Tuesday, December 29, 2015

One Met at a Time, Vol. 4

[Ed. Note: Since my Mets collection recently eclipsed the 7k plateau, I figured it might be fun to drop in a few single-card posts here and there to celebrate the achievement.]

Player:  Gregg Jefferies

Card Info:  1989 O-Pee-Chee, #233

Thanks to Tony, I got to thinking about Gregg Jefferies' 1989 Topps Future Star card recently.  It was definitely in my top-5 as as kid, and I still fancy it very much as a big kid nowadays.  Thus, it was a no-brainer for me to track down a copy of that card's O-Pee-Chee cousin, as I did not too long ago.


Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Between the Pipes

The good and generous blogger Douglas from Buckstore Cards hit me up with a most amazing PWE shortly before Santa slid down the chimney.  And, if I might add, Douglas came pretty darn close to out-doing the big guy in red and white suit!

The card you see above was far and away the highlight of the mailing.  My very first New York Rangers jersey card, and it's of the greatest goalie in team history.  No, that isn't a misprint. I love Lundqvist as much as the next guy, but Richter was the best big-game goalie ever to wear the Rangers sweater.

Believe it or not, my favorite aspect of this "Between the Pipes" card is the photo selection.  Sure, the obvious choice would have been to select a photo of Richter in his Lady Liberty mask.  But, the plain white helmet with the cage brings me back to my early days of sports fandom, when I first fell in love with the Blueshirts in the late '80s/early '90s.  So, on sentimental value alone, I dig this pic.

Lots more was included in Douglas' PWE, by the way...

A nice array of NYR cards, including a pair of my favorite current Ranger--Mats Zuccarello.  I don't like making excuses for my teams, but not having Zucc in the ECF last year put a real crimp in New York's bid for back-to-back conference titles.

Also, I'm a fan of the Panini stickers of Drury and Hank.  I've always loved stickers and sticker books. I clamored for them when I was growing up.  Makes me wonder why I've strayed from them as an adult.

Another card of my favorite non-Ranger, Gabriel Landeskog.  Douglas has hooked me up with plenty of cool cards of the Avs' captain over the past year or so.  Pretty amazing job of the photographer to capture the bending of the stick mid-shot.

Probably the one and only time in this blog's history you'll see a post Kosar-era Browns card pictured.  But, the guy's last name is Gabriel, so that kinda qualifies for the Gabriel collection.  Also, as grinchy as I am about latter day football cards, I kinda like what Panini has done with the Select brand.  Not a bad looking card, I must admit.

Can't thank you enough for this great Christmastime delivery, Douglas!  Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to you and your family!


Sunday, December 27, 2015

California Love

A week or so before Christmas I got a nice PWE from Oscar, the Dodger-loving author of All Trade Bait, All the Time.  Totally unprompted and containing an assortment of Mets cards plus a nice holiday greeting.  Card bloggers are really decent people, are they not?

Included among the cards from the Left Coast was the beautiful shot of Citi Field you see up top.  From the the final year of Upper Deck baseball.  I can't believe I've been so long without this one in my collection!

This one was also M.I.A. from my Mets collection.  The 1992 set was Studio's inaugural release, and still one of the best they ever made.  Did you know HoJo was/is an R&B and blues man?  That's what the back of the card says.

Thanks to the addition of this Walmart parallel, I've now got the blue, red, gold, emerald and base versions of Jon Rauch's 2013 Topps card.  That's probably more than Jon Rauch has.

Here's a snapshot of the rest of the Mets included in the Yuletide PWE...

Nice assortment.  The Ordonez and Huskey rookies and the Topps parallels are nice pickups, even though I already had them.  It won't be hard to find other Mets collectors who are in need via Zistle trading.

The final card from the PWE actually was not a Met, but he did eventually end up playing for the New Yorkers...

A most excellent addition to my Delgado collection is this '94 Gold Leaf Rookie.  It's pretty easy to forget that Carlos's career began behind the plate.  Yet, I still remember seeing him play for Class-A Dunedin when our family would go down to Florida to visit family during the summer.  I think I still have a game program with Delgado on the cover...in full catcher's gear!

A most heartfelt thanks for keeping me in mind, Oscar!  I appreciate the cards, and I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas!


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Stocking Stuffers

I hope everyone had a happy Christmas with friends and loved ones.  We sure did in the Kaz household.

Each year, my wife (Mrs. K) hand picks a few cards to wrap individually--within a toploader, mind you--for my stocking.  The highlight of this year's trio is without a doubt the card you see in the header.  It's a Noah Syndergaard minor league card from the Choice brand 2015 Las Vegas 51s team set!

Thor is probably my new favorite Met, so to get any new card of his is a treat.  To get one of his minor league cards was a pretty awesome surprise.  These minor league cards are usually pretty tough to track down since they're only available from the official team store or MiLB.com.  Thus you don't come about them very often in dime boxes, etc. at shows.

As for the card itself, let's give credit to the Choice company.  This is a pretty nice design, both front and back. Simply a tremendous photo selection, also.

The other two cards were a pair of nice Bowman rookies of Yoenis Cespedes...

Both base and Chrome from 2012.  A nice job by Mrs. K on this duo.

It would a be a great gift to Mets fans if management would ink this guy to a big contact to keep him in Queens for the next five years or so.  But, it's the Mets, and you know how they do business in this post-Madoff landscape.  In other words, Yo will have a new zip code in 2016.

Anyhow, these three cards were just the tip of the ice berg in terms of the cardboard portion of my Christmas haul.  (I must have been good, I guess!)  I'll be sharing more in the week to come.

Happy Holidays!


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Zistle the 18th

Happy Christmas Week!  Today, another Zistle trade to pass along -- my 18th exchange on the best collection-tracking website on the 'net.  This particular swap came courtesy of Zistle member Wilson, who also happens to head the Tenets of Wilson blog.

As you'll see, this trade was heavy with Topps flagship and Update, but it also featured a big hit for my All-Time Mets Project.  In the lead-off spot, you see my very first Mets card of Mike Jacobs -- a Diamond Debut insert from '06 Upper Deck.  What a debut it was for Jacobs, by the way: a pinch-hit three-run homer off Washington's Esteban Loaiza.

And now the rest of the nine-card haul...

A solid pair from 1995 Upper Deck, including a Robert Person rookie.  The base design for '95 UD is one of the most attractive of the period.  It's simple yet classy.  Let the photo do the talking.  Classic Upper Deck formula.

I'm really going to miss Murph as a Met.  A younger, less scruffy mug of Daniel on this '12 Heritage base card.

I didn't buy a whole lot of 2010 packs since I settled for a factory set that year.  In fact, I can't say I opened a single pack from Series 2.  Thus, I was still in need of this Ruben Tejada "rookie" card.

Similarly, I snagged a hand-collated 2010 Update set off eBay, and I don't recall buying any packs or boxes of '10 Update.  So, Ike's "Rookie Debut" card plus these next two were M.I.A. from my Mets collection.

"Perpetual" Pedro!  I'm surprised this poor guy's left arm is still attached to his body.

I have to admit, as much as I'd rather forget about Jason Bay's time in New York, I like this card an awful lot.  It's a great photo capturing Bay's compact swing, and it's framed rather nicely.  Probably my favorite Bay card from his Mets days.

And we'll finish with some Izzy 2.0...

From Update 2011, it's Jason Isringhausen's first card from his second go-round with the Mets.  The former Generation K member was also featured as a Met in the following year's base-660 set.

Thanks for the nice 'n tidy trade, Wilson!


Saturday, December 19, 2015

One Met at a Time, Vol. 3

[Ed. Note: Since my Mets collection recently eclipsed the 7k plateau, I figured it might be fun to drop in a few single-card posts here and there to celebrate the achievement.]

Player:  Derek Bell

Card Info:  2001 Upper Deck Vintage, #284

Blatant rip-offs or not, I liked the UD Vintage line a lot.  The cardstock was sturdy but not too thick or rigid and overall I found the cards to be pretty attractive.  And, speaking of attractive, Derek Bell's mustache is in a class by itself.  Bell and 'stache played just one season (2000) in Queens.

At the time of this posting, I have seven Derek Bell cards in my Mets collection.


Friday, December 18, 2015

Shiny, Shimmery and Gold

We're in the Christmas mood here at the Kaz House, so let's take a look at some cards that might look right at home on your Christmas tree!

These shiny, shimmery and golden cardboard samplings are courtesy of my pal Shane of Shoebox Legends. Intentionally or not, Shane's latest PWE had a Christmas ornament vibe going on!

In the lead-off spot, a bright 'n sparkly X-fractor from 2011 Topps Chrome.  At least I believe this is an X-fractor. Who the heck can keep up with all the different Chrome variations?  Colored refractors, X-fractors, super-fractors, super-duper-fractors.  Maybe someone can set me straight?

Topps Chrome from the mid-90s rocks!  This is from the 1996 set.  The golden, starry retangle above Payton's name says "Now Appearing."  Even in-hand, it's kinda hard to make out.

A frosty, chrome-y Bowman's Best card of former outfield prospect Terrence Long.  My ninth card of T-Long, who went on to have a few decent seasons in Oakland.

Sticking with Bowmans' Best, this one is actually a Bowman's Best "Preview."  I may be wrong, but I think these were available via the regular Bowman set that year (1996) as an insert.  I think.  Anyone?

Another PWE, and another great mid-'90s insert of a former Generation K member.  This one's an "Organization Profiles" insert of Bill Pulsipher from the '95 Upper Deck minors release.

More Bowman's Best?  Why not!  I was always a fan of this product.  And, whether it was a perennial superstar like Mike Piazza or a not-ready-for-primetime prospect like Alex Escobar, the cards were always sharp!

A nice gold parallel of Ruben Tejada's Topps card from this past year.  Not a huge fan of the camo jerseys, BUT I like how it looks on this card with the gold border.  Very nice!

Tough to tell via scan, but this is a rainbow foil parallel.  Cuddyer, by the way, recently walked away from the final year of his two-year deal with the Mets and opted for retirement.  Smart move.  Good guy, nice career, but he was about done.  Injuries got the better of him all throughout 2015.

Wait a minute, what's this?  This isn't shiny!

This one doesn't glow in the dark or have embedded crystals or anything like that.

Well, it just goes to show you that you can't go wrong with the old guard.  Just like a classic Bing Crosby Christmas song will always be better than N'Sync or George Michael's attempts at holiday standards, vintage cardboard will always win the day.

Another brilliant offering, Shane.  I'm thankful, as always.  Merry Christmas to you, my friend!  And may 2016 bring us a Sox/Mets World Series!


Monday, December 14, 2015

Four-Bagger (aka Zistle the 17th)

For every trade I've made on Zistle, invariably there's a card or two that I look at and say to myself, "I coulda sworn I already had, like, five copies of this!"

Well, today's trade review features a foursome of cards, all of which fall into the aforementioned category.  So, while it was a good little trade, I can't help but feel like I didn't get anything new!

Anyhow, thanks to fellow Zistler torcato for this, my 17th trade on the most amazing hobby website in the universe.

In the lead-off spot is the 2014 Topps base card of former Gold Glove center fielder Juan Lagares.  Apparently, I only had the Toys R Us purple parallel of this card as well as the card from the team set which is its exact twin, save for the card numbering.  Honest mistake, I suppose.

Pedro's 2006 Bowman base.  For this one, I had the gold parallel already in the collection.

I was totally off base with this one, as I didn't have any variation or parallel of David's '06 Bowman.

Former prospect outfielder Prentice Redman.  It was the Chrome version of this card that was fooling me.

So, despite the insistence of my fuzzy memory, each of these is a 'new' addition to my Mets collection.  Hey, I'll take it!


Sunday, December 13, 2015

One Met at a Time, Vol. 2

[Ed. Note: Since my Mets collection recently eclipsed the 7k plateau, I figured it might be fun to drop in a few single-card posts here and there to celebrate the achievement.]

Player:  Drew Butera

Card Info:  2005 Bowman Draft Gold, #BDP44

I was a catcher all throughout rec ball growing up, so I'm naturally partial to cards of catchers.  Sometimes, even more than a play at the plate card, it's nice to just see a pose like this one.  While Butera never made it to the majors with New York, he did eventually make it to Citi Field in a pretty memorable way.

The Royals acquired Butera via trade from the Angels in May of this past year and he wound up making the World Series roster as Sal Perez's backup.  And, wouldn't you know, the former Met draft pick entered Game 5 in the bottom of the 12th, catching the final frame of the Fall Classic as the Royals won the game, 7-2, and clinched the championship on New York soil.  It was Butera's only appearance in the Series.  Life is kinda funny that way, I guess.


Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Most Agreeable Question

There are many questions in life that you either wouldn't like to be asked or don't wish to honestly answer. For instance, Do you know how fast you were going, sir?  Or, Where do babies come from?  I could go on, but I'm sure you have your own laundry list of uncomfortable inquiries that you could easily rattle off.

But, one question I'll never clam up at: I have a bunch of Mets cards; are you interested in a trade?

If only all of life's questions could be so easily processed and answered!

In this season of peace, joy and immeasurable stress, Tom from Waiting 'til Next Year posed that blissful question to me via email.  I was all too happy to oblige him with a prompt and affirmative response!

In a relative jiffy, a padded mailer stuffed with two fat team bags arrived in Delaware, bursting with approximately 60 new Mets for my collection.  Straight from Tom's trade box, the cards covered a broad array of years and brands.  In other words: perfect!

There were inserts that I've never come across before, such as the "Before They Were Great" Tom Seaver card you see in the lead-off spot.  It's from 2014 Topps which was, y'know, last year.  Damned if I remember seeing these, though.

There were oddballs-a-plenty, too.

Do you consider cards from those little grocery store or pharmacy boxed sets of the '80s to be oddballs? Regardless of what you call them, I think they're among the most fun to track down as a team collector.

Maybe the rarest of all are the cards that were once-upon-a-time included in monthly sports card magazines as part of an uncut sheet.

Sure, they're normally rip-jobs of classic Topps designs, but I still think they're fun.

Speaking of fun, the Star company put out these mini sets for various stars of the late '80s.  They are great padding for team and player collectors alike!

I don't think I've ever seen a horizontal Star card before, have you?  It's a great look for that Gooden card!

Of course, the 'grandaddy' of oddball cards would have to be SSPC brand, right?

Koosman brandishing a bat?!  Clearly this is a card of elite stature!

Bud Harrelson's given name is Derrel.  I didn't really ever give it any thought until I read it on the back of this card.  By the way, I like the 'one glove' look for Buddy.

I'm not too snobby when it comes to cards of my team.  Panini does't necessarily "do it" for me since they don't have the MLB license for logos, etc.  But, I welcome them into the fold just as I would for any other mainstream card, oddball or other.

What a great name, huh?  Rainy.  Unlike Bud, Rainy isn't a nickname.  Lara put up a 9-5 mark with a 4.10 ERA in 24 starts between Double-A and Triple-A this past year.

Now, each of these next two are from major manufacturers, but I'd consider them both to be oddballs.

Score's Young Superstars or Hottest 100 Young Stars or whatever.  Gotta have 'em.

I like these mini League Leader cards.  In '87, '89 and '90 they still captured the essence of the main set's design elements.  Like Topps Total and ML Debut, this is a set concept I'd like to see restored.  I'm not holding my breath, though.

While we may no longer have mini League Leaders or Topps Total, at least we have a fun set like Heritage Minors nowadays.  This is actually my first Mets card from the 2012 edition.  Kolarek is still toiling in the minors and has been stalled out at Double-A Binghamton each of the last three seasons.

Opening Day is a set that misses the mark, sadly.  I appreciate the fact that it's cheap and has some fun inserts, but do I really need essentially the same card with the same photo over three sets (that includes flagship and chrome)?  Regardless, as a completist, ya gotta get 'em all.

Ginter inserts from 2015.  I know A&G is the darling of most of the collecting world, and these are pretty nice cards, but I just don't get the intense passion this brand generates.

Now, Topps Traded or Update on the other hand, that's something I always get excited for.

Ramon Castro from Update '07.

David Wright All-Star from '06 Update.

Noah "Rookie Debut" base card from '15 Update.

And, let's finish up with a few more assorted highlights...

A yellow retail parallel from 2015 Bowman.

A pretty basic design from Donruss in 2003, but less is more.  Let the photo do the talking.

The true rookie of Ruben Tejada.  We'll see where Ruben fits into the Mets infield plans next year in the aftermath of the Asdrubal Cabrera signing.

A sharp looking number from 1999 Bowman Chrome International.  It's tough to make out in the scan, but some palm trees adorn the background to represent Dotel's homeland of the Dominican Republic.

Apparently I still need some '93 Stadium Club cards!

Still kinda on the fence about last year's Finest.  At the end of the day, though, I think I like it.  It's got a lot of old-school Finest's aura about it.

Shall we end on a high note?

Nah!  Bobby Bo from 1994 Triple Play.  Hey, like Grandma used to say when my uncles used to get intoxicated and argumentative every holiday, "You can't choose your family."

Tom, thanks for contacting me about these cards; they are great additions to my collection!

And, by all means, feel free to ask me the same breezy question any time!