Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Trade Fodder

Time for some random trade bait. If you see anything here you want, just shoot me an email. Don't forget to check out my trade bait page, for posts of trade bait past. Here are some cards that need happy homes.

Vernon Wells: 2004 Bowman Heritage Jersey

Chaw-Chewing, Game-Saving Billy Wagner: 2008 Topps Update All-Star Stitches
Brian Cole: 2001 SP Top Prospects Chirography. Passed away in 2001. Sad story. I just found out he was a Mets prospect. BA Benny, if you want this card, let me know. He just sent me a ridiculously lopsided trade.
Gary Sheffield: 2002 UD Authentic Stars of 89 Jersey.
Bruce Sutter: 2009 UD Legendary Icons Jersey.

Jeff Keppinger: 2008 UD Timeline SP Top Prospects Auto.

RBI Collecting's First Contest--Go Check It Out!

Time for a contest plug. Head on over to RBI Collecting for a chance to win some packs of Heritage or Gypsy Queen. All you have to do is guess some A's.

By the way, here's a grammar pet peeve of mine: Why is there an apostrophe in A's? I know many people do this when, say, making a letter a multiple, and perhaps this apostrophe is more necessary to avoid confusion, since "As" could read as a different word. However, apostrophes are used to mark possessives or to mark missing letters, such as in a contraction or when writing slang ('em instead of them, collectin' instead of collecting) or with years when you're just too damn busy to write the first two numbers ('80s instead of 1980s). Anyway, I thought this would be a good place to rant about an apostrophe rule that is quite controversial in the publishing world. I stand on the side that the apostrophe used to make single letters multiple should not be used.

Maybe I can justify it here, since letters are being cut, as in Athletics is stripped down to A's.

I'm such a nerd. I love these tidbits of ridiculous grammar rules. Oh, and I love good contests. Go check it out!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tigers Catchers: Rookie-fied

Well, I've finally reached my favorite player position in going through the current Tigers active roster. It's the catcher. He's the grunt of baseball. Cleaning up every pitch, getting his toenails smashed purple, occasionally brunting a swing to the side of the mask. The hardest working position in baseball, in my opinion. And after last year's sad stint with Gerald Lard, we finally have a hell of a catching staff.

We payed a heap of change to get V-Mart, and so far he's been worth it. With him batting 5th, pitchers finally have to pitch to Cabrera. That alone is worth it, but Victor is earning his dough, batting .295, which isn't too far off from his rookie year in 2002. He's the kind of consistent batter we need. I'll have to settle for a 2002 rookie card, since his 2001 cards (card? is there only one from 2001?) are way beyond my price range.

So, yeah, Victor is barely a catcher. But that's fine. V-Mart can DH because we have this guy:

Alex "Caveman" Avila is our everyday catcher, and we couldn't ask for more. The other night he hit two homers, one to the left and one to the right. Avila has power, and he's a damn good catcher. I've been watching him improve this year, blocking more pitches, starting to throw out more runners. He cares about playing his position and I hope we'll keep him there.

I may be the only one calling him Caveman right now, but it should catch. He has the raw power of a cro-magnon man, as if time-warped from clubbing saber-tooth tigers right to clipping balls over the fence. The card above doesn't show the main reason why I call him Caveman. I tried to find a picture online, but couldn't. Just watch his stance the next time the Tigers are playing your team. His shoulders are huge, almost to the point of making him look hump-backed. So, Caveman it is. Help me make this catch on, and then I will claim trademark.

I've officially added Alex Avila to my want list. I'm especially looking for more of his rookie cards. If you have any, we should trade.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

T206 Blaster Break: Hit of a Lifetime

So, at Dunham's for the last few weeks, a blaster of 2009 T206 has been staring me down.

Sometimes mini Jackie Robinson on the box winks. Other times Ty Cobb is squinting devilishly. Mini Cobb says, "Oh come on. I'm marked down from $25 to $9.99. Don't be so damn cheap."

And I say, "But I'm a poor grad student. I need that money for smokes and McDoubles."

"You don't need that junk," Mini Jackie says. "Do cards, not drugs, like Dayf always says."

"I don't know. Retail blasters have hurt me in the past. I think I'd rather buy some singles on Ebay."

"Are you serious?" Howard shouts over his shoulder. "Do singles give you the rush of splitting wax? Does Ebay give you instant gratification and surprise scraps of Rocco Baldelli's pants?"

"Yeah, maybe I'll by some cleats instead."

Mini Cobb lifts his bat, says, "You're a sub for a beer league softball team. You don't need any damn cleats."

"Look at Honus," Howard says. "You're making him cry."

I didn't want to make Mini Honus cry. Plus I had a Dunham's coupon for 20 percent off anything (anyone can get these if they sign up at the register). I could no longer resist that box of T206.

And I ended up pulling a pretty amazing card, one of the best in the set. I'll show you soon, or you can just skip to the bottom of the post. I really can't stop you. But Honus will cry.

I didn't get a single Tigers card in the whole box, not a single friend for Mini Cobb on the box. Instead, I pulled a bunch of Yankees:

Jeter and A-Rod short prints. What the hell? Actually, both cards are pretty cool. Jeter looks daunting against that blood red curtain, and A-Rod looks like he had lots of fun on this postcard featuring his trip to the big city: Hi, Mom. We're having lots of fun on the field trip.

Here are the obligatory minis:
The Ortiz is a Polar Bear and the Gomes is an Old Mill. I think. It could be the other way around. I should've scanned the backs. Something funny is going on with the Cahil. It's number 289, which is listed as John Whitesell on COMC, but COMC pictures Cahil, as does my card. Is that some kind of error? Intentional shenanigans?

By the way, that's not the big hit. Here's the big hit:

My ridiculously smart scanner likes to crop out unnecessary whiteness. Any way, I pulled a Polar Bear relic of Mr. Ruth. His name's so tiny on here you have to squint to see it. But we don't need to read his name. It's Babe. You know when he arrives. You can smell it in the air, or in the pack. Once I saw that bulky frame sticking out between the other cards in the pack, I knew it was going to be an epic hit. Definitely the highest BV on a card I've ever pulled from a pack. And I can't believe I got this in discounted retail.

But there may be a problem. I'm not exactly sure what to make of this relic. At first I thought it was a piece of rubber from a shoe. It's black and somewhat smooth. But there are some bumps in there, and I think I see grain when it catches a glare. OK then, a piece of bat? Topps remains vague, as always:

Here's a closeup of the chunk o' somethin':

It looks odd. I was thinking maybe it was a stained piece of bat or maybe it was just old and petrifying. I did see another relic like this on Ebay, but they didn't explain anything. Then I saw a few Ruth relics from this set with much more wood-looking relics. Yeah, I said wood-looking. Then I started looking at the back of the card more. Here's a closeup:
It's hard to tell through the plastic, but this side is kind of wood-looking. Could they have put the relic in backwards? Is this level of blundering possible? Would one side be black and the other a light-hued grain? Is this an outside piece of a black-stained bat? That would be cool.

I'm quite stumped, and I'd love to hear what you guys think. Have you heard of this? Is the relic supposed to look this way?

Regardless, it's a great card. I'm thrilled to own a nondescript chunk that Babe once touched, rather than a scrap of Rocco's pants.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Tigers Infield: Rookie Style

We're on to the current Tigers' active infield roster, using non-current Tigers card. It's the ghost of rookie past coming to remind us of a time when these fellas were small and awkward and some of them couldn't even buy a beer yet.

Miguel Cabrera: 1B
I'll start off with the big guy, who doesn't look so big here. Before he started drinking and driving and bashing homers, he started off in 2000 batting .259 with 2 home runs over 251 at bats. Mediocre start to a sterling career. This is one of the favorite rookie cards in my collection, snatched off the bay of E for a couple bucks. I still need the Chrome-tastic version.
Scott Sizemore: 2B
Taking over for little Willy Rhymes, Scott Sizemore tore it up this year in Toledo, batting .408. He's still seeking his stride this year in the majors, and he may be benched if Carlos Guillen ever gets cobbled back together. He has a fine signature and solid defense. I actually pulled this card out of a pack--the auto I wanted the most from my favorite set.
Johnny Peralta: SS
We're glad to have stolen Peralta from the impossibly awesome Indians. Don't get to comfortable, Indians. We're coming for you, and we got your Johnny. So what was Peralta doing in 2002, the year of this card? He was batting .281 with 15 home runs. Not too shabby.

Brandon Inge: 3B
Who else but the Inge? Sure, some seasons he toes the Mendoza line, but we love Inge. And, sure, I groan when he comes to bat and there's two outs and ducks on the pond, but I wouldn't trade him for anyone else on defense. Inge is always smiling, always playing as hard as he can. Early this season, he got a walk-off home run (his only homer this season) and pirouetted like a little ballerina on his way to home plate. That makes watching baseball enjoyable--when there are players out there still having fun. Inge is kind of like our modern-day Coot Veal, so this blog is required by contract to be a fan.
Ramon Santiago: Utility
Gotta have one of these guys. Ramon comes to work and does his job, wherever they need him. His rookie year in the majors, 2002, he had a fielding percentage of .977, which is almost exactly the same as his career average. Well, at least you know what you're getting with Ramon.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tigers Outfield: Rookie Style

Since I'm a rookie collector and a Tigers fan, I thought I'd combine the two to put together this year's active roster, rookie card style.
Austin Jackson: CF
He's finally heating up, and the rest of the Tigers seem to be following. As Johnny says, "I'm going to Jackson. I'm going to mess around." I don't know why that isn't his song when he comes to bat.
Brennan Boesch: RF
Boesch is back in good form this year, and nicely integrated into the number three spot.
Rabid Ryan Raburn: LF
Raburn worked hard for us last year when everyone else was injured. This year, he's made some good catches, save for that one when he threw a fly ball over the fence to assist the opposition with a home run. His bat's a little cold right now, but he'll heat up with the rest of them.
Casper "Needs-No-Nickname-Because-His-Name-Is-Already-Cool" Wells: OF
Solid defense and a promising bat. I wish he'd see more playtime, but I can't complain when we're on fire right now.

Magglio Ordonez: OF
Oh, but Maggs is on the DL...again. I forget what a good player he can be because of his health. Damn, Gene Lamont sent him running home last year and he slid right into broken bones. I was at that game, and got to see Carlos Guillen and Maggs go out. It was a terrible call on Gene's part, and I've noticed a few Tigers ignoring his calls.

Uh-oh. I'm already missing two rookie cards for this post: Andy Dirks just got called up, and I don't know why the heck I don't have a Don Kelly card. If you have rookies of these two, let me know, so I can finish up this deficient post. Anyway, those are the last two active outfielders: Dirks and Kelly.

I'll do the infield, rookie style, soon.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dime Box: The Random, the Greatest Pull, and the Trade Bait

If you read my last post, you know that I was lamenting a lack of dime boxes at the recent lemon of a card show I attended. Since I didn't have any dime box gems to show, I thought I'd show some dime box pick-ups from card show past.

Who can resist a flashy x-fractor for a dime? I believe this is numbered to 50 or 57 or something surprisingly low. I didn't realize until I looked that Tomko is still pitching, with the Rangers this year.

I love the looks of these framed Diamond Kings parallels. This one isn't numbered, but is still all nice and chunky and classy, and it's Juan Marichal for a dime. Oddly, I've been seeing a ton of the framed parallels from this set in dime boxes in the last few months. Nine years later, no one cares about these, I guess, but I love the look of them.

I found a few of these and snagged up all of them. Daisuke may not be living up to those first two seasons, but I think he'll find his way back. This is a parallel from his rookie year: 2007 Ginter Perez Sketche Cards. Pretty great looking set that often seems to find its way into dime boxes.

Some chromage from 2003 Topps Heritage. This is numbered to 1954. Everybody loves Topps Heritage, and I can't turn down a numbered Heritage card of a decent player. Hell, I can't turn down any numbered card for a dime.
Here's almost a David "Cookie Monster" Ortiz rookie, but not officially. There were a bunch of these, but I stupidly only grabbed one, so I better hold onto this one since it's pretty unlikely I'll snag a 1997 David Arias on my budget. This was a pretty great find, but not as great as this one:

I still can't believe I found this card. I almost felt guilty buying this card for a dime. This came from a mostly vintage dealer, and I have to guess he hadn't gone through his more recent dime boxes in quite a while. Should I feel guilty? 2003 Topps Pristine Cano RC for a dime! This may be the best dime box pull I've ever scrounged up. This card and the Ortiz will stay in the collection, but everything else is up for trade.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Dinged-Up Card Show and Gypsy Cabrera

I went to a card show recently in Lansing, Michigan, and it was a sad scene--missing vendors, tables with no baseball cards, some guy trying to sell a table full of late '90s commons for $275. Worst of all, no dime boxes, nary a one. I did scrounge up a few nice cards.

Now I too have some Gypsy Queen to show off. I haven't bought any packs and probably won't. I feel like I got the highlights from the rest of the other blogs already. And I was able to snag up a hit I wanted for less than a pack of these would have cost. I dig the frame-style relics, and this one looks good. But the plastic around the jersey overlaps the fabric a bit, and there's a tiny gap between the card and the frame at the top. Good design, but the assembly may be a little shaky. Still, it's a nice-looking Cabrera relic for three bucks.
For two bucks, I nabbed this Pudge jersey. I'm always happy to find one of these. What I really need is a Pudge auto. Let me know you have one of these for trade. The top of this card is dinged, which parallels the sad state of this card show. Oh well. There will be better days and more dime boxes.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Dream Card, Courtesy of Coot Veal and His #1 Vealtone

Not too long ago, I received an email from Rick Veal. That's right, son of the famed frontman of this very blog, Mr. Coot Veal himself, the Cootster. Rick got a kick out of the blog, and that made my day. I wonder how the hell he ever stumbled onto this thing. As Rick said, it's amazing how lore keeps popping up about the Coot. And that's something I've seen and loved about the blogosphere--that we bring back the lore of the lesser-known players featured on these scraps of vintage cardboard. That's why I love this hobby.

Rick read my first post about how this blog got its name, and he saw a big problem: I was missing one of Coot's cards. Well, Rick was not pleased with this gaping hole in my collection, so he decided to send this:
I'd been wanting this card for a long time, but it was a tough one to find a decent price on. It's one of those short-printed cards from the 1963 set, and being the cheapskate that I am, I've been waiting endlessly to stumble on a good deal or trade. I'm glad I waited. Rick came to my rescue and sent this card. I can't believe he was so generous to send this, with UPS tracking, no less. Rick, thanks a ton. You've gifted this blogger his holy grail.

You probably noticed that this is not your run-of-the-mill Coot card (though no Coot Veal card could ever be run-of-the-mill). Oh no. Rick had this one signed by Coot himself.
A fresh Coot auto, just for me. You can see a bit of marker streak on the V and A, and that's how you know it's fresh. Coot signed and then it went right into the penny sleeve. The Coot has a nice sig, one you can clearly read. I love that he signed "Coot" here, rather than Orville.

There are a lot of differences between the signatures of 1959 Orville and 2011 Coot. He has a steadier hand now, a confident flow, because now he's the Coot. I imagine young Orville trying to make this signature perfect. You can see a bit of quavering in the O. I sense young Orville's excitement. And wouldn't you be anxious? He's about to start the majors. He's signing his first real baseball card.

There's a bit more personality to this card:
Someone penciled in the number sign. Maybe it was Coot. Maybe it was a Vealtone. But definitely it's another thing that makes this card special. This part of the '63 design is so great, the big red bottom and the yellow bubble where we get a posed action pic Coot. It eats up a lot of card, but with true retro gusto in screaming primary colors. And check out that gigantic D on Coot's hat. When was the D ever that big? Also note the bulge in Coot's cheek. Was he a chaw chewer? Going for the Guinness record for biggest gum bubble?

Onto the back of a card that keeps getting better and better:

Coot may not have been a power hitter, but, as the always-cool comic shows, he was a hell of a fielder. According to the ol' Baseball-Reference.com, Coot had a lifetime fielding percentage of .976 as a shortstop. For comparison, Ripken had a career fielding percentage of .979. Not bad, Mr. Veal.

I also like that Coot had one home run in his whole major league career. One makes it special. One day like none other.

Lots of stories on one bit of cardboard. Thanks again, Rick, for sending the card. This is the new gem of my collection. It finishes off my Coot Veal player collection with a serious bang. I think that's it anyway. But the Coot pursuit will not end here, or ever. The Vealtones will jam on. Stay tuned for more encounters with the Coot.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Trade with Scott Crawford

Ah, the semester is done, the grades are in, the dishes are done, man. So now it's time for a quick trade post. Scott over at Scott Crawford on Cards sent me a nice slew of cards for my player collections. First off, here's some mini Ripkens:
Minis from the '80s. Ripken is deep in thought on the left, speculating on mini Ripken on the right and his nice mini swing.
Here's my favorite card of the trade, a 2008 Goudey Ripken. That hand on the hip and look on his face says, "Oh no you didn't" to whatever Derek Jeter has to say.

Another Goudey of Verlander. Goudey's last year was the weakest for me. They went simple, or maybe just lazy, with the background, and the design just didn't sing like the other years. Anyway, great Verlanders nonetheless. Scott sent both 2011 60 Years of Topps Verlander cards, original back and regular.
To wrap things up, here's a great looking I-Rod card. He's telling his mitt secrets. Scott sent more Cabreras, and more cards all together, but these were some highlights. Thanks, Scott, for the great cards.

Stay tuned, as soon I'll be posting about a very special package I just got in the mail, perhaps the new most prized card in my collection.