Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Everything is Awesome

Not really.

For the second time in less than two months, one of my favorite pro athletes suffered a devastating Achilles tendon tear that threatens to derail a once promising season. Adam Wainwright was virtually paralyzed after trying to leave the batter's box on a harmless pop-up, and now the staff ace can only think about next year. Last month, it was the heart and soul of the Trail Blazers, Wesley Matthews, who felt the strange and painful snap. While the Cardinals have a long track record of playoff experience to fall back on, not to mention that we're just a few weeks into the MLB season, the Blazers may be out of time as they try to stave off playoff elimination once more tomorrow night.

Reader Henry signed up for the free basketball card club thing recently (plenty of teams available, etc.) and was kind enough to send me a bunch of stuff that I like to collect. Along with rediscovering SI For Kids cards (honestly didn't know they were still a thing), I snagged some other cool stuff for my Cardinals, Blazers and Ducks binders.

This was one of my 10 Most Wanted. I'm finally starting to show some progress in that department, as I've now received 17 of those highly desired pieces of cardboard. I know, I know, 17 > 10.

John Mabry, future hitting coach.

If I want to get even more sports depressed, I only have to tune in to the Blazers all-time rebounding leader. Tomorrow night could be LaMarcus Aldridge's last game in a Blazers uniform. While the only pro team he's known can offer him more money and than any other team out there, it's tough to say at this point if he's going to come back. (Please come back.) Also, the Blazers could storm back against the Memphis Grizzlies and force more games. Let's hope both of these things happen.

Here's my 146th unique Clyde Drexler card, an insert from the 1993-94 Fleer set. Nice!

And speaking of '90s Blazers, here's the legendary Arvydas Sabonis... and Dan Patrick's headshot for some reason.

Henry sent me some Ducks football cards, but I'm holding those back for some Saturdays in the fall. Instead, here's a card of Ernie Kent-era hoopster Bryce Taylor. Taylor had some big moments in the NCAA Tournament with the Ducks, and some interneting has led me to discover that he plays for FC Bayern Munich now, which is confusing because FC stands for Football Club.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Wizard on a Wrapper

Wonders never cease.

I am not typically a fan of the Gypsy Queen line, but while on vacation last week I saw a familiar face on the cover of the pack wrappers of the latest Topps issue. I don't recall ever seeing Ozzie get the center stage treatment before in a baseball card product, so it was enough to convince me to allocate some of my vacation spending dollars on something I normally stay away from.

I picked up one of the 3-pack Value Packs and was pleasantly surprised. Perhaps it was heavily influenced by the fact that the first card in each pack was a Cardinal (never hurts!), but I am actually liking this year's design. I can't really say why.

There's still not much of a chance of me actually collecting this set, but I may be convinced to pick up a few more packs before the whole thing gets stale. At the very least, there's still a ton of Cardinals cards that I need and that always keeps me interested.

Matt Carpenter has been on fire to start this season and is resembling the MVP-caliber player he was in 2013 so far. This is just my 34th unique card of his. He was never really a top prospect, so the man just doesn't have very many cards.

Each Value Pack comes with a bonus pack of retail exclusive white framed quasi-parallels. I'm always a sucker for framed cards.

I could probably be convinced to trade these away.

I wonder what prevents Topps from integrating retired player cards into its base product without making it a gimmick or part of an insert concept. Tradition? They seem to toss in guys like Mays into many of their other products.

Here's one of the inserts. I don't like the Giants.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Spring Cleaning Sort Has Begun

Back to your regularly scheduled programming.

I've been off touring the various airports of America, but now I'm back and ready to talk (and sort) cards. If you missed out on my exhaustively promoted and endlessly discussed Spring Cleaning trade-a-thon, please don't fret - there are a whole bunch of teams left. Check it out. All you really need to do is send me like one card.

Continuing on with Jaybarkerfan's Junk's huge bag o' stuff for me, I bring you some Blazers cards that were sent my way. The Blazers are back in the playoffs but face a Memphis team they haven't beaten all year. Things got rather ugly in Game 1 on Sunday and Game 2 will likely be grimy as well. Hopefully Portland can put together a better effort and even things up despite their injury and continuity woes.

I don't get around to hobby shops very often and the ones that are in the Portland metro area are fairly subdued anyway. It should be no surprise then that pretty much no hobby store promotions land in my hands, which is why it was nice to get this Panini Father's Day special Damian Lillard card. I don't know the story behind it. It looks like a somewhat simplified version of any old set that Panini might put out. I don't have a ton of Lillard cards (he's some kind of star or something?), so this was a nice get.

C.J. McCollum is in his second year and made some significant strides in at least his offensive game towards the latter part of the season as the Blazers bench turned to anyone who had a jersey and a name on the back to look for help. He was a non-factor on Sunday, and hopefully he will make more of an impact later in the series.

Finally, here's a Sabas card... just because. Jega!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Spring Cleaning Sign-Ups

Only true Ballers need apply.

I am divvying up my extra unwanted cards from sets that I collect into piles of teams. I teased this awhile back, but all you need to do is sign up for a team and find a minimum of one card from one of my many want lists (player collections, team collections, or sets) to get a pile of cards from your favorite team. Of course, I would be happy to receive more than one card, but I would be perfectly happy to exchange a pile of this stuff for a single needed card sent to me in a plain white envelope. Please just choose one team unless you are positive you have several things to send me.

This is not for the doubles-phobic, but there are some short prints and a few notable inserts/rookies/not exactly junk cards. Everything must go! If you are familiar with the sets I do collect, we're primarily talking about Heritage cards (Topps and Bowman) as well as Allen & Ginter. There are a few other oddball sets that I like and have some extras of. And if there are enough cards to justify the upgrade to a priority mail bubble mailer (or if I'm just feeling generous), I may (may? ha!) toss in some extras. You never know!

I unfortunately have to restrict this to USA addresses only, unless you able to provide compensation for postage up front or are otherwise able to work out a deal that will make the extra expense worthwhile. If you are from another country and find something on my "trade list" that you really must have, I will definitely set it aside and put it in a standard white envelope for you. Fortunately, that still only costs $1.15.

Finally, if for some crazy reason you can't find a single card that I need (I have a lot of needs), you can arrange to send me the $6.10 it costs to cover a priority mail bubble mailer full of stuff.

Arizona Diamondbacks 
Atlanta Braves - (sending to Jaybarkerfan)
Baltimore Orioles 
Boston Red Sox - Swing and a Pop-Up
Chicago Cubs - cubsfan810
Chicago White Sox - 2 by 3 Heroes
Cinncinnati Reds 
Cleveland Indians - TSHenson
Colorado Rockies - (sending to Infield Fly Rule)
Detroit Tigers - Dennis
Houston Astros - The Dimwit
Kansas City Royals - Jupiterhill
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - The Angels in Order
Los Angeles Dodgers - Night Owl
Miami (Florida) Marlins
Milwaukee Brewers - (sending to Off Hiatus)
Minnesota Twins - (sending to Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary)
New York Mets - Steve D.
New York Yankees - The Lost Collector
Oakland Athletics 
Philadelphia Phillies - Spiegel83
Pittsburgh Pirates 
San Diego Padres 
San Francisco Giants 
Seattle Mariners 
St. Louis Cardinals - @ChrisWNation
Tampa Bay Rays - Jeff Jones
Texas Rangers - Play at the Plate
Toronto Blue Jays - (sending to $30 a week habit)
Washington Nationals / Montreal Expos
No Team/Non-Baseball - Play at the Plate

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

March Radness is Over!

Here are the results...

All of the games have been played and Duke has walked away with the coveted trophy and the accolades and all that. That means that our contest is done for the year. That means there are winners to announce.

Four of us picked Duke to go all the way, including the top 3 in our little contest here. Congrats to brianp1913 (1st), mattu (2nd), and The Lost Collector (3rd). In 4th place and also eligible for a prize was P00PSH00TER who clearly just wanted me to type that name one last time. And finally, no one was worse than The Raz Card Blog. He'll get a prize, too, if you want to call it that.

Send me an email to claim your prize so I don't have to hunt you down!

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Loose Definition of Junk

Robble robble.

A couple of months back, the legendarily generous Jaybarkerfan's Junk was getting rid of... wait for it... some junk. In particular, the Hamburglar by day (and collector by night?) was looking for people to claim his extra NBA and NFL cards. There happens to be an NBA team I have followed since I was learning to speak and an NFL team I sometimes forget to casually ignore. I'll take a look at those bounties a little later on, but in the spirit of the season I thought I'd show off a bunch of the Cardinals he tossed in for no good reason at all. I suppose I don't make any secret of my Cardinals fandom.

Those jokesters at Panini did a terrific job of making a lot of players look like they could be almost anyone. I am somewhat tempted to find a bunch of these stickers and plaster them all over my neighborhood, though.

I love these Archives sets (the ones that were thick and cardboardy, not so much the recent issues), but there's something I like even more...

Vintage-y goodness. It's great to see these cards side by side, and there were actually two copies of the original from 1969 Topps in the package. Now is probably a good time to mention that Jaybarkerfan is collecting certified autographed cards of all sports and all sorts. I'm in the process of digging some up for him, and you should be, too.

Here's some more goodness from the late '60s, complete with vintage pen markings. Maybe.

Switching gears for a minute, can I just say how great it is that baseball is finally back? Big City was on the field last night for the Cardinals opener in the construction site / humongous outhouse that is Wrigley Field. Was that the longest winter ever? (Yes, that was the longest winter ever.) Should I stop asking myself questions? (Yes...)

Here's another huge guy who played first base for the Redbirds. Apparently he loved getting up early in the morning, and being home by 7 in time for Matlock.

Trevor Rosenthal is still the closer and looked good last night. Let's hope last season's struggles (i.e. putting loads of baserunners on) are behind him.

Finally, here's the prize of the bunch, a low numbered (12/25) 2013 Bowman Sterling parallel of the Cardinals starting second baseman. Such great stuff!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Airbrushed Fridays: 2013 Topps Update #US111

Getting ready to do it again, 162 times.

Who is he? Scott Hairston comes from a long line of Major League Baseball players. Like his brother Jerry Jr., Scott has played many positions over the course of his 11 year big league career. After coming up with the Diamondbacks and spending time in San Diego and Oakland, the younger Hairston had his best season as a pro in 2012 with the Mets.

How did he get here? After his big season with New York, the Cubs signed him for 2013. The Cubs being the Cubs, they were out of contention fairly early on and dealt Hairston to a team with a chance - the Washington Nationals.

Repeat offender? No

Other versions of this card: None, but here's the source image:

Airbrushed Score: 9

Comments: The artificial stretching applied to Hairston's #7 and the 'W' is pretty rough to look at.