The Legend

The Legend

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


2003 Donruss Elite Aspirations Brian Giles 1/1

I've always been a big fan of the Elite diecut cards. Back when card shops were a thing in my area I would often purchase these for pennies on the dollar. Back in the early 2000's people were going auto/relic crazy so you could find some great deals on parallels.  Sometimes people would even give the entire contents of busted boxes minus the hits. That is why so many of you have received these type of cards in trade packages. 

As I eluded in the Giles post yesterday, an eBay seller is liquidating some great cards of the former Bucco outfielder.  They were BIN or best offer auctions but the seller had  many of them marked for reasonable starting prices.  Thankfully Giles is a saved search so I was able to get this Aspirations card soon after the auction went live. The seller was reasonable in the going back forth with prices and soon enough the card was mine. The final price was around $30 for this one. While that seems a little steep these cards have become more popular recently. 

What makes this card extra special is that is was in great shape.  For those who've seen these in person know that the cut areas tend to get bent over time. This shows absolutely no wear at all. 

Thanks for reading! Go Bucs!.  

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

For the Kids

2002 SP Authentic National Sports Collectors Convention Kids Brian Giles 1/1

I would classify this card as an impulse buy, but at $8 I thought it was unique enough to go ahead and grab. The seller that had this card was liquidating several high end Brian Giles cards. While many were from his Padres days I did snag one Pirate era card besides this one. 

These convention 1/1's were made to raise money which would allow free admission to kids to enter the National Collector Convention.  I don't recall ever seeing the baseball versions. Topps created the football versions and plenty of those are on eBay.

Monday, August 29, 2016

I'm on Twitter Now!

I've always kind of been on Twitter, but never had an active account. Of course someone was using @bobwalktheplank so I had to tinker with the name some.

Check me out here

I think some of you tried to reach me at the @bobwalktheplank name, but the guy that owns it has yet to relinquish the name.  He actually contacted me saying he was sorry for using it.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Plaschke Makes me Feel the Excitement

Well, it is fun to trade with someone that works at a card shop. In case you don't know Greg of Plaschke, thy Sweater is Argyle fame is a man that wears many hats.  One such hat is having access to all kinds of great cardboard at his job.

Feel the Excitement!!!!

 Five Star autos are the thickest cards on the planet.  They also have sweet on card autos! What a great surprise when I saw this Marte.

 Most of my Steeler pickups these days are via blog trading.  The desire is there, but just not enough cash to go around after my Pirate and WVU pickups.  Back when I did pick up Steelers regularly, Hines Ward was my favorite. This is a great looking Finest rookie of the former Steeler great.

 Kevin Jones was the perfect college player.  He got better all four years in college.  He saw a little time with the Cavs two years ago, but mainly has been in the D league.

 North Stars jersey but a Penguins card!
 As usual I always end up reading about old players.  This is Johnny Rizzo and he holds the record for most rbis in a game for the Pirates (9).  I do love the Play Ball cards.

 Long time Pirate Bob Skinner.
You have to love the old Pen uniforms.

Nw for some WOW factor.
 All hail King Walk!
 I don't have much in the way of vintage Steelers.  All old timey football players look like the stereotypical gym teacher from my elementary school years.

Did you see the Rams paid Tavon Austin something like 44 million guaranteed.  Good for him! That probably gets him close to being the highest grossing NFL player in WVU history.

Nice to see Jedd Gyorko have a balance back season.  The WVU baseball team is starting to produce more high draft talent.
 The hockey version of a play at the plate.
 Back in the day when I busted packs of all sports, Contenders was my favorite football product.

 I didn't remember the Kuwata card.  This was a straight publicity stunt by the Pirates as Kuwata was already 39 years old by the time he got to Pittsburgh.  He got shelled.

 This is my childhood there. I remember fighting my brother over SI Kids cards.

 The Pearce is /299. I'm happy to see him turn himself into a solid major leaguer. He just couldn't stay healthy for the Bucs.
 Some more great Upper Deck shots.
 Polanco is on fire!

 Some shiny Wards!
This is a parallel / 75!

This was just a snapshot of what Greg sent.  He hooked me up with a lot a great base Pirates as well. I'll continue to look for more Dodgers that fit your collection.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Proof of Life

I managed to keep my daughter in one piece while my wife was on her trip.  We accomplished a lot of fun stuff. Turns out I think I may have a little hipster as she loved a local burrito hangout that plays tons of folk music.  She danced the entire time. All I needed to do was give her a tallboy of PBR to complete the ensemble.

Our greatest accomplishment though was our major strides in baseball knowledge.  I had the Pirates game on tv and she just blurted out "foul ball" right as it happened.  #prouddadmoment. She also will keep telling me how she wants to go to more Black Bears games.  I think my wife is starting to feel threatened and booked us all tickets to the Nutcracker around Xmas.  I told her by that time I'll have her referencing sabermetrics. This time next year she may be doing guest posts on BWTP!

How about a card ...

2004 Topps Original Signature Edition Bill Madlock Auto 7/11

I think this is the lowest numbered Topps Originals card I have in my collection. Each player in the set has a handful of different cards of which many are hand numbered. I need to clean this case some as the guy who previously owned this got a little sticker happy.  

Madlock autos are always fun additions as they are cheap and always have a great look. I think I've only paid more than $10 once or twice and that was for 1/1's.  As a whole the late 70's Pirates are great value buys.  Tekulve is in this set as well, but he is a little tougher to find. Likely this is due to him being a cardboard god. 

Hope everyone is having a good weekend.  This is a transition week in Morgantown. The first WVU football is game is next weekend which unofficially begins fall in my area. Should be a good time. 

Thanks for reading. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

WAR Pirates

I tend to play around on a lot when I have free time. While I'm well aware of the nerd factor of doing such an act it is a really great resource.  My friend and I usually create games out of the sortable leaderboard tables you can create.  Nice distractions while we sit on our butts in front of a computer all day.

With a little free time last night I started playing around with the all time batting WAR leaders in Pirate history.  I had buddy try an guess them he got 8 of 10 which I thought was pretty good considering half are pre WWII players. 

As for WAR itself people still bitch about it, but I'm sure if everyone ran this same list for their respective team it would probably give the best snapshot of the 10 best players all time. 

Here is the list with cards from my collection. Remember this is only WAR accumulated as a Pirate so Bonds is not number 1......

10. Andrew McCutchen (41.1 WAR)
He was on a great pace before this year.  Hopefully this is only a down year and not a steep decline in his skill set. 

9 Ralph Kiner (42.2 WAR)

Did a ton of damage in short amount of time. 

8. Barry Bonds (48.4 WAR)

He was basically Ken Griffey Jr with the Pirates and Babe Ruth with the Giants. 

7. Fred Clarke (50.9 WAR)

I thought I had a Clarke reprint card somewhere, but couldn't find it. 

6. Max Carey (57.7 WAR)

This beauty was sent to me by Dennis of Too Many Verlanders fame. 

5. Willie Stargell (62.9 WAR)

4. Arky Vaughn (63.3 WAR)

3. Paul Waner (70.5 WAR)

Big Poison is one of the better nicknames of all time. 

2. Roberto Clemente (80.6 WAR)

He was good! 

1. Honus Wagner (127.2 WAR)

Wagner is fifth all time in WAR! 

I thought maybe Dave Parker would be in the top ten, but he was #13.  My buddy had guessed Maz but he was #16 and Pie Traynor #12.  

If you get time should play around on  At the very least you might get a post out of it! 

Thanks for reading.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Few Drops Still Remain in the Well

2007 UD Black Jason Bay Bat Barrel Auto /10

Well, I had no idea this card existed. I'm probably tuned in to Jason Bay cards more than any other player in my Pirates collection, but this one still slipped through the cracks.  Obviously the low print run is the reason why, but I'm still surprised that I've never seen this card pop up.  I even searched UD Black a lot over the years because Tom Gorzelanny and Adam Laroche had some nice cards within the set.

Finding new Bay autos these days us pretty tough so when I first saw this I put a good sized opening bid in.  Bay cards don't sell for much these days, but I figured this one would at least approach the $15-20 range because of the high end set and rarity.  For whatever reason the card sold for under $7 and even with shipping stayed under the $10 mark.   That was a pleasant surprise. 

Bay is the only player in my collection that I have a completest attitude towards. I must subconsciously credit him for keeping my Pirate fandom alive even when the team was hard to watch. Thanks Jason Bay! You will live forever in my saved eBay searches.  

Thanks for reading. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


The Pirates rotation at the start of the season.

  1. Gerrit Cole
  2. Francisco Liriano
  3. Jon Niese
  4. Jeff Locke
  5. Juan Nicasio
The Pirates rotation after the trade deadline.
  1. Gerrit Cole
  2. Jameson Taillon
  3. Chad Kuhl
  4. Ivan Nova
  5. Ryan Vogelsong.
I'll give the Pirates credit, it takes some nerve to change 80% of your rotation in the middle of the season. Thankfully, the Pirates were stocked with AAA pitchers and traded for Ivan Nova to help eat some innings for the younger guys. Nova will likely be gone at the end of the year via free agency, but the Pirates are probably pretty happy with the results from the trade. 

About 30 minutes ago Nova just pitched his 4th complete game of his career! Interesting side note is that the catchers for those first 3 were Chris Stewart who is currently with the Pirates.  Francisco Cervelli caught todays game, but also played with Nova during his Yankees tenure. The Pirates like former Yankees. 

2011 Bowman Chrome Ivan Nova Magenta Printing Plate

Right after the Pirates traded for Nova I started looking for a card to add.  This plate popped up with a BIN price of $10. That seemed pretty decent so I purchased it. 

With the slew of AAA ready arms I don't suspect the Pirates will make a play to keep Nova.  Free agent pitchers are getting crazy amounts of money on the open market. Nova has age on his side so some team might pay to get the 2013 version of Nova. I don't think I would want the Pirates to gamble on that. 

Thanks for reading! 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Old Collecting Habits Mixing With New Ones (The Constant Space Issue)

My name is Matt and I'm a collecting addict.  For whatever reason I've always been a collector. I still to this day have toys in their original boxes from my childhood.  I guess I just liked the act of owning something that reflected my interests at the time, but never really had a desire to play with the toys. Here are a few things that I've kept over the years still in their original boxes.  Most of the pictures I'm stealing off of eBay as these are in storage in my basement.

 This was actually one of the last figures I purchased of wrestling.  For the longest time it held considerable value because the Blue Blazer (Owen Hart) passed away in a tragic accident at a pay per view. I think people realized their were a ton of these in existence so the value is minimal these days.
 One of my crowning achievements as a startling lineup collector was completing the coveted 1998 extended football set by actually finding them in store!

I really miss Starting Lineups.  The McFarlane figures are super nice, but the simplicity and price point of the Starting Lineups were key to me as a kid spending his hard earned snow shoveling money.
These three items pretty much sum up my other collections as a kid.  The only action figures I really got into were the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. By the time I got to junior high I was pretty much all in with sports related figures (Starting Lineups and wrestling figures).  To this day I still have all my starting lineups and wrestling figures.  Most of my Turtle figures have been given to family members in order for them to be actually used and enjoyed.

Fast forward to today and I'm still an active collector of all types of items.  I think most of us are in the same boat with storage so I don't add as near as much as I used to. I would say 90% of non card items added are of the stadium giveaway variety.  I probably have over 100 items just from the Pirates.

This is the most recent addition from attending a game this year.  Nice bonus with the camo jersey.

My non sports collections are pretty much nil these days (back to that space issue again).  My sole vice has been Walking Dead figures. I've pieced together the first two series of the Mcfarlane version.

I think they are on Series 9 or 10 now so I likely won't be trying to get all of them, but I do find them enjoyable and they make pretty neat pieces to showoff on a shelf I have in my designated collecting area of my house.

I'm kind of at a crossroads on what to do with the starting lineups and wrestling figures. My wife is super cool about my collecting habits, but I can tell she doesn't like every item that I've owned in my life still in our house.

As I continue to add cards, this will probably come to a head at some point. I'm not going to do anything drastic like pay for a storage unit.  At some point I will probably need to sell some stuff or just donate a few things to the children's hospital in town.  It will come to a point where I just want someone to enjoy them.

Will I ever stop buying these kind of items......probably not.  I'm such a sucker for stadium giveaways that it will probably be a constant problem.  The goal is to make sure I cycle through the old stuff that doesn't really fit my collecting habits, or I could just win the powerball. That would make things much easier in terms of space.  I can see my wife asking me if I thought about what I'm going to do with all those figures. I'll just point to my Powerball tickets and say, "problem solved."

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 21, 2016


I struck gold last month when a seller had several lots of Pirate parallels on sale at one time. As usual with the time period these lots include Brian Giles, Kris Benson and Jason Kendall.  Last week I showed off the SP red parallels. While those are nice finds, these SPX cards have a little more visual appeal.

The Radiance parallels from SPX are all out of /100.  They were tough pulls and the only numbered parallels from the set other than the SPectrums which were 1/1's.  If you are a fan of Prizm cards this parallel is for you.

The price on these were a little more than most of the parallels that I usually buy.  The Giles and Benson were about $5.00 a piece while the Kendall was more in the $3 range. Normally Kendall sells more than Benson so not sure what happened there. At least with combined shipping it helped hold the overall purchase price down. I figured a few dollars was worth it not to have to try and find these parallels again.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Separation Anxiety and Flashback

Today my wife left for a trip to London with her Mom.  This will mark the longest she has been away from our daughter so she is having a bit of separation anxiety.  She claims this is not for lack of faith in my abilities, but just motherly nature.  I think deep down inside she is worried what I can teach her during my time alone with her.  She is only 3, but I have her saying Go Buccos and McCutchen. She is in good hands! 

Last night I was organizing some scans of cards and thought I would share my favorite purchases so far in 2016.  One theme that I really noticed was that I've been staying away from active Buccos. I don't think it is from lack of trying, but more from just the amounts auctions go off for.  Guys like Marte and Polanco are having career seasons and the Pirates have graduated quite a few high end prospects which always creates a price jump. 

Kent Tekulve is cardboard gold.  He has several variants of these Topps buyback autos and I always try to keep my eyes peeled for them.  This is one of my favorite autos in my entire Pirate collection. 

I don't show a ton of my WVU cards on the blog, but I've every bit as active with the Mountaineers as I am with the Pirates.  The main difference is collecting philosophy.  With WVU I almost never buy new releases unless the cards are below the $10 mark.  Both NFL and NBA first rounds picks are notoriously overpriced and hardly ever hold their value.  For every one Andrew Luck their is 50 Geno Smiths.

Joe Alexander was a lottery pick and one of the bigger busts in recent memory.  Being that he was picked so high means you get high end card releases.  This has allowed me to pick up cards like the one above for pennies on the dollar.

This release kind of sums up my collecting theme this year.  I've made it a mission of mine to accumulate as many of these late 90's early 00's parallels as possible.  The Pirates didn't have any high dollar players so these are pretty easy on the wallet.

Gerrit Cole hasn't been his dominant self this year and card prices have reflected that recently.  Mix in the fact that his draft is full of pitchers who have flamed out has caused a buyers market for Cole. Cards like this cost less than the price of a blaster. 

 I love silver frame and acetate parallels.  This one is special because it is the biggest name Pirate I've found recently.

 Just look at these bad boys!

The first cards featuring players in the WV Black Bears uniform were guaranteed chase cards for me. I'm glad I jumped on the Kevin Newman plates early as his prospect status has been elevated some and is being fast tracked through the system.  The best find though was the Kevin Kramer true 1/1 on Just Commons for only $20 bucks.

I was getting a little bored with the Topps Now Pirate cards as the photos just weren't that exciting.  If you are going to charge $9.99 the picture should at least be unique. Thankfully the last handful of Pirate Now cards have been fantastic with this Bell being my favorite.  Also helps to purchase these Now cards on eBay for about a $3 discount.

Happy Friday!