May 31, 2015

Happy Birthday to My Favorite Team Mascot

Happy Birthday To You!

Happy Birthday To You!

Happy Birthday dear Wool E.

Happy Birthday to you!!!Here is a look at Wool E. Bull through the years. I hate that I can't be at the DBAP celebrating today, it' always a fun, family friendly day at the ballpark. My girls and I will be there in spirit.

May 26, 2015

Sunday was Bernie Day in the Bronx

This post was supposed to have gone live yesterday, but due to a glitch in the iPad Blogger app, it did not. Here it is with some minor modifications.

In the short history of this blog, my appreciation for Bernie Williams has been well documented. Yesterday was a big day for one of my favorite Yankees. Bernie's jersey number was retired and he was honored with a plaque in Yankee Stadium's Monument Park.

It's times like this that make me wish I still lived in NY. I would have loved to have been present for the pre-game ceremony.

Many of his former teammates were able to show up for the festivities. It was nice to see the foundation upon which the Yankees championship teams of the late nineties/early 2000's back together again. Congrats on a wonderful career and for receiving these well deserved honors Bernie!

Since no post is complete without at least one card,, here is a recent addition to my Bernie collection.

This is the International Atomic Refractor from 1997 Bowman's Best. Though the scan doesn't do it justice, it is a brilliant, shining star of a card...just like the player it depicts.

I hope you all had a great Memorial Day and that you took a moment to remember all of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom!  Thanks for reading.

May 21, 2015

A Pre-War Swap with Tony from Off Hiatus - Part 2

A few days back I posted the first part of my first trade package from Tony of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards. It was filled with tons of oddball goodness. Tony also included Yankee legends, serial numbered parallels, a few relics, and he sent the first card that I can cross off of my Cardboard Wishlist courtesy of a trade. It was quite the first impression!

Yankee legends, as promised. It's really interesting to see someone like Babe Ruth on an insert that uses the 1975 Topps design. The more I look at that card, the more I like it. In he middle we have a die cut insert of the Mick. To round out the first scan, we have Joe D. in his military uniform. I like seeing the players who served their country in THAT uniform for a change.

More 'The Streak' and 'Career Home Runs' cards of DiMaggio and Mantle respectively. I like these cards because they have a pretty detailed write up about the specific hit or HR depicted. I hadn't planned on trying to complete The Streak set, but if I keep receiving these in trade packages, I'll have the set completed without really trying. In the past few months, I've already accumulated over a dozen of these with no dupes. I don't foresee completing the Mantle set though.

Next, we shift gears from legends to more contemporary Yanks. The three Jeter cards were all new for my collection. The Kuroda is a blue refractor limited to 199 copies. Two new relics came out of the package as well. To this point, this was a tremendous trade package, but it wasn't quite done.

There were two more Jeter cards. One, an insert from A&G which was incredibly thick and the other... The Flip! As promised, this is my first Cardboard Wishlist top 10 card that I can cross off courtesy of a trade package. It highlights the incredible play that Jeter made against the A's in the playoffs. I remember watching this game on TV. I was so blown away by this play and knew right away that it was something special. It is an excellent example of the intangible things he brought to the team. This play wasn't about fundamentals, but rather instinct. Though his career is over, this play stands as a defining moment.

The back details the play. This is my second card that highlights this play, and is far superior to the other. In (not so) short, I am thrilled to have this card in my collection.

Thanks Tony. I am looking forward to our next trade...once your war is over.

May 20, 2015

Autograph Hunting - Scranton Railriders Edition

This past Saturday was Star Wars Night at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. It marked the first game of the season that I was able to take my girls to. My beloved home team also happened to be hosting the Yankees' Triple A affiliate, the Scranton Railriders. I had high hopes that Ivan Nova would be on rehab assignment, but alas, no luck there. The visitors did have several players that I hoped might sign an autograph or two, especially with the added persuasion of my 5 and 2 year olds. Pre-game was a bust. So we grabbed our seats.

This was also the first game that we didn't have 'regular' seats. Since it was a relatively last minute plan to go to this game, we had to settle for 'standing room only' tickets. My girls loved sitting on top of the outfield wall, just below the giant Bull sign. We wandered about the park visiting Wool E. Bull and R2-D2, getting some ballpark food, and checking out the Ballpark Corner Store. I watched the game as much as I could in between. When the game was over, we stood outside the park waiting for the players to exit the clubhouse. There were a few people I recognized from the many years ago when I was very active in this activity. Fortunately, the guy that was the really knowledgeable one way back then was still hanging around...and he remembered me enough to know I haven't been around much lately. It was always helpful to hang next to this guy because he always recognized the players and let us all know who they were(in the case we didn't know) and he was really good at knowing who would sign, and how many hey would sign at once. I was never the greedy type, so I rarely handed more than one card to any player. I was and am just happy that they would be willing to sign for me and I would always wish them luck(in the game or the rest of the season) or congratulate them on a good game if that was applicable. Having the rust of not doing this for some time, I missed a few of the players that I hoped to see, but I didn't walk away empty handed.

This one is hard to see in the scan, but it looks nice in hand. Here we are less than a week since getting this card signed and shaking his hand and he's been called up to play with the big club thanks to Ellsbury's injury. Good luck Slade, I'm pulling for you!

Next up, Mr. Tyler Austin. Pretty high hopes for this guy. Who knows if he'll make it or not? Still, I was pretty excited to see him in person and to walk away with this auto.

I got a few more that didn't turn out very well, but there is one last 'big one' to share.

I'd heard stories of how this guy wouldn't sign. I was actually pretty worried that they were true when we saw him pre-game. He came up into the dugout and as the group of us asked if he would stop to sign, he walked acknowledgement at all. He got some things from the dugout and walked out the other side. There was a group there and they asked him too. At least he stopped for a second and told them he'd get them after the game. That being said, when I saw him after the game, he was as nice as could be. You could tell that the attention of being a 'top prospect' on the system was not his favorite thing, but I thanked him and wished him the best of luck in the rest of the season and he seemed appreciative.

All in all, it was a great night with my daughters, Star Wars, a little bit of baseball, and some cardboard. By the way, if there is anyone out there reading this that has a copy of Refsnyder's Bowman Chrome auto(or any other certified auto) up for grabs, I'd love the opportunity to trade for one. 

Does anyone out there get autos at the games? Any tips or tricks to share? Thanks for reading!

May 16, 2015

A Pre-War swap with Tony from Off Hiatus - part 1 Oddball Rules

I recently contacted Tony from the great blog, Off Hiatus Baseball Cards about acquiring a 1993 Hostess Frank Thomas that he had up for grabs. I had been reading his blog for a while, but this was the first time I'd reached out to propose a trade. He was more than willing to make a swap. As an aside, I continue to be amazed at how generous our fellow collectors are. This is a sentiment that would be reinforced once again when I opened the package that Tony sent my way. I don't ever expect much beyond the card or cards that I specifically message folks about, but we all add what we can to fill out a trade package. Tony sent me so much great stuff that I'm going to break it down into tow posts.this one will focus on the oddball stuff.
I've seen posts all over the blogosphere highlighting packages from Tony and I've always really enjoyed seeing the oddball stuff that has ended up in new collections. Like so many others I had read about, I was overwhelmed with a ton of oddball goodness!

Yankees stickers from various years start things off. These were such a blast from my collecting past. I remember having these and sticking them to everything when I was younger. I had these on notebooks, my card storage boxes, and even the walls in my room(my parents weren't thrilled with the latter). Ahhh, the good ol' days!

Let's continue with the sticker theme. I like that these are more like mini cards and I love the clean, minimalist design. Though I haven't bought packs of the sticker collection over the past few seasons I have picked up some of these 'cards'. I'm disappointed to hear that the 2015 version has reverted to the flimsy, paperback style of old.

I'm not a fan of the Steve Sax years, but this is my first Holsum disc. I really dig the Topps Coin of Elston Howard even if it does present a display/storage issue.

Here are a few 1980's Topps minis. I liked the way these were done back in the day. The designs were similar to the corresponding Topps set, but not a shrunken exact copy like they have been the past few seasons.

There's the Frank Thomas that started it all. I'm slowly working on that Hostess set(I mean really slowly). It's always nice to get a new Deion and the package was heavy on Donnie Baseball(which is a great thing).

In recent days, I've seen a bunch of these Talking Baseball cards popping up in packages from Tony, so I was thrilled to find one of the former captain in front of me. Yankees and Kelloggs, 'nuff said! This would have been a great bunch of oddball, but there's even more!

The box bottom cards are very cool, but Tony must have consulted a crystal ball before sending this trade package. For a few weeks prior to receiving this, I had these Leaf stand-ups on my eBay watch list. I have to review the checklist, but if think this may be the entire Yankees team in one trade! 

That completes part one of this great trade, but there's more. Still to come are Yankee legends, serial numbered and regular parallels, relics, and the first card from my Cardboard Wishlist to be crossed off by a fellow blogger. 

Thanks for an incredible trade package Tony. I wish you luck in your war with JBF, and hope that you survive to trade another day!

May 14, 2015

Oh Captain, My Captain! A Tribute

A little over two months ago, I posted about a mail day that was my perfect reward for a hard snow day's work. Since I posted the gold version of the 2015 Topps Derek Jeter checklist card (#319) back in February, I have been in the hunt for the gold version of card #1. I've bid on at least a dozen of them, but they all ended at prices higher than I wanted to pay. I decided to start following the search. Boy, am I glad I did! The other day, I was looking through the newly listed auctions and found one that had a $6.50 opening bid with $1.00 for shipping and a buy it now option of only $8.50(also with $1.00 for shipping). I couldn't complete the transaction fast enough! Yesterday this arrived in my mailbox:

I'm still not looking to complete a rainbow, not even close. However, right after the gold Jeter arrived, I found a rainbow copy of the checklist card for way cheaper than I thought I'd be able to. So, a BIN later, and all of a sudden this card is on its way to my door. 

In he span of a few days, I took two steps closer to completing the parallels I wanted to put together. Three down, one more to go. If anyone out there has a rainbow foil copy of Jeter #1 that needs a good home, I can help with that.

May 12, 2015

New Blog, Great Name, Great New Trading Partner

A few weeks ago, a new reader made a comment on one of my posts. I sent him a message and the next thing I knew, he was starting a blog! Jeff from Wish They Still Came With Bubble Gum seemed like a great guy, and I LOVE that blog name! We messaged back and forth a few times and before long there was a bubble mailer waiting for me in the mailbox.

These 2015 Bowman singles are what got the ball rolling. The Cobb is /499 and the Bernie is an awesome RC Flashback refractor. The Rodon had my interest since I am an NC State grad and this is only my second Matt Andriese card(the first being a team set issue). The real treasure here will hopefully be the Refsnyder. With any luck at all, I'll have it signed by the end of this week. He's currently on the Scranton Railriders roster and they happen to roll into town to face my hometown Bulls for 4 games starting on Thursday.

Jeff didn't stop there. He sent me seven more Topps cards for my various 2015 set needs. True, only six are shown, but he also included the base Mike Trout card which was the last 'big' card I needed for the set and brings me down to only two cards left until completion. Just two more!!!

A few GQ Yankee legends, a few OD Nats, and a new Jorge rounded out what is hopefully our first of many trades! Thanks Jeff! I'm sorry that it was a little slow going for me to get to the post office, but I can say that your return package is on its way and I hope that you enjoy what I sent your way!

May 10, 2015

My Three Favorite Cards, Kinda

I recently happened on a new(to me) blog: My Life in the Sports Card Hobby. It turns out its author, Frankie, was running a contest and I read an entry over on The Underdog Card Collector. I'm glad I found Frankie's blog. I mean, he's a Yankees fan, his blog is great, and who doesn't love a contest? So, I began thinking about the task of deciding on my three favorite cards. As it turns out, not only is this a difficult task, but since I haven't been blogging for very long, I haven't written about most of the candidates for my favorites. They each have their own distinct stories about how they made their way into my collection. So, instead of sharing them now for the contest and denying them their own time in my collection's spotlight, I have decided to pick my three favorite cards that have already appeared on my blog thus far. I realize this is probably repetitive and cheating a little, but here goes(in no particular order).

This Elway has been in my collection for a long while now. It brings together the best of both of my favorite sport teams worlds. Seeing that young John Elway sporting those pinstripes always makes me smile!

A gold version of the Captain's farewell salute to the fans in the Bronx. It's an iconic moment for this Yankee fan. Not much else I can say about it.

Lastly, I'll go with this recent pickup. Lately, I'm really digging the oddball vintage stuff. This is not only my first card from the 1961 Post set, but it's also my first 'real', non-modern day, Whitey Ford. I've found myself looking at this card over and over again in the relatively short time I've had it.

There you have 'em! These are my current three favorite cards(that I've already shared). Though this was kinda cheating, I must say that both the Elway and the Jeter would have legitimate chances to crack my true top three on any given day, but there are some really great cards that will be shared sometime in the future.

Thanks for an entertaining read Frankie, keep up the great writing.

May 7, 2015

This IS Happening!!!

A while back, during Spring Training, I wrote a post about Will Ferrell playing for 10 different teams(all 9 positions) in one day. I had high hopes back then that Topps would document the feat with some cardboard at some point this season. It looks like my hopes will be realized next month when Topps Archives is released! For more details, click here. Here are some images that I've swiped from the internet.

Apparently, there will be 100 total autographed cards broken down between the 10 teams. So, each team's auto card will be serial numbered /10. Fortunately for those of us who aren't lucky or rich enough to own an autographed copy, there will also be a 10 card unsigned insert set to chase. I don't know about anyone else, but I can't wait to complete this set!

May 4, 2015

May the Fourth Be With You

Today is Star Wars Day! Yes, I know this is a baseball card blog, but I love the Star Wars Universe almost as much as baseball cards. That's why I jumped at the opportunity to add these pieces of cardboard to my collection recently.

This is one of the most iconic moments in film. Just moments before this shot, we were introduced to Darth Vader for the first time. From this moment, I was hooked.

Here is another memorable moment from A New Hope. These cards were both promos for the 2007 Topps 30th Anniversary Star Wars set. The backs look like this:

The Vader is P1 and Luke is P2. There is a third promo card floating around somewhere, but it haven't been able to track one down yet. I am actively searching, but I think it may have been some limited giveaway at some convention. Some day I'll find a copy and my three card set will be complete. As great as these two cards are, they pale in comparison to the original Topps sets from the late '70's and early '80's. Unfortunately, I don't own any of those...yet. 

I can't write a Star Wars post without highlighting my favorite character. Since I don't have a piece of cardboard to show off, I'll have to settle for a digital 'card' from my Star Wars Card Trader app.

Mmmmmm, the Fourth is with you it is....yessss!

All of this is a great warm-up for next Saturday, 5/16. That's when I get to take my girls to Star Wars night at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. They're pretty excited about it, almost as much as I am! I leave you with 'Jedi Wool E.' modeling last season's Star Wars themed jerseys. Happy Star Wars Day!!!

May 3, 2015

Back in My Bowman's Arms

No matter how hard I try, year after year, I always end up buying Bowman Baseball. The past few years I tried to avoid it altogether and probably ended up with more of it than I've had in many years. So much for avoiding it. I'm pretty sure that the reason I am so drawn to the Bowman line of products is because it was the product to have for the best rookies of most players when I was younger and heavily into collecting. Ahhhh, the '90's...

This year was no different. I told myself that I wasn't going to buy any packs of Bowman this year. Well, that lasted all of 3 or 4 days past its release date(the only reason it lasted that long is because I didn't see any on shelves any earlier. When I finally found some, this is what I came across.

Like I said, I'm a sucker for Bowman, but I guess if you get technical, I didn't buy any packs since this was a hanger box. I like this year's design. The one flaw is that the use of foil makes it pretty tough to read the player's name. Otherwise, I think it's a solid design for prospects, rookies, and veterans. Here are the highlights from my 35 card box.

I did OK with the prospects. It's hard to read, but that is Kris Bryant and his fellow, highly touted Cubs prospect Kyle Schwarber. I also pulled a Nelson Gomez who is apparently one of the Yankees' up and comers.

I hear this Colin Moran kid is pretty good too, and it doesn't hurt that he played college ball at nearby UNC. I decided to show this Altuve for two reasons. First, I think it's a great shot of him tipping his cap(batting helmet). Second, I'm on the fence about whether I'm going to start collecting him as well. The box contained a few rookies too. Jake Lamb was on fire for the Diamondbacks before hitting the DL. This box also had a Javier Baez(not shown). I sure hope he gets his act together, because I apparently am a magnet for his RC's so far this collecting season. Let's move on to the chrome portion of the program.

Again, not too shabby. I got another Yankee up and comer and a top prospect of the rival BoSox. Archie Bradley was throwing well for Arizona before joining Lamb on the shelf. I think I bucked the odds when the next 2 cards fell out of the middle of the box.

Two minis in one box. I really like the shimmery(is that a word?) background on these. As much as I hate it, Castillo is likely to be quite a force in the Boston outfield at some point this season.

But wait, that's not all!

Here are 4 of the 5 yellow parallels and a few serial numbered parallels just for good measure. This would have been a perfect box for a Cubs fan, as the Albert Almora yellow rounds out a trio big name farm hands(or former farm hands).

I haven't heard of Chism from the Mets, but the green parallel is numbered /99. It's far too early to tell if all the hype around Yasmany Tomas was warranted, but I'll take this gray/slate colored parallel limited to 499. I guess maybe that's supposed to be the 'silver' parallel. 

There are the highlights of the box. No big 'hits', but I definitely think it was a good box. I wish I could say that now that I've ripped a box, that my desire to open more of this has been satisfied, but that is not the case. Guess I'll see what the next trip to Target holds.

May 2, 2015

This is as Close as I Get

Today is Free Comic Book Day! I know this is a card blog, and I don't collect comics so why even mention it? I just participated in Record Store Day, which is the third Saturday in April every year. For those that don't know about it, there is a list of 'exclusive' releases that go to independent record stores and it has become quite the event since it was founded in 2007. It is regularly one of he highest revenue days of the year for the stores that participate. I think it's a great idea that those hobbies are embracing those already involved in collecting and it is a wonderful way to spark interest for those that are not. 

I've previously mentioned my wish for National Baseball Card Day to become a thing again and today is as good a day as any to reiterate that! I know that Panini has teamed with card shops to do multiple promotional giveaways, but I'm really hoping for something on a bigger scale. Not only do we as collectors deserve our own day, but it might help struggling LCS's around the country keep the doors open. Ok, I'll get off my soapbox now.

Since I don't collect comics, this is the best I can offer in keeping with the baseball card blog format.