Wednesday, April 16, 2014

This guy made the right choice

I can honestly say this, I do get lucky every once in a while.   JBF's blog of the year contest at the beginning of 2014 gave everyone the opportunity to nominate who they thought was the best sports card blog.

So, I put a bunch of names on a dartboard, threw three darts up there, and when the 3rd dart finally hit the board, it landed on the Night Owl.  I know, not the most scientific way of choosing a blog, but sometimes you have to let the chips fall where they may.

Lucky me, the Night Owl won for the 3rd year running, and my nomination scored me some Blue Jay goodies from Wes. 

The most intriguing card in the envelope was this graded card of a fellow whose card you might not expect to get graded.

Danny Ainge's career with the Jays lasted a grand total of 3 seasons, and after the third season he decided to try his luck with the NBA's Boston Celtics.   14 seasons, 2 championship rings and an all star appearance later, Danny sure made the right choice.

Ainge is still hanging around the NBA, as the GM of the Celtics.  In those 12 seasons, the Celtics have made the playoffs 9 times and won the title in 2007-08.

Interesting note about the jersey numbers Danny wore during his playing career.   5 different teams, 2 different sports, 5 different jersey numbers (2 in Toronto, 44 in Boston, 7 in Sacramento, 9 in Portland, 22 in Phoenix).   Usually most players are superstitious about what number is on their jersey. 

I guess Danny was different...

More on this great package from Wes to come.   Thank you Wes!!

thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, April 14, 2014

English Insanity

I guess no matter where you go, insanity follows.   Case in point, the envelope that Martyn sent me last week had a few serial numbered cards towards the SNI set. 

Martyn added 5 more cards to the insanity set; it would have been 7 but unfortunately 2 of the cards he sent my way were Yankees, which have already completed their 50 card allotment.

Here's the latest and greatest to be added to the SNI set:

Starting off is the Will Middlebrooks RC from the 2012 Topps Update set.  This card is serial #'d 919, and is the 40th card out of 50 for the Red Sox.  Middlebrooks is currently on the 15 day DL, and is due to come off on the 20th. 

Another RC card here, this time from the 2013 Topps Update set.   Grant Green's card is serial #'d 703, and is the 48th card out of 50 for the Angels (close!).  Green is a former 2009 1st round pick who was traded to the Angels by the A's last season for Alberto Callaspo.  Green was optioned on the last day of training camp to AAA.

I can't say that I've heard of Marwin Gonzalez before I received this card.  Mr. Gonzalez is already one of my favorite types of players, because so far this season he's already appeared at five different positions, plus DH.  Gonzalez's card is #791, and is the 28th card for the Astros.

Gallardo is off to a great start in 2014, having only given up 2 ER in his first 18.2 innings.  The Brewers looked pretty good in handing the Pirates a 3 game sweep on the weekend, and they are the first in the majors to 10 wins this year.   Gallardo's card is serial numbered 764, and is the 34th card out of 50 for the Brew Crew.

Last up we have Carlos Ruiz of the Phillies.  Surprisingly, Ruiz has more stolen bases than RBI's to this point of the season.   Yes, it is still early, but I'm sure that the Phillies are counting on a little more from him than the goose egg he has for his RBI total.  This card is serial numbered 1302, and is the 35th card out of 50 for the Phils.

1122 out of 1500 so far towards the set.  Just 3 more cards until the set is 3/4 done.

Thank you again Martyn!

thanks for reading, Robert

Sunday, April 13, 2014

I even collect ball cards from across the pond

Another batch of great Blue Jays cards made their way into the house this week, courtesy of Martyn from the I collect ball cards blog.  Martyn did a fantastic job hitting various sets on my want list, and he even introduced me to a 2014 set that I hadn't seen or read about.

Let's look at some stuff from a couple years back.

Mastroianni is now property of the Twins.  Sean Ochinko is currently serving a 50 game suspension for the use of amphetamines.

Deck McGuire's Bowman Platinum card is an X-fractor, which unfortunately didn't scan very well.  Deck's time may be running out as far as being considered a prospect; he's now 25 and in his 4th season at the AA level.  The Casey Janssen was on my want list, and I wondered why that was the case.  It turns out that I never updated the 2012 sets when I typed out the Blue Jays want list a few weeks back.   That error has been corrected.

Since there were a few humorous comments when I posted my Opening Day Dickey a few days back, here's another one for you.  This Dickey is in gold!!  The tattooed Brett Cecil is now a fixture in the Jays pen, and thriving there.  After struggling for a few years as a starter, Brett pitched well enough in 2013 to earn a trip to the All Star game.

Not sure how much Topps Tribute from 2014 I've seen out on the blogs, but these aren't too bad.  I did a quick ebay search for the Tribute release, and the cards look really nice.   Take a look at this ebay auction of a Steve Carlton auto for an example.   Martyn sent me a couple of more Dickeys (I guess a guy can't have enough of those!), including the blue parallel #'d out of 99.  Great stuff!!

Martyn also sent me a quick fix for the SNI set, knocking a few more numbers off of the want list.  I'm saving those for another post.

Martyn, thank you for the envelope, it's very much appreciated!!

thanks for reading, Robert

Thursday, April 10, 2014

2014 Topps Series 1: My top five

The final 4 cards for the set arrived today with the last of my Sportlots purchases from this past weekend. This might be the fastest I've completed a set since I started the blog.

My standard M.O. for selecting the top 5 is by going through the set twice, and pulling out the cards that strike me as interesting as I go.  I usually end up with anywhere from 10-15 cards that I really like, and from that smaller group I whittle down to the top 5.

This time, I only found 8 that I really stood out for me.  The honorable mentions this time go to Nick Hundley (the tongue), Nate Schierholtz (great diving catch), and Chris Getz (double play/potential kick to the groin).

So, without any further babbling, here are the 5 cards I thought the best in Series 1.   Feel free to disagree.

#5--  194  Joel Hanrahan

I just read that Hanrahan is going to hold a showcase sometime during the next couple of weeks for teams that may be interested in his services.  Boston unfortunately got the worst of the deal with Pittsburgh (as a Blue Jays fan I'm secretly smiling), but if he can rebound to the point where he left off with Pittsburgh, then some team is going to be very lucky.  This card showing him signing for the fans was an easy choice for me, as cards that show players giving a little something back to the faithful have always been a winner in my book.

#4--  8  Coco Crisp

Better than the Oscar Gamble cards of the 70's?  The green and gold A's colors, the fantastic afro neatly trimmed.  Great look, great card.

# 3--  326  Khris Davis

It looks as though the ball is in the glove, it's very hard to tell though.  Great photo of man meets wall.  Ryan Braun's suspension helped launch this guy's career last season, and 2014 has Davis hitting over .300 so far. 

#2--  212 Jason Heyward

I can sympathize with those who weren't happy because they couldn't see Heyward's face on this card.   But this is one helluva shot.  Does he catch the ball?  Does he hit the wall?  Full extension, eyes on the ball.   Fantastic.  This would have been #1 for me if it wasn't for the next card...

#1--  42 Mariano Rivera

July 28th, 2013, Mariano Rivera comes trotting in from the bullpen with the game tied 5-5 and throws a 3 up 3 down inning on 12 pitches.   The Yankees score in the 9th to win the game. 

I don't like the Yankees, and I never will.   But for me, this card pays a great tribute to the man who will probably be the best closer I will ever see in my lifetime. 

At least Topps got it right and gave him card #42 for his swan song.

And that, is my top 5...

thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Another handful off the list

Still doing a reasonable job keeping up with the incoming Blue Jays cards.  The 2014 issues are arriving faster than I ever could have imagined, and with new releasing seemingly happening on a weekly basis, I have to be sure to keep the Jays want list up to date.

Thanks to these 3 cards, I already have 10 of the 2014 Heritage Blue Jays team set in hand.

Say cheese Munenori!
Gotta love the Munenori Kawasaki card.  I'll be hard pressed to find a card that I'll enjoy more than his in any of the 2014 releases.  His offensive stats weren't the greatest, but his hustle and personality won him a lot of fans in Toronto last year (myself included).  We'll see if he makes it back to the major league roster again in 2014.

This next card is my first 2014 Opening Day card, and it's a beauty.

get a grip

The blue parallels from Opening Day have always been a favorite of mine, and the red Canada Day uniform on R.A. Dickey just stands right out.   Great card!!  Speaking of 2014 Opening Day, my want list is now up, and I was a bit surprised that there were only 4 Jays cards in the set.  With only 220 cards in the set, I know Topps is kind of limited, but 220 cards divided by 30 teams would mean 7 cards per club, right? 

I guess logic doesn't always win out.   That's why I don't make the big bucks folks....

The last card that I'll show off tonight is a reverse of the R.A. card...but it's not him.

Thank you again Pat, great PWE!!

Red border along with the  blue uniform top of Kevin Pillar is featured on the Target red border card you see here.  This is the 1st Target red parallel I've received, and I don't know if it's just me, but there just doesn't seem to be as many flagship cards flying around.   I haven't seen a lot of the big box store parallels on the blogs at all, and I wonder if that's because people are tired of them already. 

Maybe Topps needs to reinvent the wheel, come up with something that isn't quite so square?

Pat and Jason, thank you for the cards, they are tremendous!!  Always appreciated...

thanks for reading, Robert