appreciate Buck Showalter, because he always keeps an even keel and keeps things in perspective.  But it hurts right now.  It will hurt tomorrow.  It will hurt during the World Series.  It will hurt at Fan Fest in February and it will hurt come Opening Day, 2015, but I will get over it.

As bad as I feel right now, there are Royals fans who have never seen their team play a single playoff game.  Now, Royals fans, you get to see your team in the World Series.  Congratulations.  Maybe, one day, I will get my time in the sun, too.  Until then, I won't be crying.  I did that already.