A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Vacation Vintage Pt. 1

While on vacation in San Diego, my goal is to not do any blogging.  I might read a blog in my down time here or there, but I'd like to keep myself from writing until I get back.  SO, I'll be digging a little bit into some of my vintage cards for a quick post for most of the days that I'm gone.  Enjoy!

1951 Bowman, Allie Clark #29
The '51 Bowman set is one of my favorite vintage sets.  I'll never attempt to put it together, but I've got a few cards from this one.  Allie Clark, shown here playing for the Indians, also played 42 games for the Pacific Coast League Padres in 1949.  The borders aren't as crisp as they might look here, that's the scanner for you.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Hodgepodge

Alright, this is my last post before our family trip to San Diego.  I actually spent about an hour last week doing little short posts that I've scheduled to run each day of our the trip, so I'll actually be posting more frequently than usual, but they'll be little short posts, nothing long like this one here.

Seeing as how I'll be out of commission for a bit (I'll probably still keep up with reading the usual blogs, but not doing any writing), I figure I gotta get some recent stuff posted before I forget.  There is absolutely no theme to this post whatsoever, so forgive the jumping around.

Alright, first things first, I found this image on twitter from @AK47_studios.  They've done Star Wars related logos for all of the MLB teams.  I liked the Padres one the best, mostly because "sand" used to be one of the Padres colors, so "Sand People" would've been a good nickname for the team.  Plus SAN Diego and SANd work, and the camo background is a nice touch for a team that regularly pays tribute to the military on Sundays by wearing their camouflage uniforms.  Anyways, click the link, it's worth checking out.

I've definitely curbed my pack-buying activities as of late, but I happened to purchase consecutive packs of this year's Allen & Ginter and last year's Prizm sets.  Both yielded autographs, though I don't know if many would consider these real "hits".  I've tried my hand at selling some of my "higher end" cards on eBay, but I don't think these would go for very much.  If anybody has any Padres or want list stuff that is interested in these, lemme know.

Speaking of hits, here are some autos and relics that I've picked up in the past month or so.  All pretty cheap, some with combined shipping.  I'm trying not to overdo it with Kevin Kouzmanoff autos, since there are apparently dozens of cards out there, but just like a cheap Khalil Greene auto, sometimes they're too hard to pass up.  I'm always on the lookout for Andrew Cashner autos that are less than five bucks, even if he's with the Cubbies.  I'm the most stoked about the Tommy Medica auto and George Foster relic, my first "hit" cards of either of them.

Here are a pair of cards by the only players that I'm aware of who played in the majors who were named Casanova.  Raul was a Padres prospect who never made the team, but spent time with the Tigers, Brewers, Orioles, White Sox, Devil Rays, and Mets.  When I picked up this Paul Casanova card from a card shop in San Antonio, I did so hoping that Paul and Raul were a father and son combo, but Paul is Cuban and Raul is Puerto Rican, so no dice.  Normally not worth noting, however…

I happen to have a Spring Training-used jersey by Raul Casanova.  Gotta think there aren't many out there with this one, and it was pretty cheap (though my grandma bought it for me anyways).  Debating on wether or not I should wear this, my Kevin Kouzmanoff replica jersey, or my Tony Gwynn shirsey to the game against the Braves on Saturday.  Though, honestly, I'd really like to get my brothers to dress up in brown robes like friars with me.  Not sure there'll be enough time to coordinate that though, and I'm sure they wouldn't be as enthusiastic as I would be.

I'll finish with the Half Dome card from this year's Allen & Ginter set.  Yosemite National Park might not be the first thing that many think of when they think of California, but it's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.  The view from the top of that rock is amazing, to say nothing of the rivers and lakes that you pass on the way to get there.

Here's the back.  Not sure if I'd be complimented if somebody named a rock after me because it looked like me, but I guess it'd depend on the rock.  

Well, in a few hours, we'll be on the road to San Diego.  We'll spend the night in the bustling town of Deming, New Mexico (population < 15,000), before pulling into my in-laws house on Friday night.  There really isn't much to see between here and there, with El Paso and Tucson being the biggest cities that we'll pass through.  Not looking forward to the drive, but it'll be worth it.

Take care, see you guys in a week and a half.

EDIT: Sweet Lord, the Padres DESTROYED the Cardinals last night 12-1!  My new favorite Padre, Yangervis Solarte went 4 for 5 with a couple of RBI, and Jesse Hahn, who should garner some Rookie of the Year votes, went 7 innings and gave up a run on 4 hits for the win.  Great win, though you know that nothing is going right for the Cardinals when Will Venable takes you deep and Yonder Alonso legs out a triple on you.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Congrats

Well, yesterday three of the baseball stars of my youth were inducted into the Hall of Fame.  Haven't yet gotten to watching all of the speeches, but I enjoyed Greg Maddux's and I read part of Joe Torre's and it was great:

While it's hard to really like a guy who spent time with both the Yankees and the Dodgers, can't help but respect his love for the game.

As a kid, my two main card-trading buddies were Matt and Justin.  They were neighbors, and I lived about 5 minutes away on bike from them.  They were huge Braves fans and would always rub the Padres most recent loss or trade in my face.  I thought my life was going to end when they stole Fred McGriff from us.

Because of them, it's pretty easy to root against the Braves, but for whatever reason, I didn't really mind Tom Glavine.

I'm not sure what it was about him that I liked - maybe it was that he was left handed, or maybe it was because of that one Pinnacle card where he's in his Braves uniform with a hockey stick and skates.  I'd like to think it was something about him that I liked, but to be honest, it was more than likely this particular card.  The '92 Topps set is the set that got me into collecting (thanks to my 3rd grade teacher, Mr. Seipel), and I thought that this was one of the best looking cards.

Frank Thomas was another guy who you couldn't help but like as a card collector in the 90s, because, again, his cards were awesome.  Also, I'm not sure that the numbers back me up, but he always looked like he was the biggest guy in the world to ever play baseball, and he would hit the ball so far.  Being in the American League, I had no reason to dislike him, because he never faced the Padres.

Greg Maddux was a different story.  He was the face of the Braves pitching staff, and as such, there was no way I could ever like him, right?  All those division championships, all those World Series appearances?  Not something that I could relate to as a Padres fan (though we did beat them in the NLCS in '98).  I'd compare Maddux to present-day Clayton Kershaw.  One, if not the best pitchers in the game, who I respected but could never root for, because of his jersey.  It all changed, however, when Mad Dog became a Padre.

It wasn't one of those "instant" things, either, just because he played for the team I liked.  I never was a Mike Piazza fan, he was already too much of a Dodger.  But I can honestly say that going to a game at Petco Park where he got the win and Trevor Hoffman got the save is something that I'll probably tell my grandkids about.

At the end of Maddux's speech, he said that he didn't get a team logo on his hat because he wouldn't be in the Hall of Fame without his experiences in Chicago or Atlanta.  But I sure am glad I got to see him in a Padre uniform.

I'll just forget that it was sandwiched between stints with the Dodgers.

Congrats to everyone who was inducted into Cooperstown.  Hoping that some day I'll be able to make it up there.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Uncharted Land


I am a blogger.  I blog about cards.  Apparently, just collecting them is not enough, I have to share my feelings, opinions, etc. with everyone who will listen to me.  I guess I also branch out into tangential topics, like actual baseball, family/life stuff, and even music once in a while.

I understand that not everybody is like me, but I guess it's hard for me to empathize with other types of collectors.

However, in an effort to broaden my horizons, I've not only made trades with bloggers and readers that I've met through this blog, but I've also gone onto Zistle.com to make a few trades.  I've added cards via card shops, flea markets, garage sales, and eBay.

But I recently came across a forum on BlowoutCards.com, and I made a pretty inexpensive pick up from a guy who was selling.  Seems like a place for more high-end type stuff, but I was able to find some decent stuff for the price, starting with the "red, white, and blue" parallel of Jedd Gyorko from this year's Panini Prizm set.

Dude was a little light on Padres cards, but I found a few that struck my fancy.  Addison Reed is a San Diego State guy, and played for Coach Gwynn.  Though he's a DBack now, I don't mind adding a few of his cards to the collection.  Brian Bogusevic is a guy I've mentioned a few times before - watched him play in Round Rock when it was an Astros affiliate, and he hit a home run on my birthday.  This white bordered Goose Gossage card is pretty cool as well, and an image that I don't recall seeing before.

The main draw to the particular listing was a bunch of Bowman Hometown parallels that he had.  I was able to knock off three from my Lone Star State project.  Kind of nice to see a Ranger with the Texas flag backdrop.

As kind of a toss in, I added this card of Padres prospect Jordan Paroubeck.  I feel like I have a decent grip on the Padres minor league talent, but it seems like there's always a prospect or two that I suddenly see a card of and I say "who's that?"  It happened most recently with pitchers Matt Stites and Matt Wisler.  Stites was dealt to Arizona in the Ian Kennedy trade, and is currently in their bullpen, while Wisler has been promoted from AA to AAA this season, and many think will get a shot at Petco Park in September.  We'll see if Paroubeck, who is currently with the Arizona League Padres, has the same fortune.

Well, I kinda wandered outside my comfort zone of card pickups, but it turned out alright.  Not sure that I'll be back often, since I'm pretty sure nobody there has heard of Archi Cianfrocco or thinks that Kevin Kouzmanoff autographs are worth having, but good to know that it's there, I guess.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Er-stacks


What do you call a stack of Darin Erstad cards?  Er-stacks!

Alright, so, cheesy title aside, I got a bunch of new (well, to me) Darin Erstad cards from Tom over at Angels in Order.  Who better to get Erstad cards from than an Angels fan?

I needed eight out of the nine here, but included the other one so it'd be a full page of those horrible looking Angel-wing logos.  Maybe "horrible" is a little harsh, but I really liked the interlocking "CA" they had for a short time right before this one.  You know, back when they were still the CALIFORNIA Angels.

Fleer Ultra had a pretty good showing here, including two dandy horizontal cards.  I'm not sure if it's because Darin is always trying to make sure that he doesn't get too close to the border of the card, but he always seems a little hunched over in a lot of his cards.  I also like the bat that's about to succumb to gravity in the bottom corner.

Darin gettin' dirty!  This card looks great, but kind of reminds me of that scene in "Angels in the Outfield" when the fat catcher guy gets pushed by some angels and does, like, a 40 foot slide into third base.  Underrated film, that one.  Multiple Oscar winners in that cast.

Of all the Erstad's, this one was my favorite, and if I was to make a list, this might be one of my top 5 Erstad's.  One of The main reason I'm an Erstad fan is because I went to a game when he played for the Lake Elsinore Storm, and he hit a home run and I got his autograph afterwards.  Always followed him after that.  This is my first card of him in a Storm jersey (well, I think so, now I feel like I need to double check), and that is pretty cool.

With Tom's generous donation of Erstad's, that makes (at least by my unofficial count) 169 different cards.  I don't know if you'd say that Erstad  played in the middle of the overproduction era, but there were seemingly hundreds of different brands.  Typing in "Darin Erstad" into COMC.com gives you 930 different cards.  For this reason, I'm hesitant to add many more players to my PC.  I've got enough Gwynn's to chase to last a lifetime, and so Erstad is my one indulgence.  Most of the other guys I collect are pretty limited (Chris Denorfia and Andrew Cashner are still young, Archi Cianfrocco and Kevin Kouzmanoff weren't really that good, and for Andy Benes, Steve Finley, and Fred McGriff, I've limited the teams they played on - no teams after they left San Diego).

Anyways, yeah, that's a bunch of Erstad's.  Thanks Tom!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cardboard Amnesia


I've given up.  There are a few posts of bubble mailers sent to me by bloggers that arrived during the end of the school year that I've been meaning to post about, but I can't do them now.

It's already kicked in:

Cardboard Amnesia.

In a perfect world, when I get cards sent to me, I'd immediately sort them, scan them and write a post about them that same day.  This is rarely (if ever) the case, but it can still be salvaged if you wait just a day or two.

However, I am disorganized, and with the mailers that came to me during the hectic end of May/beginning of June timeframe, I would open it up, look at them, begin to sort them, then get taken away to do something else.

I'd come back days later and have cardboard amnesia, unable to remember what I had been doing and who these mysterious cards were from.  I couldn't tell which ones were new and which ones were from who.

Horrible, I know.

Well, not this time, Cardboard Amnesia!  I got a mailer from Gavin over at Baseball Card Breakdown yesterday, and dadgummit, I already got a post up today two days later!  

If I had cardboard amnesia, I might forget that, while I love the front of this Paul Konerko card seen above I kinda like the hitting instruction on the back of it.  Apparently Reggie Smith thought that Paulie had "the best swing since Tony Conigliaro".  High praise indeed.  Probably.

Gav got a big lot of 2014 Bowman from eBay, and I scanned the list of cards he got and claimed a handful of them.  These were the two Padres I claimed.  I really dig the ice parallel on the Kennedy card, and any Hunter Renfroe card is good in my book.  

To be honest, however, these were the cards I was really excited to get.  I've now got more than a whole page of the Texas flag parallels from Bowman, with a few more on the way from eBay.  Some big names left, including a guy named Clayton Kershaw, but Mark Appel is a big prospect too, so it's nice to get this one taken care of via trade instead of spending cash.  Didn't notice until now the slight differences between the prospect cards and the veteran cards.

Did I say that the Hometown parallels were the ones that I was most excited about getting?  That's because I knew that those were coming.  The best card, however, was one that I had no idea was coming along for the ride...

BOOM!  George Foster autograph!  From the 2003 Topps Retired set!  It came in this case, and while I'm normally a "binder" kinda guy, I kinda like it in this one.  Flawless is a word that comes to mind.  I'm considering making a good run at building my George Foster collection, branching out from my Padres umbrella.

Anyways, Gavin, I already told you, but thanks a lot.  Very cool of you to include that Foster, unbeknownst to me.  On the off chance that I have any readers who haven't been over there, you're missing out.  Unique take on cards, plus cool GIFs, etc.  I read a lot of card blogs, and if the title of any of the posts is good, you'll get me to click.  Baseball Card Breakdown gets a click regardless - it's a must read.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Farewell Chase


As you may or may not know, Chase Headley is no longer a Padre.  He was traded to the Yankees yesterday for infielder Yangervis Solarte and pitcher Jose De Paula.  The Padres were in Chicago getting ready to take on the Cubs, and when the deal was done, the Yankees got him out of Chi-Town and over to the Bronx, where he was able help the Yankees to a 2-1 win in his first game.  It took 14 innings, but the Yankees had a walk off victory.  Game winning RBI?  Chase Headley.

Of course.

I'm torn on Headley, because I'm not sure what he is.  I went to Spring Training in 2012 and 2013, and Headley was the only Padre who signed autographs for us both times.  And he was easily there longer than any other Padre, signing and taking pictures.  Really down to earth, humble, personable guy.

He isn't a bad player, but his 2012 season, when he got MVP votes, won a Gold Glove, and led the league in RBI, may have led to more problems with the Padres organization.  After that season, they tried to sign him to a long term deal.  He wouldn't take it, and so, with two years left on his contract, it might've been prime time to trade him.

However, he got injured, or just sucked, and it looked more and more like the second half of 2012 (when he racked up RBI once the Padres were hopelessly out of the playoff race) was a fluke.  Trade market died off.

From there, it was just "cross our fingers, hope that something works out" with him, which is rarely an effective strategy.

The Padres didn't handle the situation well, but they did also offer him money that he didn't take, so it seems that he wanted out of San Diego as well.  So, I'm torn on him.

Anyways, I just so happen to have a card of one of the guys the Padres got in return from New York.

Solarte had a great start to this season, but has cooled off considerably (kind of the opposite of Headley, who is currently playing his best ball).  He played in the Rangers system last year in Round Rock.  I didn't go to any games last year, but I got this card from the discounted team set I bought on Opening Day this year.  Cool to have now, I guess.

I actually think that I had a Heritage Minors card of De Paula, too, but traded it away to somebody.  Oh well.

Anyways, in tribute to Chase, here are my top 5 favorite Chase Headley cards, in order.  I won't count any of the 2013 Heritage rainbow that I've been working on, although I do really like all of those.

#5 - 2013 Topps Museum Collection
Throwback uniform, ball popping out onto the border.  This is a good card.  A little too fancy for my tastes, but still top 5 quality.

#4 - 2014 Pinnacle "Clear Vision"
Who needs an MLB license when Pinnacle is still making awesome inserts?  If you don't have any of the "Clear Vision" cards, you should really fix that.  The cloud part of the card is acetate and see through.  That's cool.  I think there are a bunch of variations of these, marked Single, Double, Triple, etc, which is less cool.

#3 - 2013 Topps Opening Day
A walkoff celebration shot!  How can you not love this?  Hard to recognize all the players in this shot, but I count more guys that are gone than are still here: Luke Gregerson, Edinson Volquez, Chase Headley, Mark Kotsay, and Huston Street.  Still here: Carlos Quentin, Will Venable, Cameron Maybin, Everth Cabrera.

#2 - 2014 Topps Chrome (sepia)
I have a couple of variations of this same image/card that I considered, including the Topps Opening Day blue parallel and the black bordered parallel from Chrome.  In the end, the high school kid with his first photo class wins out - I love the sepia.  The second throwback uniform on the countdown doesn't hurt matters either.

#1 - 2014 Donruss "Diamond Kings" (stat line parallel)
This card is not shows the grand resurgence of the "Diamond Kings" (which, not being in the card collecting game until '91ish, I think look even better here), but also the main reason that people ever talk about Headley: that one year he hit a bunch of RBI.  It's serial numbered to 115, which is cute, but I think I mostly love the use of two images of the player, neither of which has been beaten to death by being used in other cards.  Panini takes two of the top five.  Good on them.

A keen eye will notice that, of the 68 Headley cards that I have that qualified for this countdown, only cards from the last two years ('13 & '14) made the cut for the top 5.  Not sure if this shows that the quality of your play increases the greatness of your cards, but I guess most of these are inserts, and the base cards are from "higher end" sets.

Anyways, tonight's game against the Cubs marks the beginning of the Yangervis Solarte era in Padres baseball.  Which coincides with the beginning of the Jeff Francoeur era as well.

What a great time to be a Padre fan.