Introducing the Kyle Hendricks Collection

This is part eleven 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 think it’s about time I start mixing in a few of the bigger names again.  I’ve covered most of the guys with a smaller amount of cards to chase and most of the relief pitchers.  Let’s take a look at the second starter to be featured.

Rarely show the card backs on the blog

I started my collection with only two cards, both from the team blister sets.  That shouldn’t be too surprising since Kyle didn’t have a ton of cards up through 2016.

I picked up a healthy amount of cards in the 2017 NSCC

Kyle was drafted by the Angels way back in 2008, but never signed.  Then he re-entered the draft in 2011 after attending college and his stock rose from the 39th round to the 8th with the Rangers.  I didn’t have any Rangers cards to show until very recently but he did appear in one year of Bowman Chrome.

There are so many parallels to find after all

The next year Kyle Hendricks was traded to the Cubs along with Christian Villanueva in exchange for my player collection guy Ryan Dempster.

Still need 4 more Dominators between regular and Optic

He then quickly rose through the minor league ranks and was named the Cubs minor league pitcher of the year for 2013.

Chrome parallels have become some of the worst offenders of bloat

In 2014, he made his MLB debut to take the place of traded starters Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.  Kyle earned the honor of Rookie of the Month for August and actually ended up finishing in the top ten (7th) for ROY voting.

Thankfully no one cares about anything that isn’t gold or rarer

The 2015 season wasn’t as strong, but still better than most Cubs fans would have expected.  He ended the season with a barely sub 4.00 ERA and a winning record (despite 17 no decisions).  That whole season was quite surprising for the Cubs and led to a lot of high expectations for the next year.

Come the 2019 NSCC, I’ll probably have a lot more of these parallels

Hendricks fulfilled those expectations by leading all of MLB in ERA for the year and ending the season with a WHIP under 1.000.  He also almost got himself a no-hitter against the Cardinals.  He was a key part of a very effective rotation that lead the Cubs to the playoffs.

I need more Donruss than I do Topps from 2018

In the playoffs, Kyle largely continued his success.  In the NLCS, he notched 11 Ks over two games, but still lost one despite only giving up 1 run in those two appearances.  He pitched 7.1 innings in the clinching game 6.  Then in the World Series, he pitched two games, including the classic game 7.  1 Earned run and 8 Ks in those two games as well.  His performances drew a lot of comparisons to Greg Maddux and earned him the nickname of The Professor as a result.

This is a fantastic picture

The next two years didn’t match the magic of 2016, but he’s still been quite good and consistent.  The card companies have taken some notice, of course and the cardboard quest has exploded since 2017.  Overall, through 2018, I need 239 cards.  For perspective, after 2016, it was only 55.  The good news is that there are so many other big Cubs names that Hendricks cards are pretty cheap.  I guess that’s why I’m already over 25% done by the time this “introduction” went live.

What Garbage (Pail Kids) Trades!

It’s funny how trades come in waves.  I already showed off a run of sticker trades that came in quick succession.  Today, I have two trades for my Garbage Pail Kids collections.  These are tough to trade for on a primarily baseball blog.  There’s not as much cross-pollination as I might hope.  I really should try a message board or something one of these days, but I’m sure it will just be a thing I think about doing and never actually do (you know, like most of life).  Anyway, through the magic of twitter, I found my first of two featured trade partners in Colbey (flywheels). You all know him from previous trades, affordable group breaks and his blog Cardboard Collections.

If only the backs were as creative

We swapped a handful of the horror themed set that was released late last year, and here’s a sampling.  The themes have been a good idea for the newer GPK stuff and I like that they can get deep into the pop culture of the topic that way.  My childhood paranoia kept me away from horror stuff for decades, but I’m slowly getting acquainted with some of the stuff I missed.  I also used to work at a video store (back when those were a thing) so I at least know the references from the VHS and DVD boxes.

We haven’t come that far

Of course, spoofing pop culture has always been the goal of the Garbage Pail Kids as we see with this great trade package from Johnny’s Trading Spot.  I don’t have any of these original run cards on my want list page. I know I have a bunch back in my parents house that I need to find and sift through.  Also, the aforementioned difficulty in trading for GPK in general makes it a low priority.

But I’ll be damned if I’m going to say no to accepting a healthy stack in a trade if it’s offered to me.  Johnny sent me a bunch and I just picked a few of the classic highlights.

More of this please

Some of them even had back variants. Having the same front, but different backs is not something I knew was a possibility back then.  The backs of these are sometimes better than the fronts.  Puzzle backs, comics, silly games, profiles, etc.  Just awesome and something that’s sorely missing from the newer releases.  Now they don’t do anything other than a color coded background with subsets.  I miss this extra care.

But, I appreciate the care packages from Colbey and Johnny very much.  If anyone else wants to join the bandwagon, hop on over to my want/trade list for all the 2010-present GPK sets and you too can have a trade featured on this blog months later.

January 2019 Ebay Wins

My December takeaways from Ebay were quite something.  I found a card that I never saw on offer for 8 years, after all.  After that high, January tended to be on the low side.  I also decided to hold back a little bit, because I need to conserve money for now.  The holidays were expensive.  In addition to gifts and travel and being out with people, I also spent a lot of money repairing my car.  Those charges all hit my January credit card bill.  February is probably going to be lighter as well.

Honestly, part of that is also not finding as much that I want.  Maybe that will change with 2019 S1 coming out, but so far the parallels I’m watching are still in the honeymoon phase.  I’ll let those early adopters get theirs and I’ll hold back and see if I can get the .99 + shipping soon.

His face hadn’t grown into his eyes yet

First up today is a filler card. One of my wins came with about 15 random cards of padding.  I don’t remember which it was.  Well, it turned out I needed this underage Almora card.

Maybe 2019 winner as well – probably not, but maybe

Another filler.  I also needed this insert from last year’s update that I didn’t even know existed until I saw it.  I wonder if it was a retail exclusive or something.

Long journey is over

This card was actually from December but it got lost in the mail.  I kind of lost track of things a bit and noticed it as I was going through my monthly feedback session (yeah, I’m one of those jerks that doesn’t leave feedback right away and does it in batches).  I thought this card had arrived, but it didn’t and I contacted the seller who didn’t provide tracking initially and assumed it was my first PWE shipping gone wrong and requested a refund.  Well, he sent it with tracking and it was stuck somewhere in USPS.  The seller was nice enough to refund my card anyway.  Then a couple weeks after that, it showed up randomly.  I feel bad that it went down like that and I’m actually watching another Schwarber from that same seller right now.

Future 2019 Cy Young winner – okay, much less likely

Now on to one of the two cards I won in this month.  I’ve seen the League Leader Hendricks vintage stock come through a bunch, but I got that early on.  Finally, this one hit without a high starting bid, and I was able to add a copy.

Only missing the blue for Lester

It’s been fun picking these Big League parallels off little by little.  I still have a lot of them to go, but I appreciate that they can usually be had for cheap.  And they’re a lot nicer looking than the black and white negative things that regular Topps has.

Maddux Overload – 2001 Edition

2001.

The Baltimore Ravens beat the New York Giants to become NFL champions, which some people actually care about for whatever reason.

The Los Angeles Lakers win another title, this time against the ’76ers.  Michael Jordan also un-retired again and joined the Wizards but it wasn’t enough to get me to watch basketball again.  On the WNBA side, neither Houston or New York made it to the finals. This time it was the LA Sparks over the Charlotte Sting.

Evander Holyfield loses the Heavyweight Boxing title to John Ruiz, but I don’t know if people still cared about boxing at this point.

Lance Armstrong wins the Tour de France. Again.  Oh, oops.  Wait.  No he officially didn’t. Again.

Tiger Woods wins the Masters after missing out the previous year.

The New Jersey Devils are denied a third Stanley Cup as they lose to the Colorado Avalanche.

The Arizona Diamondbacks win their first title after only existing for 4 years, making Cubs fans everywhere collectively say “WTF”.  The Yankees were on the losing end, and the Mariners couldn’t make it to the World Series despite 116 wins.  Also, Barry Bonds hit an * amount of home runs.

And in 2001, card manufacturers released 274 cards of Greg Maddux that I deemed worthy of my collecting efforts.

Thanks to the generosity of reader Jeremy, originally mentioned in our landmark 500th post (and in my 1993 Overload post, and 1994 post, and 1995 post, and 1996 post and 1997 post and 1998 post and 1999 post and 2000 post), I now have 28 more of those cards as I did before.

2001 Before Jeremy – 20/274 cards – 7%

2001 After Jeremy – 48/274 cards (including zero upgrades) – 18%

2001 saw the third year of declining card needs in a row. This time it only went down by 30 or so, but having 274 cards for a year is a far cry from 659 in 1998.  It’ll be all back uphill from here for another five years (and let’s not talk about 2007 & 2008 yet).

In the many years since Jeremy’s package, I’ve acquired 23 more 2001 cards, bringing my total to 71 for the year ’01, and putting me at nearly 26% for that year.  Still, as always, there’s plenty of progress yet to be made.  For now, let’s focus on what Jeremy sent.

Down, up, right, B, A, Start

As always, we start at the top of the alphabet and work our way down.  Absolute Memorabilia had not become the behemoth it would later, although it does stay true to its name in that the other three cards I need are all relics.

Dust parallel

This is pretty much the same as a Pujols or Ichiro to me.  Crazy that there aren’t regular refractors in this set (X and Gold).

Black and white means old

I think this was the first year of Bowman Heritage, which is no longer a thing.  I need the chrome version of this to complete the product.

The open angle should point the other way

Even more Bowman. This time it’s the Best which has never actually been best. This set is already done because I guess they saved the numbered stuff for rookies and prospects.

Bunch of stars

Donruss is much more complex than Bowman at this stage.  It’s also not very pretty.

And here are the stripes

If anyone can tell me if Donruss actually had a fan club thing you could pay for, let me know.

Just need the refractor

This is one of the Finest designs I’m least familiar with.  I don’t know if Pujols and Ichiro were in these, but that could be why.

Error 404 – Good Design not found

Engage biometric scans.  ENHANCE!

Not an actual RC

They don’t make cards for Shutouts anymore.  I can’t possibly imagine why that would be.

Need a few relics from this set

I don’t know if Premium was a premium product in 2001, but it certainly doesn’t feel like one to me.

Step it up

Fleer Showcase.  More like Fleer Staircase.

Not your tradition, Fleer

When I came back into collecting, I didn’t fully realize how much of a Topps rip-off these and the Upper Deck Vintage were.  I know I had this photo filter on my computer – no special programs required for that garbage.

No one’s tradition

I don’t know what this is supposed to reference, but this fake plaque’s off-center text bugs me.

Need a few more of these made public

I’m missing a lot of Private Stock cards.  11 to be exact, including what appears to be three relics.

Buy 8 positions, get the 9th free

Ugh.  I still don’t know why people like this set. It’s nothing but white on white.

Captured!

I thought that there was a chrome version of this, but I guess not.  All that’s left for Stadium Club is a dirt relic, a couple low numbered parallels and a Diamond Pearls insert.

Need the gold parallel

I know some people don’t like foil on their cards, but I love this etched gold foil.  The teal grows on me as years go on as well.

Nugget Anniversary

Great, now I want some nuggets.  BBQ sauce for me.  Ranch if we’re talking tenders.

Anime Maddux

Oh, Topps Fusion.  The pre-cursor to Panini Chronicles.  I wonder if this will ever be rebooted.

Nothing says gold label like stitched denim

I hope not.  The cards look fine, but the customer confusion isn’t worth it.

That’s not his fan autograph

Well, now I don’t have to track down a box of the first Heritage release.  2008 and 2009 Heritage was a big part of how I came back to collecting.

Let me know if you bought packs of this back then.

It’s also the reason I quickly abandoned set collecting.  Here’s the black back. I just need the New Age Performers and Chrome.

Consider it reserved for me

I need a jersey card for this too.  That seems to be the shift. Instead of a bunch of parallels, I need hits (and the others).

Preview of Stadium Club 2021’s font

Oh, Ultra. How you still existed. 2 parallels and an insert to go.

Kids on the street. Kids on the beat.

This is a pre-Documentary card.  It’s something that’s been done several times, but this is a good iteration of the newspaper theme.

Stats on the front

A one and done set for me. Nothing more to chase from Evolution, which is much more bland than the name would suggest.

Yup, Legend fits.

This one is also done. There was a jersey card I needed separately and I got that at some point over the past 10 years.

Feel the game

Any card that has texture is okay by me. This is another set that’s done as well. I need more of that.

Need one more from this set too

Look at that. We’re already at the end!  Victory!

Give me a little more time and we’ll get this series finished yet.  Thanks, as always to Jeremy – wherever you are.  I’ll see you again in 2002.

A Quick, Hot Trade

There was a little bit of a winter lull, but recently, I’ve been getting a few packages in my mailbox from you kind people.  That means I need to be even more diligent in getting caught up with my existing backlog of trades.  I’m getting closer, if you don’t count all of those multi-post trades that I’ve introduced but haven’t finished showcasing.

Well, today’s quick post needs no second part.  It doesn’t even need a second card.  Back in October or so, I think, I worked out a trade with Adam from ARPSmith’s Sportscard Obsession. In one of my rare spurts of reading blogs (sorry, everyone. I do want to be better about being consistent and commenting), I noticed that he pulled a certain card out of 2018 Fire that I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on.

It’s sort of like the James Bond opening thing

For a retail only product, there are far too many relic and autograph combinations and parallels, and I imagine that many of them will not see the light of day for a while (I imagine a percentage is being hoarded for future sales based on a big rookie class or some crap).  I’m also hoping that in future years, I’ll find a good portion of these in card show boxes after the hype and star power has died down.

For now, I was happy to send over whatever it was I sent in exchange for this Green relic #/75.  I’m not sure how green relates to fire, but that’s not important.  The important thing is that this one has been obtained.  Thank you very much, Adam!  Hope we can work out another trade again sometime.

2019 Goals

Well, I guess this new year is here to stay.  I’m not one to make resolutions, but it can’t hurt too much to make some attainable goals for the year. I’ve thought about several different areas of life and hobbies and I wanted to touch on all of them here.  Let’s get started in no particular order.

Organization – I’ve been working on this starting with the most recent releases to the older.  I currently have just about everything from 2011-2018 sorted by year (for baseball) and nearly everything from 2015-2018 listed on Sportlots and sorted by set & number, etc (check out my store here – and I’m open to trading just about everything on there). The exceptions to this are newer boxes I bought on black friday and then also random assorted doubles and extras that came in trade packages.  My hope for this year is to get through at least 2012 in terms of sorting by set & number and get them listed.

Using this opportunity to post random cards

Selling – I want to try to start selling cards in bulk.  Trading is great, but the people that have contacted me about trades haven’t been willing to take dozens of base cards off my hands, or at least not willing to ask.  On twitter, I’ve talked about selling base cards for 5 cents or less per to try to clean out inventory, so I’d like to give that a shot and maybe use the blog to facilitate that a bit.

Because I also need to post more of my older card scans

Player Collections – My collections are progressing nicely, but having so many new cards made for Maddux and Thomas each year makes it tough.  My Maddux collection is at 23.78% as of today. It would be great to hit 25%, which likely means adding another 100 cards to counter any 2019 stuff. There are no other major percentage milestones that seem possible for the older guys.  I could hit 1000 unique Gwynn cards, though. For my 2016 Cubs, I just want to keep adding what I can. They still seem so new that I don’t really want to focus on any specific player or goals for them.

And all of these you see will be the last card to post out of a multi-card scan

NSCC – First step is to go, and that shouldn’t be a problem unless health gets in the way and takes my cash.  Otherwise, I might put together a separate post about my goals for the show as it gets closer. The long and short of it is to hit the dollar boxes (and cheaper) hard and then try to find some heavy hitters for the big six. Get cheap relics and autos of the 2016 Cubs where possible and be on the lookout for oddballs.

This almost counts as an oddball

Establish Most Wanted Lists – Several bloggers have this and it is something I’ve thought about doing for a while. The biggest obstacle is where to put them.  I don’t know if I should put them on the already lengthy want list page or create a new page for them. Maybe I put it on a sidebar if I can figure out how to add that.

2012 Topps Mini has been sitting unposted since 2012

Master Sets and Other Sets – I’ll probably wait until I go through a couple more rounds of trade bait and the NSCC, but I would like to make some headway on Bunt or Big League or Past & Present basketball.  I’ll likely use some of the credit I’ve built up on Sportlots to make a dent.  I’m slowly chipping away at my 95-96 basketball insert quest as well, so maybe I can fill in a few holes in that too.

Garbage Pail Kids – I’d love to finish another set if I could (want & trade lists here), but it’s hard to find trade partners and a place to buy cheap singles. I don’t expect much progress on this.

Maybe I’ll write a post showing my scanning to posting process

Trading – I’ll plan to put up a few waves of trade bait again this year. I need to do that organizing to make that week long trade fest possible.  I also say this every year, but I do want to start being more pro-active and checking other blogger want lists, but it will depend on how well I can balance my hobbies.

Ugh, I hate thinking about needing more minis

Health – I don’t talk a lot about my health on here.  I’m going through some fun stuff, and I’ll probably write a post in a week or two about that.  But what I’m going through with my stomach has allowed me to lose about 20 pounds within 6 months in 2018.  I’m sitting at around 180 pounds (at my heaviest, I was 215). My goal is to hit 170 and see if I still want to take a few more pounds off.  I think this is possible, but I also won’t be too upset if I stay at my current size.

So many more cards to post

Video Games – I’m a collector of Original gray cart Game Boy games and I want all the US released games.  I’m doing well with that collection as well and my first step is to get to 50% of the 510 releases.  I’m at 246 right now, so just 9 more will do it.  It’s tough to find enough games I need in lots to make it worth it, so I’ll have to start buying them individually at market value.  I’d love to hit 300 by year’s end, but I’m sure I’ll miss that mark.

But I don’t only collect them, my goal is also to beat every Game Boy game (only 505 are beatable).  I started streaming on Twitch as Floating Platforms in April last year and that’s how I spend about half of my late nights.  I would love to hit 50 followers on Twitch this year, but that’s not exactly within my control (please follow if you’re interested!).  Last year, I didn’t stream as much as I wanted because of my health and other factors.  This year should be better for that so my goal is to beat 25 new games this year. I’m at 4 so far already, which puts me temporarily ahead of schedule.

Movies – I’m also a movie lover and I go in spurts with reviewing them.  I actually have over 30 completed reviews that I haven’t posted on my other blog, Steaming Pile Movie Reviews.  My goal for watching movies is to see 75 on the year (currently at 4 – last year’s total with no goal was 55).  I’d love to review all of those as well, but I’m about 10 behind and my interest in writing them comes and goes, so realistically it won’t happen.

Language – Lastly, I want to learn more Japanese.  Late last year, my wife and I took a beginner’s class at the Japanese Cultural Center here. That was only 6 total hours in class, but it was a great start and I got a few more workbooks for Christmas this year.  We want to go to Japan at some point in the future, possibly 2020, and so I want to get more comfortable with the language throughout the year.

There may be more, but honestly, that’s quite a busy year ahead of me.  I wanted to put a few non-collecting things in here because my hobbies and life do certainly affect my collecting and the time I can devote to it, so it’s a factor whether we want it to be or not.  For instance, my dog makes it difficult to organize because he has to be in the room with me or my wife (due to his own issues) and he wants to run away if I do too much at once. I usually can only find time to organize when my wife isn’t home, so it limits what I can do.  Just one example, but you get the idea.

You may have noticed I didn’t put any specific blog goals on here.  That’s because I still don’t know what the heck I’m doing with this thing and I don’t want to make any assumptions or promises. I’ve had to take long, unexpected absences before and while I don’t think that will happen again, you never know.

Surviving The Polar Vortex

I’m sure we’ve all heard about the polar vortex that hid the midwest this week.  I’ve been through a few harsh winters, a couple of them have damaged my home and I’m just hoping that I’m protected well enough now.

As I write this, it is only -11 degrees F with a wind chill of -31 in Chicago.  I’m lucky enough to work from home, so I didn’t have to worry about commuting.  My wife works downtown, but her firm closed today and she has the option to work from home tomorrow as well.

We have enough food for the week, so the only reason to leave the house at all during these three coldest days is to take our dog out.

Time to show off some chilly looking cards

My dog absolutely loves walking and being in the snow to the point where he ignores his pain just to sniff a few more tracks or trees.  In this weather, it’s rough because the sidewalk is heavily salted and it gets in his paw pads and he’s hurting before he can even get to our normal areas.

Someone done froze the border

So, one way we prepared was to buy a new set of boots for him. We’ve tried some before, but he’s a big fluff ball and they don’t fit and he’s not happy about us putting anything on, so he tries to take them off instantly if they fit.  These are much better. They’re like socks with velcro straps so it’s easy to put on.  No salt or snow clumps getting stuck in his pads now.

Oh no! The snow is falling in Wrigley

But we can’t walk for these three days which is confusing for him. We’re staying in the front yard (which we’re not supposed to do) so we can be out and in as soon as possible.

Icy windshield

That’s pretty important.  I’m outside for less than 5 minutes at a time and my throat and nose have been irritated for the entire day.  Amazing how rough it is, even with your back to the wind.

I don’t know. Snow sparkles, I hear. You can fall in the snow.

They say that in this weather that you shouldn’t even talk outside because it lets more cold air in that could freeze your sinuses.  I certainly believe it.

You need good tires to drive in this stuff

I’m thankful that my heater works and that I changed the filter not too long ago.

Visibility may be limited if the snow drifts too much in the wind

I’m also thankful that we did have those house issues in those previously bitter cold winters, because that forced us to open up some drywall and further insulate our kitchen pipes and find an area where cold air could get in to patch it up.  Other units along this row have had those pipes burst.  Still, our fridge water dispenser will freeze and has done so today. That’s why we bought bottled water a week ago in preparation and still keep the sink running at a trickle.

It’s so cold the walls are freezing over

Our major house issues came about when there were massive snows and then shortly after, it rained.  We’ve been okay for a couple years, but I’m still very worried about it all.  Because, guess what….

The real scary stuff

Within a few days, they’re talking about 40-50 degree weather and possible storms.  Surviving the polar vortex seems pretty easy with a working heater.  Surviving the storms after the recent snowfalls may be another matter.  Nature is dangerous.

Stick and Trade, Stick and Trade Again

I love trading for stickers.  These are some of the easiest transactions I ever make.  Back in the heyday of the blog, I would have random parents reaching out to me to help complete their kids’ albums.  That hasn’t happened in a while, but as long as progress is being made overall, I’m happy.

Trades come in waves and in quick succession, I had two people come forward and claim some of my many doubles off of my trade & want lists (still need help with 2013-2018 albums if you have any you want to trade).  I don’t like to combine trades from multiple people, but I’m afraid I’m going to make an exception in this case.  These guys have been waiting since October, and I’m inching closer to being caught up with trades.

Anyway, the first is from Reader Dan (if you do have a blog, I deeply apologize for my ignorance).

Nice haul from Dan

I got a wonderful stack of stuff from Dan that went into the album as soon as I could make that happen.  The Rizzo and Lester are separate because they’re going with my player collections instead.

The next trade that came in shortly after is Kyle at Nolan’s Dugout.  He’s a regularly seen name on the blog and I know we’re very likely going to trade again soon.  I personally chose to keep it stickers only this time so I could get myself organized.

Gotta get ready for 2019

That didn’t stop Kyle from sending this fun assortment of stickers from the past three years of albums.  And, once again, those top 4 are for my player binders instead.

Thank you both for the quick and easy trades.  Hopefully as the 2019 sticker rolls around, we can do it again!

Introducing the Pedro Strop Collection

This is part ten 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.

Pedro Strop has been a solid piece of the Cubs bullpen for several years now.  In 2018, he posted his second lowest ERA while with the team and a WHIP under 1.00. The bullpen in general has been a bit of a roller coaster, but Stropy stays consistent.

Excitement!

I only had this one card by the time I started gathering up stuff. That’s not too surprising when dealing with a relief pitcher.  One is better than none.

Bright shiny cards from the darker days

Pedro was originally signed by the Colorado Rockies way back in 2002 and was released in 2008. He then signed with the Rangers later that year.

The purple works pretty well with Ranger blue

He debuted in the majors for Texas on August 28, 2009 and did not fare very well in those first couple years.  That caused him to be the player to be named later sent to the Baltimore Orioles in 2011.

I’m farthest along with this rainbow

Then, in 2013, in the trade of the decade for the Cubs, Pedro Strop and Jake Arrieta and money came to the Cubs in exchange for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman.  Oh, Pedro was also part of the World Baseball Championship winning Dominican Republic team.

He has no cards from 2014, so that helps

So, fast forward to 2016 and in the postseason, he faced 22 batters over 5.2 innings spread over the three series (2 scoreless innings in the World Series).  In that whole span, he only allowed 4 hits and 2 runs, while striking out three.  Pretty important appearances and outs recorded on our way to the championship.

No more retail parallel sets, which helps

It’s great that Pedro was able to put things together after he arrived in Chicago and is still doing well.  In terms of collecting, it’s a small road of only 80 cards through 2018.  Of course, as always, most of those are going to be parallels with about 10 minor league cards as well. He’s been in Chrome and Heritage once each, otherwise it’s basically all regular topps and their online exclusive stuff.  So, it’s a small road, but a bumpy one.

Hall of Fame Dream Team

Sorry in advance, because the title of this post is not going to match what you thought you were going to get.

I rarely remember my dreams.  It’s extremely common that I will dream something and then as soon as I open my eyes, it’s gone from my memory.  For the past year or so, I have experienced this strange phenomenon where I will remember my dream the next night.  Meaning I wake up and forget and then at night I go to bed and finally recall my dream momentarily (and it’s gone the next morning).

Imagine my surprise when I woke one day and remembered my dream about baseball pretty well.  And then imagine my shock when the next night I had a different dream about baseball and remembered that one too!  I mean, I have to document this rare occurrence, especially since the dreams included me interacting with people I collect.

With the Hall of Fame announcements made yesterday, I thought now would be a good time to relay the events of the first dream.

The first baseball dream took place in this fancy convention center or hotel. I remember I was walking down to this balcony with a curved walkway and railing, probably about 5-10 stories up.  When I arrived, dressed in pretty nice clothes but nothing that ended up fitting the occasion, I saw Greg Maddux standing there.  There were some other people around the floor or lobby or whatever you want to call it (I remember several sets of double doors like what you would see in a grand hall or auditorium, although we never went in), but not a big crowd at all.

I didn’t get a chance to talk to Greg at all before he got behind a podium and started giving a speech congratulating me on my entry into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame!  It wasn’t until he started talking that I remembered playing baseball at all, but I didn’t think I was that good and I didn’t even know I was eligible for the hall, let alone elected to join.

I got the call

He started talking about how he admired my pitching (I guess I was a pitcher) and that so many people said that we had similar styles and approaches.  It was all incredibly touching in the dream world.  In the real world, my brain was easily reminding me that this was a dream because the crowd was so light (with no other baseball players in attendance) and no one seemed to be paying attention except for me.

After the speech, I briefly thanked him and told him I would have no idea that he even knew I existed and that it was a huge honor to have him speak about my career, etc.  Then I went downstairs to another level where there was a small reception and my family was there. They didn’t find it worthwhile to listen to the speech either and were down there with the food and cakes and drinks and asked how it all went.

That’s all I remember.  It was so strange to receive what I knew was a huge, exclusive honor and then have absolutely no one care.  A legend in my own mind, I suppose.

The second dream, I was playing in the MLB All-Star Game as part of the Cubs.  I wasn’t a pitcher in this one, but I don’t know what position I played.  My mind joined the dream in the third or fourth inning and the NL was down 6-0.  Kyle Hendricks made the AS squad, but gave up some of those runs, so it was up to us to try to comeback.

Foreshadowing an AS nod in 2019 perhaps

Somehow we scored a couple runs in the bottom of the inning and I was on third base.  I know Javier Baez was there and I think he might have pushed me over to third (not sure if I walked, got a single or double or what).

I think Contreras was also on the roster

So, I’m on third and David Ross comes up to bat.  He’s still retired, but somehow made the team.  He knocked a long double into the outfield and I was able to trot home. After I touched the bag, I jogged back up the third base line into the dugout and saw David had stopped at second and yelled at him “You could have stretched it into a triple, grandpa!” which made him laugh.

My new best friend

At that point it was 6-4 and unfortunately my brain had enough for one week with remembering stuff.  The comeback would not be completed, but at least I once again go to have a brief sensation of being a popular, good baseball player.  That’s what dreams are for, sometimes.

I wonder how many other sports dreams I’ve had in the past that got swept away with my eye crust.  If I happen to remember anymore, I’ll let you know.