A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Recent eBay Pickups

My summer school paycheck came at the beginning of August, basically doubling my monthly income.  While there are plenty of things that the money went to (we have three kids and our 70+ year old house always seems to need some kind of work), I felt like it was a good time to splurge on a few pieces of relatively cheap cardboard.

I'll frontload this post with my favorite card first:

I have a page full of vintage Jerry Coleman's, and this isn't the oldest one, but it's from the most famous set, 1952 Topps.  It's not like these are hard cards to track down, but I've been holding out for a long time on finding one under five bucks.  I'm no stickler for condition, but even so, the best I could do was six dollars and change.  It's got great corners and looks pretty good on the back too, the only issue is the obvious top left corner.  With this one crossed off the list, the only vintage Coleman's left to track down are pretty pricey: '49 Bowman and '50 Drake, plus a few oddballs I'm sure I'm not even aware of yet.  All in due time.

ToppsNow cards are pretty awesome.  And pricey.  With the Padres being one of the worst teams in the league, I figured it might not be too hard (or expensive) to collect all of the Padres.  I was wrong.  I've since abandoned this fools errand, but not before picking up this one.  As a Tony Gwynn fan who remembers the glory of the '92 All Star Game (well, as much as you remember things that happened when you were eight years old), this was too tempting to pass up.

I mentioned this one in my last post, but I'll give it a little more love again.  Franchy Cordero is a Padres prospect who just got called up to Triple-A El Paso.  Before his promotion, I got the chance to interview him and a few of his teammates on the San Antonio Missions.  He was a super nice guy (they all were), and he is one of the few guys in the upper levels of San Diego's farm system who can swing a bat.  He's got two autograph cards on the market, but this one was a few buck cheaper than a Bowman card, plus it's hand numbered to 50.  I know some collectors have problems with cards with no logos, but most Bowman cards are photoshopped anyways, so I welcome these into my collection.

The Padres are pretty void of exciting talent at the major league level.  Wil Myers was really exciting in the first half of the season, but has struggled since the All-Star break (and participating in the Home Run Derby).  My boy Yangervis Solarte has had a career season as well, but has also struggled as of late.  And Melvin Upton Jr. and Drew Pomeranz were dealt at the peak of their value.  That leaves Travis Jankowski the most exciting player wearing a Padres uniform (who's ahead or at least tied with journeyman minor leaguer Ryan Schimpf).  Jankowski also has a few autos out on the market, but I liked this one the best.  I wrote a piece about him for RO Baseball, and digging a little deeper into his season made me like him even more. 

Anyways, there's a few new(er) cards that I've added to my collection.  I also picked up a new Padres bobblehead for my classroom and a 7" record that I didn't even know existed from one of my favorite bands (!).  It's been a fun little mini spending spree, but has probably come to an end, at least for a while.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Trip To San Antonio

Since moving to our new house, the San Antonio Missions are no longer the closest Double-A Texas League team.  That honor would go to the Frisco Rough Riders, who have a beautiful stadium that is a paltry 20 minutes closer.  Either way, it's a pretty long drive, especially when the games don't start til seven o'clock.

Still, I have a special place in my heart for San Antonio, which is where my son Foster saw his first game, and is also an affiliate of the Padres.

Anyways, I mentioned in my last post that I started writing for a website called RO Baseball, and about a month ago, I contacted the Missions' PR guy to see if I'd be able to interview some of their players for the website.  And he said yes!

I was pretty star struck.  Not by any of the particular players, but just the fact that I was able to go into the dugout while they were practicing and ask them whatever I wanted was really cool.

They were all really nice guys, from Rich, the PR guy, to the players, and the people I met afterwards in the press box.

The first player I interviewed was catcher Rocky Gale.  He had a cup of coffee with the Padres at the end of last year, but has been moved to Double-A to maximize playing time while Austin Hedges gets all the reps in Triple-A.  He didn't have a card in the 2016 Missions team set, but I happened to have a card from 2012, when he was on the Lake Elsinore Storm.  I talked to him about the differences between game prep in the Texas League and the majors, and about growing up playing in the Pacific Northwest.  Link to the article is here.

Next I talked to Adam Cimber, a relief pitcher who is also from the PNW. He has a unique style, rocking high socks (which led to me to ask about uniform preferences and Chris Sale) and a unique sidearm delivery.  I asked him about striking out fewer people this year than the past few years, and I don't think he really appreciated it, but he was still polite. Guess I'll have to figure out how to tactfully ask the uncomfortable questions.  Link to the article is here.

The last player I talked to was Franchy Cordero. Of the three I talked to, he's probably the hottest prospect, though he's lost some of the hype after a few rough years in low A. This year, he's been hitting really well, and actually just got called up to Triple-A El Paso.  He's from the Dominican Republic and his English is a little rough, so I got to use my Spanish, which was fun. I was a little nervous and talked kinda fast, so it wasn't as crisp as I would've liked it.  He was a bit of a mumbler too, so I haven't finished translating the last question, but when I do, I'll add a link.  I asked him about leaving his family and playing in America, as well as how changing his defensive position from shortstop to center field helped with his offense.  I got this card off eBay right after the interview because I liked him so much.  Never heard of this set, but it looks kinda nice, and is hand numbered out of 50, so that seems cool.

Here's a few pics I'll post here of the guys during the game.

Cordero on second after doubling down the first base line.

 Cordero in center.

 Cordero hitting.

 Gale behind the plate.

 Cimber warming up in the bullpen.

Cimber again.

Trae Santos, another Padres prospect who started the scoring with a big home run.  I missed it because I was in an elevator on my way down from the press box to the field.  Oh, it was pretty cool being in the press box.  I got to see the guy who does the MiLB GameDay, who actually seemed pretty disinterested.  He was from New Jersey and was preoccupied about finding employment after the season was over.  He was also checking Facebook.  A lot.

 Cimber on the mound.  His pre-delivery movement is so interesting to watch.  Along with almost doubling over at the waist before every pitch, he also contorts his front (left) legs it's perpendicular to his back foot, with his heel towards the batter.  Weird.  He did well though, and even struck out a guy, just to stick it to me for asking about why his K numbers were down.

Anyways, yeah, it was a blast.  I'd love to do it again, but even if I don't, it'll still be an awesome memory.  Also, these cards are from the San Antonio Missions team issued set, which are rad, because I'm a big fan of the 2013 Topps set, of which these are a blatant rip off.  I watched Gabriel Quintana in High-A Lake Elsinore a few years ago, and watched him that night.  The card at the top of this post is of Kyle Lloyd, who was the starting pitcher who went seven scoreless innings.  I'm not sure if anybody would really be interested in reading about any of these fringy Padres prospects, but if you are, I wrote about Quintana here and about Lloyd here.

Hope everybody's having a good weekend.  My collecting has slowed down a bit, but I have a few new (to me) cards that have made their way to my mailbox the past few days and I'll post up here soon. Take care.