A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Saturday, August 31, 2013

From The Dimebox

I almost titled this post "Mini-Collections?" since this is a trade post from the master of the mini-collection, Nick at the Dime Box blog.  If you're not familiar with him (are there people who read this blog that don't?), to say that the guy has an "eclectic" taste in baseball cards would be an understatement.  In tribute to him, I'll try to find ways to include the cards that he sent into some made up mini collections, though most of them will go into either my Player Collection binder or my Miscellaneous Padres binder.

Starting off with a Brian Harper card in his catchers gear would fit nicely into my "Mustachioed Catchers With The Same Last Name As My Daughter" mini-collection, if such a mini-collection existed.  A little wordy, I admit.  Plus it might be misunderstood as being that Brian and my daughter share the same last name, when in fact, his last name is the same as her first name.

Okay, we're not starting off great, but hang in there, it gets... well, different, at least.

Mini Collection: "Left Handed Pitchers Wearing Brown and Yellow"
I'd like Randy Jones to be the most remembered pitcher in Padres history, though he will probably lose out to Jake Peavy (but hopefully not to Kevin Brown).  I had never heard of this "Arms Race" subset from Upper Deck, but props on including Mr. Jones.  Speaking of being overshadowed, Lefferts' mustache might've been the most remembered mustache in Padres history had Rollie Fingers never played here.  Is it at least the best mustache of any left handed pitchers during the brown and gold era? Maybe.

Mini Collection: "Pitcher Face" or "Baseball Gang Signs"
The "Pitcher Face" is commonly seen on baseball cards, wherein the pitcher is straining to throw a pitch when the camera clicks, and the results are usually less than flattering.  This Benes card is quite attractive (sorry Andy, didn't mean to creep you out there), and works really well with the horizontal design.  Gotta love Pinnacle.  The "Baseball Gang Sign" collection would be referencing Benes' right hand.  While perhaps one of the more simple signs out there, it might still qualify.

Mini Collection: "Heads Are Gonna Roll"
I suppose that "Floating Heads" might be a shorter title for this group, but I'll give a nod to one of my favorite Rocket From The Crypt songs.  Phil Nevin also led the team in doubles (34) and Owens led the team in hits (171) in 2000.  Nevin would've taken the strikeout title that year as well, had it not been for one of the worst players in the history of the Padres, Rueben Rivera.  Would've been interesting having a "HAGR" card of four Phil Nevin heads.  For what it's worth, I was a fan of the "HAGR" cards from last year's Heritage set.

Mini Collection: "Padres Gold Glove Third Basemen" or "Remember The Good Years"
There are only two Padres who have been Gold Glove third basemen; Ken Caminiti and Chase Headley.  As of right now, neither one is looked upon very highly, Caminiti for his steroid use and substance abuse issues, and Headley for having a miserable 2013 season after getting MVP votes and leading the NL in RBI in 2012.  Still love 'em both, but mostly because I'm able to remember the good years.

Mini Collection: "I Though I Already Had This Card"
I have gotten cards similar to these in many, many packages.  I'm a huge fan of '92 and '93 Topps, so no real complaints there.  However, there are a few things that make these different from their "regular" '92 and '93 Topps counterparts.  The Gwynn card is actually from the O-Pee-Chee brand, and the McGriff card has the Rockies inaugural season foil stamp.  Do I normally put my favorite cards from a trade in the middle of a trade post?  I just did.

Should I keep the mini-collection theme going?  I feel like I'm running on fumes here.  I'll take a break and show an addition to my Emerald Padres team set.  This brings me down to just six that I need to finish Series I & II.  Can I finish it off before the packs of Update hit the shelves?  Probably not.  The Carlos Hernandez card actually fits perfectly into my already established "Padres Catchers In Gear" mini-collection.  I almost feel weird calling it a "mini-collection", since the overwhelming majority of the cards in my collection are Padres cards, but since they have their own spot in a binder, I'll count 'em.  Also had to toss a picture of the Hernandez card since Nick is such a fan of the Pacific Online brand.

I had considered having a mini-collection of all of the "Original Padres", but I decided that since I already have complete team sets of the '71 and '73 team sets (the third and fifth years of the Padres MLB existence), and I'm closing in on finishing the '69 team set (four cards left), that there wasn't much of a point, since I'd have to start getting doubles of vintage cards.  But this Ollie Brown will fit nicely between Kevin Brown and Homer Bush into the Miscellaneous Padres binder, giving that particular page some nice vintage variety.  The "Padres Leaders" from the '86 Topps set is extra fancy, given that it's one of the glossy "Tiffany" cards from that era.  You know, back before everything was glossy.

Assuming that the majority of Nick's purchases come from dime boxes, it was no surprise to me that this package included some Darin Erstad cards.  Judging from the pure volume of Erstad cards that have come to me via trade, Erstad must be the king of the dime box.  So many late 90s/early 00s shiny, sparkly inserts, each one from one of the kajillion card brands of the era.  These were my favorites.  Not sure why that one in the middle is named after that Tom Cruise/Nicole Kidman movie, but maybe I'm just having a hard time focusing after being put into a trance by the one on the left.

How good was the stack of cards that Nick sent?  Even the doubles were good.  Someday I will make a countdown of my favorite Gwynn cards, and you can bet that the Pinnacle "The Naturals" card will be on there somewhere, easily Top 50 (he's now passed the 300 card mark in the collection, so that's not too shabby).  More impressively, he found one of my favorite Archi Cianfrocco cards, a minor league card during his time in the Expos farm system.  His early minor league cards had all kids of different spellings for his first name, and this one has him listed as "Arcie".  Add that to the sweet bat/glove combo that reminds me of peddling to the Little League fields on my bike, and you've got something special.

Thanks again for all the Padre cards Nick!  And also for all the ones that weren't.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Too Kind

If I've said written it once, I've written it... well, a buncha times.  Ya'll are just too kind.

Usually I'm talking about some well known blogger hooking me up with a stack of Friar cardboard or other assorted gems for my binders, but this time it's somebody who just reads this little blog.  I always feel weird calling somebody a "reader" of the blog, as if they had no other occupation or title to further distinguish themselves.  As if their very reason for being was to look at the Padre cards that I usually write about.  So Jason, however it may be that you classify yourself, I'll play it safe and say that you are just downright awesome. 

Aside from hooking me up with a no-strings attached Khalil jersey swatch (I'll still be on the lookout for some Red Sox cards to send back your way, eventually), he also sent me some trade bait to post and increase the Padres collection further.

I'd never heard of these Stuart card panels, but they're written in French, so I'll assume that they're from Canada.  I'd do some research, but I'm also supposed to be writing lesson plans for my first graders for next week.  There were doubles of this Padre one, so it's up for grabs, along with...

some Orioles (Cal, Eddie, and... Fred Lynn?)...

some Sox...

and some Brewers...  All very cool, so if any of those strike your fancy, lemme know and we can work out a deal.  Jason also sent me an Angels panel with Wally Joyner, but I put it in a binder before taking a picture of it.  Believe me when I say that it's sweet.

Jason also sent over some gratification of the "instant" variety... Padres for the player collection!  Of all the Padres that I "seriously" collect, I keep thinking that Andy Benes is one that I'll have the best shot at getting "all" of his cards.  Probably still won't happen, since the 90s were a crazy time, which I'm reminded of by these two cards.  Love the brown border on the "Star" card.

You might label Tony Gwynn as the never-ending collection.  There will always be Gwynn cards that I don't have.  Always.  I feel like I've been getting less and less that I don't already have in trades, but it's apparent that Jason scoured my "haves" list before sending off this package.

As much as I loved Joyner as a Padre, he just seems more natural as an Angel.  Glad that he was able to spend some time in San Diego, however, and glad to have some nostalgic cardboard proof.

Speaking of Joyner, here is a card that I thought was pretty cool.  Even though he got relegated to the "back" of a dual player card, I thought this was pretty snazzy.  Carlos Delgado has a decent fanbase in among card collectors, but this one is stayin' with me.

Trevor Hoffman is an all-time great.  If he's not a first-ballot Hall of Famer, then... well, I don't know what, but he'll be Padre #2 inducted into the Hall of Fame (sorry, I don't count Dave Winfield as the first).  Anyways, despite Hoffy's greatness, a lot of his cards seem... a little dull to me.  Not so with these two.  I've gotten a few Topps Gallery cards in recent bubble mailers and that seemed like a legit set.  Probably out of my price range at the time (not that I was really collecting cards during that period), but glad to get some of those now.  Also, love the retro Upper Deck design.  The back of the card looks really cool as well, but I forgot to take a photo of that one.

Oh, and did I mention that these cards came in two different packages?  I'm assuming that Jason was probably digging through his reserves and after sending out round 1, realized that there was enough for round 2.  Either that, or he was kind enough to extend the joy of opening mailers to two days.

Imagine my surprise when I got a PWE in the mail this week with his name on the return address.  The lone card?

Another addition to my "Foster" collection, my first Leo Foster card.  I was driving with my wife in the car when I opened the envelope and found Leo glaring right back at me.  She didn't think it was as cool as I did, but she also wasn't big on calling our son "Fozzie" (short for "Foster").  She's coming around to it, so maybe down the road my Foster collection won't be as nerdy to her.  Probably not, though.

Anyways, there's an example of why having this blog has been so cool.  People who say, "Hey, you'll probably enjoy these more than I will.  Here you go!"  I try to do the same as much as I can, but I known that I've been lax with sending stuff out lately.  Bills and school work, ya know?  Payday was yesterday, and I forgot that I'd be getting a few extra hundy sticks for doing some work in the office during school registration, so hopefully I'll remedy that... soon.  But school's back in (as evidenced by my less-frequent posts), so who knows.

Did I already say this?  Thanks Jason, these were awesome.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Day One

Today is the first day of school, so by the time you read this, I will be in a classroom with 20 or so first graders doing... well, whatever we happen to be doing at the time.  Lots to do the first day.

If I was really clever, I'd find a way to tie in a "first day of school" theme in this post and relate it to baseball cards, but I'm all clevered out.  Plus I've got a massive amount of trade posts to catch up on, so here's one more I can take care of.

Apparently Weston, the young author of Fantastic Catch, made a trip out to Fort Wayne, IN to catch a Tin Caps game.  The Tin Caps are one of the Padres single A farm teams, and have my favorite name of any Padres affiliate.  More on that in a bit.  Here are some cards that Weston sent my way.

Here are a couple of guys that I've heard good things about.  Well, I can't say what exactly I've heard about them, but I do recognize their names.  Not very many players I've heard of named "Weickel", and the same can be said for players named "Maxx".

Here are two catcher cards.  I have a Dane Phillips autograph from this year's Bowman set, so I had heard of him as well, and I wonder if Rodney Daal is related to former player Omar Daal.  I like the use of the faded background shot against a bold foreground image.  

Here are the pitching and hitting coaches, respectively.  Both former players, though I don't believe that either one played for the Padres at any point.

Leonel Campos has already been advanced to AA San Antonio, as I saw him pitch at the game that I went to at the beginning of the month.  Here is also a look at the back of the cards.  The only numbering system used is the uniform number of the player.  I thought Mejia's card was interesting, as the written blurb says that he struck out the only two batters that he faced in .2 innings for AA San Antonio last year.

Last but not least, we have the beloved "mascot" card.  Johnny Appleseed is the mascot of the Tin Caps, as he was supposedly known for wearing a pot on his head.  Johnny Appleseed was buried in Fort Wayne, and there are parks and festivals in Fort Wayne honoring him, so I guess this is a fitting mascot.  You know, besides the part about him being dead.  Weston also included this sweet pocket schedule, which was cool to get.

He also threw in a handful of other "real" Padre cards, of which these were my favorites.  I'm still trying to track down some of those "Top Prospects" cards from last year's Bowman Platinum set.  Topps Gallery is a pretty decent set, from what I've seen, and this Hoffman looks good.

Thanks for the cards, Weston!  Wish me luck on my first day of school, and best of luck to everyone (parents and students) in the new school year!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

One True Rookie / The Emerald Curse

Since school is starting tomorrow, I know that my blogging time is going to become very limited, so in an effort to get to a backlog of trade posts, here are two that I'll combine into one post, in two parts.

Part I

While there are plenty of good writers in the baseball card corner of the blogosphere, I think that it can be agreed that the blogs we keep going back to are ones that not only have pretty words, but pretty pictures.  One such blog that I've been going back to a lot recently is Baseball Card Breakdown.  Not only one of the more informative sources for posts, but great cards to go along with 'em.

Turns out that the author, Gavin, and I have a lot in common.  I was born in Portland, OR and later moved to San Diego, while Gav was born in San Diego and later moved to Portland.  We have both seen our fandom of the Padres ebb and flow (mine's at high tide right now, while Gavin is a little less so), and we are both (obviously) fans of baseball cards.  Haven't met him personally, but from what I can tell, we're both pretty awesome, so I'll throw that in there as well.

One of my favorite posts on BCB is the "One True Rookie" post on Fred McGriff.  As we know, defining what is a "rookie" card isn't as clear cut as you'd like to think, as Bowman has multiple cards of a player before they've even made it to the bigs, and back in the day, there were different companies that had different types of rookie cards.  Anyways, I received a PWE a few days back from the City of Roses, and found this...

While I thought that I already had the Crime Dog's rookie card, I found out that this was really his rookie card, from 1986 Donruss.  Very slick looking, two tone Jays cap with the "Rated Rookie" logo and lots of horizontal lines on the border.  Rookie cards are pretty cool, and that it's of one of my favorite players is a gigantic bonus.

But the PWE didn't stop there.  Here's an example of the rookie confusion.  Is this Wade LeBlanc's rookie card, or one of the many fakes from Bowman?  I can't imagine that there are many who care, and I won't pretend to either.  Still, I don't have many LeBlanc cards, and this one was a good addition to my Miscellaneous Padres binder.

The last binder addition from the PWE was Todd Walker.  I had forgotten that he was a Friar at one point in his career, as he played all of 44 games for the Padres, all in 2006, the last time they won the division.  This is my first Walker card as a Padre (well, also my first Walker card period), so it's a welcome addition to the MP binder as well.

Thanks again Gavin!  I've got some stuff set aside, all bundled up, just waiting for payday before I send it.

Part II

On a regular day when I had come back inside from the daily mailbox check, I looked at the days bounty and found that I had received a PWE from a far off land.  As I slowly peeled open the envelope, a green mist started pouring out from the corners.  Undaunted, and my curiosity piqued, I continued to rip paper until I realized that the contents within the envelope had started glowing.  I stood there in my living room in a trance, eyes fixed to the alluring gleam from the envelope in my hands.  I was shaken from my stupor as the living room began to shake and I heard a deep voice bellow the words "Do Not Open!"

I had already ripped enough to see that the cards inside had the familiar emerald hue from this year's Topps set.  They must be Padre cards, I thought.  And I'm trying to complete the emerald team set.  I ignored the booming voice and continued on my quest to determine the contents of the luminous vessel.

As I slid the top loader from the ripped envelope into my waiting hand, a bright light flashed in what I can only describe as green lightning.  As I gripped the cards tightly, a whirlwind began to encircle me and I thought I was going to be lifted up through my roof.  Just when I thought all was lost, I was thrown to the floor and everything in my living room appeared as it had been.

As I laid on the rug, the only thing I saw that was different was an inscription burned into the ceiling:

You have unleashed a curse

While my wife and friends did not believe me, I filed the cards away and wondered how this curse was going to manifest itself.  A few days later, I found out.

The first emerald card that I had put into it's page had been that of one Carlos Quentin.  After opening the bewitched envelope, he was put on the DL (again) for knee problems.

Not to be outdone, Yasmani Grandal also went on the DL for the rest of the year with his own knee injury.  Days later, Jason Marquis threw his final pitch as a Padre and landed on the DL as well with some kind of unspecific arm injury.

Had I learned my lesson?  Would I abandon my efforts to complete the 2013 Topps emerald parallel Padres team set?

A few days later, I got another such letter in the mail with the words burned into the page as they had been on my ceiling.

I was just kidding!  The Padres have already been cursed for a LONG time.
Continue on your quest.

And so I shall.  Big thanks to Big44 for the above-pictured trio of emerald goodness.  He seems to be cursed with pulling Padre parallels, and I am the fortunate and grateful beneficiary.  

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Jerk-O Strikes Again!!!

Being that the majority of Padre games start at 9:05 pm in the Central Time Zone, I am left with two options when it comes to game-watching: 1) Stay up until midnight, let my wife go to bed on her own, and wake up tired, or 2) Miss the game, spend a little time with the little lady, and wake up... less tired.

Depending on the person and the level of fandom, these decisions may or may not seem difficult to make.  For me, it's all situational.  If it's my first chance to see someone like Mets phenom Zack Wheeler pitch, or if the Padres have a strong chance of winning, then I might take my chances.  Not having work the next day increases the possibility of catching the game, as does the exhausted-ness factor of my wife (she has a way of making games seem completely meaningless, but not if she's asleep by 8:30).

Anyways, last night seemed like a prime opportunity to catch a game: no work the next day, kids fell asleep early, and my wife was worn out after a long week of watching children (in addition to our two, she watches another two kids during the week to earn a few bucks).  Right when I was about to commit, I checked the score, since the game had already been going for a few moments and I was stunned....

The Padres were in a 6-0 hole against the Cubs... and Padres pitcher Edinson Volquez had yet to record an out.

Needless to say, my choice was an easy one.  Movie night with my lady, as tired as we both were.

This morning, however, I found out that...

The Padres had mounted a huge comeback and managed to beat Chicago by a score of 6-8!  What the what?  The bullpen pitched 8 1/3 scoreless innings and the Padres hit three homers, one by team home run leader Will Venable, and two more by rookie stud Jedd Gyorko.  Whoo hoo!

The pair of home runs gave him the most of any NL rookie.  Let that sink in.  ANY NL rookie.

I'd have to imagine that the NL ROY Award already has Yasiel Puig's name written on it (though Jose Fernandez is certainly giving him a run for his money).  And yes, Gyorko's 16 homers (compared to Puig's 12) have come in 72 more plate appearances than Puig has had.  Still, Gyorko is having a great rookie season and is currently on a hot streak after having a rough start getting off the DL in mid-July.

Oh, and notice the Gyorko's from last year's Bowman Platinum, since I think I'll add this year's Bowman Platinum to the "no-buy" list.  Not for really any particular reason (well, I guess it's chiefly financial).  I haven't bought any Gypsy Queen this year either, but I've still managed to get most of the cards I wanted from their in trades and through charity, etc.

Anyways, Gyorko and Venable giving Padres fans something to root for is great, despite the fact that the Padres seem hellbent on sending this joker out to the mound every fifth day.  Hopefully when September call ups happen, we can get a break from LOLquez.

Speaking of The Jerk, I got a package in the mail this week from my friends at Wolff Stadium, the former home of San Antonio Missions alum Jedd Gyorko.

A program!  I posted about taking my son to his first game on my birthday a few weeks ago, but in gathering our stuff to get ready to leave, we left the program behind.  I sent a really nice email to the head of PR with the Missions asking for a program, and he was very happy to oblige.  Very kind of him.  Thanks Missions!

I really like the player bios that they had in the program, but I'll show the most visually interesting page:

Ballapeno, the mascot of the San Antonio Missions!  With The Alamo in the background, no less.  And you can even follow him on twitter!  Speaking of which, I've joined twitter, though more for seeing what people have to say.  @marcusSDTX is my handle for those so inclined.  I didn't join facebook for years and then I finally relented, and now I've joined something else that I thought for a long time was pretty stupid.  We'll see how long that lasts, but it has given me some fodder for some upcoming posts, assuming that I have time to write them.

Oh, and just for the record, I actually had decided to spend the evening with my wife, regardless of the outcome of the Padres game.  Seeing the early lead by the Cubs just made it an even easier decision.  It's been a long week of getting ready for school, and the times that we can be with each other are getting more and more precious.  Don't mean to get mushy or anything, but I do love her and she is awesome.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

2013 Allen & Ginter Padres Team Set

When looking at this year's Allen & Ginter checklist, a few things popped out at me.

1 - Wow, there are a lot of former players on here.
2 - I've never heard of a lot of the non-players on the list - nothing new.
3 - What?  Paul Konerko didn't make the cut?
4 - There are only five Padres.  On a 350 card checklist

Each of those topics could have it's own post, but today we'll focus on the "Padres Team Set".  It's in quotation marks because, well, there's only five of 'em, and if it can't even begin to fill a page in a binder, it sounds like a weak team set.

First off, I'll say that as bad as the Padres were slighted, they weren't even the least represented team!  The Rockies also only had five cards in the set, while the Marlins had three, and the Astros had but one (thank goodness for Jose Altuve).  That is pretty bogus to me.  Getting slighted in smaller checklists like Archives is lame, too (Padres had two cards, Astros had just one - Altuve again), but in Ginter?  Super lame.

But enough griping (for now).  Lets take a look at the Friars who made the cut.

Alonso is quietly having a solid season.  His big billing was as a doubles machine that would play well in the spacious Petco Park, but after hitting 39 last year, he's only notched 9 this year.  He missed a good chunk of time due to a DL stint for an injured hand, but has amassed a .286 batting average, up 13 points from last year.

Anyways, enough with the stats.  This is a good looking card.  Since A&G is a mostly "posed" set (excepting for the occasional horizontal action shots), things can sometimes look a little "samey" in terms of poses.  However, I think that this year, they did a good job of using the bat as a prop and making things look different enough.

Here is probably the best card in the set.  This has been the "Year of the Chase Headley Card", as Chase has been the only Friar to be included in every set that Topps has released.  He got the short print treatment in Heritage, which means that there was a big chunk of parallels to go with it, and it happens again here, as Headley's card in A&G is short printed as well.  Add the scarcity to the sluggers pose, and this is a card that this Padre fan is happy with.

At the end of the year, I'm going to post every card of Chase Headley's that I've been able to get this year.  It will be a very big post, since he is the Jose Altuve of the Padres.  In that post, I'll ponder if my fandom of Chase Headley, despite his poor performance this year (as of 8/16, his average is 50 points lower than last year with 80 less RBI), continues because I'm a loyal Padre fan, or if it's because Topps has inundated me with cards of him.

Of course, it wouldn't be a modern release without a Tony Gwynn card.  Can I say something out of character here?  I'm getting sick of Tony Gwynn cards.  The guy hasn't played for over a decade, yet he makes more appearances than any Padre on baseball cards this year besides Chase Headley.  Seriously, half of the Padres-related inserts in the flagship set are of Gwynn (4 out of 8).  Show some love for somebody else - Chris Denorfia or Jedd Gyorko come to mind.  Or if you feel the need for a retired player, how about Trevor Hoffman, Randy Jones, or Nate Colbert?  At least they used Benito Santiago and Fred McGriff in the Archives set (though McGriff was shown as a Blue Jay).

Man, this is sounding really negative.  Ok, well, all that being said, I'm not going to turn down a good looking Gwynn card.  Though it's not quite "Card of the Year" caliber (last year's Allen & Ginter Gwynn won the 2012 title), there aren't enough mid/late 90s images of "Big" Gwynn going around these days.  I'll take my Gwynn card here and say no more.

Okay, well if you thought everything up until this point has been negative, here's where it hits rock bottom.  If I had to choose my two least favorite Padres, here they are.  Even though I went to a game last year where Edinson Volquez twirled a one-hitter, this year he has become literally the worst starting pitcher in the majors.  He currently leads the league in earned runs and his era is pushing 6.  Grandal, on the other hand, has played all of 28 games this year.  Between a 50 game PED suspension and a season ending knee injury, he managed a .216 average with a homer and nine RBI.

If the team set had contained anybody besides these two guys, I probably would've put them all together and filed them away into the team set binder.  As it stands, these guys will be going onto the trade stack for those set collectors out there.  In breaking up the band, Alonso will be filed away into my Player Collection binder, Gwynn will go into the Gwynn binder, and Headley will go into the magical Miscellaneous Padres binder.

To end on a high note, there are two Padres on the relic checklist (that are also both on the disabled list; Cameron Maybin and Cory Luebke) and three more on the autograph checklist.  Unfortunately, Yasmani Grandal is one of them, but Topps totally redeemed themselves by including a card of Wally Joyner in a Padre uniform.  How awesome is that?  Unfortunately, that one is turning out to be pretty pricey so far, so I may never own it.  But the third guy (also on the disabled list) turned out to be very affordable, so for a few bucks, I picked up this...

Casey Kelly!  Supposedly a big prospect in the Padres organization, I don't know that I saw enough in his 2012 debut to merit the hype.  He posted a 6.21 ERA in six starts, though he was very sharp in his debut.  I got Kelly's autograph on a ball in Spring Training this year, and he seems like a nice guy, so getting this was a good score for me.

Topps seemed to prematurely anoint Kelly as the Padres next stud pitcher, since he's got autographs in three different sets (Allen & Ginter, Tribute, and Inception).  The back also states that the card bears the signature of a "Star Pitcher".  Here's hoping.  Still, the autographed cards from Ginter are very cool looking, so I was glad to add one to the collection.

If you made it all the way down to the bottom of this post, props to you, thanks for reading my rants.  Here's hoping that your baseball season has been kinder to you than it has to me and my Padres.  Oh, and thanks to Judson for hosting the group break that netted me the five non-autographed cards above.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Where There's A Will...

I had a semi-negative post all lined up for today, ranting about the Allen & Ginter Padres team set.  But after yesterday's game, I had to change some things around.  For those who missed it, the Padres managed to split the four game series against the Mets on a walk-off solo home run by National League Player of the Week Will Venable.

You read that right.  Somebody on the Padres (who are twelve games under .500) won an award.  Last week he hit .406 (13 for 32) with two homers, two doubles, a triple, and seven runs scored.  His 13 hits and 23 total bases were also the highest in the NL during that time.  On top of that, Venable also currently has the longest hitting streak in the majors at 15 games.  Since the beginning of that streak (dating back to August 2nd), he is hitting .377 with 5 homers and 8 RBI.

Anyways, lots of numbers there, but the easy way to say it is that Venable is on a roll right now, and the Padres sure could use it, with their All-Star Everth Cabrera on a suspension for PEDs and Carlos Quentin on the DL.  A little over a week ago, I mentioned that I had made my peace with Venable, as a player who had lots of potential but could never produce consistently, and was at best a fourth outfielder.

Way to prove me wrong, Will.

Not that I have a problem with it at all.  Like I said then, I am a Will Venable fan.  

As a matter of fact, here are all of the Venable cards that I have in my collection, which happens to be the same number of games he's hit in consecutively.  How serendipitous.

I'm not sure where Will's future will take him, but for now, I'm glad that he's in San Diego, even if he's taking a little playing time away from my man Chris Denorfia.

And hey, if he keeps hitting homers (17, which leads the Padres) and raising his average (currently at .266, up twelve points since that post about him), maybe his defense will be recognized and he could win a Gold Glove.  Go to mlb.com and watch some video, the guy's got skills.

Hey, a guy can dream, right?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Five Cards From the NLCS

For you acronym junkies out there, these aren't five cards from the National League Championship Series, rather, they are five cards from my Not Local Card Shop.  Unfortunately, the one that was nearest to me (about a 40 minute drive) shut it's doors recently.  Mostly unfortunate for them, since I only went there twice, and wasn't too impressed either time.  However, yesterday my wife had an appointment in Austin to get her haircut (she's been growing it out for a while and wanted to get a lot of it lopped off, so she wanted to go to someone who would do it right), and with a few extra minutes and a few kids, we stopped by the card shop in Austin.

For those of you who aren't in the know, Texas is football country, and Austin is no exception.  While there was a decent selection of baseball stuff, it was not the dominant represented sport.  I asked if they had any packs of Pro Debut and they told me it wouldn't come out until after baseball season.  When I told them that I'd heard about Yasiel Puig's card (that's a name they had to know, right?) they realized that I was talking about baseball, and then rummaged around before concluding that they didn't have any.  

Anyways, since I had both kids with me, my time was short, and at one point, I was trying to shuffle through cards with just one hand.  Not easy.  While I was hoping to leave with a lot more, I snagged some semi-decent trade bait and some plastic team bags, and these five cards.

Paul Konerko was my favorite current player for a while, but has since been usurped by some of the new talent on the Padres.  Still, I became a fan forever during the 2005 season when he led the Sox to their first World Series victory in... well... a long time.  Here is his mini card from last year's Gypsy Queen set.  While I don't make an effort to track down many cards of Paulie, I try to get the ones from sets that have come out recently.

There were a few boxes of base cards organized by teams.  This was the only Padre from the stack that I didn't already have.  Travis Jankowski was drafted in the 1st round of last year's draft (44th overall) after helping lead Stony Brook to the College World Series.  Let's glance at his stats for Single A Lake Elsinore this year, shall we?  Hmm, .286 average is decent.  37 RBI and a lone home run makes it sound like he's got no power.  Oh here we go!  71 stolen bases and an 84% success rate!  Dude's got speed!  When MLB.com listed the Padres 20 best prospects at the beginning of the year, he didn't make the cut, but he is currently listed at #20.  And this card is very shiny.

On my way out, I was scouring the "discount" box, which had cards that were either 50 cents or five dollars.  Whoo boy.  Still, I wanted to double the number of Padres that I was walking away with.  Boom.  Greg Maddux.  The greatest pitcher that I ever saw pitch in person.  When Mike Piazza joined the Padres for a year towards the end of his career, I didn't embrace him because he was still a Dodger to me.  With Maddux, I never really saw him as a Padre, he will always be a Brave to me.  Still, I loved that he spent time in San Diego.  Everybody should love Greg Maddux.  Except hitters.

My favorite pickups of the day were from 1969 Topps.  I had hoped to knock off any of the four cards that I needed to complete the Padres team set, but it wasn't meant to be.  However, since I already had the box of '69s out, I flipped through the beat up ones (the guy who runs the shop is apparently big on condition when giving the price for everything) and picked up these beauties.

I'd seen Randy Hundley's card previously on the blogosphere, and thought, "Man, that is a sweet looking catchers card."  Though I've since strayed from the "get every card of catchers in their gear" idea that I had at the beginning of Backstop Cards, when I saw this one, I knew it'd be leaving with me.

While I've been working on finding different cards of players named Foster (after my son of the same name), I haven't really been working to track down any players named Harper (after my daughter, although I have a few pages of Brian Harper cards).  Wanting to take home some more goodness from the '69 set, I snagged this Tommy Harper card.  My first Pilots card, BTW.  Very cool.

I'll show some trade baitey stuff up here later, but these were the five cards that I took home for myself. Not sure that I'll be itching to go back by any means, but fun to look at lots of cards all at once.