2017 NSCC #6 – Sample Size Swatches

At the show, I expanded my budget a little bit.  I put a little cash aside each month just for this show, which was thankfully easier due to paying off my car and credit cards a while back.  That allowed me to spend more time in boxes that weren’t $1 or less, and expand my reach into more game used things.  I actively sought those bins that had relics in them, when I couldn’t two years prior.

I know that some collectors aren’t into this stuff, or think they’re completely played out, but I still enjoy them if they’re designed well.  I’m also kind of liking the over saturation of game/event-used/player worn/probably all fake jersey and bat cards, because it means the prices are lower for a lot of them.  Stuff that was a case hit back in the day is given the same consideration as a 3-hit per box type card.  My wallet likes that, and I took full advantage.  Here’s just a very small sampling.

Not numbered – looks like it could use a third piece

For Kerry Wood, I found 5 relics I needed, including 1 that’s also autographed.  For this set, I still need a Prime Cuts and an autographed version of the Dress for Success, plus some other stuff.


That horizontal stripe clashes with the vertical design.  I don’t know when the jersey became more of a mainstream, every box thing, but this is 2003 Leaf and I think the only relic type in the product.  This is #/500 which means it was still rare overall for those boxes.  I think.

This is the unnumbered version

For Greg Maddux I upped my game to 17 relics.  Not too shabby. That also led to finding some relic parallels.

Authentic, it says

For instance, here’s the bronze version of the above, which is out of 150.  There are also other rarer versions, and also a home jersey picture of all of them to chase. Hope I remember that, because I tend to remember the look of cards when hunting but not these details.

Not numbered

You know what would have made this stand out is if the pin stripe were just a little lower and matched the horizon line.  You know what makes this stand out is the mostly missing leg.

Also not numbered and not his signature

I wasn’t as lucky with Frank Thomas.  His cards tend to be more expensive.  I found 9 relics I needed of him, including this one which looks better in person with the red foil.

not #’d

What a weird picture scaling choice.  He looks so tiny.  That pinstripe is SO CLOSE to matching the card, too….

These swatches look fake

Lastly, Tony Gwynn netted 16 new relics.  Maybe I shouldn’t say lastly, because I got a good amount of the 2016 Cubs players, too. They’re just not featured today.

Anyway, it’s tough to tell from the scan, but this is the blue frame version of the 206 relic.  I have to make that distinction, because…

I could yank that thing out

…this is the pink frame.  They’re much more obvious in person.  I’m not too familiar, but I believe there were three different series of 206 that year, and all three had a different Gwynn relic.  I still need the yellow frame one.  Maybe at the next National, I’ll find it.

By the way, the expanded budget meant I also bought a few autographs, but that’s for another post.

Trading For Former Cubs

I’m not great at thinking of titles, and I foolishly didn’t think of a good title to throw a “Part 1” after, like I’ve tried to do with others recently.  So, now I’m sitting here brainstorming new titles for each set of cards from Kerry/Madding at Cards on Cards.  To make matters worse, I didn’t really organize my cards from him well enough, as outlined on my previous post of stuff from him.

All I know is that I have a bunch of stuff from him still not featured on the blog, and he’s already threatening to send me more!

I do need a lot of cards, but I have to catch up on trades here.  I especially need cards of formerly current, bench/reliever type players, and Kerry helped with that.  These are guys that probably were still current Cubs at the time of the deal, but are no longer with the team.  They still count for me!

Local law ad in the background

For a short time, this was worth a little bit more than the bare minimum, but I’ve already talked about Coghlan and his place in the hobby before.

Precursor to 2018 Big League

That white rookie cup logo is off-putting.  I’m sure it’s supposed to be silver, but regardless, it looks like a sticker, and not a trophy, and un-integrated.

Add foil to the trophy instead

The Opening Day version didn’t help the rookie cup.  Also proves my earlier point that OD got too boring.  It needs a border change or something.

Piedmont back

Receiving minis in trades are always appreciated, because I understand how deceptively rare they can be (in terms of getting a specific player or variation), and I rarely actively seek them out myself.

Pre-Miami Marlins – bring these colors back

I like the paper Bowman parallel tints.  This gold isn’t as shiny as what we see normally, but that slightly muted look works here.

Why are we yelling!?

2011 Topps is growing on me as a design.  I never hated it, but when surrounded by 2010 and ’12 and ’13, it’s easy to appreciate it more.

Only with the Reds for two years

Here’s another quick look at 2011 Topps thanks to sometimes starter Travis Wood.

Will Attax come back one day?

I don’t remember what rarity this diamond color is on the lower right, but I do know that it indicates rarity.  Doesn’t matter now, it’s mine.

A lot of fly ball pictures

The subtle color border is okay, but 2011 still looks a lot better.

Five years with Chicago

Lastly for today is another Travis Wood card.  It looks like he may be out of baseball now after being released by the Tigers without playing a game for them.  I didn’t notice that.

So, that means here’s two more guys that are out of the game that I am still happily collecting.  Thanks a lot to Kerry for sending these over!  I’ll have another awkwardly titled post coming up soon.

An Almost Timely All-Star Game Post

Last night was the All-Star Game in case you didn’t know.  Of course you knew.  I don’t always watch the game, and I didn’t watch all of it last night either.  My wife went to yoga and so I caught a few innings.  The game moves a bit too slow with all the circus activities and extended television breaks and pitching changes, etc.  It’s nice for some fans, but not my thing.  Mostly it’s there to give a baseball fix when there is none otherwise.

How many All-Stars?

It’s a crowded roster and not everyone gets to play that’s selected.  That was disappointing as a kid, but now it doesn’t matter to me.  Sort of like how these cards don’t get to be seen individually.  I spent some of my tax return money at COMC and this is a tiny portion of what I got.  These are from a specially marked factory set, I believe.

Stamps = different

Here are a few more.  These were all pretty cheap and easily under $1 each, so I loaded up.  But enough about these loose tie-ins.  How did the three Cubs representatives do during the actual game?

He’s been dominant at times

This was Jon Lester’s fifth selection to the All-Star game, his second as a member of the Cubs.  He didn’t pitch this year, because he started the Sunday before the game.  Here’s how he fared the other times:

2010 – He pitched the 5th inning, faced 3, got all out with no strikeouts or walks. – NL won 3-1

2011 – didn’t pitch – NL won 5-1

2014 – He pitched the 2nd inning, gave up 3 hits, 2 earned runs, no strikeouts. – AL still won 5-3

2016 – His first selection as a Cub, he pitched to start the 7th, faced 4 batters, got 2 outs and then turned it over to Melancon. He allowed no hits, 1 walk, and still has not struck out a batter in an All-Star game. – NL lost – 4-2

So, before this year, the team he played for was 1-3.

Strange that Future of the Franchise isn’t that crazy now

Javier Baez led-off the batting for the NL squad, and he managed a base hit on the first pitch (a single – normally he goes for extra base hits).  After that, Javy ground out on his second AB in the third inning and hit a fly out in the 5th.  1-3 isn’t bad at all.

SP pulled from a blaster, but with a dinged corner

Willson Contreras was batting 9th in the order.  He also swung at the first pitch, but he one-upped Baez and hit a solo home run to start the 3rd inning. His only other AB was a ground out in the 5th.

Overall, the NL lost to the AL for the sixth consecutive year 8-6 in the 10th inning.  It sounds like it was an exciting game, but I didn’t see most of it as usual.  Time will tell if I end up regretting that decision, but probably not.  I am ready for a few exciting games that affect the standings, though!

An Almost Timely Home Run Derby Post

Well, that was a fun derby!

I know there will be detractors for any and all formats of the event, but I personally like the timed format they’ve adopted over the 10 out structure.  I do wish they would have equal AL and NL participants, but that’s more of a preference than anything.  As long as people are mashing taters, then we’re good.

This year was unusual for Chicago fans because we had two members of the Cubs take part: Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber.

In an ideal world, I would have liked to see both of them eliminated in the first round.  If I saw evidence or did research, then maybe my thoughts would be different, but I think that players could burn out a bit more in the second half, or lose their pop a bit.  I’d rather see them save their energy for games that make a difference, even though it would be fun to see them win.

Frank Thomas didn’t have that problem in 1995 when he won the Home Run Derby.  That year, he hit 40 total for the regular season and it looks like it was an even split.  To commemorate that win, here are some random Moments & Milestones cards that don’t correlate with that season that I got at the 2015 NSCC.  Gotta post them sometime!

A few years away from 1995

Career Home Run #2
August 31, 1990 – White Sox at California Angels

Frank’s second home run of his MLB career was hit off of Mark Langston in the top of the 7th inning with 2 on (the first of 6 he would hit off of Langston).  That doubled the score and extended the lead 6-2.

Oh!  Here’s one!

Career Home Run #167
July 20, 1995 – White Sox vs. Boston Red Sox

Thomas tied the game in the bottom of the fifth with this solo blast he hit on the 9th pitch of the AB against Erik Hanson.

It’s hard to find M&M cards for FT

Career Home Run #269
June 18, 1998 – White Sox vs. Minnesota Twins

The twelfth homer of the season came off of Bob Tewksbury.  The White Sox were behind 0-4 in the bottom of the 4th.  This didn’t do much to sway the game, but it did get them on the board with 1 run.

I have a lot for Maddux and plan to get more soon

Career Home Run #290
May 7, 1999 – White Sox vs. Oakland Athletics

It was already the makings of the blowout when Frank hit a 2-run homer in the bottom of the second against Tom Candiotti.  That brought the score to 6-0 in the early part of the game.

I only found 1 more at the 2017 NSCC

Career Home Run #309
May 24, 2000 – White Sox vs. New York Yankees

His eighth home run of the 2000 season came against admitted steroid user Andy Pettitte in the bottom of the first.  That solo shot was the first run of the game.

One day I’ll come across a good batch for cheap

Career Home Run #399
July 22, 2003 – White Sox vs. Cleveland Indians

This next card is another one from the bottom of the first.  This time there was one man on.  Jason Davis gave Thomas something to hit on the fourth pitch of the AB, giving the Sox an early 2-0 lead.

After all, I still need 500+ of these things

Career Home Run #500
June 28, 2007 – Toronto Blue Jays at Minnesota Twins

Carlos Silva is the answer to the trivia question asking which pitcher gave up the milestone 500th career home run.  This was the 13th homer with Toronto.  This one came at the top of the first with two men on, and the team already up one.  Not a great day for Silva, but probably a memorable one for both sides.

SP Version from 2015 DK

I almost got my wish for the tournament.  Baez hit first in his round and managed 16 home runs, and earned bonus time for hitting two homers of 440 ft.  However, he lost to Max Muncy anyway.  One down.

A bit optimistic

Schwarber also hit 16 in his first round.  He also earned bonus time, which he needed.  Alex Bregman almost beat him (and probably should have).  Alex hit a lot of close ones at the last minute, which made for a thrilling round.

Rhys Hoskins started the 2nd round with 20 homers, which seemed insurmountable.  However, Schwarber crushed #21 on the last pitch of the original time limit. He had also earned the bonus time again, but didn’t have to spend it.

That meant he ended up facing Bryce Harper in the finals (who cruised there easily) – Kyle went first and hit 18 after his third earned bonus time.  Harper was struggling big time for a while and was far behind most of the round.  However, after his second time out, he went on a huge, impressive run at the end and tied it at the end of regulation.  Of course Bryce also earned bonus time and got the winner in those final 30 seconds to win the trophy in front of the home town crowd.

This was a great group of players for the derby and all of the rounds were fun to watch and many came down to the wire.  You couldn’t have planned it much better, and I look forward to seeing it again next year (hopefully with fewer Cubs).

A Big Trade with Mini Collector Bill – Part 5

Back in late September, I posted the first part of a significant trade I made with Bill, then in April I got back on track and showed off part 2.  May saw part 3, and June gave us part 4.  A month later and we have part 5.  As a quick refresher, he responded to some of my Gypsy Queen trade bait posts and we worked out a nice, large exchange – mostly for my budding 2016 WS champ players.  Far too many cards for one, or even a few posts.  I think there will be two more after this, but don’t hold me to that.  As mentioned before, he doesn’t have a blog of his own, but he’s known as minibbcards on the Trading Card Database and his want lists are fantastic (and found here).

This time around, we’ll be looking at Opening Day and a couple other random cards to pad things out.

Can’t hide your chin forever

We’re a long way from Opening Day now.  I used to really like these cards, but things have changed over the past couple years.

A rare Hector Rondon sighting!

In the past, Opening Day would play around with the design a bit and give us a different color scheme or foil color.

Stray hair is my addition, not Topps’

They would also generally be foil-less in some cases.  They still are, but regular Topps has become foil-less as well, so it’s not a differentiation anymore.

The uncommon Rookie Cup and RC logo combo

Now, it’s just a stamp on the regular card.  That takes a lot of the wind out of it’s sails.

The common RC logo only

They could have done something with the smoke effect – make it a unique color.  Or added foil or texture or something.

Skip to my lou

I’m generally a fan of budget releases.  I haven’t seen any Big League in person yet, but I like what I’ve seen online so far.  I liked Bunt as well.

Bringing back the Future Stars label

Now, it would be better to see Opening Day replaced with another budget product if it’s just going to be a simple logo.

He finished with 446 regular season starts in his career

See, the insert isn’t bad.  The picture isn’t great and it would look better with shine, but it’s still unique to the set and I like the colors.

No, Thanos!  Not Bryzzo!

This is not an Opening Day card.  It’s also a strange photo choice.  Nevermind the digital garbage.  Rizzo should be on the right and Bryant on the left so they could actually be, you know, back to back.

Heyward’s in the Animus

Lastly is another insert or a card shop giveaway thing that I didn’t follow very closely.  That’s why trades are so great.  Others fill in the collecting gaps by getting stuff you would never think to get yourself.

If I Were To Collect: San Diego Padres Edition

[The twenty-ninth in a series:  I’m picking one player that I associate with a team (whether they spent the majority of their career there or not) that I would strongly consider adding to my official want lists.  They may not always be superstars, or the most popular, and honestly they may not always be my favorite player from the team, but that’s what will make this fun, no?]

Here we are.  The second to last entry in the series.  All that remains after this is the Cubs, which I purposefully saved for last and have not yet created.  Enough about them, except to mention that they’re finishing up a series against today’s featured team.

This was a pretty tough decision, at least for the current runner up.  I’m just not familiar with the team and there’s a lot of turn around.  Then finding a card that would work took a little bit of time to search that I didn’t have until recently.  But here we are.  Penultimate post!

Anyone need Moments & Milestones cards?

Trevor Hoffman fits into my affinity for closers.  I know he’s a controversial hall of famer, but I think he was still a decent pitcher.  Maybe I would be better off picking the San Diego Chicken, although he wasn’t officially sanctioned by the team.  Realistically, I’m already collecting the one Padre I would care about, and Hoffman just seemed like the next best option for this exercise.

Insert joke about missing L

Current player runner-up:  Wil Myers

I was originally considering Andrew Cashner, but he’s since been traded and you don’t hear much about him these days (or I don’t).  I don’t hear much about Myers either, but I’m pretty sure he’s pretty good and would be a bigger name if he didn’t play for the Rays and now Padres.

Can’t hate that uniform

Retired player runner-upDave Winfield

Dave almost made the cut, but I have a soft spot for closers, as I mentioned and the combination of his Yankee days and the slipping into vintage territory makes this a tougher sell for me.

The Series So Far
Angels – (tie) Jim Abbott & Vladimir Guerrero
Astros – J.R. Richard
Athletics – Rickey Henderson
Blue Jays – Carlos Delgado
Braves – Steve Avery
Brewers – Bob Eucker
Cardinals – Jim Edmonds
Diamondbacks – Randy Johnson
Dodgers – Jackie Robinson
Giants – Kevin Mitchell
Indians – Jim Thome
Mariners – Felix Hernandez
Marlins – Giancarlo Stanton
Mets – (tie) Darryl Strawberry & Dwight Gooden
Nationals/Expos – (tie) Marquis Grissom & Delino DeShields
Orioles – Adam Jones
Padres – Trevor Hoffman
Phillies – Mike Schmidt
Pirates –  Andrew McCutchen
Rangers – Nolan Ryan
Rays/Devil Rays – Evan Longoria
Red Sox – Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd
Reds – Eric Davis
Rockies – Carlos Gonzalez
Royals – Bo Jackson
Tigers – Alan Trammell
Twins – Tony Oliva
White Sox – Paul Konerko
Yankees – Mariano Rivera

2018 Cubs – Seventh Ten Games

After giving us the best ten game stretch of the season, the team regressed a bit and went 5-5 in the next ten games. I’m pretty sure that at this point, we relinquished the division lead to the Brewers by the end of this and have not been able to take it back as of 7/11 when I’m writing this.  We’re about 90 games into the season and I’m already watching the standings and getting more excited about this race.  Should be fun!

Not exactly “The Thinker”

Win #37 – Lester – It seems like every start, he gets my pick for player of the game. The 2018 All-Star pitched 7 innings, allowed 1 hit, 2 walks, recorded 5Ks and 0 ER, and reduced his ERA even further to 2.22.

From the Mini set

Win #38 – Heyward – On the day, he and Albert Almora both went 3-6.  Jason would hit a key single in the 8th to tie the score at 2. Then, the Cubs scored 5 in the 11th inning to win.  3 RBI in that game were Jason’s.

Variations needed

Win #39 – Bryant – Kris snapped a homer-less streak of about a month in this game (this was prior to going on the DL as well).  Overall, he was 2-4, with 4 RBI in a 13-5 win over the Cardinals.

Same here

Win #40 – Schwarber – Nothing really stood out this game.  Kyle was 1-3, with only 1 RBI, but that run tied the game in the 5th.  He also recorded 2 walks, which is good for this impatient team.

4th All-Star in my opinion

Win #41 – In the second game of a doubleheader, the Cubs got another solid start from Mike Montgomery, but Albert Almora was 2-5, with a double and a game winning single in the 10th after Bryant’s triple. That put him at a .325 average on the year at that point, vying for the NL batting crown early.

Sammy Hits A Home Run Of A Trade For Me

A few months ago, I worked out a trade with Cubs Fan Stan (https://www.cubsfanstan.com/).  He serendipitously discovered through a twitter post I made about my selling on Sportlots that I had stuff he needed for his Sammy Sosa collection.  A little back and forth and I sent him some of the Stadium giveaway cards that I got a few years back (as well as the season ticket holder stamped variations I bought from a guy on craigslist), and he sent me some good stuff I needed in return.  It’s great meeting new Cubs fans and new trade partners and it looks like we’re already working on a second deal.  While we both look forward to that, let’s look back at my take away from the first one.

They don’t make a card for leading in HBP

We’ll start a little small with a Rizzo league leader card.  I didn’t buy a lot of 2017 Topps.  To be honest, I’ve been relying on potential trades for these, so it’s great to have that start to work.

Surprised they didn’t have to blur the batman logo

Ah, the famous rain tarp catch.  Honestly, it was a cool play, but not as mind blowing as people in Chicago treated it at the time.  Rizzo had plenty of time to sort of camp and plan his steps to get the ball.  Still a fun moment, for sure.

Glad I don’t need a million parallels of this too

As far as I know, Chrome didn’t add the Future Stars on the cards, although I could be wrong.  Either way, this is an insert from 2017 Update.  It’s the All-Rookie Cup team, I believe probably found in those mega boxes that I haven’t managed to try to search for.

There are parallels of this….

No reprint here.  I don’t remember, but I think these are retail specific.  I got a few in the packs I did open and they sold pretty well on Sportlots even without Bryant’s star power, so this is great.

I forgot he won this

This insert I know nothing about.  I’m trying to stay up on things, but things still slip through the cracks.  That’s where other people come in.

He’s on fire!

This was a surprise to see on his sportlots store.  Here’s a flame red parallel from the Target exclusive Fire set.  I opened a box of the stuff myself and trade bait from it will be posted at some point.  I also have a second box unopened that I’m saving in case I decide to do a group break or something.  In many trades this would be the cornerstone.

Deep in thought

However, it’s tough to top this!  That’s not a reprint.  I now have a Donruss rookie card!  I haven’t been actively searching for one yet, but hell if I’m going to turn this beauty away.

Thanks a lot for the great trade, Stan!  I look forward to trading with you again soon!

Introducing the Justin Grimm Collection

This is part five of a twenty-five part series chronicling my budding collections of the 2016 World Series champion Cubs.  Obviously, I’ve already starting showing off some of those cards, but I wanted to offer a formal introduction to the various players.  With my legacy player collections, I’m still going to attempt to show every single card on the blog, but with these new guys I’m taking a different approach as you’ll see here where I lump cards in one scan, and will probably skip many of the more basic cards I get unless I can get a good theme together.

I realized recently that if I’m going to do this series, that I might need to get some of the relievers out of the way first.  They don’t have very many cards overall, which means I don’t have many of their cards.  And if I’m doing other posts with various topics or themes that might include those cards, then I won’t have anything left over for this series.  So, hello Justin Grimm!  You’re next in line!

I started with 3 cards, which isn’t bad considering where I am now

Justin Grimm was originally drafted by Boston in 2007, but decided not to sign and was then drafted again in 2010 by the Texas Rangers (moving up 8 rounds).  He made his MLB debut in 2012 with the Rangers and started in 2 of his 5 games, garnering one win and a 9.00 ERA over 14 innings.

This is a nice, sturdy card on thick stock

Side note: This was the only Grimm card I found at NSCC.  Despite that performance, he was brought back to the Rangers the next year and started 17 more games.  That wound up with a 7-7 record and a 6.37 ERA.  That ended his starting career (so far, at least) as he was traded mid-season to the Cubs.  Coming to the Cubs was Mike Olt and Carl Edwards Jr. (and Neil Ramirez as the PTBNL) in exchange for Matt Garza going that way.  Worked out well for Chicago.

Earned his gold ring

Overall in his time with Chicago, Grimm was better as a reliever.  He gave us a 3.82 ERA over 5 years and 269 Ks in 235.2 innings and a 1.248 WHIP in the regular season.  In 2015, he was particularly good with an ERA under 2.  In the postseason that year, he allowed no runs in three games, 2 full innings and 4 Ks.  2016 Postseason was not as good, but he still contributed overall to the team and earned his ring.

These red pulsar cards are really nice

Ultimately, Justin was released by the team on March 15, 2018 and signed with the Royals a couple days later (and is currently on the DL as I’m writing this).  I wish him luck going forward.  He showed that he certainly has potential and he really gave us a lot of good innings when it mattered most.

March 2018 Ebay Wins

With all my time away from home recently, I had let my new acquisitions pile up, unscanned.  As far as Ebay stuff is concerned, I finally got around to logging them in my want lists and digitizing them for future posts through May.

March was a lighter month for me.  Work was getting really busy at this time as the reporting deadline approached, so my priority was to the 2000+ data submissions I had to monitor and cross-reference/triple check for accuracy.  It left less time for cards.  I still found a way to get a small stack, though.  I almost always do.

Perfect fielding position

Starting with this Bowman paper blue.  This is not the kind of card I would search for, but as we’ve seen in the past, it came from a seller where I bought something else.  I paired this with a BIN for a pink parallel you’ll see below.

Not sticking these in the album

This may look like an unusual purchase, but I collect the MLB Sticker albums each year.  I’m still in need of A LOT, so if you want to trade, check out my want/have lists.  The past two years, they’ve bastardized the thing by putting stickers into Opening Day as case hits.  You can read my rant about it on this linked post.  I found a breaker that had the whole set for a low price and jumped on it.  Haven’t seen one cheaper since.

Leading the league in cheap ebay wins

This is not the pink I was talking about.  This is a typical auction win.  Patience pays off as I ignore all the higher priced starting bids for months.

A lot of parallels to go

This is what came with the Maddux.  I don’t do a lot of BINs, but if the card is listed for the same price or lower than a minimum bid + s/h, then yeah, I’ll take it.  These parallels look better on the horizontal cards.

Spanish for “The Mago”

Lastly, we have what was my very first 2018 card acquired.  Through March I had not bought any 2018 packs (I have since) and all the auctions were still too high.  I don’t know how I lucked into this Baez blaster manu-relic thing, since it’s numbered out of 50.  Every once in a while things go my way, even if work (at the time) wasn’t.  April is when I was set free.  We’ll see if the purchases reflected that.