Thursday, March 26, 2015

Shine On You Beautiful Catcher



One of the young Seattle Mariners that I am building a collection around is Mike Zunino. The catcher position doesn’t seem to get the love that a lights out pitcher or hard hitting outfielder gets but Seattle fans love their backstops. Guys like Dave Valle, Dan Wilson and Kenji Johjima were always in the hearts of Mariners fans and Zunino is continuing that role.

I have a couple of Zunino cards and while I am looking to add a relic for a Zunino trifecta I have also been watching this 2013 Leaf Rookie Retro Genetic Matrix card for about a year. Initially the seller had it at $9.99 earlier this year and sold a couple but he eventually dropped it to $7.99 and finally $4.99 a couple of months ago. He was down to 1 left so I finally bought it to add it to my Mariners collection.

I have a couple of these Leaf Rookie Retro Genetic Matrix card, so far 6 total include a Puig, Te’o and Geno Smith. I am a just a sucker for these cards and as long as I can get a deal I don’t mind adding some to my collection. I eventually want to add a Lillard to my collection, after that I don’t know if I want to just complete the set or cherry pick players.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

This Is Why We Cant Have Good Things


I came across an interesting card when I was posting my write up about Steve Nash’s retirement. This card is one of those that when you pull it you are full of excitement and then you flip it over and you feel the let down wash over your body.

So you pull it and you see Bird, Dr. J and LeBron James and you think “Hell Yes!” Six relics and the first three are awesome, this is when you start thinking about who could be on the back side. Could it be Magic Johnson, Kobe or maybe Derrick Rose and that is when you flip it over and you hear

 

 Paul Pierce, O.J. Mayo and Michael Beasley…

OK, Pierce had just won an NBA Title and Boston was looking good and all things considered Pierce has had a very good career and a possible Hall of Fame enshrinement but he doesn’t seem to belong with the three on the front.

Beasley and Mayo were the #2 and #3 picks in the 2008 NBA Draft so Upper Deck was playing the odds by putting them on the card but both players, while decent, have had attitude and off-court issues. Both players have moved around in their young career (three teams for Mayo and 4 teams for Beasley including 3 stints with Miami and one season in China) and they have been role players at best, they will never be the face of a franchise or a power player leading a team to the playoffs let along the NBA Finals.

I wish companies would not create relic and autograph cards that pair a prospect and superstar/HOFer together. There may be initial secondary value but it devalues the cards if the prospects do not pan out. I know it is a chance with any player and the companies do not have a crystal ball so it is all a roll of the dice, but this is why it is not wise to join them together in the first place.
 
The auction ended without selling with the starting bid set at $43.21 plus $2.32 shipping. This was an overstretch by the seller, I really think that a card like this would possibly sell if the starting bid was set in the $10-15 range and even then might finish at the $20 mark.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Helping Those In Need


Over the past couple of years Upper Deck has made some steps to help the community, especially when it comes to children. For as much as they have been in hot water over questionable practices this definitely shines the company in a different light.

In 2013 they created a “Star Rookie” for Jack Hoffman, who was 7-years old at the time, who is fighting brain cancer. In 2014 Upper Deck created two cards, an Inspirations card for Jacklyn Murphy and a Star Rookie card for Jack Miller.

This year they are stepping up to support Lauren Hill, who is fighting DIPG a rare form of brain cancer, and The Cure Starts Now Foundation. Lauren Hill made headlines after being told she was in countdown days with less than 3 months left to survive and set a goal of playing a game for her college team Mount St. Joseph. She has since beaten the doctors initial 3 months and has set goals for 2015 which include making it to events later this year.

The Cure Stars Now Foundation was selling Hill’s cards for $10 and autographed versions for $50, which have since sold out. I missed out on the previous three cards, you can not even find them on eBay, so this time I wanted to be able to help and while I couldn’t cover the $50 autographed version I was able to pick up the $10 base card.

Everyone has been affected by cancer in some way, it is a horrible disease with no cure and every little bit helps.
 
The cards for Jack Hoffman, Jaclyn Murphy and Jack Miller are no longer available but you can still make donations through their charity pages
For Jack Hoffman: Team Jack Foundation 
For Jaclyn Murphy and Jack Miller: Friends of Jaclyn Foundation
To purchase a Lauren Hill card or make a donation: The Cure Stars Now

For a quick follow up;
Jack Hoffman, who is now 9-years old, is again going through treatment after his cancer returned in August 2014.

Jaclyn Murphy is 20-years old and in remission, she is currently in college working on her Communications degree. She is involved in her foundation and other charities helping children with cancer.

Jack Miller is 9-years old and has been battling brain cancer for 6 years, he is trying to get involved in a clinical trial in Washington D.C. but things are not looking good as his tumor continues to grow at an aggressive rate.

Lauren Hill, who is 19-years-old, was able to play a couple of games for her college team Mount St. Joseph but in December was forced to step away from the team due to her health. Her doctors have given her less than a year to live but she is taking everything one day at a time.


 


Monday, March 23, 2015

Enjoy Your Retirement Steve


This past weekend Steve Nash announced his retirement after 18.5 seasons in the NBA. He spent 10 years in Phoenix, 6 in Dallas and 2.5 abysmal years in Los Angeles. It was after another injury plagued season that he decided to hang up his shoes having played in only 65 games over the last 3 seasons.

During his career he played with some of the greats over the past two decades like Kevin Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. He isn’t an opposing player, standing 6’3” and weighing 180 lbs. but his speed was blinding and he sure knew how to control a game earning 2 MVP Awards and being selected for 8 All-Star Games. Unfortunately he never made it to the BIG GAME, falling short in the Western Conference Finals twice.

His last couple of season in Los Angeles he was just a fraction of his former self and it was depressing to watch him try to push through his back problems on a team that was also just a fraction of their former selves.

Nash is loved here in Phoenix, even though he did move on to the Lakers he is still beloved in the Valley. He is one of those guys that is so easy to like and so easy to collect. Here are a couple of my favorite Nash cards that I have picked up over the years.

His 1996-97 UD3 Rookie Card. Not even close to being one of his more expensive RCs but I have loved this card since I pulled it from a pack, the wood texture and image in the shape of the key is so cool of a design.

 A couple of 2005-06 SPx Winning Materials warm ups. I picked these up for a couple of bucks each. I liked the different colors so I got two.
A 2007-08 Stadium Club Beam Team relic. I love the Stadium Club sets and was so happy when Topps re-released the product in 2007. I pulled his Nash Beam Team relic and an Allen Iverson relic out of the same box.

 This last one I pulled from a tin of 2009-10 SP Game Used Basketball. It includes six swatches and is #/99 and as ecstatic as I was there was a bit of a let down too. The COA on the secondary card was stuck just above Nash’s relic and tore the paper a bit. Also the Nash, Billups and Iverson relics are not fit properly inside the die-cut and are hanging out. I pulled the card like this in 2010 but decided not to get an exchange when I heard horror stories about what some companies consider “Fair value trade”. I wasn’t looking forward to getting a Hasheem Thabeet rookie card #/750 or a Danny Green sticker autograph as a replacement.

Friday, March 20, 2015

GPK Goes MLB


Now some good news from the Topps front.

A little unannounced surprise from Topps in the recent 2015 Topps Garbage Pail Kids release, there are MLB players autographs included. When I did a quick peek on the product last week I had even written how cool it would be to see GPK versions of Mantle, Mays, Campanella, McGwire and Clemens. We may not seem them but we will see GPK versions of players like Josh Donaldson, Manny Machado, Mike Piazza and Joey Votto. The official checklist has not been announced so there may be additional players.

The cards are based on the 2015 Topps Baseball design and while the players have been given the GPK treatment the artists were not allowed to use the teams colors or logos due to some legal issues. I am guessing that it is because this isn’t a MLB release so they probably would have required a special authorization.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Not A Good Start For 2015 Topps Tribute Baseball


I have had a busy past couple of weeks, fortunately I have had a number of posts pre-written so I was able to keep up on the blog but I have had my mind on so many thing I have barely been able to keep up with reading blogs let alone hobby news and I almost missed one of the biggest blunders with Topps release of 2015 Topps Tribute.

 When autographs come out of a high end product, $250-300/box, scratched, smudged, bubbling and streaked collectors have a reason to be angry. I think what has added fuel to the fire is Topps lack of response, finally making a statement this morning in the form of   We are aware of the issues with 2015 Topps Tribute Baseball. A statement is forthcoming.” On their Twitter and Facebook page with a follow up about an hour ago saying  There will likely be an announcement tomorrow

 There have been a couple of suggestions as to why collectors think that the problem happened ranging from the ink/pens used to the type of coating on the card. I don’t know if the reason for the problem will be announced but I am wondering how Topps plans on righting the situation.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Another Slide For My Dexter Collection


I finally have an addition that has been missing from my Dexter collection, an Angel Batista wardrobe card.

Dexter is one of my favorite shows, where else can a sociopath serial killer be so likable? I wasn’t a big fan of how the series ended but throughout the entire series my favorite character was David Zayas as Angel Batista. His character was the level–headed guide that kept the show grounded. Batista was intelligent, logical and compassionate though you do have to wonder how it is that someone whose job it was to be observant and to tune in on the minute details in order to solve a homicide could not figure out that one of his best friends had personally killed 135 people.

The card is from the 2012 San Diego Comic Con promoting the upcoming release of the Breygent Dexter: Fourth Season release. The card includes a 2-colored swatch in the shape of a blood splatter from one of Batista’s famous Hawaiian shirts, which he is shown wearing on the front of the card. The card is numbered and is #212/299.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Vintage Card Of The Month: 1958 Leaf Cardo Captain Kidd


This month’s VCoM comes from the 1958 Leaf Cardo Trading Cards release. Leaf released the product as a cohesive collection but it is actually broken down in what could be best described as subsets. The set is made up of automobiles, Wild West combat, pirates, planes/jet fighters and Presidents. Each subset actually contains its own numbering so I don’t know if you can say a complete set would contain just one subset or all of the subsets together.

Today’s card comes from the pirate’s subset and is titled “Captain Kidd Stops a Mutiny” and is #P-4 on the checklist.

Captain William Kidd was born in Scotland around 1645 and was a privateer, a hired pirate mercenary, for the English. The English gave him freedom to roam the Caribbean and North American Atlantic coast to attack French and pirate ships but in 1698 he took a ship owned by an English captain and this is when he was labeled a pirate and hunted. Eventually he was captured near Boston in 1699 and placed in prison where he was tortured before being sent to England to stand trial. He was found guilty and hung (twice) on May 23, 1701.

The card is incorrect in the title and back biography. There was not an actual mutiny starting, Kidd killed one of his gunners (William Moore) out of anger. Moore wanted to attack a Dutch ship and Kidd refused out of fear of angering the Dutch King. The disagreement between Kidd and Moore escalated, Kidd grabbed a bucket and slammed it against Moore’s head fracturing his skull. Though there is some truth that his crew was frustrated over the death of a portion of the crew due to an outbreak of cholera and then a year of limited pirating activity. Some did abandon the ship when it docked and others were quite mutinous but there was never a mutiny attempt.

The card is in nice condition for a 56-year old card. There is some staining on the front and a bit on the back, a small crease on the back corner and paper separation on two corners but otherwise the colors are still bold and visible.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Another Commisioner, Another Chance


Pete Rose has once again petitioned to be re-instated in to MLB. Since his initial ban by then Commissioner Bart Giamatti in 1989 he has made an appeal with each new MLB Commissioner, being denied by both Fay Vincent and Bud Selig.

Pete Rose, had he not been banned, would have been a first ballot selection following a career that included 17 All-Star appearances, three World Series titles, the 1973 MVP Award plus records for most hits (4,256) and games played (3,562). After being pegged for gambling on the game while manager of the Reds he agreed to a lifetime ban in 1989 but after 25 years some people have begun to sway their belief to maybe he has served his time.

In 1989 I was a firm believer that when banned he should remain banned for life and his 2004 book “My Prison Without Walls” only strengthened my feelings towards his ban when he finally admitted to gambling, 15 years after being banned. I felt that maybe if he had admitted his gambling in the beginning a suspension would have been fair but with the lying and finally telling the truth in a book to make money the ban should remain in effect.

Manfred has agreed to remain unbiased and will consider the appeal as well as review the Dowd Report and read through Giamatti’s decision to make sure that everything is known as agreed upon by both Giamatti and Rose before making a decision, which I feel is very fair.
 
If Rose is reinstated, which would mean he would almost certainly appear on the next HOF ballot, does his value increase?

What is your take on the Rose situation?
 

 

Personally I would rather see Joe Jackson and Buck Weaver reinstated first. While Jackson initially admitting to taking money it was later shown that he had not taken any money, he did not attend any of the meetings and he never spoke with any of the gambler. In 1999 the U.S. government did an investigation and found he was innocent and urged the MLB to reinstate him. Weaver isn’t a potential Hall of Famer but was banned for simply knowing of the other players involved in throwing the games, a rule that wouldn’t go in to effect for 2 years after he was banned.

 Also to support removing Jackson & Weaver’s bans was a situation in 1926 when MLB players Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker and former-MLB players Dutch Leonard and Smoky Joe Wood were cleared by Landis after admitting to betting on the 1919 World Series after they found out about the games being fixed. Cobb and Speaker were forced to “retire” following the 1926 season but none were banned. How can Cobb and Speaker both be Hall of Famers when they both knew about the fix of the 1919 World Series and even bet on the games while Weaver and Jackson, who didn’t take money or bet and played well during the Series, are banned?
 

Friday, March 13, 2015

A Happy Story That Ends With An Idiot Doing Idiot Things


Every so often you come across a card that has some special meaning to you, it can be the first card you ever pulled or a player that you met or even a card that reminds you of something from your childhood.

My nephew, who is 8 years old, has had a tough life. Without going in to detail my brother-in-law has made some bad decisions over the years so in my nephew’s short life we have had guardianship for a little over 4 years off and on including the past couple of months. Like any child he misses his father, who lives in Seattle, and his father has promised to take him to a Macklemore concert when they are back together. For my nephew Macklemore equals his father’s love.

When the 2015 Topps checklist came out and I saw that Macklemore was included in the First Pitch insert I knew I had to get one for my nephew the first day it came out. A card that cost less than $2 means the world to my nephew and that makes it priceless. A simple piece of cardboard put such a huge smile on his face, he brought the card to school to show all of his friends and for the first couple of days it never left his sight. He may never get to see Macklemore with his father but at least for now this card brought him closer to the day he will be back with his dad.

 

 

UPDATE: Since I originally wrote this post (the end of February) my nephew returned to his dad in Seattle last week and sadly two days ago someone broke in to their house and among the things that they took was the box my nephew kept all of his cards in and while he was upset about the loss he was in tears about losing the Macklemore card. I just do not understand why people would steal a child’s box, it had kid’s stickers all over the outside, no matter what is inside.

I have another card on the way already that we will send him for his birthday and I am planning on something special to cheer him up.