A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Only Autos

Yesterday, I got a big, huge box from Rod at Padrographs.  He had emailed me a while back and said that he had some stuff to send me.  Boy, he wasn't lying!  I'll break down what he sent in a few posts, but this one will showcase some of the cool autographs he sent.  Here are the top 30, which was maybe about a third of the autographed cards he sent.

My favorite was the one above, an oddball Andy Benes card from a baseball card magazine.  It wasn't the first Benes card he's sent me, and it wasn't the last in the package either.

 Here's three more of the ace of the early 90s Padre rotation.  Benes led the league in strikeouts in 1994, with 189, which was also his career high.  He is second on the Padres franchise list for strikeouts, only behind Jake Peavy, and is sixth in wins.  He was one of the first Padres that I was aware of, due to the chants of an over exuberant Padres fan at the first game I remember going to.

While there were a lot of "random" players that were sent my way, there were also a few players that had multiple cards.  Former Friar backstops Mark Parent and Sandy Alomar Jr. fell into that category.  Gotta say, I think Sandy's got a pretty smooth signature.  I mean, I wouldn't know that it said "Sandy Alomar" unless you told me, but that's how it goes for most signatures, including Parent's. 

Here are some minor league gems that I loved.  The Ben Davis on the bottom is a "certified" auto, but the rest are "in person"- type autos.  The Raul Casanova is a cool pickup, since I recently came into a game used jersey of his (well, Spring Training-used, he never played with the Padres).  Adys Portillo is still rising through the Padres minor league system, but I like the Casey Burns card better since it's of the Idaho Falls Chiefs.  I went to college in Rexburg, Idaho, about a half hour away from Idaho Falls.  The team is called the Chukars now, which is a type of bird.  Never went to any games there, which is a bummer, since I don't plan on living there ever again.

With the last batch of autographs that Rod sent me, I now have a full page of autographed Padres (and one Giant) from the 1990 Donruss set.  I'm a big fan of the similarly-designed "Baseball's Best" set from 1990, whose main difference is that it is blue-bordered instead of red.  These look good together.

Here's a few of my other favorites that I didn't know how to group together, so I just put 'em all in the same scan.  Not sure what to say about all of these, but I sure do like 'em.

Of all of the cards Rod sent, this was one of the most rare.  I scanned the front and the back, and if you're a baseball card aficionado, you'll know that 1) Darcy Fast didn't have his own card in the 1972 set (he was on a multi-player card with Derrel Thomas and Mike Ivie), and 2) The back of this card is not something that you'll see out of a pack from Walmart.  This is a custom made collaboration with Padrographs and Punk Rock Paint.  A pretty awesome one at that.

I appreciated the card even more when I realized that Darcy Fast never even played for the Padres.  His MLB career lasted 8 games that he played with the Cubs in 1968.  A custom card, a "zero-year" card, and an autograph?  Pretty good trifecta.

Thanks again Rod.  As per usual, all the stuff you sent was awesome.  This was really just the tip of the iceberg, there's so much more.  Hopefully I can get Round 2 up here soon.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

In The Meantime...

Well, after going on a brief Tony Gwynn binge, I'm back to some posts about other cards and players that I've picked up in the past few weeks.  I've been on a sort of hiatus from trading recently, as finances and inability to get to the post office before it closes have made it difficult, but hopefully today I should be having a bunch of mailers and PWEs in the mail.  We'll see how the day shakes down.

Anyways, even though this is a Gwynn-free post, there are a lot of familiar faces here, if you've read this blog for any amount of time…

Starting off with The Colonel, Jerry Coleman.  This is from the 1991 Swell Baseball Greats set.  One of the newer Coleman's that I have, but for just over a buck, shipped, I had to pick it up.  Great shot of the second baseman, and the yellow and red border make it seem a little more "oddball-y" than it probably is.  Always good to add to the Coleman collection.

I suppose if you had to go to the opposite end of the spectrum from a junk wax-era card of a Hall of Famer (broadcasting) with a black and white photo, it'd probably be a shiny new card with lots of sparkles of a player who is in AA ball.  Well, that's what you have here with Hunter Renfroe, one of the Padres hottest hitting prospects.  While I admittedly know pretty little about Renfroe, he pretty much killed at single-A Lake Elsinore and recently got promoted to AA San Antonio.  Hopefully I can make it down in the next few months and see him in action.

Here's a video of him hitting a car with his first home run after being called up to AA.  Got out of there quickly.

Next up, a pretty cool autographed card of new Padres starting pitcher Jesse Hahn.  Hahn came over from the Rays (that is a Rays jersey he's wearing there, though the similarities to the current Padres uniforms are pretty strong) in the "Logan Forsythe" trade this past offseason.  He was a one-time big prospect, but underwent Tommy John surgery in college and was looked at as a question mark.  Well, in three starts, he's 2-1 with a 2.16 ERA (16.2 IP) with 19 strikeouts.  If there's one thing that I've been used to in my time as a Padre fan, it's been watching good pitching.  He's starting today against the Giants, so here's hoping he can get win number 3.

Oh, and if he keeps doing well, I can keep hearing clever word play about Han Solo.

Speaking of new Padre pitchers, last night was the major league debut for the newest of Padres…

Odrisamer Despaigne.  Pronounced Oh-DREE-sam-err Des-PAN-yay, Odie, as I call him, dominated the Giants in his MLB debut last night, allowing 0 runs on four hits in seven innings.  Only one strikeout, but he has a bunch of pitches from a bunch of different arm angles, and it was fun to watch.  With new pitchers, it seems like until hitters have seen you a couple of times, you can get by, but once they've got tape on you, you have to adjust or pay the price.  Since Odie came from AAA El Paso with a ERA over 7.00, I'm sure that he won't be hurling shutouts every time he pitches, but hopefully what we saw last night was the start of something awesome.

Oh, for what it's worth, Odie is a Cuban defector who the Padres signed for $1 million towards the beginning of the season.  Cubans, man.

Well, the reason that Despaigne was brought up at all was because the ace of the staff and my favorite player on the team, Andrew Cashner, was put on the 15 day DL due to some soreness in the cannon that is attached to his shoulder.  Hoping that it's nothing serious, but I'm beginning to worry about my guy (or as my family has taken to calling him, my "man-crush").

Anyways, I've been finding cheap Cashner cards all over the place, and the best one I've landed has been this one.

Turns out that Cash has a bunch of autographed cards from his Cubs days, and while I'm not in a total "grab them all" phase for his Cubs stuff, when it's only a few bucks, and it's an on-card auto, it's tough to pass up.  When it's a cheap card of him in a Padre uniform?  Well...

it's a little harder to pass up.  I certainly didn't intend to start collecting the Cashner Bowman rainbow, but I already have six of the cards, so only three more to a whole page.  I guess that'd be cool.

While I love Cashner (the reasons are many and varied), one of the reason I want him to succeed so badly is that I don't want to think that the Padres traded Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs for nothing.  While trading an everyday player for a once-every-five-games player is always tough to compare, if Cashner is healthy, I think it's a pretty break even point.  If not, though, it's a tough pill to swallow, since the first base situation for the Padres is currently Yonder Alonso and Tommy Medica.

Who is to blame for this?  Well, I thought that Alonso, Grandal, Volquez, and Boxberger for Mat Latos  was a bad at first, but after giving it a few months to sink it, I really liked it.  Now I've re-changed my mind, not so much liking it now, since Alonso is a bust and Grandal is streaky at best.

The person who made that deal and many others was Josh Byrnes.  While I don't think he's done a great job, I think I'm realistic in saying that I didn't think the Padres were going to make the playoffs this year.  But the expectations were high, and with the team underperforming, he got the ax on Sunday.  While that might've been a little premature (less than 2.5 seasons as GM), the Padres horrific start had a lot to do with it.  I've had this card for a while, but I figured that this was an opportune time to show it again.

Well, there's a bunch of cards that I've added to my collection recently.  Thanks for reading

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Tribute To The Top Ten Tony's

This weekend, I finally finished the complete overhaul of the Tony Gwynn binder.  Before, I just put the cards into whatever slot happened to be open, as I got them.  I would consult with the list on the blog before adding it to the binder, but apparently I've been slipping, as I found five duplicates in the bunch.

Now, all 462 Gwynn cards in the binder are organized by year, then alphabetically by brand.  Didn't take as long as I thought it would, either.

So, that's where most of my Gwynn cards are, although I still have 30 in the Team Set binder, 28 in the Rad binder, and 1 in my 1991 Fleer set.  All in all, that tallies up to… 521.  It goes without saying that is easily more than any other player.

Anyways, out of all of those great, glorious Gwynn's, which ones are my favorites?  Well, here are the top 10 (for today, at least), though there were a lot of great ones that missed the cut.  For another great Top 10 Tony's list, check out Nick's over at the Dimebox blog.

#10 - 1994 Donruss (checklist)
While not a conventional choice, this is the only card that I am aware of that commemorates Tony's 2,000th hit.  I happened to be at that game, and it is easily one of my all-time top baseball memories.  It was also my 12th birthday.  Tony would hit his 3,000th hit on my birthday again, six years later.

#9 - 1992 Topps/O-Pee-Chee
Again, another nostalgic pick.  1992 was the year that I got into collecting, and Topps' '92 card of Gwynn was most likely my first of his.  I did and still love that set.  This one, however is the "O-Pee-Chee" brand, which is a little tougher to find than the run-of-the-mill Topps edition.  Looks like Tony is taking some batting practice hacks, which is an appropriate card, since the dude was a batting cage beast.

#8 - 1993 Topps Black Gold
Speaking of firsts, the gold craze that Topps started in the early 90's led me to my first experience with "card lust".  I pulled a "Black Gold" card of Fred McGriff (one of three Padres included in the insert set), and it was instant love.  It would prove to be the only one I'd ever own as a kid, but I was able to snag this one after I started the blog.  Eight year old me would've been stoked.  Almost-30 year old me is stoked as well.

#7 - 1994 Fleer "Pro-Visions"
If Lisa Frank was into baseball art, then elementary school Marcus would've had a bunch of school supplies that looked like this.  As it stands, this is easily the best painting I have seen/will ever see.  The Padre pinstriped robe (because he plays for the "Friars"), the book that is creatively titled "Baseball" that is apparently the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, and the group of baseballs orbiting Tony's head, ensure that this card sits comfortably in the top 10.  I mean, I didn't even mention the "Fleer" batting gloves (with hands that seem a little larger than Gwynn's), the bat slung over his shoulder like a sword, or the beautiful San Diego Bay in the background.

#6 - 1994 Topps Stadium Club
The '94 Stadium Club set was one of my favorites as a kid.  I mean, check how cool it looks.  The great Stadium Club photography is even more pronounced without a border, and the scrapbook/labelmaker nameplate was right in the wheelhouse of the "extreme" trend that was all the rage then.  But what really makes this card is the contemplative look by Mr. Padre and the way the orange and blue pops from his jersey and wristbands.  Man, those wristbands.

#5 - 1992 Topps Stadium Club
Alright, Stadium Club with back to back spots!  You thought the last card was a close up of Tony?  Ha!  You could hardly even see his stubble!  Here, on the other hand, Gwynn's face takes up about 80% of the card.  Again, the minimalist design brings the focus on the subject, and the photography is top notch.

#4 - 1984 Topps
I have long loved this card.  First off, when I got into collecting, I was all about the newest stuff.  "Vintage" didn't really appeal to me.  "Those guys have already changed teams by now!" was my main thought.  But the idea that I could have a card of Tony Gwynn (who was still a Padre) from the year I was born was pretty intriguing.  While I'm not a huge fan of the pink background for the inset, this is decidedly a better photograph of Tony than his rookie card, and it's from the year the Padres went to their first ever World Series.

#3 - 1985 Fleer (autographed)
While I've had the chance to get a few Tony Gwynn autographs in my days in San Diego, I never had any of them on cards.  This is kind of a bummer to me, but thanks to Rod from Padrographs, I was able to remedy this.  I especially love the yellow batting practice jersey, and purple sharpie isn't one that you see too much.  The main reason this card made the list is the autograph, but hey, that's a pretty good reason, right?

#2 - 1983 Topps/O-Pee-Chee
While the photography for Gwynn's rookie card isn't spectacular, it's still his rookie card, and while that doesn't really mean a lot to me for most players, it does for Tony.  I now have three of Gwynn's rookie cards (other ones being his '84 Fleer and '84 Topps), but this was the first one I had, the O-Pee-Chee brand.  It's slightly off center, but not as bad as this particular scan would have it seem.  Anyways, like I said, not great photography, but still a great card.

#1 - 1985 Topps "All Star"
I don't know, there is just something marvelous about this card.  The clear blue sky, the colors on the nameplate, the simple design, the casualness of the pose.  I just love it.  This would be Gwynn's first All Star card, though he would go on to be an All-Star fifteen times over.  I guess that even though I more closely relate Tony to the blue, white, and orange uniforms of the 90's, the brown, yellow, and orange combo from the 80's is still a pretty good look, especially here.

Well, I don't think it's a perfect list, but as of today, that's the best I can do.  If you've got any killer Tony Gwynn cards that I don't have on this list, go ahead and send them to me.  Thanks for reading any/all of my Gwynn posts the past week.  I don't think I'm done with the exclusively Gwynn posts, but I'm ready to post about some other stuff, so look for that soon.

Take care, have a great week.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Thanks, You Guys Are The Best

I had planned on doing my Top 10 Favorite Tony Gwynn cards post for today, but my internet hasn't been cooperative this weekend, so just a brief post today.

As I was digging around and really looking at as many Gwynn cards as I could, I came to the relic section of my collection (located in the Rad binder) and admired each of the four relic cards of Mr. Padre that I have.  While I'm not as big on relic cards as some, having some from a favorite player is pretty cool, especially a Hall of Famer and all-time legend like Tony.

Then it hit me: All of these cards came from other bloggers.

I'm pretty sure that technically, they call came via trade, but I have to think (and I'm pretty sure that I'm remembering correctly) that the trades were more than a little slanted in my favor.  I remember specifically where three of these four cards came from, but can't remember the fourth, so I don't want to name names, but if you were one of the beautiful people who sent me one of these cards, trust me, you're the one I remember, it's that other guy that I forgot about.

I've made the joke before that, being the beefy guy that Tony was towards the end of his career, I wonder if his jersey relics are less scarce because you could make so many cards out of them.  Well, I don't know if you've checked out eBay lately, but Gwynn-related items are seriously selling for crazy figures right now, so any talk of there being a surplus is falling on deaf wallets.

One thing that I've made a conscious effort in the past few years is to not buy Gwynn cards online.  There are a few reasons for this.  1) There are so many Gwynn's out there, it's not like I'm "close to finishing it" so I can just knuckle down and binge spend to get "that elusive card".  2) He is easily the most received player in trade packages I get.  Not complaining there, but I'd rather see if it arrives from a friend than having to spend money to get it. 3) I'm pretty cheap, and finding cheap autos of Archi Cianfrocco or serial numbered parallels of Andrew Cashner is easier than finding cheap Gwynn cards that I don't already have.

Anyways, back up to the cards.  All of these look pretty good in my book, though I think i might give the slight edge to the Panini card on the far left.  Sure it's a "logo less card", but it's pretty classy looking in my book.  The Gypsy Queen in the middle looks sharp as well, really dig the black borders.  Heck, the other two aren't bad either.  Hard to make a bad Gwynn card.

It goes without saying that I wouldn't own any of these cards were it not for the generosity of my fellow bloggers.  Thanks again for making my collection pretty awesome.  You guys rock.

EDIT: After searching through my archives, I found out who that fourth person was.  Special thanks to Brad, Brian, Judson, and Roy-Z.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Not Gwynn Cards

Alright, no Tony Gwynn cards for today.

Nope.  Not gonna do it.

Instead, here are four random cards from my collection, none of which are Gwynn cards, or even Padre cards for that matter.

First up, good old Bill Doran.  Something you probably don't know about good old Bill Doran.  He has over 1,300 hits.  Not too shabby for a middle infielder who spent time on three teams.  He didn't miss a game in 1987, and the year before that, he led the league in steals.  Oh, sorry, that's caught stealing.  Did it 19 times.

Next, we have workhorse Dave Mlicki.  Despite having a last name that looks like a birth certificate typo, he still managed to throw over 119 innings in six different seasons.  He also pitched in the first ever non-exhibition Mets/Yankees game, and pitched a complete game shutout.  

If you know me, you'll know that my least favorite team is the Dodgers (who are playing against my beloved Padres this weekend.  So why do I even have this card?  Well, I guess it might just be the palm tree lurking in the background of good old Jack Murphy Stadium.  Or maybe it's because I just like saying the name "Gagne".

Last but not least, here's the oldest card of the bunch, one of those "Team Leaders" cards from 1989 Topps.  It's the Pirates.  I think the guy with the glove on is… um… well, if you know who it is, lemme know in the comments, I guess I just like… uh… the fuzzy outline that borders the picture of this card?

Sorry, I guess I'm just in a "random" type mood (ug, normally a word that I hate using), but here are a few other pictures that I'll post.

Look at this cool boat.

Here's a neat looking building.  More palm trees.

I guess since this is a blog that focuses on baseball, here's a shot of a baseball field.

There, I made it through a whole post without mentioning Tony Gwynn.  In honor of this moment, I'll go ahead and do a post on Tony Gwynn tomorrow.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Topps Timeline: Tony Gwynn

Well, tonight is the first Padres home game since the death of it's greatest player.  I expect it to be a packed house and nary a dry eye in the audience (for those that get there on time - the location of Petco Park isn't ideal for late comers, unless you're taking the trolley).  I really, really wish I could be there tonight, but will have to settle for the live stream (link here, not sure what time it starts, but game time is 7:10, I'd check in a little after 6:30, Pacific time).

In the meantime, here's a post that I've had in draft mode and I can't think of a better time to finish it up: All of Tony Gwynn's Topps base cards, from 1982 to 2002.  Twenty years of hitting excellence, all in one uniform.

Well, I mean, the uniforms kinda changed a lot, but they always said "Padres" or "San Diego" across the front.  That's what matters most.

Here's the first one.  It all started in the 1983 Topps set.  As far as I know, this is the only card that features Tony wearing anything besides his trademark #19.  Not exactly the greatest shot of Tony, as he's tearing out of the box towards first, but easily the most famous of all of Tony's cards.

The '84 is one of my all time favorites, though I'm a little biased, since that's the year I was born, and the year of the Padres first World Series appearance.  I've always considered the '85 card to be the "shades" card (along with '92 Stadium Club) and the '86 card to be the "forkball" card.  The '92 is also a nostalgic one for me, since that was the year that I first got into collecting baseball cards.  That one also looks like Tony is taking some hacks in the batting cage, which is fitting, given the amount of time he spent there.

Which one of these is not like the other?  I'd say the '94 card.  The rest of these all feature Mr. Padre with his weapon of choice: his bat (even if the '95 card is a little closely cropped).  The '93 is my favorite of this page, again for nostalgic reasons, since '93 was probably the peak of my card collecting days (seriously, stacks and stacks of '93 Topps).  Still, I'd say that the best looking photo of Gwynn is from the '00 set.  Since the '96 Padres team is my personal favorite, I really want to like the '96 card, but I just don't like the design.

Here it is, the "sunset" card.  Fitting that it appears to be during the twilight, judging by the shadows covering the fans.  While the goldish border isn't a personal favorite of mine, it seems like it works.  As far as baseball cards go, this seems like a pretty good one to go out to.

Here's the back of his final card.  I know the print is small, but I'm not sure how to make it any bigger.  The dude played a long time.  Lots of red in the stats, as you go down the "Hits" and "Average" columns.  If you notice the "LEAGUE LEADER IN ITALICS" note above, well, that'll explain it.  Also, the number of his last card is 99, which seems like a good one to go out to as well, along with the picture of a distinguished looking Gwynn.  Well done, Topps.

Well, those are all of Tony's Topps cards.  Got a favorite?  The "Favorite Gwynn Cards" countdown is in draft mode, but three of these made the cut. 

To close it out, here are all of the numbers for Tony's baseball cards, starting in '83, ending in '02.

482, 251, 660, 10, 530, 360, 570, 730, 180, 270, 5, 620, 431, 250, 410, 1, 75, 2, 220, 99

Wow, guess I didn't even realize that there were a few low numbers in there (1, 2, 10, 75, 99).  Trivial information, I suppose.

Anyways, there are more Gwynn posts forthcoming.  Thanks for all the comments in the previous post.  Great to see so many that appreciate one of San Diego's greats.  Here's hoping that the Padres can pull out a win tonight to honor Tony.  My man Andrew Cashner is on the mound, but he's facing Felix Hernandez, so it'll be tough.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

RIP Tony Gwynn

As most of you may have heard or read, Tony Gwynn, the best player to ever play for my favorite team, passed away yesterday at the age of 54.

I found out via text from my wife, while I was teaching summer school.  It was the first of many texts, including some from my mom, grandma, brothers, and even my neighbor, who knows that I'm a huge Padre fan.

It was pretty shocking to check out twitter and see that it was true (not that you can believe everything you read on there, but it really is where news hits first).  He had been battling cancer for four years now, and it was common knowledge that he wasn't doing well.  Still, I don't think that many outside of his immediate family knew just how bad a shape he was in.

This year, the Padres family has lost two of it's "Mount Rushmore" members; first Jerry Coleman, Hall of Fame broadcaster (and World Series champion, war veteran etc.) and now the very embodiment of the team in Mr. Gwynn.  That, coupled with a disastrous season by the local team, has Padre fans struggling for silver linings.

To put it bluntly, when I found out, I felt pretty gutted.  On my lunch break, I watched a few memorial-type pieces put together by ESPN and even teared up a bit.

After coming home, I was greeted by my beautiful kids, who of course knew nothing of the tragedy that had befallen the baseball world.  They seemed extra happy to see me, which was just what I needed to kick me in the pants and get back into the real world.

To be honest, I'm not even sure that sadness was the overriding feeling that I had when thinking about Tony.  Sure, it was definitely in the mix, but I think what I felt, and still feel even now, is gratitude.

Nobody lives forever.  Sure, some get taken from us unexpectedly, or too soon, or under unfortunate circumstances.  But if you think that our short time on this earth is the pinnacle of our existence, well, I think you're in for a surprise.

In the meantime, how fortunate was I to root for one of the all time greats?  How awesome will it be to tell my children and grandchildren that I saw Tony Gwynn get his 2,000th hit on my birthday?  Or that he signed some balls for us during one of my Little League games.  When my kids are older, will there be any other players who spend 20 years with the same team, taking discount after discount to stay in the city they love?  I hope so, but I really doubt it.

Listen, being a Padre fan isn't for the faint of heart.  It never has been, and I doubt it ever will be.  Though I love 'em, they are a historically bad franchise.  But to be able to see Tony Gwynn slap that ball past the third baseman and shortstop on a nightly and yearly basis?  To hear him talk about his love for the game, his meticulous study of his craft, and the way he treated the fans who loved him so dearly?

Those are Hall of Fame memories.

God bless you, Tony.  May we all have a fraction of the dedication, loyalty, and happiness that we saw you exhibit throughout your career.  You will be missed.  You will never be forgotten.

This week, I'll have a series of Gwynn-themed posts, all much lighter than this one.  Thanks for reading.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Día de los Padres

So, it's late on Father's Day, but I figure that it's better late than never, right?

I had a pretty good Father's Day, thanks for asking.  Didn't really do a whole lot.  Had French toast for breakfast, went to church, came home and played with the kids in the kiddie pool we just got from Sam's Club.  The meal my wife planned didn't turn out how we had hoped, which bummed her out more than it did me.  It was the thought that counted.

Anyways, this is my third Father's Day on the blog, so I thought I'd show my three favorite cards from my "Kids on Cards" mini-collection.  It really is a "mini" collection, since I only have 12, so if you've got any that you can spare, send 'em on down my way.

3) Bob Welch, 1992 Upper Deck
I'm not positive, but I think this is the first card I ever saw with someone's kid on it.  Always thought it was cool, and this is the actual card that I had from when I was a kid.  Kept it with me the whole time.  I also used it in my second ever post on this blog.  Also a timely card to use, since Bob Welch passed away recently.  I've never really known much about him, but I found out via twitter that on his '91 Studio card, he listed his interests as "his children".  Sounds like a pretty classy guy, and chances are he was a pretty good dad.  Love this card.

2) Sandy Alomar, 1992 Triple Play
This is also one that I've had since I pulled it from a pack as a kid, and another one that I used on that second ever blog post.  This is the most action that you'll see from the "Cards with Kids" collection.  Also great to see the kid's in a uniform and has the eyeblack with the helmet.  The red in the uniform even matches the bat color and the border of the card.  It's hard to top this.

1) Trevor Hoffman, 2000 Fleer Ultra
I can't remember how I acquired this one, but I feel like it was probably via trade.  At any rate, this one is my all time favorite from the "Cards with Kids" collection.  First of all, it's a Padre and a Hall of Famer (ok, sorry, I keep forgetting that Hoffman isn't in the hall yet, but he's got an award named after him, so I gotta think that'll be happening), plus the kid is rocking the uniform as well.  Between Trevor's expression and the classic method of transporting a kid without holding them in your arms, and you have a great, great card.

Happy Father's Day to everyone that is a father, everyone who has a father, and those who are/have father-figures in their lives.  Family is the most important thing there is, and the world needs more good parents.

Like mine.  He's not the tough guy he appears to be here, trust me.  I'm not sure if we have more similarities or differences, but I know that our similarities are all of the things that are most important to my life.  He loves his family, serves God, and taught me most of what I know about baseball.

Gotta think that his WARD (Wins Above Replacement Dads) is pretty high.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

2014 Archives

There have been times where I've counted myself among the lucky ones who is one of the first to be able to check out new card releases.  This hasn't seemed to be the case, lately, especially with the Archives set.

Well, yesterday was the first time that I actually found some, so I picked up a rack pack.  Here's a good picture of the wrapper, before diving into my review.

Well, that's the only picture you'll see of what I picked up yesterday.  The pack was complete garbage, won't be keeping any of them, hopefully somebody is working on putting this set together and can use them.

If you haven't seen any reviews of the set, I'm not sure where you've been (unless you're my mom, in which case, "Hi Mom!").  I will say that I'm a fan of the original sets they used for this year's Archives. I'm a big fan of the '73 set, and '86 isn't too bad either.  '89 is pretty blah for me, but I can still appreciate it and don't mind seeing it included.  The design from 1980 doesn't really move the needle for me, not sure why it's being used (again).

Anyways, yeah, I only got base cards of guys that I'm not interested in, and one that was a pretty lousy insert.  Nothing worth mentioning any further in detail.

While this isn't really an indictment on the set (though it's not as great as it could be, by a long shot), I guess this is why I so rarely buy packs.

Most of the cards I really want aren't that expensive, and I'm not trying to put the set together, so picking up cheap singles is usually the way to go.  There's only one Padre (Tony Gwynn) in the set, so that shouldn't be too hard to get, though I'll see if it arrives in any trade/charity packages rather than buy it on eBay.

Speaking of cheap singles, here is (in this blogger's opinion) the best card in this year's Archives set:

Bip Roberts has an autographed card?  Awesome!

On eBay, I rarely make any purchases above $5.  Gotta set my boundaries (cards are nonessentials, at least according to most people, so don't want to break the bank).   I bid on probably about a dozen of the Bip autos until one finally fell below the $5 threshold (including shipping).

Gotta say, I really like this card.  The '90 design is perfect for Bip, who had a pretty good card in that set if I remember correctly, and there weren't many who were more beloved by the fans than Bip (well, besides you-know-who).  Definitely a Fan Favorite.

I know it's a small thing, but some of the autographed copies I saw looked like the signatures were rushed, so I was glad to get one that looks pretty clean.

Here's the back.  Lots of stats, I know, so that's why I made it big.  Did you know that Bip Roberts is second on the Padres in career batting average?  Almost 40 points behind Tony Gwynn, but still, not too bad for a guy named Leon.

Well, it would've been really cool to have pulled this autograph from that rack pack that I got, but it wasn't to be, and that's alright.

Will I be buying any more Archives?  Probably not.  I have a few cards on the want list (stoked to see that Goose Gossage made it into the set again), but nothing so hard to find that buying packs is really worth it.

I also found some Topps Series 2 on the same day I finally tracked down Archives, so look for that soon, I guess.  It'll be more interesting than this post (though only slightly).