Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Waiting 'til Next Year (For This Trade Post)

It's Brian Barber Approved!

Most of the sets I'm trying to build are collecting a fair amount of dust, but I was able to chip away at Erin's long lost (but not forgotten) 2012 Triple Play set thanks to P-Town Tom. The Cubs fan was kind enough to toss some Cardinals into the mix, so I thought I'd take a look at a few of those.

Lance Lynn had a perfect W-L record in the month of April until his last start, which was a frustrating one. Tonight was another frustrating one. I didn't have a great feeling about the Cardinals' prospects this season before the games began in earnest and I certainly don't right now. I'm sure no one anywhere is losing any sleep over this, considering how the team has been lionized in the media in recent years.

This card is some sort of crazy jumble of Pujols parts and limbs. It would seem to be from a set called Fleer 3D, but I don't know a thing about it. This is my favorite kind of thing to get in a blind trade.

It's a box bottom! Scanners seem to be very friendly towards cards with wobbly edges, which is basically the reverse of how they treat some of my pristine cards. Also, having a cropping tool and a free image editor helps.

Finally, here's one of those pesky Triple Play cards. We still need a couple dozen of these cards. Give it a look if you're bored or something.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Airbrushed Fridays: 2014 Topps Opening Day #120

We meet again, old friend.

Who is he? Shin-Soo Choo is an offensively talented outfielder than the Reds tried to stick in center field last season after acquiring him from Cleveland. He responded with his best year at the plate since 2010, but was immediately exposed as a horrible choice for his defensive position. He also, blah blah blah, probably saved some puppies or something.

How did he get here? The Reds were one of three (!) NL Central teams to make the playoffs last year, but they lost the play-in game to Pittsburgh and opted to not really do much of anything in the offseason, including keep Choo around. Texas signed him to a free agent deal and immediately stuck him back in the corner where he belongs.

Repeat offender? Yes

Other versions of this card: 2014 Topps #106 (completely different photo), Pre-Photoshopped Photo

Airbrushed Score: 5

Comments: Let's check out the LeBron-O-Meter in 2014, just because I did it last time for some reason.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Divided Focus

The Blazers are in the playoffs! The Cardinals are, well... it's April.

First off, congratulations are in order for Albert Pujols, who hit his 499th and 500th career HRs today. My thoughts on the dude have been made pretty clear here. Just to recap, he was a very important player who gave St. Louis eleven incredible seasons and two rings. He got dollar signs in his eyes. It happens. I'm happy for his accomplishment, but it probably helps that he doesn't play for a rival team or anything like that.

To show my respect, I'm responding by featuring some cards that Lonestarr sent to me that have nothing to do with Pujols. I should have another Pujols-related post up later this month if the mood strikes, but for now - read this post. I may even have some of those cards still if you're so inclined.

I could have sworn I had at least one copy of this Matt Holliday short print, but my records indicate that I did not. Now I need another one for my Heritage set because I am greedy.

J.D. Drew cards don't often excite me a great deal, but this Crunch Time insert from 2000 Fleer Ultra is a really nice one. It's very rustic with almost a felt touch to it.

If you send me an Ozzie Smith memorabilia card, I am going to drop everything and take notice, even if the Blazers are on TV. Ditto for Jimmy Edmonds.

I am still missing way more of these Walmart parallels than I care to examine right now, so I always get really excited when I see one of these blacked out cards. Wainwright tossed another gem tonight, with his start ending after 7 only because he stumbled and landed awkwardly while an infield grounder was in play.

But yes, the Blazers are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011, and LaMarcus Aldridge is leading the charge. He dropped 46 points and 18 rebounds on Houston in Sunday's opening game and now has Kevin McHale all in a tizzy about trying to defend him. Game 2 is tomorrow, and my eyeballs are going to be buggin' out.

It's really weird to see a vintage player on these futuretronic Prizm cards, but there you have it. It seems like recent cards of Walton have focused on his Blazers days, but he was a valuable contributor to the Celtics '85-'86 title run. Not that I'm complaining, of course.

Lonestarr also sent me a handful of much needed cards for my 2010-11 Donruss basketball project. I'm feeling a bit more charitable than I have in some past playoff years, so I actually went ahead and scanned the card of the enemy in the current series. It probably helps that he's not wearing Rockets red, which is the ugliest color in the world right now.

Monday, April 21, 2014

More Heritage, Finally?

Yeah, these aren't so bad.

It had been a good while since I'd busted open a blaster of anything, so a trip to the red bullseye store on Friday made sense to me. I had saved my coupon from an earlier box of something or other and was able to score one of these 2014 Topps Heritage boxes for less than $15. Not bad. Rather than scan a bunch of cards that I'm not trading anyway, I just thought I'd show off a few things that caught my interest.

Jon Jay has taken the early lead on the center field job that many were expecting Peter Bourjos to lock up. Bourjos can't hit but is very speedy with the glove. Jay can hit at times but his defense can leave something to be desired. Can't we just glue them together to make a Frankenplayer and call it good?

Here is my ("on average") one per box Target quasi-parallel. Kimbrel has struggled a bit this year for essentially the first time in his career.

Dodgers fans are hoping the Koufax/Kershaw comparisons end somewhere before Kershaw gets his career cut drastically short due to injury. I definitely dig the diamond design.

This card is more '60s than the '60s themselves.

Chrome cards are again a very difficult pull this year according to the odds, so this was nice to see. It's also up for grabs, as are virtually any of the Chrome cards from Heritage because I have to at least put some restraints on my collecting madness.

I was also suckered in to buying a blister pack, mostly due to not having seen what the exclusive inserts would look like. For $9.49, you get three packs and 3 of these black border Chrome-less Chrome inserts. Don't tell anyone I said this, but this design suits the Pirates well. I also snagged Francisco Liriano and non-Pirate Max Scherzer.

Here's another Chrome card. Two short prints came out of this blister as well, beating the odds.

Shockingly, in addition to the (1:31) Chrome pull, I also pulled a Chrome Refractor (1:49) of the one known as Aroldis. Crazy stuff. My bang-to-buck ratio was off the charts with this one. Like Desmond and Verlander, this is also up for grabs.

More '60s. Before the draft existed, I just assume that the Yankees got first crack at every single player and the rest of the teams had to line up for table scraps or something.

That was quite an ending! Here's one of the two cards I can somewhat bear to look at in the World Series subset.

I'll get to that want list eventually. I already have doubles, folks. Sad to say.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Airbrushed Fridays: 1974 Topps #116

The golden locks of the '70s ballplayer.

Who is he? Jerry Reuss was kind of your everyman starting pitcher. He threw a no-hitter, picked up some awards, checked into a couple of All-Star games and won a World Series ring. He's worked mostly as a broadcaster after his playing career ended and seems like one of the more likable guys in the game. He started his career in his hometown of St. Louis and pitched for 8 different franchises before all was said and done.

How did he get here? Reuss's second stop was in Houston, and after the 1973 season he was dealt to Pittsburgh for erstwhile catcher Milt May. It would be the first of his two stints as a Pirate.

Repeat offender? No

Other versions of this card: None, but his 1973 Topps card is clearly from the same photo session. Jerry, can you, uh, remove your cap there? I have a feeling you might be traded again someday.

Airbrushed Score: 3

Comments: This is kind of the minimalist version of airbrushing, where they only had to bother with his neckline.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

479 Ozzie Smith Cards

Got any extra cards of The Wizard that I need?

I finally got my act together and have my Ozzie Smith list online. If you have anything that isn't in my collection, I would love to hear from you.

And there was much rejoicing, etc.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Trade Bait - Updated 4/16/14

Welcome to the Cards on Cards Trade Bait Bonanza. There's nothing very earth-shattering here, but each card is at least worth talking about, in my opinion. I will keep this post permanently linked on the sidebar, and will bump it to the top of the blog every time I add new cards. The most recently added cards will be at the top of the post. If you're interested in anything you see here (or anything else among my "Up For Grabs" posts or set doubles) please send me an email and we will talk.

Aaron Hill 2011 Topps Heritage Chrome Green Refractor #C26
I honestly had no idea that these green refractors existed in the 2011 Heritage set, which means that I had to add some more needs to my Cardinals want list. Yikes. They were apparently only available in "hot boxes", whatever that means.

Matt Cain 2011 Topps Heritage Chrome Refractor (195/562) #C176
The baby-faced Cain has been a constant in the Giants rotation for years. And don't forget that perfecto.

Yoenis Cespedes 2014 Topps Opening Day Blue (1212/2014) #88 - CLAIMED
I really like what Topps did with their Opening Day blue parallels this year. They're a little thicker and a whole lot shinier, not to mention that they are much closer to a true blue color than those phonies of the past (and present if you're talking about the Walmart base parallels.)

Jose Fernandez 2013 Topps #589
Not many had Fernandez pegged as the NL Rookie of the Year favorite, but I'm sure that next to nobody saw him as a Cy Young Award finalist in his first season. The little rookie card logo means something, I guess?

Jose Fernandez 2013 Topps Chasing History CH-150 [3 available]
It's disappointing that they used the same photo as his base card for this.

Jed Lowrie 2008 Tristar PROjections Reflectives #56
Lowrie didn't play enough in Boston for people to really know what to make of him, but he's become something of a Professional Hitter in Oakland.

Ozzie Smith 2010 Topps Turkey Red #TR16
What, you want me to write something about one of my favorite players on a Cardinals blog?! Ozzie clearly doesn't see the need.

Josh Reddick 2010 Bowman Chrome Topps 100 Prospects Refractor (213/499) #TPC98
After a breakout 2012 in which he earned a Gold Glove and bashed 32 HRs with the A's, Reddick is in danger of becoming known strictly for his beard than anything he does on the field. Here he is in the pre-beard days, which is funny because it's Boston.

Jayson Werth 2011 Topps Heritage Chrome Refractor (533/562) #C138
Werth hasn't exactly lived up to his mammoth contract that he signed with the Nats a few years back, but he hasn't quite veered off into Jayson "Werthless" territory just yet, which is a shame if you're me and like making fun of baseball players.

Paul Goldschmidt 2011 Topps Update #US47
Mike Trout's rookie card in this set makes everyone salivate over opening boxes of this Update set, but Goldschmidt's big year in 2013 makes this an interesting rookie card.

Derek Jeter 2006 Fleer Ultra Diamond Producers #DP1 - CLAIMED
The final two Fleer Ultra sets were (and probably still are) a constant presence in repack issues for years, so the inserts from these two sets don't exactly pop for me.

Nolan Ryan / Jered Weaver 2012 Topps Timeless Talents #TT-14
A vintage photo of a legend in an old-school Angels uniform on an insert card. And Jered Weaver.

Max Scherzer 2008 Topps Stadium Club #140
Scherzer had a phenomenal 2013 season, capturing the AL Cy Young Award and even earning some MVP votes. Had Max stayed in Arizona, he and Goldschmidt could've made a fearsome pair.

Wil Myers / Evan Longoria 2013 Topps Franchise Forerunners #FF-5
On this card, young Myers shares duties with Rays cornerstone Evan Longoria.

Wil Myers 2013 Topps Update #US200 [2 available]
Can you believe he was born in the '90s?

Gerrit Cole 2012 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP86
Cole was a late addition to a talented Pirates pitching staff last season. He was the #1 overall pick in the 2011 draft and it didn't take him long to reach the bigs.

Gerrit Cole 2013 Bowman Chrome Draft #6
This card came out a year after his first Bowman card but gets the "RC" designation because Cole made his Major League debut this year.

Cole Hamels 2006 Upper Deck #946
Hamels doesn't get a lot of love these days, a product of both being a pitcher and being on a Phillies team that hasn't done much to its core in the years since its last World Series appearance (2009).

Justin Upton 2007 Topps Update #UH327
Both Upton brothers had rough years in their first season with Atlanta, but we'll always have that meme, right?

Cliff Lee 2012 Bowman Chrome Refractor #201
Lee has been one of the most dominant pitchers of the last half dozen seasons, but things haven't always worked out favorably for him in the won-loss department, which sadly is still an important statistic to some.

Eddie Murray 2010 Topps The Cards Your Mom Threw Out Original Back #CMT85
The "original back" variants of this cheesily named insert set aren't the easiest to find. I am still looking for a number of them for my team collection.

Custis Granderson 2002 Upper Deck Prospect Premieres #14 [2 available]
2013 was a bit of a lost season for Grandy, who hit the DL more than he hit the ball.

Josh Johnson 2002 Upper Deck Prospect Premieres #35 [2 available]
Somewhere there exists a Josh Johnson Probability Wheel that someone spins with all sorts of extreme outcomes, from ineffectiveness to near no-hitters. Wrong side of a perfect game? Sure. All-Star appearances? You bet. Major arm surgery. Count on it!

Jason Kubel 2003 Bowman #246
At the time that I dug this up, Kubel was coming off of one of the best seasons of his career after a switch to the National League. He's had a rough 2013.

Rickey Henderson 2010 Topps The Cards Your Mom Threw Out Original Back #CMT88
Rickey thinks this is a good card for you to put in your personal collection.

Mark Trumbo 2011 Bowman Platinum #21 - CLAIMED
Trumbo is a slugger to be feared, but may have to deal with constantly playing in the shadow of Mike Trout as long as he remains in Anaheim.

Brandon Weeden 2002 Upper Deck Prospect Premieres #31 - CLAIMED
Now that we're in the thick of football season, I thought it would be fun to bring out this little curiosity. Weeden starred as a quarterback at Oklahoma State before becoming the Cleveland Browns starter. Check the misspelling of his name here.

Matt Cain / Zack Wheeler 2010 Bowman Expectations #BE37
Cain had that perfecto awhile back, but he's been pretty awful this year. If the Giants were in almost any other division, they would have probably written this season off and started selling off some of their pieces. They don't have superprospect Zack Wheeler to sell, though. He's in New York!

Brandon Beachy 2011 Topps Chrome #176
Tommy John surgery is becoming a rite of passage for young pitchers. People were excited about this guy before he went under the knife last year and they will, presumably, be excited once again if he returns to peak levels in another year or so.

Carlos Gonzalez 2008 Topps Stadium Club #128 [2 available]
Sometimes I have a hard time differentiating between fantasy value and baseball card value. CarGo is a terrific young outfielder and someone anyone would love to have on their team, fake or otherwise. No one seems to give a crap about his baseball cards, rookie or otherwise. I would like to see that change.

Matt Holliday / Jeff Winchester 1999 Topps #442
Poor Jeff Winchester. I wonder if he hangs out in bars telling people that Matt Holliday was on his rookie card.

Carlos Quentin 2004 Bowman Chrome #202
It's a true rookie card of the guy who fought that guy for some reason.

Curt Schilling 1989 Donruss #635
It's hard to make a convincing argument that anything from 1989 that doesn't have Griffey in the name somewhere is actually trade bait, but if you take this home you can gaze into the smarmy eyes of a young Curt Schilling. I am pretty sure I have a few of these, but this one is pack fresh!

Troy Tulowitzki 2007 Upper Deck Masterpieces #34
Tulo is one of the best shortstops in the game and has his own chant. What's not to like?

Chipper Jones 2002 Fleer Tradition Diamond Tributes #12 - CLAIMED
A house Chipper owns apparently exploded recently, but no one was hurt. Everyone knows Larry, and this is an odd looking insert from a decade or so ago.

Mark Grace / Darrin Jackson 1988 Fleer #641
I don't remember owning this card as a kid. I had his less desired Donruss rookie card, but no Fleer. I bought this at a card show a couple of days ago for 5 cents for some reason. (I also bought a 1984 Donruss Tony Fernandez for the same price, but I'm not sure what I'm going to do with that.)

Jack Morris 1979 Topps # 251
My scanner apparently hates vintage cards and other cards with thin white borders these days. This card actually has a thin border on the top, not that you could tell by the scan.

Phil Niekro 1979 Topps #595
Another card that was artificially trimmed by my scanner. This Knuckle Brother looks absolutely thrilled to be taking part in this photo op.

Mike Trout 2012 Topps #446
This is just a lowly non-rookie Topps base card, but Mike Trout's card prices have inflated to the point of absolutely absurdity. He's off to a slow star. I don't really feel one way or another about him, but I am taking a little bit of solace in the fact that the Angels have not dominated the league since Pujols arrived.