Sunday, May 31, 2015

Thoughts on 2015 Bowman

I picked up a jumbo box of 2015 Bowman a few weeks ago from my LCS and busted it, hoping I could get some nice pulls and some cool parallels.  I didn't really do all that well in the "pull" department, but I got a few nice color parallels.  In all, this year's design is nice.  I had a hard time picking out the silver parallels initially, but I figured it out.

There are quite a few Orioles in the set, like Mike Yastrzemski (above).  As you may know, Yastrzemski is the grandson of Hall of Famer, Carl Yastrzemski, and had a really good year in the Orioles' system last year.  Some other Orioles in the set are Tim Berry, Hunter Harvey and Dariel Alvarez.  Not bad.
One of the mini shimmer parallels I pulled was this purple Dariel Alvarez, numbered 22/250.  This is a sharp-looking card.  I also have the orange Alvarez, which is equally as sharp, and matches his uniform.

In all, I enjoyed this year's offering of Bowman.  I didn't have an epic pull, like last year, but that didn't take away from the product.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Top 10 Wishlist Pickup - 2011 Topps Black Diamond Virgil Trucks Auto

This is one of those cards that really should be seen in person to be truly appreciated.  When the Black Diamond Wrapper Redemption cards came out, I missed the boat and failed to submit my wrappers.  I didn't catch on to the wrapper redemption thing until the next year with the Topps Gold Rush cards.  Man, did I miss out.  I had seen that Virgil Trucks was a subject in the autograph offerings of this set, but I hadn't bought one because the price was way too much for me.  I had seen several of these sell for $100.00, so I held off.  The prices were really all over the place, then poof, none were to be seen for a while.  I would search for one here and there, never to find any, but autos of the other guys in the set were plentiful.  Trucks was so elusive.

Finally, I remembered to add the search "2011 Topps Black Diamond Trucks Auto" to my Ebay saved searches, and kept checking my phone daily to see if any ever would pop up.  As luck would have it, I signed in to Ebay one day, just to look around, and one was listed right in my Home feed.  Why did it not show up on my app?  Well, as I would find out, I hadn't checked my app that day, and this card was newly listed.  With a Buy it Now price of $29.99, I immediately bought it.  I didn't want to let another one go by without me picking it up, and the price was well below any of the other cards I had seen.

Numbered 56/60, the card is in amazing shape.  Once I scanned it, I put it in a magnetic case and will re-use the brand new toploader that the seller included.  The card is just beautiful, and will now be one of the top cards in my collection.

This is one of those cards that I have been watching for so long, I am excited to add it to the collection.  New Virgil Trucks cards don't show up often, or ever, really, so my Trucks collection is virtually complete.  I may find an oddball card here or there, but in all honesty, I have just about everything I can find that pertains to him.

Not a day goes by that I miss receiving letters from him telling me how his family is doing, or him asking me about my son.  I would have loved sending him a letter a couple weeks ago to tell him that Chris got his first two hits of the season, or that he aspires to be a pitcher.  All of this for a man that I never met once in my life.

Mr. Trucks was amazing to all of his fans, and I am really happy that I can now say that I have this card in my collection.

Friday, May 29, 2015

A Surprise Care Package From Jake P.

I got a care package in the mail today from my friend, Jake P.  The package was very unexpected, and the heartfelt letter he wrote was even more of a surprise.  Jake sent me a Sonny Gray relic that was damaged badly, and I was pretty upset over it.  I wasn't mean to Jake at all, I just told him I was disappointed that the card was damaged.  He apologized profusely, and vowed to make it up to me, to which I had responded "Don't worry about it."  Well, Jake was true to his word and sent me two nice PC cards.  I really didn't want him to worry about it, and my opinion of him didn't change as a result, but this was such an amazing gesture, it won't be forgotten.

Jake hooked me up with this 2006 Bowman Futures Game relic of Nolan Reimold.  I had one already, but I am really glad to have another in my collection.
Jake also sent this 2012 Upper Deck SP dual auto of Brian Matusz and Matt Wieters that I had never seen before.  Even without pictures of the players, and no team info at all, the card still looks really cool.  I love the colors they chose for the card, and the autographs match well with that scheme.  It is a really sharp card.

So, thanks a bunch for this awesome care package, Jake, and more so, thanks for the amazing letter.  Those are really my favorite parts of any package.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Ebay Pickup - 2014 Bowman Chrome Chris Davis Red Parallel

I picked up a PC need the other day off of Ebay that came in the mail today.  This 2014 Bowman Chrome Chris Davis red parallel cost me $30, but it is numbered 1/5 and looks really cool.

With this card, I have 7 versions of the rainbow for this set.  I have seen the superfractor on Instagram, and have talked to the guy who owns it.  He wants $110 for it, but I don't have that kind of money to spend on a card, right now.  It would be nice to knock out the 1/1 so I can actually complete a rainbow in my lifetime.  Maybe after the National, I'll be able to pick it up.  I bet the guy still has it by then.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

My Thought On 2015 Topps Museum Collection

When it first came out, I picked up a box of 2015 Topps Museum Collection.  It was pretty expensive, and I know I could have just gone and bought what I wanted off of Ebay.  I got the box because I do dream of getting that one huge hit, you know, a 1/1 bat nameplate or something.

I didn't pull anything like that, but I did do ok, I guess.  I had a couple PC hits like the above Jimmie Foxx base card.  Man, it would be awesome to pull a Foxx relic.  Regardless, this is a great card of The Beast, so I was glad to pull it.
Speaking of pulling cards for the PC, you all know how I love to pull cards of Cal that I don't already have.  This is a nice Cal, and will be assimilated into the PC, buried among the hundreds of other Cal cards that I have, and that'g a good thing.
I got a really low numbered Jumbo relic card of Eric Hosmer.  This card already has some miles on it.  I had agreed to a trade with a new kid on Instagram for a Sonny Gray relic, but the kid failed epically to scam me.

He was clearly winning the trade anyway, but I liked the Sonny Gray he was sending, so I agreed to it and we were to send at the same time.  He got the card, and I got a PRE (that's right a plain RED envelope), with one stamp and what did not feel like a thick relic card inside.  Sure enough, out falls a 2013 Topps base card of Mike Napoli and a note thanking me for my business.  When prompted about whether or not this was a joke, the kid tells me "Oh, I'm sorry, I must have sent you the wrong card by accident..." and sends me a tag of the person the Napoli card was intended for... the kid's PERSONAL Instagram account.  His response to that was "Oops, I sent the wrong link..."  Yeah, ok.  So, I called the kid out on Instagram, and also reminded him that I still had his address and screenshots of our trade discussions that I would be more than happy to send his parents.  Needless to say, I got the card returned to me in only a few days.  Again in a PRE...  With one lonely stamp.  Subsequently, the kid closed his Instagram account, as word had spread that he had scammed a few other folks.  So, yeah, I still have this 5/10 Hosmer relic card and I do intend to trade or sell it.
Finally, I pulled this Matt Kemp patch card that is numbered 62/75.  If you look closely at the northeast relic, there is a tiny little piece of blue patch there as well.  I didn't actually catch that until I scanned the card.  Pretty cool, right?  This card is also possibly going to be available, if my friend Michael decides that he doesn't want it.

I had also pulled a Dalton Pompey auto and a Yordano Ventura dual relic/auto.  The Ventura was sold to my buddy, Noah, and the Pompey was traded for the damaged Hunter Harvey manufactured logo and auto that I showed a few weeks ago.

In all, I liked busting the box of Museum Collection, even though I didn't really get my money's worth out of it.  The Kemp and Hosmer cards are solid, but I won't make up for what I spent.  It would have been a lot better if I pulled some hotter players, like Trout or Harper, but that's the name of the game.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Care Package From Elitecardsnstuff

I got a care package in the mail recently from a guy I traded with on Instagram who uses the screen name of Elitecardsnstuff.  We traded a few months ago, and he surprised me with a random care package that had the above Fleer Ultra Iron Man Cal Ripken, a Bowman Platinum Jonathan Schoop and a Tim Lincecum for Chris.

The Ripken card is cool because it shows Cal, Sr. and Bill along with Cal.  I remember the '88 Donruss that showed the three of them, and always felt it was a great card.  Of the three, I have autos of Cal and Cal, Sr.  I still need to get one of Bill.

Thanks for the care package!

So, with this post, I have finally caught up on my "to be blogged" pile.  I have a couple pieces coming in the mail, but I have tried really hard to lay off of buying for a while.  The stuff I have coming were "must haves" for various PCs.  I don't have any trades lined up at the moment.  I should be doing more soon, once I figure out what I want to do with the June card show.

Don't worry, though.  Even without a "to be blogged" pile, there will still be plenty of content.  I'll just have to think a little harder, which might just be dangerous.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Instagram Trade With Drew M.

After today, I will have only one stack of cards in my "to be blogged" pile.  Wow.  I completed a trade recently with a kid from Instagram, Drew, who uses the handle: ultimatecards_.  He and I have traded quite a bit, but it had been a while since our last deal.

I sent him some cards he needed for his PCs and in return, I got this nice Manny Machado relic card from 2015 Heritage.  It is a really cool card that I didn't have yet.

I hope you all had a great Memorial Day and took the time to remember our fallen soldiers.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Amazing Box From Max

I haven't posted in the last few days because I went to a race that my dad sponsored, and was competing in, along with my brother.  So, after spending a few days back home with my parents and immediate family, I am back in Winterville and able to scan cards.

Before I left, I received a box from my awesome friend, Max, that I wanted to wait to open when we could Skype together.  We were able to Skype today, so I opened the box, which was packed with over a pound of cards.

One of the many highlights was a stack of IP and TTM autos that he sent as a "just because."  The best of the bunch had to be the above Pedro Strop golden parallel from 2012 Topps.  You have to see the card in person to truly appreciate how cool those golden cards look when signed.  He also included a signed Jason Hammel and a couple Koji Ueharas.  I'm really grateful that Max included these, when he could have easily traded or sold them for a lot more.
One of the coolest cards in the bunch was this red parallel from 2014 Topps Chrome.  It is numbered 24/25 and looks so cool.  I really love the color parallels, and I do believe that the red ones look the best.  Well, maybe Orange, but I do have an affinity for that color.
Finally, Max sent me a sleeve with several Sonny Gray cards for the PC.  Gray is a really good pitcher and the A's are floundering.  It is only a matter of time before they declare that they can't afford him, and he is sent to another team.  Maybe the Orioles will be on that list.  While, I doubt it, I can hope!

Thank you so much for the package, Max!  I am so glad we have become such good friends, and I can't wait to meet up at the National!  It is only two months away and I am starting to get super excited!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Topps Redemption Replacement - Dylan Bundy Autograph

Last year, Andrew and I went in on a Matt Holliday redemption card from the 2013 Postseason.  He sent me some money, and I picked up the redemption card, since I had an account on  I redeemed the code and waited patiently for the card to come.

Meanwhile, this year, I redeemed one of the "Call Your Shot" promotion cards and won a relic/auto card.

This would set up a bunch of redemption confusion.

Andrew grew tired of waiting over a year for the Holliday card to come in, so I called Topps to inquire about the card.  They said that Holliday was under contract to sign, so it would come... eventually.

Andrew and I waited a little while longer, until he finally asked me to call Topps and have them replace the card.  So, I called and they asked what team(s) I would be interested in as a replacement.  I told them that he would want Cardinals, but Orioles would be ok too.

So, about a week later, I receive a package in the mail from Topps.  A Giancarlo Stanton relic/auto from 2013 Topps Triple Threads.  Wow, Andrew really lucked out on that one.  I called Andrew up and told him that Topps replaced the Holliday with the Stanton.  Andrew was elated, and I put the card in the mail the next day.

That day, I get another package from Topps.  Inside this package is the above Dylan Bundy auto, and a note from Topps apologizing for the delay on the redemption and here is my replacement.  I think to myself, well, where did the Stanton come fro.... wait a second!  I forgot all about the relic/auto from the Call your Shot promotion.  Oops.

I sent Andrew the wrong card.  He got the Stanton, and I got this Dylan Bundy.  It worked out, somewhat.  I mean, Bundy in no way compares to Stanton.  We had looked up what the Stanton was selling for on Ebay, and it was around $40-$50, and $40 was what he had paid for the Holliday.  So, I told him that I was cool with him just keeping the Stanton, since it kind of helped him recoup his money.  I got lucky on the Call Your Shot card, so landing the Bundy was fine with me.

This is one of the main reasons that I hate redemptions, though.  It took over a year to get something for the Holliday.  I actually have a card pending from Panini that is almost a year old as well.  Guys need to get on the ball, so to speak.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Meeting A Local Baseball Player - George Altman

While I was heading to a site for work last Friday, I stopped in Starbucks for some coffee.  While I was waiting for my coffee, I noticed something on their community bulletin board advertising some baseball exhibits in a nearby county that was to showcase baseball and players from that county.  Since we were free tonight, my wife, son and I all made the 45 minute drive to Goldsboro, NC to meet former big leaguer George Altman.

Altman (b. 1933) played in the majors from 1959 to 1967 for the Cubs, Cardinals and Mets.  He was born in Goldsboro and now lives near St. Louis.  He was a 3-time All Star (he played in two All Star games in 1961); He hit a home run for the NL in the first 1961 All Star game that forced extra innings, and the NL would go on to win in 10 innings.  He was the first player (and only left hander) to hit two home runs in the same game off of Sandy Koufax.

In his 9-year MLB career, he amassed 832 hits, 101 home runs and a career batting average of .269.  He finished 14th in the NL MVP voting in 1961, a year he led the league with 12 triples.
The evening started off right, when a video montage was played as tribute to Altman with the song "All The Way" in the background (as sung by Eddie Vedder during the Pearl Jam concert at Wrigley Field in 2013).  So, I was happy right off the bat when this thing started.
Altman spent several minutes discussing his life growing up in Goldsboro, and his rise to the majors, and subsequent time playing in Japan.  He was really funny and told stories about several Hall of Famers, such as Satchel Paige, Ernie Banks and Leo Durocher.  The crowd was allowed to ask him some questions, so I asked him "Of all the players hemet in his career, who was he the most in awe of meeting?"  His response was Willie Mays and Hank Aaron.
We had gotten some baseballs signed that we brought with us, but I also wanted to thank Mr. Altman for coming back to NC and doing the discussion.  When we went back up, I got my program signed, and the moderator of the talk gave Chris a baseball.  Chris made sure to tell Mr. Altman that he, too, was a player.  Chris then told Mr. Altman about his 3-RBI performance from last night.  Mr. Altman was very impressed.

He was really nice to us, and I enjoyed going to this event.  I hope the Wayne County Public Library does something like this again next year.  From what I gathered during the talk, they have done this quite a bit over the last few years, with several former big leaguers coming to town to talk.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

An Anonymous Care Package

I got a care package recently from someone on Instagram who chose to remain anonymous.  One of the guys I traded with recently messaged me and asked me for my address saying that one of his friends wanted to send me something.  Since we had traded before, I gave him my address again, and about two weeks later, I got a package in the mail.

Inside the package was a note that said: "These cards don't belong on my desk, they belong in your collection.  Enjoy! - From, Don't Worry About It."

That was pretty awesome.  The cards they included were: the above 2012 Topps Chrome black parallel of Chris Davis (numbered 37/100), a 2008 Topps Chris Davis RC and a 2007 Topps Opening Day white parallel of the Oriole bird (numbered 1,531/2007).

The gesture was nothing short of amazing.  I really appreciated whomever it was that felt the need to send me these cards.  Thank you so much, and it won't be forgotten.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Care Package From James

I got a nice care package a few days ago from my buddy, James.  He was one of the first people I completed a trade with on Instagram, and has been a good friend ever since.  He surprised me with a couple nice cards that I needed for my collection.

First is this blue parallel of Orioles prospect Josh Hart from 2013 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects.  It is numbered 5/99 and turned out really nice when scanned.
The other card that James sent was this gold parallel of Kevin Gausman from 2014 Bowman Platinum.  The gold really pops once it has been scanned.  I was really happy with how this one turned out.

I haven't been able to talk to James as much lately as I would have liked, but he is busy with school and baseball.  I know we will continue to send care packages back and forth.  I was very happy to get this in the mail, and I plan on sending something his way soon.  Thanks James!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Instagram Trade With Michael M.

I did a trade a while back with a kid from Instagram named Michael; he is a friend of a kid named Adam that I have traded with periodically.  Michael was really easy to trade with.  He sent me two emerald parallels for my set and a few other odds and ends.

I haven't heard from Michael since the trade.  I hope he continues with the hobby, since he was so easy to deal with.  I've noticed that some kids get into really hardcore, then it dies out quickly.  Oh well.

It was nice to add a couple more emeralds to the set.  This one is kind of floundering, but I am able to knock some stuff off here and there.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Mail From Anders - It's Rick Manning Day

Yeah, a total of 0 people will get the movie reference in the title.  Anyway, I'm getting toward the bottom of my "to be blogged" pile.  I have had a stack of cards that came in a care package from my friend, Anders, that has been sitting here for months.

Anders is a really nice kid from Minnesota who had traded with me a bunch.  For one reason or another, he has moved on from cards, but still "likes" and comments on some of my Instagram posts.  I miss chatting with him, but I know how life sometimes gets in the way of our hobbies.  I'm hoping he comes back soon.

Anyway, in the package was a bunch of signed cards from Anders.  Along with the above Manning, there were signed cards of: Jaret Wright, Len Barker, Brian Tallet and Cody Buckel.  Anders also included unsigned cards of Mo Vaugh and Masahiro Tanaka.

I especially likes the Manning and the Barker because they were on 1981 Topps.  That set is always underrated, and I tend to forget about it from time to time.  I never actually built the set, I bought it from a store that was closing for a really cheap price.  I tell myself that I will actually build it at some point.  We'll have to see if I follow through.

So, thank you so much for the package, Anders.  I'm sorry I let it lag this far behind!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Care Package From Dylan - 1968 Topps Brooks Robinson

I got a nice package in the mail yesterday from a new friend, Dylan, whom I have sent a few cards to recently.  He is a Yankees fan, and also collect big-name prospects.  I figured that since we had been chatting a bunch, and hadn't made a deal yet, I would still send him a small care package for his birthday.  So, when his birthday rolled around, I sent him a couple vintage cards and in return, Dylan picked this up for me at his LCS.

I really didn't expect Dylan to send me this nice 1968 Topps Brooks Robinson, but when he showed me the picture, I was happy nonetheless.  I already had one in my Brooks PC, but I needed one for the set.  Although I haven't started the set, yet, it still is never too early to knock off the big names.

Thank you so much for the card, Dylan.  You really didn't have to reciprocate a care package, as yours was for your birthday!  Thanks anyway, it is greatly appreciated!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Care Package From Grant

A while ago, I sent an Orioles rally towel to a guy named Grant on Instagram and YouTube, since we had both followed each other for a while, but hadn't made any deals.  I figured, I'd hook him up, since I liked his YouTube channel and Instagram page.

He turned out to be a pretty cool guy, and reciprocated the gesture with a care package of his own.  What was in the package was what really surprised me.

The above Cal Ripken 2007 SPX relic card is a bit damaged, but I'm not complaining at all.  Just having it in my hands and being able to add it to the Cal PC is great.  The card is numbered 130/175.  I can't believe that Grant included this in the care package.
The Cal card wasn't the only thing in the package, though!  Grant also included this 2012 Gypsy Queen Adam Jones relic.

I love these framed relic cards from GQ and A&G.  I think the frames add something to the cards.

Thank you so much for the package, Grant!  I hope you all can check out Grant's YouTube page: Grantsautos.  Subscribe to him!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Instagram Pickup - Willie Stargell Manufactured Patch

I don't know what it is, but I really like Willie Stargell cards.  Maybe it's the amazing yellow uniforms?  I'm not sure.  I shouldn't like him, since he beat the Orioles in two World Series that both went 7 games (1971 and 1979).  Still, he was a great player, and is widely respected as a Hall of Famer.

I got this card in a deal with a kid on Instagram who's name escapes me.  I don't remember what I traded for it, but I know he got the better end of the deal.  I was just glad to add this cool card to my collection.

I have quite a few Stargell Topps cards in my HOF collection, and I always am looking to add more.  I need to pick up his RC at some point, since it is on my Top 10 wishlist.  I might look for one at The National.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Orioles Care Package From Noah

My buddy, Noah, sent me a really nice care package recently.  In it were a ton of Orioles cards.  The above Cal Ripken from 2014 Topps Allen and Ginter might be the nicest one of them.  While I feel like A&G has run its course, the cards still look great.

I remember when A&G first came out back in 2006, it was a unique set that I felt was amazingly done.  It has worn out its welcome, especially with the non-baseball subjects.  You end up with cards that you seriously can't do anything with.  However, when you end up with some PC stuff, it comes out pretty nice.

Thanks so much for the care package, Noah!  I appreciate it greatly.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Ebay Pickup - 2010 Topps Sterling Brooks Robinson

I told myself that I wasn't going to buy anything on EBay for a while.  Not after everything I spent at the antique shop a few weeks ago.  I was set to buckle down and save for the National.  Yeah, that worked out really well when I opened up my EBay mobile app on my phone a few days ago to see what my notifications were all about.  On my feed was this awesome Brooks Robinson 2010 Topps Sterling 6-piece relic card.  The card is numbered 5/10 and was at an amazing Buy It Now price.  I bought my buddy, Max, one of these for Christmas, except it was Ernie Banks.  I didn't even know Brooks had one in the set.

So, going back to my philosophy of "If you see something amazing and you can afford it, you better get it while you can, because you may never see it again..." (thanks Scott), I picked up the card.

I am so happy I did.  The card looks amazing in person.  As you can see from the scan, both bottom corners have slight dings, but I don't really care.  They take nothing away from the card.  This might be one of the nicest Brooks cards that I have in my collection, now.  I'm really excited about that.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Final Mailday From Sean - Saying Goodbye to a Scammer

It's funny that I finally got around to posting some cards that I got from Sean from Instagram today.  These got here randomly in mid-February, right when Sean disappeared from Kik/Instagram again (for something like the third time or so).  When we first met, we were pretty cool, then I started to see a lot of people posting that he had scammed them out of cards.  He disappeared soon after, then reappeared in October with a new screen name, and a new Kik ID.  Sean, then, befriended my buddy, Ben, and worked out a trade.  Ben is a really awesome kid that I talk to every day.  He asked me what I thought of Sean, and I told him honestly that Sean was always good to me, but had a really bad reputation, after having scammed a few people.  Ben was really skeptical of making a trade with him, but went through with it.

Unfortunately, Ben never received his cards, after Sean messaged him to tell him that he got what Ben sent.  So, after the two of them went back and forth about Sean sending Ben back his cards (which Sean never did), Sean disappeared again.  I held off posting this mailday from Sean, out of respect to Ben because I hoped that Sean would do the right thing and replace Ben's stuff.
Today, out of the blue, Sean messaged me and right off the bat told me how disappointed he was that I never messaged him on his birthday back in April.  This kind of stuff frustrates me.

I try to be a good trade partner, and a lot of times, I make friends in the process.  I hardly ever have a bad experience with people, but with all of the drama that has surrounded Sean in the past, I pretty much told him that I didn't want to do any more trading, especially since he hasn't made things right with the other folks who he had apparently scammed.

You all who read my blog regularly, know how much I enjoy Instagram as a vehicle to make and complete trades.  There are a ton of good people on there, adults and kids alike.  I generally give folks the benefit of the doubt, and I am always giving folks second and third chances.  While I appreciate these cards, I won't be dealing with Sean or his friends any more.  They all have done ok by me, but they each have scammed others.  The trading community doesn't need a bunch of scammers around scaring off the actual good folks in the community.

So, I apologize for the negative tone of this post, but I felt that it might be inappropriate id I tried to paint Sean in a good light when he hasn't been legit with others.  Maybe one day, he will work on bettering himself, but in the meantime, I think I will be better off if I sever ties.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mailday From Drew - Surprise Care Package

I got a care package in the mail recently from my good friend, Drew that was full of Orioles cards that he had gotten lately.  Drew and I haven't been able to talk to each other as much as we would like over the last few months, but when we do talk, it's like we have never been apart.  He called me up last week and we talked for a LONG time about his "Ten For Tuesday" posts on his blog (which you should check out).

Drew just finished up the spring semester of college and will have the summer filled with working and saving, which I know how that is!  I really appreciated him taking the time out to contact me, and even more in sending me a care package.
I miss my buddy a good bit, but we all know that life gets in the way of the hobby sometimes.  I'm just glad that he is doing well and has found a school that he is happy at, instead of the other one.  I know we will get together soon to catch up and maybe sometime soon we will be able to catch a show together or something.

Thanks for the care package, Drew!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Mailday From Max - Chicago Sun-Times Ernie Banks Edition

When Ernie Banks passed away on January 23, 2015, the first person I thought of was my good friend, Max.  He lives in Chicago and is a die-hard Cubs fan.  I knew immediately that I should reach out to him, so, I texted him, then we got on Skype together to chat.  Naturally, he was devastated to learn of the Cubs legend's passing, so I did my best to "be there" for him.

During our conversation, it dawned on me that I really wanted a copy of a Chicago newspaper documenting Banks's passing.  I have a copy of the Winston-Salem Journal article from when Mickey Mantle passed away (since I was 15 at the time, and that's where I was living), that I recently found folded inside a magazine.  I thought it would be nice to have something from Chicago commemorating Banks's life, so I mentioned it to Max.  He remarked that he hadn't even thought to do that, so he grabbed a copy for himself as well.  He almost had an opportunity to go to the public memorial for Banks, but his dad had something come up at the last minute and they were unable to attend.

I really appreciate Max's picking this up for me, and getting it to me in really good shape.  It is tough to ship a newspaper, and he did a great job in shipping it.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Gift From Conrad - 1971 Dell Baseball Stamps Brooks Robinson

On my return trip with Mom to the Columbia Antique Shop, my intention was to not buy anything else, since I had spent so much on my Banks RC, 59 Topps set needs and the DiMaggio ball.  I did see the above Brooks Robinson in one of the cases that were off to the side.  I figured, it wasn't priced at a whole lot, so I could pick it up for myself, you know, since I did go all the way back there.

While Mom was discussing the Mantle and Jackie with Conrad, he told me he was just going to give me this card, since I was such a loyal customer.

That was really appreciated.  I have actually recommended his shop to a lot of people, and just this week, I have had two of my Instagram followers tell me that they went to his shop, just because of the stories that I have told about it.

This card is a 1971 Dell Baseball Stamps (according to Ebay).  Apparently, they are a tough find, and that makes sense, since I hadn't seen one before I got this one.

So, thank you for the gist, Conrad!  Another nice Brooks Robinson in my collection.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Trade With Trevor - Manny Machado Auto and a Game Used Ball

My buddy, Trevor, went to the second game of the season this year when the Orioles were in Tampa.  He did some "graphing" before the game and came away with a Manny Machado signed baseball.  Manny's signature has become more and more simplistic over the last few years, resulting in what you see above.

Still, it is really nice, and it didn't take me much to get it from Trevor.  I just hooked him up with several Reds relics and autographs that he wanted.
Trevor also caught a game used baseball that was thrown over the fence at the end of the 8th inning.  That's not where the story ends, though.

Trevor called me on the phone after he caught the ball.  While he was on the phone with me, someone ran onto the field and delayed the game.  As the person was running around, avoiding security, Trevor gave me a play by play.  Finally, the person was apprehended, and brought into the area where Trevor was standing (still on the phone with me).  He later showed me a YouTube video of the altercation, and he can be seen standing off to the side (and on the phone - with me).

He sent me a screenshot of that moment on the video, but I have since cleaned off my phone.  I thought it was really cool, though.

Thanks for the deal, Trevor!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Istagram Pickup - 2015 Topps Museum Collection Orioles Quad Patch

I recently purchased a box of 2015 Topps Museum Collection and busted it.  I already have traded away 2 of the 4 hits and was kind of underwhelmed at the results of the break.  While I love busting boxes, it is so much easier to just seek out the cards you want and buy them up.  That does take a lot of the "thrill of the chase" out of it, but sometimes, it's better to conserve money.  That being said, I do like busting this product and I probably will continue to do so, budget permitting.

Anyway, I looked around after my box break and saw that the Orioles had some nice quad patches available.  I failed to nab a few off of Ebay, and had given up the hunt, until I noticed this on Instagram as I was waiting for my food Friday night (on the way to Columbia).  I made a quick and easy deal with a fellow named John who runs the Instagram handle @phillysportscards.  John and I hammered out a deal within minutes of my initial contact with him through Kik, and consummated the deal via PayPal.  All while I was sitting and waiting for my house salad with hot bacon dressing to arrive at my table (and I assume my steak was on the grill).

This card looked so much better in person when it got here last night, having three of the four relics being patches.  It is numbered 53/75.

A side note, I posted this card on my Instagram page last night and almost immediately, one of the folks on there had to comment "Nice card, too bad it has two steroid users on it."  Why is it that people feel the need to make comments like that.  He responded later that he meant no disrespect, but really, why make the comment in the first place?  It reminded me of the time I posted a Wade Boggs signed baseball on there and someone commented "There is a smudge on the ball."  Really?  Like I didn't see that on my own ball.  Some people, these days!

Anyway, I like the card, and ALL of the players on it.  I plan on watching out for others that have some nice patches, but at this moment, I am content with just this one.  I appreciate the deal I made with John, and I hope that he can check out this blog.

Top 10 Wishlist Pickup - 1954 Topps Ernie Banks RC

Yeah, it might grade at a 1, and looks pretty rough, but I now am in possession of one of the rookie cards that I have been wanting for a long time.  I got this 1954 Topps Ernie Banks RC at the Columbia antique shop this past weekend.  I saw it among the vintage cards that he had, and at a pretty good price.  I was able to get Conrad to take the price down a little further, and pulled the trigger on the card.

I'm really happy to have found this card.  I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get one at a good price, but luckily, I was able to find this one.  I also was glad that I was able to get it from Conrad, because I enjoy supporting his business.  I might have been able to find one in this condition a bit cheaper on Ebay, but in the end, I like this one, and the price I paid.  That's all that matters.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Have I Ever Told You How Awesome My Mom Is?

While my family was visiting my brother in Columbia, SC this weekend, my mom had mentioned how she had wanted to visit the antique shop while we were down there.  I had gone by there right when they opened at 10:00 AM because I had emailed the shop owner to tell him what I needed and I wanted to make sure that I got by there.  I always hated pulling out a bunch of cards for someone, only to have them not show up, and with us not really being sure as to what our plans were for after the Crawfish Festival, I didn't want to take the chance that he would be closed after we finished the Festval.

So, I went by there first thing Saturday, while everyone else was getting ready for the Festival.  I sorted through his '59s, discussed the DiMaggio ball, and searched for a few cards for a friend's birthday.  I had wanted to meet up with everyone so we could all get to the Crawfish Festival at 11:00, but I took 15 minutes too long.  No problem, though, because I was able to run by the grocery store and pick up a few things on my way, which ended up working out.

Anyway, I had texted Mom to tell her that I was about to finish up at the shop, and got a response from her that said "You were supposed to wait for me!  I wanted to go!"  So, I asked the shop owner and he confirmed that he closed at 5:30, so I told Mom that we could always go back, I just wouldn't be able to buy anything else.

That ended up working out, because we were done at the Crawfish Festival by 3:00 and a few of my brothers wanted to go back to Adam's place and either take naps or play Madden on XBox.  That made it so that my wife, my mom and my sister, Christy, could all check out the antique shop.

It was nice going there and not feeling like I HAD to search the cards, since I had already done so earlier in the day.  I walked around a bit and checked out the other antiques that he had for sale as Mom and my wife looked around.  Mom started noticing things that some of my brothers would like, such as an old 1950s Street & Smith magazine with a Miami Hurricanes player on the cover for one of my brothers and an antique tobacco pipe with a case for another brother.

Mom asked me to show her where all of the baseball cards were, since she is also a fan of them, so I took her to his section where he had a bunch of vintage stars in some display cases.  She, being a former Yankee fan, quickly noticed a few of the Mickey Mantle cards that were on display.  There was a 1958 Topps Mantle All Star for a good price, and also a 1958 Mantle for around $500.00.  She asked me why they were so high, and I explained that Mantle was always a good find, whether you were a Yankee fan or not.  She then asked me how many I had, and I told her that I had a couple.  Then she asked, "...well, do you have any of these?  Would you want one of them?"  My response was in the affirmative, of course, so she said "I can get you one, if you want one, it can be an early birthday present or something."  My eyes lit up, as she pretty much gave me a budget on what she would do, so I looked at a few of the cards that he had.

One of the Mantles we looked at had a pretty significant tear on it, so I didn't really want to spend that price on it, but I did see the 1960 Topps Mantle sitting in a corner of the case, at a good price, just above the budget that Mom had set.  I had the shop owner (Conrad) take the card out so I could look it over.  I also was able to talk him down on the price, since I had spent so much earlier, and since he had a sale in the bag with the other items that Mom was getting.

One catch was, however, the nice Jackie Robinson 1954 Topps card that was sitting front and center in the case...
I didn't own any Jackie Robinson cards, other than the 1955 Topps card that is in my set.  I have a good friend who has one, and I always thought it was a beautiful card.  Its price was also just above Mom's budget, so I had Conrad take it out so I could compare it with the Mantle.  Mom looked over bother cards as well.  While I stood there contemplating which card to get, and enduring several eye-rolls from my 15-year old sister, Mom asked me which card I was going to choose.  I told her that it was a really tough decision, but since she was the one buying the "birthday present", she could decide for me and I would be happy either way.

So, she PUSHES me out of the way and says "Let me talk it over with the shop owner, and it will be a surprise of which card you will get."  So, we are shooed away from them while they conducted business; I walked around the shop and looked at some tobacco cards that he had in a separate case, then chatted with my wife for a bit.  Mom made a purchase, and we left the shop.

In the car, she opens her bag and pulls out BOTH cards.  She wasn't able to choose between the two of them, either.  So, according to Mom, my birthday (in September) and Christmas are already spoken for, this year!  That is fine by me!

She went through the receipt and showed me that Conrad had given her awesome deals on each of the items that she had bought.  I really think he enjoyed that we came back to the shop and he also enjoyed chatting with my mom as she bought from him.

I am now the proud owner of both, a 1960 Topps Mickey Mantle and a 1954 Topps Jackie Robinson.  The Mantle can go alongside the 1959 (in my set), 1962, 1964, 1967 and 1969 (in my set) that I have.  I'm surprised that I have that many Mantles, really.  Especially since I'm not a Yankee fan at all.  I think any baseball card fan and look at any Mantle and realize how iconic he is on a card.

The Jackie is equally as amazing.  That 1954 set is an awesome set, and I actually have quite a few of them.  I might be poised to begin the set sometime soon, and the Jackie pushes it forward quite a bit.  Add in the fact that a purchase I made earlier in the day even furthers the set, if I choose to build it soon, but you'll have to wait til my next post to see what I'm talking about there.

So, thank you so much, Mom, for really hooking me up with these awesome cards.  Browsing through the antique shop with you really reminded me of our times going into the old shop when I was a kid and looking at all of the cards.  I felt like a little kid, again!  Except that Conrad doesn't look like Rafael Palmeiro.

Thanks, Mom!  I love you!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Antique Shop Pickups - 1959 Topps Set Needs

I made quite a few purchases at the Columbia antique shop.  I'll break them up into a few posts, so keep an eye out for them.  This post will center around the set needs that I picked up for my 1959 Topps set.

This Al Kaline card is a little rough, but I like it nonetheless.  Kaline was one of the last big names that I needed, so I was happy to take it off of the list.
I didn't realize that I still needed Hoyt Wilhelm for the set.  This one is a nice card that I got for pretty cheap.  I'm pretty sure that I don't need any more Hall of Famers, but I probably should consult a checklist.  I've been wrong in the past.
Finally, here is a nice group card of the Cubs, including Ernie Banks.  I still need a few of these, and some of them carry a bit of a premium.

In all, I picked up 37 cards for my 1959 set.  This definitely pushes the set along for me.  I still need quite a few high numbers, but this set should be completed this year.  That is my goal, at least.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Hall of Fame Signed Baseball - Joe DiMaggio

I visited the antique shop in Columbia, SC today and left there with a ton of stuff.  One of the more notable items I got (and I got a few) was my 110th baseball signed by a Hall of Famer.

Joe DiMaggio (b. 1914 - d. 1999) played in the majors from 1936 to 1942 and 1946 to 1951 for the New York Yankees.  He had 2,214 hits, 361 home runs and a career batting average of .325.  He was a 13-time All Star (every season he played), two-time batting champ (.381 in 1939 and .352 in 1940) and was a three-time AL MVP (1939, 1941 and 1947).

Dimaggio won the World Series nine out of the ten times he played for the title.  He won in 1936 through 1939, 1941, 1947, 1949, 1950 and 1951.  Only Yogi Berra has more rings than DiMaggio did.

DiMaggio is the owner of one of the records that baseball may never see broken, a 56-game hitting streak.  DiMaggio accomplished the feat in 1941.  That is one of those records that you will likely never see broken, much like Cal Ripken's consecutive games streak, or Cy Young's wins record.  DiMaggio was an excellent hitter who could have achieved muchmore, had his career not been interrupted in its prime due to World War II.

DiMaggio was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1955 when he was named to 88.8% of the ballot.  He had appeared on the ballot in 1953 and 1954, but wasn't elected (he also appeared on the ballot as a player in 1945).  His inclusion on the '53 and '54 ballots were largely due to the fact that it was always hinted that he night come out of retirement.  He is the reason for the 5-year waiting period on the current Hall of Fame ballot.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Care Package From Sam H.

I have learned that there are a lot of guys named Sam on Instagram.  When I went back to figure out what the screen name of the guy who sent me this care package, it took me quite a while to figure out which one it was.  Luckily, I figured it out, and sportscards33 is the guy who hooked me up with a nice care package of Orioles cards.
In the package, there were several Brooks Robinson cards that I needed, like the Canvas Collection card at the top and this World Series Heroes card.  Brooks is awesome, and I hope to be able to get a voucher to meet him again at this year's National.  That is my goal, and it is a pretty attainable one, at that.
Finally, here is a nice emerald parallel of Cal Ripken from 2014 Topps Museum Collection.  This is numbered 160/199.  You can never go wrong with Museum Collection, in my opinion.  It is really one of my favorite sets.

Thanks so much for the care package, Sam!  I really appreciate it, and I will plan on doing some deals with you in the future!