A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Massive Mailday

Ever since Summer School ended (Thursday afternoon), my days have all been running together.  Not having a "set" time that I have to be doing this or that has been nice in some ways, while bad in others. Nice in that I can run to the store or post office at my leisure, not having to run quickly after cramming in the last few things off my to-do list at school.  Bad for my hygiene, in that I haven't showered since Thursday morning.  I'm not sure that saying that I've been out and about makes this fact better or worse.

Anyways, enough gross personal details, here's another haul of cards that made their way to my house this weekend.  I suppose that "massive" might be a misleading term, but getting two bubble mailers and an envelope with full of cards is a decent way to celebrate the weekend.

The first load of cards comes from Brad's Blog.  He posted the Hal Morris card you see above for trade, and I jumped at it.  There are three short printed cards from this year's Archives that have the 1993 Topps design.  This is one of them, and I pulled the Tim Salmon card, so the Travis Fryman is all I need to complete the trifecta (insert obvious hint here).

He also included a few fantastic Friar cards, including this Chase Headley card.  Headley is having a less-than-stellar year so far, but hopefully he can turn it around soon.  Either way, I'll still be a fan, dude is a max effort guy and a quality dude - he's the only player who I got autographs from both times I went to Spring Training (2013 and 2012).  The way that Jedd Gyorko and Logan Forsythe are playing, though, might make him expendable, which would be unfortunate.

I've stated my love of the '71 Topps design many times on here.  I find it funny that in 2001, Upper Deck tried to rip off the design and call it "Upper Deck Vintage".  Seeing as how UD first started producing cards in 1989, it's a given that you'd have to be borrowing some ideas to create a "vintage-looking" set.  But to completely rip off the entire design?  Pretty brazen.

Oh, the nameplate is on the bottom instead of the top?  Nevermind, it's totally original.

He also threw in this minor league autographed card of Buddy Carlyle.  Carlyle made his MLB debut with the Padres in 1999, but was originally drafted by the Reds, as evidenced by the Charleston Alley Cats uniform, a team in the Cincinnati organization.  He has bounced around a few teams, and has even had his contract sold to Japanese league teams twice.  My favorite stat of his (via wikipedia) is that he pitched an "Immaculate Inning" against the Padres in 2007, striking out the side with nine pitches.  

The second bubble mailer I received came from Duff, author of Bleedin' Brown and Gold, another Padre cardboard-themed blog.  

I don't know why I decided to photo these cards like this.  The Venable card in the middle was my favorite of these, and the Peavy is no slouch either.  Maybe I'm still harboring hurt feelings towards A-Gone and that's why his face is covered.  I'd go back and re-take this picture if they weren't already filed and bindered.

Duff also sent me a healthy stack of yellow cardboard, getting me closer to my quest for a complete set of 1991 Fleer.  Through an online handshake, the rest of the pieces to the set should be on their way.  Can't wait.

Last but not least, the envelope, from Brian, a reader of this here blog who happens to be a Pirates fan.

I'm assuming that he has doubles of this one, because this is a great shot of then-rookie shortstop Pedro Ciriaco.  I like being able to see my cards right side up when they're in my binders, but shots like this are worth craning my neck to see.

Since Ciriaco is now a Padre (for the time being), I had mentioned earlier that I wanted a few of his cards.  I knew how awesome his rookie card looked, and Brian also included the Heritage card from the same year.  Both sharp looking.  I wasn't excited when Ciriaco joined the Padres, but a great opening week from him got me onboard with the trade.  It seems that he's come back to earth, though he still has a .295 average since coming to San Diego.  I'd still like Everth Cabrera back, please.

For good measure, Brian threw in a few Padres from this year's set.  I kinda like the set up of the red and white borders with the blue Padres logo, very patriotic.  Brian mentioned that Series 2 had a lot of Padres in their Sunday-best camo uniforms, and I didn't even photograph the red bordered Huston Street card (also in camo).  I guess it makes sense, since most pictures used in cards are taken from day games, and most (if not all) Sunday games in San Diego are day games, when the Padres salute the military with their uniforms.

I'm not crazy about the many many parallels in this year's flagship set, but I think it would be kinda cool to have a camouflaged border card of a Padre in a camouflaged uniform.  I might not even see the card at all in my binder.

Thanks to Brad, Duff, and Brian for a great weekend of great cardboard.  I hate to cram all the goodness into one post, but I hate getting behind in trade posts.  Gotta show my love to the community of bloggers (and readers) who make posting on here even more enjoyable.

Oh, there was a sweet Jedd Gyorko card that I posted about yesterday that probably came from one of these fine fellows, but I don't know who sent it.  These cards can sometimes grow legs and change stacks.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Whole Year's Worth Of Trades

If you read this blog, chances are you also read This Way To The Clubhouse..., an awesome card blog run by my buddy, Mark.  Mark's blog recently celebrated it's first anniversary, and it happened to coincide with the arrival of some cards I sent his way.  In that post, he mentions that we've maintained a great training relationship, which has evolved (or devolved?) into just sending each other cards whenever we feel like it/have something to send.  He also mentions that our blogs have share similar writing styles.  I wonder if that's why his trade packages resonate so well with me?

Anyways, besides the obligatory Benito Santiago card that accompanies every trade package (I might need to have the Backstop Card interns go back to verify that bit of info, but they're a pretty sorry bunch), there was plenty of post worthy cardboard goodness.

I normally stick to the "Large" size for the images I use on the blog, but that's how much I love these two cards; they get the "Extra Large" treatment.  These get me two cards closer to finishing my Tony Gwynn Topps Timeline project.  Check: '01 and '85 Topps.  Now, just missing '94, '95, '99, and '00.  Check out Tony's shades.

There were also a few other additions to my player collections, including this pair of McGriffs.  Actually, the '93 Leaf is going into the Team Set binder, since I'm trying to piece that one together.  The backs of '93 Leaf are probably my favorite of all time.  I also want to put together the White Sox set from that year, and reminisce of my days in Chi-Town.

Andy Benes cards are pretty sweet, the dude meant business when he was on the mound.  No smiles here.

Some great additions to the collection from this year's Archives set.  Not a huge fan of the stickers, but you can't go wrong with sharing space with Ripken and Sandberg.  Boggs was good, too, but for whatever reason, I was more of a fan of the other three guys on that card than Boggs.

I almost put this into my "doubles" pile (the one for the upcoming Free Padre Card Draft, if you haven't signed up yet), but then I realized that I didn't have this one anymore.  I wanna say that I gave it to my buddy TTG, being that they're both West Virginia boys.  At the time, I thought, "Hey, what are the chances that a touted prospect for the Padres is actually gonna work out?  Sure, you can take that card!"  Well, turns out that he's having a pretty decent rookie campaign so far, despite being on the DL with some hamstring issues.  Keep your eyes open for The Jerk (Gyorko is pronounced Jerk-Oh); the man has got some skills.

Last but not least, Mark was kind enough to send over a few of these things.  I guess they're called coins, but don't lie to me, I know what coins look like.  I can just imagine the grief I would get if I tried to use these in the break room at work to get a Snickers.  Still, if it's got an "SD" on it, it's good in my book.

A trade package with cards that spans 27 years ('86 to '13)?  Not too shabby at all.  Definitely looking forward to the next year of trading with Mark, as well as the rest of the great characters out in the blogosphere.

I'm outta here.  I think we're going to make it an action movie weekend.  After finishing The Dark Knight Rises this afternoon, we're going with Jack Reacher tonight.  Haven't heard a ton of good stuff about it, but Tom Cruise has been the star of some of my favorite movies (Top Gun, Mission: Impossible, Minority Report, A Few Good Men).  

Being A Night Owl

So last night, to celebrate my first Friday night of summer vacation, my wife and I decided to rent a movie from Redbox and get some junk food and have a stay in movie-date night.  Nothing that romantic, since the kids had us pretty tired, and the movie of choice was The Dark Knight Rises.  My wife hadn't seen it yet (!)

At about the 1:15 mark, just when Bane started to wreak havoc on Gotham, my son, Foster, started throwing up.  He'd had a high fever most of the day, so he was up with us, snuggling with my wife.  As we were rushing to clean up, he did it again, and so we decided to send him to urgent care.  I stayed home to kind of clean up, but mostly just because our daughter was asleep and we didn't want to have two cranky kids at the hospital.  While my wife got cleaned up and ready to go, I changed Foster into some new clothes...

Here's the onesie I put on him, an owl with some stars that glow in the dark.  We've had it for a while, and I always think of a certain blogger when he wears it.  This boy is going to be a Padre fan though, so don't get any ideas.

My wife brought him back around 2:00 AM, and it turns out that he'll be fine.  They gave him some stuff, I'm still not sure of the deets, but he's doing a little better today.  Still a little cranky, but back to smiling again.

Anyways, I tried to dig up an "awesome night card" in honor of my stint as a night owl, but this was the closest I could come to from my Miscellaneous Padres binder.  I know there are a few in some of my other binders, but ain't nobody got time for pulling other binders.  As a bonus, it's from a game that the Padres "vanquished" the Dodgers.

Hopefully today will be better (and I can convince my wife to finish the movie - she was starting to lose interest, though that might've been attributed to dealing with a sick kid) and our family can be back to full strength for Sunday.  Not that we're doing a whole lot on Sunday, but sick kids at church are never fun.  

Padres win!  Back up to .500, and second place in the NL West, 2.5 games back of Arizona.  GO PADS!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Saved Searches

What kinds of "saved searches" do you guys have on eBay?  I have a handful of them, and when I log on though my iPhone, I can see what searches have had items listed recently that match my search (sorry if this is boring, basic stuff for some of you).

Anyways, one of my saved searches is "Colonel", which is a Jerry Coleman search.  Coleman is a legend in every sense of the word - All-Star, World Series Champion (4 times), Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps, decorated fighter in World War II and the Korean War, Hall of Fame radio broadcaster, and is an all around great, humble man.

He played for the Yankees from 1949 to 1957, and has a handful of cards from his playing days.  The first card I ever bought of him was his 1951 Bowman card.  It's not in great shape (here's the post from way back in September), but I still love it.

Here's the most recent addition to my "Colonel" collection...

1955 Bowman #99

It's been well loved, as evidenced by the completely rounded corners, but I think I almost prefer it that way.  For whatever reason, I don't really mind if vintage cards are worn like this one, but it bugs me when they're off-center.  This one is a little bit, but not enough to pass up for $1.74, delivered.  Notice the "Color TV" lettering below the image.  Great image of Jerry from his much younger days.

This picture came out a little blurry, so I'll spell it out for the old timers:

My Biggest Thrill In Baseball
I believe my greatest thrill, and also the most exciting game in which I've played came on the same day.  The setting was the final game of the 1949 season, the Yankees playing the Red Sox with the pennant at stake.  We had a 5-run lead, but the Red Sox kept pecking away until the tying run was at the plate.  I can still see the third out, which was a pop up, and gave us the pennant.

Well worn vintage of my favorite player from the 50's for under two bucks?  I'll take that every day.

Another saved search is titled "Cheapo Padres".  The parameters are cards that have free shipping and are 98 cents or less.  Lots of junk in this section (including a 1993 Topps Gold card of Fred McGriff that is "damaged" that's been listed forever), but occasionally there are some steals to be had.  Like...

2013 Topps Museum Collection #41

This is a sharp looking card.  I'm a fan of the look of the Museum Collection, though I'll never be able to buy a pack of the stuff.  Way outta my price range, and this only cost me 70 cents online.  Can't beat that.  Along with it being Chase Headley, one of my favorite Pads (despite the disappointing start this year), it's also a picture taken from the same game as the picture in my blog heading.  Gotta love those 80s throwbacks.

Here's the back.  Much like Jerry's card, this one is heavy on writing and low on stats.  Not anything to write home about.

Anyways, there's a little look into some of the "saved searches" that I have on my eBay account, maybe worth turning into a series of sorts.  I dunno.

A reminder from yesterday's post as well, if you'd like to take part in the Free Padres Card Draft, be sure to comment on this or yesterday's post.  I'll close the "registration" on Sunday and email the list of free Padre cards to be had on Monday.

By the way, today was my first "real" day of summer vacation, and you'd never think that helping around the house and running errands would be so nice...

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Party Time!

A few days ago, I got an envelope from Weston, the guy who writes for the blog Fantastic Catch.  I had sent him a few pretty decent Cardinals cards previously, and he responded saying that he would "send me something good".  Upon reading his words, I tempered my excitement.

When I first started this blog, I had a disclaimer at the top of my want list, saying something like "my collection isn't very extensive, so send me whatever Padres you have, I don't anticipate duplicates being a problem."

Well, fast forward a little over a year, and well, dupes are kind of a problem.  I mean, a good problem, definitely a "first-world" problem to have.  My first year of teaching 5th grade, I passed out a bunch of cards from my childhood collection that I couldn't trade away, keeping only the Padres.  Then last year, I had so many duplicates that I only passed out Padre cards turning all of my students into Padre-loving zombies (well, most of 'em, at least).

However, upon ripping open Weston's envelope, I was very pleasantly surprised to find a card that I didn't have... from 2012 Topps, of all places!

This is a short printed variation of Heath Bell's 2012 Topps card.  The base card features him in an airbrushed Marlins uniform, but here, he's still happy and doing well in San Diego.  Since these are so hard to come by (not to mention pricey), I figured that this would be one fish I'd have to let swim by.  Thanks for making a fantastic catch, Weston!

In honor of this great card, along with today being my last day of summer school, I have a proposition for all the people that take time out of their day to read this blog;

This coming school year, I will be making the move to first grade, and therefore ending the Padre card philanthropy project.  Six year olds have enough distractions, and I'd imagine cards being more of a problem with the littler kids than with the big 5th graders.  I also have made a few trades with other Padre bloggers, but I don't want to clog up their Padre doubles box as well.

Soooooooo........  I'm having a Free Padre Card Draft!!!

Okay, maybe for most the majority of you, that doesn't mean a whole lot anything.  Well fine, be like that!  But for those of you who are interested, go ahead and comment below, and if we haven't previously emailed, or if your email isn't listed in your blogger profile, send me an email as well.

I've compiled a spreadsheet on Google Drive with (at last count) 123 different cards, spanning from 1969 Topps to 2013 Gypsy Queen.  A decent handful of vintage, Gwynn's, and parallel cards for all.  I've done something similar before, amongst a few other Padre bloggers, but now I'm extending it to everybody who's made it down to the end of this post.  Hopefully there are so many people that enter that I'm able to send out the cards in plain white envelopes, as to coincide with "PWE Appreciation Week".

Comment away!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

First Ever Zistle Trade

Back when I had 150+ cards to go to complete my 1991 Fleer set (now down to the three that are on the right side of this post), I scoured my often neglected zistle.com account to try to see if there was anybody on there who had a tradelist that matched up with mine.  I found a few, but had trouble setting anything up.  Fortunately I have the wonderful people in the blogosphere to help with my search of yellow cardboard.

However, I was able to find somebody to do a trade with.  hpennington is a zistle member who actually reached out to me for a trade.  Originally, it was filled with '91 Fleer cards, but after checking out his trade list, I changed a few things around to get some cards that I'd been trying to track down for a while.

First up, the final piece I needed to complete the 2012 Heritage Rangers team set.

Figures that it'd be Wash, the Rangers manager.  I guess it isn't a "true" team set, since I haven't gone after the short prints in the set, let alone the box set of high number cards.  But getting the 15 Rangers from the base set is good enough for this Padre collector, no reason to go off the deep end for the Rangers.  Still working on my '13 Heritage team set for the Astros...

This is one of the few non-Padre cards from this year's Topps set that I've had on the "want" list, but it hasn't materialized in any trade packages.  Nice to finally be able to slide this one into a binder page as well, I don't seem to have a lot of A's in my binders.

Well, it couldn't all be AL West teams, right?  These were two cards that I snagged off his trade list.  The Iguchi is my third of him as a Friar for my "Miscellaneous Padres" binder, while the Benes from '94 Topps goes into my Player Collection binder.  This is my 57th Benes card, which is good.

Last but not least, a Fred McGriff rookie card the oldest Fred McGriff card in my collection!  I'm sure there are some cards from the Crime Dog's days in San Diego that I haven't tracked down yet, but I thought that I had the majority of his Blue Jay cards.  Glad to finally track down this one, '87 Donruss design and all.  

EDIT: I thought this was his rookie card, but thanks to or my great commenters for correcting me.  I obviously love baseball cards, but am by no means an expert.

I also got a cool card of Chris Gomez, former Padre shortstop, but I'll save that one for later.

Hopefully I can get organized enough to get more of my collection onto zistle, but for now, this blog is doing the job pretty well.  Always good to find new avenues to trade; turning unwanted cards into Padres and McGriff rookies sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Get Down!

Get down!  Greg Dobbs is telling you to!  It's another post about 2013 Topps Series 2!

The consensus around the blogs I've been reading is that Series 2 is pretty much the same as Series 1.  This is of course accurate, since the design is identical and the photography is similar.  I guess that everybody's excited about seeing new cards to add to their team or player collections that they're just trying to find something new to say about the set in general.

I don't think there's much to say at all.  And since I like looking at pictures of cards when I read blogs, here are the three best cards I pulled from my first taste of Series 2.  These were also the only three that made it into a keeper binder, so the ones that weren't put aside for specific trading partners are on the "Trade List" page.  Check it out if you feel so inclined.

Not a Yankees fan, but there is no denying the awesomeness of Mo's card here.  Might this be the card that sends him off into the sunset?  We recently got rid of our satellite dish, so the only baseball news that I'm up to speed on involves the Padres.  Can you believe they sent Miles Mikolas down and brought up Tom Layne?  Anyways, I don't know what Rivera's plans are for next year, but if he's retiring, this is a great card to end on, a shot of him gettin' props from his teammates after nailing down another save.

Is Mike Trout still taking over the world?  I seem to remember him getting off to a slow start, but his numbers look good now.  Can't say that I'm the biggest Mike Trout fan in the world, but the dude seems like a baller and plays with some intensity, so there's a lot to like about him.  I will say that I am definitely a fan of Mike Trout cards.  Topps loves the guy and this is a great example of a cardboard tribute to an exciting player.

You know that if there's a Padre card in the mix, chances are it's going to make the list.  This card of backup catcher Nick Hundley was the only Padre I pulled.  A bummer to be sure, but at least it's a great shot of a Padre sporting the catchers gear.  Yasmani Grandal, the Padres starting catcher, was included in Series 2, but he's hitting, so this will most likely be the only Padre in the flagship set wearing the tools of ignorance.  Can any of you "what game is it from" geniuses figure out who's foot Nick is about to tag out?

Anyways, even though it's the same old story, same old song and dance, it's still fun to see new stuff out there.  The "Chase" theme continues with the inserts, which is getting old, but the "Making Their Mark" inserts look sharp, and the "Chase It Down"subset even includes two Padres (arguably the most disappointing guys on the team in Chase Headley and Cameron Maybin, but I'll take what I can get until Denorfia, Gyorko, and Blanks start seeing some action.  Of those three guys, Gyorko's the only one included in Series 2.  That'll be his rookie card, which will be a cool one to get.)

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Trio Of Trading Treasures

As you can tell by my very clever alliteration in the heading, I received my end of three trades over the weekend, and it was all good stuff.  Normally, I hate not giving each trade it's own post, but summer school hasn't grinded to a halt yet, and I don't like getting behind on posting the goods.  Plus, I stopped by Walmart and picked up some 2013 Topps cards and want to post about those.  You know, because it's something new.

Anyways, first up is an envelope that came my way from Tom at the Halo-tastic The Angels in Order blog.  I've been reading his blog for so long now that I can't believe this is the first time that we've made a deal.  And he even lives in Texas, just a few hours from me!  He picked up some traded sets from 1992 and 1993 Topps, and had a bunch of teams up for trade.  I didn't have much to offer him, but I sent enough to pick up...

Benito Santiago's first Topps card not in a Padre uniform.  Though it was a bummer for Padre fans (and for Santiago's career), this is still a good looking card.  Looks like a spring training game with a cameo of HoJo, Howard Johnson.  That's some kind of nice.

I also picked up the entire Traded team set for 1992 Topps.  It's one of my favorite sets of all time, and was one of the first team sets that I put together after starting this blog.  As a kid, I saw the set as a major upgrade from 1991 - in card stock (no more gray, now a clean white) and design.  I think I might've been a little harsh in my judgement of '91 Topps, but I still like the '92 version better.

I was eight in 1992, and this would've been one of the most prized cards of my collection.  I've said it before, Sheff's was the batting stance that I ever learned to mimic.

The Traded set is numbered alphabetically, so Stillwell and Walters are near the end of the checklist.  I think I also liked the '92 set because it was the first year of the orange and blue uniform colors, replacing the brown, which I didn't like at all at the time.  Stupid kid.  As you can tell by the blog colors, I've since changed my ways.

Next up, another first time trade, this time with a Reds collector, an appropriately named, non-Communist blog by the name of Red Cardboard.  I've only recently come across his blog, but Matt is a major fan, and I always like the slant and bias that come from blogs that let their loyalties show.  

I was wondering how long it would take to get ahold of the Gwynn card from this year's Archives set.  Turns out, it didn't take long at all.  Not a huge fan of the aesthetics of this particular card, but I'll give it props since it's an unfamiliar shot of the Gwynnster, unlike...

These two cards.  Topps' laziness is an equally tired conversation, but since these came in the same package, I figured I'd point it out for the 1,000,001th time.  I already had the Allen & Ginter card (I actually gave it the distinguished title of "Card of the Year" in December), but the All-Star card, also from Archives, hasn't gotten to me yet.  I usually have a rule of not buying Tony Gwynn cards on eBay, but the 56 cent price tag was too good to pass up.  I guess I should've, but having two of these isn't a problem at all. 

Actually, there were a bunch of great cards that Matt sent my way, but unfortunately for me, I had the majority of them.  Fortunately for my fellow Padre fans, I'll be running a free card draft with all my dupes, so they'll still go to a good home.  I was glad to get this Chris Young card to add to my "Miscellaneous Padres" binder.  The uniqueness of seeing a non-airbrushed card with team names that don't match the uniform makes this one a keeper.

Last but certainly not least, I received a bubble mailer from Mr. Haverkamp, well known in the blogosphere for his generosity and friendliness.  I think he sent these as a consolation prize for his Giants cutting down my Padres winning streak the past week, including a game that he attended.  While I'd rather the Padres win, I'll take pity cards any day of the week, and twice on Saturday.  You know, to make up for the mail not coming on Sunday.

A double dosage of Benito!  This quickly went into my "Padre catchers in gear" portion of my "Sweetness" binder (a new binder, which holds all my Gwynns, relics, autos, vintage, and Padre catchers).  As a random note, one of the coolest things I ever bought anybody for Christmas was a pair of catchers shinguards that I bought for my little brother, Ammon, from a thrift store in our hometown.  Something about seeing the straps in this shot just reminded me of that.  I got him an Astros hat this Christmas, which was more expensive, and still cool, but not quite as cool as catchers gear.

Jim also hooked me up majorly with 1969 Topps.  As you can tell by looking at the sidebar, I am now OFFICIALLY halfway done with the Topps set from the Padres inaugural year.  Very awesome.  My goal in January was to finish one vintage team set, either from 1969, 1971, or 1973.  I finished '73 a few months ago and finished '71 a few days ago, and it looks like '69s days are numbered as well.  I meant to show how the first twelve look in the pages I put 'em in, but I guess that picture didn't save on my phone.  I'll definitely be posting that soon, after I get my "wrap up" post on the '71 set.  Luckily this "Zero-Year" card of Dave Giusti made it to the post.  Giusti was plucked by the Padres in the 1968 Draft from the Cardinals, and then traded back to them before the season started.

Of course, seeing as how every collector has plenty of '91 Fleer that they're looking to get rid of, he sent me a handful of cards I needed to complete the set.  Could've sworn that I already had the Radinsky card, and I recognize Aguilera's beard from my early days of collecting as well.  Glad to have 'em all.  Actually, after getting this package, I got another email saying that there would be only three that I would need to track down.  I'll be a happy guy when those get here (along with the remaining three).  Then to find enough pages to house the 700+ card set, and presumably some sunglasses with which to view them through.

All in all, a great weekend for making my way out to the garage to find binders and boxes to put new additions to the collection.  Sincerest thanks to all three traders, I can honestly say that I wouldn't be as into baseball cards if it wasn't for the "community" aspect of the whole thing, and trading's at the top of that list.  

I'm sure it also doesn't hurt that I'm collecting things that hardly anybody wants: Padres and 1991 Fleer.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Best So Far...

My initial review of 2013 Topps Archives wasn't a great one.  Like the majority of opinions I've read, the designs chosen were underwhelming, teams were underrepresented, the cardstock was too flimsy, and the photos were borrowed from other sets.

A few weeks into fully absorbing the set, and... I still feel the same.  I bought a few packs from my local Walmart, but somebody ransacked the place a few days later, and they've been sold out since, so I haven't been tempted to buy any more, thankfully.

Though I haven't added many of the base cards to my "Keeper" binder, this is easily my favorite card of the set.  Was very glad to pull it from the last pack that I bought.

However, I have to give props where they're due, because as lame as the base set is, that's how much I have liked some of the inserts that they've included in the set.  Here's my favorites from the inserts so far...

Wasn't crazy about these at first, and I won't be trying to put the whole All Star team together, but these still look good.  This Mike Trout was a keeper, though if I had the Tony Gwynn card in hand, it would've been used in this slot.  I bought the Gwynn card on eBay for 56 cents, but it hasn't arrived yet.

Next up, the short prints.  I'm not a huge fan of most of these, but I love that they included some cards from 1993 Topps.  In my opinion, '93 was the last year in the 90s that the Topps flagship was any good, and I really dug this set.  There are three cards with this design, the Salmon, which I pulled from a pack, Hal Morris, who is coming to me via trade, and Alan Trammell, who I'm still on the lookout for.

The "Tall Boy" inserts are kinda weird.  To be honest, I pulled a few of these and didn't really like them, but what really makes it for me is that they included FRED McGRIFF onto the checklist!  Love me some Crime Dog.  This card came in the mail yesterday off eBay as well, for the whopping fee of 46 cents.  Coincidentally, when Chris Denorfia homered off Clayton Kershaw in the first inning yesterday, Padres radioman Ted Leitner called it a "Fred McGriff moonshot".  Maybe a little bit of an exaggeration, but still cool to hear Fred get a mention.

The idea of having things like shiny, chrome, gold foiled, serial numbered cards in "retro" sets like Archives and Heritage seems a little backward.  Still, I like these gold foil cards, and I actually kinda like the serial number that's printed on the front.  This Headley card is numbered 70/199, and even though it's the exact same picture that was used in this year's Heritage set.

As much as I like all the the cards pictured above, the card below is undoubtedly my favorite card of the year so far, and easily my favorite card from Archives.


There are a lot of guys on the autograph list who might be cool to get, but a lot of them are before my time.  True, by the time that my fandom really began, Santiago's days were numbered in San Diego, as he started the 1993 season as a Marlin.  Still, as a fan of the Padres (and awesome catchers in general), being a fan of Benny isn't difficult.  SO awesome to see him on the auto checklist.  Even better, the card only set me back the price of a rack pack and a few sticks of gum.  The seller just stuck it in an envelope with a piece of bubble wrap next to it, so I'm glad it made it here alright.

Here's the back, for those who are interested.

Anyways, there are a handful of other cards from this set that I wouldn't mind adding to my binders (including the McGriff auto, which is still selling for above my price range on the secondary market), but I've got most of what I need wrapped up.  Except for the only two Padre base cards, still not sure how those have eluded me.

Speaking of awesome, the Pads won last night and are currently in SECOND PLACE in the NL West!!!  Keepin' the faith!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Pedro Who?

The Padres pulled out an awesome win last night against the Dodgers, and it was a great game.  Well, I mean, I guess that depends on the team that you're rooting for, but it was awesome for me.

It started out ominously, with Yasiel Puig lining a Jason Marquis fastball over the fence in the first inning.  Raul Mondesi is the only Dodger who I've ever liked as a Dodger, but I have a feeling that Puig will be joining him.  The dude looks legit.

However, he was outdone in the offense department by a guy that the Red Sox DFA'd and the Padres picked up - some dude named Pedro Ciriaco.

I'll admit, when the move was announced, I wasn't impressed.  "The Padres need pitching, we have plenty of position players," I thought.  Well, injuries to key players have made the move look good so far, as Ciriaco has been hitting well, including the go ahead triple last night, as well as a homer that put the game out of reach.

I don't have any cards of Ciriaco (image stolen from eBay), but if you've got this one or his 2011 Topps card, lemme know, I like the look of those.

I'd be remiss, of course, if I only mentioned the offense from last night's game, because the highlights of the night were all on the defense.  Serious leather was flashed.

I managed to find some GIFs out there, from an article on SB Nation.  Hopefully they don't mind.

First up, a gem by Logan Forsythe, Padres second baseman.  Actually, Forsythe can play most infield positions, but currently he's filling in for 2B Jedd Gyorko.  I'd love to find a way to get him in the lineup more, because the dude is a gamer, and has come up with some clutch hitting as well.  The way Chase Headley is struggling right now, I wouldn't be surprised if he started seeing some time there.

Chris Denorfia is my favorite current Padre (though there are a bunch of guys that I'm falling in like with).  Here's a great example of why.  Later on in the same inning, he managed to track down this foul ball.

Highlight of the night by far, however, was this play by "The Little Ninja", Alexi Amarista.  I was bummed to check out the Topps Series 2 checklist and not see Alexi's name on it.  I've yet to see a card of him in Padres gear, only stuff from his days as an Angels prospect.  Giving up Ernesto Frieri was a bummer, but Alexi's totally been worth it (although seeing the recent meltdowns of Luke Gregerson coupled with the frequent meltdowns of Huston Street make me wish we'd given up somebody else).

Anyways, Will Venable's play in the 12th inning of a game against the Giants from a few nights ago is still the defensive play of the year, but this one is currently in second.


A lot of the Padres are pretty unknown, and they don't get a lot of press nationally (or probably even in San Diego), but they've got some gutsy players.  I'm not in love with all of 'em, but these three guys right here epitomize what I love about this team and this season so far.

Oh, and Puig?  The fastball up that he drilled out of the park was the last one that he saw the whole night, as he ended the game 1-5 with a groundout and three strikeouts, including one by Huston Street to end the game.  Heavy diet of breaking balls.

I got a chuckle out of Mark Grant, Padres colorful commentator, quoting a great scene from a great baseball movie.

"Straightball, I hit it very much.  Curveball, bats are afraid."