Thursday, May 26, 2016

One Met at a Time, Vol. 11

My local card shop doesn't have the most sterling 'discount box,' among other things.  I shouldn't complain, since the place is literally is a five minute drive from my house.  And, I do understand that some collectors don't have a LCS within a hour's drive of them.  So, on that front, I'm fortunate.

But, if I must complain, the so-called discount box (50 cents per card) is nothing more than a single monster box filled with the mostly-common remains of past box breaks.  Which, doesn't sound so bad, except that most of those breaks were done over a year ago and the contents are too infrequently replenished.  I've picked that thing bare over time and have occasionally found some hidden gems in there, such as low-numbered parallels and short prints, etc.  But, in spite of my hopes, it very rarely offers me anything new and exciting upon my visits to the shop.

However, to my pleasant surprise, I plucked this Buddy Carlyle card from the box a week or so ago.  I've been trying (unsuccessfully, I might add) to trade for it on Zistle for a while now, so I was more than happy to plunk down half a buck to secure a copy.

Carlyle made last year's "Pride and Perseverance" insert checklist due to the fact that he's a Type 2 diabetic. The journeyman righty spent parts of the 2014 and '15 seasons in Queens and, to my knowledge, this is the only card of him produced as a Met.  So, of course, I had to have it!


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Forget Tim or Sandy, Jeff is My Duncan!

My main guy Shane up at Shoebox Legends HQ in Rhode Island was at it again recently, shooting me a PWE chock full of Mets goodies.

In the little note he included with the cards, Shane quipped that he had another card for my "Jeff Duncan collection."  This alludes not only to his last PWE which included a nice on-card auto of the former flash-in-the-pan, but also to the fact that I've got a weird fascination for collecting the lesser players from the teams annals. Of course, Shane's the same way about his Red Sox collecting habit.  I think that's why we hit it off so well!

No, I don't have a vast collection of Duncan's cards, though I wish I did.  As it stands, this is just the fifth card of the speedy outfielder that populates my Mets collection.  That means Shane is directly responsible for 40% of my Duncan inventory.  Impressive, sir.  Impressive!

Speaking of impressive, there's more than meets to the eye to this one...

Numbered to 150, perhaps making this the rarest of my Duncans.  I still favor the Bowman Heritage auto the best, but this one is a solid second, Shane!

Onto the rest of the PWE...

A pair of Matt Harveys, including his 2016 Opening Day base card, as well as a fancy parallel from 2014 Panini Prizm...

This is a Camo Prizms parallel of Harvey's base card.  Essentially, the "Prizms" tag denotes that this is Panini's version of a Topps refractor.  A pretty unique card, I must say.  I don't have any other camo parallels in my collection, from Topps or otherwise.

An early 2000's insert of The Franchise, Mr. Seaver, celebrating his 289 strikeout season in 1971.  That's still good for the best single-season strikeout effort in Mets history.

Though he spent just a few seasons in Flushing, Baerga is my guy.  I admired him when he was a Cleveland Indian, and I loved him as a Met.  His best days were in this rearview when he arrived in Queens, but his heart and hustle were quite endearing to a younger, impressionable Me.

This marks my first card from 2006 Upper Deck Sweet Spot -- at least from the regular base set.  I think I have a Beltran from the Update release.  A good-looking card, I think.

This here is a Vlad Guerrero that was on my Zistle want list.  And, as he always does, Shane delivers!  Though certainly not as imposing as my Jeff Duncan cache, my Vlad collection is decent.  I'm getting quite close to the 400 plateau -- just nine shy!

For good measure, a hockey card of my favorite childhood Ranger.  By the way, does the design featured on this card not remind you of this year's Topps flagship design?  Take a look at the Harvey card again and then look at this.  It's the hockey stick in the bottom right corner.

Oh, one last thing...

The true centerpiece of yet another fantastic PWE is this Stadium Club auto of Rafael Montero.  That's two straight PWE's from Shane that have included ink.  Talk about spoiled!  Raffy isn't exactly near the top of the Mets prospect list these days, but any auto of a guy who put on a Mets uniform is a special addition as far as I'm concerned.

Thanks for beefing up my collections -- big or small -- as usual, Shane!  I've got another one for ya ready to launch later this week!


Monday, May 23, 2016

Highly Subjective & Completely Autographed

I'm always humbled that anyone takes the time to read this blog.  Whether it be one time, once in a while or somewhat regularly.

That would even be the case if I knew my dad or my cousin in Florida read any of the ramblings contained herein at any point (which, they do not, to my knowledge).  But, it's even more of a wonder when people I've never met face-to-face take the time to read or comment on a certain post.  I never take it for granted and I'm always grateful.

That being stated, when I posted about a couple of 2016 Gypsy Queen pack rips I did a few weeks back, I received some very helpful feedback.  I pulled a Minnesota Twins auto and wondered if there were any Twins collectors out there who might be interested in such a thing.  I received a couple responses, both of which pointed me towards Brian of Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary.

Thanks to those tips, I emailed Brian and before long we were shipping cards off to one another.  Is that not hobby magic, folks?

Well, I was quite please with the return, as Brian hooked me up with not one but two Mets autos in return for the goodies I sent him.

Of greatest import is the Ed Kranepool auto you see in the lead-off spot.  Long have I wanted to obtain some ink of Kranepool, who debuted for the Original Mets at the tender age of 17 and wound up compiling 1,853 games in a Mets uni over the course of his career -- a record that I doubt will ever be touched.

And what a beautiful card it is!  Sometimes, auto cards can be a real letdown.  A crooked sticker auto, tacky design or terrible penmanship are just a few of the rain clouds that could ruin an otherwise sunny occasion.

In this case, Panini hit a grand slam with their 2013 Golden Age product.  Beautifully designed and more than befitting a player from way back when.  More than that, Mr. Kranepool gets an 'A' for his signature.  Put it all together, and this one qualifies as a tremendous addition to my collection!

Talk about a tough act to follow, but follow it someone must...

Hey, this is really cool, too!  A Topps Tek rookie auto of Kevin Plawecki.  Kevin has been handling everyday catching duties for the Mets since Travis d'Arnaud is on the DL (again).  As for the card, it's a nice presentation. Another on-card auto and a great action photo, to boot.  Certainly a different approach than the Golden Age Kranepool, but nonetheless a terrific card!

Along with the sigs, Brian included a few other Mets odds and ends, including some that were missing from my collection...

John Maine had two base cards in 2009 Upper Deck, as I think many players did.  One in Series 1 and another in Series 2.  This one is from the former.

I'm still rounding up base cards from last year's Update set.  A UMass product, Leathersich was granted free agency this past offseason.  The southpaw appeared in 17 games for the National League champs in 2015.

Miller Diaz was one the pieces used to acquire reliever Addison Reed from the Diamondbacks last August.

During 10 minor league seasons, Wanye Lydon compiled a whopping 427 stolen bases!  Included in that figures is a career-best 87 for at Low-A Capital City in 2002.  The speedster never made it above Double-A for the Mets, however, and his pro career fizzled out in 2011 in the independent Atlantic League.

Thanks for the great loot, Brian!  All future Twins 'hits' and parallels will be heading your way!


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Dime Box Potpourri

On my schedule for Sunday is a trip to my local fire hall for their monthly card show!  I have missed the last show or two, so I'm jonesin' to get back at it!

Thus, I figured it was a good time to flush out the remaining scans of cards from my last card show trip that have been laying about getting stale in some imaginary folder on some cyber cloud somewhere.

For starters, a decent run of Topps Archives short prints from the 2013 release.  Usually these will fetch around a dollar or more on eBay, so to grab 'em for a dime each was a minor coup.  Kevin Mitchell (as seen above) was one of those that was on my radar for some time.

The MVP of the '86 Fall Classic, Ray Knight.  Currently a Nationals studio analyst for Mid-Atlantic Sports Net, Knight finished fifth in NL MVP voting in 1979.

Lloyd Moseby led the AL with 15 triples in 1984.

Darrell Evans drew a league-high 124 walks and made his first All-Star Game in 1973

Nothing really notable to report from the '93 season for Hal Morris.  Well, I mean, he did hit .317 in 379 ABs which isn't exactly terrible, I suppose.

Ruben Sierra led the loop with 14 triples and 119 RBIs in 1989 -- a season that saw him finish runner-up to Robin Yount in MVP voting.

Jesse Barfield's 1986 season was a thing of beauty: All-Star Game, Silver Slugger, Gold Glove and a top-five finish in MVP voting.

Up next, a pair of legends from the '86 OPC set...

I very rarely come across O-Pee-Chee cards in dime boxes -- and certainly never '86s -- and when I do I yank 'em up.  Was very pleased to find these two guys, to say the least!

The round-up concludes with a few from the 2005 Topps Retired Signature set.  No actual signatures to be found, but some neat cards of some great HOFers regardless...

I mean, can you go wrong with these for just a measly dime?

And my favorite of the lot....

Great shot of Pudge taking his role as on-field general very seriously.  And, boy oh boy, those '80s White Sox duds!  The number on the pants is a real treat.

Here's to hoping for some more cheap treasures on Sunday...


Friday, May 20, 2016

Some Major Minor League Cards!

It's been a while since I've had the honor of swapping cards with my good buddy Marcus of Backstop Cards. It's always a pleasure to receive correspondence from the Padre-loving Texan, as it was his blog that inspired me to jump into the blogging circle back in June 2012.  In that way, I owe him a great debt of gratitude, since blogging has opened the door to many terrific hobby experiences that I'd never enjoy otherwise.

So it was, a nice yellow mailer arrived a week or so ago that contained many an amazin' card!  That is to say, cards which benefited my Mets collection, my player collections or my set-building pursuits.

Let's start with the jaw-dropping minor league beauty in the lead-off spot.  Noah Syndergaard is my favorite current Met and, simply put, I'm in awe of this card.  It's a bit of a take-off on the 1982 Topps 'hockey stick' design (which is a very good thing!) and features a badass photo of Thor from his Triple-A days in Vegas.

Check out the holiday-inspired cap he's wearing, by the way.  I'd guess this was from a game played on July 4th or Memorial Day, but his Las Vegas game logs from 2014 and '15 don't indicate that he pitched on either holiday.  Like Area 51 itself, this is a mystery to me!

Also included in this package were the other two Mets from the 2015 PCL Top Prospects set.  That means exciting young lefty Steven Matz who is pitching great baseball for the Mets so far.  Like the Syndergaard, this is a freakin' sweet card and an A+ addition to the ol' collection!

After cups of coffee in the bigs the past couple seasons, Dilson Herrera began 2016 at Las Vegas and is presently leading the club in home runs.  With the middle infield cemented in New York, I don't see Dilson coming to Queens anytime soon -- save for injury to either Neil Walker or Asdrubal Cabrera, of course.

The parade of young stars continues with this awesome Michael Conforto insert from this year's Donruss.  I've been eyeing up this card on COMC and eBay for quite some time, so I was naturally geeked to find it among the mix that Marcus made for me.  The nod to '88 Donruss really does it for me!

This Travis d'Arnaud card represents my second Met from 2016 Gypsy Queen.  It's a set that is growing on me by the day.  I can't wait to go to the next card show at my local fire hall to scoop up some more singles from this set...and hopefully the rest of the Mets!

A "MLB Debut" insert from this year's Topps flagship.  It's certainly a nice enough card, and probably one of the better-looking inserts concocted by Topps in recent memory.

A Berger Your Mom Threw Out?  Not quite, chico.  This here is an archival copy of Jerry Grote's Topps card from 1973.  And, might I add, in nearly pristine shape.  One of Jerry's best cards!

Moving on from the Mets to a player collection addition...

Opening Day A-Rod.  It's my second card of Alex from the current baseball card season.  His flagship Topps card will have to wait until Series 2.

Last but certainly not least is this snazzy SP of Robinson Cano from the current Heritage release.  Batting rack and dugout photos are too few nowadays, in my opinion.  I like this one a lot!

Marcus, my good man, thanks for a terrific bundle of loot.  I look forward to many more years of trading cards with ya.


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Extra, Extra!

I've been on a real kick for oddballs of late.  That may be a tad misleading, since I'm never really off such a kick.  But, I've been especially hot on this trail over the past few weeks.  Inevitably, the trail veers onto eBay,

Well, I was fortunate to find a couple of toughies recently, both in the form of uncut sheets.  Both of them also originated as Sunday-edition inserts in the big New York City tabloids.  I was able to score both nine-card sheets for a winning bid of 99-cents a pop.  Since they both came from the same seller, I was able to save a little on shipping.  Both arrived at Camp Kaz for about five bucks total.  Not too bad, I think.

Normally, the uncut sheets make me a little jumpy because I know how incredibly capable I am of mangling the cards during the cutting process.  Luckily, my fears were washed away thanks to my lovely Mrs. K, who informed me she had this handy-dandy scrapbooking tool.  It's essentially a mini paper-cutter -- like a little guillotine for card stock -- and it was just PERFECT for my task.  See, it's a good thing I got hitched after all!

We'll begin with the 2004 New York Post Mets set produced by the good folks at Fleer (how I miss them!).  The cards look more like the cover of a pocket schedule, but they're nice overall.

In the lead-off spot is my main man Jason Phillips.  The most plodding runner of his time [Ed. Note: Seriously, John Olerud would embarrass him in a 40-yard dash.], JP also has some bad-ass rec specs.  He's one of my favorite former Mets to collect, and he also happens to be card No. 1 in this mini set.

Here's a look at the card back in case you're curious:

Pretty standard fare from Fleer for the time period.  Nonetheless, pretty nice for a freebie in a local newspaper.

Here's the rest of the set, presented in order of card number...

The 2004 season was Matsui's first in the American big leagues.  He smacked a homer on the first pitch he saw on Opening Day in Atlanta.  A truly auspicious start, but overall he never fulfilled the hype with which he arrived from Japan.

Not too many cards of Karim Garcia as a Met, so this is a nice under-the-radar piece of the puzzle. Every time I see his name, I can't help but think back to an exasperated Pedro Martinez, during an interview, wondering, "Who are you, Karim Garcia?"

The lone pitcher to make the cut here.  The 2004 Mets were certainly no prize, but interesting that only one hurler is represented among the nine-card assortment.  Maybe they coulda gone with Al Leiter or Steve Trachsel instead of, y'know, Karim Garcia?  Just a thought.

Okay, let's fast forward a season and switch papers, as the New York Daily News -- in conjunction with Upper Deck -- offered up a nine-card set featuring stars from both of the city's clubs.  The uncut sheet was part of the paper's 2005 MLB season preview.

As you can see, the cards are nearly identical to the regular 2005 Upper Deck base cards, except there's no silver foil.  In that way, they're more like the First Pitch set that UD also released in those days.

The photo used for Piazza's card is also the same one that Upper Deck used for his flagship base card.  Kind of a bummer.  Don't mistake me; it's a great photo of Mike, but I prefer variety!

You'll note the numbering, which is specific for each team.  Otherwise, the card backs are again pretty much carbon copies of the normal '05s.

Now this is a nice bonus, as Beltran was still depicted as an Astro in the regular 2005 Upper Deck set.  Yeah baby!

As with the Piazza card, this one is pretty much a replica of David's normal Upper Deck card from '05.  Again, a great-looking card, but let's mix it up, folks!

Now we're talkin'!  An alternate photo used here versus the regular base card.  I like!

One of the cards is a two-sided manager card.  Joe Torre got the front-of-card treatment because he's treated like a god-king in New York.  Something about four World Series rings.  I get it.

At least it's a cool picture of the formerly "Clueless Joe."

The back of the card is much nicer, though.

I'll let you figure out which side of this card will be facing front when this card resides in a future Mets binder.

Oh, and in case you should care, here are the cards of the guys from the town's other team...

Yes, yes, they're nice, I guess.  I especially like the Posada.  That one and the Jeter are photo variations from the regular UD cards, while the A-Rod and Godzilla are essentially identical.  Pretty cool to have a Jeter oddball that's really, uh, odd.

Oh, and you'll also observe that neither team's player selections included a pitcher.  Again, what's up with that??

Anyhow, that's all the news that's fit to print, folks.  Thanks for dropping by!

Let's Go Mets!