Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Collecting Goals Recap

2014 might have been my most successful collecting year yet.  I added a lot of great cards to my collection highlighted by completing several Charlie Morton rainbows (2014 Topps2002 Bowman Chrome) along with several 1/1s of Charlie but none were more important than this 2012 Topps 24K Gold Embedded card.

I completed the 196519691971, and 1972 Topps Team Sets.

I managed to complete half of the Tony Sanchez Slabbed 9.5 2009 Bowman Chrome Auto challenge

I got a bunch of Bowman Black autos of all the Pirates I wanted including 3 copies of Tyler Glasnow which can be seen here, here, and hereGregory Polanco, Jameson TaillonReese McGuire, and Alen Hanson.

I added well over 36 Jason Bay cards to the collection, but sadly fell short for Andy Van Slyke and Ryan Doumit.

I added my 75th unique Andrew McCutchen certified autograph to the collection with the following additions in 2014:
2014 Donruss Die Cut Elite Status /25
2005 Topps Chrome Refractor BGS 9.5
2012 Bowman Chrome Dual Auto with George Springer /25
2013 Panini Team USA /25
2013 Topps Museum Jumbo Jersey/AUTO /10
2008 Just Minors Black /25
2014 Topps Dual Auto/Dual Patch Face of Franchise with Gerrit Cole /5
2014 Panini Private Signings Fall Heroes /10

The Gerrit Cole/Andrew McCutchen Dual Auto/Dual Patch is just absolutely amazing!!!!

I added an autograph of a Hall of Famer in Pittsburgh Gear (Goose Gossage)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Another 2014 Goal Accomplished

Two weeks ago I showed off one of the toughest (and most expensive) Bowman Black autographs I have ever picked up.  That Austin Meadows autograph brought me done to needing only one Bowman Black autograph of the Pirates, Alen Hanson, who I recently purchased just in time to close out the new year.

Alen Hanson entered the 2014 season with the expectation that he could be a mid season callup along with Gregory Polanco if he showed continued improvement in the field.  The 21 year old middle infielder put up strong numbers at the plate in AA despite some minor injuries and an extended period of time missed that the reason still hasn't been revealed.

In 118 games, the switch hitting Dominican hit .280/.326/.442 with 11 HomeRuns and 25 stolen bases.  Many see Hanson as a future leadoff hitter that can play 2B, SS, or 3B.  Despite the struggle that Hanson suffered last year which dropped his elite prospect status, I personally still think that Hanson will be a very good major leaguer and given the right opportunity in 2015 could have a season like 2014 Josh Harrison.  He has incredible bat speed from both sides of the plate and possesses a good bit of pop for being only 5ft10.

Bowman Black will continue to be one of my favorite autographs to collect every year going forward.  I will most likely add Connor Joe and Cole Tucker to the list of players I want to get Bowman Black autographs from in 2015.  I may also continue to pick up Tyler Glasnow's bowman black cards as well since 3 out of 25 just isn't enough.

If you want to see the other Bowman Black autographs I got in 2014 click here.

Monday, December 29, 2014

McCutchen Monday: Remembering Yesteryear

As the year comes closer to an end, it's important to reflect on yesteryear.  What better way to do that then to show off this retro insert of Andrew McCutchen from the 2013 Topps Finest 1993 Retro release?

The above insert ran me a cool $1.99 on ebay that I was able to combine with some other purchases for resale
Have fun and be safe out there this week kiddies....

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Football Sunday: My 1st Antonio Brown Autograph

The Steelers season has been much better than I had anticipated.  The offense has really been a sparkplug in the team's sucess since midseason.  The Killer Bs might be best known in baseball as Bonds/Bonilla for the Pirates in the 90s or Bagwell, Biggio, Berkman for the Astros, but the Bs are setting all kinds of franchise records this year offensively led by Big Ben (2 Bs in that...LOL), Brown, and Bell.

I've been showing off a lot of Le'Veon Bell cards this season as he has emerged as my favorite player to watch.  Of the Steelers 16 games a quarter of them featured autographed of the league's top fantasy back this year.

Last month I showed off a gorgeous relic of Antonio Brown which marked my first and now I am going to show off my 1st Antonio Brown auto.  I'd like to add an on card auto to my collection sometime, but the prices for his stuff have skyrocketed in recent weeks.  For now, I am happy with the AB84 signature which still cost me nearly $20 delivered.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Closing out Christmas Week with a red McCutchen

My latest Andrew McCutchen from Ebay is a card from 2011 Topps that ran me $5 delivered.  This card doesn't have a particularly low numbering, but it is VERY hard to track down.

The 2011 Topps Red Borders were inserted into packs of the factory set and numbered to 245 copies.  Most people that purchase the complete set rarely open them up, thus making the "pack" never get opened.

As my Cutch collection continues to grow nearly daily, expect to see more Cutch cards besides just once a week.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Triple Threads 2 Box Reverse Challenge featuring a Zoo

I've been putting together 2 reverse boxes of Topps Triple Threads for the price of 1 over the past several months and just got my second triple relic in.  It features 3 thirdbasemen that have all recently been all-stars.

Among them is possible future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre, current Pirates slugger Pedro Alvarez, and recent Boston acquired 3B Pablo Sandoval.  If only Beltre had a cool Animal Nickname like El Toro or The Panda this card would be really awesome especially if it spelled out "The Zoo" instead of Hot Corner.

This recent addition cost me $8 delivered and brings my reverse 2 for 1 box challenge to $91 and need only a handful of base/parallel cards, 1 Auto/Jumbo Relic, and 1 Triple Relic/Auto.  I recently grabbed a triple relic/auto for a fair price so I think that I will be able to successfully build 2 boxes for the price of 1 easily.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Romans 5:8

It seems fitting to have Bible Verse on today and I just so happen to have this Sid Bream inscribed Romans 5:8 card from 1991 Fleer.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Let's celebrate the birth of Jesus today and remember all the great things that God has given us including his only Son on this Holy Day.  

God Bless You All and Merry Christmas!!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!

Last night I went over my brother's for a Festivus Celebration and because I won't see him on Christmas day, we exchanged early Christmas presents.  He ended up hooking me up with a personalized autographed 8x10 photo of Steelers Rookie Wide Receiver Martavis Bryant.

Prior to the draft, I was very gung ho on Bryant even suggesting to my brother that I see him only slightly below Sammy Watkins.  Bryant was available in the 4th round and has become a key part of the recent success of the Steelers offensive game plan over the past several weeks.  The image above was from Bryant's first TD reception in his first professional game against the Texans on Monday Night in week 7.

My brother hooked me up pretty good with this autograph via Coppola Sports Investments.  I ended up getting him several autographed cards of his favorite Jacksonville Jaguars and a good chunk of needs for his Kevin Kiermaier PC.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

My newest PC I plan to supercollect

I'm starting another PC that I hope to supercollect.  I don't often plan to supercollect prospects because they can be amazing in the minors and ranked as a #1 prospect then never stick in the majors (Brandon Wood, anyone????)  The fact that the player I plan on collecting is blocked at the major league level will only make it harder for him to make it to the majors.  The Pirates already have one of the game's best patrolling CenterField (Andrew McCutchen) with the very speedy duo of Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco controlling the corners.  Every player in the Pirates outfield has 20/20 potential with an average around .300.  Those kind of numbers are All-Star caliber numbers.

22 year old Willy Garcia will have a challenge ahead of him in order to make his MLB debut and become a star but after watching him in the minors I'm going to attempt a supercollection.

My first card I plan to show off is a 2012 Bowman Chrome Orange Refractor numbered 12/25 because I am in the holiday spirit.

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

McCutchen Monday: partial rainbow

I've been adding a lot of Andrew McCutchen parallels over the past few months.  Amongst them are the 4 below parallels of 2013 Bowman Chrome.  The scanner is having a hard time picking up the difference between blue and purple lately.
The 4 Refractor parallels ran me $7.50 delivered for the following cards: Refractor, Purple (53/199), Blue (42/250), XFractor.  The four cards go nicely with my Magenta Refractor I showed off in October for Save Second Base charity event.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Football Sunday: Fantasy Focused!!!

For the second straight year, my fantasy football team is going to the Championship game.  Strong seasons by Aaron Rodgers (1st Round), Le'Veon Bell (2nd Round), TY Hilton (4th Round), Odell Beckham (12th Round), and Justin Forsett (Waiver wire) have really helped get my team to the Championship Game.  I'm currently sitting 8 points ahead of my opponent but he still has Emmanuel Sanders and the Broncos defense left while I only have a kicker left.

Last year we played for an autographed football (player's choice) and I lost by less than 2 points in the big game.  This year we are playing for an autographed jersey (player's choice).  I'm hoping that Cincinnati loses and Denver kicks about 10 field goals while giving up 4 TDs.  That should help secure my marginal lead.  

Regardless of what happens in fantasy football, the STEELERS ARE GOING TO THE PLAYOFFS!!!!!!!

The above card was part of a Pittsburgh lot I recently purchased for $3 delivered.  The lot also included Pirates McCutchen and Polanco and Steelers Polamalu and Bryant.

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???? 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


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.