Friday, August 31, 2012

Some Markakis Pickups From the National

I STILL have a ton of stuff from the National that I haven't yet shown off, so I figured, why not keep showing it.  So, I got a lot of Orioles cards because the show was in Baltimore and they are playing well this year.  I probably paid a bit of a premium on them, but that's ok.
I got this Markakis 2003 Upper Deck rookie card out of a dollar box (I think).  I was surprised that I didn't yet own this card, so I was glad to add it to my collection cheaply
Tis 2007 Turkey Red black chrome refractor was really nice.  The vendor was the same one who wanted a bit too much for his cards, and I think he quoted $15 on this.  Yeesh.  I really don't think it is worth that much, but like I said a couple posts ago, the stack of cards I got was worth $40.
I got this 2011 Topps Chrome Sepia parallel from Ryan the night before we left for the show.  I didn't know they existed, so I was glad to add it.  He hooked me up with it in exchange for a bunch of A&G's that he needed for his sets.

I hope to get around to showing off the Cal Ripken cards that I picked up next.  We'll see.  I hope you guys are enjoying my posts.  I have noticed a declining trend as far as page views go.  I think it might be because school is back in session.  I might have to buy some more stuff to show off to get my views back up.  If there is anything you guys want me to discuss specifically, let me know; or if there are some old blog features you'd like for me to bring back, I'm listening.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Quick Card Shop Pickup

I'm fairly certain I picked up this Nick Markakis 2007 UD Exquisite Rookie Signatures card for $30 from my LCS.  Fairly certain.  To be honest, with as busy as I have been lately, I could have gotten this from anyone.  I think the proprietor of my LCS had it waiting on me when I went back in there after my vacation.  The card is numbered 10/20 and has a sticker auto.
That being said, though, it is a really awesome card.  Nick the Stick is having a really good year for the O's after coming off of the disabled list and being thrust into the leadoff spot since there really weren't too many options after Nolan Reimold and Brian Roberts went down with injuries.

Markakis is a steady hitter, he won't wow you with home run numbers, even though many people predicted he would be a 25-30 homer threat.  He's good for 15-18 homers, 175-185 hits and a .280-.290 batting average.  Most times, when healthy, he can also be counted on for 40+ doubles.  Not to mention his cannon for an arm.  He is one of the better right fielders in the game and finally won a long overdue Gold Glove for his efforts.

Let's hope Nick can continue to show his stuff long into October.  Yes, Orioles fans are beginning to talk and think about October baseball.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Some More Stuff From Mr. McNair

I still haven't shown off everything I got from my vacation and from the National Card Show, which is amazing to me.  When Chris and I left our dinner meeting with Mr. Don McNair, Chris was given a 'grab bag' from Mr. McNair and was told not to open it until we got back to our hotel.  We were also told that there were a few things in there for me, and a few things in there for Chris.  Chris was told specifically that there was a baseball card in there for him and that I would be able to figure out what was mine.
This 1939 Play Ball Eric McNair was the card for Chris.  This is now Chris' oldest baseball card, by far and will be kept in my safe until he is older and can take care of it.  The card is in rough shape, but this is definitely one of those moments when 'Mint' is not necessary.  The card has definite character.  I will pick up a EX-NM version of the card at some point (yes, I will have an Eric McNair PC).
You should be able to click on the picture and read the back of the card.  This card is from 1939, of course, and by then, McNair had been in the majors for 10 years and had a World Series ring from 1930 after seeing only 4 games of action in the 1929 season.  He had been on the legendary Phillies teams of 1929 through 1931 and then had seen the dynasty dismantled by Connie Mack.  He worked through a few lean seasons with the A's then was moved to the Red Sox and was reunited with his good friend, Jimmie Foxx.  When the above card was printed, McNair was beginning his first season in Chicago after being traded there by Boston for Boze Berger.  It is kind of interesting to see how certain players ended up with certain teams.
Something really cool that was in the grab bag was this old Eric McNair fountain pen.  I used to have a couple fountain pens when I was in high school.  I used them for some pen and ink work in art class.  I was actually really good at it (I'm sure you didn't know that).  Seeing this pen brought back some good memories.  I probably should get back into doing a little art work here and there.  Who knows.
Anyway, the Eric McNair fountain pen was really cool.  When I met with Mr. McNair's son, Eric, III, the next day, I told him about the grab bag.  He laughed and explained to me that this was something his dad has been doing for his daughters their entire lives.  Every time they visit Mr. McNair's house, he gives them grab bags full of random items that he picked up from around his house.  This was so funny to me because it explained the eclectic mix of stuff that was in the bag.  Along with the above items, there was also a turkey feather, a book for Chris, a shirt for me, photos of Mr. McNair and his family and a check-in ticket from a local jewelry store (???).

This also reminded me of something I and my brothers used to do for each other's birthdays.  We would take an old toy out of the toy box and wrap it up or get a couple popsicle sticks and wrap them up.  You know, random stuff.  Eric, III told me that it was something unexpected that his dad did for the kids and it speaks to his dad's sometimes eccentric personality.  I definitely enjoyed that about him.

Don McNair accepted Chris and I as if we were members of his own family and I appreciated it greatly.  I hope he enjoyed our dinner as much as I did.  I really hope I can get back to Meridian, Mississippi and see him again soon.  Thanks Mr. McNair!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Thoughts on 2012 Topps Chrome

So, I bit the bullet and decided to buy a box of 2012 Topps Chrome last week at my LCS.  I figured that it would be a fun break and I may get a couple decent autos, as well as some of the different refractors.
There aren't a whole lot of Orioles in this year's Chrome, but one I pulled was Chris Davis.  He is quickly becoming one of my favorite players, so I was glad to get this card.  Would have been nice to get a parallel of him, but that might be something I end up pursuing soon, just for the fun of it.
I got this nice Ryan Braun die cut.  This card will likely be up for trade.  I don't have a Braun PC.  I think he is a really good player, but I just don't see myself holding on to this for much longer.  If interested, shoot me an email.  Oh yeah, a bunch of you guys commented way back when I posted Topps Series 2 that there was interest in the inserts and parallels, yet no one has emailed me.  If you are interested, send me an email.  I don't bite... hard.
This Drew Smyly auto is actually the second auto I pulled, but for some reason it posted first and I'm too lazy to move them around.  You'll be ok.  This card is already spoken for.  Dustin will get this one soon, once he comes up with some Orioles that I need.  No rush, Dustin.
I also pulled this Kirk Neuwen... Niewen... Nieuwenhuis, yeah that guy, auto.  He was on my fantasy team for a good bit of the year and did ok.  I'm not a Met fan, so this one will also either be traded or sold.  I'd prefer sold, unless someone has something nice that they would send.  Again, send me an email and let me know.
Oh look, its a Bryce Harper RC.  Nice, I don't have to get one off of ebay.  Is this one for trade or sale, you ask?  That's a clown question, Bro.
Awesome, a Stephen Strasburg refractor.  I enjoyed this card for about 160-180 innings before I was told by the higher ups that I had to shut it down.  Also not for trade, sorry.
AWESOME!  I got the gold parallel, numbered 8/50 of Andrew McCutchen, my new PC.  I was REALLY happy to add this card to my collection!  I will probably look for the McCutchen Rainbow out of this year's Chrome.  If you want to trade me one of the other colors, EMAIL me and we can work something out!  McCutchen is a great ball player and should be the NL MVP, even though he has cooled off lately.  I mean, he has carried the Pirates all season, so I imagine he is exhausted.
Finally, another card that has been spoken for.  I traded this card for a Wei-Yin Chen base Chrome.  Did I overpay, you ask?  Well, since I bought the pack of cards that the Chen came from and still had to trade to get it back, you might think yes, but since it will be going to my son, Chris, I don't think it is too much trouble to swing a trade with him.  Especially since this Lincecum is going in a top loader and being put in my box for safekeeping anyway.

So, in all, I was really satisfied with this year's Topps Chrome.  They weren't warped like 2010's and I actually pulled two different colored parallels out of one box (unlike NONE from maybe 5 boxes of 2010).  2010 really soured me on Chrome, even though that is the only Chrome set I have built.  I may actually attempt to build this Chrome set.  If anyone has any duplicate base cards they want to unload, let me know.  I might be interested.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Rookie Cards From the National

I got a ton of single cards from the National and I really don't think I will be able to scan them all to show them off, but there are several that I would like to show, so I decided to start with a few of the rookie cards I was able to pick up.
First up is a 1978 Topps Jack Morris RC that I got out of a 4/$1.00 box at the show.  I already had the card in my 1978 set, but for a quarter, I figured it would be a good addition to my RC collection.  Morris was a great pitcher who probably won't get into the Hall of Fame.  We'll have to see over the next few years if he gets in.
I really liked this 2001 SPX Brian Roberts RC, but the guy selling it was a dealer from Baltimore who had a pretty big upcharge on his cards.  Initially, he wanted $25 for this card, and as much as I like Roberts, that was really ridonkulous.  His excuse was "Well, it's serial numbered."  Uhh, this isn't 2003, you know.  Serial numbering, in my opinion, isn't as hot a commodity as it once was.  Anyway, I bought the card without a lot of arguing because I added a ton of Orioles inserts and RCs (Including some Matt Wieters and Dylan Bundy MiLB cards( and got the whole deal for $40.  Probably a little too much, but oh well.  Where else would I be able to find all those Oriole cards in one place?
I got this Adam Jones RC from the same dealer, and I'm not sure what he was asking for it, since I just added it to my pile.  The guy didn't have prices on 95% of the cards; I imagine he was just pricing in his head as he went.  Oh well, I guess I'm a sucker.  Anyway, this 2006 Bowman Heritage is a really cool card, patterned after the 1949 Bowman, down to the blurry photo.  Still a cool card for an Oriole who is having a pretty good year.
Finally, I found this 2012 Allen & Ginter Wei Yin Chen RC.  Chen is doing really well in his rookie season with a 12-7 record so far.  He was the lesser touted of the two Japanese signings for the O's this offseason (the other being Tsuyoshi Wada) and has done a tremendous job.  Hailing from Taiwan, Chen has emerged as the ace of the Orioles' pitching staff since Jason Hammel went on the DL, Jake Arrieta forgot how to pitch and Brian Matusz from 2010 has disappeared.  I like what Chen has done so far and I hope he can keep it up as the season winds down.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Chris Davis' Awesome Night

Last night, I was going to watch a little bit of the Orioles game and go to bed early, since I have been getting up at 5AM most of this week for work.  I ended up watching the whole game, in part because Chris Davis accomplished something that no Oriole had done since 2006 - he belted 3 home runs in the same game.
Davis' first shot went out onto Eutaw Street, the 66th baseball to do so, his second shot went to almost the last row, almost going out onto Eutaw Street itself, and the last one, he took the other way, a couple rows back.

Davis has really done a great job this year, after finally getting regular playing time in the bigs.  I'm still surprised that the Orioles were able to take him from the Rangers along with Tommy Hunter in exchange for Koji Uehara last year.  It just shows you how deep the Rangers are in talent that they could pretty much give Davis away.  It also speaks to how good, albeit underrated, Andy MacPhail was as Orioles GM.  Love him or hate him, MacPhail did a terrific job making trades given what he had to work with and deserves a great deal of credit for this year's surprising run by the O's.
I picked up the two above cards from the National Card Show, both from dime boxes.  The first was a 2008 Topps Gold RC and the second is a 2006 Bowman RC.  I was really happy to add these to my collection for a dime a piece.

Davis has already exceeded his career high in home runs and is sitting at 23 with well over a month of the season left.  He also has 103 hits and a .256 batting average, so far.  Also, he has one fewer win as a pitcher this season than Cliff Lee, just saying.  I would be elated if Davis eclipsed the 30 homer mark for the season.  Last night, Orioles broadcaster Rick Dempsey remarked how Davis reminded him of a young Mike Schmidt.  Man, if Davis turned out to be the type of home run hitter Schmidt was, that would be great for the O's.

Davis has already become one of my favorite current Orioles and I hope he can continue to add to his numbers as the Orioles make a push for the playoffs.  I hope to meet him at next year's Fan Fest and get his signature on a ball, maybe with an inscription of his pitching record.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hall of Fame TTM Success - Joe Garagiola

I have reached 75 baseballs signed by Hall of Famers.  When I began collecting Hall of Fame signed baseballs in January 2010, I never thought I would get this far.  Today, I added a ball signed by Hall of Fame broadcaster (Ford Frick Award winner) Joe Garagiola.
Mr. Garagiola signed my ball for a fee of $25.00 toward his charity.  I mailed the ball to him on July 25, 2012 without the donation and got a note back from him explaining why he was asking for a $25 donation, and I was happy to oblige.
I also got this signed chrome card from him, which was really nice.  He has really good handwriting, and the blue marker really pops off of the card.

Garagiola (b. 1926) played in the majors from 1946 to 1954 for the Cardinals, Pirates, Cubs and Giants.  He had 481 career hits, 42 home runs and a lifetime average of .257.  He won the World Series in 1946 with the Cardinals. 

Garagiola worked for NBC for nearly 30 years, calling games with legends such as Curt Gowdy and Vin Scully.  As a result of his years broadcasting, he was a recipient of the Ford Frick Award in 1991, thus becoming a member of the Hall of Fame.

Garagiola is my 75th Hall of Famer and 3rd Ford Frick Award Winner (the others being Ernie Harwell and Bob Uecker).

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Some Mail From Schuyler

I've been friends with Drew for quite a while now.  Since he and I have traded so much over the past few years, he has introduced me to some of his other close friends.  One of whom, Schuyler, has become a regular recipient of cards from me.
Any time I find a Team USA baseball card, I put it aside for Schuyler, since I know he is a huge fan and collector of said Team.  Recently, I went to the National Card Show and found a ton of Bowman Team USA cards.  I grabbed a bunch for myself and made sure to get one of each player I could find for Schuyler.  Schuyler's computer has been down for a while now, so he hasn't been able to send me any messages or post on his blog, but he did something that I really enjoy...  He sent me a letter.

Also included was the above 2010 Allen and Ginter Brian Roberts relic, which, I believe was not in my collection.  Schuyler went to his first card show a few weeks ago and was kind enough to think of me when he saw the card.  The gesture was much appreciated.  I, of course, hadn't been looking for any reciprocity, I just enjoy sending surprise packages of cards to people.

I'm glad the cards I sent to him meant that much and that they have found a good home.  Hopefully, Schuyler's computer issues will be resolved and he can get back to posting.  His blog is one of the more unique voices in the blogosphere and I hope he retains the desire to post his thoughts on a regular basis.  Schuyler, thanks for the card.  You are a good kid and I hope I find some more stuff to send you soon!

Check out Schuyler's blog at: Schuyler's Stuff

Sunday, August 19, 2012

August 18, 2012 Trip to the Card Shop

Since it had been a while since I had bought some new stuff, I decided to go to the LCS and see what they had.  I got a pack of 2012 Topps Finest and 2 packs of 2012 Bowman Platinum.  I also got a tobacco sized screwdown case for me 1930 World Series ticket, which I didn't think they made.  It is the size of a normal screwdown, except the inlay is fitted for tobacco cards.  The ticket fits perfectly!
 The highlights of the packs I got are the above Yu Darvish RC and the below Liam Hendriks auto.
The auto is on card and it looks really sweet.  The 2012 version of Finest is nice, as always.  Finest is always sharp looking and I would buy more if it was a little more affordable.
Bowman Platinum is becoming one of my favorite Bowman issues each year.  This year's looks really good.  I pulled the above Bryce Harper, which is definitely a good pull for me.
I was slo happy to pull this green chrome Mike Montgomery numbered 307/399.  I saw Montgomery pitch in person a couple years ago against the Kinston Indians and he was electric.  I think he is going to be a huge star for the Royals.

So, not bad for a couple packs at the LCS.  I hope I can add a few more Platinum and Topps FInest over the next few weeks, but I still need to recover from my vacation (financially, I mean).

Saturday, August 18, 2012

More Vacation Leftovers - 1930 World Series Rain Check

One of the coolest things I picked up on my vacation came as a complete surprise to me.  During my dinner with Mr. Don McNair, I was allowed to look at his scrapbook that he put together about his dad's career.  When I got to the portion that showed this rain check (which used to be attached to the actual ticket to the game, of course), he asked me if I was able to take it out of the album.  I said 'I think so', removed it, and he said 'good, take it home with you.'
I'm still amazed at his generosity.  This piece of a World Series ticket is 82 years old and is definitely a part of history.  To have it in my possession is really awesome.  I saw whole tickets to later World Series at the National Card Show going for several hundred dollars.  This one is in rough shape and clearly isn't a whole ticket, but it it still amazing.  I also like that the ticket has the signature of C. McGillicuddy at the bottom.  Also known as Connie Mack.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Vacation Leftovers - Trip to Rickwood Field

So, my vacation is long over, but I still have a few things I can talk about, which is nice.  I wanted to show off some pictures I took when I visited Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama on my way back home.  I had met up with Mr. McNair's son, Eric, for lunch that afternoon, and he suggested I take Chris to see the oldest existing baseball field in the US, Rickwood Field.
Rickwood Field used to be the home of the Birmingham Barons and the Birmingham Black Barons (of the Negro Leagues).  The field is in the process of being renovated/restored, but we were able to take a self-guided tour.  I took a ton of pictures, so here they are!
Here is the view from outside the field.  We just kind of walked around here, then jumped in the car until someone stopped us and told us that the gate was open and we could take a self guided tour.
So, take a look at the prices posted.  I would love to get into a game for those prices.
Here is a view of the front of the stadium.  I think it looks amazing.  I love old buildings, so this was right up my alley.
If you click the above picture, you should be able to read all of the info from the historical marker in front of the field.  It will give you the information much better than I could.
I like to imagine the above picture as a scene right before a big game.  The red, white and blue buntings are hanging, ready for fans to pass under, wearing their sunday best, incluring dress hats.  What I wouldn't give to be able to hop into the DeLorean and take in a game from the 1930s.  I'd be delighted to dress up in a suit, tie and top hat and watch.  Maybe eat some cracker jacks while I was at it.  Come on, Doc Brown, some through on that time machine!
So, here are a few views from inside the park.  I hope you like them.
Check out the sweet scoreboard.  Also, it appears that the advertisements are authentic for the time period that they are aiming for in their restoration.  I always like looking at the old ads.  Really neat stuff.
Here is a shot of Chris sitting in the dugout.  It was awesome being in the same dugout as players from Hank Aaron to Reggie Jackson.

Ok, I don't think I'm alone, but I hope they leave the seats the way they are.  They look awesome.  This picture will be blown up and put on the man cave wall at some point.
The picture below is an example of me messing around with the features of my camera again.  I did a color filter, only emphasizing the red seats and left everything else in black and white.  This looks like something that would be an amazing backdrop for a desktop or something.  I really like it.
Chris was such a good sport on this trip.  Lots of time in the car, but he didn't complain once.  I was glad to share in this experience with him.  Hopefully he will remember it even long after I'm gone.

Here are a couple shots of Chris running the bases.  I, being the dork that I am, also scooped up a handful of dirt from the field and put it in a bag for me to take home.  I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, but I now have dirt from Doubleday Field in Cooperstown and Rickwood Field in Birmingham.  Kinda cool, I guess.

Here is a shot of what the field looked like back in it's heyday.  Oh, imagine being able to see a game during those times.  How awesome would that me?  I know I repeated myself, but oh well, it gets me excited.

So, I hope you all enjoyed my pictures from Rickwood Field, I thought it was a really cool place.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

National Card Show Pickup - Brian Roberts Error Bobblehead

Do I really need to point out the error associated with this bobblehead?  Chris (my son) figured it out pretty quickly.  I got this bobblehead on Sunday at the National Card Show from the same dealer that I bought the Nolan Reimold from the day before.  I bundled this bobblehead with the Mike Cuellar signed baseball that he had priced at $35.
For the ball and the bobblehead, I only had to give him $40.  Not a bad deal, got this bobblehead for $5!  Winning!  I supposed I should pick up the Melvin Mora that goes with this bobblehead so I can complete the pair.  If anyone has one they want to unload cheaply, let me know!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

National Card Show Pickup - Nolan Reimold Bobblehead

I was happily surprised when I found another Nolan Reimole Bowie Baysox bobblehead at the National Card Show.
If you remember, I had one that I picked up from Ebay, but traded to, well, Nolan Reimold's wife.  She rewarded me with some amazing signed gloves and a signed photo of Nolan and myself outside of the Norfolk clubhouse.

Nolan is one of my favorite Orioles.  He started this season on fire, but suffered a herniated disc in his neck and has been out for the bulk of the season.  If he could stay healthy, he would be an All Star, I'm certain of it.

I am really glad I was able to find another bobblehead and have added it to the man cave.  The best part is - I got it for the same price I paid for the original.