Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Return of El Cheapo: AL Central

On to the American League Central...

Team: Minnesota Twins
Buyer: Matt F.
Best Card: 2005 Fleer National Pastime #58 J.D. Durbin Gold Parallel (173/699)
All I have to say is, "OUCH!" I hate to see a team take a beating like this in a break, but there were only TWO Twins in the entire lot. At least one of them was a numbered parallel. Sorry, man.


Team: Detroit Tigers
Buyer: Grand Cards
Best Card: 2009 Bowman Sterling #BCR-MC Miguel Cabrera WBC Game-Worn Jersey (054/199)
I've probably said this before, but I'm a sucker for jerseys from specific events. It's a shame, though, that we can't see Cabrera's Tigers uniform, probably in my top 3 for all of baseball. Grand Cards also hit a numbered card of a player with a total of six innings pitched who hasn't played since 2005. So he'll have that to figure out until he receives the package.


Team: Cleveland Indians
Buyer: David
Best Card: 2007 Topps Moments & Milestones #MA-JS Jeremy Sowers AUTO

I'm feeling the need to show off all of David's stuff from this break. The Tribe netted a measly eight cards in this break, but one of them was autographed and four were serial numbered. We start things off with a Dennis Martinez Legendary Cuts Glory Days insert (036/399).

Following that, total chaos ensues as we get two more Cuts cards of El Presidente, again numbered out of 399. (I think David should try to get as many of these as possible. I think he could get at least a hundred in his lifetime if he stuck to it.)

To finish things off, he's getting a 2005 UD Hall of Fame card of Al Lopez, Cleveland's manager from 1951 to 1956. His Tribe managing stint preceded the song by a few years, but I'd like to think he's belting out the encouraging lyrics of "Chicken Fat" to his squad here.

SPOILER ALERT!:
You haven't seen the last of Dennis Martinez. No, you certainly haven't seen the last of Dennis Martinez.

The Return of El Cheapo: AL East

Well, the El Cheapo Group Break cards arrived today in a big, fat envelope, and I spent part of this afternoon sorting them by team. As it turned out, there were a couple of orphans that also happened to be some of the bigger hits in this break. Both of these cards are from 2009 Upper Deck, part of a USA Baseball set. Both contain jersey pieces and are autographed (on-sticker). I did some research and came to two conclusions.
1. Brad Miller, as far as I can tell, does not belong to any MLB team. There are a couple of Brad Millers who have been in the minors recently, but they are not this Brad Miller. If anyone wants to look a little harder than I did, go for it. This Brad Miller was born on 10/18/89 in Orlando, FL. If you find conclusive proof about Miller's rights being owned by any specific organization, please let me know.
2. Chad Bettis has a little more information about him. Bettis was drafted in 2007 by the Astros, and then again in 2010 by the Rockies. To be consistent, I'm going to have to go with who claimed him at the time of printing. Since this is a 2009 card, I'm going to have to say he belongs to the Astros. Nobody claimed the Astros, so the card would go to me be default. I, however, would rather have a participant take home this hit.
3. Here's what's going to happen. After all of the teams' best cards are posted, I will be randoming both of these off to any participants who did not get either a relic or an autograph. Speak now on this, or forever hold your peace.

Okay, let's get started with the big reveal for the American League East.

Team: Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays
Buyer: BS
Best Card: 2008 Bowman Sterling #BS-CC Carl Crawford (Game-Worn White)
The Rays did rather nicely with a couple other serial numbered cards, some inserts and parallels, and a good-looking B.J. Upton refractor.


Team: New York Yankees
Buyer: IkesCards
Best Card: 2004 Upper Deck SP Authentic #14 Jason Giambi (009/499)
For a change of pace, the Yankees had a rather meager output this time around. This Giambi was one of a couple of numbered cards (both featuring him), but not much to speak of other than those.


Team: Boston Red Sox
Buyer: AdamE
Best Card: 2010 Topps Heritage Chrome #C36 John Lackey (0116/1961)
The Sox came away with the largest pile of cards (close to 20, I think), and this was one of a couple of numbered cards.


Team: Toronto Blue Jays
Buyer: Tunguska
Best Card: 2005 Upper Deck MLB Artifacts Future Stars #249 Miguel Negron (496/799)
Unless Tunguska is a huge Paul Molitor-as-a-Blue Jay fan, this will qualify as the best Jays card.


Team: Baltimore Orioles
Buyer: beardy
Best Card: 2008 Upper Deck #USJR-9 L.J. Hoes
I'm not going to let any of you feel bad for Beardy. I've failed to come through again as of late with his Orioles, but I think he's getting the steal of the draft... er... break. From now on, Beardy need not worry. Whenever he is asked, or asks himself, "Where my Hoes at?" he now has a definitive answer. All he needs to do now is find the courage to tell his wife that he took part in some group action and is bringing home some Hoes.
Perhaps one of the three Frank Robinson History of the Game (2010 Topps) cards he's getting will help smooth things over.


Up next: AL Central

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bookends

Being the proprietor of a monthly group break, I am familiar with the importance of keeping cards being sent through the mail in the very best condition possible. As such, I often employ the use of what I'd like to call "bookends." For the most part, these are blanks or decoys, sometimes a contest or ad insert of some sort, most often of supreme thickness, that anchor the top and/or bottom of a stack of cards, usually within a team bag. This practice helps with maintaining the integrity of a non-top-loader-worthy card's corners and works to avoid any possible bending of the cards as they make their journey to the eventual owners. Now this is just a guess, but I'm supposing that once these bookends have done their job, they either get tossed in the nearest trash can, or they get placed in a mailing supply box (like I have) to be reused on a later date.

However, every axiom has a corollary. Sometimes, these are not worthless decoy cards at all. Sometimes, actual cards, cards printed and sold, usually in a previous year, get saddled with the job of bookend. Just this past week, I received a small stack of cards that was given tensile strength by two different 1993 Upper Deck cards. Here are your heroes of transit.
#473 Red October

#711 Luis Aquino

The Aquino I understand. This card would be better off lining the bottom of a parakeet cage or insulating the walls of a house where no one lives. But "Red October?" Come on?!?! Look at the sleeveless jerseys. Look at the Sean Connery-inspired graphics. Look at Jose Rijo's devilish smile! This is not a card that's meant to supply mere backbone strength to a lot of superior cards. This is a card that deserves its own place in any respectable collector's stash. (Too bad, I already have both of these in my dormant, incomplete 1993 UD set that I'm not actively collecting.) I must say, though, that this one is a far cry from the 1991 Score "Reds' October" card featuring Barry Larkin doing a backflip.

So, have you ever received some bookends that you didn't think deserved such a fate? Share your stories below.

(Oh, and I'm now fearful of the web traffic I anticipate receiving because of the inclusion of the phrase "supreme thickness" in this post. I really ought to choose my words more discriminately.)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

First Day Back To Work Is Over

The first day after Spring Break is officially over and thus I'm about 30 minutes away from a reheated bratwurst from last night and a nap.

That being said, here's a Mike Schmidt sticker that for some reason was on the desktop of my work computer.

Schmitty ruled.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A 1982 O-Pee-Chee Melodrama

Spring Training, somewhere in Quebec, 1981:

Hé, Billy...

Qu'est-ce, l'homme?


La nuit dernière, j'ai eu une date avec Owchinko Sally. Ça s'est bien passé. Je le lui donnant, comme celui-ci. Sacrebleuuuuuuuuuuuu.


L'homme, ne me dérange pas avec cette merde.


Que faites-vous deux gars parle?


Owchinko Sally.


Oui. Je le lui donnant, comme celui-ci. Sacrebleuuuuuuuuuuuu.


Je l'entends, mais je ne le crois pas.


Ouais, c'est vraiment arrivé. Je le lui donnant, comme celui-ci. Sacrebleuuuuuuuuuuuu.


Qu'est-ce qui se passe toujours là, Bob? Ils ressemblent ils parlent quelque chose d'intéressant.


Je n'aime pas à quoi ça ressemble. Vous savez comment se Jon.


Allons là-bas de toute façon et de le vérifier.


Donc, je le lui donnant, comme celui-ci. Sacrebleuuuuuuuuuuuu.


Vous l'a dit.


Permettez-moi de m'assurer que je comprends cela. Vous avez dit qu'il lui donnant. Comment, exactement, l'a fait jouer?


Permettez-moi de vous montrer. Je le lui donnant, comme celui-ci. Sacrebleuuuuuuuuuuuu.


Sacrebleu.


Non, je le lui donnant, comme celui-ci. Sacrebleuuuuuuuuuuuu.


Sacrebleuuuu?


Non, sacrebeluuuuuuuuuuuu.


Sacrebleuuuuuuuuuuuu.


Vous l'avez deviné, mon homme.


Je pense que je connais la fille dont vous parlez.


Avez-vous lui donner, comme ça? Sacrebleuuuuuuuuuuuu.


Tout à fait. Oui, elle est.


S'il vous plaît décrire ses cheveux pour me en détail.


Je le lui donnant, comme celui-ci. Sacrebleuuuuuuuuuuuu.


Pretty fait beau aujourd'hui, les gars. Il devrait être un bon match aujourd'hui, entre deux équipes de qualité. Bonne chance.

Soit dit en passant, ce que tu racontes?


Owchinko Sally. Je le lui donnant, comme celui-ci. Sacrebleuuuuuuuuuuuu.


C'est un mensonge, monsieur.


Sacrebleuuuuuuuuuuuu.


Un mensonge fous.


Je le lui donnant, comme celui-ci. Sacrebleuuuuuuuuuuuu.


Ce n'est pas fini entre nous.


Mince alors. Je me sens très pétillant.


ENDUT! HOCH HECH!

(A little perspective, if this was all new to you.)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Completion!: "Roger, Roger. What's Our Vector, Victor?" Edition

If you had any inkling at all what the topic of this post might have been from the title alone, you're alright in my book.
This week I was able to acquire the last part of the 13-card Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Commemorative Series, an insert set from 2001-02 Topps basketball. This set reprints Kareem's cards from his 1969-70 rookie card with the Milwaukee Bucks (albeit in smaller dimensions) to his days with the Lakers and his 1981-82 Topps issue.

As I've probably stated before, building this set completely might be a task that I am never able to accomplish. The Alcindor/Kareem cards are not all that hard to find, but getting them at the right price can be an issue. I am also a card or two away from the complete Lottery Legends and Mad Game insert sets, but those will come along in time. The real challenge is finding all of the short printed draft pick rookies. The problem with those is that a portion of them were available only as redemptions, and everybody I still need is a no-name rookie that nobody seems to think is worth selling on the open market anymore. Let's run down the list of these guys, shall we? I'll also be listing their most recent professional team so you can truly get a feel for their journeymen status.
235 Steven Hunter: 2009-10 Memphis Grizzlies (NBA) 7.5 MPG
237 Michael Bradley: 2008-09 BK Amager (Denmark)
241 Joseph Forte: 2009-10 Nuova Pallacanestro Pavia (Italy)
242 Jeryl Sasser: 2008-09 Al Arabi (Kuwait)
248 Trenton Hassell: 2009-10 New Jersey Nets 4.5 PPG
253 Ousmane Cisse: 2009-10 APOEL Nicosia (Cyprus)
The Cisse card is the only one I've located. If you know the whereabouts of any of these other draft picks, I'd be a happy guy.

And by the way, here is the rest of the Kareem insert set. That '76-77 card (last one in the second row) is pretty classic.

"Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes."