Monday, September 30, 2013

McCovey Monday #37 - 2013 Panini Golden Age Museum Age Relic

My favorite player of all time is Hall of Famer Willie McCovey.  I have amassed a collection of over 1100 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 been pretty happy with the number of appearances Willie McCovey has made in 2013 releases.  It has given me quite a few new cards to chase. So far in 2013 McCovey has been featured in Panini Cooperstown, Allen & Ginter, Archives (2 different inserts), Topps flagship (3 inserts and some relics & manufactured cards), Gypsy Queen, and Museum Collection.  One other release in addition to these was an appearance in Panini Golden Age.

Stretch didn't have a base card or an insert card but does appear on a relic.  These seemed to be somewhat challenging to find and had a decent premium on the secondary market for a simple relic card but I was finally able to pick one up:

Despite the lack of logos, I think this is a pretty solid looking card.  Panini appears to be attempting to emulate an old school design and I think it works.  I am happy this isn't a boring white swatch as well, it gives it the look of an older jersey.  Overall I am pretty happy with this pick up, a great new addition to my McCovey collection!

Despite the Poor Season, I Still Think the Future is Bright

It was a tough year for the Giants, with a little bit of a rally by winning 6 of their last 10 games they pulled into a tie for 3rd place in the division with a record of 76-86.  I had high hopes going into the year and while I thought 3 World Series Titles in the past 4 years wasn't likely, I thought a return to the playoffs was in the cards.  I can honestly say that the 2 titles makes a season like this much easier to deal with.  Also thinking forward to next year already (I sound like a Cubs fan!), I have quite a few reasons to feel optimistic.

I thought I would share my reasons with a few recent pick ups for the Giants collection.

First up is the Giants ace:

Madison Bumgarner truly stepped up to become the ace this year.  I believe he is easily one of the top 10 pitchers in the game and could possible by top 5.  He is still very young and locked up for a few years and I expect a Cy Young or two from him.

One of the Giants major issues this year was their starting pitching and Matt Cain contributed greatly to the team's challenges in the first half.  However he pitched quite well over the second half of the season despite a lack of run support - is there anyone over the last 5-6 years who has suffered the consistent lack of run support that has plagued Cain?  Like Bumgarner, Cain is locked up and I am very happy the Giants poured their resources into Cain instead of Tim Lincecum.

 The Giants just locked up Hunter Pence for the next 5 years.  He was their statistical leader and their inspirational leader and I, for one, am very happy to have him back.  If you look at his numbers, he had quite a year finishing off with a walk off hit today to win the final game.  Many Giants and baseball fans are complaining that he was paid too much but I don't agree. With the Dodgers bottomless pockets and the every increasing revenue to baseball teams I think his salary is probably just about right.  You also have to factor in how hard it is to put up power numbers at AT&T Park.

Brandon Belt had a fairly decent season, he ended up leading the Giants in OPS to go along with 39 doubles, 4 triples and 17 homers.  These aren't All Star numbers but fairly solid.  There is talk that the Giants may pick up a new first baseman in the off season and move Belt to LF.  He is a pretty awesome defender but I would support the move if it improved the lineup, LF was an offensive black hole in 2013.

All 4 of these are 2013 Ginter relics that I have picked up.  There are 8 total Giants relics in this year's release so I guess I am half way there.  Didn't really hear why there are 2 different designs for the mini relics, I think I like the darker border of the top 3 the best.

There are a couple other reasons I am feeling optimistic as well, these two guys in the 2013 Topps Chipz release:
Angel Pagan signed a fairly lucrative 3 year contract and spent most of the season injured.  I am hopeful for a bounce back season next year.  In 2012 he was a key piece to the team and this year in his absence the outfield consisted of Pence and a couple scrubs.  Belt, Pagan and Pence makes for a pretty solid OF.

Beyond solid is Giants C Buster Posey.  He is locked up for most of the next decade and in my opinion is the best catcher in baseball.  I will admit that Yadier Molina is very good but I would want Buster on my team.  He didn't have a repeat performance of his MVP year but had a pretty nice year in 2013.

Not sure about these Chipz, I bought a few packs at Target and only have these 2 Giants to show for it.  Now I have a stack of poker looking chips on my desk and most aren't even from teams I usually trade.  They are only 50 cents/chip ($2 for a 4 pack) so they are easy on the wallet but I really don't have a solid way to display them so I will probably go after a few more Giants and try to rid myself of the dups.

Maybe I am the eternal optimist, but I am already looking forward to next year.  As for the year, I think I am going to have to cheer for the team across the bay - the Oakland A's.  As long as the Dodgers don't win I am happy - I am already sick of all the fair weather LA fans talking about the team.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My LCS Bid Board Reject Pile

I have two LCSs near my new home, they are actually only a block apart and used to be affiliated with each other.  I like both shops for a couple of reasons but one thing they have in common that is a top draw for me is a weekly bid board.  For those not familiar with a bid board, basically a bunch of cards are hung up on the wall and throughout the week you can go in and make a bid to buy the cards.  There is typically a minimum bid and at times a buy it now price.

One shop primarily has newer cards and I find myself picking up quite a few cards for my USC collection and inserts from some of the newest sets.  The other bid board usually has more of a vintage flavor.  At the end of the week I get an email letting me know if I won any cards and it is always a surprise to see what I win.

Both shops also offer somewhat of a second chance on cards that don't sell the first time around.  I refer to this as the Reject Pile.  The shop with typically newer cards just sells the rejects for the posted minimum bid while the other shop usually puts a half price sticker on those that don't sell.  I love digging through that box and have come up with quite a few gems over the past couple months.

I thought I would share my reject pile pick ups from this past week:

You will most likely recognize these as 1968 Topps Game cards, I believe these were inserts and were used to play some sort of game. I was able to acquire 17 of the 33 cards from this set for 25 cents each or $4.25 total.  This is a set that has always been of interest to me but other than a Mike McCormick I picked up for my Giants collection I had never owned one.  Granted these are the lesser players of the set but I am still happy to be the proud owner of more than half the set.

I plan on sharing my bid board and reject pile pick ups every so often, I feel very lucky to have 2 boards to check out every week (assuming I can make it in).

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fight On! - Some new additions to my USC collection - Rodney Peete

One of my goals in 2013 was to add to my collection of USC Trojan football cards.  I collect all cards of former USC Trojans and have amassed quite a collection. I actually started my Trojan collection before diving into my SF Giants collection and have over 11,000 different Trojan cards.

Upper Deck's license using the college football uniform has produced some great cards for me to chase after. While I do collect cards of the players in the NFL uniforms, there is nothing finer than capturing cards of the players in their Cardinal and Gold.

Tonight I though I would share some recent pick ups of Rodney Peete the former Trojan, Lion, Cowboy, Eagle, Redskin, Raider and Panther QB.  Peete was quite an accomplished college QB finishing 2nd to Barry Sanders in the Heisman Trophy voting and winning the Johnny Unitas award during his senior year.  He was also a star baseball player at USC and was drafted 3 times during his college baseball career.  He was a Trojan prior to my attendance at the school (he left the year prior to me starting there) but is one of the first Trojans I remember when I started following their games closely knowing I was attending the school.  He wasn't able to carry his stardom over into his pro career but did have some solid stretches and had a nice 15 year career.

I have 10 new cards (actually 8 cards and 2 coins) and all but the 2 coins were released in the last couple of years and feature Rodney in his USC uniform.

 This is a nice trio of base cards with my favorite being the Ultra design.  It has a pretty solid front but the back is amazing:

Isn't it pretty?  I love the featuring of 2 different uniforms and the LA Coliseum in the background, such a great retro design and I am glad they brought it back.

Here are the two aforementioned coins from the 1997 Playoff release, the are color variations.  The Exquisite card is super thick and numbered to 85.  Other than having the same picture as the SPx card above, I am a pretty big fan.

In addition to these cards, I have been able to pick up 4 autos of Rodney Peete recently:

I have always been a fan of the Autographics cards and was happy that Rodney appears in 3 different designs. I wish they weren't sticker autos but I can live with that.

The final auto card is an SP retro card, I thought I had picked up the non-Auto version of this card as well but I can't find it on my desk to scan and it isn't marked off on the checklist so maybe not.

Overall Rodney Peete has 421 different cards listed in Beckett.  Until these recent releases in 2012 and 2013, his newest cards were from 2003 so it was pretty cool to find some new ones.  Of those 421 I have 298 different cards, not bad with an overall 70.8% of his total cards.  I will probably be on the lookout for more of his cards to see if I can push it to 75 or 80%.  Players who played there in the mid to late 80s and early 90s are my favorite Trojans to collect.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Main Reason I Like Panini

There are quite a few opinions out there on the place Panini holds in the sports card marketplace. 

It seems like the majority would like another licensed manufacture in addition to Topps (I hold this majority opinion) but as we know that won't be happening for a few more year.  It seems like most dislike the different ways that Panini has gone about producing baseball cards to avoid using logos.  To me it isn't ideal but I feel they have done a pretty solid job working within their limitations. Much better than a product like Upper Deck Goodwin Champions in my humble opinion.

The main reason I am so happy about the presence of Panini and the reason I will continue to support them as much as possible are cards like these 3 fairly recent pickups:

 The first is a cut auto of Bobby Thomson - Mr. Shot Heard Round the world.  The opportunity to get a certified autograph of an Immortal such as Thomson is great.  There are a few other certified autos of his out there but this National Treasures release added another 99 to the marketplace (mine is 85/99) and helped make it affordable on my budget.  I also think this is one of the best cut auto designs I have seen, despite the hat being cut off.

The second card also suffers from cut off had syndrome,  but it really doesn't bother me too much.  I actually had a card with a piece of bat by Bill Terry coupled with Willie McCovey in my McCovey collection but the same National Treasures release allowed me to pick up another featuring just Mr. Terry.  This is again numbered to 99 (mine is 26/99) and was very affordable.  I also like this design quite a bit, it much be the color scheme or something but I just think these cards look sharp.

The third and final card of this post is another Bill Terry bat card. If I really liked the other two designs, this one is elevated to love.  The picture is fabulous, you get the full hat and the removal of any logos doesn't stand out.  If I had one suggestion, it may be a slightly bigger picture and less border but I love this card out of 2013 Golden Age.  Again, most likely because there are more of his bat cards on the market, this came at a very reasonable price, I think it was less than $10 on my LCS bid board.

So what are your thoughts on Panini's role in this great hobby?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

I am Finally Back!

It has been over 2 months since I made a post and for those that remember it started with a job change and a move.  I will spare you the intimate details but in addition to the normal disruptions caused by a move I had a few other hurdles to overcome - the people we bought the house from left it a bunch of stuff behind that totally threw off our move in schedule, we still don't have all our boxes unpacked, my new job is much more time demanding than I suspected and going from 2 kids to 3 kids as we did last December has made the home life crazy!

As Night Owl pointed out earlier today, one of the dreams many of us have in moving into a new house is finding a treasure trove of sports cards hidden in the attic.  When I found out the people moving out of our new house had 8 grown children who had all moved out, including 4 boys, coupled with all the boxes of stuff they left behind my excitement level was quite high.  The day we were moving in I met our new next door neighbor (a fireman and great guy by the way) and was talking about all the contents the prior owners left behind.  He mentioned that the owner allowed him to take some things prior to her move and happened to mention that he got a box of cards with the stuff he took.  My heart quietly sank. He said he gave them to a friend who used to collect who mentioned most of them were overproduced and not worth much.  I still would have loved going through them.

A few days later we were putting some holiday decorations up in our new attic and I discovered a gem!  Appears they didn't give away all the cards for the kids' collection.  Look what I found:
This great 1978 Topps Claudell Washington is going to be displayed in a prominent place in my new room.  The best feature in my new house is that I have my own room for my sports collection.  I have my leather recliner and a big screen TV as well and I will definitely find a spot for this new card.

I look forward to getting back into blogging and I have quite a bit that I want to show and share.  I have made some nice additions to some player collections, picked up quite a few vintage stars and HOFers from my new LCS, and of course lots and lots of Giants.  The thing I have missed the most is the trading.  I have a few trades from before my move that I still need to share and have gotten a few housewarming packages from fellow bloggers since the move.  I also just recently made a trip to Cooperstown and have a few things to share from that trip.

I think my want lists are pretty much up to date and I have a lot of work to do on my 2013 sets and 2013 Giants so let me know if you want to trade.