The Legend

The Legend

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Brewing Up a Walker

2011 Topps Triple Threads Neil Walker Patch/Auto 1/1

A recently acquired Neil Walker card from a six year old set became topical again! The former Pirate who grew up in Pittsburgh (announcers will remind you at least 78 times during broadcast) recently was traded from the Mets to the Brewers. The Pittsburgh media overrated him a good bit, but he was/is a very good offensive second baseman when healthy. I suspect he will be a nice pickup for the Brewers who essentially just took on the remaining portion of his salary.  The Pirates are playing the Brew Crew this afternoon. 

As for the card itself this was a nice find. For anyone who collects Pirate cards, 2011 Triple Threads was a big deal.  It was one of the first high end sets to feature some of the "other guys" not named McCutchen.  It featured the likes of Walker, Jose Tabata, Pedro Alvarez and Garrett Jones. It was and still is one of my favorite sets to buy because of all the variety. 

Triple Threads is one of the rare sets that I actually like the regular jersey/patch cards better than the autos. The sticker seems to be more of an eye sore than usual on this one. Having the placement right on the torso is less than ideal.  With that being said I still highly desired the card because it adds a nice finishing touch to all the Walker's I own from this set. 

Thanks for reading! 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Let's Open a Pack of 2002 Donruss Originals

Time to dip into the rainy day pack stash. Up to bat today is  2002 Donruss Originals.  Nothing like a newer set that paid tribute to sets that weren't that old to begin with.  My brain still has a hard time realizing that a set from 2002 is 15 years old.

The whole idea of this set was to pay tribute to the 82,84,86 and 88 sets using 2002 players.

 Guys like Jim Edmonds and Albert Pujols tortured the Pirates throughout the 2000's.  Edmonds was sneaky awesome for a long time. If he could have had one or two more peak seasons he would probably be a Hall of Famer.
 I want to go back in time and tell Dusty Baker not to overwork Prior.
 I didn't remember Hansel Izquierdo so I had to look him up.  He only had 20 career appearances in the show. His Wikipedia page also told me that he got a DUI in 2015 with a dual charge of child abuse since three kids were in the backseat.....yikes.
 I like to think Zito is playing an acoustic guitar on a beach somewhere right now.  He always seemed like the kind of guy that does that often.....
Last but not least is awesome TTM guy Juan Gonzalez being featured in one of the first sets I remember using my own money on to purchase.

If you want to find out more about 2002 Donruss Originals click here.  It is a big set with lots of inserts, sps, buybacks and autos.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Free Day....FREE DAY!

Last Thursday my wife and daughter were both extremely tired and were going to call it a day very early. I decided to make the quick ride to watch the Black Bears play host to the Brooklyn Cyclones. This was a little extra exciting than normal as Pirates top prospect Austin Meadows was on a rehab assignment.

 He really didn't do much in the game, but it was nice to get a front and center view. One takeaway I had is that he was much faster than I expected. Hopefully he can shake the injury bug that has been following him this past year. He would have likely made his Pittsburgh debut already had he stayed healthy.  Pirates GM Neil Huntington said that he won't get the call now and will likely be asked to play Arizona Fall League.
 It was kind of a yucky night, but it wasn't gong to disrupt FREE DAY!
 Tickets for these games run in the $8-14 range.  You really can't beat the price being that it is similar to going to a movie. Plenty of free parking available too as the stadium is tucked between several large commercial businesses.

Back to cards tomorrow as I hope to scan the contents from a big mailbox bombing from Julie. 

Thanks for reading! 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Liking Lots a Lot

Other than my box breaks with Kevin from Card Papoy and Brian from HSCA, my main way to accumulate trade bait is buying lots off of eBay.  Either a box breaker is getting rid of his Judgeless loot in one mega lot or the seller offers great combined shipping rates.  My latest pickup was of the combined shipping nature.

 I won several non Pirates, but this one was my favorite. Bowman Inception is always a much cheaper way to get a high end prospects autograph or future Game of Thrones actors.

 Polanco cards are dirt cheap right now as he is getting really close to being labeled the dreaded "injury proned" player.  This only cost me $8, which is about half of what it would have been last year.

 This jersey/auto cost me $4. When Polanco was first called up these were in the $30 range.

I always mention how collecting the late 70's Pirates is really cheap.  Players like Madlock, Parker and Al Oliver all sell low.  This Topps Supreme Madlock only set me back $3.

If you are a frequent purchaser on eBay it may be worth your time to check the sellers other listings. Usually I see a Pirate card I like and put a bunch of low ball bids on other auctions.  You may be surprised what you end up with.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Loading Up on Jameson

This Jameson.....

2010 Bowman Jameson Taillon Gold Rookie /50

Not this one....

Prices on Taillon cards are still relatively cheap so I've been trying to add a few higher end cards the past couple of months. Normally if I don't get the Chrome autos or parallels early the prices get too high.  For whatever reason the market cooled on Taillon and now I have this nice new Chrome gold parallel for the collection. I think the final price was right around $10 maybe a shade more.

It has been kind of fun watching the Pirates play themselves back to relevancy the last month or so. Thankful the Cubs and Brewers have opened the door a little for the Cards and Pirates to be within striking distance.  No matter what happens I should at least get another month of meaningful baseball.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Trade: Wish They Still Came With Bubblegum

Jeff hasn't been active blogging but he's still super active on Twitter discussing Braves prospects. That is a busy job these days as the Braves probably have the deepest farm system in baseball.  They may not have the sexy names like the White Sox, but holy crap do they have a ton of high ceiling guys. 

The other day I received a PWE from  Jeff with some cool Buccos and Mountaineers inside. 

Every Stadium Club card is awesome compared to most sets, but I'm always kind of underwhelmed with the Cutch cards.  You would figure that some better shots exist other than swinging the bat. Either way I'm still very happy to get a gold foil card of the Bucco superstar.
The black foil cards only fall two or three a box so this is a nice get.  The Pirates traded Liriano at a good time.
Glasnow is back in the minors dominating like he always does.   I'm sure he will get called back up in September but not sure how much he'll pitch if the Pirates are in the race.  It is always going to be about command with him.
Everyone should have  a chance to rediscover 1986 Topps!

Marte is back from his PED suspension. He won't be eligible for the playoffs if somehow the Buccos sneak in.  I would imagine if the Pirates get hot in August they make a move to try and acquire an outfielder before the waiver deadline.

Purple refractors from Heritage have a nice look.

I got to see a good bit of Kevin Newman when he was a Black Bear.  A few weeks back Keller pitched there on a rehab assignment and currently Meadows is in Morgantown rehabbing,

Jeff and I are big college football fans so he always helps out my Mountaineer collection.  The Prestige card is pretty cool.

Thanks for all the cards Jeff!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Don't Judge Me NOW

I always feel like I'm a Topps NOW apologist, but I've enjoyed the experience.  Obviously I'm only speaking as a Pirates collector so my views can be taken with a grain of salt if you collect other teams. Since the program started I could only think of a few moments that I thought would receive a card that didn't. 

This year the Pirates seem to get cards in bulk.  Since I utilize the same seller I often get multiples in the same order.  Today I received a whopping four!

I know the ongoing joke on Twitter is that Aaron Judge gets a card for everything he does.  Judge hits homerun, scores game winning run, ties shoes...etc. Truth be told he probably deserved the attention since he basically turned into Babe Ruth for four months. If you break Yankees records you have to be doing something pretty cool.  Are his cards being produced to the detriment of some other big events.....maybe.  I'm sure Judge will get the benefit of the doubt for the foreseeable future judging by his sales. 

While this card isn't fancy it does prove one important thing.....CUTCH IS BACK! 

Josh Bell was the owner of my favorite NOW card from last year. Love the Cutch cameo. 

Any card featuring the gold jerseys is worth a purchase. The Polanco bear hug makes it that much better.
Another underrated NOW quality is that sometimes you get a card of obscure rookies!

Every time I post a NOW card I automatically want to post something from Spaceballs.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 7, 2017

My Canadian Pipeline

I don't know how Doug does it, but he always sends me a ton of WVU cards. I feel like every package I get is loaded down with multiple autos and parallels. Recently I sent some cards up to Canada and sure enough Doug hit me with a ton of great cards with WVU being the central theme. 

While I collect WVU guys both in their college and professional uniforms the preference will always be the collegiate garb.  This is a really nice jersey/auto of former Mountaineer running back Charles Sims.
I hate that Tavon is starting to get the "bust" label.  Hopefully the quarterback situation in LA gets stabilized this year.
I love Contenders! Always a deep checklist to go along with a really nice on card auto.

Quite the trio of Geno's! Hoping he can find a nice home backing up Eli Manning in New York. Geno got drafted into a disastrous situation with the Jets that pretty much set him up to fail.

Doug is also a nice pipeline for my modest Penguins collection.

This Hagelin is just fanstastic. Probably my favorite looking card of the bunch sent.

Goaltender cards are just so cool.  No wonder Doug collects goalies!
My first Shelton Gibson card!

Former Penguin Tyler Kennedy had a nice 5 year run with the Pens and helped them win a cup in 2009 against the Red Wings. 

How about a bunch of old Panini Steeler stickers! 

Thanks for all the cards Doug.  Look forward to our next swap. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

A 1/1 Splurge

2017 Stadium Club Willie Stargell 1/1

I guess it is not too much of a splurge when it only cost $26, but that still represents a pretty significant single card purchase for me. When this card popped up on eBay I thought it would be cool to own, but I didn't think my high bid of $23 plus shipping would hold. Surprisingly my bid held up and I'm the proud owner of a cool new 1/1. 

As for the card itself I was happy to see such a unique card of Pops. While his last few Stadium Club cards have been great I feel this is the best yet. You know your cool when you wear your own toboggan. 

Bring back Stargell Stars! 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Fighting With the Select Few (Collecting Your Alma Mater)

2005 UD Reflections Kay Jay Harris /15 Auto

Probably not the greatest of click bait to feature an obscure WVU player, but bare with me just for a minute....

Kay Jay Harris went undrafted after his senior season at WVU, but still received a handful of releases from some of the bigger rookie oriented sets. His cards have always been cheap.  So much so that you have to look for auctions with free shipping or else you will pay more to get the card to your house then the actual sell price. 

Over the years I've actively pursued dozens of players like Kay Jay Harris.  It was fun because I watched them all play in person and the cost was minimal.  It is always fun to have a personal tie to the cardboard you purchase.  

As my WVU collection grew I decided that I would chase some more obscure parallels to give myself a challenge.  I definitely underestimated how hard and costly this could be. Most of my focus goes to bigger WVU names like Pat White, Steve Slaton and Joe Alexander.  They surprisingly still have a strong market when you get into the low numbered cards.  Many cards still go into the $20 to $30 range.  Not break the bank type of numbers, but if I'm going to spend that kind of money I would rather it be on my Pirates collection.  Even the Kay Jay Harris above set me back $8.  

I'm beginning to think I might have some luck scouring Sportlots and Just Commons. My hope is that the seller would just assume that this is just some scrub card that no one would really want.  In theory I kind of thought this would be true on eBay auctions, but obviously there is someone just like me wanting to add obscure WVU players to their collection.  

I guess long story short is don't underestimate college collectors. 

Thanks for reading! 


Friday, August 4, 2017

Optical Illusion

2017 Donruss Optic Ivan Nova Autograph

Not the nicest looking card you will find, but it's Ivan Nova's first certified auto as a Bucco. Kuddos to Panini for branching out their Pirate checklists in 2017.  I've been able to snag this Nova and a David Freese auto in a two week span.  Topps continues to rehash the same veteran Buccos over and over.  I get having big rookies in every set, but maybe after the 50th Starling Marte auto we could try someone else.......just a thought.  

Nova has come back to earth his last 10 starts, but his overall body of work has been solid when you consider the bargain contract the Pirates gave (3yr 26mil).  Relievers have been getting those type of deals so the Buccos have to be happy to get some cheap innings.  

I have my fingers crossed that Francisco Cervelli and Felipe Rivero get an auto soon! 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Bo Knows......How to Destroy My Scanner

Last month Bo from Baseball Cards Come to Life contacted me about some Pirate cards I might be interested in.  Of course I rarely ever say no to a trade so Bo sent them my way along with a lot of All Star cards I won in his version of the Big Fun Game. 

So many cards!!!!

Attempting to sort.....

The easiest way to display my favorites were to put them in player order.  Most of the cards I feature are from the early 2000's.  So many great forgotten sets! Buckle in and enjoy the scans. 

Kind of hard to see, but this is a WBC Chrome card of Gift Ngoepe.  Gift became the first African born player to make it to the major leagues this year.

Ultra was very underrated.
Plenty more Jack Wilson below, but I just wanted to feature a Fleer Legacy card. I love these obscure sets.
Matt Morris was horrible for the Buccos, but I love getting some short term guys.
Kuwata made his major league debut with the Pirates in 2007 as a 39 year old rookie.  He became the first Japanese player in Pirates history.  The stay was short as he was designated for assignment two months later.  The Pirates tried to get him to stay on as a coach but he declined and went back to Japan.
Pokey was one of the better defenders in the early 2000's but his hitting left something to be desired.

Craig Wilson was a personal favorite during his Pittsburgh days.

Bo gave me a ton of Bowman rookies.  Here is a sample of guys that made it to Pittsburgh.

Upper Deck MVP was a set I purchased a lot.  UD had some nice sets for those on a strict budget between MVP and Collectors Choice.

I think Jack Wilson might still be the longest tenured Pirates in the PNC park era.  Counting minor league time Cutch probably has him since Jack was a Cardinals prospect.

Fleer Tradition was another fun set that was affordable.

Don't drink and scan kids.
So much Fleer!

Now it is time for cool baseball card guy Jason Kendall.

I think my favorite is the UD celebrating the win card.

Next up is Aramis Ramirez.  Surprisingly he beat out Giles and Kendall for the most unique cards in the box.

I scanned the Sports Illustrated card separately because Nunez and Ramirez are listed wrong. I've always been partial to the canvas Diamond Kings card so that is my choice of best of the bunch.
4 unique cards of Mr. Operation Shutdown himself Derek Bell.  He was a real life Pirate as he basically took the teams money and vanished without a trace.

Dennys!!!! My brother and I use to beg to eat at Dennys so we could get cards.  We would always fight over the Pirates.

Freddy was great during his stint as a Pirate. He has a decent amount of cardboard representing his time in Pittsburgh, but it always felt like he should have more.

I'm a sucker for a good managers card.  Lloyd Mclendon is probably most remembered for a blowup he had during a game in which he took a base back to the dugout.  That should be a card.
A good game for Pirates fans is to see who can name the most players in this picture.  It is pretty hard.

Here are my favorite cards from the Big Fun Game.

This card has been featured on the blogs before, but it is always worth showing. Randy Johnson batting was an event worth documenting.
One of the more unique players in recent memory.  Such a great looking card.

Thanks for all the great cards Bo. I just pulled the trigger on a COMC order that has some cards for you as a thank you for the Pirates lot and the Big Fun Game.  This was a ton of fun to sort through.

Thanks for reading!