Friday, August 17, 2012

ATCRCS: First Pitch Friday - Andy Richter

This week's First Pitch Friday card goes to Team Coco sidekick Andy Richter. I don't nearly as much TV as I used to, but back in the mid-to-late 90's, I'm sure I watched Late Night with Conan O'Brien a couple of times per week. It wasn't necessarily appointment TV but it was pretty funny. I seem to remember a lot more skits in addition to a younger, hipper group of interviewees compared with other late night talk shows. I could just be making that up but perception is reality, right? And that's how I remember it

The early to mid 00's are a bit of blur, pop culture wise and I had 2 young children and was working 2 jobs in addition to a little bit of college here and there. I know Richter left Conan's show after a while to try some stuff on his own. I couldn't tell you what he did afterwards but he eventually came back when Conan replaced Jay Leno on The Tonight Show. Personally, I think he would do pretty well as a game show host. After bantering back and forth with Conan and guests for years, I'm sure he's pretty good with the witty quips and corny jokes and puns required.

Richter was raised in Illinois and I'm sure he was promoting some kind of local comedy show or appearance when he showed up to make the ceremonial first pitch. Below is a quick pre-first pitch interview along with the actual pitch.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

ATCRCS: Autograph Edition - Heathcliff Slocumb

This card came courtesy of a private signing over on Heathcliff Slocumb is probably better known as a Red Sox player that was traded to the Seattle Mariners for both Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek in the late 90's. And if you know anything about the Red Sox of the 00's, you know who got the better end of that deal.

But Slocumb made his MLB debut with the Cubs so that's who I think of him of as. Unfortunately, my memories of him were just as bad as the truth. He was kind of the opposite of a closer. The Cubs tended to bring in Slocumb as a middle reliever when they were already losing to eat up an inning or two. In the parts of three seasons he spent with the team, the Cubs record in games where he pitched was 27-85. His personal record was only 3-4 so that speaks to the fact that it wasn't all his fault.

Like countless other players, it's no surprise Slocumb found greater success after he left the Cubs. He was even an All-Star (and got the win) with the Phillies in 1995.

To see the all of the other ATCRCS cards I have gotten signed, click here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

More Tony Campanas?!?!

Yes! More Tony Campanas. Ok, so most of you aren't as excited by this guy as I am. But hopefully, you guys can relate on the same level of adding more cards to a player collection.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, I was not able to end up going to the National that was bascially right around the corner from my house this year. But what to do with the money I had been saving for just that purpose? Most of it is being tucked away for either a Cubs Caravan trip or a Spring Training trip. But I did allow myself some instant gratification too that I'll show off as things arrive in the mail.

First up is an oranged bordered parallel from the 2012 Topps factory sets. These are limited to 190 of each card and mine is number 016. This is my 8th version of this card to go along with the base, red, blue, black, gold sparkle, black printing plate and blank back. (Spoiler Alert: Minis on the way!)

2012 Topps Orange Factory Set Parallel (016/190)

This next group came in one lot along with a few other Campana cards that I already had. I have no doubt that I tremendously overpaid for the lot but I didn't want to lose out. In my defense, I did talk the buyer down to 25% of his original asking price.

I didn't realize it until I had it in my hand but the black border card is #41/60. During the 2011 season, Campana wore #41 so this is one of those eBay 1/1's. Nice!

2011 Topps Update Black Border (41/61)

I could have sworn I already had one of these gold bordered cards but for the life of me, I can't find it. So luckily one was included in the lot.

2011 Topps Update Gold Border (1322/2011)

And this card was the reason I went against all better judgment and paid what I did. The Platinum 1/1. A nice addition to any player collection if I do say so myself. This is my 4th Tony Campana 1/1 to go along with 2 printing plates and a blank back.

2011 Topps Update Platinum Border (1/1) 
These 3 cards are parallels # 7, 8 & 9 of this card. Only need the remaining 3 printing plates.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Brooks Raley and Some All-Stars

Brooks Raley's Major League debut probably did not go the way he planned. The Padres haven't been much better than the Cubs this year so it was probably a reasonable expectation that he could win his debut. Unfortunately, they roughed him up for 7 runs in his 4 innings and the Cubs 4 runs in support were too little and too late.

His second start was much better against the division leading Reds. He retired the first 13 batters he faced but again, the Cubs offense provided no support as they were shutout 3-0. Raley returned to AAA Iowa this week while the Cubs recalled Michael Bowden. Being a young Cubs pitcher is not an ideal job and I wish Raley future success. Maybe we'll see more of him in September?

Brooks Raley
 Along the same lines, there hasn't been much to celebrate with the Cubs this season. But, they did manage to get two players selected to this year's All-Star game. And since this custom set "celebrates" the 2012 season, I put together a card from a photo of the Cubs' All-Stars together at the game.

2012 All-Stars, Bryan LaHair & Starlin Castro
These two cards bring the set total up to 49 cards. Still looking for usable photos of Brett Jackson and Alberto Cabrera. I speculated early on that this set might top 50 cards. Now, looking ahead to September call-ups, this set might top 60!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Old-New Tony Campanas

These cards have been in my Tony Campana PC for a while now but I was finally able to scan them in this weekend. So they are old to me, but perhaps new to you. 

This is from the 2011 Iowa Cubs team set that I partly showed off on Saturday. The only non-Topps card I have so far of Tony. Tristar has one with some parallels that I'll be tracking down soon. I'll also be looking to see if he has other minor league team issues.

2011 Iowa Cubs Team Set
The Gold Sparkle edition for 2012. This one was the first (but not the last) of this particular parallel I picked up for the Cubs this year.

2012 Topps Gold Sparkle
Here is a 2011 Topps Update Wal-mart Blue Border parallel. Not sure how you could get these because I never saw any packs or boxes of Update in my local Wal-mart. Same goes to the Target variation previously posted.

2011 Wal-Mart Blue Border
Last but definitely not least is my first Tony Campana 1/1 (though my 3rd posted here). This is the 2011 Topps Update Yellow Printing Plate. I picked this up on eBay pretty quickly after Update was released last year and I'm glad I did. I believe the black one (could have been cyan) was listed within a week or two of this one but I was outbid by a sniper. Good for my wallet, bad for my PC. I'm holding out hope for others to be listed.

2011 Topps Update Yellow Printing Plate

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Signature Saturday - 2011 Iowa Cubs Team Set

Last season, I put out a call over on for anyone that frequently goes to Iowa Cubs games to get autographs. I struck up a deal with a member who, in exchange for enough money to cover two team issued sets and return shipping, would send back one of the sets with as many signed as possible.

This is not as easy as it sounds for the other guy as the team sets are usually released in June/July. By then, a lot of the guys who were with the team early enough to be included in the set have moved on in one way or another. So when the set came back in the mail, I was pretty happy with the return on investment.

Justin Berg, Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Chris Carpenter

Robert Coello, Bill Dancy, John Gaub

Jay Jackson, Matt Johnson, Von Joshua

Bryan LaHair, Scott Maine, Mike Mason

Lou Montanez, Scott Moore,  Jonathan Mota

Blake Parker, Chris Robinson, Marquez Smith

Brad Snyder

Final tally was 19 of the 30 cards signed. Other notables that were included in the set but not signed were Tony Campana and Tyler Colvin. But they were in Chicago so nothing could be done there.

I have worked out a deal with somebody else for this year's team set and can't wait until the end of the season to see who I get!

Friday, August 10, 2012

ATCRCS: First Pitch Friday - Zach Galifianakis

Yesterday I posted a custom card of Josh Vitters in an attempt to break the Cubs losing streak. Apparently, it worked. And because a Cubs fan is nothing if he isn't superstitious, here is another custom, although its a running theme here on the blog.

I probably should have done this one last week when I featured Will Ferrell since they made their appearance together but I ran out of time to get both cards done. I have also since corrected the spelling mistake on that card (Zach not Zack).

Most people first discovered Zach Galifianakis when he portrayed the socially awkward Alan in The Hangover. I, however, first came to like him a few years earlier on a short-lived show called Tru Calling. Let's just say I started watching it because of Eliza Dushku (whatever happened to her?) but I kept watching because of Zach Galifianakis.

Here a nice lip sync job to a Kanye West song.

Also, if you've never seen his "talk show" check out Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis. Awkward humor. There's a whole series of them if you want to waste some time on Youtube.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Josh Vitters

Since my last custom 2012 Cubs team set update, there have been 4 new debuts. Alberto Cabrera, Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters and Brooks Raley. Unfortunately, also since my last set update, the Cubs are winless. Probably not so coincidentally, that was right around the trade deadline. Let's hope this post helps reverse the streak.

I've fallen a little behind in updating my custom set. I haven't burned out. I just haven't been able to find good, usable photos. Horizontal shots that give me just enough up top to "pop" out of the frame are harder to come by than you'd think. I have potential photos for Jackson and Raley (looking for better) but Cabrera remains elusive. You would think that 4 appearances (although only 2.2 innings) would yield at least one usable photo.

The photo I used for Josh Vitters comes from his MLB debut on 8/5/2012. His only at-bat in that game was a pinch-hit fly out but it still made for a decent photo. Fast forward past his 0-4 performance in his first start the next day and you'll get to his third game. He pinch-hit again, though this time for a double that drove in two runs. Always nice to knock out a couple of firsts at the same time.

Josh Vitters
Still too early to tell if Vitters will be the third baseman of the future for the Cubs. But that's what games in August and September are for, right?

Oh, pennant races and playoffs you say?

Pffffft. That's for contenders...

Here are links to the previous 46 cards:

Part 1    Part 2     Part 3     Part 4     Part 5

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Trade with The Dutch Card Guy

Right after my last box break, which Jeroen (The Dutch Card Guy) participated in, we worked out a deal that I would send a few extra Yankees to fill out the package for him and get a few Cubs cards sent my wayin return. Like yesterday's post, here are a few of my favorites.

Various rookies. As a Cubs fan, I remember every one of these guys, but I don't really expect anybody else too. None played the equivalent of a full season although a couple played multiple years with the Cubs. Still nice to add o the collection. As my header says, Once a Cub...Always a Cub.
Robin Jennings, Kevin Orie, Chad Meyers
Blaise Ilsley, Brooks Kieschnick
Also in the package were various inserts, including a jersey card, an autograph and several serial numbered cards. 
Aramis Ramirez Jersey (w/ pinstripe!)

Carlos Zambrano (#/250!)

Carlos Zambrano (#/599!)

Gold Micah Hoffpauir (#/2009!)

Cesar Izturis Autograph

I'm not sure why the Sutcliffe below is amusing. I've seen the card before. He's obviously on the mound at Wrigley (pinstriped uni, ivy in the background). Maybe its the hair? Not the style, it was the 80s afterall. I guess it just seems odd that he doesn't have a hat on?

The Red Baron!

This Kerry Wood is a card I don't recall seeing before. I've seen other Play Ball cards but for some reason, this one does not ring any bells.
Kerry Wood
I'm wouldn't call myself a Brain McRae fan but this might be my favorite card in the package. It's a 1996 Topps Laser. You can probably tell from the scan but if you can't, it is die cut on along the right side. Not just along the border like your typical die cut card but inside too. Pretty fancy stuff if I do say so myself.

This time period was the beginning of a lull for me in card collecting as there weren't too many Ryne Sandberg cards in the late 90s and I had other pursuits calling for my attention. A little research shows that there is indeed a Sandberg card in the set. Anybody have one (or any other Cubs from the set) they're willing to part with?

Thank again, Jeroen for the trade!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Trade with My Cardboard Mistress

A few weeks ago, Adam (aka Spankee) over at My Cardboard Mistress posted about breaking a hobby box of 2010 Upper Deck. Coincidentally, I had picked up a few dozen packs as my free gift from Dave and Adam's Card World when I made large purchases for my group box breaks. I asked him to contact me when he was done sorting through his dupes and needs and a trade was born.

His package arrived over the weekend and mine is on its way to him right now. Adam took good care of my Want Lists from a couple of different 2012 sets. What I am about to show doesn't do the package justice but these are among my favorites.

A handful of Gypsy Queen (remember that set?) The reason I'm showing the Ryne Sandberg should be obvious but why Storen, Ackley and Beltre? The other 6-7 cards were all National League Central rivals. What are the odds of that? So they get the nod.

There were two cards from Archives so I figured I'd show them both even if one is on the Brewers. I'm down to my final 9 from the base set so if you think you can help, let me know!

Between Bowman and 1st Bowman Cards, there were easily 50+ in the package. That made a huuuuge dent in my Want List. Featured above is former Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly and former Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs pitcher (where Ryne Sandberg was his manager) Vance Worley. Kind of a big stretch to tie it in but hey, he's got a cool name too.

A couple of Carolina League veterans. Ian Gac is shown with the Braves although he did not play for the Lynchburg Hillcats. In fact, he was a member of the Winston-Salem Dash (White Sox affiliate), won the Carolina League MVP award in 2011 but was released? Matt Purke and Zach Walters have both played for my local team, the Potomac Nationals. 

And finally a couple of Cubs prospects. I don't know much about these guys yet but I wish them the best. Dillon Maples recently started playing for the AZL Cubs and has only pitched 2.2 innings in 2 appearances so far. Richard Jones is playing for the Daytona Cubs and has played in 59 games this season.

Thanks for the trade Adam!