A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Thursday, July 2, 2015

I'm All Out Of Practice

It seems like so long since I've written a trade post.  I don't blame anyone but myself.  I'm slow to get to the post office, and I don't usually have a lot to trade.

I also have a hard time coming up with catchy names for trade posts.

Anyways, here is a basic trade post for one of my first real trades in a long time (though I still have "charity cards" or "goodwill cards" that come my way via bloggers and friends who take pity on me for being a Padres fan, or who just dump cards that nobody in their right mind would ever want - except me).

After busting a blaster box of Archives, Chris from Nachos Grande sent me a link to his want list, and I was able to send him about 40 cards (39, if I remember correctly) or so that he needed for the base set, and here's what he kindly sent in return.

Chris has some pretty organized trade lists, so I cherry picked a few cards that piqued my interest.  Here's a pair of non-standard sized cards that look pretty cool.  The Middlebrooks is from last year's Archives set, and though I've thinned out my "Padres in other uniforms" section of my collection, this one was definitely worth getting.  I'm a HUGE Kouzmanoff fan, probably a little ridiculously so, so this one was a no brainer as well.

I'm a little weird about my Padres Topps team sets.  For some (like this year's and 2012), I just put the base set together, no parallels.  In 2013, I put together a team set of the emerald parallels, and last year, i did it in sections (Series 1 = yellow parallels, Series 2 = orange parallels, Update = base).  But in 2011, my first year in collecting, I put together a smorgasbord of parallels together.  It's the biggest Padres set in the past five years, and every page has at least three different "types" of cards (cognac, diamond, black, and throwback parallels, along w/base cards).  I think I might try to see if I can build the whole diamond parallel set though, because those are my favorites.  There are 36 cards in all, and I these Tejada and Eckstein cards make it 10 of the diamond ones.  Maybe I'll look into building this a little more.

Chris also sent a few random Padres that fit nicely into my collection.  I love cards of Fernando as a Padre, and especially of him batting.  John Flaherty was one of my favorite Padres as a kid, a scrappy catcher acquired in '96 at the trade deadline, who promptly went on a 27-game hitting streak, the third longest all time streak by a catcher, behind former Padres Sandy Alomar Jr. (30 games) and Benito Santiago (34 games).

Last but not least, some custom minis that were just flat out awesome.  I've seen these on a few other blogs, but they are definitely cool to have in hand.  Chase Headley doesn't have a lot of goodwill among Padres fans, both for his on-field performance (with the exception of 2012), and his inability to make a deal with the Padres (though most Padre fans acknowledge that the Padres played a big part in that snafu as well).  And while I've cleared my collection of a few of his cards, this is definitely one that I'll be hanging onto.  We had some good times, Chase.  Thanks for signing a ball for me two Spring Trainings in a row.

Thanks Chris!  Nice to be trading again!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

GWYNNsday Additions

I checked out my archived posts for this year, and so far, the most I've posted in a month has been 10 time, done in consecutive months (May and June).  I actually considered throwing up a quick double post yesterday just to say that I had a new record for the year, but with school out, I'm confident I'll be posting at least a little more regularly in July, so no need to cook the numbers.

Here's to July!  Wow, time's really moving fast, blah blah blah, let's look at some baseball cards.

Being the big Tony Gwynn collector that I am, I'm pretty light on "hits" of his.  This is in fact only the sixth relic card I have of Tony's (five jersey swatches to 1 bat chip).  It's the first, however, that's not a totally solid color.  Always cool to get a pinstripe.  This is from the 2013 Topps set, and while I thought the regular "Chasing History" inserts were super lame, this card looks pretty great.  I snagged this one for 99 cents, and even with a regular shipping fee, I'd consider this a steal.

The next two Gwynn's were an even better deal: I got them from Robert, he of $30 A Week Habit.  Cards from card bloggers > cards from eBay.

Robert initially messaged me on Twitter (I don't know why, but it seems so much easier than sending an email) and asked if I needed this Gwynn card from this year's Topps Series 2 set.  Well, I most certainly did, so he was kind enough to send it my way.  While I can't say that I'm a big fan of the design of this one, I guess that goes on par with the rest of the recent insert sets that Topps has come up with.  Hard to complain too much, especially when it means there's more Tony Gwynn cards to chase down.

He also sent me over a pair of bonus Gwynn's, and while one was a duplicate for me, this one was not. I really had to do some research on this one to find out what name I should put on it for my cataloging purposes (just a regular-old Google Drive spreadsheet), but it turns out that the info was right there on the bottom right corner.  This is from the Upper Deck HoloGrFX set.  While that's a pretty stupid name for a baseball card set, at least it looks pretty awesome.

Speaking of Gwynn-related additions, there was an addition that trumped my whole collection yesterday:

Tony Gwynn Jr. announced via Twitter that Tony Gwynn III was born!  That is pretty awesome.  The world needs more Tony Gwynn's, and I'll take 'em any way that I can get 'em.  Congrats to Tony Jr. and his family.

Have a great GWYNNsday everybody!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Almost all the Padres from 2015 Archives

Yesterday, I got an envelope from my buddy Zach, the Underdog Card Collector.  Zach went in on a few group breaks for 2015 Archives, and he had a boatload of dupes to share (he probably still has some, if you're a Padres fan).  I had already pulled a couple from a blaster of the stuff a few weeks back, but he filled in the rest of the six cards I needed to complete the base set.  Very rad!

The majority of the Padres team set is in the 1983 design, possibly in tribute to Tony Gwynn, the first card on the checklist to use the design.  While I guess that's nice, I would've preferred them mixing it up a little bit, or putting them all in the same design.  The lack of symmetry looks a little off to me.  Still, hard to complain, since the previous three years of Archives had a grand total of THREE cards in the base set.  This is much better, though expanding the base set by 100 cards probably helped with that.

You can tell who the newcomers to the Padres are, because all four of them are wearing Spring Training jerseys.  While I don't like those jerseys at all, at least they're not photoshopped.  Cory Spangenberg's image came from a shot from last year, as evidenced by the Jerry Coleman sleeve patch and the Tony Gwynn patch near his heart.  I'm pretty sure that the Tyson Ross and Ian Kennedy photos came from the same shoot that they used for last year's Heritage set.  The Gwynn card has the Jackie Robinson 50th Anniversary patch, which was worn by the league in 1997.

Of all these cards, I like most of 'em well enough, but the Kennedy is a total eyesore.  I LOVE the brown and yellow border design, but coupled with the, uh, non-brown uniform, and it just looks bad.  Sure the brown and green borders for the '83 design don't look great, but the '76 design is tough to look at.

On top of that, on the same day I got Zach's cards, I also got this pair of Padres in the mail as well.  I'm not a huge parallel hunter, but I think I'm really going to like James Shields, and I actually got to watch him pitch in Spring Training (though he got kicked around pretty hard by the Brewers, of all teams), so when I saw a cheap copy of this silver parallel card numbered to 199, I pounced on it.  It was especially sweet, because I was able to get one of the "All-Star Rookie" inserts from the same seller (combined shipping!).  Rymer Liriano was all set to get a bunch of playing time this year, before AJ Preller re-hauled the outfield with Justin Upton & Matt Kemp (and to a lesser extent, Wil Myers, who struggled in center before being moved to first, before going on the DL).  Anyways, I like him enough, and if nothing else, the parody account @RhymingLiriano on Twitter has been entertaining to follow.

Cory Spangenberg also has a card in the "All-Star Rookie" inserts, so I'll try to hunt that down before laying the Archives to rest.  Justin Upton has a card in the "'68 Topps Game" inserts, but it says "STRIKE OUT" on it, and the good money is on Upton getting traded before the deadline, so I'm not in a rush to commemorate his likely short stay in San Diego.

Anyways, there you have it, almost all the Padres from 2015 Archives, a post that the masses have been clamoring for since the set was released.  You're welcome.

EDIT: Gavin reminded me that I also need the Will Ferrell Padres card, so yeah, if you've got that one, lemme know.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Top 5 Peavy's (Peavies?)

I've been procrastinating shipping out some big pieces of my Padres collection to a few of my fellow Padre collectors, but I finally got paid, so hopefully I'll get those out to Zach, Duff, and Gavin this week.

I'm not sure what spurred the desire for the "thinning of the herd", but it might've been a guy like Jake Peavy.

Jake Peavy is one of the all time great Padres, which is probably as weird for me to type as it is for you to read.  He's not retired, and has now spent more seasons away from the Padres (nine) as he spent in San Diego (eight).  He is one of the four Padres to win the Cy Young award (joining Randy Jones, Gaylord Perry, and Mark Davis), and is among the franchise leaders in the big pitching stats like strikeouts (1st), wins (tied for 2nd), WHIP (3rd), ERA (4th), games started (4th), and innings pitched (4th).

As far as baseball cards go, winning awards and being one of the few good players on a bad, small market team, means that you'll get a lot of them.  And when it came down to it, he was really big during a time in my life (end of high school, beginning of college, getting married) when I wasn't really following the Padres too closely.  So, I decided that I wanted to keep the best of the best, and send the rest on their merry way.

Here are the top five Jake Peavy cards, in my humble opinion.

#5 - 2006 Topps Finest #118
Seems like some of the chrome cards I've scanned recently haven't looked too sharp, and this one is no different, but I really like how it looks in hand.  Also, I like having my cards serve as a document of some of the uniforms the Padres have worn throughout their maligned history, and the all-khaki/sand uniforms are ones that I'll never be able to forget, for better or for worse.

#4 - 2008 Goudey Big League mini (red back) #49
I usually prefer my cards to be regular sized, but mini's seem cool, right?  Fortunately, these mini's aren't the super-tiny size, like you see in Gypsy Queen or Allen & Ginter.  These are a little more substantial, and I like these.

#3 - 2001 Bowman #397
I really dig the pitcher-tossing-the-ball-up-in-the-air pose, it's pretty rad.  Couple that with the last of the white and orange interlocking "SD" on the hat, and it's definitely a keeper.  

#2 - 2008 Upper Deck (checklist) #369
Alright, if uniforms enter into the equation when determining how awesome a card is, then it's hard not to put this one near the top of my whole collection, let alone the Jake Peavy list.  This is one of my favorite cards of the '00s.  I'm a big fan of bringing back the brown to the Padres uniforms, but the yellow is also an important part of that combination.  Jeez, this is awesome.

#1 - 2001 Topps "Prospects" (w/ Phil Wilson & Darwin Cubillan) #728
This is one of my all time favorite cards.  Well, at least among my non Gwynn/Cianfrocco/Coleman cards.  Not only is it Peavy's rookie card, but Phil Wilson also makes an appearance on it.  I went to high school with Phil Wilson, and though I didn't know him very well (I think we might've had a class together, but I could just be imagining that), it's kinda cool to think that a guy from my town made made it onto a baseball card (well, there's been a few, including Tony Gwynn Jr., but the more the merrier).  The combo of Phil and Peavy makes this the number one in my book.

Alright, are there any Peavy cards I'm missing here?  I think I'll keep the Peavy section of my Miscellaneous Padres binder at a lean five cards, so if I get any more that bump their way up, I might have to give one of these the heave ho.  But I can't imagine any Peavy card inching past these top three.

EDIT: As noted in the comments by Adam K., another reason to like both the Topps trio card and the Bowman is that Peavy's name is spelled incorrectly (adding an extra "E", though it's tough to see with the foil on both cards).  Peavy = Former Cy Young pitcher.  Peavey = Guitar making company.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Minor Variations

Leave it to a post about baseball cards to get a Billy Joel song stuck in my head.

I was the oldest of the seven kids in my family, and without an older sibling to tell me what music was cool, I had my parents.  Parents always know what's cool, right?  So, while everybody was listening to… well, whatever was popular in the early 90s, I was big into Boston and Journey (from my dad) and Billy Joel (from my mom).  Billy Joel was my favorite, and money that wasn't being spent on baseball cards was being spent on Walkman headphones and Billy Joel tapes.  The dude had so many, and I had to have them all!

Anyways, one of my favorite albums for a while was "River of Dreams", and it had this song:

Oh great!  I finally start to get back into a blogging rhythm (four posts in the same calendar week!) and then I go and destroy what little readership I had by posting a Billy Joel song!

Well, I guess we can't help what we like.  As cringe-worthy as it is in hindsight (though Billy had plenty of hits that are still good to my 30 year old ears), the dude was a big part of my childhood, though you might not know it looking at my most recent songs played on my iTunes library (the last three artists were Mos Def, Tsunami Bomb, and Weezer).

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANYWAYS… where was I going with this?

Oh yeah, baseball cards.

The card pictured above is one of my all time faves, and since I have so many copies of it, it's also my "wallet card" for this year (need to start taking it out once in a while).  But, it's not like the rest of the dupes in my box.  Can you tell the minor variation by looking at one of it's cousins side by side?

If you can't tell (and in hand, it's only barely noticeable), the one on the left is the "gold hologram" card.  According to baseballcardpedia.org, factory sets of 1992 Upper Deck had gold holograms logos on the back, as opposed to the cards that came in packs, which were a regular silver hologram.  So the only difference between these two cards isn't much, but it's just enough to justify having them both.

Archi seems confused by this logic.  He can't see it.  Well look down Archi!  There's another one of those gold holograms on the card on the left!  Here's the lowdown on these, once again, the info comes from baseballcardpedia.com:

Randomly inserted into each 15-set case of 1993 Upper Deck factory sets, is one set where all 840 base cards have been struck with a gold hologram on the back. There is no way of identifying which sets have the gold holograms without opening the seal on the set.

For a guy who didn't make it into too many sets, my Cianfrocco collection keeps growing and growing.

Speaking of variations, here's another one.  The scan came out a little wonky, but these cards are all very rectangular in shape.  On the right is the regular card.  The middle card has the East Coast National stamp, and the larger card on the left is the "proof" card with the East Coast National stamp.

A year ago, I didn't know that there were any variations from the 1992 Stadium Club set, and now I have two of them.  Pretty weird.

Who knows how many I'll have next year?

Current Archi Cianfrocco card count: 81 cards

Friday, June 26, 2015

Perpetually Late

What's that?  Topps Stadium Club has been released, and unlike last year, it's (eventually going to be be) available to people who aren't near a hobby store?  You don't say!  That's marvelous!

Unfortunately, things are moving a little slower around here, so I'm just getting to Topps Series 2.  Topps went from having Yasiel Puig on the wrapper to Buster Posey, so that's a double kick to the groin for this fan of a non-Giants/Dodgers team in the NL West.  But we're used to that.

No changes in design or anything from Series 1, but here was my favorite card from my hanger pack.  Pat Neshek is a pretty cool guy, and a former Padre to boot, so that's good.

Here were the two Padres I pulled.  Cameron Maybin was traded to Atlanta right before the season started, along with a few other players, in exchange for Craig Kimbrel and Melvin Upton Jr.  While it is pretty cool to have Kimbrel, Maybin finally seems to be playing well, and the player formerly known as BJ is pretty horrible AND has one of the worst contracts in the game right now.  Also, an elite closer on a team that's below .500 is a luxury that I'm not sure the Padres will be able to afford.  Speaking of relief pitchers that might not be on the Padres for long, I also snagged this card of Joaquin Benoit.

Here were the two parallels that I pulled.  I kinda like the Lorenzo Cain card, and the rainbow foil parallels are pretty cool, I guess.  Still not as cool as the emerald parallels from 2013 or the diamond & cognac parallels from 2011.  I didn't know that J.J. Hardy was still playing baseball.  Not that he's old or anything, but he is older than me.  Every year, there are fewer and fewer of guys like that.  As of right now, there are only four players older than me on the Padres (Shawn Kelley, James Shields, Clint Barmes, and Will Venable).

Here are some of the inserts that I got.  Remember getting inserts in packs as a kid?  Didn't those seem like the coolest cards in the pack?  When did that change?   Other than a few Archives inserts a few years ago and some of the Opening Day inserts, there are very few inserts that Topps has made that I like.  Oh, I forgot about some of the mini cards from the last few years, but yeah, these are ugly.

The "'Til It's Over" inserts are a little better, and I like 'em enough, since they're referencing games played last year.  A Royals hot pack, huh?  We'll probably see both of those guys in the All-Star game, right?

We'll end on another former-Padre-relief-pitcher note.  Huston Street seems like a pretty rad guy as well (on Twitter last year, he had a series called #SpyOnCarlos, in which he would take candid photos of teammate Carlos Quentin, usually eating PB&J sandwiches, sleeping on the team flight, or lifting weights while other players posed in the background).  He's gotta have the funniest looking "pitcher face", usually jutting out his lower jaw and sticking his tongue out slightly.  If I didn't know any better, I'd say that this card was photoshopped, but he was traded to the Angels last year.  There's no way they'd do that, right?

EDIT:  I was right (?), the Huston Street card WASN'T photoshopped.  Thanks to RAZ for doing the detective work.  I didn't think Topps couldn't be THAT lazy, but I wasn't SUPER confident.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Guys With The Names

Quick post for today.  I got a rad PWE a few days ago from Johnny's Trading Spot.  It was one of those rare kind of deliveries in which I didn't receive a single Padre card.

Weird, right?

It was actually a happy coincidence that it came my way around Father's Day, since each of the cards he sent had the names of my sons on them.  Well, sorta.

My oldest son is almost two and a half, and since he was born, I've become fond of cards with the name "Foster" on them.  Alan Foster ones are cool, since he is the only Foster to also play for the Padres.  This particular card is also pretty badly miscut, which adds some character to it.

I really don't know a whole lot about Steve Foster, but I've liked a lot of his cards that I've come across.  I think my favorite of the bunch is his '93 Topps Gold card, and now I have his base card, along with the micro card.  Always interesting to see cards of the same player side by side when they have different numbers - #63 on the '92 card and #54 on the '93 card.

And it wasn't just baseball cards.  Football and basketball were also included.  I haven't heard anything about either Barry of Jeff, but I'll look into them later and see what I can find out.

Alright, so there's no name on the front of this one, and it's not a Foster, but it's still a good one.  My second son's middle name is Coleman, after this very player, Yankee second baseman Jerry Coleman.  He is better known (well, at least by Padre fans) as the radio voice of the Padres for many years.  I already have a copy of this card that is autographed (bought it off eBay), so it's cool to have a regular copy of it too.

Thanks a lot Johnny!  I'll have to find a batch of Braves to ship over your way!  You're really too kind.