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.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

One Down, Eleven to Go

Can the Giants work their even year October magic again?  They took the first step tonight in a dominating victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The game almost had a tone of business as usual as the outcome was never in jeopardy.  They had their ace on the mound and Madison Bumgarner continued his post season domination pitching a complete game shutout.

2007 Bowman Sterling Refractor auto 133/199

Not the prettiest look on his face but I am very glad to have this card in my collection.  Bumgarner was calm, cool and collected and demanded to ball until the end.  Unfortunately, by having to pitch in this game, he will only have one start in the NLDS.

While Madison Bumgarner was a somewhat likely star, Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford was somewhat of an unlikely star.

2011 Topps Tier One Auto 292/999

Crawford got the Giants on the board with a deep grand slam home run in the 4th inning to give Bumgarner more than enough run support.  I saw a stat, I think it was last night on the Royals/A's game, that Crawford had the 3rd highest batting average as a left handed hitter against lefty pitchers this year.  Kind of odd as he was subbed out against lefty's prior to this year.  This really has no pertinence as the Pirates pitcher was right handed.

I am watching the Giants celebrate with champagne in the clubhouse on ESPN right now.  I think the whole champagne thing is overdone but I am super happy the Giants playoff run will continue.

Go Giants!!!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Playoff Predictions

I am still struggling on posting regularly but I am excited my Giants made it into the playoffs.  I have been picking up cards still and have quite a few I will get around to eventually showing but wanted to take a few minutes tonight and put my playoff picks down in the blog so I can see how sharp my prognostication skills might be.

Let's start out in the American League.  The A's travel to KC for the Wild Card game tomorrow. I am very torn from an emotional standpoint on how I would like this game to go.  The A's were my 2nd favorite team growing up (a very distant 2nd) and I grew up in Nor Cal.  The Royals are a great story with their 29 year playoff absence and I have a ton of friends at work who are big Royals fans.  However, I am not going to pick on emotions, Lester will show that Billy Beane made a good pickup and advance the A's into the Division Series.

That will pit the A's vs. the Angels in the ALDS, what a great match up.  Since moving down to So Cal, the Angels have been my distant 2nd favorite team so this is an interesting battle.  The Angels seem to have put it together this year and with the Wild Card game moving back the A's top pitcher, I see the Angels having a pretty easy time with this series and winning in 5 or 6 games.

In the other half of the ALDS bracket there is a great match up between the Orioles and Tigers.  I think the loss of Chris Davis will be too much for the Orioles to overcome and I have a feeling that Justin Verlander may be able to put it back together to contribute leading the Tigers to a win in 6 or 7.

The ALCS will end with the Tigers edging out the Angels for another trip to the World Series.

The National League Wild Card game on Wednesday pits my Giants versus the Pittsburgh Pirates.  No emotional struggle here.  My heart and mind say that Madison Bumgarner will continue his strong playoff pitching (and maybe drive in a run or two) and the Giants will prevail on the road.

The Giants would move on to face the Nationals in the NLDS.  This is a tough match up for the Giants, the Nationals are playing well.  However this is an even year and in a tough 7 game series the Giants will prevail, sending the Nationals home once again.

The other NLDS match up pits the Boys in Blue against the Cardinals.  Two of my least favorite teams and we will see if the highest payroll in baseball can beat the team with the self proclaimed best baseball fans.  As much as I hate to give credit, the Dodgers are playing pretty well and I see them ending the Cards season in 5-6 games.

Wow, could you imagine a playoff series with the Giants vs. the Dodgers to go to the World Series?  I dare to dream, that would be awesome.  The even year magic will outplay and outlast the highest payroll in baseball in a hard fought 6 game series, despite great pitching from the best pitcher in baseball, Clayton Kershaw.

Before sharing my World Series winner (I am sure the suspense is killing you) I thought I needed to show a couple cards.  The Giants farm team has been consistently rated low by all the experts but they wouldn't be in the playoffs without the contributions of several guys called up from the minors.

One of those guys is back up Catcher Andrew Susac, I was able to pick this Leaf Draft auto up of his for a very reasonable price.  Not the greatest design ever but a solid looking card.

I was lucky enough to pick up this card right before he got called up.  A nice die cut autographed card serial numbered 02/25 of starting second baseman Joe Panik.  This is a sweet looking card of the man who came up and solidified a troubled position and ended up hitting in the number 2 whole and batting over 0.300 on the season.  Very happy to have this in my collection.

In case you are wondering who I am going to pick to win it all, I will surprise you all and select the Tigers Giants.  The men in Orange and Black will dominate October for their 3rd win in 5 years and bring another trophy home to the Bay Area!

***My disclaimer, if I was betting any cash on the playoffs, I would have the Nationals beating the Giants and going all the way to a World Series crown.