Thursday, May 29, 2014

Welcome Back, Manny

Yesterday the Red Sox honored the 2004 World Series Championship team with a pre-game ceremony. I didn't get to watch it until today (I'm a little behind in watching the games, although I know they won again tonight. Yay!), and it was quite nice to see a lot of the players that I haven't seen in a long time. A good chunk of players and coaches who were part of the team during the 2004 season were introduced one by one.

They showed highlights of the player before introducing him and I thought it was a well done ceremony. It brought back a lot of flashbacks for me personally as the 2004 team is one of my favorites of all time. There were a few notables missing, Mark Bellhorn was the most glaring to me. Obviously Francona wasn't there, nor was Dave Roberts and Bill Mueller (although they did appear together in a recorded statement).

I was most interested in seeing Manny. I have no problem admitting I was (and I guess I still am) a huge Manny Ramirez fan. He came out of the door in the Green Monster (paying homage to the time he disappeared in there during a mound meeting and came out just in time for the pitch) to a huge ovation and threw out the first pitch (which was intercepted by Johnny Damon). I thought that was cool because even all these years later, seeing a clip of Manny dive for that 10 foot relay throw by Damon still makes me laugh.

One of the things that separates the 2004 team from the other two championship teams was the personality...and one of the biggest characters was Manny. So for your viewing pleasure, here are (courtesy of ESPN), some of the best of "Manny being Manny".

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Back To Work

I hope everybody had a good Memorial Day weekend. I took the weekend off from "being connected" and didn't even look at my laptop. I like to do that every now and then. Unfortunately the weather here was pretty crappy (it rained most of Saturday and Sunday), so I didn't get to enjoy my time off as much as I would have liked.

I spent part of Saturday at my mom's. She is a ceramics teacher (as well as a school teacher), and on weekends I help her pour the things that she makes available for her students. She was having a septic problem that morning, so I ended up mowing her lawn. I haven't mowed a lawn in years, and it pretty much kicked my ass. I could have slept for the entire weekend if I wanted to.

The weather was crappy and cold on Sunday as well, but on Monday it got up to 82 degrees. That's my kind of weather. It was a little overcast, but nice and warm...but not for long.

The high temperature for today was 49. A nice 33 degree difference in one day. Oh, and did I mention it rained most of the day? Welcome to New England.

I also got to watch the Red Sox extend their losing streak to 10 games before finally beating the Braves on Monday night. It didn't look good as they fell behind 6 - 1 before coming back to win 8 - 6.

The roster has been pretty much the same for the first seven weeks of the season but since last Wednesday, Felix Doubront, Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli have all been placed on the 15 day DL, pitcher Alex Wilson has come up and been sent back down to Pawtucket, and pitcher Brandon Workman and C/1B Ryan Lavarnway have been brought up from Pawtucket. With a 6 - 3 win this evening against the Braves (a 2 game winning streak!), the Sox are in last place with a 22 - 28 record, but only eight games out of first place. (Just out of curiosity, I checked to see how they were doing at this point in the season in 2012 under Bobby Valentine. They actually had a better record at 26 - 25. Lovely.)

To keep this post semi-baseball card related, Tony over at Off-Hiatus Baseball Cards had a card giveaway contest and I actually won! I got to pick out a card from his "treasure chest" saw this sweet Felix Doubront jersey/auto card from 2014 Topps Museum Collection.

This is a beautiful card. I don't normally show cards to my wife when I get them in the mail, but I made an exception with this one. She agreed that this was one beautiful card.

Then she asked, "Why is there tape over his signature?"

She's so cute.

I explained to her the evils of sticker autographs, why I don't like them and why she must hate them too.

But she always has to find the positive in everything.

"But you really like the card, don't you?" she said.

I told her I did.

She asked me how much it cost me.

"Nothing. I won it." I told her.

"So then you really don't have anything to complain about, do you?"

She doesn't understand.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Card Show Monster Box Update

I'm about half way sorting through the box I got at from a recent card show that I went to. You can read that post here.

The dealer that sold it to me said it was full of stars and not commons, and so far it has been. As of this writing, the cards range from 1982 to 2013. Here is the top view or the cards sorted by year. As you can see, much to my wife's delight dismay, I have taken over the coffee table.

I was standing on my couch when I took this blurry photo, and went I stepped down onto the floor, I banged my knee pretty hard of the lip of the coffee table.

This is a better shot and you can see how much more cards from 2009 there is as opposed to the rest of the years.

If you like cards of Mike Piazza, Ken Griffey Jr., Mo Vaughn, Vladimer Guerrero, Ozzie Smith and Frank Thomas, this is the kind of box for you. If you are a Todd Helton collector, you would be in heaven.

Surprisingly, there is not a lot of junk wax cards. 2006 - 2009 is well represented in this box as is late 1990's releases. So there is a lot of cards in this box that I don't have, and it even has a few oddball cards mixed in.

Here's the oldest card so far:

One from the overproduced 1982 Kmart 20th Anniversary set.

 Card with the most dupes?

2000 Topps Finest Todd Helton. A whopping seven of them so far.

Here are some quick highlights of what the first half of the box had to offer.

1983 TCMA Buster Adams.

I thought it was amusing that his 1944 stats are insignificant because he was a


1988 Pacific Duke Snider. A very cool set.

I though this Jose Canseco card was amusing because he is missing his right foot.


1993 Bleachers Promo Ryne Sandberg. From the write-up on the back of this card it sounds like that each picture on this card had it's own 23KT gold border card for a total of three in the set.

1994/95 Sports Stars USA Juna Gonzalez. A quick search of this card turned up nothing. Oh well, it must be very rare! (That is sarcasm, by the way.)

This one is pretty cool. It's a little heavier than a normal card...

...and it's a promo! There are seventy-seven in this "promo" set! I also have Michael Tucker, so I need seventy-five more!

For some reason I like this set. So far there has been eleven cards in the box. Very colorful and very shiny.

Less represented but equally as cool is the 2000 UD Ionix set. The football release hooked me on this. It's kind of busy, but I like it.

I like this just because he's in a Devil Rays uniform.

There's only been three of these cards in the box (2001 Upper Deck Legends), but just from this I can tell it's a cool set.

Another set I really like is this one (2002 Upper Deck Piece of History), and I'm pretty sure I need this card. I haven't seen anything from this set in quite awhile, and unfortunately this is the only card I've found in the box.

I love minor league cards, so it's cool to see a few of the 2011 Topps Heritage Minor League set.

One of the more recent sets represented in this box is last years Panini Prizm set. So far there has been sixteen cards, including two of the Fernando you see above.

I've still got the other half of the box to go, and I'll post an update when I finish going through it. Hopefully it's as much fun as the first half.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Listia Loot IX - Two 1975 SSPC Cards

The pickin's have been mighty slim on the Listia front recently. I did manage to snag a couple of cards from the 1975 SSPC set for the dreaded 499 credits.

Steve Rogers...

...and Karl Kuehl.

As you can see, Charlie Spikes is thrilled to have finally have company in the plastic case and averts a potential "One Card Challenge" post.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Me And You And A Shortstop Named Drew

As you may or may not have heard, the Red Sox signed Stephen Drew to a one-year deal pending a physical. This means that Xander Bogaerts will move to third, as Will Middlebrooks is on the DL with a fractured right index finger. I'm sure before joining the Red Sox he will get some work at Pawtucket, and when he is activated, will result in Brock Holt returning to the minor leagues.

Even though the Sox are at 20 - 24, they are only 3 1/2 games out of first place. It seemed like they were content for a while hovering around .500 (as is the entire division), but as the weekend series with the Tigers, showed...they have no chance at a repeat unless they either start hitting (1 - 14 with RISP over the 3 games!), or they start making roster changes.

Regardless of whether they start hitting or not, it's my opinion that the team you see in late August will probably be somewhat different than what you see today. I'm going to do something I don't normally do, but I'm going to make a prediction on some roster moves based on what I've seen so far.

So here goes.

1. Will Middlebrooks - I expect him to be traded, probably sooner than later. I actually like him (mostly because of his power), but I appear to definitely be in the minority.

2. Jackie Bradley Jr. - Back to Triple A. His defense is great, but he can't hit worth a shit. There is no reason why he should be striking out as much as Mike Napoli. Plus, he recently admitted he was "lost". Not good.

3. Edward Mujica - Released. When your ERA is only .96 better than your backup first baseman's, you   probably aren't long for the roster.

4. Daniel Nava - Traded. I was surprised when they sent Nava down to Pawtucket, (although he was hitting .149, so I shouldn't have been). The only reason I say this is because they have a surplus of outfielders and I don't see them giving up on Bradley Jr. I expect Sizemore to get more playing time (unless they pick up somebody else in a trade).

So while not groundbreaking predictions, it'll be interesting to see (at least to me) how I fare.

So I ask any Red Sox bloggers out there (or anybody else who wants to comment), what are your thoughts on the season so far? What do you see happening in the coming months?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Saturday Card Show Pickups

I spent yesterday morning at the local card show and I have to say this was probably one of my best least since last month's show.

Usually the show is on Sundays, but Saturdays are actually better for me, so I was pretty happy with this. I was afraid that a certain dealer wasn't going to be there because of the different day, but I was pleased to see that he was. More on that later.

I did my usual walking around once to get a quick glimpse of what was being offered. Things that caught my eye the first time around?

1991 Topps Stadium Club Series 1 and Series 2 boxes - $15 bucks each.
Cheap auto and memorabilia cards.
50 cent vintage.

I ended up passing on the Stadium Club boxes, but began my adventure at the table that had the cheap autos and memorabilia cards. I'm not looking for myself, but for another blogger who so generously sent me a really cool trade package. I won't be able to reciprocate with something as good as what I got, but I would like to send him something in return even though he sent me the cards with no strings attached.

So I looked through all of the stacks. Curses, foiled again! Lots of great cards, but no Pirates! I've been to three shows since I received the cards and have come up empty. Apparently NH and MA are completely void of Pittsburgh Pirate "hits".

So instead, I spent a buck (yes, I'm a big spender) on these:

2012 Topps Gypsy Queen Steven Strasburg. Nope, still haven't finished this set yet.                                                               

The last five cards that I needed to finish my 2014 Topps Series 1 set. I now have officially broken my first New Year's resolution.

The next table I stopped at was the home of the 50 cent vintage. First though, I noticed a box next to it that had a sign that said "$2 each or 3 for $5". I looked at the first few cards and saw an auto.

Now I must survey the entire box.

I did manage to find a Pirates auto from 2012 Bowman Platinum of somebody I've never heard of, but I'm sure the Pirates collector that I'm sending it to has.

Next to that I saw some stacks of cards labeled "$5 or 3 for $10". From this I was able to find a Topps 2012 Golden Moments bat relic of a Pittsburgh Pirate that everybody's heard of.

I also picked him up a couple of 1970 Topps singles and for the time being I was done buying for other people. For now it was all about me.

I was only going to spend a few more dollars at this table because I wanted to have a good portion of my budget left for my last stop. I rifled through the two boxes of vintage rather quickly because I didn't have my sights on anything in particular because I'm not currently doing any of these sets, but at 50 cents a card (and in pretty decent condition) YOU CANNOT PASS THIS UP!

I did however have my first Woody Held sighting. I've seen his cards on blogs but I've never (for lack of a better word) held one. I almost grabbed it (OK, I'll stop), but instead I settled for these:

1958 Topps Gene Green.

1961 Topps Curt Simmons.

1961 Topps Joe Jay.

1961 Topps Chuck Cottier.

1969 Topps Jim Campanis.

1969 Topps Lew Krausse.

I spent a total of $10 at this table, and went to my third and final stop. There was a handwritten sign by a couple of stacks of cards that said "10 cents each". There were also several binders next to these stacks of cards, and I asked if the cards in these binders were ten cents each as well. When he said yes they were, I opened up one and started pulling out pages.

These were all from either the 1976, 1977, 1978 or 1979 Hostess sets. I wanted all of these cards when I was a kid, but there was no way my mom would let me eat enough Twinkies to get them.

She also wouldn't let me eat enough sugary cereal to get all of the Kellogg's 3-D cards I wanted, so I had to wait decades before I could finally get a decent amount.

These are all from either the 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982 or 1983 sets.

Next I made a serious dent in the thirty card 1992 Post set that I've been working on.

I'm about four-fifths of the way done now.

About a month ago, I debuted a new feature on this blog titled "One Card Challenged". The purpose of this was to show sets in my collection that I only had one card of. The first set I wrote about was the forty-eight card 1987 Kraft Home Plate Heroes, and I only had Wally Joyner. Wouldn't you know I found stacks of this set on his table as well. I picked up six, so now Mr. Joyner has some company in his plastic case.

I also picked up fifteen baseball card discs from 1976.

Twelve were from Isaly's...

...two were distributed through Towne Club Pop Centers...

...and one was through Crane Potato Chips.

All three of these distributors had 70 card sets released in 1976. Since they look pretty much identical, and correct me if I'm wrong, it looks like all three of these companies distributed the same set, albeit with their company logo on the back.

I also picked up seven of the 1978 Big T Restaurant disc set. Unlike the previous discs I bought, these are numbered and part of a twenty-six disc set.

The last cards that I picked up from this table were from the 1987 Hygrade Baseball All-Time Greats set. My father-in-law had gotten me a bunch of cards at an estate sale some time back, and there were plenty of these cards included. The set wasn't complete, and I've been searching for singles since then. Of course, this dealer had two big stacks of these cards and I had no want list to reference. So I ended up picking up two cards that I knew I needed:

Babe Ruth...

...and Hank Aaron.

These two cards were on a different part of the table, and he wanted 50 cents a piece for them, which still was not bad.

Oscar from "All Trade Bait, All The Time" is trying to complete this set as well, so I took a chance and bought an extra copy of the Ruth and Aaron just in case. After checking his want list when I got home, I found out he didn't need them. Oh well, next time I'll be sure to bring both want lists, so I can hopefully knock off both sets.

I spent $14 at this table (and $25 total), so while I went over my normal budget a bit, this was much more rewarding then buying a box of newer stuff.

It always is.