Saturday, May 31, 2014

I love being a supercollector

I am still in search of several Charlie Morton cards, but the list keeps getting shorter and shorter.
2013 Topps Update Saphire 6/25

This 2013 Topps Update Saphire numbered 6/25 ran me only $5.31 and completes my rainbow from 2013 Topps.

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Cole Train is Dealing 1/1s

I'm off to my local sports card and memorabilia show as I am hoping to cross off some more vintage from my needs.  In the meantime though, I just bought myself a 1/1 Gerrit Cole yellow printing plate from 2014 Gypsy Queen Dealing Aces insert.  As a huge poker fan, I have to say that the Dealing Aces of the past two years is my favorite insert set that Topps has put out in recent Gypsy Queen releases.  

The above plate ran me $24 and strangely enough is my first 1/1 printing plate of the young ace.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Topps Tribute Thoughts and a 1/1 Autograph

Remember last year when I built a Topps Tribute reverse box? I'm considering doing it again.
2014 Topps Tribute 65/99
I recently just picked a very affordable Gerrit Cole jersey piece from 2014 Topps Tribute and remembered how much fun it was to build a reverse box last year.  The problem I'm currently facing is the big hits have already hit the open market and are selling for much more than I would have liked to grab them.

Last week I showed off one of the cards that I just had to pull the trigger on when it hit the open market.   It was a 1 of 1 Jason Grilli inscription Onyx auto you see above.

How fricking sweet is that thing?  Since last year's All-Star break Jason Grilli has struggled due to injuries.  He's also had to face Ryan Braun more times during that span and it seems that Braun can hit a HomeRun every time he faces him.

I also grabbed another Cole jersey relic for under $6 delivered.  So far, I've committed $103 for two relics and 1 auto (a 1/1 no less).  Each box retailing for $225+ includes 2 relics, 4 autos, and 12 base cards.  I should be able to complete a reverse box for under $122, but I'm not sure if I really want to.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

My latest Bay: it's sparkly

It's sparkly.

It was cheap.

I needed it.

It's the emerald sparkle but not an emerald.

It's the saphire sparkle but not numbered.

WTF parallel is this thing?  IDK...but it's mine now and it cost me only $1.

I'm going to CitiField tonight to see the Pirates in New York against the Mets.  Hopefully the weather stays dry for the game.

Monday, May 26, 2014

McCutchen Monday: USA!!!!!! AUTO!!!!!!

Memorial Day is a day to remember those who died serving the US Armed forces.  It's one of the most patriotic days of the year and has also turned into a party weekend.  I like to party with new baseball cards by my favorite baseball player, who is also the reigning NL MVP.
2012 Prizm Team USA AUTO 24/25

So in honor of the United States of America, here's a McCutchen AUTO featuring him in his Team USA duds.  I tried for over a year to win one of these under $75.  The low numbering of this card make it almost impossible to find on the open market now.  This ran me $45 delivered awhile ago.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

BayDay! BayDay!: Camo Edition!

It's no secret to anyone that reads my blog that Jason Bay is one of my favorite baseball players of all time.  Even when he left Pittsburgh to play for the Red Sox, Mets, and Mariners I kept rooting for him.  Continuing the theme to celebrate Memorial Day Weekend, I'm showing off my camo edition of 2013 Topps Jason Bay.

2013 Topps Camo 8/99

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Morton Memorial Day Weekend

Happy Charlie Morton Memorial Day Weekend everyone!
I'm going to show my latest 1/1 from my favorite pitcher to jump start this weekend in celebration of Charlie's 1st win of the 2014 season.
 As is customary for Topps Blank Backs, they come sealed in tamper proof loaders.
This 1/1 ran me under the cost of a blaster, which made me much happier than the 2014 Topps Heritage Blank Back I bought earlier in the year.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Russell Martin Returns!

I thought about doing some kind of X-Men Days of Future Past tie in today since the movie is coming out and I am a HUGE X-Men fan, but just couldn't wait to show off this Russell Martin any longer.  I've greatly missed Russ' bat and glove in the lineup everyday despite Tony Sanchez being one of my favorite players in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.
2013 Topps Black 45/62 Russell Martin

This low numbered black parallel (45/62) is my only parallel of the 2013 base set from Russ that I own.  Remember though I am trying to complete the trifecta to the 2013 Topps Chrome rainbow of Russell.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Seeing Red: AJ Parallels

AJ Burnett left the Pittsburgh Pirates for greener pastures in Philadelphia.  Although the location is closer to his family, it remains obvious that the money also played into AJ's decision to join the last place Philadelphia Phillies.
2013 Prizm Red Parallel
Many Yankees fans couldn't wait to get rid of AJ after the 2011 season due to his obvious Jekyll/Hyde performances issues.  I was ecstatic to add him to the roster right before the 2012 season started for a pair of subpar prospects.  I attended the first game he pitched in a Pirates uniform and remember the crowd booing and screaming no!!!!! when he went to bat for the first time and squared around to bunt.  (He had injured his eye during spring training bunting drills).  That game was a lot of fun as they shutout the Cardinals and AJ pitched exceptionally well while Pedro delivered the only RBIs of the game.
2013 Topps Target red parallel

That game felt like things were going to start to change and that Neal Huntington's plan was finally starting to come together.  The Bucs collapsed in September and finished 3 games under .500 for the 2012 season despite strong performances from the pitching staff and breakout performances by some of the younger arms.

AJ became a fan favorite and one of the best pitchers in the NL during his time with the Bucs and I was happy to see him regain his form with the Pirates that he had before heading to the Big Apple.

All the AJ Burnett red parallels were purchased for around a $1 a piece and I'm glad that I have a full page of AJs in my binder to remind myself what a small role AJ had on the franchise during his short two year tenure with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tony Tuesday: a new theme? and a new 1/1

I've been collecting cards of Tony Sanchez off and on for about 3 years.  I missed out on all his initial releases in 2009 products, but midsummer (after injury) I really started to collect as many Tony Sanchez cards as I could find.

Recently I've been trying to track down as many 1/1s of the young backstop as I can get my hands on.

Behold, my latest acqusition...
2011 Topps Pro Debut Printing Plate 1/1

I grabbed this 1/1 for around $20 delivered and it marks my 4th printing plate of the former first rounder.

Today is Tony's 26th birthday and I have a question for all my loyal readers...
Should I start making weekly posts called Tony Tuesdays where I show off my latest Tony Sanchez purchases?  Let me know if there is enough interest.

Monday, May 19, 2014

McCutchen Monday: A recap of the double header and a baseball card

Yesterday, I made my first trip to the new Yankee Stadium and I got to say that I was impressed.  Even though I am clearly not a Yankees fan, I have to say that it was a class act stadium filled with extremely nice and friendly staff.  The Pirates and Yankees split the double header.  My favorite pitcher, Charlie Morton got into some trouble in the 1st inning of the 1st game which cost the Pirates the win, but thanks to Josh Harrison leading off and playing left field, the Pirates were able to come away with ta win in the night cap.  Yes.  That was read correctly.

Anyway, I was seen on TV 3 times during the games when Neil Walker, Starling Marte, and Yangervis Solarte hit homeruns to the short porch in right field.

I'm very short on time though so I will only show off my latest Andrew McCutchen I purchased for $1.

It's a 2013 Hometown Heroes.  Nothing too fancy about this unlicensed card, but it does bring me closer to owning 500 unique Cutch cards.  Look for a contest to happen soon when I reach that milestone.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

My first trip to the new Yankee Stadium

I'm going to be making my first trip to the new Yankee Stadium with my friend Tim today.  Tim is a diehard Yankees fan and we always said that he would bring me to Yankee Stadium when the Pirates come to town in interleague baseball.

My favorite pitcher, and NJ born, Charlie Morton will be making the start for the Pirates in the 1pm game.
2012 Pirates Team Set Exclusive IP AUTO

Above is the 2012 Pirates Team set exclusive of Charlie signed by Charlie in person.  Below is what the national release looked like.
2012 Topps Mini and 2012 Topps (factory release)

Below is the back of the card which is the same for both versions, but the numbering.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Million Dollar Arms, $1 purchases

Yesterday was the theatrical release of Disney's Million Dollar Arm, the story of Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel.  If you enjoy baseball movies that you can share with your family, you NEED to go see this movie.  I'm actually going to see it again today.  I won't spoil the movie for you with a lot of facts about these two India born baseball players, but I will show off a card show pickup I bought a long time ago as I was waiting to show off for the theatrical release of Million Dollar Arm.

It's a 2009 Tristar Plus Diamond Duos (not numbered) of both Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel.  It cost me only $1, which might seem expensive for two ball players who will likely never pitch in the big leagues.  But that's not why I bought this card.  I bought it for the historical significance of the card and the turning point of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise.  I've talked a lot about how much I appreciate Neal Huntington turning this franchise around since he took over in 2008 and the signing of these two young men helped further show that Neal is looking to add talent from anywhere in the world.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Nick Kingham Red Wave numbered to 25

I've been adding several Nick Kingham cards to my collection in 2014.  Here's my latest.
2012 Bowman Chrome 4/25

It's a very low numbered (4/25) red wave parallel that I grabbed for under $15.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Welcome back Starling!!!!

Starling Marte got pulled from a game on May 10th when he was suffering from back pain.  He has a history of injury problems since becoming a top 10 organization prospect for the Pirates while in A ball in 2009.  There's no doubt of his talent level being an impact player to the team.  In 218 career games the 25 year old Marte has a .271/.331/.426 line with 19 HR and 64 Stolen Bases.  In addition he has an absolute cannon for an arm.
2013 Topps Archives Black Printing Plate 1/1

Last year I grabbed a printing plate of the recently extended Starling Marte from the 2013 Topps Archives line.  It cost me under $20, but I forget the exact total.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Bat Relic almost lead to Operation: Shutdown

When I came across this card for $1, I was really hesitant to put it back.
You might think, why would you do that?
It's a bat relic.
Of your favorite team.
That you don't have.

While all those are true, Derek Bell is a scumbag and I really didn't want to have a bat of his in my collection. remind me of the Pirates dark past in the not too recent history I couldn't resist.  I am sad to say that I am now the owner of the cardboard you see above.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

My first Brandon Cumpton card

Brandon Cumpton was drafted in the 9th round of the 2010 draft, the same draft that grabbed other top prospects Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie, and Nick Kingham.  Cumpton made his MLB debut last year on June 15, 2013 getting a no decision in his career debut despite striking out 5 of the first 6 batters he faced.  He's currently 2-2 over his career with a 2.70 ERA over 43.1 innings pitched with a 5.17 K/BB rate.

Many people aren't giving Cumpton the respect that he deserves, citing that he will likely never be more than a spot starter.  From what I have seen of Brandon so far in his early career, he likely has the opportunity to be a middle rotation innings eater.

The Pirates have faced several early season pitching injuries and ineffectiveness so I wouldn't be surprised if he is able to gain a permanent spot in the rotation by midseason.

I purchased the above card for $6 off ebay and plan on grabbing a few of his 2014 Bowman variants when prices start to drop.

Monday, May 12, 2014

McCutchen Monday: Bring back the Z!

I've had this card since a few days after series 1 released back in February.  Why I never posted it is beyond me.  It's the 2014 photo variant for Andrew McCutchen.

The Pirates have started to experiment with different hand signals this year, but I really want to see them bring back the Zoltan.  Bring back the Z!!!!!!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Byrd is the Word: 1 of 1 Laundry Tag

I haven't been updating the site with a lot of high end stuff over the past few weeks.  I know that you have all probably started to get sick of all the Charlie Morton and Tony Sanchez parallels that I've been showing off.  I'm going to mix it up and show off my latest 1/1 laundry tag of a former Pirate.

Let me go on record and say that Topps Museum is my favorite release year in and year out.  It's the perfect high end release.  Last September, I showed off my Russell Martin bat nameplate 1/1 from last year's Museum release. That card was absolutely sick!

This might not be as sick, but it's damn close.
2014 Topps Museum Laundry Tag Marlon Byrd 1/1

That's a 1/1 laundry tag for a player who only appeared in 30 regular season games with the Pirates, but helped lead them to their first post season in 20 years.

Knowing how close Gregory Polanco was to the big leagues, I didn't want the Pirates to keep Byrd around for two more seasons, but would had loved to get him on a cheap one year deal.  He moved onto greener pastures and more stability, signing with the Phillies for a 2 year/$16 million contract last November.

I hope this card was worth the wait for all you readers that come looking for the high end parts of my collection.  Keep on reading and commenting and I'll keep writing.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Grill Cheese 1/1!!!!! and a great story

Jason Grilli has struggled early in the 2014 season.  His strikeout rate is nearing the lowest of his career and his walk rate is nearing the highest of his career.  Combine that with his rising batting average balls in play and you have a recipe for disaster.  None of that really matters to me though because I love watching Jason Grilli take the mound in high pressure situations.

Grilli is currently on the DL for the Pirates and even if he never closes out another game for the Bucs, he will always remain one of my favorite Pirates relievers of all time.

The dude flat out got pumped everytime he stepped foot on the mound.  Need proof?  Check out his recent cards for Topps flagships or last year's Heritage release.

What impresses me most about Jason Grilli though isn't the fist pumping or the Pearl Jam entrances or the funny nickname.  It's how he reacts to his fans.  I remember attending a 2012 spring training game he was signing autographs for fans for close to 30 minutes.  A very young boy (probably no older than 4) had drawn a bunch of Pirates players and write one sentence under each of the pages in his sketchbook.  The very proud father was showing it to Evan Meek, who was drawn wearing a Superman cape with the sentence "Super Meek saved the day".  Jason Grilli came over and asked the young boy if he was in the book and the boy said "No. Who are you?"  Jason said "I'm the Grill Cheese"  The boy started laughing then told Jason how much he liked grill cheeses.  Jason told him he wanted to be drawn in the boys book the next time he saw him.  The boy said "Ok Mr. Grill Cheese"  It was such a cute moment and a joy to watch Jason interact with this young boy.  When I initially joined twitter, my first follower was Jason Grilli.  He has such a way of interacting with his fans that you can't help but root for the guy to be successful.

It's because of this that I needed to add a 1/1 Jason Grilli to my collection.

I didn't want just any 1/1 though.

There was no way a Topps Blank back or printing plate would be displayed proudly when it came to finding a great Grilli card for the collection.

I needed this!

That's how you do an autographed 1/1 of one of your favorite players.  Beautifully designed high end product with an on card autograph and inscribed with his nickname on a black background signed in silver.  This card is fricking beautiful.  It ran me $84 delivered, but is worth every penny to me.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The NEW Core 4: BUCN Style

The Yankees often used a phrase called the core four to discuss the four guys who were a part of the Yankees stretch of winning world series.  That list included Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera,  Derek Jeter, and Andy Pettite.  Jeter was the last member of the Core Four to not choose retirement, but his time will be coming to an end this year.

The Pirates had their first winning record in over 2 decades last season thanks in large part to four impact players who are under team control through at least 2016.
That list includes
Starling Marte (signed through 2019 with team options through 2021)
Gerrit Cole (under team control through 2019
Andrew McCutchen (signed through 2017)
Pedro Alvarez (team control through 2016)

It's highly unlikely that the Pirates will keep all four of these guys past their contracts expiration, but with these four under team control through the next 3 seasons, the Pirates have a legitimate chance to contend in the post season each year.

I won the quad relic seen above for $36 delivered about a month ago and am happy to add such a nice card featuring these four players together.  Topps has been paying a greater deal of attention to Pirates fans lately mostly because of all the exciting young talent coming through the past few seasons.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

NFL Draft and Minor League Prospects

Tonight is the NFL draft and I (along with likely most of you) will be watching to see who my favorite football team drafts.  The Pittsburgh Steelers have the 15th overall pick and early rumors are that they will trade the pick to a team in need of a quarterback so that Dallas can't draft Johnny Manziel.  

One player likely not to be drafted in the 1st round is Stanford Running Back, Tyler Gaffney.  Gaffney projects to be a 2nd to 5th round pick.  
2013 LEAF Draft Tyler Gaffney Purple 28/50 AUTO

I purchased the above Tyler Gaffney for $1.  It doesn't sound like a bad investment for an on card autograph of a future NFL athlete.  However, the reason I bought the card was because he was a 24th round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012.  Gaffney signed with the Pirates and played one season in the minors A ball State College Spikes batting a very respective .297/.483/.441 line while swiping 11 bags over 38 games.  After the season, Gaffney returned to college for his senior season and took on the gridiron again.  He could go on to have another successful career like so many other two sport college athletes that get drafted in baseball, but return to football....or he could struggle in the NFL and be left wondering what could have been if he had stayed in baseball.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Black is the New Black: Graded Style

I have a confession to make....

I really like collecting baseball cards.

Even if I already have them.

If they're graded and mine isn't.  I buy it.

Hello Charlie!  Welcome to the club!

Monday, May 5, 2014

McCutchen Monday: 2013 Select En Fuego HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO!!!!

Here's a card that took nearly 6 months to ship to me.  6 months!!!!   I had purchased this card on ebay for a really low price (around $4, if I remember correctly).  The seller had sent it in a pwe, but I hadn't received it through 90 days.  I requested my money back from the seller and finally it shows up to my house.  The card wasn't postmarked prior to filing a claim with ebay so I'm guessing that the seller was just looking for some good karma to come his/her way by sending it out after I had already received reimbursement.

Regardless, I am happy to finally receive this card and add it to my collection.

Since the card features spanish in it's design, it seemed like a good day to show it off.

Happy Cinco de Mayo folks!
I'm going to Philly tonight to see the Blue Jays and Phillies and get drunk with some friends.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Swinging sledgehammers with Johnny Ray

A few years ago, everyone's favorite Troll sent me a package that included some signed cards of Pittsburgh Pirates of yesteryear.  While going through my collection as I prepare to move for the 3rd time in 2 years, I found this card.

It's a 1987 Fleer signed by former Pirates 2nd baseman Johnny Ray.  What I like most about this card (besides the signature) is the sledgehammer Johnny is swinging in the on deck circle.  I wonder how many times "The Kid" gave Johnny enough bat speed to lace his 1,009 hits in a Pittsburgh uniform.  One thing is for certain, he seldom struck out at the plate as it took an average of 17 plate appearances between strikeouts.

Johnny was originally drafted in the 12th round of the 1979 draft by the Houston Astros, but was later traded to the Pirates along with Randy Niemann for Phil "Scrapiron" Garner.  Ray was the runner up for rookie of the year behind Steve Sax in 1982 and would go on to win the Silver Slugger for second base in 1983.  During the 1983 and 1984 season, Ray lead the NL in doubles with 38 each year.  Over his career Ray played in 1,353 major league games and finally earned credit for his consistent efforts up the middle as a member of the 1988 All-Star team while playing with the California Angels.

Friday, May 2, 2014

So Many Cards, So Little Time: The Sequel

Yesterday I showed off all the new additions to the blog for my 2013 Topps Update Charlie Morton additions.  Today, I'm going to show off some of the easier to find 2014 Topps parallels I have grabbed over the past few months.

The above 6 cards ran me $12.73 delivered which isn't terrible for 6 serially numbered or retail exclusive cards.

Up first is the Gold Parallel which came in at a hefty price of 6 cents which I smartly combined with a bunch of other cards to make the shipping free.

Of all the recent parallels that Topps has started to put out, I think this ugly shade of green is my least favorite.  Nothing about this card excites me......except that it's another card to chase of my favorite player.  It ran me $1.98 shipped and I am happy I won't have to type in Charlie Morton green into my save searches for the rest of the card season.
This purple variant ran me $1.26.  How did Toys R Us become the purple variant exclusive?  I get WalMart Blue and Target Red because their logos reflect those colors.

Can someone please point out to me what letter in their logo is purple because I sure as hell don't see it?

The Yellow retail exclusive was one of the more expensive cards to track down at $3.25.  Seeing how nice this card looks, makes me want to complete the team set for the yellow parallels.

The Camos were won around the same time and I put feeler bids in on both, thinking that if I lost one I could win the other.  I managed to win both these /99 parallels for a combined price of $5.98 (roughly $3 a card after shipping) 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

So many cards, so little time

I don't know if it's that I've been buying cards too aggressively or trying to only show 1 card per post, but I have a whole lot of Charlie Morton cards that I need to add to the blog.

The below Camo version ran me $8 delivered, which is a little more than what I like to pay, but I lost 3 of these in a row so I was determined to win this 57/99 variant.

The WalMart Blue ran me $1 delivered.

The Black parallel ran me $5.69.  This seems about fair price for a black parallel numbered to 62.
Charlie will in fact be taking the hill today as part of a doubleheader against the Orioles.