Friday, July 21, 2017

Cards from My First Cousin Once Removed, Part 1 of 2

This post has been coming for a long time. Typically, I don't write something for the blog until the cards have been collated and absorbed by my collection, and that's the main reason for such a delay on hefty box of cards I received as a gift back on April 30th.

Laura and I went to southwest Wisconsin to support the art show of the couple who once played matchmaker with us. I could get more into the minutiae, but they are a private couple who don't care much for the internet, so we'll keep the details at a minimum. While at the art show we bumped into my mother's cousin Mark and his wife. Mark is a baseball fan and a retired high school math teacher from the St. Louis area.

I've never met Mark before, but he was great to talk to. We conversed about school and baseball quite a bit. And because we have so much in common it was kind of like peering into my future twenty years down the road. The future is pretty good!

At one point we left the art show and went for a short walk to his car and he gifted me a bat and a box of baseball items. I wasn't expecting this and was very much unprepared to receive such a generous gift. Yet, I found out, this wasn't his first donation to my collection. It turns out he's the one who secretly gifted me cards about two years ago. Sneaky, sneaky!

Here's the bat, which is currently hanging in my bat rack in the man room.
 It's a Bobby Bonds model which Mark said he used back in his college days, if I recall correctly.

Everything else fit in this box, which could probably hold four 800-count card boxes.

The book on top is the next one in my "to read" pile. 
 I've always been fascinated with the foreign professional leagues and I think this one will be a solid and enlightening read.

I'm not sure about the origins of this baseball, but it's pretty spiffy. At this point in time, it's being housed in my entertainment system with my bobblehead collection.

The blue box in the above picture is actually a box from the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Pretty cool.
 Inside? Baseball cards!
 Elsewhere in the box I found these boxed sets, which were all new to my collection!
There were numerous baseball sticker albums in the box as well.

 I really enjoyed flipping through this magazine, below, from about eighteen years ago and reading about the all-time greatest players.  I wonder where Ichiro or Trout would fit into that list?
 Here's a two-pocket school folder of Eric Davis. I had one of these back in the day, but I don't remember the player.
 It's in pretty good condition and surprisingly enough there were some papers inside!
 Here's a closer look:
 All-Star ballots from five different years!  That's kind of random, but pretty neat to browse through!

There were three 800-count boxes of cards within the original big box. One of them contained a full set of 1986 Topps. Nice!
 The others contained a mix of cards.  I when I say "mix" I mean there was a little bit of everything!
 Tomorrow we'll show my favorite finds from Mark's gift.  We'll use the below picture as a little bit of a teaser. 😜
 Thanks for reading!  And, than you for all the fun baseball goodies, Mark!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Release the Vogelmonster!

I was at my grandfather's residence yesterday watching a little baseball and Jean Segura made another nice place and threw a short-hop over to the Mariners' first baseman Danny Valencia. I thought it was an easy pick, but somehow it caught the heal of Valencia's glove and the runner was safe.

"Vogelbach could have made that play." 

Yeah, that was the first thought in my head. Vogelbach has been playing first since high school, and honestly probably before that. He's not known for his range or footwork, but the dude can flat out pick it.  Danny Valencia? He's not a natural first baseman and is kind of learning the position on the fly in 2017.  For what it's worth, Valencia's current OPS of 0.764 is 19th out of 24 first base qualifiers in the MLB.

Then this popped up in my Twitter feed this morning:
Thanks Tony for the retweet, otherwise I never would have seen it.
 Yep. That's the same Mike Montgomery, a pitcher, who was traded to the Cubs for the Vogelmonster last July. Baseball is a funny game, but this is just not right!
 Vogelbach is hitting 0.368 over his last ten games for Tacoma (AAA) and according to his Topps Now card, he appears to have his bags packed and ready to go!

Release the Vogelmonster!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I'll Buy That for a Dollar

Tom, from The Angels, In Order, is selling off part of his TTM autograph collection I couldn't pass up the opportunity to cherry pick some great cards for my collection... for a buck apiece! I bought nearly thirty and about half of those will find their way into trade packages at some point or another.

Read on to see what I'm keeping for myself.
 I bet you didn't know I collect cards of Gregg and Greg Olson.  Now I have some autos!
 Jamie Moyer's card, which is from the '88 traded set, might be from my most favorite Topps Traded set of all-time. Mark Grace's rookie was in there, the design is stellar, and I loved all of those USA cards.
 Steve Traschel was the slowest pitcher I've ever seen pitch.  Nope, that's not true. I just remembered Pedro Baez.  Sheesh.  Human rain delay.

Gary Varsho and Doug Dascenzo were in the fourth outfielder mold from my early days as a Cubs fan. I thought they made a nice pairing in this picture.
 I don't know if Jaun Pierre ever found a helmet that fit his head correctly. It looks three sizes too big!
 Jody Davis was a pretty underrated catcher, at least he is in my collection. This autograph helps correct that a bit.
 Ahhh, another card from the '88 Topps Traded set. Glorious!
 Believe it or not, I do have a Don Zimmer collection, which is now up to a half-dozen cards. 😀

I'm pretty familiar with Andre Dawson's signature.
 I like when he signs with a fine point sharpie because it looks so much better. He does have one of the best signatures out there. He takes his time and it looks sharp!

Kid K!
 I was super excited about adding this one to my collection!  Woo-Hoo!

And lastly, we have a note card with Andy Pafko's signature.
I'm a little embarrassed to admit I don't know much about Pafko's playing career, but I know the name and I couldn't pass it up.

Thanks for the sweet deal, Tom!

Oh, and if you haven't checked his blog out Tom's added some more cards for sale.  Click here.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Blaster of 2017 Stadium Club

I was recruited to be a substitute summer softball coach for an 18U ASA tourney this weekend, which was hosted in a nearby town. We had a little downtime between games so I hit their local Wal-Mart and was surprised to find a number of Stadium Club blasters on the shelves. The three big blue stores in my neck of the woods were devoid of the product, so I gleefully snagged a blaster and made my way to the checkout counter.

In a pretty exceptional mood after my purchase, I wondered across the parking lot and treated myself to a plate of Bob Evans' biscuits and gravy. Typically, this is something I only treat myself with after donating blood, but I felt like celebrating.  I feel the gravy helps thicken up my blood after losing a pint. At least that's what I tell myself!

Don't get me wrong, I was happy to finally find a blaster and not have to pay LCS prices, but I feel I picked the wrong one.  Let's dive in and you'll see why.

Everyone is after the Aaron Judge cards and the autos, but I'm here for the photography.
 What a neat shot of Brian Dozier during his home run trot.
 The bare-handed play by a third baseman is probably my favorite defensive play in baseball. I would argue this takes more skill than robbing a batter of a homer. Adrian Beltre is perfectly framed in this photo. What a gorgeous card!
Sneak attack! If you've ever been around the game, then you know a baseball team is about camaraderie. It's one of the reasons I still coach... it's really special to feel you're a part of something bigger, like a team. I think Ryon Healy will feel that in just a moment! Great, great card!

 Retired players!
The Dave Winfield is my favorite from this bunch. I love the mustard yellow jersey and his facial expression, which reads "I'm one bad dude and I know it." The Jose Canseco picture is from the outer side of the batting cage, which is a first for me.
 Above are the parallels I enjoyed the most. There's gold and black foil, but I really dig the sepia. Do you think Fernando Rodney is looking into a mirror to make sure his hat is crooked enough to his liking?  I thought the Ted Williams card was a black and white parallel, but I've come to learn this is the base card. Teddy Ballgame doing pushups in spring training?  Pretty cool!

Two Cubs in the blaster and I suppose I can't complain. Fifteen of the 300 base cards are Cubs, which is exactly 5% of the set. Five percent of 40 cards in a blaster is two.
I wish it would have been Ryne Sandberg, David Ross or Ben Zobrist. Derrek Lee would have been cool, too. I still believe in Schwarber and I'm not quite sold on Javy Baez being with the Cubs on August 1st. I'd trade him straight up for 2.5 years of Sonny Gray, but I'm no Theo Epstein.

I pulled a couple of other inserts, but nothing fancy, so let's show what did raise an eyebrow.
 I had no idea what this card was at first, but I've since learned it's one of the chrome cards that are new to Stadium Club this year. There are also chrome refractors, but this is not that version. Bryce Harper isn't a bad pull. For the record, I believe those are exercise binds draped from his arms.

Here's why this blaster was not meant for me. First, allow me to remind you that I live on the border between Cardinal and Cub territories. Also, I've now pulled two autos this year and they're of the same player. Argh.
Alex Reyes is sporting a throwback jersey, which is kind of neat, but he is a Cardinal. With my luck, there's probably a Cardinal fan in the area cracking into a blaster right now and pulling a Cub auto. It is what it is.

I road tripped to a card show this weekend, in Milwaukee, but I couldn't find any of the thirty dealers who had busted any Stadium Club. I was hoping to find some in a dime box or maybe buy a starter set on the cheap. One dealer was selling hobby boxes for $120 and another for $110, but I decided to pass on those. I think I'll skip the set building again this year and instead turn my focus to chasing the 2017 Vogelmonster cards.

I hope your weekend was full of fun cardboard, too! Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 17, 2017

A Home Run of an Addition

Last Monday evening Aaron Judge grabbed America's attention with the mammoth home runs he was hitting in Miami. Maybe you didn't know, but at about the same time Dan Vogelbach was in Tacoma making his way through the AAA version of the home run derby.
borrowed from The News Tribune

The Vogelmonster hit seven homers in the championship round, but was bested by Bryce Brentz, from Pawtucket of the International League. Rumor has it Bryce Brentz has been drug tested every day, and twice on Sunday, since the derby. (Yeah, not a legit rumor, but it makes me feel better about Vogelbach coming in second.)

Vogelbach is my favorite player in professional baseball right now. Part of it is because I truly believe he can mash, but it's also because he's a very hard worker AND he's a great guy.  Here's a little snippet from the above linked article backing up his character:
 Wow, Vogelmonster mashes his way to the finals and gives the credit to his bullpen catcher. Outstanding!

To celebrate a nice night in Vogelbach's career, how about a new card?  I've been sitting on this one for awhile and it's the crown jewel of my Vogelbach player collection.
Yep, it's first my superfractor and it's simply glorious in all of its shiny refractory!
Thanks for stopping by and good luck to THE VOGELMONSTER in the second half!