Friday, October 31, 2014

Three-Peat!!!

In all honesty, I am still in shock. I am writing this while watching the World Series victory parade so I know it must be real.  Prior to 2010 I had come to grips with the fact that I may never see a World Series victory from the team I had been following since my birth in 1971.  I was hoping for some good teams, some playoff appearances and hopefully a couple Hall of Famers along the way.  The thought that the SF Giants would win 3 World Series in a 5 year span is just unbelievable.  I hope everyone gets to experience this some day (preferably in another sport).

Quick story.  Last Saturday I had to fly to Orlando, FL (from the Los Angeles, CA area) for a work conference.  My company has a huge hub in the Kansas City area and I ended up attending this conference with a few Royals fans.  We joked leading up to the conference that as long as it didn't go 7 games we would be fine because the conference ended on Wednesday and we had flights to our respective homes Wednesday evening.  I had a lot of fun watching games with some good baseball fans and going through the emotional ups and downs of the series and what ended up happening - game 7.  I joked with my wife before leaving that if it went to game 7 I would stay over an extra night and on Wednesday morning I got a text stating "Are you still coming home tonight?".  After being away for 5 full days and nights I couldn't pull the trigger so to the airport I went.  We had a layover in Denver and I actually got to see the first 2 innings so I boarded the plane at 2-2.  I bought Southwest's wifi for $8 and jumped onto ESPN.com on my iPad.  I opened up the Game Center and, after about a 20 minute delay for boarding and connection, I was able to watch pitch by pitch play-by-play and 30 minutes before we landed I took a victory stroll down the center aisle.  I was so excited I came home and stayed up well past midnight watching the tape of the game.

I couple weeks back I bought a box of 2014 Stadium Club and at some point I will share the highlights of the box break.  I have to say the photography was the best of just about any set I can think of.  I don't know if it was worth the sticker price but it was a great break and I hope to put the base set together (If you have any extras, let me know).  I thought I would share the cards from 3 of the most prominent Giants from this year's World Championship team.

 First up is the Panda.  What a great series, setting the record for most hits in a post season. He played great defense and caught the final out for the victory.  I sure hope he is back next year, you have to think this title lined the owners coffers a bit so they need to pony up.  And check out this photo.  Perfectly timed with bat hitting ball.  Beautiful AT&T Park in the background with a packed house.  I love the catcher's glove peaking in on the right side.  I also love Pablo's concentration with his head on the ball as he swings.  This is a great in action photo.

 Next up is Hunter Pence.  He had a great series as well statistically along with being the emotional leader of the team.  He soaked in all the Hunter Pence signs and laughed them off, I think they inspired him.  He is perhaps the most awkward looking stud athlete I have ever seen. The dude is a 5 tool player and one of the best players in baseball.  I am loving this card, he is sporting a World Champion patch (this pic must be from 2013), is sporting some sweet shades and signing for the fans. Again Stadium Club gets it right.

Finally, the hero and MVP of the World Series, Madison Bumgarner.  Unless you have been completely out of touch, you know the numbers and the historic achievements Mad Bum put up this post season.  I won't regurgitate them here.  My friends in KC say he is equally feared, respected and hated by Royals fans.  One friend said he turned to his kid when he came in at the start of the 5th inning that the game is over.  This picture isn't as amazing as the other two but it is still pretty sweet.  I love the Friday orange jersey, the use of the horizontal card to demonstrate his wide open throwing style and the look of concentration on his face.

I am hoping we break the cycle and at least get into the playoffs in 2015 but even if we don't, I will bask in the glory of 3 in 5 years.  Go Giants!!!

Monday, October 20, 2014

McCovey Monday #60 -

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 case you haven't noticed, my posting has slowed down quite a bit including my McCovey Monday posts.  Back at the end of July I shared all but one card of an awesome trade package from Clyde's Stale Cards and promised a McCovey Monday post for one of the cards. It is finally time to fulfill that promise.

This is a Schedule card from the 1977 season when Willie Mac was a member of the San Diego Padres.  There are 2 McCoveys in this set one with and one without a mustache.  This beauty of course is the one with a stylish mustache.  Even though this is a black and white oddball, I find a great looking card and I am so happy to have it in my collection. 

Here is a look at the back and a list of all the special events the Padres held at the Jack Murphy Stadium in 1977.  Looks like they gave away several picture packs with autographs and had a few Business Special games.  I am wondering how stylish the English Leather Cologne Jacket and Dow Sound T-Shirts might have looked.  Personally I would have liked to see who would attend a Padres Old Timers game just a few years into their existance.

Thanks for knocking off a vintage McCovey off my want list and sorry for the posting delay!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Say Hey, Another Mays Pick Up and Another Vintage Team Set

I just received this card in the mail a couple days back and I was happy to pull it in for an appropriate cost of $24 (Mays' jersey # was 24).  I love adding vintage Willie Mays cards to my collection but they are typically hard to come by at a reasonable price.  I scored this one in a Sportlots auction.  As you can see from the scan, this card is far from mint condition but it is also far from the worst conditioned card in my collection.  Looking on eBay I think I got a pretty good deal and a quick look at Beckett shows the "book value" is $200 for whatever that is worth.

This card also finished up a team set for me, while it is small in number it is fairly packed in star quality.  This team set features 2 HOFers in Mays and Orlando Cepeda and 2 other former All-Stars in Jim Davenport and Billy O'Dell. The 5th player, Joey Amalfitano is pictured in his Houston Colt 45s uniform, he played his first 4 seasons with the Giants, shifted over to Houston for the 1962 season and the 2nd pick in the expansion draft, then rejoined the Giants in 1963.

A couple years back I set a goal to complete this team set and the 1961 Fleer set.  I left that goal off this year's list but it has always been in the back of my mind.  This Mays card was the biggest obstacle.  I just picked up one of the two 1961 cards I needed but will save showing that off until I finish off that set.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Giants Win the Pennant!!!

I have been a little quiet during the playoffs, with all the great games it has been hard to pull myself away from the television to blog.  With the Giants win tonight I got a nice shot of adrenalin so I pulled a card out of my "hits" box of tonight's hero.

 Travis Ishikawa's clutch 3-run homer was the first walk off NLCS homer to decide a series.  The guy has a great story and this card from back in 2003 shows how long ago he was a Giant's prospect.  To go from a released player about to quit baseball to a starting left fielder and playoff hero during the same season is almost a story beyond belief.  I have lots of friends at work that live in KC and are big Royals fans so the World Series should be a blast.

Topps has been selling all kinds of stuff for the playoffs and I picked up this poster a few days back:

 It got delivered a couple days back and looks amazing.  It measures 11"X17" and is printed on something similar to vintage card stock from the 70s and 80s.  The poster is limited to 99 copies and I was lucky enough to get 01/99 (an eBay 1/1!).  I have been tempted on several of the Topps offerings but I pulled the trigger on this due to the awesome Orange color, the design looks cool and the player selection is right on.  Trying to figure out the best way to hang it without damaging it and without paying to frame it.

Time to finish up for tonight and maybe sort some cards to wind down.  Crazy as it may seem, this was the match up I picked at the beginning of the playoffs.  I wish I would have entered the World Series contest this year :-)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

And Then There Was One

I set up couple lofty goals for myself this year and with the year being so busy and my blogging and collecting getting a little less of my attention, I suspect my YE grading of my goals will not be up to par with past years.  However I have recently inched forward to two monumental goals and I thought I would share my progress.

One of my collecting focuses has been on acquiring as many Giants base cards as possible.  I like all Giants including parallels, relics, autos, inserts and oddballs but the regular old base cards are close to my heart.  One of my goals this year was to finish off the Giants run of base cards put out by Topps throughout the 1960s.  With the purchase of this Chuck Hiller rookie from 1961 Topps I am now one card away from completing this goal.  The card I have left is the 1961 Topps All-Star of Willie Mays.  This card won't come cheap but I am patient and will try to strike with a reasonably conditioned card at the right price.

Another lofty goal was to complete the 1973 Topps set.
I have been on the lookout for this card for months.  A nicely conditioned card with the checklist unmarked seems hard to come by for under $20 with some going up into triple figures.  It is a high number and I suspect unchecked ones are somewhat scarce.  I found this lightly checked checklist (4 squares lightly filled in with pencil) for a fraction of the price.  And while I like the condition to be the best possible, this set is far from a mint representation so this card should fit in just fine.  Next up is the Michael Jack Schmidt rookie card.  I have been watching them for several months and it won't come cheap but again I will demonstrate patience.

Is anyone out there inching towards a goal or just have one complete?  For me there is little more satisfying than marking a goal off the list and I hope I can put both of these to rest in the not too distant future.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Wow, that was exhausting!


I never thought sitting on my couch for most of a 6+ hour stretch could take so much out of me.  I am certain it is the longest game I have ever watched and fortunately there was a positive payoff for this Giants fan.

After a fairly disappointing season, Brandon Belt came through in the top of the 18th with a no doubt about it shot into deep right field.  It didn't go as far as Bryce Harper's from game 1 but it sure meant a lot more.

I felt there were two other key elements to the Giants win.  I loved putting in Yusmeiro Petit for a long relief stretch, as our spot started he is used to putting in some innings.  He pitched great and kept the Giants in the game for 6 innings when every pitch he threw could have been the last pitch of the game.  An amazing pressure packed performance.

I was surprised the announcers never once questioned Matt Williams pulling of Jordan Zimmerman with 2 outs in the 9th. He has just given up his first walk but had only thrown 100 pitches.  Zimmerman was dominating up to that point and I am virtually certain he would have closed out the game.  The only plausible explanation is that Matty has a special spot in his heart for the Giants.

As Giants fans know, a 2-0 lead and heading home is not a certainty (remember the Reds series 2 years ago).  I am hoping the Giants keep their focus and finish this thing off in the next game or two.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Hall of Fame Autos - Craig Biggio

I know he isn't in yet but I am fairly certain that Craig Biggio will be in the Hall of Fame in the next year or two.  I decided to take a preemptive strike and add an auto of his to my Hall of Famer auto collection.  I saw a redemption card as a Sportlots auction and entered into a mini bidding war and was awarded this:

I flipped it over, scratched off the nasty black stuff and entered the redemption code.  Since it was a 2013 product I hoped my wait wouldn't be long.  In the end it only took 2-3 weeks which I was pretty happy with.  And here is the base auto relic I received in the mail:

Wow!!!  I was shocked.  This card is a beauty, just check out that patch.  If the auto was on card and not a sticker this card would be bordering on perfection.  I would bet that many of the lower numbered parallels of this card had seriously inferior swatches.  To top it off, I got an eBay 1/1 with the 99/99 numbering.  The redemption cost me $8.50 with $2.95 shipping, I think I got a heck of a deal.  Time to file this away with my other auto cards of the all time greats.