Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Dozen in the Books (aka My First Lenny!)

I've hit the one-dozen mile marker on my Zistle trading resume which means...absolutely nothing!  But, 12 is the only number in the teens [Ed. Note: Wait, is 12 really a -teen??] that has its own formal nickname, so it gets special attention.

My trading partner this time around was member "reyoung68" who I've swapped with once before.  It was a very positive experience, so another go-round was in the stars.

Of the eight new cards I received, the highlight for me was my very first Mets card of Lenny Harris.  Lenny joined the Mets early in the 2000 NL pennant season and played for the club in 2001, as well.  He was most notable for his penchant for pinch-hitting.  As a matter of fact, his 212 career pinch hits are the most in baseball history!  The next closest player is Mark Sweeney who had 175.

In short, Lenny was The Man!!

Okay, the other cards from this trade...

Two more cards of Big Al.  Up to 53 Mets cards of the former All-Star.  Still not enough.  Must have more!

I can never have enough Derek Bell, either.  You'll note that Bell wore No. 16 for the Mets -- a number for which he received the blessing from fellow Tampa native Dwight Gooden.

A really cool bunting shot of Armando Reynoso who is shown here practicing the art in the batting cage at spring training.

The Mets drafted Paul Wilson first overall in 1994.  Some of the players who the Mets bypassed for Wilson: Ben Grieve (2nd overall), Nomar (12th), Paul Konerko (13th) and Jason Varitek (14th).

I know, the foil lettering.  It's Mike Pelfrey.  Big Pelf is another former first-rounder, as New York drafted him 9th overall in 2005.  He's still chugging along for the Twins, presently sporting a 5-7 mark with a 3.94 ERA in 18 starts.

And we'll top off the post with the '99 Topps base card of Masato Yoshii, who went 18-16 in two seasons for the Mets.  Yoshii started three games for New York in the '99 postseason, including Game 1 of the NLDS in Arizona.  His mound opponent?  Some guy name Randy Johnson!  The Mets tagged the Big Unit for seven runs over 8 1/3 innings and won the game thanks to a ninth-inning grand slam by Edgardo Alonzo off reliever Bobby Chouinard.

Thanks for another solid trade, Mr. Young!


Monday, July 27, 2015

deVariation of deGrom

In honor of Jacob deGrom's masterful performance against the hated Dodgers on Sunday afternoon, may I present to you the newest addition to my collection.  This is a photo variation from Series 2 Topps that I picked up off eBay for under five bucks, including shipping.  I thought that was a pretty good bargain since most of these things start at seven or eight bucks plus shipping.

Anyhow, this is a pretty neat card of the All-Star righty.  In 99% of the cases, I wish Topps would use these "variations" as the primary cards.  But, what are you gonna do?

As for deGrom's most recent gem, how does 7 2/3 shutout innings with two hits, one walk and eight strikeouts sound?  Not to mention an RBI fielder's choice that snapped Zack Greinke's scoreless innings streak at 45 2/3.

Of course, because it's the Mets, deGrom received a no-decision when Familia coughed up two in the ninth. But, at least the Mets won it in extras.

One last interesting factoid: This card is the 6,666th unique Mets card in my collection.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Zistle the 11th

I recently wrapped up my 11th Zistle trade, and this one was one of the bigger transactions.  Nearly 80 new Mets cards added to my collection of Amazins, which has eclipsed the 6,600 mark.  A tip of the cap to Zistle member ccards for constructing this particular swap with me.

So here's a sampling of the great cards that are now a part of my collection...

I don't generally set collecting goals.  Just like I don't do New Year's resolutions.  I'm not good at honoring either, so I don't dabble in them.  But, if I did set year-to-year goals for my collection, it would be to triple the Al Leiter count within my Mets collection.  As it stands, I'm at 50 of the southpaw.  I can be much better than that, especially for a guy who pitched seven seasons for the Mets.

I heard this guy is going to be enshrined in Cooperstown on Sunday.

Certainly not this guy.  I still haven't forgiven Armando for blowing Game 1 of the 2000 World Series.  Who knows what could have been if the he nailed down the save in that first game.

An all-time great Met, Franco still took quite a few years off my life when he was closing games for the Amazins.

A true-and-true HOFer, I never really warmed up to Glavine.  After so many years as an enemy in Atlanta coupled with a pretty subpar first season in Queens, he never had a chance with me.

I was always an Aaron Heilman guy.  He should've gotten more of a chance to be a starter for those mid-'00s Mets clubs.  Instead, he was herded into the bullpen where he just never clicked.

It looks like Frankie is wearing those Halloween wax lips in this card.

Nomo's Mets cards aren't exactly easy to come by, at least in my travels.  So, I'm always happy to tack on a few when I have the chance.

These are the best retro rookie cards by a lot.  I love these old-timey knothole rookies from Bowman Heritage.

Chrome Johan is always a good play.

I've had this card on my radar for quite some time.  What a name!  Furthermore, it's very strange that this guy even got a "Star Rookie" card.  In three seasons on the farm, Mateo carried an ERA of 7.36.  What's worse is that the back of the card touts his "solid" 4.97 ERA at the University of Nevada.  Maybe his uncle worked for Upper Deck??  Regardless, it's a pretty neat card if for no other reason that it's a real head-scratcher!

One of the best photos from 1998 Topps!  By the way, the Mets wore that white alternate cap during select home games during the 1997 season only.  It was never seen again.  I regret not buying one when they came out.  Not that the Mets should ever deviate from the all-blue cap with the the solid orange 'NY' but it would have at least been a cool collector's piece.

For those scoring at home, that's three Carloses in a row.  And different Carloses at that.

I wanted so badly for Alomar to be a hit in New York.  Alas, he was a major flop for the most part.

Ventura was a member of that 1999 Mets team that boasted perhaps the best defensive infield in history.  You had Robin at the hot corner, Olerud at first, and Rey-O and Fonzie up the middle.  Man that was a fun team.

Like Alomar, Shawn Green was largely washed up by the time he pulled on a Mets uniform.  Still, he did a fair job for the Mets down the stretch and during the postseason in 2006.

I think Topps oughta go back to giving the Opening Day cards different colored borders than the regular flagship cards.  Using the same photo and slapping the gaudy "Opening Day" logo on the card just isn't doing for me these days.

This sure does look like a Mets card, does it not?  But look a little closer and you'll see the "San Francisco Giants" designation at the bottom of the card.  Well blast it all to hell; I'm breaking the rules and putting this Fonzie card in my Mets collection!

No such rule-bending was necessary for those two.  The Pacific features an awesome double-dip action shot.

An interesting name for a set: Ballpark Idols.  Sounds like it ought to be an insert set.  Or one of those little boxed sets that Topps and Fleer created for pharmacies and grocery stores in the '80s.

The sweet stroke of Keith Hernandez.  A note on the uniform top: 1987 was the lone season that the Mets featured the script "New York" on their road jerseys.

Mike Cameron shows off this uniform from 2004 that the Mets wore in Kansas City as part of a Negro League tribute.

And we'll finish off with Jim Burt.  Because, why not?  Did you know Burt is the son of the former New York Giants nose tackle of the same name?  The back of the card points out that big Jim carried little Jim around on his shoulders following the Giants victory in Super Bowl XXV.  As a Bills fan, I try not to think too often about that game.

All in all, this was one of the biggest and best trades I've executed thus far in the Zistle world.  Quantity and quality, what more can you ask for?

Happy Weekend!


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Handle with Care!

And the beat goes on.

Yet another award-winning PWE from my good friend Shane of Shoeblox Legends arrived a few shorts days ago.  I am definitely a lucky guy!  I'm trying to remember how this back-and-forth between us got going exactly.  Regardless, it's been a fun ride for sure!

As awesome as it is to get all these amazin' Mets cards, I think I definitely enjoy the other side even more. It's a pretty cool feeling to help build onto someone else's already-huge collection of team-specific cards. Somehow, we both wind up finding plenty that the other guy needs.  Just goes to show you how many freakin' cards are out there just waiting to be discovered!  Of course, this sort of exchange is made infinitely more easy and pleasurable thanks to Zistle.

Okay, enough blabbing; onto the cards!

This latest delivery included a double helping of Piazza, which can never be a bad thing.  The 2001 Bowman Heritage at the top of the post is my first Met from that set.  Obviously, these cards are distinct because they're black and white (or is that sepia? Who knows?).

A great find by Shane on these Electric Diamond parallels from 1995 Upper Deck!  Two thirds of the so-called "Generation K" trio are represented here.  I wish I could teleport the Mets lineup those guys played with and implant them into the present-day Mets team which, in case you haven't noticed, has about as much offensive punch as a mausoleum.  But, don't get me started!

A very nice UD Elements base card of David Wright from 2007 (before he developed the body of an 80-year-old man).  Man, these cards are sharp looking!

A shiny card of former prospect Eric Niesen.  These blue refractors are numbered to 250.  I've always been a huge fan of the blue refractors in particular since they accent the Mets unis nicely.  Niesen, who also spent a season in the Red Sox farm system, never made it to the bigs and presently is pitching for the Bridgeport Bluefish.

On the subject of blue parallels, here's one from 2014 Bowman of Wilmer Flores.  These blue variations are numbered to 500.

And we now come to the "Handle with Care" portion of the post, since these final few cards are unusually shaped and, in some instances, have pointy corners.  Shane was wise to include a little sticky note to point this out, since my clumsy fingers are, well, clumsy most of the time!

By far the most awkwardly-shaped card was this one of Vlad from Metal Universe '98.  Sometimes card companies like to make their die-cuts weird shapes just for the heck of it.  Topps is obviously notorious for that with today's releases.  However, this one actually make sense.  Well, at least I think it does. I figure they were trying to mimic a certain kind of world atlas with the way the top edges of the card were cut.

It reminds me of this sort of atlas:

Man, I'm glad I was able to find this graphic with an accompanying explanation since there was no way in God's universe that I would have been able to put into words what I would attempt to describe.  Anyhow, I think that's what they were going for.  Or maybe I'm reaching?

In any event, it's a very unique and very cool card of Guerrero.

A piece of jersey and a replica ticket stub?  Far out!  One of the more memorable relic cards in my collection. Oh, and notice the right edge of the card with the perforations to replicate a ticket.  Very fancy!

Finally, a card that was way ahead of its time apparently...

A genuine deckle-edged card from 1969 of southpaw Jerry Kossman!  Topps resurrected this style of card for one of their inserts in 2014 Archives.  But, of course, nothing beats the original.  I have a few of these '69 deckles, but none of the Mets.  Well, until now, that is.  A most excellent addition!

Shane, I can't thank you enough for yet another cool shipment of cards!  I'm working on your next envelope as we speak!