The Legend

The Legend

Monday, October 30, 2017

Maybe Even More Obscure than a Middle Reliever Card

Nothing excites me more in terms of collecting than seeing an obscure player get a card.  What can possibly add to the excitement?  How about an offensive lineman card!!!!

2017 Panini Unparalleled Quinton Spain /5

Quinton Spain is a former WVU lineman that went undrafted in 2015.  After signing with the Titans he ended up making the team.  In 2016 he earned a starting roll and besides some occasional injury concerns hasn't looked back.

Obviously being undrafted and an offensive lineman doesn't lend yourself to much hobby love.  So this really cool looking diecut  from 2017 Panini Unparalleled is considered a rookie and his first major release.

I'm actually surprised I even found this card.  About once a year I'll throw some names in eBay of some obscure WVU guys just to check and see if they had a card. After Spain didn't receive a card his first two seasons I actually wrote him off.  Somehow I came across this new set and the rest is history.

Some of you may have seen Spain before if you watched the Stanley Cup playoffs last year.  Many of the Titans were in attendance and Spain often stole the show with his shirtless shenanigans.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Stadium Club Break Yields a First

Brian, Kevin and I seem to be getting back into a nice trading/box breaking rhythm.  I slowed us up a bit when I has having trouble accumulating trade bait.  Thankfully the drought ended and we are once again a well oiled machine.  For this installment Brian chose the consistently wonderful Stadium Club.

I had the NL Central and NL East which proved to be a good choice.

Brian pulled me 5 of the Buccos which is nice.

 Throwback uniforms!
 This is one of my favorite Pirate releases of 2017.  When this set initially dropped I really wanted to try and accumulate some of the parallels, but the pricing was prohibitive.  I think several Pirate collectors had the same idea.

 I was a little disappointed with the choices for the Pirate outfielders, especially Cutch. While the card is nice it is just not great. For whatever reason Cutch hasn't had great TSC cards. 

Here is a sampling of some of my favorite non Buccos.
 You don't see many cards of a pitcher letting his infielders know the location of a pop up. 

Catcher cards are always great and get taken to the next level with Stadium Club.  Love the unique Bench shot.
 If I was the guy in the Batman shirt you better believe I would own 20,000 copies of that Rizzo card.
 A little odd that Stadium Club chose to make a card of Derrek Lee for the 2017 set.  Either way it is still an awesome looking card. 

Now for the rare card we hit.
First Day Issues are not serial numbered, but are listed as  /10.  Obviously this is one of the bigger names you can hit so I'm extremely grateful that Brian pulled this and it ended up in my hands. We haven't hit much in the way of higher end cards this year so hopefully this will be the start of a hot streak.

Thanks so much Brian for the break.  I'll show off the trade portion of the package in the next day or two.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Blame it on the Rain

Another WVU football game......another noon kickoff.  I thought for sure since both WVU and our opponent Oklahoma State are ranked that we would get a later kick.  Not the case, but at least it is a national ABC broadcast. 

The weather is supposed to be awful with cool temperatures and the threat of heavy rain. Hopefully that will slow down Oklahoma State's potent passing game. Be sure to turn the game on and be thankful you are watching it at home. 

In the spirit of the big game here are a couple of recent eBay purchases.  I found a seller who was liquidating a huge collection of these Exquisite book autos.  If this was a personal collection he had to lose some big time money.  I got both of these for about the price of a blaster. At release these would have likely been in the $75-125 range a piece.  Ouch.

Obviously I'm partial to the all WVU version on top. Can't beat the college uniforms to go along with the nice on card signatures. I guess the silver lining is that all the guys are still in the league.  I have my fingers crossed that Geno will get some playing time since Eli Manning is really struggling. The disappointing part is that this Giants team has been decimated by injuries.  I think they had to call up half their practice squad to play wide receiver.

Thanks for reading.
Let's Go Mountaineers.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Collecting Moods

Having a variety of collecting interests helps keep things fresh.  While I love collecting certified autos of my favorite Pirates, occasional lulls in interest are bound to happen.  Topps seems to think that Pirate collectors want a Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco auto in every set. While I love collecting both players, I think I can speak for most of us by saying we don't. 

When the established players become boring I usually turn to rookies.  While I love collecting rookie cards the price tag can be prohibitive .  For the most part that means I'll add a few right off the bat and then hold off until they get a little closer to seeing an MLB roster.  Sure you might miss out on accumulating cards of the next Mike Trout, but odds are you will have plenty of time to go back and get some of the cards you missed for a reasonable amount.  

While it may not be evident on my blog I do like chasing base cards and obscure base parallels. 
Lately I've been on a kick trying to find obscure base cards from the mid 2000's.  I was an active collector during this time, but the shear amount of sets available made it impossible to keep up.  

A few weeks back Brian from Collecting Cutch sent me a great card that fits my current collecting mood. 

Oliver Perez Upper Deck Gold Parallel /299

I miss Upper Deck.  Sure they had their flaws, but cards like this remind me how good some of their base sets were. 

Oliver Perez was quite the character for the Pirates. This card sums up his personality during his Pirate tenure perfectly.  He faded out as starter for the Pirates about as quick as he stormed on the scene.  Thankfully he revitalized his career as a Loogy and pitched for the Nats this season. 

Does your collecting mood change a ton during the year like mine? 

Thanks for reading. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

I Was There!

Back towards the end of September I hit my last Pirate game of the season. In turned out to be a good game as Andrew McCutchen had a night to remember.

Believe it or not McCutchen had gone his entire career without a Grand Slam.  It had gone so long that it was mentioned on a regular basis during broadcasts.  Thankfully he was able to cross that off the career milestone list. The night was far from over as Cutch would also hit a three run homer and have 8 RBI's for the night. He received a lot of love from the fans and took multiple curtain calls.

I'm thankful that Topps added a unique card back featuring one of the curtain calls. That has been a nice addition to the NOW cards this season and I hope it continues with next years installment.

Hope everyone is enjoying the World Series.  How about that crazy quick game last night? I don't think Rich Hill has that kind of efficiency in him so it will be up to Justin Verlander to keep things moving at a reasonable pace. 

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Turner Ward

My preseason prediction of the Dodgers/Astros World Series came true! Trying to decide who to root for is hard since I really have nothing against either team.  The Dodgers have former Pirate Tony Watson, but the Astros have Charlie Morton.  So the tiebreaker goes to the Dodgers because of this man.

Extra bonus is that I'm pretty sure Steve Blass says panties instead of paneling.....

Monday, October 23, 2017

Right Idea, but the Execution......

2017 Donruss Optic Jameson Taillon Studio Auto

This is not a great looking card by any means, but we are showing signs of promise with getting around licensing issues.  NO HAT!!!!  One of the worst aspects in Panini cards is trying to hide team emblems on the uniforms.  Many of us have discussed over the years ways to skirt the license issue. Certain poses by both pitchers and hitters when timed right do a good job of hiding most of the emblems, but you always have the hat. Of course Panini removed the hat but proceeded to cut off poor Jameson's forehead. 

Few more ideas. 

- How about some plain clothes shots of players at award shows or the All Star game.
- More shots of catchers.  
- More prewar players. 

Either way this was a step in the right direction.  

Thanks for reading. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Flying Aspirations

For a three year stretch in the mid 2000's Jack Wilson was second to only Jason Bay in unique cards I added to my collection. Fast forward to today and it seems like I have to  hunt for Wilson cards that I don't have. Months will pass without even adding one. The rarer ones that do hit eBay sale surprisingly well.  A nice patch card just hit a few weeks back and sold for over $20. 

Thankfully COMC recently provided some fun cards. 

2006 Upper Deck Special F/X Purple Jack Wilson /150

UD Special F/X was sort of the Chrome version of regular UD. I've seen this card a few times on eBay but the shipping costs were always more than what the card costs.  COMC to the rescue. 

Jack Wilson 2004/2005 Donruss Elite Aspirations /98

Back when these sets first came out and I use to hoard as many of the diecut parallels as I could get my hands on.  I love them. Guess I'm a sucker for diecut. The 2004 version is my favorite, but the numbering is much easier to read on the 2005.  

It has been kind of funny as I had been bad mouthing COMC lately and sure enough I've found a handful of cards that were must buys.  I just need to be more thankful that places besides eBay exist to buy cards online. 

Thanks for reading. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Fire Walker

P-town Tom may have just completed the fastest turnaround for a trade in blogging history.  Last week I hit him with a Vogelbach auto and about 2 minutes later I had a return package. I thought it could have been a coincidence, but he reused the note I had sent him.  Well done Tom!

 What made this trade even weirder is that I've been talking about Topps Fire on here with a few people saying that I've been interested in buying a blaster at Target.  Well Tom (who could possibly be some type of wizard) read my mind and sent me the most desirable Pirate.

While hard to give a review based on just one card, I will give Topps credit for doing something different. Being a fan of 90's cardboard I found this card reminiscent of the crazy inserts of the time. My buddy GCRL told me he bought some and the collation was poor so that may prevent me from going out and spending money on it. Looks like I'll just rely on the generosity of some of my trading buddies.

The main event in the magical trade package was this Topps Super Luke Walker.  I recently mentioned this card a few months back in that it seems like it should have a good back story.  Either way it is absolute great card.  What are you looking at Luke?!!!

Thank you for the great cards Tom.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Cards That Would Make my Head Explode

Being that it is Friday my mind begins to drift from work mode to things/activities that I actually like. Today the thought popped in my mind about what currently non existing card would blow my mind the most as a card collector.  I'm sure many of you have thought about this so I'll throw a few out. I consider these for the most part reasonably possible of happening.

- Bob Walk certified auto -  I'll put this first as I think the only real possibility would be in the Archives Fan Favorites auto subset. In theory it makes sense as Bob was a pretty beloved Pirate and has served as a longtime announcer after his playing days.  I would be contractually obligated to hoard as many as possible.

- Bob Walk new base card - Some possibilities exist here since he is still involved as an announcer.

- Mike "Spanky" Lavalliere certified auto (Pirates uniform) - He actually has one in the White Sox uniform which I do own.  Extra bonus if it is a nickname oriented set in which he signs it Spanky.

- Jay Bell certified auto - I'm actually surprised this one hasn't happened yet.  He played on all the good early 90's Pirate teams and won a World Series with the Dbacks.  

- Bobby Bonilla certified auto - I'm sure the reason this one doesn't exist is more on the player than the company.  While Bonilla is not well liked, most of that hatred came after his Pirate days. 

This list could be a whole lot longer if I included players still actively playing.  To keep things short his another short list of former Pirates that I'm disappointed to never receive a certified auto in the Bucco uniform.
- AJ Burnett
- Russell Martin
- Francisco Liriano

As you can see all three played huge roles in the Pirates becoming a respectable franchise again. For some reason none of them received a ton of cardboard love. I blame Henry Owens.

What cards would you like to see? 

Thanks for reading. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Cole Mining

It has been a little overwhelming lately with all the new sets coming out.  My main interests have been Fire, Update and Heritage Minors. Being that I really don't care about getting the cards right away I usually just do some searches on eBay to get a gage on pricing. Last week this brought up a pleasant surprise.

When doing a search for "2017 Pirates" on eBay this beauty popped up with a BIN of $19.99. I thought this seemed like a nice deal for a non printing plate 1/1 so I immediately pulled the trigger. The card had only been online a few hours so I'm guessing this was just good timing as I don't think it would have lasted long with the buyer friendly price.

Quick question.....

What have you guys thought of the Fire set? Hoping to pick up a few of the Pirates soon. I like that it is retail only.  Now if we can just get them to make Topps Total again as a retail release!

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

One of a Kind

I'm often discussing 90's parallels and the price fluctuations that go along with them. Today let's take a look at one of the more affordable parallels from the era, Stadium Club One of a Kind.

1998 Stadium Club Tony Womack One of a Kind /150

I feel like I should always put a disclaimer on these type of posts that if you collect Jeter or Griffey Jr then my "affordable" line doesn't apply.  Those two are in a league of their own for the era in terms of pricing.  Other expensive players of the era like Chipper Jones and Maddux will sell for less than $10 while the big 2 will be in the $50 to $100 range.  Crazy stuff. 

Interest in the One of a Kind's on eBay seems tepid overall. To me the reason seems obvious in that making a parallel of an already great base set is likely only going to make it worse. Much like the gold parallels in the recent Stadium Club sets (which can easily go unnoticed). Fun inserts like the Triumvarate cards seem much more popular.  

When trying to pick these up my usual protocol is to either find sellers that offer free shipping on eBay or make them part of a bulk order on COMC.  Most of the Pirates seem to sale in .99 to $3 range. I believe this Womack ran me around $1.50 on COMC. So you can how shipping can sometimes be more than the card itself. 

If anyone happens to see the Al Martin version of this card let me know.  The 1999 version has been on eBay for a while, but can't seem to locate the 98.  

Enjoy the games today! 

Thanks for reading. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Katz Out of the Bag

Back to posting about baseball cards! 

My pal Shane Katz sent me a big bubble mailer stuffed to the gills with Buccos early last week. Shane is very active on Twitter so you may want to follow him there as well. He is always posting cool items and is craft beer fan to boot.  I'm extremely jealous of his proximity to world class breweries. 

Here is a fun oddball.  I wasn't familiar with JJ Nissen so I had to look them up.  They are a big time bread producer in the New England area that was bought out by a big conglomerate several years back.
Mad Dog!
Very familiar with Toys R Us cards since I use to beg my parents to buy me some. Al Pedrique is only 26 years old in the picture.  He looks 46.
A nice numbered Pedro from Heritage.

I always call the Kellogg's sets the most beloved in our community. The Candy Man is looking great as always.
The Pirates of my youth.  Shane hit me up with a lot of great oddballs.

Two Smiles.

A nice mix of Topps Gold cards including a fantastic Jay Bell card.

Sid Bream is best remembered for scoring the winning run in the NLCS as a member of the Braves, but the biggest portion of his career was with the Pirates.  He is also from the Pittsburgh area and frequents games.
Ugh....that Brian Bullington pick in 2002.  BJ Upton was the consensus number one rated player but was going to come with a huge price tag.
The Jose Mesa is a fantastic card. Lot of people forget he was a Pirate.  I will always prominently show a Derek Bell card. OPERATION SHUTDOWN

Manager card!
I feel this scan of 8 cards really sums up the early and mid 2000's Pirate teams.  For every decent major leaguer they had it was counteracted by replacement level guys.

The Jimmy's All Star card is one of my favorite Pirate cards of all time. All three of the players featured would probably be in my top ten favorite Pirates of all time.

Shane sent me a ton of legend Pirates. I'm always a little confused on why Topps produces so many cards featuring Maz and Pops at the tail end of their careers.

I love the Cutch Archives and Ginter cards.  For whatever reason they have historically been better than any of his Stadium Club cards.

A nice mix of current Buccos.  The Taillon Stadium Club with city backdrop is an all time great Pirate card.
Cardboard legend Jason Kendall in the house.  For him to have so many great base cards in an era focused on relics and autos is truly amazing.

Also here is Jeromy Burnitz looking like the least intimidating hitter of all time.  It kind of feels like a pose you would use for your Little League picture.  Love it!

It is hard to pick favorites out of this bunch. You have the great uniform and a fantastic collection of facial hair. If I'm forced I think I'm taking the Phil Garner.

Thanks so much for sending me so many great cards Shane.  My Red Sox stash is empty right now, but I'll be sure to hit you back soon.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Successful Homecoming

I had a ton of fun this weekend, but I feel like I need to sleep for 3 days. On Friday night we had around 40 people at our house which is fun, but exhausting. We can still party like undergrads every once in a while, but the recovery time has gone up ten fold.

The theme this weekend was Oktoberfest so lets take a look at some of the better beer I tried.

 Fat Heads has long been a favorite brewery of mine so I'm always excited to try any beer I can from them. This one was more on the sweeter side of the Oktoberfest style, but very tasty.

 I didn't know this beer existed. Schlafly is a brewery I've had a ton over the years, but had never seen this release until this year. Most Oktoberfest beers are low abv.....Schlafly decided to pump one up as this one clocks in at 8.5%.  It was amazing. Definitely one of the better beers I tried over the weekend.

 My brother goes to North Carolina quite a bit so over the years I've had him bring me some of the local brews back. Since he took a late trip in September he was able to accumulate some Oktoberfest.  This was my favorite of the NC ones.

Of course no Oktoberfest is complete without a nice sampling of traditional German Marzens. 

WVU managed to get the win on Saturday so that completed the fun weekend. It was looking pretty bad at the half, but WVU managed to overcome an 18 point deficit. 

I celebrated the win with an old fashion

Back to cards tomorrow!

Thanks for reading.