Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Funday: Pirate Parrot Auto

I just put in a 12 hour day and I am extremely exhausted and frustrated.  On top of it, the Pirates lost to the Reds in the 9th inning when Chris Heisy hit his 2nd homerun of the afternoon.  I don't know why, but it feels like Heisy is one of those guys that just kills the Pirates, but struggles against the rest of the league.

Oh well...

Here's an uplifting card
From 2014 Topps Opening Day it's an autograph of the Pirate Parrot.  I think this ran me around $20-$25 shortly after OD came out.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sorta like a Holy Grail...

I've been a Charlie Morton supercollector since before the 2010 season and have been slowly adding more and more of his cards to my collection.

With the card below, I currently sit at 95.94% complete (excluding 1/1s)

Many of the Charlie Morton cards I needed for my super collection were extremely rare cards (1/1s), minor league cards, or low print runs (/50 or less) The low print run but accessible card I thought I would never see was Charlie's 2002 Bowman Chrome Gold Refractor numbered to 50.
2002 Bowman Chrome Gold Refractor 46/50
I have only seen 1 appear on ebay in the past 4 years and I was sniped on it.  Fortunately, through patience and a lot of detective work I was able to land this gorgeous gold refractor you see above for $18 delivered.

I naturally have Charlie Morton as one of my saved searches on ebay and a few months back a seller was selling off a large part of his collection which included the BGS graded 9.5 2008 Black Refractor (/25).  In the background of the image he had posted I saw the golden beauty above and knew I had to have it.  Through several emails with the seller I was able to convince him to let it go.

Only 3 non 1/1s remain for my supercollection and I fear that the 2012 Topps Update Factory Orange will be the toughest to acquire since many people who purchase the factory set don't open them for the orange variants.

These are the cards I currently need in my collection.

The red indicates that the card is more than 1 copy
Yellow indicates that it is a 1/1

As you can see most of my needs are 1/1s and I have actually crossed 4 off already this year.

2002 Upper Deck Prospect Premieres Future Gems Quads /600 (Val Majewski, Joey Gomes, Daniel Cevette, Charlie Morton)
2004 Rome Braves (minor leage Multi-ad)
2008 Bowman Chrome Printing Plates 1/1 (needs all 4: cyan, black, yellow, magenta)
2008 Bowman Draft & Prospects Printing Plates 1/1 (need all 4: cyan, black, yellow, magenta)
2008 Bowman Draft & Prospects Red 1/1
2008 Bowman Sterling Printing Plates 1/1 (need all 4: cyan, black, yellow, magenta)
2008 Bowman Sterling Red Refractor 1/1
2011 Topps Update #235 Gold Canary Diamond 1/1
2011 Topps Update #235 Platinum 1/1
2011 Topps Update #235 Printing Plates 1/1 (need 3: black, yellow, magenta)
2012 Topps #516 Factory Set Orange /190
2012 Topps #516 Platinum 1/1
2012 Topps #516 Printing Plates 1/1 (need all 4: cyan, black, yellow, magenta)
2012 Topps Mini #516 Printing Plates 1/1 (need 3: cyan, yellow, magenta)
2013 Topps Update Printing Plates 1/1 (need 3: yellow, magenta, cyan)
2014 Topps Heritage Printing Plates 1/1 (need all 4) I'm not even sure if these exist since Beckett doesn't have them listed.
2014 Topps Printing Plates (need 3 (magenta, cyan, black)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Black is the New Black: Tyler Glasnow is Back!


I have stated numerous times how much I love Bowman Black autos.  I've got autographs of Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, and Tyler Glasnow.  I recently added another Tyler Glasnow Bowman Black to the collection because the price was right.

This is the second I own and just recently purchased another, giving me 3 of the 25.  Maybe I can hunt down the other 22.  If you want to see the other Glasnow Bowman Black I bought, you can click here.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Emil Brown AUTO

Normally I use Throwback Thursdays for players before the 90s, but due to a lack of time and the fact that I was given this card from a friend out of those repack Target "guaranteed autos" packs I thought it was a good time to highlight the baseball career of today's subject...


The End!!!!

Just Kidding!  The fact that anyone makes it to the major leagues is quite an accomplishment so I won't make fun of Emil anymore.  Emil was drafted in the 6th round of 1994 draft by the Oakland Athletics.  A few years later he was in the majors as a 22 year old playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  His performance in Pittsburgh was what most fans saw of the "talent" levels in Pittsburgh during The Losing Streak years.  In parts of 5 seasons wearing black and gold, Emil hit .205 with only a .310 slugging percentage.  His best season came during his age 31 and 32 seasons when he was hitting .286 and averaging 16 HR and 84 RBI while a member of the Kansas City Royals.  He last played for the New York Mets on June 6th, 2009.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My first RussMart jersey

Since the Pirates signed Russell Martin as a free agent after the 2012 season, I've been wanting to add a relic of his to my collection.  There were many options available from his Dodgers days, but I was really hoping Topps would produce something of his.  The only relic that I know of though that Topps has produced of Russell wearing a Pirates uniform was this 1/1 Bat Nameplate from Topps Museum I bought last year..

Fortunately Panini was able to pick up Topps slack and produce this Jersey King in 2014 Donruss Series 2 of the Pittsburgh Baseball Club backstop.  The card above cost me just $1.99.

Russ has had one of his best offensive years of his career this year and will likely be one of the key free agents on the market this winter.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I'm like Indiana Jones with this VERY RARE 1/1 find....

Being a supercollector can get boring during the "offseason" when no other cards are being produced of the player you collect.  What I do is improvise and add to the collection, other pieces of cardboard not found in baseball packs.  I came across a Game Used Lineup card from a Pirates game in 2009 when the team finished their regular season with a 62-99 record.  That terrible record was good for second worse in the majors that year.  Not many people would get excited for a piece of paper that the manager wrote on for a team that finished that bad.

My favorite pitcher, Charlie Morton, was called on to make his 18th start of the season on September 30th, 2009.  He had a 4-9 record entering the day with an ERA of 5.01.  Things were different though on September 30th, much different.  Charlie took the mound and pitched an absolute gem striking out 8 while sprinkling 4 singles and 3 walks over 9 innings for his first career complete game and shutout.

That's right, I am the proud owner of the lineup card from Charlie Morton's first shutout in the majors and thus his first complete game too.  Anyone want to try and beat that for their supercollection?  It cost me $35 and is now framed on my wall.

News broke last week that Charlie has suffered a sports hernia and could possibly be out for the duration of the season.  Being a supercollector, that's terrible news of course.  Today it was announced that Charlie will most likely begin a rehab assignment and could hopefully recover strong for the Bucs and help them to their second postseason appearance in as many years.

Monday, August 25, 2014

McCutchen Monday: 2011 Topps Chrome Gold

I purchased this Andrew McCutchen 2011 Gold Refractor a few months ago
2011 Topps Chrome Gold Refractor 27/50
I forget the price I paid for it and am too lazy to research it but I think it was around the $10 mark.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A pair of Game Used Jerseys from two fan favorites

If you like the Pirates in the mid 2000s there was three guys you rooted for: Jason Bay, Jack Wilson, and Freddy Sanchez.  They helped offset a terrible team that just couldn't make it to .500.  There's not many Jack Wilson jersey cards out there, but there's plenty of Jason Bay and Freddy Sanchez for the Pirates faithful to collect.  I just recently picked up a pair that I never decided to pull the trigger on for the past 6 years, but I figured for $5 delivered it was worth the price.

Behold the majesty that is 2008 Upper Deck Game Jerseys.  Like all things Upper Deck, the designs are great and photography is better than all other card companies.  Featuring a great full view of PNC park in the background with an image of the player in action along with a swatch of their jersey, these just can't be compared to the boring repetitive designs that Topps is doing for their flagship relic releases.  They aren't numbered, but they don't need to be.  They're cheap relics on nice designs.  Nuff Said!!!!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Ahhhh 90s inserts, you were fun

I just came across this awesome Jason Kendall 1997 Metal Platinum Portrait insert when going through a bunch of old Pirates cards.  This thing is sweeeeeet!!!

Friday, August 22, 2014

My favorite Gerrit Cole in my collection

Leading up to the 2011 MLB draft there was a lot of discussion about who the Pirates should draft #1 overall.  3 college pitchers (Danny Hultzen, Gerrit Cole, Trevor Bauer), 1 prep pitcher (Dylan Bundy), and 1 college bat (Anthony Rendon) stood out above the rest.  For me it was simple Cole or Rendon.  Rendon had a lot of medical concerns and that's why he dropped in the draft to the Washington Nationals.  I had zero interest in Hultzen and despite his high ceiling even less interest in Bundy.  If the Pirates were going to draft a pitcher I wanted one of the UCLA guys, Cole or Bauer.  Cole had a higher ceiling but struggled during the season.  Bauer appeared to be the pitcher going up draft boards strong as the season winded down due to his insane strikeout rate and win record.  The Pirates drafted the high ceiling former NY Yankees first round draft pick, Gerrit Cole number 1 and instantly became a higher prospect than the already highly touted Jameson Taillon.
2014 Topps Tribute Game Used baseball 7/10 MLB Debut

Cole made his major league debut and it was one of my favorite games of that magical 2013 season the Pirates had last year.  Topps finally got away from the "not specific game, event, or season" this year when they introduced a line of game used baseballs (all with specific MLB holograms on them) to indicate what game the used baseball was from.  Since this card represents such an important game for the Pirates, I vowed to one day at one to my collection.  Costing me $53.32 delivered seems like a lot, but now that it's in a nice magnetic touch case with a stand proudly displayed, I think it's worth it.
Once I had the card in hand, I decided to check out the hologram on MLB's website and found out that the hologram sticker used has no data in the current system.  Is it possible that Topps is producing fake relic cards?

Cole will made his return from the DL Wednesday against the Atlanta Braves in just his 3rd start since June 4th.  The Bucs need Cole to be a front of the rotation starter if they have any hopes of making the post season.  They are currently struggling mightly due to many injury issues, but thanks to some late inning heroics and an absolutely incredible start by Cole (7IP, 6K, 2 ER) they were able to pull away with a victory.  Let's hope that trend continues in the House of Horrors, Milwaukee.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Throwback Thursday: 1991 Fleer Bob Kipper TTM Auto

One of my 2013 Collecting Goals was to add more of the 1991 Fleer Pirates team set IP/TTM autos to my collection.  I only managed to get Jay Bell and Don Slaught as returns.

I recently got a chance to get Bob Kipper's autograph at a Portland Sea Dogs game.  Kipper is currently the Sea Dogs pitching coach.  During his 8 year career, he played 7 in Pittsburgh as a relief pitcher and spot starter.  His career ended with a 27-37 record with a 4.34 ERA.

The above Kipper auto is my 10th autograph of the team set.  I still need a lot more including the nearly impossible to get signed Homerun king Barry Bonds.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Lunch Box Hero!!!!

Earlier in the month, I showed off a pair of Topps SegaCardGen cards released in Japan of Jason Grilli and Garrett Jones respectively.  I mentioned that I grabbed a few of the 2013 cards from the same seller and with the recent hot streak that Travis Snider aka LunchBox has had with Andrew McCutchen being out now would be a good time to show off one of my few Travis Snider's Pirates cards. Even with McCutchen being back in the lineup tonight, Lunch Box will be staying in the OF to give Gregory Polanco a day off.
I wish that these cards were produced in 2014.  They're fun unique items that are tough to chase down.
We all complain about Topps using the same images on multiple products.  They do it on their overseas products as well.  Looking through your basecards for the image I am referencing?  You won't find it.  The image of Snider holding up the Zoltan symbol was a 2013 Topps Team Set exclusive variant.
I showed it off here last September.  I included the picture of the variant below.

Monday, August 18, 2014

McCutchen Monday: Can't see me edition...

Andrew McCutchen has been missing in action for awhile now and the team's record is starting to show that for a few games it can make up for Cutch's bat, but in the long run they can't.  With that being said, today I'm showing off my latest Prizm parallel, a 2014 Camo parallel that I won for just over a $1.00 delivered off ebay.

Cutch should be back very soon which is good news for the Bucs.  They need to stay in the hunt.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Hey Now! You're An All-Star...

The Pirates sent three All-Stars to the 2014 All-Star game held in Minnesota this year.  The obvious choice was Andrew McCutchen as he was voted in by the fans.  The secondary and questionable choices were Tony Watson and Josh Harrison.  Watson was just downright filthy prior to the All-Star break and was arguably the best setup man in the NL.  Harrison was the most questionable player selected as an All-Star especially since he wasn't even a starter for the team he plays for.  It was obvious that Clint Hurdle probably did some lobbying to get Harrison on the All-Star team.  Harrison was a huge spark plug for the Pirates starting in May and carrying all the way to the current games.  He is incredibly versatile being able to play 2B, SS, 3B, and either corner outfield position.  He's the only MLB player this season to throw a runner out at home from both RF and LF.  He's also done it from 2B and 3B this season.

At this year's All-Star FanFest Topps distributed oversized blank back cards of the members of the All-Star teams for fans to try and get signed.  I grabbed both Harrison and Watson off the Bay.  These two cards cost me $17 each.  I also grabbed a Clayton Kershaw which cost me only $6.  Evidently there is a lot more Pirates fans out there than I thought.

I've included a 1988 Bobby Bonilla to compare the size for these jumbo size giveaways.

The past two nights have been tough losses for the Bucs against the Nats. Josh Harrison had a chance to win it for them Friday night but popped out in foul ground with both the tying and winning runs in scoring position. Tony Watson struggled mightily last night and gave up a 3 run lead in the 8th which the Pirates eventually lost in the 10th. Hopefully they can turn things around soon.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A super sweet Dual Auto Booklet featuring Gerrit Cole and Zack Wheeler

With the injury plagued season that Gerrit Cole has had this year, his card prices have dropped substantially.  He's only made 2 starts since June.  This is good for me as it allows me to add some rather nice autographs and patches of his for less than normal prices.

Such was the case for the above dual ON CARD auto of Gerrit Cole and Zack Wheeler.  I've seen this card sell in the $35 - $50 range before and was very lucky to get it for literally a fraction of that price.  The card is hand signed and numbered to only 20 copies.  I've been wanting to get a Zack Wheeler autograph so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to add his John Hancock to my collection.  Wheeler has been a very consistent pitcher this year with a mid 3 ERA and averaging just under a strikeout per inning.  He will need to allow fewer walks in order to become a true front of the rotation pitcher though.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Charlie Morton Day!!!

Hey Charlie Morton is on the mound today so let's celebrate with a piece of cardboard from when he was a member of the Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach Pelicans in 2006.

I got this off ebay last year for $5 delivered.  It's my 9th unique minor league card of Ground Chuck.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Congrats Russell Martin!!!!

I only have 1 Russell Martin autograph in my collection.  Since joining the Pirates last year though, he's been one of my favorite guys to root for and I know that if he elects to hit the Free Agent market after this season, I will continue to follow his career.  He's a gamer every day.  Last night, Martin hit a double to score the tying run for his 1,000 career hit.

I got the above quad auto on ebay late last year for $19.99 and for the extremely low numbering and the fact that there is 3 other players on the card with one of my main player collections, Jason Bay I just couldn't pass it up.  This card is numbered 4/5 and marks my 21st, 22nd, and 23rd unique players to have autographs on a card with the former Pirate Rookie of the Year.

Due to the landmark moment of Russell Martin's career, I decided to cancel this week's Throwback Thursday.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Award Time!!!!

Jason Bay was the rookie of the year in 2004.  He was the first and only Pirates player to win the RoY award.

The Pirates had high hopes heading into 2014 that they could potentially have two guys competing for the Rookie of the Year in Gregory Polanco and Jameson Taillon.

In early spring training, Jameson Taillon underwent Tommy John surgery thus putting him out for the entire season.

Polanco tore up AAA pitching hitting .347 with a ridiculous .540 slugging percentage and 49 RBI over 60 games.  The Pirates waited until June 10th to call Polanco to the majors and hit the ground running with an 11 game hit streak before he went into a 20 game slump.

Last week, three Pirates players were awarded player of the week awards in the Minor Leagues.  They included Tyler Glasonw (FSL Pitcher of the Week) for his dominating performance where he struck out 11 batters in 6 innings while allowing only 2 hits and no runs.  Austin Meadows and Buddy Borden represented the West Virginia Power as SAL Player of the Week and SAL Pitcher of the Week respectively.  Meadows batted .500 for the week with 6 extra base hits and 7 RBI in 25 plate appearances.  Borden went 2-0 with only 1 earned run allowed in 13 innings while striking out 14 and allowing only 6 baserunners in 2 outings (4 hits and 2 walks).

It's hard to talk about small sample sizes in the minor leagues, but the Pirates have done a fantastic job getting quality out of their recent draft picks. For two decades, it was grim times but thanks to Neal Huntington and the scouts and the minor league development it is a much brighter future in the steel city.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

That's what you get...

I'm going to be perfectly honest, I don't look up Marte cards like I used to mainly because I have been so focused on my Charlie Morton collection and adding more vintage.  However, when I come across a cool looking insert of Marte for less than $2 delivered, I feel that I need to add it to my collection.

Such was the case for the above 2014 Prizm Top of the Order insert.  I like cards like this that show a team's batting lineup.  I don't know why, but I've always had a fancy for those types of inserts.

Even though Marte wasn't at the Top of the Order in yesterday's game, he was a huge part to the Pirates success against the Tigers.  In the first two innings he had a single, triple, stolen base, 3 RBI, and 2 runs scored.

BTW the reason for my post's subject today is because I have that line "That's what you get" from the forthcoming movie Let's Be Cops stuck in my head.  That movie looks like a lot of fun.

Monday, August 11, 2014

McCutchen Monday: Diamond Dominance

I've been saving this card until I felt that the Pirates were actually dominating on the diamond.  The 2014 season has been a lot of win 2 in a row, lose 3, win 2, lose 1, win 1, lose 4, win 3 type of routine.  I hardly considering that dominating.  I barely consider it average.

Lately the Pirates have been struggling and it's due in large part to ....

This guy! Cutch has been out of the lineup for the past week.
The reigning NL MVP and 4 time All-Star, Andrew McCutchen has yet to be put on the DL.

The 2014 Purple Refractor Prizm Diamond Dominance is numbered 75/99 and ran me just .74.  Not a bad price to pay for a dominator of the diamond.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

There's being a supercollector, then there's me....

I'm a supreme collector of all things Charlie Morton.  It's actually crazy how much Morton stuff I have actually.  I've shown off a card before every start he makes this year and I still have a ton of stuff that I haven't shown yet.  I have nearly 95% of all cards published that aren't 1/1s.  Truly ridiculous stuff, right?
Well, I just added another batch of crazy by picking up a Braves vs. Phillies program from 2008 when Charlie was a member of the Atlanta Braves.

The program features a nice article of Charlie and how he had struggled through the minors before taking a big leap to the majors.

It's only the second program I have featuring the New Jersey born right hander.

For those of you that super collect cards of your favorite players, do you also go and grab things like this?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Dammit it's a Doumit 2.0

I have been slacking on my goal to add 36 new Ryan Doumit cards by the end of the year.  That has mostly been due to me not wanting to add Braves or Twins cards to my collection.  Instead I've been searching for Ryan Doumit parallels from his Pirates days that I don't have.  I came across a low hand numbered 50 mini of one of my favorite Doumit cards from 2009 Allen & Ginter.  2009 was the year I started to really get back into card collecting.

This mini had been eluding me for a long time due to the scarcity (/50) and how old the card is.  I was fortunate to add it to my collection for a mere $5 delivered.

Ryan has had a very tough time at the plate this year and just can't seem to get in a good rhythm offensively.  For the season he .202 with only a .298 slugging percentage which includes only 3 Homeruns.  Through Ryan's time with the Pirates, it was not uncommon to see him with a .450 slugging percentage and double digit HR totals every year.

I doubt I will be able to add 36 new Doumits to the PC by the end of the year, but am very happy to add this one to my collection.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Why didn't you sign me? pt2

Last month I showed off an autograph of a former Pirates draftee that didn't sign and is doing very well in his pro career.  I always think it's fun to look at draft picks and see who drafted them out of high school.

Trea Turner is currently one of the most exciting shortstops in A ball and was a 13th overall pick by the Padres in the 2014 MLB Draft.  He was a former 20th round pick of the Pirates in that very exciting 2011 draft class that produced young prospects like Gerrit Cole, Josh Bell, Tyler Glasnow and the very projectable Clay Holmes.  Trea chose not to sign with the Bucs and went to North Carolina University.

Because Trea is a member of the Padres, it made sense to show off this one time Pirate draft pick as the Pirates take on the Padres this weekend.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Throwback Thursday: former All-Star Danny Jackson

In looking through some of the 20th century cards (that makes it sound more Throwback than 19 year old cardboard) I came across this 1993 Fleer Danny Jackson card.  Jackson was a 2 time All-Star (1988 and 1994) who never really got a lot of credit despite being one of the game's top 20 pitchers every year for nearly a decade.
Fleer unlike Topps didn't photoshop their cards.  If a player got traded they showed him in his old uniform then put a little blurb on the card about being traded.  Danny Jackson was traded by the Cubs to the Pirates for the great 1992 pennant run the Pirates went on and eventually lost in the NLDS to the Braves.  During the offseason he was the first Pittsburgh Pirate to play for the new Florida Marlins franchise being selected by the Fish with the 54th overall pick after the Rockies selected Brad Ausmus with the 53rd pick.  Jackson would never suit up for the Marlins though.  Instead he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1993 and became a part of the NL Pennant winners.  He would finish his career with 112 victories (4 of which were for Pittsburgh).  The card above pictures Jackson in his Pittsburgh uniform with a statement that he was traded to the Phillies from the Marlins.  It is one of only 2 cards that feature Jackson in a Pirates uniform, the other being 1993 Donruss.

The Pirates are finishing up hosting their 3 game series against the Marlins tonight and I'm hoping for another Buccos Win as they face off the 36 year old Brad Penny.  Let's Go Bucs!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I don't always ....

I don't always look for Jose Bautista autographs on ebay, but when one occasionally pops up that is both an on card and from my favorite year of Gypsy Queen, 2011, I feel it's necessary to buy one for just under $8.

Such was the case for the card you see above.

It's obvious that many teams overlooked the potential of Jose Bautista, but I was a huge fan of his and still am to this day.  He's the reason I wear #19 for softball.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I still miss Upper Deck

Topps keeps putting out so many different kinds of parallels and it becomes frustrating to collect them all especially when the photography on most cards isn't the best.
2010 Upper DeckGold 16/99

That's why I miss Upper Deck because they always used nice full bleed photos and only had a few parallels for their base set.  There was First Edition and the Gold Parallels /99.

With news of Andrew McCutchen most likely heading to the DL for several weeks today, the P:irates will need to rely on the non superstars to keep them on the winning side of the scoreboard and have any hope of the playoffs.  Charlie Morton gets the task today for facing the Marlins in PNC Park.

Monday, August 4, 2014

McCutchen Monday: Fearless

After the events of this past weekend, it seems very appropriate that I show off my newest unlicensed Cutch to the PTR.  I grabbed the below 2014 Panini Prizm Fearless insert for $1.70 delivered and am happy to have it in my collection.

The DBags or Snakes lead by Kirk Gibson felt that the reigning MVP deserved to be drilled because their star player was accidently hit on the wrist on an inside pitch that he started to swing at.  Rather than retaliate during his first at bat when the score was tied 0-0 and put one of the fastest athletes in the game on the basepaths, they waited until the Pirates had a 7 run lead in the 9th inning to pitch inside to Cutch.  After he dodged out of the first attempt, the next pitch drilled him right down his spine in the mid 90s.  Cutch was fearless but took his base and would later come around to score shouting "Let's go. Keep it going! Let's Go!"  The next night Cutch would have to leave the game with an oblique muscle strain.  He tore it while hitting a sacrifice fly to tie the game and give his team a chance to win.

With all the sliding grabs and headfirsts slides, Cutch is indeed fearless and it pisses me off that the "unwritten rule of you got one of ours, we're taking one of yours" is going to prevent Andrew from possibly being a back to back MVP winner.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

National League Central Champions?

The Pirates are aggressively getting closer to competing for the NL Central Championship.

In 2005, Donruss had a contest which allowed collectors the chance to win a specially marked version of Playoff parallels.  With the Pirates finishing 33.5 games out of first there was little chance that the Bucs would compete for a playoff run in 2005.  Still there was some hope though.

Jason Bay won the 2004 Rookie of the Year award with a .282 average, .550 slugging, and 26 Home Runs.

Jack Wilson was coming off his best offensive season of his career where he collected 201 base hits with a .301 average and superb gold glove caliber defense.

Kip Wells, all the pitchers on the Pirates staff (not named 2004 Oliver Perez) didn't do so well (pardon the bad pun).

The Pirates Pitching staff was terrible in 2004 posting a 4.29 ERA and a 1.419WHIP.  It got worse in 2005 which is why the Pirates finished with a 67-95 record and made this piece of cardboard useless.

I was able to add the above card to my Jason Bay collection a few months ago for just over a $1 delivered.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

It came from Japan!!!!

I've shown off a few of my Sega CardGen cards in the past that are imported Topps cards.  I recently came across a few others.  I'll show off the whole lot in a future post, but figured today would be as good a day as any to highlight some former Buccos from Yesteryear (literally these guys were on the rost last year). 

Jason Grilli has played for 8 major leagues (counting the Pirates) and a handful of minor league organizations during his long career.  His best seasons came while a member of the Pirates though and was rewarded by being elected as a 2013 NL All-Star for his superb pre All-Star break perfect save record.  While with the Pirates, he posted a 3.01 ERA to go with a 3-11 record.  His WHIP was 1.18, but his K/9 was an insane 12.4, having struck out 222 batters in only 161 innings. 

Garret Jones provided a lot of fireworks in a Pirates uniform as he hit exactly 100 longballs over his 5 year career with the Bucs.  His highest mark came in 2012 when he hit 27 round trippers.  His overall line .256/.318/.462 (.780 OPS) wasn't as bad as it appears mainly because he hit only .194 vs LHP but a respectable .270 vs RHP.  His best season was actually his first with the Pirates when he posted a 3.2 WAR in 2009 by smashing 21 HR batting .293 and playing the corner outfield positions and first base.

Both Grilli and Jones were fan favorites while in Pittsburgh, but both have moved on to Miami and Los Angeles respectively.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Feeling Blue: Jason Bay 2005 Donruss Greats Blue Parallel /50

I keep adding more and more monthly color phrases to combat all the many different colored parallels that card manufacturers have produced over the years.  I've had a monthly feature of Seeing Red and Black is the New Black for a few months now.  Here's my latest entry to the rainbow highlight, Feeling Blue.  Each month I will show off a blue parallel similar to what I do with Red and Black.  I'm open to ideas for the following colors: Green, Camo, Yellow, Gold, Silver, etc.  I already have something planned for pink so no need for that.
2005 Donruss Greats Blue Parallel 16/50
Anyway, with the first installment of Feeling Blue, I figured it would be best to show off one of my all-time favorite players and one of the first Pirates players I started to collect in bulk.  None other than Jason Bay of course.  If you were a Pirates fan during the stretch, there was no player easier to root for than Jason Bay.  That's not to say there wasn't talent during the 1993-2012 seasons because there actually was a lot of it (Jason Kendall, Brian Giles, Freddy Sanchez, a very young Aramis Ramirez, Jack Wilson, even the injury plague seasons of Andy Van Slyke's career, and of course promising pitchers like Kris Benson, Jason Schmidt, and Oliver Perez)  The problem was that most of them weren't consistent enough to gain a lot of fan appreciation and the ones that were consistent often had off field issues (Giles, Kendall).

Jason Bay was just what you envision the best baseball player on a team to be like.  He would help carry an offense, all out hustle on every ball hit to him in the outfield, steal bases when it was needed, and greet the fans with a smile and an autograph at the bus stop.  He was my favorite player, simply put.

When he was traded in 2008 to Boston, I knew it was happening.  It was obvious that the new General Manager Neal Huntington (who I think is one of the best GMs in the game to operate with the small payroll he has and still be competitive) would blow up the team and start from scratch from the ground up.  Yesterday marked the trade deadline and the Pirates were silent.  They didn't acquire any big names to get them into the post season.  They are relying on a team that is already the 5th best team in the NL prior to yesterday.  With the current team they have, they were only a half game away from a Wild Card berth.

The team might have struggled early in the season, but they have since added guys like Gregory Polanco, Jeff Locke, and Vance Worley to the 25 man roster and in doing so has caused the team to be one of the NL's hottest teams since May.  I think their bench is a big need and can't wait to see both Brent Morel and Michael Martinez go.  I'd personally rather see Chase D'arnaud up there hacking at the ball when we need a right handed pinch hitter in the 7th inning than either of those two clowns.  At least D'arnaud can play a good shortstop and is a speed demon on the basepaths so he can pinch run too.

I wasn't looking for the Pirates to add Price or Lester, but I was hoping they could add another weapon in the bullpen.  Then again if Nick Kingham continues to exceed expectations he may be called up in September and used strictly in relief similar to what the Rays did with David Price in 2008 and  Adam Wainwright did for the Cardinals in 2006.  By the way both those teams went on to the World Series those years.