Saturday, December 20, 2014

'59 Topps set build #9/572 Al Cicotte

Baseball Reference is definitely a boon for me when writing these posts.  How else would I have known that Al's last name was pronounced "SEE-cot".  

Career beginnings:   Al was signed as a free agent by the New York Yankees in 1948.  Al played several years in the minors (along with two years of military service in '49 and '51) before finally making the Yankees squad in 1957.

How'd he fare in 1959?  Al pitched for the Indians in 1959, his 4th team in his first 3 big league seasons.   He went 3-1 with a 5.32 ERA in 26 appearances (1 start).

Al's career would span 5 seasons, the last being in 1962 with the expansion Houston Colt .45s.  

Close to home I:  Al's first season in pro ball was spent with the Butler Yankees in the Mid Atlantic league.  I wasn't aware that Butler, PA (20 miles east of where I live) had fielded a team associated with professional baseball.  

Close to home II:  Al pitched the 1960 season in Toronto (my home town) for the Maple Leafs of the International League.   During that season, Al pitched an 11 inning no-hitter against the Montreal Royals.  At one point, he retired 29 batters in a row.  A bobbled ground ball by Sparky Anderson ended the streak.  Al also won the IL pitching triple crown that year, finishing 16-7 with a 1.79 ERA.

Interesting fact:  Al is the grand nephew of Eddie Cicotte, who was part of the infamous Black Sox scandal of 1919.

The card itself:  This card was part of a generous lot that was sent my way by CommishBob, and is the first card that I've featured with the orange background/white lettering mix. 

The card is in OK shape, the corners are soft and there are creases.   I probably will not replace it though unless I get another that is part of a lot from eBay.

The cartoon on the back is interesting, saying that Al is constantly practicing to better his control.   Isn't that what all pitchers do? 

I'd love to know what stadium Al is pictured in.   Is that Tiger Stadium?  I'm sure that some of the stadium aficionados can help me out with identifying the ball park.

Thanks for reading, Robert

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

That Dennis is no menace

Before I start gabbing away here, do Chris at the Nachos Grande blog a favor and check out his latest group break.  Yes, I know it's Christmas and funds might be a little tight, but you probably still haven't bought yourself something yet.   Am I right???

There's still quite a few teams that haven't been picked up yet, so go take a look.

Now, back to your not so regularly scheduled post.

I've made quite a few trades over my time as a blogger.  I can easily say that one of my favorite trading partners is Dennis at the Too Many Verlanders blog.  What I really like about Dennis' blogs is that there's no mincing words.   He'll tell you what he likes, especially if it revolves around Detroit or Michigan sports.  The Verlander SP card that he shows off on this post harkens back to the Sandy Koufax photo with the 4 baseballs with zeroes on them representing his 4 no hitters.   Very cool...

With Dennis, the word "trade" is accurate, but also very loosely defined.

This time around, Dennis had hit me up with a PWE a few weeks ago, and I decided to hit him up with a decent envelope.   In return, Dennis decided to take some of his COMC budget and spend it on my SNI project.  His goal?
Eliminate the low numbers....

Consider the low numbers GONE!!

The J.J. Hardy is serial numbered 41, which finishes off everything 100 and below.   The Jones and McCovey cards are numbered 248 & 259; the two of them finished off the 200 series.

What does that mean?   If you happen to have, or pull, something serial numbered 301 and below, I don't need it!

The want list is getting smaller very quickly, as my project only needs 209 more to hit the magic 1500 mark.

Dennis, thank you very much for contributing again to the SNI project.  It is really appreciated!!

thanks for reading, Robert

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The light is getting a little brighter at the end of that tunnel

Certainly over the 3+ year life of the SNI project, there has been a lot of peaks and valleys.   There are periods when cards don't come in for months, and the set becomes a bit of an afterthought.

Recently, the opposite has been true.   I've been hit with a few here, few there with startling frequency over the past few weeks.

I received an envelope from the very gracious Doug from the Sportscards from the Dollar Store blog, containing a pair of Blue Jay cards featuring a couple of young pitchers.   The envelope didn't contain just those, as there were 7 more cards that I was able to remove from the SNI want list.

These 4 Brewers bring their team total to 39 out of 50, allowing them to jump over half a dozen teams as far as cards remaining.   See the Rickie Weeks?   That card is serial numbered 170, which knocks off the "100's" as the first group of 100 cards to be completed.   There are a couple of other groups that only need 1 or 2 cards as well; I'm hoping to get those completed soon.

Doug's cards came from the COMC website as well, so he must have found a few Triple Threads cards along the way...

One each for the Padres, Rockies and Orioles brings them closer to the finish line.  The Rockies are only 3 cards from completion, the Orioles still need 12, and the Padres need just 4.

It feels pretty good to have a lot of the teams close to the finish line, and as other bloggers have commented in the past, it's going to be even more fun when the set nears its completion.  With just 212 cards to go, I fully expect that sometime in 2015 I'll be able to post that the set is complete.

Doug, thank you for the great envelope, it really is appreciated!!!

thanks for reading, Robert

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

They're 2 for 2 so far, but I still have one concern

I mentioned last night that I did a little Black Friday shopping on COMC.  I still went kind of cheap on the entire purchase, only selecting 15 cards that would grace the hilly western PA area I know as home.

I did learn one thing though.   I could have really attacked the SNI want list a long time ago had I known how user friendly COMC was.

I picked apart the cheapo serial numbered cards, trying to hit some teams that needed a little boost.

I'm sure that there's a lot of people out there still trying to get rid of Triple Threads base cards, so I wound up picking up 9 of them scattered over various years.

See the Mark Ellis in the upper left hand corner?  He's the 50th Oakland A's card!  That's 6 teams complete now. 

Nice to get a couple of legends such as Palmer and McCovey in the set.  The best part about all of these cards is I didn't pay over 50 cents apiece, many of them were in the upper 30c/lower 40c range.

Even a couple of Topps gold parallels found their way here.  I would have also completed the Blue Jays team set, but turns out that the day after I had made my purchase, Steve D. sent his envelope of 2 cards, one of them being the same serial number as the Vernon Wells card that I picked up.  Oh well, no worries there, it just ends up in the Blue Jays box instead.

Now, to my concern.  Let me first preface this with this comment:

I am extremely happy with my two purchases so far.   Quick shipping, the packing has been great both times, and the cards have been just as advertised.

This question revolves around this card that I also picked up in the order.

I needed this 88-89 OPC Lemieux card for my set.  Again, another fantastic card at a very reasonable price. 

I am a cheap ass and select no top loaders for my orders.   COMC is really good and uses a fresh top loader on each end of the "brick" when they ship. 

I'm curious as to how they select what cards they put in the top loaders.  Anyone know?

It was kind of interesting that the 2 Topps gold cards were placed in the top loaders, and the most expensive card of the order was in the middle of the group. 

Is it me, or wouldn't it have made more sense to put the Lemieux in one of the top loaders?

I'm sure that someone out there will point out the flaw in my thinking...

thanks for reading, Robert

Monday, December 8, 2014

Wiped out

I've been sick since last Wednesday.  Whatever this is that's going around, don't catch it.   It wiped me out so bad that I probably slept 60 hours between Wednesday and Sunday. 

How bad was this bug?  I missed the monthly card show.   Now you know how bad it was....

I made two feeble attempts to write blog posts, but in the end the blog suffered as well. Hopefully today is the day that I can start catching up on posting and thanking people for sending me some great stuff.

I spent part of the Black Friday weekend surfing, wanting to take advantage of the free shipping that they offered.   Hey, 3 bucks is 3 bucks, right!

Well, a little inspiration hit me when I looked at a quintet of relic cards that was graciously sent to me by Matt from the Bob Walk the Plank blog.   My Jim Thome collection has kind of dropped to the back of the line recently (so much so that I forgot to put the page back up on the blog, but that's another story) but these 5 cards kind of woke me up.   They probably doubled the number of Thome relics that I own.

I have always like the A&G framed relics, and the 2008 jersey that was in the envelope is no exception.   Love the border design.

I love the Hitting Machine relic cards from 2007 Fleer Ultra (I already have the Troy Glaus card for my Blue Jays collection), and the Thome card is no exception.  I don't have a whole lot of Topps Pristine, but they are beautiful and very shiny cards.  The Thome Fantasy Favorites card here is another nice add to the collection.

I can't honestly say whether I own an Ultimate Collection card from Upper Deck.  Well, OK now I can.  I like the fact that the background matches the photo which matches the jersey swatch.   Uniformity is cool.  The dual bat relic on the right got me thinking; I can't remember any time ever hearing about Jim Thome and steroids.  Not once.  Makes him all the better in my eyes.

Now these 5 cards put Jim Thome in my head while I was surfing COMC, and I found these two beauties.

I have wanted these two cards since I first saw them on the Night Owl blog roughly a year ago.  I couldn't find the exact post on his blog, but I do remember that he was quite emphatic about not giving up his copy.

I can't say that I blame him. 

Now I don't have the black bordered parallel, or the A&G back, or the Bazooka back, or any of the other versions of this great card.   But suffice to say that I'd be quite happy if I just owned these two cards.  At least chasing the A&G parallels would be more realistic than going after the Moments & Milestones parallels from that same year.  (that's a rant for another time)

Matt, thank you for the instant Thome relic collection!!  They really are appreciated.

thanks for reading, Robert