Monday, March 31, 2014

McCutchen Monday: Breaking Out in 2014

Pictured above is a 2014 Topps Opening Day insert called Breaking Out of 2013 NL MVP Andrew McCutchen

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Opening Day is almost Here!!!! Let's Celebrate!!!

Let's Go Bucs!!!

Here's hoping the Pirates Raise the Jolly Roger a lot in 2014.

I'm going to PC the Parrot.  I know it sounds ridiculous, but if anyone has cards featuring the Pirate Parrot...send them to me.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

It pays to be patient....

When the Bowman Platinum redemptions for the dual autos of Josh Bell and Bubba Starling were hitting eBay in 2012, they were going for well over a $100 due to the high expectations of both highschool teenage outfield prospects.  Bell suffered a season ending injury early in the season and Bubba didn't meet the expectations of the Royals fanbase.

Fast forward 18 months later and I was able to grab this dual auto of the young prospects for just over the price of a blaster.  Josh Bell is still making many sites top 100 lists, but Bubba has slipped due to his ineffectiveness at the plate in A ball.

I got a chance to see a few games with Josh Bell last year and the dude is an absolute power presence at the plate. In several at bats he was being pitched around as if he was the 2001 version of Barry Bonds. Minor league stats can be deceptive and I can say with full certainty that barring injury, Josh will be an impact player in a few years.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Seeing Red: A new feature on the PTR

With all the rainbow color parallels that companies are producing these days, I am going to start to highlight them in monthly features.  I've already introduced my followers to Black is the New Black, where I show off a black parallel of Pirates players.

Today, I'm going to introduce you all to Seeing Red.  This monthly feature will highlight some of my red parallels I have acquired over the years and more recently.  What better way to introduce this segment than by showing off a pair of Hall of Famers, Pie Traynor and Paul Waner.

These two beloved Pittsburgh athletes played the majority of their careers with the Pirates and were some of the earlier members enshrined in the HOF.
The above two cards were purchased shortly after Cooperstown came out and were had for $4 shipped.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sketch Card Art: Starling Marte by Chris Henderson

I used to attend comic conventions and collected sketches of my favorite comic book artists.  I got a chance to get some really amazing sketches from guys like Jim Lee, Michael Turner, Joe Quesada, Steve McNiven, Jim Cheung, Marc Silvestri, and many many more.  The urge of collecting comic books has since waded, but I still can't turn my eye away from great looking artwork.

While browsing ebay, I came across this 1 of 1 sketch card from Chris Henderson.  Chris has previously worked for Topps by doing the Allen & Ginter Highlight Sketches we all chase in our pursuit for complete sets every year.  

I recently set up two commissions with Chris of some other Pittsburgh favorites of mine.  You will be seeing them in the near future and they are just mind blowing with the detail he put into them.

It seems appropriate that with the announcement of Starling Marte signing a very team friendly extension (6 years/ $31 million) to post the above card.  Starling has long been one of my favorite players ever since he was playing for the AA Altoona Curve and offered me a cracked bat.  Sometimes he can be frustrating at the plate when he's struggling, but for the most part, he's out there hacking at pitches trying to find anyway possible to get on base to let the other guys behind him drive him in.  I think that he has 20+HR potential and will often be in the hunt to win the NL stolen base title.  He doesn't walk a lot, but isn't afraid to be hit by pitches either.  His glove work though is where he shines as he, in only his first season, was nominated for a gold glove in left field.  I'm excited to have Marte and McCutchen patrolling the outfield together through the 2019 season.  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

BayB, It's So Clear to Me

The post title was a lot more clever in my head.  Oh well, here's my latest Jason Bay addition to the blog.  Hailing from 2005 Donruss Studio is the limited edition clear Studio Stars numbered to 500.

Since the card is clear, when I scan it in, the white background of my scanner gets picked up.

So to make things a little more interesting, I decided to put a piece of wrapping paper behind it to show what sections are clear.  This should clarify things a little bit.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My First Reggie Relic

I said I was going to start to build up my Reggie Miller PC and have added a relic to the collection.

Acquired for around $3 delivered, this marks my first Reggie Miller jersey relic.  It's not numbered and hails from 2000-01 Fleer.

Monday, March 24, 2014

McCutchen Monday: 2008 Just Minors Black Edition

Welcome to the blog, number 70.
2008 Just Minors Black 19/25

The above Andrew McCutchen is my 70th certified autograph of Cutch.  I haven't been looking to add many certtified autographs of Cutch since my dual auto/dual patch with Gerrit Cole, but for $15, I couldn't pass this sticker auto Just Minors card up.
Opening day is just around the corner....Let's Go Bucs!!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A few numbered Jason Bay parallels

Let's do a math problem

Is it worth less than $4 to add 3 new numbered parallels from the mid 2000s?

I'm going to have to say yes!

 Above are three new Donruss cards to my ongoing pursuit of Jason Bay cards.

Each card is sequentially numbered as you see above.

It was one of my 2014 goals to add 36 new Jason Bay cards for the year.  I've gone way above that total already thanks in part to this large lot of Jason Bay cards from ebay.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Black is the New Black: Jameson Taillon Black AUTO

I absolutely love the Bowman Black autograph cards.  I've previously shown off my Starling Marte and Gerrit Cole Bowman Black autographs in the past that I've spent some good amount of coin on.  Well, now I can add the Pirates current top pitching prospect and 2010 #2 overall pick, Jameson Taillon to that list.  Purchased several months back for $51 delivered, I am really excited to add the second piece to the Pirates future top of the rotation starter to my collection.  This is the lowest amount of money I've spent on a Bowman Black silver ink auto and of all the Pirates prospects to emerge from the system the past few years, Jameson is the one that excites me the most.
2012 Bowman Black AUTO 14/25

Taillon will likely enter the 2013 in AAA and will be up midsummer to assist the Pirates make another playoff run.

Friday, March 21, 2014

30 cents well spent

I recently won these two fine cards of Steel City star players, Sidney Crosby and Antonio Brown for a combined price of 30 cents.  To achieve free shipping I combined it with my 2013-14 Hoops Team Set of the Pacers seen below.

The two highlights of this budget friendly team set are the two Pacers All-Stars, Paul George and Roy Hibbert.  The one thing I've started to like about collecting basketball cards over baseball is the action shots.  Very seldomly do you see Panini used photoshoot pictures like what Topps does for baseball.

All together, I received all 12 cards for $2.05.  Money well spent, I say.  Money well spent.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The latest Jason Bay Dual Auto enters the Treasure Room

I haven't added a new Dual Auto with Jason Bay on it since November 2013 when I added a Dontrelle Willis and Jason Bay autograph to my collection.
2007 UD Exquisite Rookie Signatures Common Numbers 35/38
My latest acquisition featuring Jeremy Bonderman is numbered 35/38.  For those that aren't familiar with 2007 Exquisite Rookie-Signatures from Upper Deck, there was several dual autographs in a series called Common Numbers.  Both Bonderman and Bay wore number 38, thus the odd card numbering limit.

The above certified dual auto ran me $6.99 delivered and marks my 49th autograph of Mr. Bay.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Another Slabbed Tony! 2 down, several more to go

It was recently announced that Chris Stewart, the Pirates projected backup catcher, would be requiring knee surgery that could be season ending.  This presents one of my favorite players to collect, Tony Sanchez, as the likely backup catcher on Opening Day.

One of my 2014 Collecting Goals was to try to acquire as many of the 2009 Bowman Chrome Autographs of Tony slabbed 9.5 or better. Back in January I showed the base auto, the first of this crazy idea.

I've since added a 2009 Bowman Sterling auto slabbed also.
2009 Bowman Chrome Xfractor AUTO 1/225 
Today, I'm going to show off my numbered 001/225 XFractor from 2009 Bowman Chrome.  I'm sorry I cna't get a real good scan of it, but it's a real nice looking xfractor and auto.  The card received some very high grades 10 (edges), and 2 9.5s on centering and surface.  The only knock on the card was a 9 for corners.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I guess I have a quarter to spare

When Jameson Taillon refractors are available for a quarter, I will buy them EVERYTIME!!!!  Such was the case when this card popped up on ebay as part of a larger lot I was purchasing.

I had gotten a mini refractor of Jameson as part of my best ebay lot ever which ran me only 5 cents a card.

For those that are doing the math, that's two refractors of the Pirates top pitching prospect for 30 cents shipped.

Monday, March 17, 2014

McCutchen Monday: Happy St. Patrick's Day

Wear Your Green Proudly and Get Drunk!

Here's a couple of my Andrew McCutchen green parallels
2013 Bowman Chrome Green

2012 Prizm Green Parallel


2013 Topps Chrome Orange Refractor

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Remembering the 2007 draft

The Pirates might have had one of the worse drafts in the history of the franchise in 2007.  Need proof? Look here and tell me what guy is currently contributing in the majors for the Pirates (not named Tony Watson).

2007 was the last year of Dave Littlefield as the GM.  He pretty much made sure that he would never be a GM again after some of the boneheaded moves made during his tenure as GM.  I am willing to overlook the following from Dave Littlefield because every GM makes some bad moves
-trading players like Kenny Lofton, Aramis Ramirez, and Jason Schmidt for nothing 
-passing up the opportunity to trade Kip Wells for Ryan Howard 
-passing up the opportunity to trade Kris Benson for Ryan Howard
-leaving most of the Pirates minor league prospects open to the Rule 5 draft in 2003 and not using a pick even though they had 2 spots open on the 40 man roster.
-trading one of the best pitching prospects in baseball (Chris Young) for Matt Herges who they released before appearing in a single Pirates regular season game
-trading for Matt Morris at the end of his career 
-trading for Benito Santiago so he can play 5 games for the Bucs by sending away an electric young arm formerly known as Leo Nunez.

One thing I can never overlook though is blowing the 2007 draft.  The Pirates had the 4th overall pick in 2007 and passed over the top hitting college prospect, Matt Wieters, to select Daniel Moskos.  Did I enjoy watching Daniel Moskos close out the 2010 Eastern League champions Altoona Curve with a strikeout? Absolutely! I was at that game.  However, that was Daniel's age 24 season and his 2nd year in AA.  By that point Matt Wieters already had 20 career MLB homeruns and was on his way to begining to prove why he would win 2 consecutive gold gloves. 
2014 Donruss Matt Wieters Game Used Jersey 
(The above Matt Wieters Game Gear is available for trade)

Why do I bring this up?  Well, quite simply because Daniel Moskos has been terrible competing for a spot in the LA Dodgers bullpen as a nonroster invite.  In 2 innings of work so far, he has given up 6 hits and 3 earned runs.  Opponents are batting .462 against him.  Last year he was released by the Chicago White Sox posting a 4.97 ERA over 29 relief innings.  His WHIP was down from last year, but still an abysmally bad 1.55.  

Did anything good come about the 2007 draft for the Pirates?  Well, yes actually.
While not huge impact players, there were 2 players who made it to the majors in a Pirates uniform that have made contributions to the Pirates.  

Kyle McPherson was the Pirates minor league pitcher of the year in 2011 and made his debut in 2012.  He has recently undergone Tommy John surgery.  He's still young and may one day make the majors again in the bullpen.  

Tony Watson was a huge contributor to the Pirates "shark tank" of a bullpen last year.  In 71 innings last year, Tony had a 3-1 record with a 0.88 WHIP and 2.39 ERA.  His strikeout to walk ratio was better than 4:1 and he's been used to setup, close, and do long relief for the Battlin Bucs.  He will likely be a huge part of the Pirates bullpen success this year as well.  

One of the biggest contributors to the Pirates underground success last year came in a trade with the Cleveland Indians for Jeanmar Gomez.  In exchange for the Pirates 2007 4th round selection(Quincy Latimore), the Pirates got a swiss army knife of a pitcher in Gomez.  Gomez was able to start, pitch as a long man, do mop up duty, setup, and finish games.  Through the All-Star break last year when Jeanmar Gomez pitched at least 1 inning, the Pirates were 15-5.  He finished the season appearing in 34 games (8 started, 6 finished) with a 3-0 record, 3.35ERA, 1.15WHIP, and a 2:1 strikeout to walk rate.

So even though I still blame Littlefield for not drafting Matt Wieters when EVERY PIRATES FAN was begging for him to be drafted, at least something came out of that draft class.

Thank you Tony Watson!!!!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Wild Thing....

I came across a gold refractor of one of the Pirates fringe pitching prospects, Andy Oliver, that for the price tag I couldn't resist.

Since being traded to the Pirates for catching prospect Ramon Cabrera, Oliver has been pitching in the Pirates minor league AAA affiliate, Indianapolis Indians.  Last year in 124 innings pitched, Oliver struck out an incredible 138 batters.  Unfortunately he also gave up 112 free passes during the season.

If Andy can learn some control, he could be a huge success in the majors either in the bullpen or as a back of rotation starter.  Until then, I'll hold onto this $2 card from 2010 Bowman Chrome numbered /50.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Going to my 1st Indiana Pacers game

It's been 22 years since I attended my last basketball game.  Tonight I'm going watch the Indiana Pacers vs. the Philadelphia 76ers with my Lil Brudder.
2013-14 Prizm David West AUTO

Above is my latest auto to my Pacers PC.  It's a very low number David West from 2013-14 Prizm numbered 8/25.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Somewhere near a Rainbow: Russell Martin 2013 Topps Chrome

Even though, it's barely been 30 days, it feels like it's been forever since I showed off my last rainbow update for Russell Martin's 2013 Topps Chrome.

Here's my latest addition.  It ran me a solid 50 cents from COMC.  This is just your standard 2013 Topps Chrome Refractor, no color parallel.

I had already shown off a few of the rainbow parallels in the past
black numbered/100
camo numbered 10/15

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

2 New Jason Bay Chromes

Just got two new Jason Bay Bowman Chrome rookies to add to the Jason Bay PC.

The above cards are numbered /50 and /225.  I don't remember the exact price I paid for these, but I remember they were purchased for a good price.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tony got slabbed

My latest Tony Sanchez BGS 9.5 or higher acquisition ran me just $15 delivered.

Even though it's not from the 2009 Bowman Chrome series I am trying to collect from, I couldn't resist this slabbed Tony to add to my collection.

Monday, March 10, 2014

McCutchen Monday: 2013 Triple Threads /27

It's going to be a VERY short post today as I'm going to let the card just speak for itself since I have a viewing to go to later tonight.
2013 Topps Triple Threads Unity Jersey Relic 26/27

From 2013 Topps Triple Threads Unity Jersey Relic is a game used (spring training) jersey relic of Cutch numbered 26/27.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

2014 Donruss: #BUCN Style

I recently made small purchase from one of my favorite ebay sellers, for several of the 2014 Donruss inserts of the Pirates.  I'm not trying to get complete sets of unlicensed products, but when I can win auctions of players I collect for around $1-$4 a piece, it's hard for me deny adding them to my collection.
Up first are Breakout Pitchers and Breakout Hitters.  I like these.  They look like fun inserts and feature players that actually broke out on the baseball world last year (although Pedro Alvarez did hit 30HR in 2012 also)

Next up are some of the more expensive cards purchased from the group.  I have to be honest, none of these really jump out at me.  It reminds me of why Donruss was my least favorite card company to collect from.  They all look cheap and lazy.  The whole line (especially the Team MVP of Cutch) seems like someone was trying to get creative with a 1987 version of ClipArt.  I like the idea of the stats cards being numbered to an individual season or career numbers, but am not a big enough fan of the base cards to collect the rainbow.  I do like the player selection for the Game Gear cards, but it's still not enough to make me want to collect them all.

My least favorite of all the inserts though is the Box Topper Donruss Diamond Kings.  How can I hate on the Diamond King?
It's obvious!
1)There's no art on the card design anymore
2)The uniforms clearly show no logos because they are all head on images of the players (as they should be)
3)The design doesn't match the base cards, unlike classic Donruss which had the same borders as the base set.

Overall, the 2014 Donruss version is a lot of the classic Donruss line which I hated as a kid.  There's 3 plaeyrs to collect basecards of for the Pirates (Marte, Cutch, Alvarez) and a lot of inserts/parallels.  My suggestion is to save your money.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Topps Finally Sent Me My Redemption!!!!!

It took a few more months than I would have hoped, but Topps did it, they finally sent me my BASE auto/jersey of Gerrit Cole from 2013 Bowman Platinum.

The card is beautiful and features a nice swatch of blue jersey (likely from the 2012 Futures Game) along with a sticker auto.  I had started to see these pop up on ebay and was wondering if Topps was ever going to send me mine.  Thankfully I received it last week.  I am however still waiting for my Jeff Locke redemption from a few years ago.  Is it really that hard to get one of them redeemed, Topps?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Cobra in the Mailbox: This is why baseball cards are fun...

Collecting and having a hobby should be fun.  It shouldn't consume your life or try to make a profit.

I collect baseball cards because they're fun to look at the stats, read the backs, and see nice photography.  In recent years though, a lot of that has gone away.  Maybe it's because, I'm older, but it doesn't seem fun anymore.  It seems like a job.

Then something like this insert set comes along and makes me feel like I'm 8 years old again and I suddenly fall in love all over again.

The backs are just as fun filled as the fronts.

If you're a team collector, player collector, or just like fun unlicensed cards check out the Nicknames inserts from 2013 Hometown Heroes.  There's a lot of fan favorites, under the radar names in this set.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Good Jordy, this card looks nice!

One of my favorite blogs, BobWalkThePlank recently showed off their copy of a Jordy Mercer patch card from 2013 America's Pastime.  I recently grabbed a copy of the card as well.
2013 America's Pastime Future Fabrics Jordy Mercer Patch 4/10
Sadly I paid $5 more than what my blogging buddy paid for his copy though.

Based on the color of the patch, I think that the material used could be from an alternate uniform used by the Pirates in 2013 (Memorial Day uniforms perhaps?)  The jersey material is more brown than grey.

Any ideas?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I dream of Jamo

I've been waiting since June 7th, 2010 for Jameson Taillon to make his MLB debut.  I was ecstatic that the Pirates front office had the guts to try and sign a front of the rotation starter who was only in high school.  For sooooooo many years, Pirates fans had to deal with the Pirates front office drafting safe college pitcher picks like Daniel Moskos, Brad Lincolns, Bryan Bullingtons, and John Van Benschoten.  The last time the Pirates had drafted a high school pitcher in the first round was Sean Burnett in 2000.

Jameson Taillon is not only one of the top prospects in the Pirates farm system, but he is one of the top pitcher prospects in all of baseball.  I've said it many times.  I think Taillon will be just as good as Cole.  Which is frightening for the NL Central hitters opposing these two fireballing prospects.

So far Jameson has only made one spring training appearance, but in those two innings of work he allowed only an "excuse me" single while facing the minimum batters.  Jameson is the real deal.  Don't be fooled!

I dream of the day Jamo makes his debut.  Let's Go Bucs!!!!

The above card was part of a massive lot of Pirates cards I recently purchased on ebay.  It averaged out to 15 cents a card.

Monday, March 3, 2014

McCutchen Monday: Thunderstruck!!!!!

My latest unlicensed insert of Andrew McCutchen comes from 2013 Select and is from the insert set Thunder Alley.  This chromed out card was recently had for a cool dollar.

I really wish that Panini could have gotten a license.  I would love to see the players with logos on their uniforms considering all the neat insert sets that they are producing in their products.  At least, they are using images of the players where it's not as noticable that they don't have a license.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Hit Collector

Matt Hague was given the nickname, the Hit Collector during Spring Training 2012 when he collected 22 hits in 25 games including 7 homeruns.  During his Spring Training career he has a .386/.400/.659 slash line which equals a 1.059 OPS.  He's also collected 21 RBI over the course of 88 plate appearances.  If he were to keep up his Spring Training numbers over the course of an entire season he would be putting up MVP numbers.
2012 Topps Chrome Refractor 69/75

But that's why you can't trust small sample sizes.

When the Pirates traded for Gaby Sanchez in 2012, it was clear that they didn't view Hague as a consistent major leaguer.  He's decent with the glove at first, but isn't known for his defense.  In addition, he hasn't shown enough versatility to make the team as a utility corner infielder/outfielder so he's basically just a right handed bat off the bench.  The Pirates wouldn't consider carrying someone like this on their roster.  Hopefully Matt can see some playing time when the Pirates play interleague games in AL parks because his bat would make for a good DH for a few days.

I purchased the above 2012 Topps Chrome Sepia Refractor AUTO for $6 delivered.  The card looked nice enough to add to my collection for that price.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

2014 Topps Series 1 Inserts: #BUCN style

I have really been watching my budget more closely in 2014 than in previous years.  I used to feel the need to buy every single auto, relic, black parallel, gold parallel, insert, shortprint, etc from the Topps Flagship launches.  This year, I'm sticking to just the base, the "cheap" inserts, the Charlie Morton parallels, and maybe one relic or auto just to say I have it.

The Pirates have several players appearing in the 2014 Topps Series 1 Inserts.

 Up first is one of the greatest right fielders to ever play the game as pictured in 2 of this years inserts (Upper Class and Before they were Stars).  Roberto Clemente was signed by the Dodgers, then drafted by the Pirates in the old version of the Rule 5 draft.

Gerrit Cole, last year's flame throwing rookie pitcher, was featured on the 50 years of the draft.

Similar to year's past, there are inserts were you enter codes online to win prizes.  The fronts of the cards look exactly like the base cards, but have the Power Players logo.  The backs have online codes. 2013 All-Stars Andrew McCutchen and Jason Grilli represent the Pirates in Series 1.
My favorite inserts from 2014 are the 1989 minis.  I had ripped so many of these 1989 packs back in the day, that this is still sadly one of my favorite designs.  Cutch and Clemente are the Pirates representatives for Series 1.