Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Last Post From The Card Shop Trip - Bowman Platinum

In my final bit from my trip to the card shop last week, Babe and I picked up some Bowman Platinum.  She pulled this really nice Billy Hamilton Superfractor (?).  I think the card looks really cool and it scanned pretty nice as well.

Also, in some personal news, I passed the second half of the ASBOG Exam (Geology licensing exam).  This means that I am now a licensed geologist.  This is a big deal, it is like the Bar exam, but for geologists.  I have been studying to pass this thing since I took my job in 2007.  I took the first half three times (passing it on the third try in May 2010) and took the second half three times.  Third time seems to be a charm.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thoughts on 2011 Bowman Chrome

 During my trip to the card shop that I have posted my past few entries about, I picked up some 2011 Bowman Chrome Orioles from the shop owner's personal pulls.
The highlights, as always, are when I am able to add a new Nick Markakis or Brian Roberts to my collection.  I was afraid that Roberts would be removed from some sets due to his lack of playing time this past season.  I really hope his concussion symptoms are gone and he can have a full season at 2nd base in 2012.

I always enjoy Bowman Chrome when it comes out each year.  It is always a sharp looking product and this year's version is no exception.  Too bad they don't scan all that well, because they look really nice in person.  I picked up several other Orioles including Brian Matusz, Brandon Snyder and a Mark Reynolds refractor.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.  I thank you all for reading this year.  For all the friends I've made through this blog.  All of the opportunities it has afforded me.  The food coma that I am about to slip into.  I am thankful for it all.  Here's to another year.  I started this blog around Thanksgiving 2008 and it still seems going strong.  Thanks again guys!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Trip to the Card Shop - 2011 Topps Lineage

When Babe and I went to the card shop this weekend, I picked up two packs of 2011 Topps Lineage.  I have already posted lineage before, but I really like the product so I thought I'd show what I got out of the two packs.
I pulled a Brooks!  I like his old jersey.  I think, based on the hat that Brooks is wearing, that this photo is from 1956-1962.  The hat is really old school, too.

I love the old All Star Rookie logo.  Much better than the pewter cup they have now.

I pulled a mini Mike Schmidt.  I have always liked the freakiness of the 1975 set (one of my favorite sets that I built).
Finally, I pulled a Tim Lincecum for my son.  I'll probably end up with it in my collection, but he did like the card.    I can't wait until he is older and knows how to take care of his cards.  That will definitely be the start of some good times, for sure.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Trip to the Card Shop - 2011 Topps Finest

It's rare when I can afford to spend money on a bunch of packs of cards, but when my friend Babe is in town, we always try to bust packs whenever possible.  This weekend was no exception.  She and I both picked up packs of 2011 Topps Finest. 

This was my first in person look at this year's version of Finest.  I was very impressed with how the base cards looked.

This Josh Hamilton is an example of the base card.  They look really sharp.  Finest always looks good, so I was certain this year's would as well and I wasn't disappointed.

Babe pulled this Orange Parallel Michael Pineda RC and gave it to me, just because.  I think it looks great.  I'm a big fan of the color orange... I wonder why?

One thing about the finest we didn't like was that the mini boxes weren't available.  I don't know if it was just that this shop didn't have them, or they didn't do that with them this year.  I would have liked to have busted a mini box, but oh well.  I had fun with this pack, anyway.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Trip to the Card Shop - Orioles Rookies

I had the great and wonderul Babe-O-Licious surprise me with a visit this weekend for my son's 6th birthday.  She accompanied us to the ECU game on Saturday and stayed for the WWE Survivor Series Pay Per View last night.  Before the show, we decided to hit up the neighborhood card shop to get our fix on some new cards and we weren't disappointed.

Right when I walked in, the shop owner (knowing that I'm an Orioles fan) handed me this 2011 Topps Chrome Rookie Auto of Zach Britton.  I bought the card for a mere $10.  Very nice addition to the Orioles collection.
As I was going through some 2011 Bowman Chrome that he had, he put two Manny Machado cards down on the counter for me as well.  The above die cut card looks awesome in person.  I hate that the slick surface of the card makes it so hard to get a straight scan but this will have to do.

I love the retro look of the Bowman's Best rookies.  I have been looking at the Brittons of these, but was very happy to take his Machado.  I love the Orange O's jersey and how it jumps off of the card.

I picked up a bunch more stuff from the shop during our trip and will post it very soon!!!!  Hope you enjoyed.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Our First ECU Game

 I moved to Greenville, NC from Charlotte in 2009 and finally made it to my first ECU game this weekend.  My friend's wife works for ECU and was able to score us some tickets for yesterday's game against UCF.  ECU is always pretty good when it comes to college football, plus this was my first game since my brother graduated from Wofford (the 2004-2005 season).  It turns out, the wide receiver for ECU went to my former high school and his older brother played with my brother, so there was a little bit of a connection there.

So, here are some pictures from the game.  We even tailgated before the game, which was awesome.  My friend made some grilled sausage and peppers (marinated in beer).

The Pirates of ECU came out onto the field to the tune of Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix, which was really awesome.

In a nail-biting, back and forth game, ECU pulled it out with a 38-31 final score.  We left just before the end because Chris needed to get to bed.  We had a blast and I definitely want to go to more.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Amazing TTM Success - John 'Mule' Miles

I mailed a baseball and a letter to former Negro Leaguer John "Mule" Miles on November 7, 2011 and got the signed ball back today (November 14, 2011).

I was amazed at the inscriptions that Miles added to my ball.  He signed it on the sweet spot...

...added his position...

...added the fact that he was a Tuskegee Airman in World War II...

...inscribed his feat of hitting 11 home runs in 11 straight games in 1948...

...and added Negro League Legend.  Simply amazing TTM return.  But wait, there's more!

Mr. Miles also sent a letter in response to the one I sent.  In my letter I asked him who the toughest pitcher he ever faced was and his answer (if you can't tell from the scan) was Satchel Paige.  I thought this was a really awesome return and it is only the second letter I got back from a TTM (the other being Virgil Trucks, of course).

John "Mule" Miles was born on August 11, 1922 and lives in San Antonio, Texas.  He is an original member of the Tuskegee Airmen.  He played in the Negro Leagues from 1946 to 1949 and earned his nickname from his manager after hitting two home runs in one game which elicited the comment from his manager that Miles hit "like a mule kicks..."

Miles is my 38th TTM success.  He signed for free with a 7-day TAT.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Joe Sewell Signed Postcard

So, I was cleaning up this weekend and looking for things to sell at a yard sale that I had yesterday when I stumbled upon this signed post card that I picked up when I visited the Hall of Fame in August.

I got this Joe Sewell signed postcard from the shop where I picked up my Billy Herman and Rick Ferrell signed baseballs.  I had gone into the shop looking for a Sewell ball, but found that I could get those two (Herman and Ferrell) for the price of the one Sewell, so I went for them. 

After I helped the shop owner discover that he had two awesome baseballs buried in a box of random stuff, he rewarded me by giving me this signed Sewell postcard.  I sure hope it is real, but everything else the guy had was legit and with everything he had laying around, I'm certain he had piles of signed postcards that he could part with and not even feel it.  I discussed the awesome baseballs in this post.

I have a new found respect for Joe Sewell, after researching him for this post and after picking up this awesome card.

I feel kind of bad that I promised to show off this postcard way back in August, but forgot.  It helps now, though, because I don't have much to post, so this can be something to tide you over until I get some more mail in.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Some More Sportlots Pickups

I was bored the other night, so I checked out Sportlots and knocked a few more cards off of my want list for 1970 and 1971 Topps...
I knocked 4 high numbers off of my 1970 Topps set.  One of which is the above Frank Lucchesi.  I'm winding down on this set, but all that are left are high numbers.  This is still going to take a while, but it is nice to begin seeing a light at the end of the tunnel...

I knocked off 10 more 1971 Topps.  A few were the leaders cards like the NL Batting leaders card above featuring Rico Carty, Joe Torre and Manny Sanguillen.

Spaceman, spin the black circle...  Ahhh, Bill "Spaceman" Lee's crazy a$$.  Have you ever seen him on Ken Burns' Baseball?  Yeah, I think he is completely nuts, but he is always fun to listen to when he gives interviews.
3 Hall of Famers on this NL Strikeout Leaders card.  Not too bad, if you ask me.

Ooh, look, 3 more Hall of Famers, I did pretty well, plus I also knocked off 7 1963 Fleer for a friend of mine who is completing that set, so all in all, it was a good mail day for me.

Monday, November 7, 2011

More on the Trade With Schuyler

So, I discussed my trade with Schuyler here.  Here are a few of the other highlights from the deal.

He threw in a few 2011 Topps cards.  One of which is this Ivan Rodriguez.  He is seen here talking to Stephen Strasburg.  It seems that Topps likes the relationship between Pudge and Strasburg, as they have shown the duo on several cards, now.

Another cool card is this Kaz Sasaki relic out of Fleer Tradition.  Sasaki was a really good player in MLB, albeit, for a very short time.  He was Seattle's Ichiro, before there was Ichiro.

I traded Schuyler some shiny cards as well as a partial 1987 Topps set (complete with a Bonds RC) for the Bechler auto and these cards (as well as several others which aren't pictured).

Schuyler is a really cool dude and you should check out his blog if you haven't already.  make sure to click 'follow' so he knows people are interested in what he has to say.  I look forward to doing a lot more trades with him in the future.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Trade with The Brooklyn Met

 I completed a trade recently with 'The Brooklyn Met' who writes Clear Cut Cards.  I sent him some Cubs and Mets from 2011 Topps Update Series in exchange for some Orioles and a few assorted Mike Piazzas.

The above Piazza comes from 1995 Topps and is a pretty cool shot.  It looks like it came from spring training, based on the activity going on behind Piazza.  I like the clouds forming behind him.

 Here is a 1995 Upper Deck Piazza.  I like the shot of the catcher's mask.  I've always thought catcher's mask shots were pretty cool.  Another good one being Ramon Hernandez out of 2009 Topps.

 Here is a 1995 Topps card showing the 1994 All Star shortstops, Cal Ripken and... Wil Cordero?  Where was Ozzie Smith?  I would have never guessed Cordero as starting shortstop on any All Star team, but 1994 was the year in which the Expos were very good and just might have won a World Series, had that pesky work stoppage not happened....

Among all the Orioles stuff was this awesomely blue Gypsy Queen of Brian Matusz.  I think the card scans very well and looks pretty sharp.  I sure hope Matusz has a bounce back year for the Orioles next year.  We'll see. 

So, thanks for the trade, Jason.  I'll be sure to put more Cubs and Mets aside for you in the future so we can do this again.

That being said, I don't think I trade enough.  If anyone out there wants to try a trade, let me know.  Shoot me an email of the team(s) you like and I'll send you something in exchange for some Orioles or other players that I like.  I definitely need to get more mail in my mailbox.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Results of the Ball of Fame Box Break

So, I hope everyone enjoyed last night's box break of Historic Autographs' Ball of Fame.  I really enjoyed shooting the video, even though I need to work on my supermodel looks... 

 Here are some shots of the box.  I ordered the Ball of Fame off of Blowoutcards.  I had been looking at them since they were released in August and when the price dropped to $79, I figured now was a good time to pick one up.  I had some expense checks saved up from work, so it was easy to part with the cash.
 I'm going to keep the box, as I think it looks pretty cool.  Here is the side panel which describes the product.
Finally, here is the ball that I pulled.  I got the full name variation of Wade Boggs.  The ball is sealed in a PSA/DNA cube and the rear of the cube has the authentication card and grading results of the ball.  The overall grade is 9.5 with the auto itself being graded at 9 and the ball is graded at 10.

Boggs is my 51st different Hall of Famer.  He was my brother John's favorite player growing up, so naturally when I called him, he was excited.  He says he is going to save up and try one of these boxes as well.  We'll see about that.

I had never heard of Historic Autograph Company until I saw the ad for the Ball of Fame appear on the side of my facebook page.  Usually, most of that stuff is a scam, but this one ad appeared to be legit.  I read the sell sheet for the product and I was intrigued.  Now, having opened one of their products, I am very impressed and will definitely buy at least one more box.  I was so impressed with the product, I emailed the company this morning.  I have yet to hear back, but i figure that since it is Saturday, I probably won't hear anything today.

If you want to check them out yourself, you can go to their website and give them a look.  Also be sure to check out the checklist for Ball of Fame and see how extensive it is.  I can't wait to get my hands on another one of these, hopefully sooner than later.  Also, if anyone is looking for Christmas ideas for me, here you go, haha.

Wade Boggs (b. 1958) played in the majors from 1982 to 1999 for the Red Sox, Yankees and Devil Rays.  He had 3,010 career hits, 118 home runs and a career .328 batting average.  He won 5 batting titles in his career.  He won the World Series with the Yankees in 1996.  He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2005 with 91.9% of the vote on his first ballot.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thoughts on 2011 Historic Autographs Ball of Fame

When I saw the ad for Historic Autographs' Ball of Fame, I immediately thought "Wow, that's kind of cool...", then when I saw the price, I thought, "WOW that's REALLY cool!"

Initially, they were looking for something like $100.  The premise was simple:  Buy a box and inside is a signed baseball, authenticated by PSA/DNA of a Hall of Famer. 

The checklist was pretty amazing.  Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, heck, even Babe Ruth if you are lucky enough.  They also have variations of the signatures as well.  They have basic signatures, nickname inscriptions (like Cal Ripken would be inscribed 'Iron Man'), HOF inscriptions of course, and the most rare variation, the 'full name variations' (Cal Ripken would be:  Calvin Edwin Ripken, Jr.), so I could get a pretty cool ball, in my mind...

I have been keeping my eye on them hoping I could get some money saved up so I could give it a shot.  I figured, worst case scenario, I get a PSA/DNA baseball of a Hall of Famer that I already own.  If that happens, I can sell it or just hold on to it, no big deal.

So, here is the video of me opening the box:

I'll post a blog on the actual ball itself hopefully tomorrow.  I want to have you be able to see it come out of the box the first time before I spill it on who is on the ball...

I will tell you that I got my 51st different Hall of Famer and it was the rarer full name variation...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Tragic Tale of Steve Bechler

I completed a trade with Schuyler recently for the above 2002 Donruss Studio Steve Bechler Autograph.

Bechler was an Oriole prospect who will forever be a cautionary tale concerning the use of Ephedra and Ephedrine as well as the dangers of heat stroke.

Bechler was only 23 when he died of heat stroke during Spring Training in 2003.  He had been taking a dietary supplement containing Ephedra and possibly had not eaten in approximately 2 days.  He got into 3 games during the 2002 season, pitching for 4.2 innings.

Who knows how the 1998 3rd round draft pick's career would have turned out had he heeded the advice of his trainer and not taken the Ephedra, or his symptoms of heat stroke were identified sooner.

Since his death, and others linked to the drug, ephedra dietary supplements have been banned and removed from store shelves.

Thanks for the trade, Schuyler.  I wish the card had a more positive significance.  I'll post a couple more pieces from the trade later.

Check out Schuyler's blog, he does a really good job over there at Schuyler's Stuff.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

O, to be an Oriole fan right now....

So, the Orioles have given national writers another reason to laugh at them lately...  They were apparently denied by Toronto Blue Jays' Assistant GM Tony LaCava when he was offered the O's GM job.  National writers jumped all over the story as yet another shining example of how poorly the organization is run.  Blame Peter Angelos for all things that go wrong in Charm City.  National reporters swear up and down that Angelos' meddling is the reason LaCava turned down the O's job offer.

Orioles fans know all too well that Peter Angelos is probably one of the worst owners in baseball (after Frank McCourt and Jeffrey Loria).  It seemed that Angelos smartened up when he seemingly gave Andy MacPhail full control when he took over President of Baseball Operations duties in 2007.  MacPhail did what he could to straighten up the O's barren farm system.  He made some really good trades.  He made some really questionable free agent signings.  I, personally, think MacPhail did a decent job and didn't want him to leave.  Now, it seems that the new GM will have a better focus on scouting and player development (which is sorely needed in this organization).

When the Orioles interviewed LaCava, I saw that he was over Toronto's scouting and player development.  Nice.  They are a good franchise that is coming back into prominence, so I didn't mind giving him a look.

MLBtraderumors posted quotes from LaCava himself last night about why he turned the Orioles down.  In a nutshell, he said that he decided that he loved his job in Toronto and was very close 'like brothers' to Toronto GM Alex Anthopolous.  Don't believe me?  Here's the link

So, what's wrong with a guy liking his job and not wanting to rock the boat.  He wants to see things through in Toronto, fair enough.  I don't blame him.  I think national reporters like to spread conflict (hell, it sells papers), so of course Baltimore is going to be painted as a center for dysfunction.  The problem, now, is that Peter Angelos needs to recognize the perception he has around baseball and make a conscious effort to improve his image.  The easiest way to do that is to let his baseball men make the baseball decisions and go sit in a corner and count his MASN money.  Buck Showalter is a solid baseball mind and I'm certain he wouldn't have signed on in Baltimore if he didn't believe that things could be corrected there.

My wish is that a solid GM is hired; one who can work well with Buck, because we all know that Buck will have more authority on personnel moves than other managers in the league.  Get a real scouting and player development staff in there (start by stealing a certain scout from the Padres) and start drafting better.

Ok, I'm climbing off the soapbox now.  Thanks for reading.