Thursday, July 30, 2020

Everyone's a Cardinal!

Even Hall of Famer Barry Larkin according to a @breakdowncards trade pack. 

For quite some time I've been considering a series of posts featuring a bunch of well known players that the casual fan might not know of their days in a Cardinals uniform. There's a lot of territory to mine there. Someone well known who was most assuredly not a Cardinal was Barry Larkin, a lifelong Cincinnati Reds player... unless you talk to some intern who worked at Donruss Leaf Playoff back in the late '90s, I guess? This is going to fit in to the weird little corner of my collection for novelty items, alongside one of my Bill Ripken 1989 Fleer cards and a few other weird things that I wouldn't ordinarily seek out. (Unless, of course, Nachos Grande really needs this card, but that would be pretty shocking considering there are supposedly 3500 copies of it in the world.)

The weird Larkin gaffe (and more!) came to me across town from Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown. Morales also doesn't look like he has anything to do with the Cardinals here, but that's more typical of Panini's draft sets instead of being an actual blunder.

Back to guys you've heard of... it's a high end Carlos Beltran card. I wonder just what Beltran is up to right now, after being hired and subsequently fired as Mets manager once some details came out about the Astros cheating scandal. I always thought that was a strange hire to begin with, but it seems like the trend has been leaning heavily towards hiring dudes with zero coaching experience as managers because they're recognizable names who recently played or something.

Brian Jordan was that could-have-been two-sport star that wasn't named Bo or Deion, except that he wasn't crazy and chose to stick to one sport before jumping to the other, less brain damaging sport. Good for him!

Back to the no names -- here's a nice looking blue parallel of a guy who got into some games with the Cards in 2015 and pretty much vanished. He wasn't bad! Stupid injuries appear to have derailed him.

Mark McCormick was a first round pick at one point but really didn't pan out. I don't know that I've ever seen this kind of white Bowman parallel before, but it looks pretty nice. You can make white bordered cards really stand out when you actually have cards that feature colored borders.

Gavin was also one of a bunch of people that were kind enough to help me out with Turkey Red Series 1 this year. I'm not doing so well with Series 2 right now, but it's mostly because I have to buy everything online if I want to buy it at all. That's pretty much one of the themes of 2020. Complaining about cards right now seems pretty ridiculous considering everything that's going on in the world, though!

Monday, July 27, 2020

A Late Night PWE Party

Cards in white envelopes from @vossbrink @BucsHere and @BoRosny on a hot Monday night. 

It might be late, but there are sports cards to attend to. Tonight I'm showing off the contents of a few more PWE's received last month from some people who also like cards.

First up is Nick Vossbrink, who collects the Giants, a team I'm often flush with cards of. Nick sent over a bunch of needed Blazers cards along with a Bob Gibson thing I've never seen before. Is it a custom? It's printed on photo paper and has no card number, but it looks really nice.

Fleer Metal went for a raised 3D look for the player names in this set. I remember seeing Aaron McKie's car once on I-205 back when he was with the team, as his license plate was very identifiable (MCKIE23).

I'd like to tell you that this is a really nice looking card in person and that the scan just doesn't do it justice, but I'd be lying. It's dark and dingy and is just a close-up of Rasheed's face. Still, it's a card I've never seen and is a nice addition to my Sheed Stash.

Even more Blazers! At this time, the team was just on the verge of their rebirth as a contender again, a few years after they were broken up when Clyde Drexler left.

Next up is an envelope from The Bucs Stop Here. This one was full of brand new Bowman cards, which have proven to be very elusive this year. All three cards that I scanned here feature Dylan Carlson, who didn't make the Opening Day roster this year because of service time management. (The joke's going to be on... someone... when the season gets shut down and all of the service time manipulations end up seeming really petty.)

I do like what they did to the borders on the Chrome cards, but I'm not the first person to say this, of course.

I don't know that anyone is really all that excited about these Talent Pipeline inserts, but at some point it should be fun to look back and see what players were featured on these cards from year to year and who actually panned out.

The third and final envelope of the late evening is from Bo of Baseball Cards Come to Life! Bo managed to stuff an envelope full of a dozen '70s cards, all of which I needed. It turns out that I still need a lot of older Cardinals cards.

Brock stole 118 bases in 1974 on the downside of his career. It was his age 35 season! To put this into some perspective, Brett Gardner, who still gets drafted in many fantasy leagues based on his stolen base accomplishments for some reason, has stolen just 104 bases since 2014.

Denny and The Bird! This would have made a great TV show.

Someone saw fit to write Julian's uniform number on the card right there. I hope it was a kid?

This was the true gem of the envelope, as this card features no less than three Hall of Famers.

I'm surprised that this photo ended up getting used, with the guy in the background that's partially obscured by Sizemore's hands. You would never see something like this today.

Lastly, here's a half dozen 1973 cards. Only one of them is airbrushed!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Another Bunch of Breaks

More box break fun from @batcavelv includes some unique Cardinals stuff. 

If you haven't checked out Tracy's Box Breaks before, and you're on a budget like I am, I highly suggest that you do so at your next opportunity. Tracy runs some of the cheapest breaks in town, and you literally never know what you're going to find inside. A new box just arrived on my porch from him today, but I'm going to look back at what I received back in May.

Right off the bat, it's an autograph of Edmundo Sosa, in Panini's "Carolina Blue" flavor. Sosa made the so-called Opening Day roster this year, which is a bit of a step up for him as he's seen very sparing time at the big league level so far. With the expanded roster this year, this might not change a whole lot, but it's nice to see someone get a little recognition.

At some point I believe Tracy had a handful of packs that were up for dibs, and I claimed this one. It's never going to be worth anything, but I think it's an interesting addition to my Ozzie collection.

I really liked these one-per-blaster chunky cards this year, so it was cool to get a copy of the Gibby. I still need to track down a copy of Ozzie Smith's iconic Padres rookie card replication from this set.

What is Topps Gallery without the awkward artwork? This Hall of Fame insert set features a very closely cropped Lou Brock.

This is a great photo of late career Willie McGee. I feel like he's featured in a ton of great shots over the years, even if he's not always the most photogenic guy.

Yadi says 'SUP. (I don't know if this is a thing Yadi actually ever says.)

Here's another purple Molina. This is yet more proof that the MLBPA-only license always looks best on cards of catchers.

While it won't be Trevor Rosenthal closing out games this year, it's nice to look back on a card that surely signaled a big Cardinals victory. Yadi will be catching pitches from Kwang-hyun Kim in the 9th in 2020.

Speaking of which... wow, real baseball tonight? It all feels so surreal.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Three PWEs and a Contest Plug

Stuffed envelopes from @BoRosny @padrographs and @Nachos_Grande plus contest news from @BucsHere on a Monday night. 

How does everyone feel about how they mail cards in plain white envelopes? I have been using the large semi-rigid top loaders usually used for grading for years now, but the prices for top loaders have nearly tripled since the pandemic took hold. I've always been somewhat terrified of the method that has become most popular lately with sliding relatively unprotected cards into a third of a nine-pocket sheet, but aside for a few exceptions all of the cards sent to me this way have arrived relative unscathed. Should I switch to this method? I hate the idea of needlessly causing damage to cards that might otherwise bring someone a little bit of joy. I would be interested to hear your thoughts in the comments.

First up on our semi-regular late night Monday night PWE wrap-up is the first of many such envelopes received lately from Bo Rosny of Baseball Cards Come to Life! He definitely seems to have mastered the art of getting a ton of cards in a small envelope for only the price of a slightly more expensive stamp. (Should I be doing this?!)

I should come up with a category for cards like these (The Recently Departed?) where the player is depicted in a Cardinals uniform but is shown to have moved on to another team. They always fall under the category of another team in the databases, but it still belongs in my Cardinals binders.

The Junk Wax Era is rarely represented in these posts, but here's one of those "dark back" variations from the 1991 Topps set. I'm trying to keep from diving in to these variations with full force right now, but at some point I need to address all those different versions of Donruss cards, don't I?

Little Big Mac on a checklist!

This is also solidly in Junk Wax Era but was not a card I had owned. I wonder which store sold the Record Setters set.

Next up is fellow Portland eastsider Rod from Padrographs, who sent over even more Cardinals needs. This is just Jack on the back of a sticker card. Jack Sticker Back!

I think my thoughts on the recent Topps Gallery sets have been made pretty clear, but I still need the cards that I need. That should be my motto -- "I Need the Cards That I Need".

Rod also sent a mini John Gant card. I even scanned it inside a sleeve to show you that it's truly a mini! These have been "print-on-demand" from Topps the last several years, so they're not easy to find.

Also in the mix was this purple custom card of newly elected Hall of Famer Ted Simmons.

Simba will have to wait until next year for his induction, along with the rest of the guys that should have been honored this year, but I'm sure it will be a fantastic event. This card is numbered 1/2? That has to be twice as good as a 1/1!

An on-card autograph of short time Blazer and long time NBA vet Walter Davis also casually slid out of the envelope. It's great!

The third envelope of the night was from Nachos Grande, and included a set need - Blake Snell's card from last year's Allen & Ginter Baseball Star Signs insert set. Snell looks ready to talk astrology with all comers here.

Lastly, I promised you a contest plug, and I'm going to deliver it. With the Weird MLB season about to get underway on Thursday, The Bucs Stop Here is throwing down a contest that asks you to make some predictions with some rarely seen fat packs as rewards. Good luck to you all! I'm sure this season will be incredibly easy to predict...

A Long Break Between Baseball Games

A big box of cards from Nolan's Dugout helps pass the time. 

The whole thing could fall apart on a moment's notice, but actual Major League Baseball games are scheduled to be played later this week. It's been a long time since I've seen a Cardinals game that counted for anything. The last time there was this much time between games I've watched for me, personally, was back in the mid-90's. I'm fairly certain I didn't watch any Cardinals games in 1994 or 1995. This had more to do with me adapting to life as a (barely) college student than the labor strife that was going on around that time, although I do remember being pretty pissed that things got so bad that there was a cancelled World Series.

By the time I returned to watching games for the first time in a couple of years, I was shocked to see what newly annointed GM Walt Jocketty (and Tony La Russa) had done with the team. Here were a bunch of names of guys in Cardinals uniforms that I remembered from my late '80s card collecting days. This is probably a pretty good time to mention that Kyle from Nolan's Dugout sent me a huge box of stuff in late May that featured some of these stars for previous teams.

Ron Gant and Gary Gaetti? Was Kent Hrbek out of baseball at this point?

Henke pitched his final MLB season in a Cardinals uniform in 1995, so he actually just missed out on the La Russa era. With La Russa's arrival in St. Louis, he also brought along Mike Gallego and Todd Stottlemyre in addition to Dennis Eckersley.

Eventually, guys like Eric Davis, Shawon Dunston and Bobby Bonilla would wear the Birds on the Bat. And, oh, you know... that Big Mac guy. It was only after the arrival of Albert Pujols on the scene that the team seemed to transform from weird fantasy baseball collection of guys to an actual cohesive team, though Jocketty's wheelings-and-dealings would continue for the rest of his tenure.

Kyle also included a bunch of current Cardinals cards, like this trio of Allen & Ginter minis from last year's set.

There's also this card of Paul DeJong on a Bowman Platinum design that is still really strange to me. DeJong is on the verge of becoming the first Cardinals shortstop to make three straight Opening Day starts since David Eckstein. The position really hasn't had a lot of stability since the days of Ozzie Smith.

The majority of the 400 count box was actually a whole lot of set filling needs. I only grabbed a few of these cards to scan, as I cannot possibly do it justice here.

I hadn't received anything from this 2008 Topps insert set in quite awhile until this card of the Hawk showed up. It might have been years, in fact. Here's what I'm still looking for.

Back-to-back Expos? That's practically unheard of for this blog.

Klubeard alert!

Kyle is one of the many fine folks who have helped me out with 2020 Topps Heritage this year. His contributions to the cause are very appreciated.

Here's a Hall of Famer on the old Bowman TV set design, which was reprised in 2004.

Lastly, we'll take a look at Giancarlo Stanton's card from the 2014 Allen & Ginter set. There's been talk of limiting Stanton to DH duties exclusively this (weird) season, which is basically saying they would constantly cover him in bubble wrap if it was feasible.