Thursday, October 29, 2009

Baseball Card Bonanza: Trades with Brian (Play at the Plate), Collective Troll and Wicked Ortega

Wow! Just got a bunch of trades in the mail and they couldn't come at a better time; it's wet and miserable here with about two inches of snow on the ground. Nothing better to cheer me up than some well-timed baseball cards from Brian, Troll and Wicked Ortega. Let's go to the cards!

First, the cards from Brian (Play at the Plate). I sent some Rangers Brian's way and he was very generous with what he sent me, including a bunch of new Griffey's:

2000 Fleer Focus Pocus Ken Griffey Jr: I had actually been lusting (in a healthy manner) after this card for a while so I was thrilled to get it in a trade and not have to buy it off the Bay. This is a great insert of Griffey, and the photo doesn't do justice to how shiny it really is. I miss cards like this, you can never go wrong with shiny.

1995 Classic Ken Griffey Jr. Phone Card: No Ken Griffey Jr. collection is complete without a phone card! Now I can finally catch up with Junior and not have to worry about those nasty roaming charges or dropped calls. Thanks Classic!

2001 Upper Deck Vintage Koren Robinson Rookie Jersey: I almost fell off the couch laughing when I saw this card. Koren Robinson had a short and troubled career with the Seahawks after battling alcoholism. I think he came back with the Green Bay Packers a few years ago, but I haven't heard from him lately. While alchoholism is no laughing matter, relics of draft picks busts always are (and always appreciated, thanks Brian).

Next, the cards from my first trade with the Collective Troll. He sent some great M's my way, lots of different players, years and brands. Even though Troll said he was out of Mariners, I think I will still send some more Rays his way, because he is the hardest working man in Blogbusiness. Here are some highlights from the cards:

2009 Topps Don Wakamatsu: This year's Topps set is really growing on me, as is the Mariner's first year manager, Don Wakamatsu. He guided a underwhelming M's squad to an 85-77 record, not bad after going 61-101 the year before. I love the photo, think he's calling for a cup of coffee.

1992 Classic Best Ken Griffey Jr.: This is my first card featuring Ken Griffey Jr. as a minor leaguer, even though it was released three years after his major league debut. Junior looks like he is about to sneeze in this photo.

2007 Topps Trading Places Jeff Weaver: If you look closely at the photo of Weaver in the M's uniform it looks like is giving someone the stink-eye, although almost every Mariners' fan was giving him that look by the end of his time in Seattle. It was not a pretty sight.

Last but not least, some cards from my first trade with Wicked Ortega of My Past Time...I Love It! Alfredo is a great guy to trade with, and I am sure this won't be our last deal. Here's what he sent:

2009 Upper Deck X Ken Griffey Jr. X-Ponential-5: I've got to be honest, I love these inserts in Upper Deck X. It's shiny, it's Griffey...and that's all she wrote.

2009 SP Authentic Ichiro: This is my first encounter with 2009 SP Authentic and I have to say, they are really nice base cards. Crisp photography, a nice cardstock and a metallic sheen that makes the players jump out of the picture all add up to a great set.

2009 Upper Deck X Ken Griffey Jr. X-Potential-3: Another UD X Griffey. Now if anyone has the X-1, X-2, X-4, X-6, and didn't have a home for them, you know where to send 'em.

Thanks again to Brian, Troll and Wicked Ortega for some super cards! I will have some trade packages headed your way soon!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Card of the Week: 1990 UD Ken Griffey Jr.

Easily one of my favorite early issues of Ken Griffey Jr (yes, even more than his 1989 Upper Deck rookie card) 1990 UD features a young Junior flashing his megawatt smile that would capture the hearts of fans in Seattle and across the rest of the nation. Fresh of a rookie season that saw the Kid hit .264 with 16 HRs, 61 RBIs and 16 SBs, M's fans had plenty of incentive to scoop up this card after his 3rd place finish in the ROY voting (finishing behind such well known players as Gregg Olson and Tom "Flash" Gordon)...and he was just scratching the surface of his unbelievable talent.

The back of the card reads: "Considered best rookie everyday player in AL in 1989 as he made impressive jump from Double-A in only 3rd pro season. Ken and his father are baseball's first father/son combination to play simultaniously." Apparently they spelled simulataneously different back in 1990, but I still love the candid shot of Griffey which shows why he has been adored by fans for so long: his love for the game and omnipresent smile made it impossible not to like the Kid. His joy for the game was contagious and he brought hope for the future to an otherwise dismal baseball team. There will never be another player like Ken Griffey Jr and I hope everyone who follows baseball got a chance to see him play...he truly was one of a kind.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Movin' and a Shakin': Trades with Tribe Dad and Greg from Night Owl Cards

Well, it's been a while since I updated my trades, (although in my defense, I don't think I am the only one in the blogging community with this problem) and Night Owl and Tribe Dad have been waiting so patiently, so without further ado here are the latest spoils from my trades with those two hooligans.

First up, the cards from Tribe Dad over at All Tribe Baseball:

2004 Upper Deck R-Class Bret Boone Jersey: Despite the overwhelming evidence that he used steroids, I always enjoyed what Bret Boone brought to the Mariners. The feisty infielder had one of the best offensive seasons of any 2B in history in 2001 (.337-37 HR-141 RBI). My only qualm with this card is that the jersey swatch is partially obscured by the RJ logo; I want full unadulerated access to the game-used memoribilia on a card, no excuses!

1993 Hostess Ken Griffey Jr: The only thing I love more than a tasty Hostess treat (I am partial to their fruit pies) is a Hostess baseball card of the great Ken Griffey Jr. I really like the look of this card, the border sets of the Mariners' uniform nicely.

Next, the cards from Greg over at Night Owl Cards (who is likely still smarting from the Dodgers early playoff exit, my condolences good sir, there's always next year):

2009 UD Goodwin Champions Ichiro: A great looking card, and the only one left from the set besides Felix Hernandez that I still needed. Probably the coolest card in Goodwin.

2009 UD Goudey Ken Griffey Jr. Heads-Up SP: Another Griffey to add to the collection, the Heads-Up insert set is about the only redeeming thing about this year's Goudey set.Thanks to both Tribe Dad and Greg for the great cards.

This community of collectors make the hobby much more enjoyable than it would ever be alone. Can't wait for more trades soon!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Forgotten Insert Sets: 2000 Ultra Swing Kings

Falling at a rate of 1 in every 24 packs of 2000 Fleer Ultra, the Swing Kings inserts were fairly easy to obtain for collectors and without a doubt these cards were my favorite insert set of the year. I remember pulling an Alex Rodriguez from a pack in 2000 and being genuinely impressed with the quality of the cards. I loved pulling the card so much that I put it in a screwdown holder; no binder for this card, I wanted to look at it all the time! Not only was the card Mariner, but it was a great looking "plastic" type cardstock that was clear except for the player, player's name, brand logo and insert set name. They are very similar to a Studio Stars insert set that came out a few years later, but the Swing Kings have a much cleaner design that really makes the player "pop" out of the card. There is a short writeup of the player's achievements on the back of the card, kind of like the one's found on the back of old Circa products. The text from the Griffey reads: "Don't know why they even call 'em tape measure for you, Junior. One swing of the bat and you need a map to find what's left of the ball." Sounds like a certain scene from The Natural.

After winning the Junior pictured above on eBay I remembered how hard companies used to work on insert sets, using cutting edge technology and great photography to create cards that collectors loved to pull regardless of serial-numbers or game-used swatches. I hope that Topps doesn't become complacent as the lone baseball card manufacturer next year, and maybe they will even draw some inspiration from the past. 2000 Fleer Ultra Swing Kings is a good place to start.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Card of the Week: 1964 Bazooka Stamp Frank Robinson

I'll be the first to admit that I don't know a whole lot about this card, other than the fact that it is actually a stamp and not a card at all. I received this as a Christmas present 5-6 years ago from my dad and was excited to add it to my collection because I didn't (and still don't) own many vintage items, not to mention that Frank Robinson is one of the game's greatest, if overlooked, players. Robinson had a historic career that included winning MVP awards in both leagues, a Triple Crown, 586 career HR's, two World Series titles and the distinction of becoming the first African-American manager in Major League Baseball. Quite simply, Robinson was a bad mother...shut your mouth.

I have tried to research this card in vain and was wondering if anyone who reads this blog knows any more about 1964 Bazooka Stamps. I am assuming that it is somewhat rare, because I have never seen another '64 Bazooka Stamp graded PSA 10, and certainly not one of a player in the same echelon as Robinson. Any ideas about the value/scarcity of this card?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Stadium Scenes Part II: Safeco Field

I made a trip over to Seattle to catch the Mariners' final homestand against the Oakland A's and Texas Rangers. The M's took the first game against the A's 4-2, but dropped the next to the Rangers 7-3. I wasn't too worried about the outcomes of the games, I just wanted to catch one last glimpse of Ken Griffey Jr. just in case he doesn't return next season. Here are some of my favorite shots from the games:

Cliff Pennington HR that I caught in BP. My first at an MLB Game!

Ken and I have always had a special connection.

This one's for Night Owl.

Reunited and it feels so good.

The old "Arms Akimbo Club" over at first base.

2009 AL Cy Young winner?? A boy can dream.

It was a real treat to see the Kid on the field one more time and I had great seats just behind the M's dugout. I was literally 10 feet from my childhood idol Griffey, who probably was staring at me because my jaw was on the ground. Funny side note: I bought one pack of 2009 UD A Piece of History at the game and pulled a Ben Stiller shirt swatch from Along Came Polly, anyone interested?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

First Day Issue's First Contest!

If you've read my blog at all, you know that I bought an unreal amount of Allen & Ginter this year. I'm talking mountains of A & G as big as David Eckstein. When opening that much of a single product it's not unusual to get doubles or triples of base cards and some inserts. What's less expected is getting multiple relic cards of a single player, but that's exactly what happened to me.

I pulled not one, not two, but three C.C. Sabathia jersey cards from packs of Allen & Ginter in the past three months. Now I don't hate Sabathia, in fact I quite enjoyed his historic run with Milwaukee last year, but now that he's a Yankee it's a little more difficult to root for him, and I certainly don't need three of the same card of him.

So I am giving my loyal reader(s) a chance to win a '09 Allen & Ginter C.C. Sabathia jersey. But that's not all, the winner will also recieve any missing base cards from their set that I can provide. All you have to do to win is post a comment and I will draw a winner at random over the next few days. The winner will be notified by email and can then send me their A & G want list.

UPDATE: And the winner is....Brian from Play at the Plate! He was chosen randomly (I would assume) by Thanks to everyone who entered, there will be more contests to come soon. Congrats again to Brian for winning the Sabathia jersey, A & G cards, plus another card to be named later!

Card of the Week: 1994 Stadium Club David Wells First Day Issue

With the Tigers on the verge of one of the epic collapses of the last decade (I'm talking New York Mets awful), I thought I should give their fanbase something to be excited about by showcasing this beauty: a 1994 Stadium Club David Wells First Day Issue Parallel with a stated print run of only 2,000 copies. My brother pulled this card from a pack of Stadium Club that he won in a game of bingo 15 years ago, and since he doesn't collect anymore, was kind enough to let me have it. Stadium Club has long been renowed for it's fantastic photography, and I love this potrait of baseball's original hefty lefty (a title since passed to C.C. Sabathia). Wells has rolled up the sleeve of his right arm to showcase a tattoo of, well I hope his kid, but since this pitcher once claimed to throw a perfect game with a hangover it could be anyone's child (or perhaps a portrait of him as a young boy). I never remembered Wells as a Tiger and it's easy to see why, his two seasons there were pretty forgettable (11-9 in '93, 5-7 in '94). Since theme collecting is all the rage in the blogosphere right now, I suppose this will be the first card in my "First Day Issue" binder. Here's hoping this card helps ease the pain felt by Tigers' fans after the Twins take care of business tonight (4-2). Thanks for the memories David Wells, you sure made baseball more entertaining.