Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hall of Fame Auto - Barry Larkin

Recently I posted a sweet Rod Carew auto I bought at my LCS to add to my HOF Auto collection.  I alluded to a 2nd HOFer bought during the same visit and it is time to show off that card:

Surprising Barry Larkin doesn't have that many certified autograph cards and despite the lack of a Panini license, this is one of the nicest I have seen.  The design, to me, has a nice retro feel to it with the stripes and stars surrounding the photo frame.  I like the smiling photo of Larkin and the necklace with his jersey number prominently included.  The card design left a nice large area for an on card auto and Larkin signed a nice, big auto.  The upper right shows that this card is limited to 99 copies.

Another great addition to my collection of HOF shortstop Barry Larkin.  This puts me half way to my 6 HOF Auto card goal for 2015.  I am looking forward to tracking down some more legendary cards.

Monday, March 23, 2015

McCovey Monday #74 - 2014 Ginter Minis

My favorite player of all time is Hall of Famer Willie McCovey.  I have amassed a collection of over 1200 different  McCovey cards since I started collecting him in the late 1980s.  I will show off one of my favorite cards every Monday.  Stretch was one of the most feared hitters of all time and I am excited to show off my collection.

I have had some scans of some Willie McCovey minis in my to post folder for quite some time, it is a nice looking trio of cards:
 The first card of course is from the 2013 Ginter set.  The black border looks great with the Giants card, nicely matching the hat and sleeves Willie is sporting on the card.  The other two cards are from the 2014 release with the "regular" mini and the A&G back.  All 3 of these are nice additions to my McCovey collection but a recent addition really inspired me to share some Ginter minis:

I recently saw this Flag Back card hand serial numbered 11/25 pop up on eBay with a $9.99 opening bid.  I popped a $15ish bid on it and waited my 7 days.  Luckily nobody else placed a bid and I was able to bring this fairly rare card home. The front is the same as the regular mini but this unique back is quite nice.

In addition to the 3 cards shown here, I have the black border and red border /33 cards.  Getting this card has inspired to me look for the gold border and no number minis to complete the non-1/1 rainbow. Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

My Feelings About the Panda

I am heading out very early tomorrow morning for work trip that won't bring me home until Friday. I don't have much in the way of posts planned but I did upload some scans in case I have some time free in the evenings to write some posts.
I don't believe I have shared my thoughts about Pablo Sandoval's departure from the Giants and I am certain I haven't commented on his recent comments blasting most of him teammates and the organization.  I thought it would be good to clean out my scanned folder and share some thoughts from this diehard Giants fan.

2014 Topps Trajectory Relic
As the story goes Pablo passed up the same or more money from the Giants to move to the Red Sox in free agency.  At the time Pablo was gracious and said he just wanted a fresh start.  My feelings at that point were a combination of sadness and relief.  I was sad to see him go, he was a fan favorite, my kids love him and he was a hero of the past two World Series victories.  I was relieved because I feel the money he was given was too much, the length of the contract too long and was worried the long term contract would result in him gaining weight and being ineffective.

2013 Topps Triple Thread Relic 16/18
Then the Giants acquired Casey McGehee to replace the Panda at the Hot Corner.  He is a much cheaper option.  He had a pretty solid year last year and won the Comeback Player of the Year award.  He displayed virtually no power and I can't imagine that getting better at AT&T Park this year.  Overall I think it was a solid signing and it eased my mind a bit, at least we won't be trotting Joaquin Arias out every day.

2013 Topps Tier One Relic 113/399
Panda has almost left my consciousness, I had moved on.  Then his idiotic comments came to light.  I somewhat get why he would rip the entire organization's front office. He was hurt by a perceived lack of respect due to a lowball offer during the off season prior to the 2014 season.  At the time I think the offer was wise but hurt feelings would not be out of the question.  But he then ripped all of his former teammates with the exception of Hunter Pence and reveals that he was never going to resign with the Giants. I thought back to victory parade after the World Series where the fans gave him so much love and he told them he would do everything to come back. I guess that was all a lie.  And what did the rest of the Giants team do to him.  This didn't make this Giants fan feel good and made cutting any emotional ties quite easy.

2011 Topps Heritage Stamp with Justin Morneau 55/62
So what is my plan moving forward with regards to Panda cards. I am a Giants collector, I won't be going after any of his new cards other than the ones I need for my sets.  I doubt I will go after any of his past cards unless they are base card needs. If I run across a neat looking card at a very good price, I may pick it up but I don't see any active pursuit of his cards.  I will still enjoy the cards that I have in my collection and they will always bring back memories of some World Series titles.

2010 Bowman Sterling Dual Relic with Prince Fielder 179/199
Have there ever been two players who belong on a card together more than these two?  Sayonara Panda, enjoy Boston and try to stay away from the cream pies.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Nachos Grande Group Break - 2015 Heritage

I recently participated in a group break run by Chris over at Nachos Grande.  Chris broke a case of 2015 Heritage and a bonus box of 2004 Topps Clubhouse Collection.  I quickly jumped in on my Giants and it is time to show off the goods.  Overall I think I did pretty well - nothing epic but a solid group of Giants that will mostly satisfy my Heritage urge this year.

First up, let's check out the base, the Giants have 23 cards in the base set this year and excitedly for me, only 1 SP.  This is after the fiasco last year of 6 (and since I built the set I had to get 2 of each).

The Hunter Pence card is the SP in the set and is one of my favorite pictures.  I have no idea why the Giants have 2 players on Rookie Stars cards that share card space with dudes from other teams.  Why not just give the Giants 1 card with both guys.

Overall I got just this one team set because of the Pence SP.  I got 2 full sets minus the Hunter SP, another team set minus the Hunter and 2 shared rookies (I suspect Chris split the cards between the people who claimed each team).  I have a final set that is missing those 3 card and Juan Perez.  In addition I got a 6th card of 9 different players including Posey and MadBum.  I tell you this primarily to let you know that if you have any Giants needs, I am your guy.

On to the inserts:
I was lucky enough to get copies of all the Giants inserts.  The 2 Baseball Flashbacks were expected as the Giants had some star filled teams in the 60s.  I am surprised that the reigning World Series Champions get no current players in the Then & Now sets and only 1 in the New Age Performers. I do like the design of the New Age cards this year and the photo on the Buster card definitely works.

I was lucky enough to get one of the gum stained parallels:
It was none other that future HOFer Manager Bruce Bochy  I had heard news that these were scratch and sniff and I tried (and confirmed) it for myself.  The Beckett checklist shows that all the Giants have this parallel. If that is true these have to be fairly short printed as these are only about 1 per hobby box.

I was lucky enough to get 2 1966 Original Buy Back cards in the break:
Both cards are in really nice condition and I am super happy to have them. I recall seeing a video where one of the 3 card strips in a box topper had a Giant but I must have missed out on the random of that card.

My final card from the Heritage break was a card that excited me greatly when I saw it get pulled:
A great action variation of World Series hero Madison Bumgarner.  This is a great looking card, I love the action in any Heritage card and the Orange jersey places this card close to the top of the list.  Great card and my hit of the break!  Similar to the lack of Giants in the insert sets, there are no base relics of current Giants players - unbelievable to me.

I didn't get a chance to see the 2004 Topps Clubhouse Collection box broken so I was very pleasantly surprised to see this card in my package:
A great looking relic of Will "The Thrill" Clark (I think he is Night Owls favorite former Giant).  Will is sporting the sweet eye black as he rounds the bases after a thrilling homer to bring home a Giants win.  The Giants available to pull from this set also include Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Edgardo Alfonzo, Marquis Grissom and Jeff Kent.  Outside of Willie Mays, Clark would have been my choice and I am happy to have received 1 of the 20 hits from the box.

Once again Chris, another great break and I am looking forward to the next one!

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Freak

When my son and I were in Arizona a couple weeks back taking in some Spring Training games, Tim Lincecum, aka The Freak, came into our middle game in relief of Santiago Casilla who had relieved starter Madison Bumgarner.  The reaction of the crowd was by far the loudest, craziest and most surprising in the 2 games we attended. It was almost like the reaction a rock band gets when it comes out on stage.  Timmy is loved by the Giants fans and even my son and I got caught up in the excitement.

Lincecum has been hyped this year because he worked out all off season with his dad and seems to have a little of him magic left.  Despite giving up 2 runs in his 2 innings I saw, he look pretty good in striking out 5 of the 6 batters he retired.  The Giants need him to bounce back to some degree if they have any playoff chances.

I am not necessarily counting on Lincecum but could sure use some solid stats out of him in my fantasy league.  We have a very deep (12 teams with rosters of 40) keeper league where every player remains on your team year to year with 2 chances to draft - preseason and midseason.  I traded for Lincecum a couple years back hoping for a bounce back and getting very little production.  We are finalizing our draft right now I have decided to take a flier and hold onto The Freak, just in case.

Lincecum's cards have dropped significantly in price over the last few years in parallel with his performance decline.  I didn't record the price of these 4 relics I am sharing in this post but I am certain that none of them cost more that $5.  There was a time when his rookie base cards couldn't be found at that price.  I have filled many of my base card gaps for his rookie year but still needing his 2007 rookie cards from Bowman Chrome, Bowman Chrome Draft, Bowman Heritage, SP Rookie Edition (card #214), Topps 52 Chrome and 3 UD Elements cards.

I have a couple Timmy Autos in my collection but I am thinking it may be time to seek out those rookie cards and a few autos for my collection with the prices down just in case.  You never know, if he bounces back to Cy Young form the Giants could be dangerous.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hall of Fame Auto - Rod Carew

One of my favorite parts of my collection is my Autograph collection of Baseball Hall of Famers.  I love thumbing through the cards and reflecting on the baseball history the guys who signed the cards (or stickers) represent.  I set a goal this year to add 6 new cards to this collection and so far I have just shared 1, HOF Reds and Tigers manager Sparky Anderson.  I decided it was time to show off my 2nd pick up of 2015.

I have 2 LCSs that I frequent and I am pretty excited because one of them has started picking up some nice singles. He lists them on eBay at around book value but will sell them to me at or slightly lower than the best offer that he has received.  If there have been no offers, he will look at past sales and give me a good price.  In comparison, the other shop always lists at book value or above and rarely gives much of a discount.  So shop #1 gets my single card buying business.

When I set my goal for 6 new HOF autos, I set up some eBay notifications so I could start tracking what the prices are going for to make sure I get a solid deal.  One of those players is the feature of this post, former Twins and Angels 2B/1B Rod Carew.  Carew is a member of the 3,000 hit club and I remember him most for his time with the Angels.  For some reason though I am always drawn to him cards with the Twins.

When I saw this card in the display case I was very excited as it hit on several of my likes in a good auto card.  First it is an on card auto.  I also like the gold ink used although the thickness of the pen makes it look a little sloppy, I still like the gold.  The design is quite nice, Five Star is a high end Topps product and this card would not disappoint if pulled out of a high end pack.  It is numbered 21/25 which is cool, I never complain about low numbered cards.  And probably the best thing to me is that the photo is a great looking picture of him in the 1st half of his career as a Twin.

This card originally carried a $50 or $60 price tag in the display case but I was able to get it and another HOF card I will show off later for just $60 total. I am pretty happy for such a high end card of a HOFer for just $30.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Joy of a Completed 1950s Giants Team Set

I finally did it!  I finished a Topps Giants team set from the 1950s, granted it is the latest of the decade but that doesn't dampen my enthusiasm one bit.  As is customary with my Giants team set posts, I will share the last few cards I picked up then show off the team set as a whole.  Enjoy, this is one of my favorite Topps vintage sets.

 I have no idea why this card was one of the last 4 for me to pick up, it just never made it into a bucket or eBay search.  I do dig the flattop hair cut.  The blue with the Giants logo doesn't look too great but still a decent card.

 This was actually my final pick up.  My only real criteria was to get a team card with no writing on the checklist on the back.  It ended up being tough to find one what wasn't graded and I didn't want a graded card because these belong in the pages as a team set.  I finally scored it off of COMC for a pretty solid price and had a small batch of cards delivered just to have this in my hands and finish off the set.

 One of two Giants Sporting News All Stars, the Baby Bull Orlando Cepeda.  Pretty crazy that a rookie would come up the following year and supplant Cepeda who was only in his 3rd year.  The Giants tried that rookie, Willie McCovey, in the outfield and did the same to Cepeda but ultimately they traded Orlando to the Cardinals.  These All Star cards are great looking.

The final card in my quad to finish the team set is another wonderful Sporting News All Star card of the best all around player of all time, Willie Mays.  This card is off center right to left but not as bad as the scan makes it.  A am a huge fan of this card, one of my favorite Mays cards in my collection.

Now the entire set all together: