Thursday, June 30, 2011

What's Wrong With Brian Matusz? (UPDATED)

I was going to do a post tonight about the awesome trade I completed at the card show with fellow blogger Ryan from "O" No Another Oriole Blog, but I'm so mad right now at a player who is supposed to be a key component of the Orioles' future rotation, one Brian Matusz.

He had a wart removed from the index finger on his pitching hand right as spring training was getting under way. A very questionable decision that caused him to miss a little bit of time.

Then, he strained an intercostal muscle as spring training went along and missed the first month of the season.

Finally, he is back from the disabled list... Or at least I think he's back. He showed up. Well, maybe he hasn't shown up... Over the course of the last few starts, Matusz has looked winded as the second inning starts. Also, his velocity has fallen off the table. Many fellow O's fans are starting to question his conditioning. Did he let himself get out of shape? Is his arm hurt and he's not telling anyone? Who knows.

All I know is, he allowed 8 runs in 3.1 innings tonight to the Pujols-less Cardinals and doesn't look anything like the pitcher that closed last season with 6 straight victories. He's looking more like a shell of the phenom pitcher all O's fans expected to flirt with around 15 wins this season.

I don't usually use my blog to rant about a player, but I honestly believe it is time to option Matusz to AAA Norfolk and let him figure out what's wrong. I'm really hoping it is something that can be corrected instead of yet another O's pitching prospect flaming out (a la Matt Riley, Adam Loewen, etc.).

See you in Norfolk, Brian. Don't come back til you are 100% healthy and have figured out what's wrong. The O's need you big time.

**UPDATE: The Orioles optioned Brian Matusz to AAA Norfolk after tonight's loss to the Cardinals.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Card Show Pickup - Ernie Harwell Autographed Baseball

I was able to get my hands on another Hall of Fame announcer's signed baseball this weekend at the Raleigh card show. I have wanted an Ernie Harwell ball for the past couple of years; ever since I heard an interview with him on my XM radio. I thought it was awesome that he had called games almost 70 years ago and was around to relate the stories to a younger generation.

Sadly, Harwell died last year due to cancer and his voice has been silenced forever. I think Harwell is one of the iconic voices of baseball along with Red Barber, Jack Buck, Vin Scully, Bob Uecker, Harry Caray, etc. I want to try to get autographed baseballs of some of the legendary announcers. I have Phil Rizzuto, Bob Uecker and Harwell now.

Ernie Harwell makes my 41st Hall of Fame autographed baseball. I hope to keep them coming.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Card Show Pickup - Robin Yount Autographed Baseball

I picked up some cool stuff at this weekend's card show in Raleigh. The first of which is my 40th Hall of Fame baseball.

I have wanted to try TTM to Robin Yount for a while, but it looks like he doesn't sign a whole lot. I made a trade to a dealer who had some awesome autos and got a good deal on this ball and another that will be shown in a later post (they always seem to come in twos don't they?).

As you can see, the Yount sig is beautiful. I would have liked a HOF inscription, but who can complain, really? I did meet his son Dustin when he played for the Chattanooga Lookouts, so there's a six-degrees of Kevin Bacon going on there.

What do you guys think of the ball? I think it looks pretty amazing. I'm glad I was able to knock him off my list, that's for sure.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

TTM Success - Pat Gillick

I got my 39th Hall of Famer and my 22nd TTM success. Gillick was elected as a member of the 2011 Hall of Fame class via the Veterans Committee in December 2010.

He was the general manager for the Blue Jays, Orioles, Mariners and Phillies; winning the World Series with the Blue Jays in 1992 and 1993 and the Phillies in 2008.

I mailed to Mr. Gillick on May 27 and got the ball back today (June 23), making this almost a month TAT. Not too bad. I think one thing that held it up was that Mr. Gillick lives in Seattle, so it took a good 3 days for it to get to Washington from NC.

Mr. Gillick signed the ball for free and as you can see, inscribed his Hall of Fame induction year on it for me.

***Be sure to check my TTM Successes tab above to see the other baseballs that I have gotten. Also, if you have any questions on how to send TTM, please email me, and I will definitely try to help you out!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Raleigh Card Show - This Weekend June 25 and 26

Just letting anyone in the area know, I will be setting up 2 tables at the Raleigh Card Show this weekend. Saturday and Sunday June 25 and 26. Please come by and check it out. Lots of relics and autos, older Topps, a Longoria Jersey (Medium) for sale. I definitely could use the sales, haha. Hope to see fellow bloggers and/or readers there.

Please comment if you plan on attending!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Another Card SHow Pickup - 2005 Topps Gold Cal Ripken

I traded some kids at the card show a couple cards for this Topps Gold Cal Ripken that I definitely didn't have in my collection. I don't know much about the card; it is definitely the 2005 Topps design, but as we all know, Cal was long since retired when 05 Topps hit the shelves.

The card has the old school Topps logo, so maybe it was a Target or Wal Mart exclusive? Anyone have any clues?

I have tried looking it up and haven't been successful.

Anyway, it is a pretty cool card and I now have it in with all 400+ of my Cal cards.

Friday, June 17, 2011

TTM Success - Bob Uecker

I mentioned yesterday that I got 2 baseballs in the mail, well, here is the second. None other than Hall of Fame Announcer Bob Uecker. I remember coming home from school and watching Mr. Belvedere with my oldest brother (before Major League came out) and Mr. Uecker was a star of the show.

Obviously many know him from his character Harry Doyle from the Major League movies. Uecker was also a catcher in the majors from 1962 to 1967 for the Braves, Cardinals and Phillies. He retired with 146 hits, 14 home runs and a .200 batting average.

Uecker makes my 38th Hall of Famer and my 21st TTM success!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

TTM Success - Ernie Banks

I mailed to Ernie Banks during the first week of January this year and was surprised to find my mailer in my box (there were actually 2 in there, the second ball will be posted tomorrow). I'm really happy to get this one because it was my oldest pending TTM request.

Banks is my 37th Hall of Famer and my 20th TTM success. I'm so excited about this ball that words don't even describe it AND THERE WAS A SECOND SUCCESS AS WELL!!!!!

What a good mail day!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Card Show Pickup - Johnny Bench Patch

I'm still catching up on posts and one thing I really wanted to get on here is this 2010 Topps Commemorative Patch Johnny Bench.

I got this card at the last card show by trading with some young collectors. I believe I traded a Twins relic for it, but I really don't remember. I know the kid got a good card in return. I think Bench was an awesome player and I can't wait until I get an autographed baseball of his.

In my mind, Bench has to be at the top 5 of greatest catchers of all time. I'm sure people will be able to dispute that claim, but I would see both Pudges (Fisk and Rodriguez), Piazza and Berra on that list as well.

I have a good bit more stuff from that last show to catch up on, so hopefully I will be able to get it posted soon.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mail From Dustin

I completed a trade recently with Dustin from No Relics Pulled. He's a pretty cool dude who really wanted a Johnny Damon auto, so I found one at the last card show.

I was able to land this sweet Ripken relic from Gypsy Queen. I think this card looks great. I only opened 2 packs of Gypsy Queen this year. I liked the set, but it was waaay too expensive for what I pulled (not much, apparently).

I also got another Bowman Sterling Nolan Reimold Auto/RC. I already had one, but I couldn't pass this up. It is one of the most beautiful cards that I have seen and when Dustin said he would trade it, I had to jump all over it.Thanks a lot Dustin. Everyone should head over to his blog and give him a read. He definitely would appreciate more followers and more trade opportunities. You can read his blog here.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Still More Mail - 1971 Topps Needs

I recently completed a trade with blog reader Matt H. for 15 high number 1971 Topps for my set. I traded Matt a 2006 UD Epic Ernie Banks relic for the '71s.

Most of the players weren't big names, but I did end up being able to knock Johnny Callison and Sparky Anderson off of the list. Callison is very underrated, historically speaking. A friend of mine's dad is a huge Callison fan, and I was able to hook him up with some vintage Callison cards several years ago.

Sparky, unfortunately passed away not too long ago. He was definitely one of the best managers of all time.

I'm glad to be able to knock a decent chunk out of my needs for 1971 Topps. It feels like it is taking me forever to complete some of these sets, but with the economy the way it is, it is always nice to be able to make a dent.

Friday, June 10, 2011

More Mail - The Moose is Loose

I completed a trade with the Rhubarb Runner (by far the most unique handle on the blogosphere) recently which netted me my first (really?) Mussina relic. I have no idea why I haven't pulled a Moose relic or traded for one, but I finally have one.

I have no doubt that Mussina will get into Cooperstown at some point. I'm also fairly confident tha the will be enshrined as an Oriole. I can dream, can't I? IF Moose isn't enshrined as an O, I doubt another player will go in as one for quite some time. That kind of sucks if you think about it. Paying for all those losing seasons. I guess I can't complain, though. The Royals have George Brett... and ONLY George Brett.

Go check out the runner of rhubarb's blog right here. Always a good read!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

TTM Failure - Vin Scully

I knew it was a long shot, but I sent a ball to Dodger's Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully recently and got this letter back instead. I'm disappointed, but I'm not surprised that I didn't get my ball signed. I imagine that Scully gets more mail than any other announcer in baseball. It would have been nice, but oh well.

I'll probably end up buying an authenticated ball of his at some point, but man, they are EXPENSIVE!

This is only my 4th failure in all of the TTMs I have sent out: Emilio Navarro, Duke Snider, Eddie Joost and Vin Scully. Navarro died as the ball was in the mail and Snider and Joost ended up being in very poor health. Scully is the only one who sent any kind of response. I'll end up sending this ball out for another TTM try, but I'm just not sure yet as to who I'm going to send it to.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

TTM Success - Zach Britton

I came home from work today (after working a 11-hour day) and found one of my awesome mailers in my mailbox. I sent out 4 TTM requests on May 27 and got the first back today. Orioles rookie pitcher Zach Britton.

Britton is having a great season so far and has been one of the more reliable youngsters on the O's staff. He hasn't gotten a W in a month, but he has pretty much kept the team in the ballgame each time out (save for a couple shaky outings recently).
I'm hoping Zach can hang in the hunt for the Rookie of the Year award this season, as that would definitely mean good things are coming to the O's after so many pitching prospects haven't panned out. I'm always optimistic, but this season has shown glimpses of how good their staff can be, if only they can sustain it for an entire season.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

More Mail - Brooks Robinson UD Heroes Relic

I traded fellow blogger Matt (who writes Cardboard Conundrum) a Fergie Jenkins Topps Tribute bat relic for this Brooks Robinson jersey relic. Pretty awesome piece. Looks like it was the old flannel, which, to me, looks awesome!

I liked the HOF relic for a HOF relic and the red Heroes Card really pops. Thanks Matt!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mail Catchup - 1949 Bowman Virgil Trucks

I was finally able to find a card that I have been looking for for a good bit of time. I have been wanting to add this 1949 Bowman Virgil Trucks to my collection since I am trying to get all of his base cards from his career. It has been a while since I have added a new Trucks card to my collection. Now, by my count, all I need is his 1948 Leaf RC. That card is a SP, so it is very difficult to find. I'm sure I will, though, just have to be patient.

You all have heard my thoughts on Mr. Trucks. He is amazing toward fans and I'm gad I started a PC of him.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Catching up on Some Mail - Sheamus Autographs

I posted a few months ago about how my buddy Mike came through and got me a signed baseball and book from Chris Jericho. Well, talking about coming through in the clutch, Mike did something AMAZING for my son.

My son, Christopher, has been a fan of WWE's Sheamus for a while now. I'm not sure why, since Sheamus has played a pretty bad guy in his 2+ years on the show. I think maybe it is because he is very identifiable. I mean, he is snow white with fire red hair. I never really cared for the guy until Chris started liking him. When this year's Royal Rumble match came around, I found myself cheering when Sheamus' music hit and he came out. I was also disappointed to see him get eliminated later in the match, and even more sad to see Chris' face. He started crying and hid under the cushions to our couch for a good 5 minutes.
We bought this picture at the January card show in hopes of getting it signed at Wrestlemania, but Sheamus was one of the few wrestlers we DIDN'T meet. We were a little disappointed, but maybe a week after, Mike called and said that Sheamus was doing a signing in Tampa and that he was going to try and go. Knowing that Chris loved Sheamus, Mike said that he would try to bring someone along with him in case Sheamus was signing one item per person and make sure that Chris was able to get something. I told Mike about the photo we had bought, so we mailed it on to Tampa.

A day before the signing, Mike called and said that he had wrecked his truck and probably wasn't going to make it to the signing. I was more concerned that my friend had been in an accident than his ability to make it to an autograph signing.

Mike called me that next day and told me to check his Facebook page, so I logged on and saw... Pictures of him with Sheamus. He said that he burned up the phones all night after he got off the phone with me and all morning of the signing and was able to talk a friend into driving him to the venue. He was able to meet Sheamus and talk to him for a good bit. Sheamus was signing everything put in front of him, so he signed Chris' picture and the below picture for me.

Mike told Sheamus about how this 5-year old boy in NC was his biggest fan and that he cried and crawled under the couch cusions after his elimination from the Royal Rumble. Sheamus told Mike that he felt like doing the same.Finally, in one of the coolest acts I have seen, Mike filmed a short video message from Sheamus to my son... Just awesome. After all of this, I don't care how bad of a character he plays on WWE TV, I will always be a fan of Sheamus. Also, this is now twice that Mike has come through in a totally awesome way for me. I know he says that I have done plenty for him over the years, but I'm starting to feel like I owe him big time for all of this. He's a good man and I'm glad, more than anything, that he wasn't hurt when he wrecked his truck. Thanks a lot Mike, you made Chris very happy.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Hall of Fame Baseball Ebay Success - Bob Gibson

My 36th Hall of Fame signed baseball is of one of (in my mind) the greatest pitchers to ever toe the rubber, Bob Gibson. I have been wanting his autograph for a good while now and I finally got it (along with the aforementioned Sutter and Schoendienst baseballs) at a ridiculously low price. It is JSA authenticated, so I don't have to sweat over the signature. I think it looks amazing.

Gibson played in the majors from 1959 to 1975 (all for the Cardinals). He was the Cy Young Award winner in 1968 and 1970. His 1968 season was so good, not only did he win the Cy Young, but he was also the NL MVP and in the following season, the mound was lowered due to his sheer dominance over the league.

Some surprising statistics I'd like to share:

  • He only led the league in wins one time (1970 - 23)
  • He only led the league in ERA one time (1968 - 1.12)
  • He only led the league in strikeouts one time (1968 - 268)
I thought he had to have led the league in those categories art least more than once. Wow. He also only had 5 seasons with 20 or more wins. None of this matters. Ask a Hall of Famer who played in that era and they'll tell you that Gibson was probably the scariest pitcher that they could have faced.

He retired in 1975 at the age of 39 with a career record of 251-174, a 2.91 ERA and 3,117 strikeouts. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1981 (his first ballot) with 84.0% of the vote. I would have thought he would have had a higher percentage. I guess that doesn't matter. He's in, of course.

I don't think any of this should cheapen Gibson's legacy at all. In my mind, he is one of the legendary pitchers of all time. If I wanted to pick a pitcher to start game 7 of the World Series, Gibson would be right at the top of my list.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Hall of Fame Baseball Ebay Success - Red Schoendienst

Here is the second of the 3 balls that I got off of ebay recently. I have been trying to get a Schoendienst ball for a good while now. I had hoped to get him TTM, but he signs so sporadically, I figured it would be easier to just buy one. He is my 35th Hall of Famer.

I now have 8 of the top 10 oldest living members of the Hall of Fame: 1. Lee Macphail, 2. Bobby Doerr, 3. Monte Irvin, 4. Stan Musial, 5. Ralph Kiner, 6. Red Schoendienst, 8. Tommy Lasorda and 9. Whitey Ford.

Schoendienst played in the majors from 1945 to 1963 for the Cardinals, Giants and Braves. He retired with 2,449 hits, 84 home runs and a .289 batting average. He was a member of the 1946 World Series Champion Cardinals and 1957 World Series Champion Braves.

He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1989 by the Veterans Committee.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hall of Fame Baseball Ebay Success - Bruce Sutter

I was able to stretch out my tax return into 3 more baseballs. All Hall of Famers, of course. As it turns out, (which I didn't notice until Drew pointed it out) all 3 spent a good chunk of time as Cardinals.

The first baseball that I will show off is this Bruce Sutter signed baseball. Sutter is my 34th Hall of Famer. He played in the majors from 1976 to 1986 and 1988 for the Cubs, Cardinals and Braves. He had a career record of 68-71 with an ERA of 2.83 and 861 strikeouts. He was a reliever who apparently invented the split finger fastball (a pitch that Sutter says shredded his pitching arm). He led the league in saves 5 times and retired with exactly 300.

Sutter was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2006 after spending 13 years on the ballot (garnering 76.9% of the vote in '06). He was also the 1979 NL Cy Young Award Winner.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

TTM Success - Goose Gossage

I received my 18th TTM success and my 33rd HOF ball yesterday when I opened up my mailer to find this Goose Gossage ball. I mailed to Gossage on May 7 and the ball came on May 31. That made for a 24-day TAT. Gossage charges a fee of $25 for TTM baseballs.

The signature looks great and I'm happy to add him to my HOF collection.

Gossage pitched in the majors from 1972 to 1989, 1991 to 1994 for the White Sox, Pirates, Yankees, Padres, Giants, Rangers, A's and Mariners. He had a career record of 124-107 with a 3.01 ERA and 1,502 strikeouts. Gossage was known as one of the premier relief pitchers of his era and retired with 310 saves. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2008 on his 9th ballot with 85.8% of the vote.