Friday, May 30, 2014

Airbrushed Fridays: 1974 Topps Traded #151T

Or we could talk about Topps Archives, I guess? Nah.

Who is he? Diego Segui could throw a forkball, and he pitched for a long, long time. He was in and out of Venezuelan winter ball and pitched for 6 MLB franchises over the course of a couple of decades, including three separate stints with the Athletics. He's also the father of former MLBer David Segui.

How did he get here? The backs of these early Traded set cards tend to explain it all. In case you don't like looking at the backs of cards for some weird reason, I'll say that he was traded by the Cardinals to Boston as part of a six player deal. He would spend two seasons in Boston before making his final MLB stand with Seattle.

Repeat offender? No

Other versions of this card: 1974 Topps #151

Airbrushed Score: 7

Comments: This is clearly from the same photo sessions as his regular issue card as it's shot from the same angle, but he's facing a slightly different direction and looking a bit gloomy about the trade.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Good Enough

Brock Peterson was good enough to get a Major League Baseball card.

It's a frequently used term that can be rather derisive. The whole concept of the quad-A player, a guy who has nothing left to prove in any of the minor league's levels yet isn't a great fit with a big league crew, isn't the nicest thing in the world. We used to have AAA ball in Portland, though, and these were usually the most exciting players you'd see come to the plate. Brock Peterson finally got his shot at age 29 when he spent some time with the Cardinals, but he's back in the minors this year in another organization.

Mark Kaz from This Way to the Clubhouse sent me some cards, including the gold encrusted card of the fairly anonymous Brock Peterson. He was also responsible for what I'm fairly certain is my first 2002 Topps Chrome refractor. I made fun of refractors and their very idea when I first started this blog, but I can't help but love the shiny little devils.

I have no idea what is going on with this design. This might work on a giant poster on someone's wall, but it makes no sense on a card that's only a few inches in any direction.

Had Jesus Montero not been promoted aggressively as some sort of catcher, would it be safe to say that he may have found himself in a similar position as Brock Peterson. He's now a 1B/DH type, even in AAA, and I haven't heard any buzz about Seattle wanting him back any time soon. This card fills a nice short printed size hole in my collection, however.

Hey, it's the Pope, sans Popemobile. More Ginter cards for me! Thanks, as always, to Mark Kaz.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Another Fine Stack of Cards in My Mailbox

I like cards with players on them.

Jeff from 2x3 Heroes has been a frequent source of mailbox stuffing goodness in the past, and this most recent package was no exception. I received bunches of Cardinals cards, some shiny things, a stack of set filler and even a high end card for Erin. So many things!

Brandon Dickson made a few big league appearances on the mound over the course of a couple of seasons, but he was largely forgettable. In fact, I forgot that he left the team to play in Japan after 2012. This is a Walmart parallel, and I recently made the mistake of going to a Walmart for what is likely to be the last time in my life. The card selection in the only store in Portland's city limits is pretty sad, but not nearly as sad as the feeling you get when you set foot in the store itself. This last time there was seriously a partially eaten slice of pizza on the shelf in the always chaotic toy area. I couldn't even bring myself to buy a single thing despite surviving a downpour to get to the store. It's dumb. Walmart is dumb. Don't shop there. Unless you are planning to find a bunch of blue Cardinals cards for me, of course.

Cards like this are always a dicey proposition. Shelby Miller very much looks and seems like a promising young pitcher who may go on to do great things wearing the Birds on the Bat, but he could also turn out to be the second coming of Bud Smith. I like the pennants on the design, though. Nice touch.

Okay, now I kind of feel like an entitled jerk, wearing a monocle in my thousand dollar pajamas while I type this post after my Walmart rant. In many places, Walmart is one of the only options for purchasing groceries and sundry items. And in a matter of far less serious importance, it also is often one of the only outlets for purchasing baseball cards. If you live in such a place, I won't judge you. And I still want your blue Cardinals cards. And Target is probably just a cleaner, brighter Walmart anyway, right? Meanwhile, I'll be sleeping on piles of ruby colored ice parallels like this Trevor Rosenthal card and chucking gold coins at the neighborhood rugrats.

Catchers in their full catching gear really do make the nicest unlicensed cards. Panini should just make a whole set of them and no one would be the wiser. Except that they were all catchers, of course.

As promised, here's the fancy schmancy card for Erin's collection. I know, it's just a... yawn... base card that's... zzzz... not even serial numbered. But this is fancier than we usually get here.

A least half of the pile of cards I got from Jeff was from last year's A&G set. There's a paintballer in this set. Apparently that's the type of thing you can do for a career? Seriously?

This card is just an excuse to post a link to this video:

Friday, May 23, 2014

Airbrushed Fridays: 2014 Topps Opening Day #132

What a pain in the neck. Literally.

Who is he? Prince Fielder is the son of former All-Star and prolific home run hitting first baseman Cecil Fielder. Like his father, Prince is also an All-Star first baseman and prolific home run hitter. Cecil couldn't find his big break with the team that raised him, Toronto, and joined up with the Tigers (after a season in Japan) to become a breakout star. Prince was a Brewer through and through until he left for a big payday by that same Tigers franchise.

How did he get here? The story takes a turn when Prince didn't quite put up the same kind of numbers he did in Milwaukee through his first two seasons in Detroit. The Tigers needed to make some changes to their offense if they wanted to continue to be successful and traded him for Ian Kinsler. It's rare that two well known players are swapped for each other without prospects being involved in the current game, but that's exactly what happened. The Rangers seem to have been snakebitten lately and the Fielder trade is another example of this. There was significant chatter yesterday that a neck injury may sideline Fielder for the rest of the season. Already at age 30, Fielder's career looks a bit more uncertain. Then again, he plays Major League Baseball and probably sleeps on a bed of money.

Repeat offender? No

Other versions of this card: 2014 Topps #550 (short printed variation card)

Airbrushed Score: 6

Comments: Okay, this is somewhat unrelated but strange. Prince's 2014 Topps Heritage card looks like this while the parallel versions look like this. I guess we know which cards are manufactured first!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

"Fleer" Still Makes Cards, Apparently

You learn something new every day.

Those that primarily pay attention to baseball cards and no other sports may be surprised to learn that Fleer is still a thing. I picked up this Clyde the Glide card off of Listia recently and it arrived in my mailbox today. It has an actual 2014 copyright year on it and the old familiar Fleer logo, but it's obviously not a baseball card. Actually, some of us may even be surprised to learn that Upper Deck, who owns the Fleer brand, is still making cards at all.

This is a pretty nice looking card, and from what I've grasped the Fleer Retro brand has done fairly well among high end thrill seekers in these other sports (I'm assuming they do this for hockey as well?) As far as basketball cards are concerned, you can still get your Jordan hits and your Kobe whatevers, but they have to stick to using their college uniforms as Panini has an NBA monopoly. (Actually, considering Kobe Bryant never went to college, maybe they use his high school prom pictures or something?)

Monopolies are bad, but given their overall business practices, I'm not sure I'd want Upper Deck getting a license for anything ever again. Nevertheless, this is a nice looking card of my all-time favorite hoopster.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Night Belonged to Wainwright

The Cardinals ace was completely dominant tonight.

Expanded instant replay probably hasn't increased average game length all that much, but it certainly seems that I had yet to sit through a sub-3 hour Cardinals game this year. Tonight that all changed. In two hours and twenty minutes, which included a ten minute delay for an umpire injury of some sort, Adam Wainwright ripped through the Arizona lineup en route to a one hit shutout. The Diamondbacks have been a fairly sorry lot so far this year and have even brought Tony La Russa into the mix to try and clean house/fix things. However, Wainwright is once again tossing some of the best innings of his career, and it's a great thing to see.

The cards you see here came from Night Owl a couple of months ago. I haven't really talked about the Donruss revival here, but I finally got my hands on some thanks to my fellow nocturnal blogger. And they are just plain awful. Case in point - even if I can somehow get around the cheesy MSPaint graphics and the '78 Topps ripoff, the licensing issue remains. That's always going to be a sticking point for me, but on top of all of these other issues, they had to go and use a photo of him that is likely from 2009. 2009! The man has been in the majors for five seasons now and Panini digs up something that entirely predates his big league career. You can tell by the jersey number, one of the few things that they didn't have to worry about Photoshopping. This set is really seriously disappointing considering how much I love the Donruss NBA set that Panini once put out.

I'm probably not much different in this than most, but when a small card has basically the same aspect ratio as a standard sized card, when I load the image to the blog it just looks like any other card. This is a 1975 Topps Mini, however, one of Night Owl's specialties. Hence, I made the image ridiculously small so no one will be confused.

Finally, Night Owl knocked off some more numbers off of the 2006 Allen & Ginter want list. I'm not doing all that well on some of the sets that I've been working on for years, but I've already decided to dedicate 2014 to getting my so-called PCs in order and my Cardinals want list in better shape. In the meantime, these set want lists are there if you need 'em.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Airbrushed Fridays: 1974 Topps #163

Or as @toppscards calls it these days, "retouching".

Who is he? Ken Berry was an All-Star and Gold Glover, a center fielder who spent his better years with the Chicago White Sox. In recent years, he's even become a published children's author. Oh, Wikipedia, you and your factoids.

How did he get here? After spending the '60s in Chicago, Berry was involved in a five player deal that brought him to the Angels where he'd spend his next three seasons. Showing a fondness for massive multiplayer trades, Berry got himself tangled up in a nine player deal with the Brewers in October 1973.

Repeat offender? No

Other versions of this card: None

Airbrushed Score: 8

Comments: There's just nothing like that electron blue color that Topps used to airbr... er, ahem, retouch their cards back in the '70s.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Cards to Play With

At least I have 4 1/2 more months of baseball season to look forward to.

The Blazers were eliminated last night. It's not that important in the grand scheme of things. It would be easier to take if, say, the Cardinals weren't as mediocre as a Subway sandwich this year, but there's plenty of time for things to turn around there. Fortunately, the very generous Ethan from Playing With My Cards has a cure for the blues in the form of some very key singles from the 1985 Fleer set.

I'm still bowled over by the generosity of receiving the Clemens rookie. While he's pretty much the scourge of the Earth, it's still the most sought after card in the set and I feel very fortunate to get a copy in such nice shape. Rob Deer was a big deal back when this set was still fairly new, so getting his rookie card is a treat even though this is a card worth pocket change these days.

Don Mattingly is the quintessential '80s guy to collect as far as I'm concerned. I always got more excited about his cards than the flavor of the month like Dwight Gooden or Billy Jo Robidoux. It's a big reason why at least a tiny shrivel of me is fairly sympathetic to the Yankees to this day.

I never liked Ripken, though. I don't know what is wrong with me. I guess I have shortstop envy.

Ethan also sent along a couple of colorful old Cardinals cards. Here's current hitting coach John Mabry making two of his derpiest faces.

Eat fresh!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Words Fail, So I'm Showin' Off

The Blazers won and I don't have much to say, so let's look at some baseball cards.

I bought some more cards from COMC recently as I mentioned the other day, and I figured this was as good of a time as any to take a look at some of the stuff I snagged for my various player collections (PCs as the kids say).

This just looks like your ordinary old base Heritage card that I probably have five of, but you'd be a fool to think I'd need another one of those.

Huzzah! It's a black one. It has the cartoon all inked out for you in red, too. Now that this set has been out for awhile, I should probably go after more of the Venezuelan parallels since the prices have calmed down.

This card is ugly. I'm not even going to lie.

This is a little better, but I feel like there were a lot of plain white dominated Upper Deck designs from 10 or so years ago. The white jersey swatch makes for a bit of a boring card. I should mention that most of these memorabilia cards cost me around $2 or so.

This ended up being one of the more interesting jersey acquisitions. The card is a little smaller than normal and has a faux-perforated edge that didn't come out in the scan at all. Oh well.

This was probably my favorite of the Edmonds purchases, mostly because of my affinity for bat cards (and not so much because of Jimmy's frost-tipped hair.)

There's a base, and a ball, and some metallic background stuff going on. Okay.

Somehow I didn't already own the Gold parallel version of Edmonds' Topps rookie card. Now I do. And it was really cheap. I should probably buy singles more often.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


Russ Adams has more trophies than you.

Earlier in the year, when Topps Series 1 was still fresh and new in everyone's minds, a few people put down some claims on some fresh cards that I had posted about after opening those first few packs. One of the claimants was The Baseball Card Snob, who responded by hitting up my want lists, something I highly recommend.

The Rookie Cup annals hold the names of many stars and players with solid careers, but occasionally Topps rolled out a trophy to a guy or two that ended up being quite a clunker. For every Justin Verlander or Prince Fielder type, there's going to be someone like Russ Adams out there. In fact, the 2006 Rookie Cup team looks a lot more impressive in 2014 than the 2005 team.

I really need to work on the 2006 Bazooka set. This means I need to buy some more packs. Packs are full of inserts and parallels, which are what I like the most about this particular set. The base cards are nothing super.

Well, sometimes your Ring of Honor includes a LOOGY who threw a total of one inning across two appearances in the World Series. Thanks, Topps, for honoring Tyler Johnson.

I've been getting the occasional Philadelphia Eagles card from traders lately, which is nice, as long as people don't go super overboard with this. Anthony Toney was a backup RB in Tecmo Super Bowl who would occasionally be deployed whenever Keith Byars was hurt and/or if someone was in 'BAD' condition. He probably did something in real life as well, but this card represents pretty well how a slow backup back would fair in an 8 bit game situation.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Airbrushed Fridays: 2013 Topps Opening Day #115

One of the worst performing players in professional sports will be making around 15 million dollars a year through 2017.

Who is he? "Bossman Junior" Upton is the oldest of the Upton brothers, gaining notoriety as a key member of the Tampa Bay Rays during a couple of playoff runs. He hits for low average and isn't particularly interested in getting on base at all, but he has hit some home runs. Everyone digs the longball, right?

How did he get here? Upton was signed to a massive free agent deal in late 2012 by Atlanta, who also snagged his more talented brother Justin. He then had one of the most astonishingly awful seasons in MLB history last season. I don't know how this isn't talked about more. When a .212 average and an OPS just north of .600 is seen as an improvement, you know things were as horrendous as it gets.

Repeat offender? No

Other versions of this card: 2014 Topps #614

Airbrushed Score: 3

Comments: Apparently Upton has suffered with vision issues, though I really fail to understand how someone who is making that much money doesn't go out and get this corrected the very microsecond it's recognized that there's a problem.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

At Long Last My Blog Has Been Validated

Achievement Unlocked!

I started this blog six years ago next month with a not-so-subtle goal to acquire more Cardinals cards with less effort and cash than it would take to actually go find places that sold cards and purchase the cards that I really wanted. At least, I think that's what I was trying to do. My second post laid out the mission explicitly and I sat back in my E-Z chair waiting for the good times to roll in.

For six years. Almost.

In all honesty, when someone very dear to me posed the question to me tonight "why didn't you just BUY [this card] on the the internet", it was easy to laugh it off because I've known why I'm doing things this way all along. This blog thing is the about the only way that I can make collecting cards interesting to me for a sustainable period. I've never liked to buy singles, even though I occasionally splurge at card shows or when I'm feeling bored. I like the random encounter, like a good classic 8-bit Japanese RPG. I like to buy packs and get something I really feel like I wanted, even though the financial end of things doesn't make sense. And I like getting things in my mailbox and seeing cards that I was interested in for the first time, in my hands. I could buy these things out of a catalog or off of an endless webpage of scrolling text, but I prefer things this way. (I also like comments. I don't know why.)

For the record, there's still the 1991 Bowman Jaime Moyer card out there to collect (and it probably has a rare Tiffany cousin). Along with the 1991 O-Pee-Chee "Now With Cardinals (But Not Actually In Uniform)" card, this is pretty much it for the Moyer section of my Cardinals binders.

Tony L of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards is the generous fellow who finally cracked the Jamie Moyer case, and he was also kind enough to send along Vince Coleman's 1985 Fleer Update rookie card -- another Top 10 Need. I love 1985 Fleer.

It's almost stunning that someone could send me as many as three cards from 1985 to 1991 that I didn't own, but this actually happened. I was largely unaware that the Topps glossy inserts continued into 1991 for some reason, even though I purchased a ton of cards that year. The glossy Rookies were traditionally inserted into jumbo packs, but I don't remember ever seeing jumbos or rack packs in my neck of the woods back then. That must be why my eyes bug out whenever I see the Topps 40th Anniversary logo on one of these glossy inserts. If there are any more Cardinals in this set or the corresponding glossy All-Star set, I need 'em. And if they continued to make these cards past 1991, my head is really going to explode!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Playoff Mode

It's hard to think about other things when there are playoffs to watch.

I took a journey over to COMC again while they're still in the middle of building a new database since Beckett took their ball and went home. I purchased some cards. I actually have a few cards available to purchase over there, but I don't like to talk about that here. I like to talk about trading here if anything.

So here's a card that isn't available for trade. It was one of my COMC purchases in honor of the Blazers playoff run. They got past the Rockets to advance to the second round in breathtaking fashion late last Friday and are currently up against the Spurs machine.

I'll post some of my baseball finds here at a later date. I chose the one Blazers card because I didn't really have a significant Wesley Matthews card. Year after year, I pick out a player on the team whose jersey I would buy if I was to decide to splurge on that sort of thing. It's usually an easy answer for me, but there are so many likable players on this year's team that it really would take some internal debate. I arrived at Wesley, finally. He's not the most talented player on the team, but he's the heart and hustle. And he's young and improving. He also did a tremendous job on James Harden during the previous series, holding the beard fetishist well below his season averages until the final game. Matthews was undrafted out of Marquette, but shined as a rookie in Utah. Portland threw countless sums of money at him and here we are today, with a deadly 3-point shooter who likes to post up and play defense.

Not everyone makes much of serial numbers around these parts, but I happened to notice a little something. 77. The Blazers won their championship in '77. Remember?