The Legend

The Legend

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Virtual Dime Box

I live in an area that is void of card shows/shops.  I'm not going to wax poetic as most of the ones in my area that closed never adapted to online pricing.  As much as I want to support local business, it is not good for my collection to drop $40 on a Jason Bay auto.  

These days I live vicariously through blogging friends that have good shops/shows/flea markets to attend on a regular basis. Of course our most notable dime box digger is Nick.  This latest installment of cards from Nick is what I would imagine a perfect dig for Pirate cards would turn up. 

Early/mid 2000's was a tough time to be collecting Pirates.  The only area team wise that was represented well was sets featuring retired players.  Team Heroes is a nice example. 

I think Fleer might get the award for most obscure sets in the 2000's.  Today these have become hard to find.  Very happy to have this Honus in my collection.
I'm a fan of any card that shows the beautiful skyline in the background.

This card has all the loveable wear I like to see on a vintage card.

Is that a faceless Chuck Tanner in the background?

I've begun the process of trying to pick up some Josh Bell cards.
A Dime Box special with a short term Bucco!
More mid 2000's legend sets.

Always an underrated set for great photos.

Legendary Cuts was very fancy pants when it came out.  The base cards are not super easy to find.
My favorite here is the Cole in the Bradenton Marauders jersey.

If I recall, Nick told me that Gorzelanny was from his neck of the woods.  Pokey Reese was always fun to watch in the field.  A shame his bat never came a long.
Two Pacific cards and a Spanky.  I bet LaValliere got all the ladies.

Mitch Keller is the Pirates biggest prospect.  He looks to be on track to join the team next year.  There was some talk that the Pirates may push him if they could stay in contention, but that doesn't look like the case.
It has been a few years since I dipped my toes in the Gypsy Queen game.  Always nice to receive some in trade.
When these Joey Bats Pirate cards started showing up in Topps sets I was pretty happy.  Kind of funny considering how bad he was with the Buccos, but I wanted them all!
Charlie Hayes son Ke'Bryan is a huge prospect in the system.  He has made his way through the system really quick.
Talking about cashing in.  This is the Dime Box equivalent of winning the Powerball in consecutive weeks. Must be nice to throw around cards like this in the mail.  You are a baller my friend. 

This was such a fun stuck to go through.  Thanks so much Nick. 

Thanks for reading! 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Flip it Over

I haven't been sharing many this year, but I'm still very active buying the Pirate related NOW cards. One of the early releases this year captured Jameson Taillon's one hit shutout.  It was exciting to see the dual image.  Card looks even better since this was a Sunday game and the players were wearing throwback uniforms.

Once again the Pirates have been on a reasonable pace NOW wise that allows me to pick up all the releases.  I was a little worried at the beginning of the year when I purchased several cards in one week.  The pace has slowed down to the point where I feel once again they will be middle of the pack release wise.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Delay of Game

Early on I learned that the best way for me to keep my incoming trade packages organized is by keeping them sealed until I'm ready to scan.  While this takes some restraint, it helps prevent anarchy on my desk.  Stacks can develop and before you know it Mount Cardmore erupts.

A few days back I got the dreaded did you receive my envelope email from Matt (Bubba's Bangin' Batch of Baseball Bits).  I knew right away I hadn't seen it.  Knowing that my system usually prevents this kind issue I was worried it may have been lost in the mail.  Before writing it off, I also knew that depending on the arrival date it may have shown up at peak Wes madness.  Thankfully the latter was true.

My wife did a little examination of the office area and found them hidden behind our filing cabinet. Wes sends so much mail that it caused my envelopes to collapse.  So my apologies to Matt.  Ultimately I'm just happy he mentioned something as it could have been lodged back their for the foreseeable future.

Let's take a look what was inside after the two month hibernation.

 A few extra months obviously didn't hurt this 51 Bowman.  What a great card.
 When Matt told me he sent me this card I immediately worried that I mixed his trade package up with Wes as he sent this one as well.  Thankfully it was just a coincidence. I don't have many Pens autos in my collection so even if it is a duplicate I'm very happy to add more.
 Failed prospect collecting could keep a Pirate fan busy a long time.  I have a lot of fun adding these type of cards these days.
 I'm pro diecut cards so this is right up my alley.

 Fingers crossed for some more Cervelli cards this year.  He is off to a great start and may earn an All Star birth.
A few years ago I bought a box of T206 and had a blast.  The Giles is my favorite since he has the short lived red bill Pirates hat.

Thanks for the cards Matt!  Sorry for the delay and thanks so much for reaching out.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 11, 2018


Last year I started searching around for some more obscure WVU releases.  Ultimately this lead to some CFL sets.

The Mountaineers have a long history of putting players in the CFL so my brain finally decided to do the cardboard math and start looking outside the normal NFL releases.  I've seen Jogo cards before in passing, but finally started to look for specific cards that pertain to my collection.  Super pumped to find this 2008 Montreal Alouettes Avon Cobourne.

While having his fair share of NFL releases, this was a little more exciting.  Most "new" to me Cobourne cards are hard to find parallels so its nice to see something actually "different" instead of an auto variant.

The next step is to create myself a checklist of cards to chase.  I've unearthed some fun stuff pertaining to Euro basketball leagues, CFL and USFL. A huge WVU lot that was sent my way courtesy of JBF really opened my eyes so I hope to continue to build upon that.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Canadian Addendum

Not long after Doug (Sportscards from the Dollar Store) blew me away with a fantastic trade package he contacted and said another one more envelope would be heading my way.  Once again this one featured some high end Mountaineers.

 The Tavon Austin plate below was probably the "best" card in the bunch but this Sims was my favorite. Complete with the college uniform and the "Go Mountaineers" inscription it may be my favorite Sims in my collection.

 Tavon cards seem to be moving on eBay better these after being traded to the Cowboys.  The Rams didn't do a good job utilizing his skill set so I'm hoping the Cowboys think of something.  Word is they may use him out of the backfield more.  Ultimately he just needs the ball in open space.

 I've been on a nice running adding some White cards to my collection lately.  Between great trade partners like Doug and Wes and me finding some nice lots on eBay, I've been able to double the size of my collection.

 I'm not really sure where Smallwood ends up on the depth chart next year.  The Eagles have quite a few Mountaineers on the roster so they've had my attention a lot.
The core of the Pens.  Really like the Crosby celebration shot.

Thanks for the extra envelop Doug.  Already found a few nice cards for your collection.  Still in need of a headliner and then it will hit the mail.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Email Exchange Turns into Fun Blog Post (20 Years of Crappy Pirates)

Over the course of the last couple of weeks I've been exchanging emails with a close friend of mine trying to determine what we think is the most egregious Pirates lineup over the past 20 years.  We set a few perimeters because we didn't want this to be a failed prospect list (300 ab's , 100 ip).  I've documented the Pirates failed draft picks on numerous occasions so I figured we would try something new.

The idea was to showcase a lineup of guys that were given way too long of a leash.  You have to take in account some context when doing this as well.  For the most part we avoided young players on bad teams.  Even if they are bad those are the guys you want to get a chance.  With that being said a few young guys made the list because they were so bad they had to be mentioned. 

C - Rod Barajas -
The Pirates collapsed hard in 2011 and came into 2012 with some glaring needs.  In desperate need of a backstop the Pirates signed aging journeyman Rod Barajas.  It was disappointing because the teams core was looking legit.  Sure enough it failed miserably and Barajas was replaced by another long time minor leaguer Michael Mckenry.  The Pirates would go on and have an even more soul crushing collapse to finish below .500.

This was a unanimous choice

1B - Randall Simon
First base has long been a black hole for the Pirates.  They've tried everything you can think of and literally nothing worked for the better part of 20 years.  The biggest disappointment of the 20 year span we examined would be Adam LaRoche. Expectations were very high and he could never meet them.  The weird thing with LaRoche is you could say he was our best and most disappointing player at that position.  For our project LaRoche was still too productive.

The Pirates have a laundry list of guys that most casual fans would say "I don't remember him being a Pirate."  My buddy's first draft came back with Daryle Ward.  While Daryle was truly inept I countered with Simon and Lyle Overbay.  Truth be told no wrong answer existed.  We agreed to eliminate Ward on the fact that he played outfield too.  Simon beat out Overbay because Randall had no track record or pedigree to really warrant playing.  Simon as a Pirate had 514 career at bats and a -1.7 WAR.

2B - Jose Castillo  - (Co Captain)

I say Co-Captain in the sense that he is one of the guys we knew had to be on the list.  Castillo is a player where the narrative never really matched the production on the field.  Announcers would always talk about his slick fielding and power bat.  Truth be told as defensive metrics started to become a thing he never really graded out that well.  While Castillo would showcase big power at times, he was so madly inconsistent that his bat was never close to being average.

The Pirates stuck with him over the course of a whopping 1765 at bats.  He accumulated -2.7 WAR during his tenure.  YIKES!

SS - Clint Barmes

We had some fun exchanges on this one.  My friend had chosen Pat Meares and I had Barmes.  It was truly a coin flip, but the narrative of Barmes was the deciding factor.  A lot of the reason Meares was bad can likely be attributed to injury shortened seasons.

My vote for Barmes was more for the fact that he was a weak link on some good Pirate teams and that he was resigned after his original two year deal was over in 2013.

3B - Andy Laroche (Co Captain)

A sure fire pick for each of us.  I told you that we tried not to penalize younger players but LaRoche was the main exception. First, he was centerpiece in the three team trade that sent Jason Bay to Boston and Manny Ramirez to LA.  Obviously it is not uncommon for prospect oriented returns to fail, but the Pirates had to hit hear and LaRoche was so bad.

The other bad thing is that the Pirates did everything in their power to give him opportunity to play and develop and he just couldn't produce.  Over the course of 1044 at bats he accumulated .6 WAR. Some secondary fallout occurred here as well.  In order to keep LaRoche at third the Pirates traded away Jose Bautista for a minor league catcher.

OF - Jeromy Burntiz

This one falls under the category of totally unnecessary signing which was a hallmark of GM Dave Littlefield. Obviously, Burnitz was an accomplished major leaguer having some productive years with Milwaukee.  By the time the Pirates signed him in 2006 he was 37 years and well past his prime. Burnitz only had 313 at bats as a Pirate, but was an easy addition to the list for producing at such a low level.

OF - Jose Tabata -

I'll keep this one short as I talk about Tabata all the time.  Tabata wasa a former Yankee prospect that was traded to the Pirates for Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte.  It was quite the roller coaster ride from there.  He shot up the Pirate system and became a very productive young player.  So productive that the Pirates signed him to a long term extension to keep his prices stable. Surprising it went south drastically.  Hamstring injuries, and perceived lack of dedication put him in the doghouse.  He could never regain the hit tool and speed that made him such a drool worthy player.

OF - Lastings Milledge
We had a tough time coming up with the last outfielder.  So many names made sense here, but most fell into the category of guys the Pirates drafted and couldn't develop.  The others didn't hit our 300ab minimum.  We chose Milledge because of his prospect pedigree and the fact it was the type of trade fans had been wanting the Pirates make.  So his failure seemed even more disappointing than normal.  Fortunately the Pirates saved face a little as one of the throw ins in the deal with the Nationals was Joel Hanrahan who developed into a nice reliever for a few years.

SP - Jeff Locke (Co-Captain)
Here is a man that had 9 lives when surviving roster purges with the Pirates.  The guy was just destroyed in the local media to the point you almost felt sorry for him.  Long story short he pitched 644 innings for the Pirates, with the bulk of the working coming in all three playoff years.  He makes the list because you always had to wonder if they would have replaced him with someone just a hair better than one of those wildcard teams could had been a division winner.   I'm all for younger pitchers getting an opportunity, but his leash was just too long.

SP- Kevin Correia

Just a pitcher that wasn't any good that the Pirates decided to give too much opportunity.  A very confusing signing that never really made much sense.

SP - Jon Niese

 Very few innings with the Buccos but the narrative was too good to pass up.  The Pirates traded Neil Walker for Jon Niese.  Obviously, Walker was a fan favorite so it was going to take a lot for Niese to get in the good graces of the fanbase.  He was horrendous from day one.   What makes it even more damning is the fact that Pirates GM Neil Huntington gave a public interview saying how big of a mistake it was to trade Walker.  He said he was trying to get a MLB piece instead of prospects and it bit him in the ass.

SP - Ryan Vogelsong
Vogelsong is an easy guy to root for, but both of his Pirate tenures were bad.  Once thought of as a long term piece to the Pirates rotation in the early 2000's, he could just never get it going.  After about a 5 year stint of playing wherever he could overseas an opportunity arose with the Giants and he took advantage.  Eventually he would make his way back to the Pirates again in 2016 and he once again failed to put up numbers.

SP - Matt Morris (Write-in Candidate)
I put write in candidate because Morris didn't meet our innings pitched requirement.  What Morris had was bad results at a very hefty price tag.  The trade for Morris will go down as one of the more head scratching ones in Pirates recent history.  When the Pirates traded Rajai Davis for Morris they also inherited 10 million in salary.  All the warning signs were there that Morris was a shell of his former self.  Maybe it would have made some sense to take him on if the Giants were eating the salary, but for some reason the Pirates took it on too.  Of course Morris was eventually released the following season and Davis has had a very successful career as a fourth outfielder.  

RP - Jared Hughes and Daniel McCutchen. - 

Collectively these two had almost 500 innings and combined for - 1.7 WAR.  Metrics hate guys that can't miss bats and that sums up these two perfectly.  

So this was a fun project. It was fun taking a long standing email chain and adding some visuals.  It wasn't an exact science, but I felt we captured the soul of the project.