Thursday, February 28, 2013

2011 Topps Lineage Aramis Ramirez Jersey

I've read of the many different ways people use ebay to build there collections. Personally, when I browse, I always look at the seller's other items when making a choice between a seller A and seller B that have something I want for a similar price. I don't mind doing the extra leg work or paying an extra buck here and there for one item if my overall purchase price will be lower.

Because of that, I mentally upped my bid on the Barney camo card by about $2. Hindsight shows that I wouldn't have won if I had stuck with the bid I originally had in mind but did win with the extra bump. From that same seller I also managed to pick up this Topps Lineage jersey card for $0.99.

Funny how I wouldn't even give it a second look for the $4 it would have cost me by itself with shipping but for $3.28, I'll take it. For those doing the math, I consider buck it cost me, split the $2.00 shipping between the 2 cards for another buck and then take the extra $1.28 it took to win the Barney above my original bid.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

2013 Topps Anthony Rizzo

As I've done previously, I'm taking a closer look at the 2013 Topps Cubs team set card by card.

As the title says, today's topic is Anthony Rizzo, card #44. This is the 6th and final single player base card for the Cubs in Series 1 (but not the last one I'll be doing).

This is a pretty sharp card. Rizzo looks like he just hit a bomb. You can clearly see his face and his name on the back of his jersey. Home pinstripes. And a nice little trophy in the bottom left corner. The last Cubs player with the Topps All-Star Rookie trophy was Starlin Castro in 2010 (depicted on his 2011 Topps Series 2 card). The last Cubs first baseman with the trophy was Mark Grace in 1988 (seen on his 1989 Topps card).
Starlin Castro and good ol' # 53

Photo by Jonathan Daniel, courtesy of Getty Images
The original image is a full length shot but I'm happy with the way Topps cropped it. According to the caption, Rizzo is watching his extra-inning, walkoff two-run home run against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2012. He joins teammate Darwin Barney, who is also celebrating a walkoff home run on his card this year.

Not only did the Cubs win in extra innings, but Rizzo had a nice day overall, going 3-4 with a walk. Of the six Cubs base cards in Series 1, the Cubs went 5-1 in the games featured. I think the Cubs should be offering free admission to all Getty photographers for 2013...
This card is #44 in the set and Anthony Rizzo also wears #44 on his jersey. Nice!

The Career Chase statistic is Hank Aaron's career RBI record of 2,297. I fully expect Rizzo to drive in way more than 48 runs in future seasons because at that pace, it would take 48 seasons to reach Aaron's record. That really puts some of these career records into perspective!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

When Will I Learn? (Allen & Ginter Blaster)

I stopped off at Target last night to pick up a package of binder sheets for the 2013 Topps set I'm working on. How frustrating is it that they sell 35 sheet packs that hold 315 cards when each series is 330 cards? Reminds me of this old clip:

But it's not that big of a deal because its not like I won't use them eventually. This particular Target has a pretty big card section but its a little out of the way so I don't go very often. I took a gander but it was mostly stuff I didn't need or want. I'm not going to buy blasters or packs of sets I have completed or am fairly near completion. Lots of leftover stuff from last year and mostly still full price. But then I saw this:

2012 A&G blaster
I've never been a huge Allen & Ginter fan. I think I've picked up one blaster before but mostly stuck to getting the Cubs and leaving the set alone. But for $11.99, I couldn't resist. Man, am I glad I didn't spend $20 on it. This box just reaffirmed that I'll just stick to the Cubs for 2013. I don't even know what's good in this set or what's an SP. What's the difference between ignorance and apathy? I don't know and I don't care! I know the minis have different backs and borders but that's about it. If you see something you like or want me to take a look at your base want list, let me know.

Some minis (look like standard backs to me) 
Two of these in the same blaster? Can't spot a difference on backs either...

Some other random stuff...
More minis, standard backs
Some kind of border variation

Another black(?) border.
Did get a bunch of Rookies. Are those still a thing? 
Nolan Ryan Sketches
What's in a Name?

I guess this is the highlight of the box. A mini red back Alex Rios hand numbered 9/25. This one is already on its way to JediJeff. Everything else is available.

Not a single Cubs card, even among the base. Oh wait, do these count? Blerg.

Next time I see A&G, it'll get this reaction from me, discounted or not!

Monday, February 25, 2013

PWE made of Gold?!?

We were at an all-day wrestling tournament on Saturday and another on Sunday so I was catching up on some blog reading Sunday evening. I was literally just reading JediJeff's Sunday post over at 2x3Heroes about some out of the blue cards in the mail when my wife brought me a PWE from Saturday's mail. I had already received all of my recent ebay/sportslot purchases so it was truly unexepected cards! And wouldn't you know it, it was from JediJeff! Strong in the force, he is with his Jedi mind tricks. And they were all gold cards to boot!

Topps Update came out last year when I was taking a small break from blogging. In the fall, I was in the process of starting big boy college after finishing up my associate degree at my local community college in the spring. I picked up a hobby box which yielded a complete set so I didn't think much of the tracking down the parallels.

JediJeff sent six (!) gold Cubs parallels from last year. He must have picked up a ton of Update to get that lucky with Cubs! One card was from Series One:

Starlin Castro (0599/2012)
One from Series Two:
Anthony Rizzo (1184/2012)
And four from the Update Series:

Brett Jackson (1502/2012)
James Russell (0900/2012)

Josh Vitters (1992/2012 & 0553/2012)

Thanks a ton Jeff! There will be some White Sox I've been saving up for you coming your way soon.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sandberg Sunday - 2013 Rookie Card Patch

Earlier last week I posted about a trade that netted me the Ryne Sandberg Cut to the Chase die-cut card. And just a few days ago I wrote about a couple of the HOF Cubs inserts I had picked up. And here is my latest Sandberg card for the player collection, a 2013 Manufactured Rookie Card Patch.

Unlike other manu-patch cards, this one I kind of like. It's not just a team logo, but a version of the player's rookie card. They are similar to the silk cards issued the past couple of years for current players if you've seen those. This is probably close to my tenth or so version of the 1983 Topps Ryne Sandberg rookie, so I may have to do a post on all of them soon.

The only other Cubs featured in this set is Ernie Banks. I have a line one of those and will update accordingly. Check out my 2013 Topps Want List page if you have any Cubs parallels or inserts I'm looking for, thanks!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Spring Fever!

With Spring Training fully underway and games starting for all the clubs either yesterday or today, I thought I'd throw a friendly reminder out to those interested in joining my Fantasy Baseball League. The entry fee is reasonable and the prizes aren't too shabby, if I do say so myself. Click the tab up above for more details and sign up now!

With that out of the way, I thought I'd show off the latest additions to the collection. These Spring Fever cards are part of a 50 card set that was/is available in 5 card packs from your local card shop from 2/20-2/27 if you managed to pull this card from a pack:

I like to support local card shops when I can but my nearest participating one is about 45 minutes away. So I headed over to ebay to see what Cubs were featured instead. I managed to find one seller who had all 3 Cubs and therefore got a pretty good deal on them. They showed up in Friday's mail after having my best offer accepted on Tuesday so not too shabby.

I did manage to pull one of the redemption cards from my box a few weeks ago but thought it was just a pack filler and didn't pay much attention to it then. I may call the store and make the drive if they still have any of the packs available. I need to pick up some supplies anyway as I've been on a pretty big organizing kick this year. Don't want to lose any momentum!

In hand, the cards look somewhere in between what Collecting the Cubs showed off on Thursday and the scans I have below. The background is more blue like his photos, but they are refractory, hence the rainbow striping on my scans.

I like that each of the three players selected have their own story that ties into Spring Training. Josh Vitters is vying for a spot on the team at a pretty wide open third base. Anthony Rizzo had a great spring last year and after a little more Triple-A work was brought up mid-season and was one of the bigger highlights on an otherwise dismal season. And Andre Dawson joined the Cubs during Spring Training in 1987, the season he would go on to win the MVP award.

I'd like to pick up the signed versions as well but demand is high right now and the prices are on the overpriced side. Either it cools off and I'll grab them later or they dry up and I live without. I have autographs from all three of these guys already on other cards so it's not too big a deal if I don't.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Couple of 2013 Topps HOF Inserts

After a little hemming and hawing, I decided to go ahead and track down all of the Cubs inserts. There aren't too many and while I haven't picked them all up yet, here are a couple that have started to trickle in.

Ernie Banks - The Greats (TG-4)

I really like the look of this insert set and wish there were more Cubs in it. Maybe in Series 2 and Update? I missed out on some reasonably priced gold parallels numbered to 99 but I'm keeping an eye out.

Andre Dawson - 1987 Silver Slugger (SS-AD)

This is a pretty sharp looking set too. The 1987 season which this card commemorates was also the year Andre Dawson became the first player to win the league MVP award while playing on a last place team. I feel a little bad for Expos fans looking for a Dawson relic seeing as he won three of these awards while in Montreal compared to the one in Chicago but then I think of him wearing that silly Expos cap in the HOF and get over it. Haha.

The Cubs have only had 8 different players win the Silver Slugger Award since its inception in 1980, although Ryne Sandberg has won it 7 times and Sammy Sosa 6 times. It would be a nice change of pace to see someone like Leon Durham have one of these in a future release.

2013 Fergie Jenkins 1971 Cy Young Award (CY-FJ)

The back of this card boasts of some pretty strong achievements in Fergie Jenkins' pursuit of the Cy Young award in 1971. Three other Cubs aside from Jenkins have brought home the award but I'd like to finally see some cardboard recognition for the Red Baron himself, Rick Sutcliffe. Bruce Sutter has a Cubs jersey card this year and Greg Maddux would likely be featured as a member of the Braves. No offense to the Hall of Famers, but the Cubs have a strong cast of fan favorites that deserve some love from Topps too!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

2013 Topps Starlin Castro

As I've done previously, I'm taking a closer look at the 2013 Topps Cubs team set card by card.

As the title says, today's topic is Starlin Castro, card #113.

2013 Topps Starlin Castro #113
At first glance, I thought this photo would be a little more difficult to track down because Castro has a pretty uniform follow through on his swing. But a closer look shows me the Brewers bat boy in the back and Catsro swinging a pink bat and wearing pink wrist bands. Normally, I associate pink with October for Breast Cancer Awareness month but I also know that MLB usually does something around Mother's Day too. So I was looking for Starlin Castro in Milwaukee in May. That search brought up 6 results on Getty Images. All six were from the same game on Sunday, May 13 and only three showed Castro at bat.

Photo by Mike McGinnis, courtesy of Getty Images
The caption didn't provide a specific at bat or inning so I went off to Baseball-Reference to find the boxscore. Castro went 2-5 with an RBI in an 8-2 Cubs victory over the home team Brewers. The gaze of Castro, the catcher and the umpire all seem to be towards fair territory so I'm going to focus on balls in play.

1st At Bat - Strikeout swinging NOPE
2nd At Bat - Single to Right Field (Line Drive) MAYBE
3rd At Bat - Flyball Out (Deep CF-RF) MAYBE 
4th At Bat - Groundout (Shortstop) MAYBE
5th At Bat - Single to Left Field (Line Drive) MAYBE

Anyone care to venture a guess on which direction everybody's looking based on those at bats? I thought CF-RF at first but when I look back at it, it could just as easily be to the left side of CF too.

2013 Topps Starlin Castro #113 back
Castro's Career Chase is Pete Rose's all-time hits record. I'm not claiming he's anywhere close but of all the Cubs Career Chase records I've mentioned so far, this is the closest to being met. And that's not saying much because the other ones were ridiculous. Although at his league leading rate of 207 hits in 2011, he needs 20+ more season like that to break the record. Castro was the first player born in the 1990's to make a MLB debut so it's nice he started early!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

First trade of 2013!

(*Editor’s note: Yesterday’s post with the crazy “shocked” .gif seemed to draw a lot of attention because my hit count was about double what it normally was. I can only guess it was the .gif because nobody mentioned it but I also know you’re probably really tired of me talking about Tony Campana!)
It's been a while since I have worked out a trade here on the blog. I'm in the midst of organizing my non-Cubs cards to make it easier to do my end of deals but its a long slow process. More trades was on my beginning of the year goals list so here we go!
A couple of weeks ago when I caved and picked up a box of 2013 Topps, broke it and posted the spoils, I got a couple of trade offers to help me finish my set and/or help with Cubs parallels and inserts. Within the next couple of days, my almost-5-year-old-laptop started going wonky, as far as internet connection goes. It’s tough to work out trades when your collection and your ability to communicate (via email) aren’t in the same place at the same time. So a couple of trades have stalled out but now that it’s fixed, I plan on going through my emails to catch back up. If you claimed something, or I claimed something of yours and don’t get an email from me by the Friday, please let me know!
One trade that didn’t die out was with Doug from over at Sportscards from the Dollar Store. His blog is new to me but by the timeline on his blog, he popped up on the blogosphere last summer, right around the time I went on a small hiatus. And who knows how long he was lurking before he started posting? Looks like he posts daily and sometimes multiple times as his post count is more than 30 each month he’s been around, so check him out! Now that I’m fully back online, I look forward to going back and reading previous posts.
Are all stereotypes bad? Because Doug is one friendly Canadian! His first contact with me was offering up these Cubs inserts. Sweet! 
(*Editor’s note part 2: I was going to post the Dude, Where’s My Car .gif where they are reading each other’s back tattoos and yelling DUDE! And SWEET! But then I realized they were both shirtless and didn’t want this post to get creepy. But the sentiment is still there, dude these are sweet!)
Also included were a nice even 10 base cards to get me closer to the complete set! Nice!
Not to be greedy but before finalizing the deal, I also checked out his blog and asked for the emerald parallel of Sean Burnett he pulled. Those who have followed me for a while know that I am slowly losing my older son to the hometown Washington Nationals. He stills likes the Cubs, but there’s a lot of bandwagon peer pressure around here. So this one goes into his collection. I probably won’t be adding parallels the likes of Harper or Strasburg but a few other guys won’t hurt.

And on top of all this goodness, Doug threw in a first day cover of Fergie Jenkins! I don’t know much about stamps or first day covers, but I do enjoy Cubs memorabilia of all kinds so adding this to the collection is a plus.
This would be a pretty awesome item to get autographed is there wasn’t already a facsimile signature on both sides. The back features a short biography in both English and French. Bonus points for 2 Cubs cards, a Cubs photo on each side and a Cubs uniform on the stamp!
Thanks for the trade Doug! By the time this posts/you read this, your end of the deal should be on its way! For the rest of you, check out Doug's blog if you don't already!