Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Another Cutch AUTO!!!!!!

I grabbed this card last year off ebay, but somehow forgot to post it until now.
2012 Topps Tier 1 AUTO numbered 12/50 

It's just your standard Andrew McCutchen on card AUTO in nice blue sharpie on a Topps Tier 1 card.  No biggie?  LOL!  Anyway this card is a real beaut in person.
Hopefully Cutch can turn things around and get out of his 2 for 27 slump he's been in for over the past week.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Pirates Prospects: Stetson Allie

2011 Bowman Chrome AUTO
Stetson Allie was a highly touted raw pitching prospect when the Pirates selected him in the 2nd round of the  2010 draft.  The Pirates had already grabbed the highest ranked high school pitcher Jameson Taillon in the 1st round with the 2nd overall pick.
2011 ITG DUAL AUTO Jameson Taillon & Stetson Allie

Allie went on to sign for $2.25 million and debuted with the short season State College Spikes in 2011 putting up sub par numbers.
2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Back to the Future AUTO /220
2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition AUTO 83/599

He had a 6.58 ERA with a 28K to 29BB ratio over 26 innings.  He did reach triple digits a couple times in his outings, but it became obvious he was a thrower and not quite ready to be a pitcher yet.
2011 Topps Heritage Minors Red Tin /620

2011 Topps Heritage Minors Jersey Relic
In 2012 he made he began the season in A ball retiring only 2 outs while walking 8 and allowing 1 hit over the course of two games.  Shortly after his walk infested outing, the Pirates announced they would convert the flamethrowing million dollar draft pick to a corner infielder.

He played in the Gulf Coast leage batting .213 and collecting 3 HR over the course of 42 games.

Fast forward to the 2013 season.

Stetson Allie has become the most raw power hitter the Pirates have in the organization.
2012 ITG Heroes & Prospects Lumbergraphs AUTO
He leads the team's affiliates in nearly every offensive category.  He's hitting at a .367/.435/.658 line with 6HR and 20 RBI over the course of 19 games.  His OPS is an incredible 1.093.

Who needs the NFL draft?

At the end of last week, there was a lot of sports fans watching the NFL draft.  I checked out who the Steelers selected at the end of each day and that was all.  Afterall, if you don't follow college football...who needs the NFL draft.

Willie Parker sure as hell didn't.  Willie was an undrafted running back from the University of North Carolina.   He was the primary backup for Jerome Bettis during his rookie year and would later go on to be a 2x Pro Bowler and 2x Super Bowl Champion.

My football card collection is not nearly as exciting as my baseball card collection, but I couldn't pass up this dual autograph of early millenium Steel City fan favorites Willie Parker and Jason Bay.

The above dual auto from the 2008 Hawaii Trade Conference was picked up for $12.50 a signature.  For $25, I'll grab cards like this every chance I get.

This makes my 28th unique individual to appear on an auto or relic with Jason Bay that I own.  My goal is to get to 38 by the end of the year.  ONLY 10 MORE TO GO!!!!

Here's a list of the others that I have memorabilia cards with Jason Bay 
*if bold it means I also have an autograph of them with Bay too

Albert Pujols 
Alex Rios
Alfonso Soriano 
Andruw Jones
Bill Madlock 
Bobby Crosby
Carlos Lee
Craig Wilson 
David Wright

Edgar Martinez
Freddy Sanchez
Gary Carter 
Jacoby Ellsbury

JD Drew
Jose Castillo 
Justin Morneau  
Ken Griffey Jr.
Kenny Lofton 
Mario Lemieux  
Manny Ramirez 
Matt Holiday 
Nick Markakis
Ralph Kiner

And here is a list of the players that I have autograph cards with Jason Bay

Bill Mazeroski
Casey Kotchman 
Dale Murphy
Dave Parker

Willie Parker

Sunday, April 28, 2013

It's not complicated...

We've all seen those AT&T commercials where "it's not complicated".
I can't promise that I'll discuss strapping a cheetah to your grandma's back or an island full of candy in this post, BUT it's not complicated....saving money is better than not saving money.

A few months ago, I went on a Jameson Taillon buying spree.  I just had a feeling that he would further elevate his status as an elite prospect.  By saving some round objects of Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, I cashed them in for two paper versions of Hamilton and Jackson.  Yup the cards you see below were picked up for only $30.

2009 UD USA Baseball Inscriptions AUTO "Til I Collapse"

2011 ITG Autograph Heroes & Prospects

2009 UD USA Winning Materials JERSEY 44/499

2011 ITG Heroes & Prospects In the Game Lumbergraphs AUTO
Granted none of the cards are of the future ace wearing a Bucs uniform, but for 3 signatures and a jersey relic, I'll take em for $30 every chance I get.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

2013 Pirates Triple Play team set

I managed to find someone who was selling individual cards of 2013 Triple Play at my local mall card show. $4 later and I have a few new Cutch cards for the PC and a new Pedro Alvarez.

Here's the lot of them.

2013 Triple Play When I Was a Kid insert Andrew McCutchen 
 First off, I love this card.  It's so cute and silly.  On the back it talks about how good Andrew was when he was in 8th grade playing for the Varsity team at his high school batting .591.
2013 Triple Play Andrew McCutchen & Pedro Alvarez base cards
The base cards are pretty straight forward.  On the backs they have stats from the 2012 season along with a bit of knowledgable facts about the player.
2013 Triple Play Sticker Insert & All-Star Insert
Stickers are always welcomed to add to my collection.  They remind me of times when I was a kid and how fun collecting can be.  The All-Star card has an interesting fact on the back that stumped me and made me think that Marty McFly screwed up the space time continium.
Wasn't Chris Coghlan of the Marlins the ROY in 2009?  Granted Cutch should have won the award since he hit 3 more HR, 7 more RBI, swiped 14 more bases and posted a 1.33 better WAR while playing in 20 games less.  Oh yeah, he also played a more premium defensive position.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Big Cutch, Little El Toro

I won myself an Andrew McCutchen 2013 Topps Heritage Box Topper jersey relic numbered 23/25 on ebay with a submitted best offer of $65.  I had seen these sell for up to $100 so even though $65 is a bit more than I would like for a plain grey swatch, I felt the need to get it now rather than wait.

2013 Topps Heritage Box Topper 23/25 Jersey Relic
Cutch has been struggling a lil this year, batting only .243 in the first 20 games.  However, there are some good signs though as he has 2 HR and 12 RBI which are both higher than last year's total at this time.  His slugging percentage for April 2013 is higher than it was last year too, which shows that he's driving the ball more, it's just not finding the gaps (YET).

There's no doubt in my mind that Cutch will end up the season hitting around .300 with 25+HR and 30+SB while driving in close to 100.  Will he make his 3rd consecutive All-Star game? Hopefully, but Starling Marte is looking pretty good too so the All-Star lineup might include 2 Pirates outfield substitutes after the likes of Upton and Braun leave.

2013 Topps Heritage Box Topper Back
The back of the box topper has an interesting note about how Cutch hit 2 multihomer games in a 3 game span making him just the second Pirates player in a quarter century with 2 multi homer efforts in a 3 game span.  The other was Pedro Alvarez who did it in 2010.

.......speaking of Pedro Alvarez
I was at the Pirates Phillies game on Monday and leaned over to the girl I'm dating in the 2nd inning and said, "2nd pitch this at bat El Toro is going to hit a HR." Wouldn't you know that Pedro connected for a solo shot giving the Bucs a temporary 1-0 lead.  

2013 Topps Gypsy Queen Pedro Alvarez Framed Mini Jersey Relic
I grabbed this 2013 Gypsy Queen framed mini relic of Pedro Alvarez off ebay for just over $3 shipped.  

Monday, April 22, 2013

He was a Pirate? Volume 1

Today I'm going to take a look at a new feature I will be having on the PTR where I look at a relic or auto of a player that many people often forget played for the Pirates.

I'm not going to feature failed prospects that didn't get to the majors with the Bucs, but did with other teams so no Brent Lillibridge's here.

What's odd about all these players I'm going to feature is that there is a relic or auto of the player despite not playing for the team in more than 20 games.

So if you were hoping to see a feature on recently traded Brock Holt, you won't catch that here cause he played in 24 games with the Bucs in 2012.  Speaking of catching....
2005 Topps Prime Uncirculated UncommonBase BAT RELIC 20/100
Up first is Benito Santiago.
While the card I am displaying is pretty cool and the design is simple for a chromed out card, I can't believe it cost me almost double digits to add it to my collection.  The 2005 Uncirculated Topps Prime Bat Relic 20/100 ran me $9.99 to add to my collection.  I liked Benito when I was a kid.  I thought that he was a hell of a catcher.

Many remember the All-Star backstop for his time in San Diego when he appeared on cool designs of early 90s cardboard like what's below.

Some remember him as being the 1st Marlin in team history to hit a HR.

Many others remember him for his time as a Giant.

But honestly and be truthful, how many of you remember Benito Santiago wearing the black and gold for 6 games?

Yup only 6 games!!!!!

The Pirates traded "Leo Nunez" whose real name is Juan Oviedo to the Kansas City Royals to rent Benito Santiago for 6 games.  6 F-ing games!!!! Are you kidding me?  No wonder this franchise hasn't had a winning record since 1992.

Benny appeared in 6 games with a total of 23 plate appearances collecting 6 hits before being released for the much younger David Ross.

Wait? David Ross who's been catching for the Atlanta Braves for the past 5 years? That David Ross? Yup, that's him.  He caught 40 games for the Pirates in 2005 before making room for Ryan Doumit...

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Stealing an idea from Greg at Plaschke

Greg from Plaschke Thy Sweater is Argyle is trying to get all Matt Kemp/Clayton Kershaw Team Checklists from 2010 Upper Deck numbered /99.  I think that is a pretty lofty goal, but decided to take a stab at getting one of my favorite players with a low print numbered card.  I'm taking on the 2011 Silk Challenge of Charlie Morton.

Why Charlie Morton?
He's one of my favorite pitchers on the Pirates roster and was born in the same town as me.

Why 2011 Topps Silk?
It's one of the few series that Charlie has a hit

So with that being said...

Here's my 2 lone Charlie Morton silk cards numbered /50
33/50 purchased for $6.84 shipped

40/50 purchased for $4.79 shipped

I just added the silk challenge to my 2013 Collecting Goals

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Return of Can I Buy a Vowel?

Last year I was trying to complete a nameplate of that other McCutchen.  I was making really good progress picking up letter after letter on ebay and COMC for under $8 a card.  Then I hit a stumbling block when I had M c C U T C H N and only needed the E to complete the set.  After nearly 5 months of searching I was able to get the letter E to complete the nameplate.

While I will not be attempting this nearly impossible task of completing a long nameplate of 1/1s I am excited to pick up my first Andrew McCutchen nameplate card from 2013 Topps.  The card features the letter E used by Cutch in the 2012 All-Star Game as part of his workout jersey.
2013 Topps 1/1 In The Name Nameplate "E" 2012 All-Star Workout Jersey 
It wasn't cheap and I was playing the counteroffer game with the seller until we both agreed on a price fair to both of us.  I paid just a little bit more than the letter N had sold for and just under what the letter T is currently listed at.

Like I said I would never attempt a nameplate of 1/1s, but damn how cool would that be?  Of the players I collect, Bay would be the easiest, but I don't see him making too many more All-Star appearances in the future.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Please Topps...PLEASE!!!!!

With the current Topps monopoly, it's going to be hard for fans to get what they really want in cardboard.  Back when there was competition in the industry, there were players who would appear in only one brand and not others.  Even though they didn't command a lot of demand, Upper Deck wasn't afraid to put out autographs of guys like Brian Bixler and Josh Fogg.  Donruss and Fleer would include bases or gloves as relics instead of just bats and jerseys.  It felt like I could actually find something out there if I really wanted to.

Now I'm being forced to get autographs from only the faces of the franchise and upcoming stars.  If I want a relic of Clint Barmes in a Pirates uniform, I have to win an MLB auction for $150 and get his entire jersey.  If I want an autograph of backstop Mike McKenry I have to get it in person.  Don't get me wrong I love getting Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte autographs and relics, but a little variety sure would be nice.

So since we are all fans of multiple teams, what are your top 3 players on a current MLB roster you know you'll likely never see a certified autograph or relic of in your team of choice.  Why do you think they should make a relic or auto of the player?

Here's mine:
2012 Topps Michael McKenry Black Parallel 39/61
Michael McKenry (backup Catcher)
He's nicknamed The Fort.  He's had some very big moments in Pittsburgh since arriving in 2011.  His first career HR in the 8th inning off Carlos Marmol is my favorite memory of the 2011 season.  He also went on to catch 2 19 inning games in less than a year.  I want a unique nickname insert set with relics or autos of the players.
2013 Gypsy Queen AJ Burnett
AJ Burnett (Starting Pitcher/current Staff Ace)
I have an on card auto of AJ in a Marlins uniform.  There's multiple relics and autos of AJ out there, but since this is most likely his last season in the majors, I would love to get an AJ patch card or auto in a Bucs uniform.  He proved that he's still got plenty in the tank winning 16 games last season which was 6th best in NL. In the early part of the 2013 he's averaging a 14.3 K/9 which is a ridiculous number.  Oh and just a few days ago he carried a no hitter into the 7th inning.  It be neat to see Topps make a Tattoo insert series with autographs of the players and maybe a blurb about what a tattoo on them means.

2012 Topps Heritage Jared Hughes
Jared Hughes (relief pitcher)
He's nicknamed Mr. Hyde when he's on the mound because of how mean he looks, but he's incredibly friendly off the field.  He appeared in the second most innings as a relief pitcher amongst NL rookies last year.  He finished the season with a 1.15 WHIP and 2.85 ERA last year. Put an auto or relic of Mr. Hyde in the insert set with The Fort and I'll be  a happy camper.

Showcasing The Ugliest Auto in my Collection: From a balloon string to shark teeth

Jeff Locke has the potential to be a mid rotation starter.  His last outing on 4/13 was strong enough for his first win of the year as he went 5 innings of 1 run ball.  He still struggles with his command at the big league level and has moments where hitters are just teeing off him like last night.  Strangely enough the southpaw is better against righties this year holding them to a .222 average while lefties are hitting .462 against him.

If Locke can settle into the 5th starter spot for another month, the Pirates may know what they have in the young southpaw.

One thing is for sure, he signs baseball cards like he's drawing shark teeth.
2012 National Treasures Signature Series Rated Rookie AUTO Jeff Locke 94/99

The above 2012 National Treasures Rated Rookie AUTO is numbered 94/99 and was picked up for $3 off the Bay of e.  I have a few of Locke's 2012 Bowman autos and they don't look this bad.  His IP autos are actually much better.  However every not Bowman signature I've seen of this guy is atrocious.
image courtesy of comc

I don't own the card above, but just wanted to show the progress the young man is making since coming to the Pirates in 2009.  His signature used to look like a balloon string, but has become more like shark teeth.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

More Autographs for the price of a blaster

I picked up a few more autographs off ebay recently.  Figured now would be a good time to show them off. The total cost of these 3 autos was around the price of a blaster.
2009 SAGE AUTO 168/200
LeSean "Shady" McCoy grabbed this for $11

2011 Topps Lineage AUTO

Bob Friend. Only $6!!!!!!
2013 Toppsy Gypsy Queen AUTO
Starling Marte
These were initially going for $18 when they started to leak onto ebay, but now you can grab them for $5 plus shipping.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Is there a cure for having blue bulls?

Does anyone have any Pedro "El Toro" Alvarez cards they want to trade away?

I recently picked up this 2013 Topps Opening Day blue parallel and realized how much I like the streaky left handed power hitting 3rd baseman.

The back of the card has an interesting fact about Pedro.  In his first 2012 plate appearances with the bases loaded he hit a grand slam, 3 run double, walked, and hit 2 sac flies.  That qualifies for 10 RBI in only 2 official at bats.  Sheesh Loueesh That's Crazy!!!!

I'll have to get a list for the El Toro cards I have in my collection (so far) by the end of the week.
I need  a lot of paralells but also need the 2011 Topps Diamond Duos with Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez.  I have one in my Cutch binder, but would like to add one for the Alvarez page.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Newest Additions to my Ark

Not too long ago I made a post of Pirates players with animal nicknames that I added to my collection.  I added some more Mad Dog and Cobra cards to my collection and am now proud to announce adding a dingo. That's right a dingo. Rather than eating a baby, this dingo looks like it was attacked by a baby.

"The Dingo", Dino Restelli was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1949. During his rookie season he hit 7 homeruns in his first 10 games. He would finish his career with 13 homeruns in 93 games.  While I am always on the lookout for cards to complete my Topps sets, I still keep an eye out for early Bowman releases of Pirates of Yesteryear.  Picking up this old 1950 Bowman (a year that Restelli didn't even play) for $3 shipped was too good a deal to pass up.  Truth be told I never even heard of the guy and had to look him up on Wiki and Baseball-reference to find out about him.  Once I realized that his nickname was Dingo, I had to do a follow up to my previous animal nicknames post.

Interesting fact: Dino Restelli was the 3rd to last Pittsburgh Pirate to wear the number 21.  Paul Smith wore the number in 1953 before Roberto Clemente began to wear the number regularly in 1955.

2004 Throwback Threads Dynasty Relics 9/25 (3 piece relic)
And since I promised some more Mad Dog and Cobra cards, here's one of my favorites.  It's a three piece relic featuring a black jersey worn by Willie "Pops" Stargell, a yellow jersey of Dave "The Cobra" Parker, and a bat of Bill "Mad Dog" Madlock.  I managed to pick this up awhile ago for around $30.  Seemed like a reasonable price for the 3 key components of the 1979 World Series team.  At only $10 a relic, it wasn't too overpriced considering the low print run of only 25.  I love that the team's colors were all used in the design of this card and that every player's relic is different to give the card more character.

I also picked up a few more cards from the animal kingdom by adding a couple autographs of the Cobra and Mad Dog.  
The above Dave Parker is from 2010-11 In The Game and features a very large swatch of yellow from Dave's time with the Pirates along with an autograph of the Cobra.  The picture features Parker in his Pirates days (minus the logos of course).  I paid a bit more than I usually would like for an unlicensed card of the Cobra, but for $24 for such a HUGE swatch of yellow and his auto nicely inscribed I didn't want to pass it up.

In addition to the sweet ITG Auto and Jumbo Relic I managed to grab this 2011 Panini Limited Greats autograph of Dave Parker for a small chunk of change, $6.50 to be exact.  The card doesn't have a low print run (499) and is a sticker auto, but it's still an auto of the fricking Cobra!!!!  Personally I really like the design of this card.  The black and white photography for the retired players with a simple border going around the card matched with a nice blue sharpie auto make this card classy looking.  If only the auto was on card instead of sticker.
2005 UD Past Time Signatures 
Mad Dog won 2 batting titles and was an All-Star twice while with the Pirates in 7 years.  He finished his 15 year career with 2008 hits and a lifetime .305 average.
Marking my 4th Auto (3 of which are on card) of Bill Madlock is this 2005 UD Past Time Signatures that I picked up for under $6 shipped.  After coming across this card, I decided to see what other players were in the Past Time Signatures set.  There's a lot of interesting players that don't normally have certified autographs available.  Best of all they're all on card.  So if you're looking for Ray Knight, Luis Tiant, Kent Hrebek, Mike Scioscia, and many more players from the 70s and 80s then this is a good auto series to look into.  Most of the players can be had for less than $10 and you'd be surprised at some of the players on the checklist of your favorite teams that you might not have known had certified autos.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

FINALLY!!!!! Another logo patch!!!!

Last year I said I wanted to get cards featuring the Pirates logo patch of my favorite players.  So far I had a few Andrew McCutchen, one Jose Tabata, one Freddy Sanchez, and a Jason Bay.  Now I can add Neil Walker to that list.  One of my 2013 Collecting Goals was to add 2 of these to my collection this year.
I recently just won this on ebay with a submitted best offer.  There's another one currently on ebay for over 6 times what I paid for this gem.  Sure Mr. Jolly Rodger's face isn't very prominent in the patch, but we all know what it's from.  The card is number 14/25 and is from 2012 Topps Museum Signature Swatches.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

FRIENDly new jersey card

On this day 50 years ago, Bob Friend gave up a triple to Pete Rose. It was Rose's first career hit of which he would go on to hit 4,256 total.
2002 Topps Super Teams Bob Friend Authentic Game Worn Jersey Relic

Bob Friend was a member of the 1960 World Series Championship Pittsburgh Pirates which this card commemorates as part of the Super Teams.  The card cost me just over $5 shipped.  It's my first relic of Mr. Friend.

Friday, April 12, 2013

4/12 This Day in Pirates History

HOF Left Fielder Ralph Kiner began his career on April 12, 1946 for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  He would play only 10 years before his career ended early at the age of 32.  He managed to lead the league in HRs 7 years in a row, a feat that no other player in baseball history has done.  During his 8 years with the Pirates he hit 301 of his 369 career home runs.

In 1953 he was traded to the Chicago Cubs for 2 years.  Pirates then General Manager Branch Rickey stated "we finished in last place with you, we can finish in last place without you".

To celebrate this day in Pirates history when one of the greatest sluggers to wear a Bucs uniform made his MLB debut, I thought it would be fun to show off all my Ralph Kiner AUTOS, RELICS, and MANUPATCHES.

I've currently got 10 Autographs of the HOF slugging Left Fielder.  I'd like to have added 5 new Kiner autos by the end of the year.  That should be one of the easiest of my 2013 Collecting Goals to accomplish.

2012 Topps Golden Moments AUTO

2010 Topps Tribute AUTO/Bat Relic 20/99

2004 Donruss Absolutely Ink AUTO/BAT relic 53/100

2003 Donruss Signature Series Legends of Summer AUTO

2006 UD Ultimate Ensemble Signatures QUAD AUTO 19/25
2012 Topps Gypsy Queen DUAL AUTO DUAL RELIC 7/15

2010 Topps Sterling DUAL AUTO DUAL RELIC BOOKLET 10/10
2005 Upper Deck Class of Cooperstown AUTO/BAT Relic 1/15

2001 Donruss Classic Significant Signatures ON CARD AUTO 

2004 Fleer MLB Draft Edition Past Present Future TRIPLE AUTO 12/33
Triple Threads TRIPLE RELIC 11/27

2008 UD SP Generations Dual Relic (BAT)
2012 Topps Triple Threads BAT/JERSEY relic 18/36

2010 Topps Triple Threads Legends BAT relic 16/27

2007 UD Sweet Spot Classic BAT relic

2002 Fleer Classic Cuts BAT relic

2002 UD SP Legendary Bat

2012 Topps Gypsy Queen BAT relic

2006 UD SP Legendary Cuts BAT Relic 172/199

2010 Topps Manufactured Bat Barrel 25/99
2004 UD Sweet Spot Classic Patch 264/300