The Legend

The Legend

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Fancy Names

1998 Jason Kendall Fleer Ultra Platinum Medallion /100

Jason Kendall is a cardboard God. I guess his hard nosed style was easy to capture.  Whatever the case he is one of the more enjoyable players to find rare parallels of during my favorite time period. Case in point this Platinum Medallion from Ultra.

I was excited to see one of these pop up for regular auction on eBay.  Quite a few are listed but have high BIN prices. The card itself has a textured feel and the nameplate area really pops.  I think I actually like the base card a little better, but this version is so unique that I had to have it. 

The price range for these tend to be in the $5-$10 range for non stars and can reach well over $100 for the mega stars. This is where it helps to collect Pirates. Kendall and Brian Giles were just about the only ones worth chasing. 

Thanks for reading! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Damn You Mike Trout and Your 25% Off Coupon

Topps Now has been a bit of a roller coaster ride in terms of interest for me. I was intrigued by the concept when it first started and purchased the first handful of Pirates released. Soon after I became bored as I was upset that the many of the photos being used were just run of the mill. To me that seems to defeat the purpose of capturing unique game moments.

A little before the All Star break I got rejuvenated when the Pirates started calling up some high end prospects and the corresponding photos were much more unique.  About this time I discovered that I could save a few bucks by purchasing cards from eBay instead of Topps.  Back to feeling good again!

While I think I'm in the minority within our community, for the most part I ended up liking Topps Now. The Buccos were middle of the road in terms of cards released so the financial commitment was minimal. It was also cool that the Pirates received card #1 in the set (Francisco Liriano).  I missed out getting the card at release, but got one via eBay before the price really took off.

Going into this season I really hadn't thought about if I'm going to partake in year 2. In my head it seemed like just a good idea to just start cherry picking rookies and unique photos. Of course Topps knows many people are on the fence like me and sent these out last week.

Topps is producing a Spring Training set for every team with a "sticker price" of 49.99.  If you purchased a Topps Now card last year directly from Topps you should have received this fancy Mike Trout coupon that gives you 25% off.  Knowing myself I'll likely cave and purchase the set.

Is the set overpriced? I think most reasonable people would say yes.  You could make the argument that the best deal for some teams is to buy the autograph edition for $99.99  where you get the team set plus an auto. I've seen a few of the signers have been announced and the checklist looks pretty good. In terms of Buccos the signers are Marte, Taillon and Glasnow. It would be tempting had the checklist included Cutch or Austin Meadows.

Is anyone else going to buy one of these sets? Am I the only sucker.  Feel free to make fun of me below.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Bargain Prospecting

2014 Bowman Black Cole Tucker Auto /25

I don't fancy myself a prospector, but enjoy chasing after rookie Pirate autos.  Sometimes prospect hype leads me away from the Bowman sets and towards Panini and Leaf, but that is fine with me. Unless the player is super hyped like Bryce Harper you can almost always find a lull to pounce on the higher end cards at a later time.

Cole Tucker was never an expensive autograph to begin with.  He was a Pirates first round pick back in 2014, but only had moderate hype because of his slim build and distance from the major leagues. While injuries has slowed him down, Tucker's stock has been slowly rising.  Many believe he can stick at short which automatically makes you a hundred times more attractive.  My guess is Tucker will start at high A this year with the hope of a promotion to AA Altoona around the mid point of the season.

With all that being said Cole Tucker is still relatively unknown and his card prices reflect that. This Black auto only set me back around $13 which is a nice price considering the product. Now he just needs to turn into Francisco Lindor or something like that....

Thanks for reading.

Monday, February 20, 2017

A New Kind of Trade

When you constantly talk to other bloggers you begin to learn about other interests beyond cardboard.  Just off the top of my head I know we have artists, music lovers, literature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. While we all can talk about the intricacies of 90 Donruss with ease, it is easy to see we are all much more than just cards.

Beyond cards and live sporting events it is travel and craft beer for yours truly these days.  Before my daughter was born I was knocking out books and hunting new music all the time, but certain hobbies had to be prioritized. Today if I'm not talking sports, I'm talking travel and beer. To me nothing beats exploring a new area and the food and drink it offers.  When I travel I often accumulate local beers for my tasting group in Morgantown.  It has been a fun venture that has yielded some great brews.  We call it beer evangelism.

A couple weeks back I was having two separate conversations with fellow bloggers Oscar of All Trade Bait, All the Time and Peter from Baseball Every Night. Oscar and I have talked beer for a couple of years now.  Recently he was at his local brewery and sent me a picture of the tap list. He told me to pick a couple and he would send some samples my way.  I was so excited.  It reminded me of looking at the old JCPenney catalog to make my Christmas list.  Here is what arrived at my door a few days later.

The picture is probably not doing the size of these cans justice.  The brewery calls these bad boys Grumblers. They are 32 ounces of adult beverage goodness.

 The first one up to bat was a gose named Santa Muerte.  For those not familiar with gose beers they are best described as crisp and a tad bit salty.  While it sounds weird they are often very refreshing and make for great summer beers.  This one was outstanding!

 I was most excited for this beer as "Fat Henry" is a barrel aged imperial stout.  This one was aged in a Jack Daniels barrel. The bourbon taste was prominent but not overpowering. The finish was quite smooth.

Thanks so much for the beer trade Oscar.  I look forward to sending you a well curated selection!

Next up is my pal Peter.  Both Peter and I are frequent users of the Untappd phone app that tracks all the different beer you consume. We often comment on each others beer choices.   A couple weeks back Peter and I were emailing back and forth discussing some breweries.  One such brewery was Trillium that happens to be in Peters backyard. Long story short Peter volunteered to send me a sample.

 Here is the haul from Peter!

My daughter appreciated all the bubble wrap.

 Trillium's specialty is the NE style ipa that is super hazy and utilizes a ton of hops.  The taste was very citrus forward.  It was delicious.
 Scaled up kind of looks like urine, but it tastes delicious.

Saison's are a unique in that they taste a tad bit peppery.  I like them, but they are very much an acquired taste.

The only one I have left to try is a Boston style stout.  Looking forward to it!

Big thanks to Oscar and Peter for sending me a taste of LA and Boston.  Such a fun treat to sample these small local breweries.  Keep an eye guys because I have some fun stuff in store for each of you.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Rob With the Assist

A couple weeks back Rob who runs the Collecting 1982 Topps blog shot me a message on Twitter that he had some extra 2017 Series 1 Pirates.  In case you don't know Rob, he is a big Baltimore Orioles fan. Follow his blog and start trading with him!

The weirdest aspect of 2017 Topps in terms of Buccos is that Cutch wasn't in the base set. Of course in today's collecting environment that doesn't really mean much because he is represented in several other inserts within the set. Rob was nice enough to send me the 87!!!

 Pretty sharp looking card!
 Series one featured two rookie releases in Josh Bell and Tyler Glasnow. Bell is expected to be the everyday first baseman.  The biggest worry with Bell is his defense as he looked very shaky. If he can hold his own the sky is the limit as his hit tool is very advanced.

 With the injury to Alex Reyes of the Cardinals you can make the argument that Glasnow is the best MLB ready pitching prospect.  With that being said he is far from a sure thing.  Command is a big issue with Glasnow and will likely be what stands between him being a top flight starter or a power reliever. The Buccos will give him every opportunity to reach his ceiling.

 Helmet tipping cards!
 Matt Joyce and Neftali Feliz are already gone.

My favorite Bucco card from Series One. Definitely a unique shot of Polanco.

Thanks for hooking me up with some great cards Rob.  I'll be sure to hit you back soon with some Orioles.

Thanks for reading! .

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Zippy Zapped

My good pal Kenny (aka Zippy) and I make for good trade partners.  We both love the NY Penn League and he super collects future Pirate catchers! Recently Kenny made a few tweaks to his collection and now is really focusing on the Chunichi Dragons. Feed him all the Matt Stairs cards you can find. 

Zippy is well known for his "Zippy Zappings" (trademark pending).  I've been fortunate enough over the years to receive so many great cards from Kenny. According to my records I believe we have reached double digit Zaps.  Check out this most recent addition.  

 I'm sure it was bittersweet when the Padres selected Luis Torrens in the Rule 5 Draft. On one hand he leaves the Yankee organization, but on the other he will be given every opportunity to succeed on a rebuilding Padres team.

 Jedd Gyorko has been one of the most successful WVU baseball players in the teams history.  He was an absolute beast here.  It is nice to see him carve out a nice MLB career too.  He had a nice season with the Cardinals last year and looks to be the teams starting second baseman this year.

 Tyler Webb was a long time Yankee farmhand that was just recently claimed by the Bucs.

Former Black Bear great Kevin Kramer.

 I've seen Casey play several times.  Tons of power, but no patience.  Hopefully he can improve his approach as the Pirates were very high on him when they drafted him in the 3rd round.

 Waddell stock is on the rise after a nice breakout year last year.

 I'm really hoping Josh Bell can play serviceable defense because his bat is very advanced.

 Love the NY Penn League top prospect cards.

Kingham is kind of the forgotten man in the Pirates rotation plans. Before his arm injury he was projected to be in the Bucco rotation.  Interesting to see if he can still make it to Pittsburgh.
 Bay's Mets days were rough.  Injuries really derailed his career.

 Cutch wrote a nice piece earlier in the week discussing his bad season and his switch to right field. He was very candid and honest about the whole process.

Love the rare bunt pic of Cutch on the Opening Day card.

Rounding things out are some cool shots of 3 former Buccos.  Happy that Steve Pearce carved out a career. He was a minor league stud for the Buccos and had every opportunity to be the everyday first baseman.  Each time he received a chance he would get injured.  So much so that the Pirates cut him loose.

Thanks for all the great cards Zippy.  Look forward to hitting you back soon!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Tom Sends Cardtoons

Tonight was poker night for me.  It is always kind of funny because I'm the odd man out being that I'm the only non police officer. Feel sorry if someone ever tries to rob that game.....

Late night cards.....

Long time trade partner Ptown Tom decided to sneak in a plain white envelope my way late last week. Check these beauties out.

I always have to laugh at cardtoons cards. I'm pretty sure the players association sued cardtoons and it was caught up in court forever.  From what I've read cardtoons won the lawsuit but disappeared shortly after. What a shame. We need the garbage pail kids version of baseball! 

Not everyday you get an auto via plain white envelope. Rudy Owens had a decent amount of prospect pedigree for the Bucs.  He was a late round draft pick by the Bucs but was pretty successful in all his minor league stops. The Bucs traded him to the Astros in the Wandy Rodriguez deal and he had a hard time gaining his footing after that point.  As of late 2015 I'm not sure where Rudy ended up.

Tyler Glasnow is the ultimate wild card for the Buccos.  Now that Alex Reyes is getting Tommy John surgery you can easily make the argument that Glasnow is the highest rated MLB ready pitching prospect.  My guess is that he will start the season in AAA but could easily crack the rotation if all goes well in July. The Pirates are likely to be pretty conservative with Glasnow as he has had command issues in the past.  Glasnow's 6"8 frame may take a while to develop.  I think every Pirate fan has their fingers crossed that he can develop into a high end starting pitcher. 

Thanks for the nice surprise Tom!!!!