Monday, June 25, 2012

Mail From Cam

I got a package in the mail the other day from Cam over at "The Bullpen Cardboard".  He is a nice kid whom I have traded with on occasion.  He got wrapped up in school, so this package was some 3-4 months in the making, but that wasn't too big a deal to me.
Cam sent me a bunch of early to mid 90s Oriole cards.  One of which was this 1991 Topps Billy Ripken.  1991 Topps doesn't get the praise it deserves in the annals of Topps history.  The 2009 set (where Topps vastly improved their photo quality) appeared to be a throwback to the 1991 set; a minimalistic border and fantastic photos and action shots.  I really like the 1991 set.  I might build it again, just for fun, since I see 1991 boxes all over the place, and cheap!
Cam was nice enough to include a Bowman Chrome blue parallel of Tim Lincecum for my son, Chris.  It is too bad that Timmy is having such a terrible year.  Chris doesn't quite understand that, yet, but even if he did, I doubt he would leave as a Timmy fan.
Finally, Cam included this 2000 Topps Alex Gordon auto.  No, not THAT Alex Gordon.  This Alex Gordon was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Orioles in 1998 at the age of 18.  He displayed decent power potential in the minors hitting 54 homers in 356 minor league games.  He never got any higher than High A ball before his career ended in 2004.  I wonder what he is up to now?

Thanks for the package Cam!  I mailed something off to you today.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

June 24, 2012 Frederick Keys Vs Carolina Mudcats

My son Chris and I decided to make the hour drive to Zebulon, NC to try to get Dylan Bundy's autograph.  We also wanted to catch our second minor league game of the year.
We had no problem meeting Bundy; Steven Bumbry made sure I knew when Bundy was on his way out.  I also feel like Bumbry told Bundy we were waiting for him.  Bumbry also helped me in 2010 by sending Matt Hobgood out to meet me when I was looking for him by the bus in Greensboro.  I think I owe Steven something, haha.
Bundy was really nice to Chris and I.  He signed both of our baseballs on the sweet spot.  Bundy also signed Chris' team ball.
I was upset when the Kinston Indians left town and moved to Zebulon to take the place of the AA Mudcats who moved to Pensacola, FL.  Get all that?  Kinston was left without a team for the first time in forever, and I am left to having to drive an hour to watch some minor league ball.  I pretty much have 5 Coutny Stadium figured out, as far as which seats to get and have the best chance at getting autos, however, nothing will replace the nostalgia and feel of historic Grainger Stadium in Kinston.  Man, I hope they find a team soon.
 The Keys won, 5-0.  Keys pitcher Tyler Wilson threw 7 innings of 3-hit ball and the Keys' Aaron Baker (obtained by the Orioles in the Derrick Lee trade from the Pirates last year) hit a 3-run home run in the top of the 6th.
Here is Chris after running the bases with the bat that was given to him by Keys player Garabez Rosa.  Rosa just walked up to Chris and handed him a bat.
Here is my ball that was signed by Dylan Bundy.  This is definitely going in a protected cube in the china cabinet.  I've got all of the Orioles' #1 draft picks dating back to 2003 (Nick Markakis).  Since the Orioles didn't sign Wade Townsend in 2004, I don't count him, but after that, I have them all (of course I haven't gotten Kevin Gausman yet, since he hasn't signed).
Here is Chris' team ball.  He had it signed by 15 Keys players.  I'm going to put this ball up for him along with a copy of the roster so he will know who alll signed the ball for him.
Here is Chris waiting for players to walk by so he can have his ball signed.  We waited out the heat and spoke with a bunch of the players.  He high fived a lot of them and got some free stuff.  Chris said that he enjoyed his day out with his daddy, so that was the most important part of all.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

June 23, 2012 Trip to The Card Shop

My son and I went to the Kinston card shop today, mainly because it had been since April since I had been there and I thought I'd see if he had anything new.  I was able to find some good stuff for myself and some of my friends (Andrew, Drew, Scott, Nick, Dustin).  One of the best cards I found, for a mere 5 bucks, was this Jason Hammel 2005 Leaf Limited auto.
Hammel is having an awesome season so far, and to be able to add this sweet auto was really nice today.  I didn't even realize until I got home and was showing it to Andrew on Skype that the card is numbered 1/50.  Very nice!
I found this 1981 Fleer Jim Palmer in the 50 cent box.  The card is off center, but I don't care.  It is a Palmer that I didn't have, so I grabbed it.

I really liked this 2008 Donruss Threads Joe Jackson.  You don't see Shoeless Joe card a whole lot, so I picked this one up, especially since I am reading Eight Men Out right now.
The fellow who runs the shop gave me 2 copies of this Frank Robinson Home Run Heroes card.  I had hoped it would be Frank in an Orioles uniform, but oh well.  It is still a Frank card, and I'll take it.  Plus it was free.
Finally, I added this 2012 Topps Tribute Eddie Murray that is numbered out of 199; I believe it is the blue parallel.  Just a nice card.  I always enjoy Topps Tribute, so I had to grab this Murray when I saw it.

I hope you all enjoyed seeing these cards.  The shop has a nice bit of relics and autos fairly cheap.  I have packages ready to mail Dustin, Nick, Andrew and Cam, so you guys will have those headed your way on Monday.  Tomorrow, I hope to post about a trip to see the Mudcats play the Keys, weather permitting.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Get Well Soon Nolan!

Orioles outfielder and one of my favorite players ever, Nolan Reimold, is set to undergo surgery to remove the bulging disc in his neck that is pressing on a nerve.  The issue has sidelined Nolan for a long time with numbness and tingling in his fingers and a loss of strength.
The surgery is pretty much the same as the one that NFL star Peyton Manning underwent last year.  There is a possibility that Nolan could be back by the end of the season (just in time to help the Orioles in the playoffs :) ).

Nolan reads this blog from time to time, so feel free to leave some well wishes to an all around great guy.  Good luck Nolan, I hope you come through ok and get better!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

TTM Success - Bill Virdon

I got my 61st TTM success when I got home from work yesterday.  I would have posted it then, but I had been up since 4AM, so I decided to be lazy and put it off a day.

Bill Virdon (b. 1931) played for the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates from 1955 to 1965 and 1968 amassing 1,596 hits, 91 home runs and a .267 batting average.  He won the World Series with the Pirates in 1960 and also took home the 1955 NL Rookie of the Year award.

I mailed to Virdon on June 13, 2012 and got my ball back signed yesterday, June 20, 2012.  That made him a 7-day TAT.  He signed the ball for free. 

I've gotten several signed balls from members of the 1960 World Series Champion Pirates:  Dick Groat, Vern Law, Bob Skinner and Bill Virdon as TTM successes, and Bill Mazeroski as one of my Hall of Fame signed baseballs (got that one in a trade, along with Don Drysdale for a 3 piece, auto Albert Pujols card).  I also have Virgil Trucks, of course, who was one of the coaches for that team.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

TTM Success - Vern Law

After a long day of work, I came home to a nice padded mailer in my mailbox which could only mean that I had a TTM waiting for me.  Inside my package was this ball, signed by former Pirate pitcher, Vern Law.
Law (b. 1930) played from 1950, 51, 54-67 all for the Pirates.  He won the Cy Young Award in 1960, when only one award was handed out, instead of one per league as it is now.  He also won the World Series with the Pirates that same year.  Law retired with a record of 162-147, 1,092 strikeouts and a 3.77 ERA.
Law is my 60th TTM success.  I mailed to him on June 13 and got my ball back signed today (June 19) making him a 6-day TAT.  He charges a fee of $8.00 for a signature on a ball, which I feel is well worth it.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all you Dads out there.  I was lucky enough to become a father on November 18, 2005 to the best little boy in the world.
I have spent the weekend hanging out with him; he had his first non-family member sleep over when his friend Nikolas came and slept over Friday night.  Then, I took the boy to Aurora, NC to dig for shark's teeth yesterday.  Finally, last night, Chris and I watched the Orioles one-hit shutout of the Braves, followed by a scary movie.  What a nice weekend.  Would have been even better if my wife was able to get off of work, but she was able to relax while we were out yesterday, treating herself to a movie.  Now, the three of us are going to grill out (it is a beautiful day outside).  I hope you all have had a great weekend, as well.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Trade With James

I just recently completed a trade with James from the blog "Chipp n Dale" (A Braves Blog) which he asked for several 1987 Topps so he could complete his set.  I think I was able to match all but 4 cards from his want list.  As you may know, I'm swimming in 1987 Topps cards and am always happy to get rid of some (I have my 5,000 count box for sale, please inquire).  I got several Orioles cards in return, highlighted by the two below:
Why did I not already own this card?  I LOVE the Diamond Kings cards of the early 1990s and for some reason never had this Brady Anderson.  These are just beautiful cards and I think I might try to go after some more of then, maybe even start chasing different Diamond Kings cards.  That might be what I do after I wrap up my Brooks Robinson patch set.  Who knows.  Anyway, this is just an awesome card from the era of Junk Wax.
I seriously believe that I did not previously own this Cal Ripken also.  However, it is extremely difficult to tell if I do or do not have a Cal in my collection (a fact I often lament on this blog).

These Topps All Stars from the late 80s are always nice cards.  The card is more than simple, barely even showing the player's name on the card.  Nice, simple border surrounding a clear, bold picture.  It is just a sharp card.  I really like it.

So, thanks so much for the trade James.  I was really happy to part with some 87s and I hope you are able to complete your set.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Letter E Plus a Bonus

I was able to knock off another Brooks Robinson letter patch recently after letting the set sit for 3 years or so.  This one, the letter E, came with a nice bonus as well, a signed Brooks Robinson picture.
I now only need 4 letters to complete the set, so here's to hoping I can finish this in my lifetime.  Maybe the upcoming national card show will have a vendor who has these among his wares.
The autographed photo was a nice bonus.  It wasn't authenticated, but it looks just like every other Brooks autograph I've seen, so I'm content with it.  I didn't need a bonus to get the letter patch, but I can see why someone would feel the need to include it.  Otherwise, what is someone going to do with a card with a giant E on it?

Welcome Back, Brian Roberts

My favorite current Oriole is now back with the team after missing over a year with post concussion syndrome.  Brian Roberts has been out of the Oriole lineup since he re aggravated a concussion by diving back into first base on May 16, 2011 at Fenway Park.  After much speculation as to whether he would even be able to play again, Roberts was batting leadoff tonight and went 3-4 with an RBI.
After Cal Ripken retired after the 2001 season, I was struggling to find an Oriole who I could follow with as much fervor as I had for Cal.  I discovered Roberts during the 2004 season and my affinity for him was solidified when, on June 28, 2005, I witnessed Roberts hitting a walkoff home run against the Yankees in extra innings at Camden Yards.  I had gone to the game with a former friend of mine after purchasing an authentic Roberts jersey earlier in the day.  Wearing the jersey when Roberts came to bat in what I believe was the 11th inning, I looked at my friend and told him, "Watch, Roberts is going to hit a walkoff..."  Well, he did, and the ball landed in the deck just below us.  It was magical.  I lost my voice that night and celebrated at a bar where a couple Yankee fans from New Jersey bought my friend and I shots of Crown Royal.  Oh, what a night.

Roberts has always been a catalyst atop the Orioles' batting order, and he has been sorely missed.  I'm hoping he is back to stay on the roster, because if he remains healthy and productive for the rest of the season, it will be much like the Orioles pulled off a trade... without giving up anyone.  All they need now is to get Nick the Stick and Reimold back and maybe they can continue their winning ways that they have begun the season with.

Welcome back, Brian, you were sorely missed!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Set Complete - 2012 Topps

It was pretty easy, buying 6 jumbo boxes, but I have completed the 2012 Topps set.  I got 3 boxes of Series One and 3 boxes of Series 2 and was able to put together 2 complete sets, actually.  If any of you wants the other set, I would be willing to sell it.  Also, those of you who expressed interest in some of the hits from Series 2, please shoot me an email and we can discuss.
Completing 2012 has put me with completed  Topps sets of:

1951 Red Back
1973 through 1992
1998 through 2012

I am currently working on 1959, 1969, 1971 and 1997; those are in various stages of completion.  1997 hasn't been added to my needs list because I pretty much need to bust an entire box of Series Two in order ot have enough cards to be able to list out what I need.

Monday, June 11, 2012

2012 Topps Series 2 - The Hits

I bought 3 jumbo boxes of Series 2 Topps last week when it was first released from my LCS and was not disappointed when it came to busting them.  I got some seriously sweet hits from my 3 boxes, many of which will be up for sale or trade.
I really enjoy these World Series Pins.  This Roberto Alomar is a nice card.  The Blue really stands out.  I like Alomar, but I believe I will put this one up for sale at my next card show, or I will see about getting an Oriole, instead.
I won't have any trouble putting a price on this Madison Bumgarner relic, since he hails from NC.  He has a lot of fans around here.  I like the card, that's for sure, but I think there are several Giants fans who read the blog, so I'm sure someone will be contacting me for it.
This is the only Black Parallel card I pulled, Edwin Encarnacion.  He sure is having a good year, maybe that will parlay this card into a nice trade with a Blue Jays fan...?
I pulled 2 SP cards, both of which were this Jason Heyward.  I like the old school Braves uniform.  One of these is definitely up for trade.
I liked the Retired Rings from Series 1, so the Team Rings concept was fine with me for this series.  I was really happy to pull Willie Mays, so this one will be staying in my collection.
Another one for Giants fans, I pulled this Bengie Molina GU bat relic, numbered 22/99.
I still have yet to get Paul Molitor on a baseball, so this card is the next best thing, for now.  I was glad to pull a HOF auto, even though I was hoping for Mays or Koufax.  This card isn't numbered, and the auto is on a sticker, but I still think it is cool.
Any Rockies fans out there?  This Wilin Rosario auto is definitely for sale/trade.  I don't really follow the Rockies, so this is definitely available.
I like this Killebrew team rings also, but thought I had someone who would want to buy/trade for it, but it was not meant to be.  I'll probably hold onto it for now, unless the right deal came along for it.
I like Torii Hunter as a player, but I think I can get something decent in return for this one.  Numbered 1/99, I felt like I did pretty well in pulling this card.  It is very rare that I pull a card that is number 1 out of whatever print run is stated, or the last card, or the jersey number, etc etc, so I was please with the novelty of having this pull.  That being said, I will definitely be selling this one (or trading).
Now, this card is untouchable!  Numbered 6/10, I was lucky enough to get a case hit out of my boxes.  Jim Palmer Auto/Relic (I think it is a sock??).  This card is going into a magnetic case and will be put with my other Palmer cards.  I was so excited to pull an Oriole as my case hit.  This card definitely made my box break worthwhile.

So, I was really happy with what I pulled and I hope some of the cards can help me recoup some of what I spent on the boxes, or maybe add some nice Orioles to my collection (or help some of my set needs).

I have a ton of inserts I will be willing to trade.  I have gone through them already and taken out the Orioles and some other teams for my regular trade partners (you know who you are).  If anyone needs any to help with set needs, please let me know.

Also, I completed my 2012 set, that will be posted soon.  I hand collated 2 sets, actually, so I will have one available for sale/trade.  I also have 2011 still available if anyone is interested.

I'd be willing to bundle a lot of this stuff together in the right deal (possibly a HOF signed baseball that I need?).  Please email me if any of you need any of this stuff, or if you need any base cards to fill your sets.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hall of Fame Signed Baseball - Yogi Berra

I sent him 2 TTM requests and got no response.  Finally, I decided that I would go ahead and bite the bullet and buy a Yogi Berra signed baseball.  My 70th Hall of Famer (and my 68th player/manager/executive) is definitely an all-time great.  I got this ball (along with my Willie Mays ball) from the Columbia Antique Mall.
Berra (b.1925) played in the majors from 1946 to 1963 and 1965 for the Yankees and Mets.  He played in 14 World Series and won 10 of them.  He also led the 1964 Yankees and 1973 Mets to the World Series as a manager.

As a player, Berra retired with 2,150 hits, 358 home runs and a .285 batting average.  He won three MVP awards in his career (1951, 1954 and 1955) and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1972 (his second year of eligibility with 85.6% of the vote).

As a manager, he compiled a record of 484-444 with a .522 winning percentage.

Stay tuned for a look at 2012 Topps Series 2.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Best TTM Ball Ever

I usually only post once a day.  Mainly because, I get afraid that if I post more than once, the previous post might get passed over, or lost in the shuffle.  So, I really must have had something special come in to knock my Willie Mays post back.  I got this awesome baseball in the mail as a surprise today.
 The ball is 'signed' by my nephew Ian.  Ian is 1-year old, so, he had to have some help from his mom and dad, but in my mind, it is signed by my little buddy.
My brother found the baseball at a shop in Myrtle Beach, SC and immediately thought of me, so he and my sister-in-law conspired to "throw me a curveball" and send me a little surprise.  They used her brother's return address because I would have recognized theirs.  I got the box today, and realized immediately that there was a ball inside.  From whom, I asked?  I had ordered some baseballs recently, but got all of what I ordered yesterday.  Had my wife bought one as a Father's Day gift?  If so, where'd she get the money, because I have the checkbook and debit cards...  Hmm, a mystery.

So, I opened the box and saw that it was from Ian (and Gina and Kenny) and it warmed my heart.  These are the best gifts.  The ones that aren't solicited, but ones where someone sees something and thinks of you.  This ball will be placed with all of my other baseballs of importance, most likely right beside my Brooks Robinson's and Cal Ripken's.  If you know me well enough, it takes a special ball to go next to those guys.

So, thank you so much, Ian, Kenny and Gina.  This really meant a lot to me and I hope to see you guys soon!

Hall of Fame Signed Baseball - Willie Mays

I was finally able to knock off some huge Hall of Famers recently when I sent a check to the Columbia Antique Mall (The antique store that I visit when I go to Columbia to see my brother).  I got a really good deal on this Willie Mays baseball because I bundled it with another signed ball that I will discuss later.
This ball has been signed in blue marker, is PSA/DNA authenticated and is on a really old Chub Feeney ONL Ball.  Mays marks my 69th Hall of Famer, and my 67th player/executive/manager.  I was really happy to throw some support toward Conrad over at the Antique Store; he is a really nice guy and is a 'friend of a friend.'

Willie Mays (b. 1931) is regarded as one of the greatest baseball players of all time.  He played in the majors from 1951-1952, 1954-1973 for the Giants of New York and San Francisco, as well as the New York Mets.  His 1973 Topps card with the Mets is one of my favorite cards in my collection.
Mays ended his career with 3,283 hits, 660 home runs, 1,903 RBIs and a .302 career batting average.  He was the 1951 NL Rookie of the Year, 1954 and 1965 NL MVP and won the World Series in 1954 with the Giants.  He also appeared in the 1951 and 1962 World Series with the Giants and the 1973 World Series with the Mets.

Mays was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1979 when he received 94.7% of the vote, his first year of eligibility.  I'd like to hear some of the reasons why 7.3% of the writers DIDN'T vote for him.  Anyway, I'm really excited that I now have a Willie Mays ball.  I've been waiting a long time to take his name off of my list.

Stay tuned to see who the other Hall of Famer was that I got.

Friday, June 8, 2012

TTM Success - Dave "Boo" Ferriss

I got a LOT of mail today, so I decided to post my TTM success first, then I will post the other things I got in succession later on.  I also need to post a card I got from Ebay, a trade I made with a fellow blogger, Series 2 Topps, some other special things I got, etc etc etc.
So, let's start off with this TTM I got from Dave "Boo" Ferriss.  Ferriss (b. 1921) played briefly in the majors from 1945 to 1950, all for the Boston Red Sox.  He started his career with a bang, with a 21-10 record as a 23-year old rookie in 1945, then following that up with a 25-6 record in his sophomore season.  After that, though, Ferriss flamed out.  By 1950, his career had ended with a record of 65-30, 296 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.64.

Ferriss is my 59th TTM success.  I mailed to Ferriss on May 29, 2012 and got my ball back today (June 8, 2012), making him a 10-day TAT.

In my TTM request, I asked Mr. Ferriss a couple questions.  Here are his answers:

Who were you the most excited to meet when you played?
Babe Ruth

What is your most prized piece of memorabilia from back then?
Action picture of my first pitch in 3rd game of 1946 World Series at Fenway Park.  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

TTM Success - Sophie Kurys

You've most likely never heard of her.  I hadn't until I did a Google search for TTM successes from former members of the AAGPBL (All American Girls Professional Baseball League).  Yeah, I had no idea who Sophie Kurys was, until the Google search brought up her name.  Then, I did a Wikipedia search and was astonished at the accolades that Kurys had received during her 10-season career, all with the Racine/Battle Creek Belles.
Among all professional baseball levels (minor leagues, MLB, Negro Leagues, Japan, AAGPBL), Kurys has the second most stolen bases of all time, second only to Rickey Henderson, with 1,114, which stood as a World Record until Rickey Henderson broke it in 1994.  Kurys was also a 4-time all star, 2-time league and playoff champion and she was the AAGPBL MVP in 1946.
She led the league in stolen bases seven times, once stealing 201 bases in a single season, which still stands as a record today.  To put that in perspective, Rickey Henderson has the MLB record of 130 that he set in 1984 and that record is 71 stolen bases fewer than Kurys' mark.
Kurys (b. 1925) is my 58th TTM success, and my first from the AAGPBL.  Many of you know of the AAGPBL from the 1992 film A League of Their Own (which is one of my favorite baseball movies, behind Bull Durham).  I still don't believe enough is said and written about the Womens' league.  Kurys would be a lock for the Hall of Fame if she had played in MLB.  Maybe someday soon, she might get actual consideration based on her career numbers.

In all, this is one TTM Success that I am really excited about.  The ball looks great and carries inscriptions showing her 1946 MVP and a message of luck to me.  Thanks Ms. Kurys!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mail From Virgil Trucks

I was pleased today to get some mail from friend of the blog, Virgil Trucks, in response to the birthday card and donation to his church that I sent to him in April.
 Mr. Trucks Wrote:

Hi William & Chris,
I received your wonderful birthday card and check and I thank you ever so much for both.  So does my church.  My birthday was great with all my children.  Well Chris could be the first Major league catcher.  Why not.  I send my best to you, Chris and all your family.  Sincerely, Virgil Trucks.

P. S. A few cards for Chris & you.

I was really happy to get the letter back from Mr. Trucks.  I also know he really appreciates the fan mail, so I plan to continue to correspond with him.