The Legend

The Legend

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Trade: Waiting 'Til Next Year

P-Town Tom was nice enough to send me some cards to congratulate me on #500 posts and continue our long standing blind swap. It was definitely a fun stack to go through as many of the cards represented players that didn't have much in the way of Pirate releases.

This is a great shot of Kendall avoiding a tag. I was a frequent buyer of Ultra cards back in the early to mid 2000's as the price point was affordable and I loved the pictures.
Brad Lincoln was the 4th overall  pick by the Pirates in 2006. Arm issues and ineffectiveness derailed his career. He did reinvent himself for a short time with the Pirates as a reliever and in turn the Pirated flipped him to the Blue Jays for Travis Snider. Currently he is back in the Pirates AAA system.
 Bowman auto of Justin Reid. Reid flew through the Pirates system in the early 2000's until AA hitters challenged him. He would get a taste of AAA, but would flame out.
 Ridner never made it out of rookie ball, but at least he got a baseball card!
Brian Giles was always one of my favorites in the early 2000's. From every account the guy was a total asshole, but he could hit with the best. Probably one of the more underrated players during his peak years.

Pokey was a wizard with the glove. Known more as a Red, but he was fun to watch as a Pirate.
 Here is a group that only the most hardcore Pirate fans will remember. Shawn Chacon is probably remembered most for attacking GM Ed Wade during his time with the Astros. If you happen to run into Shawn Chacon I suggest not bringing up his time being demoted to the bullpen.
Legends of the early 90's. It was too bad this core didn't get a World Series appearance. Freaking Sid Bream.
Kiner is always the forgotten legend of the Pirates as he played during an era in which the Pirates were historically bad. The guy lived a fascinating life. He dated movie stars!
 I miss Upper Deck baseball.

Torres pretty much disappeared from baseball after the 97 season. After a 5 year hiatus he was signed by the Pirates and had a very nice long run of success.

I've actually met Matt Capps a few times during Pirate spring training. He might be the nicest player I've ever come across.
I love manager cards and seeing this card conjures up a lot of memories. Poor John Russell was in over his head during his tenure as Pirate manager. He was a poor tactician and made some interesting decisions with lineups. Like clockwork on every Sunday game he would play his entire bench, and our bench sucked. Guys like Ryan Church and Matt Diaz were our best options. It got to be so bad that my friends and I would not go on Sundays because we knew all the backups would be playing.

After being fired by the Pirates, Russell caught on with the staff of the Orioles. At least now he can learn from arguably one of the best in game managers in Buck Showalter.

Thanks a ton for all the great cards Tom. I'll be hitting you up again real soon to keep up our momentum.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Mixing and Matching

I'm well aware of what most of the blogosphere thinks of Donruss, but I will continue to troll all of you! At least I'm not showing the base cards, right! Maybe all of you can put a trashcan beside your computer in case you have to throw up. I guess I just equate the set too much to my childhood.

The patch cards in Donruss were extremely tough pulls. They are all numbered to /15 and fell about 1 a case. While scouring for some AJ Burnett cards I came across this weird card. I guess Donruss had a leftover Marlins jersey.

I normally don't buy cards of Pirate players if they are void of the Bucco uniform, but the price was right since I also added this patch of Justin Wilson.

Justin Wilson had a great 2013 with the Pirates, but regressed in 2014. During the offseason the Pirates traded Wilson to the Yankee for Francisco Cervelli. The trade has worked out pretty well for both teams so far, but I'm in the camp that a position player trumps just about any reliever. I'm praying that Cervelli can have a full year without missing time due to injury.

On a side note I've been hoarding a bunch of cards for trades lately. Mailbox assault will be commencing very soon.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Super Donut

Before blogging, I had a limited knowledge on oddball baseball cards. Most of my memories were of Denny's hologram cards and Sports Illustrated for Kids. I just never really grasped how many cool oddballs existed.

Shortly after starting Bob Walk the Plank I quickly realized that the oddball card market was vast. You could be in for a life's adventure by just tackling weird releases of your chosen team. Soon enough I began receiving oddball after oddball in trades. This allowed me to get a nice base of what was out there.

While searching for some older Jack Wilson cards I came across this little gem.
2007 Jack Wilson Super Donut

Super Bakery is co-owned by Franco Harris and produces healthy pastries. In 2007 they came out with a Jack Wilson themed release. The above card was associate with that release.

I wasn't familiar with Super Donuts, but it seems they have kind of a cult following. For years they distributed just to schools and regional grocery stores, but have recently begun distributing all over the US. Part of me wants to order a case and see what a healthy donut tastes like.

I'm sure not as good as the real thing....

Thanks for reading.

Monday, July 27, 2015

500th Post Contest Winners

Things have slowed down enough with entries that it is time to close the contest.  I've decided to pick 3 winners. I'll cater a prize package to each winners specific collection so I may need a little time to hunt down something.  

Overall I had a nice response with 47 entries. 

Random.Org has been down so I had to find another list generator.  I randomized three times.....Here is the final winner list. 

1. defgav
2. daniel wilson
3. jeff jones
4. the lost collector
5. nick
6. tim b
7. brad's blog
8. zman40
9. play at the plate
10. mark
11. greg zakwin
12. wilson
13. nachos grande
14. brian
15. julie owens
16. red cardboard
17. superduperman99
18. the angels in order
19. keith g
21. arpsmith
22. dodgerpenguin
23. al kawamoto
24. fuji
25. richard nebe jr
26. the junior junkie
27. john miller
28. dennis
29. captkirk42
30. dan
31. raz
32. rob
33. tony L
34. stealing home
35. b man
36. kevin papoy 
37. brandon L
38. corky
39. jaybarkerfan
40. robert
41. tony
42. ptown tom
43. gcrl
44. john hazen
45. mark hoyle
46. jupiterhill
47. the dutch card guy

Congrats to Gavin, Daniel and Jeff. I think Gavin is a two time Bob Walk the Plank contest winner! The Lost Collector was so close.....Don't worry AJ I have something cool to send your way anyway. 

Thanks again to everybody who entered. Most of you will probably get something from me soon anyway as I've been accumulating lots of trade bait to send out.  If you haven't traded with me before and want to start, leave a comment and we can break the ice. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Her First Game

My wife and I decided to venture out this evening and let my daughter experience her first baseball game. Considering she is only two, she did very well. She made it 7 innings and clapped to her little hands were red. Predicting the early departure my wife was nice enough to drive separately so I could stay and watch the whole game.

The game had great flow today as the Black Bears won 4 to 3 over the Staten Island Yankees. The game finished the sweep and was the Black Bears 9th straight win. Pirates first round pick Kevin Newman had the big hit that scored what proved to be the winning run.

The game was another sell out as the Black Bears have been a huge draw so far this summer

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Big Unit

2004 Fleer Authentic Randy Johnson Auto /200

Sometimes the eBay beast can get the best of me, but I have no regrets. The Big Unit never signed much during his playing days so his auto carries a significant premium. I ran into a good deal and pulled the trigger (around $45). I must have been inspired watching all the highlights the MLB network has been showing lately leading up to his Hall of Fame induction. 

My non Pirate/WVU collections are pretty small these days, but I do still keep an eye out on certain players. Most are guys that I had autos of, but were sold off in the great consolidation of the mid 2000's. The Big Unit was an auto I didn't have, but always wanted. He had been featured in a few newer products, but those prices usually run well over $100. My best chance was this Fleer auto that runs much cheaper. 

By the way I'll probably close out my contest Monday morning.  Join here....

Also, make sure to read Kevin's great post today as he interviewed Buck 65 about his Ginter auto. Click here

Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 24, 2015

What Goes Around Comes Around

The Pirates depth has taken a huge hit the last few weeks with the loss of Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer. Jung Ho Kang has been great this year and was filling in just fine for Harrison.  The loss of Mercer is what started an unfortunate chain of events that caused the Pirates to be more proactive at the deadline.

As a whole the Pirates farm system is pretty deep, but if it has one flaw it is void of high end upper level infielders. Alen Hanson could have possibly been called up, but he was moved from shortstop to second last year because of defense. The Pirates were left with the likes of Brett Morel and Pedro Florimon.  The writing was on the wall.

The Pirates had options at the deadline because of the versatility of Kang. You could either explore a shortstop and move Kang back to third, or find a third baseman so Kang can stay at his natural position. I'm sure the need for more offense made it easier to explore third base options. Sure enough the Pirates acquired Aramis Ramirez yesterday.

The Brewers received minor league pitcher Yhonathan Barrios, but it was more about getting some salary relief. Barrios was going to be a Rule 5 player next year and the Pirates weren't going to protect him. Ramierez was owed almost 6 million in salary and the Pirates agreed to pick up 3 million.

While not the player he once was, he will be an obvious upgrade over the likes of Morel and Sean Rodriguez who are both replacement level players. I'm sure if he can just give league average performance at third the Pirates would be ecstatic. He should fit right in batting 5th or 6th in the lineup.

I'm hoping this is some kind of cosmic justice and that Aramis will play well down the stretch and lead us to the World Series. His trade from the Pirates was the worst in team history and one of the root causes of the 20 years of consecutive losing. Feels odd that he is ending his career with the Buccos, but I'll take it. 

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

20 Years of Disappointing Pirates

This will be a very unscientific list as it will only encompass players in the last 15-20 years. Some will be on the list for hobby reasons, while others will be a combination of performance and stupid management. Long story short the guys on this list bring some combination of anger and sadness when I ponder their Pirates tenure.

Pitcher - Kris Benson

Benson had a nice long career, but fell short of huge expectations. He was drafted number 1 overall in 1996. With the hype machine at full effect he was billed as a franchise savior and a can't miss guy. By the time he made his debut he showed good stuff, but was overall very mediocre. Injuries and inconsistency was the main theme the rest of his Pirates career. 

You know you probably didn't live up to expectations when your bat shit crazy wife gains more press than your pitching. 

Catcher - Tony Sanchez

This is probably more managements fault than Tony Sanchez, but he is probably the best pick for overall disappointment. Sanchez was picked 4th overall in 2009. Most media outlets considered the pick a reach and it looks like they were right. 

First, injuries stunted his development then his defense went to shit. When Russell Martin got hurt at the beginning of last year Sanchez was getting a majority of the playing time. He began having trouble controlling the running game and making throws to first.  The latter cost the Pirates a few games. 

I'm guessing Sanchez will not see the field with the Pirates again. With a big rule 5 roster crunch coming next year it wouldn't be far fetched to see him left unprotected. 

First Base - Adam LaRoche  

When the Pirates acquired LaRoche in 2007 it received a lot of press. The Pirates looked on paper like a team on the upswing. The outfield was very balanced with the likes of Jason Bay and Nate Mclouth and the infield was anchored by Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez. 

The interesting thing about LaRoche's tenure as a Pirate was that his numbers were pretty much on par with his career norms. The main issue is that he was a notoriously slow starter and would not start hitting until the Pirates were buried. 

The funny thing now is that most Pirate fans would kill to have someone put up a LaRoche like season at first. Pedro Alvarez has really lowered our expectations from the position. Looking back I think his tenure was more of a product of a guy who never took the next step. The Pirates were in the midst of their historic losing streak and would gravitate to any guy who showed the slightest hint of talent. Such was the case for Adam LaRoche. He was pretty much the same player at the beginning and end of his time in Pittsburgh. 

Second Base - Aki Iwamura

For the most part second base has been pretty secure by the likes Neil Walker and Freddy Sanchez in recent memory. Part of me wanted to pick Bobby Hill, but my disdain for Aki Iwamura is too fresh in my head. 

Coming off 3 consecutive above average years the Pirates traded Jesse Chavez to the Rays for Iwamura. It was pretty much a disaster from day 1. He looked out of shape and disinterested. For some reason the Pirates continued to bat Iwamura leadoff the first couple months of the season. After it was all said and done, Iwamura wouldn't even make it a year. The Pirates were on the hook for almost 5 million. 

Third Base - Andy Laroche

I could have taken this one in a number of different ways because the position personifies the Pirates terrible management during the 20 year losing streak. With the bad management decisions regarding the likes of Jose Bautista and Aramis Ramirez, either one could have easily made the list. 

I chose Andy LaRoche because he was the center piece of the Jason Bay trade. It is also kind of funny to have the LaRoche brothers both make the list. 

The writing was on the wall for the Pirates when the new management team came in. A complete rebuild was on the horizon. While the Pirates had been terrible for a long time they weren't without quality players. The most desirable target was Jason Bay.

When the deal was announced that Bay was traded to the Red Sox as part of the three way trade that sent Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers and prospects to Pittsburgh. The key piece for the Pirates being Andy LaRoche. Long story short, he was terrible. It was a tough trade to swallow for the Pirates as they received absolutely no value from the players acquired in the Bay deal. 

Shortstop - Brian Bixler

This pick is more from a hobby perspective than on the field.  Bixler was a second round pick in 2004 and was getting a lot of hype early in his professional career. He was dubbed an offensive shortstop and looked to be the logical replacement to Jack Wilson. 

Before his debut I bought into the hype and loaded up on high end Bixler autos. Ouch! He could not hit to save his life. 

Outfield- Chard Hermanson, Jose Guillen, Derek Bell and Jose Tabata
You have to make the list if you are an actual Pirate.  Mr. Operation Shutdown stole the Pirates money and for a time resided on a boat. The Pirates made a ton of bad free agent signings, but Bell's has to be among the most memorable. Plus, he actually was a decent player in Houston.

In the minors it was said that Chad Hermanson could "walk on water." That may have been true, but he could not hit.
Jose Guillen is the offensive version of Kris Benson. He would go on to have a nice long career, but you were left wondering what could have been. Most agree that the Pirates brought him up way too early and that Guillen didn't have the maturity needed to be a major leaguer. He would continue to struggle with Tampa Bay before coming into his own in the 2003 season.

It is almost like someone took the battery out of Tabata. The first couple of seasons he was a leadoff hitter with gap power and plus speed.  The Pirates liked him so much that he was given an extension. At the time it looked very team friendly, but now it is the worst contract on the team. 

I'm not sure what caused the wheels come off, but the decline has been quick. An outfielder that is only a singles hitter is not in high demand. I hope Jose likes Indianapolis because that is where he'll be the life of the contract.  

One of the cool things about our hobby is how card can conjure up random memories. I started this post last night after looking at a Brian Bixler card and thinking "boy this guy stunk." Sure enough a post was born.  

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Atlantic City Cobra

The last few months have been extra enjoyable when it comes to adding cards to my collection. Don't get me wrong I love all my cards, but my most recent additions have added an extra sense of accomplishment. After several years of new releases featuring an abundance of Pirates, 2015 has things coming to a screeching halt. In turn, I've been spending most of my time chasing some overlooked cards in the 2000's.

Some cards I'm specifically chasing, while others I randomly come across by searching by player. Here is one of those random cards.

2003 Donruss Classics Atlantic City National Parallel /5

I was aware that the Atlantic City National parallels existed, but never had come across the Dave Parker. Sometimes random late night eBay searching can pay dividends.

My understanding that the only way you could originally get these cards is by opening a certain amount of Donruss packs at their booth during the convention. You were then given a special parallel numbered to /5 of one of the base cards from the set.

The card only cost me $4.50 which seemed more than reasonable for such a rare parallel. As I've stated on here before, Parker is a great guy to collect as he is very affordable.

Remember to check out my contest here.

Thanks for reading!

Contest Reminder

Click here for a chance to win free cards!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I turn 500 Posts Old Today (Contest Time)

Contest Closed

My post Sunday was #500! I couldn't be more happy how things have progressed with Bob Walk the Plank. The blog started because collecting was becoming stale for me. Craving interaction I started trading relentlessly. As we stand now I've received 187 trade packages! While it will be hard to keep this pace, trading will always remain the blogs main purpose.

The cool thing about all the trading is the bonds I've developed with so many of you. I appreciate all the emails and comments and truly feel that I've made a whole new group of friends. Our hobby has its share of shady people, but the blogosphere made me realize that their are still plenty of good people out there. 

Ok, enough sappy stuff. Time for free cards! I like keeping my contests as simple as possible.  All you need to do is comment below (make sure you are following the blog) and that gets you entered. I'll close things off later this week and pick 3 winners via Once the winners are picked I'll do a little customized shopping to make sure the cards are tailored to your collection. No extra entries for a blog plug, but my usual protocol is to add more winners if the response is good. So if you want to share by all means share.

Thanks again for all of you who continue to read and comment. On to the next 500! 

Sunday, July 19, 2015


2015 Topps Series 2 Francisco Cervelli /10

Just about a week after I secured the silver framed Cervelli I was able to get the clear acetate parallel. I've been on a nice run picking up a lot of the lower end Pirates out of Series 2 who don't get any auto or relic love. 

Cervelli has been a key to the Pirates success this year. After losing Russell Martin it looked liked catcher was going to be an offensive black hole, but Cervelli has been great with the bat. Also, if you believe in the pitch framing aspects of the game, he rates #1. All for the price of a middle reliever. 

I have no intentions of going for a rainbow as the silver frame and clear acetate are my favorite parallels, but if I do happen to come across the platinum 1 of 1 I may have to entertain the thought. 

Thanks for reading. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Boom Goes the Dynamite (3 Whale Trade)

Boy oh boy, where do I start with this one. Dennis from Too Many Verlanders channeled his inner Jaybarker with this trade. You know you are in for something special when the trade has to be delivered in a priority mail box.

This actually marks the 12 trade that Dennis and I have made since I started Bob Walk the Plank!

This beautiful 8x10 Auto of Jeff Hostetler was the very first item to come out of the box. Hostetler doesn't have much in the way of certified autos so this is a very welcomed addition. He still lives in Morgantown and run into him quite a bit. He is a big dude so he is an easy guy to notice. 

 I have a very large Starting Lineup collection that is still stored at my parents house. One of these days I need to get them to my house. I never had any of the Startling Lineup 2's as I had stopped collecting before these were released. Happy to add the Pops to my collection.

The Clemente piece is a classic. I have one that is still boxed up so I may free this one and put it in my office.

Now for a crazy amount of WVU hits.

 A sweet patch of Tavon.
This is one of the better looking signatures that I've seen on these type of cards. A lot of times these look extremely faded, but Da'Sean did a good job with pen pressure and utilizing the space. Sweet card of the WVU legend.
 Kay Jay Harris played one of the most memorable games I ever attended at Mountaineer Field. He torched East Carolina for 330 yards rushing. At the time it was a Big East record.
Quincy is from WV and was one of the strongest runners in school history. I remember being so excited when Press Pass and Sage were released around the NFL draft. I would try and hunt down WVU guys right when they were released.
 This is a sharp looking card! Nice patch to go with the auto.
WVU should be called slot receiver U. Seems like our offense is made for super fast, shifty receivers. Reynaud was a product of Rich Rodriguez's offense.
 Hard to keep track of all the SPx variants, but it is still a very nice card. Slaton was a stud for the Mountaineers.
 Another Slaton!

 I keep hoping that WVU would retire Pat's number one of these days. Not the most gifted quarterback but man he made the most of his talents. 4 bowl wins including 2 BCS victories.
 My first Mario Alford card. I've been noticing some autos hit eBay lately, but I've been holding out.
 2 Die Cut Charles Sims.

Now for the Bucco hit parade....
 Latimore never panned out for the Pirates after being a 4th round pick out of high school. Looks like he is playing in the Baltimore system.
 A little reliever love by Leaf. By the way Leaf Signature is awesome!
 Polanco needs to start hitting as their has been lots of rumors the Pirates are going to at least try and find a platoon partner at the deadline. Framed relics are fancy!
 Spanky auto!!!!!
 I'm glad Cervelli has played well for the Pirates as I thought the loss of Russell Martin was going to cripple us.

Nice shot of Maz's very memorable homerun against the Yankees.
 Been a while since I received a Sportflics card.

Ugh...Jose Bautista. :(

Now for the heavy hitters
 Hard to scan the encased Topps Retired cards. I've said it a thousand times but the Candy Man is cardboard gold. If you could somehow make a triple auto with him, Teke and Dave Parker my head would explode.

White Whale time!
 Here is the first of the White Whales. This card wasn't necessarily rare, but it was elusive. For a while this card seemed to show up on auction pretty regularly, but I would fail to win it. Lately I've only seen it with high BIN prices. Thankfully Dennis tracked it down for me and I can finally put this one to bed.

This card featuring Chris Duffy and Andre Ethier doesn't show up much of all. The ones that did hit auction the last few years went much higher than I was willing to pay. Ethier has a pretty big following so his rarer cards still sell pretty well.
2004 Topps Originals Bill Madlock! This card seemed to vanish from eBay. I remember seeing three in about a months span, then nothing at all for 6 months. Dennis to the rescue!

Holy crap Dennis! You really raised the bar with this trade. Thanks so much for hooking me up with so many great cards. I've been on the hunt for something unique for you so hopefully I can strike gold soon.

Thanks for reading!