Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Sickest Sketch Card EVER!!!!

I've been showing off some amazing sketch cards that Chris Henderson has done for me over the past year.  One of my latest is by far his best sketch to date, at least in my opinion.

This 1/1 sketch card is of Travis "Lunchbox" Snider.  I asked Chris to draw one of the most memorable moments from the Pirates 2014 season which happened on Easter Sunday when Carlos Gomez of the Brewers started a bench clearing brawl with the Bucs that resulted in Travis Snider being sucker punched in the eye by Martin Maldonado.  Emotions got the best of both teams and Russell Martin came to his Pirates teammate's support by suggesting that Maldonado get pinned down while Snider sucker punched him.

Snider went on to play in games after the Easter brawl sporting a black eye.  His season was by far his best of his career posting a 2.1 WAR in limited appearances.  He set career highs in batting average and on base percentage and fell only 1 HR shy of his career mark.  Snider looks to be the 4th outfielder next season as it has all but guaranteed that Gregory Polanco will be the starting right fielder for the coming season.  I would like to see Snider take some reps at 1st Base to improve his ability to come off the bench.  He'll only be 27 to start the year so there is still hope for a breakout campaign similar to Josh Harrison's performance last year.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Mega Autograph Lot!!!!

I've been purchasing bulk lots on ebay for the past few months and have been very happy with my results.  For $36 I added 5 autographs and a plethora of parallels from 2014 Bowman Chrome Prospects.
 I've been adding Nick Kingham autographs to my collection for the past year, but recently due to his success have been seeking out JaCoby Jones autographs as well.  However the 4 players featured above fail in comparison to the amount of time I have been adding this guy to my collection.
Over the next few months you will be seeing A LOT of Willy Garcia cards pop up on the Treasure Room. Why????  Well....I think he's going to be a special talent at the major league level.

In addition to the 5 autographs I also received 4 refractors of Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, Trae Arbet, and JaCoby Jones.  I included the back scans because there is a lot of cool information on the backs and the base and refractors look so similiar.

Want more?  How about a blue refractor (/250) and Gold Refractor (/50) for both Pedro Alvarez and Starling Marte.

Feeling blue that you didn't go after this lot?  Well this Harold Ramirez Blue Refractor will make you regret it even more...

Is that Purple Rain playing on your ipod?  Weird, here's a purple refractor of Fransisco Liriano

I think you're starting to feel green with envy as I was able to grab Green Refractors (/75) of JaCoby Jones and Nick Kingham...and yet you

Still want more????  Ok....do you like bubbles?
I grabbed this bubble refractor of prospect Ryan Hafner also in the lot

Individually this lot would have cost me up to $80 and I happened to get it for about half that price.  Pretty good deal if you ask me.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Throwback Thursday: THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE

I set out to complete several Topps Vintage Team Sets for the Pirates in 2014.  I succeeded in that goal when I completed the 196519691971, and 1972 Topps Team Sets.  As the days come close to an end for 2014, I can ALMOST cross off another.

1955 Topps


By grabbing this Gene Freese piece of cardboard for only a few bucks I have gotten down to only 1 more card for the completion of the 1955 Pirates Team Set.

It just so happens that the only card I need is Roberto Clemente's rookie.  Anybody have one looking for a good home?

No?  Ok...
Then I will just show the back of this Eugene Lewis Freese card and call it a day I guess.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Black is the New Black: Austin Meadows Edition

One of my 2014 Collecting Goals was to add as many Bowman Black autographs as possible of the Pirates Prospects.  I specifically set out to add  Tyler GlasnowGregory Polanco, Jameson TaillonGerrit Cole, Reese McGuire, and Alen Hanson Bowman Black autos.

My latest Bowman Black ran me A LOT of money, but because I had nearly $40 in ebay bucks and was able to take advantage of the triple ebay bucks on items over $50 I was able to get this card for a fair price considering how rare the card is and how much talent Austin possesses.

With just a few weeks left in the year, I will be looking on ebay for the Alen Hanson Bowman Black to complete another 2014 goal.  It's been a very successful year for collecting and hitting my goals.

Despite missing much of the 2014 season, Meadows still managed to post very solid offensive numbers while playing Center Field for low A ball as a 19 year old.  His final line for the season after 38 games was .322/.388/.486.  He's striking out twice as much as walking, but his overall strikeout percentage is 17.9% (very good for a 19 year old in A ball)

Entering the draft, Meadows was garnering a lot of Jay Bruce and Colby Rasmus comparisons.  I honestly see a higher ceiling for Meadows, but maybe that's just me looking through rose colored glasses.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

PiratesFest Recap AUTOGRAPHS, PHOTOS, AND SO MUCH MORE!!!!

Last weekend I attended PiratesFest for the first time since 2010.  I normally can't attend because I work in retail and trying to get time off a few days before Christmas on a weekend, well....for those of you that work retail you know what that is like.  Fortunately for me, my store had inventory last week and I had to change my normal days off around and just happened to get Saturday and Sunday off.  It worked out great because me and the lil lady went to Pittsburgh and had an absolute blast.

We got into Pittsburgh around 7am Saturday morning and went to the hotel for early checkin.  The hotel thankfully graciously handed us two keys and we passed out around 7:15.  The doors for Saturday opened at noon, but fans could get in line before that and a select few autograph sessions previously sold out online would be available at 11am before the doors opened.  I got to the ticket booth right at 11 and grabbed a session with Starling Marte, Al Oliver, and Jack Wilson.

Before the signing began, I went to the photo opp booth to get my picture taken with a familiar face to the Pirates organization, AJ Burnett.

AJ is one of my favorite personalities in the Pirates clubhouse in recent years.  Since the lady friend is a Phillies fan she was excited to meet AJ also (even though he didn't have a great season with them last year).


I've gotten so many things signed by Starling signed in the past that I really just wanted an autographed card with him and to have my picture taken with him.

Mission accomplished.

Next up was getting an autographed ball (and postcard) signed by a man that could be in the conversation for the Hall of Fame, Mr. Al Oliver.  Al was very friendly to the fans all weekend long including signing his book in the Majestic store.  I tried to get my picture taken with him in the photoline, but it didn't come out very well.

This man needs no introduction if you followed the Pirates during their terrible stretch in the early 2000s.  Seeing Jack Wilson on ESPN webgems was a nightly occurence as he chased down and dove for any ball in the infield before he ultimately got traded to Seattle in 2009.

I was able to get 3 cards signed by the former shortstop.

I also purchased an autograph session with Gregory Polanco, John Smiley, and Jeff Locke.  Funny story about Jeff was that I got to ride in the eleveator with him for 22 floors before the FanFest started and he was incredibly nice and friendly to me making small chat about the weather, who I was excited to see, the Pirates postseason goals for 2014, and finally wishing me a safe trip back to New Jersey.  With a former All-Star (Jeff Locke) and a super talented 5 tool prospect (Gregory Polanco) at the autograph session, it was actually John Smiley who I was most excited to meet.  Like Marte, I've met Polanco and Locke a handful of times when they were playing minor league ball.  However, I never had the chance to meet John Smiley and since I'm trying to complete the 1991 Fleer team set autographs I felt that this would be one of my best chances.

I got a ball signed by Polanco,


2 cards signed by Locke and the 1991 Fleer and 1989 Upper Deck signed by Smiley.

Oh and I took a selfie with Polanco.

THIS TALL MAMMOTH SIZED GENT WAS THE MAIN REASON I WANTED TO GO TO PIRATESFEST.  It's hard to imagine a guy who's 6 foot 7 being an underdog in anything, but John's path to the big leagues is riddled with obstacles and had a happy ending when he caught on with the Pirates last season.  I got a ball signed from a game that he pitched in at Philly.

He signed it on the sweet spot and it is most certainly sweet looking!!!

Also in that bunch were Alumni members from the early 90s Buccos.  Doug Drabek and Mike Lavalliere.  I already had autographed baseballs from both and have numerous cards of Drabek signed.

To keep it simple I got a 1991 Fleer signed by Lavalliere and a 1992 Triple Play signed by Drabek.

In between some sessions I ran into Kent Tekulve and John Wehner who both signed for me as well.
I think I've talked about it in the past but when I was much much younger I used to emulate Teke's unique submarine pitching style.

Sidearm Stryker and Teke united at long last.

Teke signed a ball and Wehner signed a 1991 Fleer for me while also posing for pictures.

The final autograph session for day 1 for me was Dave Parker, Bill Virdon, and Fransisco Cervelli.  This session didn't excite me too much but for $20 charity to the Wounded Warriors project, I felt that I needed to attend.  I didn't get Cervelli to sign anything but a postcard he had at the table.  He also posed for a picture which was really nice of him.

One thing I noticed about Cervelli was that he kept playing with his phone between fans approaching him.  I hope he isn't as distracted on the diamond this year.

Bill Virdon signed an OMLB on the sweet spot for me

Dave Parker signed my 1978 Scorecard I bought at the fest for $5 along with a post card.

Day 1 was a complete success in terms of graphing and meeting the players.

Before everything closed up for the day I had been in discussions with one of the vendors who was selling a Willie Stargell autographed baseball for $80.  I went back and forth on it before I realized that the ball was a Bartlett Giamatti official baseball which made me splurge on the Hall of Famer's signature.

Being on a Giamatti ball made all the difference in the world to me between spending $80 or not dropping the money.

Day 2 started out really good too, but due to time restraints we knew that we weren't going to spend a lot of time at the fest because of our nearly 7 hour drive back home.

It started out with getting our pictures taken with Charlie Morton and Starling Marte.  In case you're wondering, the #37 jersey you see me in my pictures is a game used Charlie Morton jersey from his 2010 season.  I wore it both days at PiratesFest.

Then we went to the AJ Burnett, Dick Groat, Omar Moreno line.  I didn't have anymore OMLB to get autographed so I bought a pair of Chevy HomeRun balls for $5 that have the Chevy logo on the SweetSpot.


I got Groat and Moreno to sign the side of each of the balls and arguably my favorite thing of the whole PiratesFest was getting a chance to

throw up some metal with AJ

and have him personalize my photo from the day before.  The lady friend didn't like her smile in the photo she wanted to be cropped out of it before we got AJ to sign it.  Girls can be so self conscious sometimes.  LOL

After the autograph signing we headed home, but not before we stopped in Primanti Brothers and saw the Steelers beat the Falcons.  It was a great day for me.

For my girlfriend who's an Eagles fan, not so much.  LOL!

Smiley, Cervelli, Marte
Here's a recap of the free postcards signed by some of the players who were gracious enough to slip one as you walked by them.

Parker, Moreno, Oliver, Groat
The scan cut off the players names, but I wasn't about ready to rescan it because I am lazy today...

I also bought an 8x10 signed by Francisco Liriano for $25 also.

Monday, December 15, 2014

McCutchen Monday: 9 "new" additions to the PTR

I've been snatching up lots of Andrew McCutchen cards every chance I can.  He's been a top 3 MVP candidate in each of the past 3 seasons (including winning it in 2013), won a Gold Glove, 4 time All-Star, 3 time Silver Slugger, and all around great face of the Pirates franchise.  I'm expecting Cutch to really improve on his numbers in the 2015 season.  Call it a hunch, but I think he's just starting to enter his prime.  30/30 season seems very likely for the talented 5 tool athlete.
The 9 cards pictured above ran me just shy of $10 and bring my McCutchen total to ....well I will have to check that count when I have more time.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Football Sunday: Saved by Le'Bell

My fantasy football team has been an absolute force to be reckoned with the past few weeks.  The past three weeks, my team has posted over 200 points which is just crazy numbers for those of you that do fantasy football.  I play in a PPR League on NFL. com and my team name is Saved By Le'Bell.  I chose the name because every year I pick a Pittsburgh Steeler (my favorite team) and draft a player and name the team after him.  I went overdraft and got Le'Veon Bell (after the drug arrest) in the 2nd round with the 14th overall pick.  I had a good feeling about what he could mean to the Steelers offense and boy have I been rewarded with my instincts.  Last week thanks to his 3 Touchdowns I was rewarded with 52.5 fantasy points.  He almost beat my opponent by himself as my opponent only mustered up 56.46 points.

The Steelers post season hopes as well as my own will be riding Le'Veon Bell hard today.  Let's see if both teams can be "Saved by Le'Bell"