Thursday, December 22, 2011

2012 Goals.

Reading around the blogs I follow I have noticed a lot of my fellow bloggers are listing their collecting goals for 2012. So being stuck for something to write about I thought I would list mine.

1. Reach 300 different James Shields cards. This one should be fairly simple, I up around 200 and as he had a very good 2011 he should feature in more sets than last year.

2. Complete the Topps 1968 Game Insert set. Only 33 cards in the set and I need about a dozen more, only problem is I have the cheap ones, I need the more pricey ones.

3. Try to get an auto of every Rays prospect featured in the various 2012 sets.

4. Return home to the UK. Hold on that ones going to be done in 2011, my wife finally got her settlement visa and we are flying home to UK on 29th December.

5. To continue to enjoy the various blogs I follow, to continue to make trades with you guys.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My 2011 Favorites.

Reading around the blogs I notice it's 2011 retrospective time, so please allow me to show you my favorite pick ups of this year.

First off is my 2011 prospect to collect, Stephen Vogt of the Rays. I always pick a Ray from the first Bowman release of the year to collect, here we have a very nice Orange Refractor #/25. From the rainbow I'm missing a Print Plate and the ever expensive Superfractor. I know alot of you in blog world don't like prospecting, but it has become a bit of an infection for me in the last twelve months.

The second cool card from 2011 is the wonderful looking Sepia Refractor from Topps Chrome 2011. I love the old school look on this card, bravo Topps.
Finally a card from 2006. Huh? Well I got it in 2011 so there. A Sweet Spot Rookie Auto 31/100. I love Sweet Spot cards, they have to be for me the coolest looking cards I have. The 2006 rookie had been a card I had been hunting for ages, fortunately for me a James Shields collector was trimming down his collection and offered me this beauty for a very reasonable price. Also this year I got the Bat Barrel version and the Leather(Glove) version. 2011 was a great year for my collections, I just wish there was a bit more competition for Topps.

A Tale of Two Pitchers.

The Rangers just coughed up $50million plus dollars to have a chance to sign Yu Darvish. That's $50 million just for the chance to negotiate. The Rangers now have thirty days to sort out a contract with Darvish.

To say Darvish is hot property is a serious understatement. Only twenty five his Nippon Baseball League stats are nothing short of amazing. In five seasons he is 76-28 with an ERA of 1.72, standing six feet five and weighing in at 185-215lbs Darvish has already tossed 1024 innings.
On the other side of the coin is Matt Moore, the Rays mega prospect. Moore made his debut late in 2011,after a couple of less than stellar relief outings he made his first start against the Yankees, he proceeded to strike out eleven. He started game one of the ALDS and beat the Rangers 9-0. The Rays recently signed him to a very team friendly five year contract worth $14 million.

So baseball fans who do you like more, Moore or Darvish? 2012 is shaping up to be  a great season, I for one can't wait.

Friday, December 16, 2011

PC Cards I Hate #2.

Topps 2009 Young Hill Stars. Hands up those of you who believe that Shields was actually there when this picture was taken. No one? Lets look at the evidence shall we. First of all Shields seems to be looking at a completley different camera compared to Price and Kaz. Secondly, why is Shields wearing a game day uniform at spring training, the other two are wearing the official Rays spring training uniform.

What are they laughing at? Is Price saying to Kaz " Laugh now cricket boy, but in three months your arm will be jello and in 18 months you will be out of baseball". Poor old Kaz, doesn't have much to chuckle about these days.

PC Cards I Hate But Must Have #1.

Topps Chrome 2009, one of the dullest cards in my James Shields PC. Just look at the wonderful busy background.

I'm not asking for fireworks or a marching band in the background, but this card looks like it was from Shields back yard. I hate spring training photo's on cards. If they are prospects I can understand it, but not with veteran players. There must be better shots of Shields from 2008 to stick on a 2009 card. I hate this card and all it's variations. Of course I simply have to own them and will continue to buy them. Bloody collecting obsession. Grrrrrrr.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My First Bowman Draft of 2011.

When I first started collecting three years ago I never bothered with prospects, I didn't realy understand the concept of prospecting. In the last twelve months I begun to collect more and more Rays prospect cards, building up nice little pc's of a few of the young guys. One of my favorite things now is checking the minor league box scores to find out how my guys are doing.

My first card from this year's Bowman Draft is this rather nice Taylor Guerrieri Blue Refractor. Taylor was the Rays first pick in the 2011 draft. He came with a little bit of a black cloud hanging over him. He had some trouble in high school which had forced him to transfer schools. The forums were rife with rumours about what had happened and should the Rays have picked a guy with a dodgy history. Taylor finally admitted that he had been caught at a HS football game drinking in the bleachers. Hardly a big deal in my mind and if he had fronted up straight away all the bad press would have disappeared. Hopefully it is just a one off deal and not a longer term problem like Josh Hamilton had/has. For a first round pick his cards are very nicely priced, so look for more posts showing off his cards.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Something New, Something The Same.

Some new James Shields cards landed on the old homestead welcome mat over the last few days and I will be showing them off one at a time. The first one that was opened was the Topps 2011 Update Hope Diamond insert 44/60. Huzzah!!! Another crazy paving diamond anniversary special.

Do you wish Topps changed the pictures on the cards across the various sets? By my count this is the twenty second card I have with this picture on it. Topps Series One, Opening Day, Topps Chrome and now Topps Update all have the same bloody picture. I think by the end of the year I should have twenty five cards with this picture, cool huh? Anyway, bleating aside I can't decide whether I like this design or not. I think I prefer the colors on the Cognac version more, but as that one has eluded me thus far the jury is out. Oh and Topps enough with the crazy variations please.

Trade With Greg From Plaschke Thy Sweater Is Argyle.

Here are the results of my epic trade with Greg from the wonderful blog Plaschke Thy Sweater Is Argyle. Greg left a comment on my Topps Finest break, he was asking if the Dee Gordon Refractor auto was for trade. After a few emails back and forth we struck our deal, Greg got the Gordon auto, Gordon base and Andre Ethier base and a ton of A&G 2011. In return I got these beauties. First up is a Chris Perez 2007 Bowmans Best Auto, Perez is currently with the Indians where he posted a 4-7 record in 2011, but also recorded a nice 37 saves.

Next is a very cool 2008 Tristar Farmhands Auto of the Cardinals Lance Lynn, unlike a lot of collectors I have no problem with Tristar cards,in fact I actually like them quite a lot. Lance was 1-1 with one save for the Cardinals in 2011, he also won a game in the Wrold Series. Nice.

Next up is a very nice Allen & Ginter framed auto of Yunel Escobar, I love A&G autos,Topps does a really nice job with the framing and a nice addition to my collection. Yunel hit .290 with the Jays in 2011.

Now we come to the crowning glory of the trade, during our email converstaion I mentioned to greg about my collectiong the Topps 1968 Game Inserts. Greg then offered to go to his local LCS to track down some of the outstanding cards I needed, this was above and beyond the call of duty and very much appreciated. In the top picture we have two Hall of Fame players in the late great Harmon Killebrew who sadly passed away this year, and we have Mr Frank Robinson, who was not only a great hitter, but also the first African American to manage a MLB team. What I love about these cards is the fact they are the same age as me and my wife tells me the same condition, namely a bit wrinkly and a bit out of shape. So in conclusion a huge thank you to Greg for such an awesome trade. Would I trade with him again? OH YES!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Mini Randomness Part 3.

Today's random mini cards bring us the greatest female golfer of all time and a rubbish bear. Annika Sorenstam is far and away the greatest female golfer of all time. Seventy two wins on the LPGA tour,seventeen wins on the European tour, two wins on the Japanese Ladies Tour and of course she is the winner of ten majors. She has won over $22 million in prize money $8 million more than her nearest challenger. Since retiring in 2008 Sorenstam has gone on to make big bucks outside of playing, a course designer, her own range of perfumes and a line of clothes, it seems she won't be short of cash for the foreseeable future.

Awwwwwwwww!!!! It's a big cuddly Panda, yet another of the animals in peril. Why is the Panda a rubbish bear I hear you ask? Well the joke goes like this, what would you rather fight, a Panda or a Grizzly Bear. Answer is of course the Panda because it's already taken a beating judging by his black eyes!!! Baaazinga!!!!! I'll get my coat.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mini Randomness Part 2.

Some more random mini cards for you. We kick off today with Dr Watson, Watson of course was Sherlock Holmes sidekick. The Ying to Holmes Yang, a great many actors have played Watson in the movies including a very good portrail by Jude Law in the recent Holmes movies. But the king of Watsons is the mighty Nigel Bruce who played Watson in the great 1940's Holmes movies alongside Basil Rathbone. As has been pointed out a lot of times the name of the set is wrong, penultimacy meaning second to last of course, but I won't point that out as hundreds have done so already.

Moving right along to Watsons partner in crime, the mighty Sherlock Holmes. Detective,pipe smoker,wearer of very odd hats and of course opium addict. Holmes was created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I would like to thank Sir Arthur for writing some of the slowest moving and dull detective novels ever. The Holmes on this card is of course the spitting image of great actor Basil Rathbone, the greatest Holmes in movie history, Rathbone also played a masterful Guy of Gisbourne in the Errol Flynn classic Adventures of Robin Hood. Even though Holmes is a work of fiction tourists still flock to 221b Baker Street in London to have their photograph taken in front of his famous address.

Finally today we have another animal in peril, the Phillipine Eagle, this is the national bird of the Phillipines, as you may know I am currently a resident in the Philippines and have yet to see this mighty bird. These birds can weigh up to 18lb and grow to between 2.5 feet to 3.5 feet in length. If you are a native monkey beware, because this bad boy will have you for lunch. Sadly only 180-500 are left in the wild, this is due to the Filipino habit of hacking down every tree they can see. If you kill one of these wonderful birds you can expect to spend twelve years in a jail.

Mini Card Randomness Part 1.

I thought I would do a few posts on the random mini cards I have laying around. First of all we have a 2008 Allen and Ginter mini of a Mako Shark. A few facts for you about the Mako shark, they grow to a size of seven to nine feet, feed mainly on Mackeral and don't attack humans too often, but three fatalities have been recorded in the last twenty years. Not to be confused with the actor Mako who starred in M*A*S*H.

Another animal card, this time a 2011 Sea Otter mini. The poor little fella is part of the animals in peril set in this years A&G. These little chaps have seen their numbers drop from 300,000 to 100,000 in the last two hundred years, this is because they were hunted for their fur. Cute fact alert!!! To stop them drifting apart Sea Otters sleep holding paws. Awwwwwww!

Goodwin time, a 2009 black border Phil Helmuth Jr. This guy is not small furry or cute. What he is is a very fine player of Texas Hold Em. Helmuth holds the record for most bracelets won in WSOP play, his total stands at an amazing eleven. Critics will always tell you that all his wins have been in Hold Em events, therefore he is not an all around player. Helmuth is also prone to toddler style tantrums and outbursts at the table. He does this to put off his opponents which sometimes works very well to his advantage. He also does it because he is a whiney little girl.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Great Gloveman.

Yay!!! Another sweet Brooklyn Dodger for my PC a 1950 Bowman. Pictured above is great third baseman Billy Cox. Billy debuted in the NL in 1941 with the Pirates, the war took away four years of his career and h returned to baseball for the Pirates in 1946. He joined the Dodgers in 1948, becoming the third baseman of a steller infield. Hodges at first, Robinson at second and Pee Wee Reese at shortstop, has there ever been a greater infield? Cox only hit sixty six homers during his career and only batted a modest .266, not great numbers for a third sacker. It was his skill with his beat up glove that kept him in the game. Leo Durocher once said of Cox " Thats not a third baseman, thats a fucking acrobat". High praise indeed. Cox finished his career on June 11th as a member of the Orioles. A major character in Roger Kahns wonderful book The Boys of Summer, Cox ended up being a barman in his local legion. To me this shows the difference between then and now, does anyone think a star third baseman from 2011 is going to end up tending bar?

This card is part of my Boys of Summer project, the idea being to get one vintage of every player interviewed by Roger Kahn. The biggest problem is price, the only Andy Pafko Dodger card is at least $500, and the Robinson cards are a little pricey. At least there is no hurry to finish the project.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Shiny Chromeness...

And so it begins, the yearly hunt for every variation of Topps Chrome James Shields cards. In 2010 I was fortunate enough to get a Superfractorless rainbow. How will I fair this year? To start with I have the very nice looking Sepia Refractor #/99, I have to be honest here and say well done to Topps, these sepia cards are very very nice.

Moving right along to the Black Refractor, again a new addition to this years set. These are #ed to 100, again a very nice looking card.

Which brings us to the Atomic Refractor #ed to 225. Unsure if I like this card or not, I like the effect on it but it does look a bit like a broken window to me.

Finally today we have the retail only Orange Refractor, strangely the orange and purple are sometimes the hardest to find for a UK collector.

I have incoming the Gold,Purple,Blue refractors, an xfractor and a base refractor. The hunt for a plate and a Red refractor continues.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My 2011 Finest Break.

Here are some of the bettr cards from my recent Finest break, a Zach Britton Finest Freshmen insert. I don't know too much about Mr Britton apart from he seems to be following me about.

Told you! A nice Zach Britton Xfractor #/299. I also got his base card.

The lowest numbered card in the break was this Brett Wallace Green Refractor #/199. I don't follow the Astros so again know nothing about him. It's a very cool looking card though.

The first auto was of the Dodgers Rookie speedster Dee Gordon, this one is #ed out of 499. On card and shiny, very nice.

The best card was this Craig Kimbrel auto/GU to 499. Sadly Mr Kimbrel and the Braves choked away the value of the card (LOL).

Overall it was a fun break and the cards are very nice to look at, just missing a few lower numbered cards, but we can't hit paydirt everytime.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Another Rays Prospect.

Picked 42nd overall in the 2010 draft Drew Vettleson was one of the shining lights in the Rays Roookie ball team. Overshadowed in the draft by his fellow Washington state native Josh Sale, Vettelson went on to make Sale look very mediocre.

Playing for the Princeton Rays of the short season Appalachian league young Mr Vettleson put up some very nic numbers. He had a batting average of .282 which is pretty good for his first season using the wooden bat. He hit seven home runs and had forty runs batted in. He is also a threat on the basepaths with twenty steals, although he was caught six times. His fielding was very solid with only three errors committed from the outfield, he also had six outfield assists.

To my mind he is certain to start next season in full season Low A ball with the Bowling Green Hot Rods. At only twenty years old Drew seems to have a very solid career in front of him and is near the top of my Rays prospects watchlist for 2012.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Goodies From New York New York.

1968 the year I was born,also the year Topps did the baseball game insert. The cards above are from that set, these were accquired in another great trade with AJ from The Lost Collector blog. AJ has completed the 33 card set and these are some of the dupes he had. I sent AJ three vintage Yankees which will look much better in his collection than mine.

I love these cards as they are a cheaper way of getting some cool HOF'er cards. I think I will chase down the rest of the set now that AJ has given me a healthy head start. The Mantle and the AAron will be the most expensive ones to track down, but looking at the prices on ebay they do appear very affordable. As this is a vintage set I won't be in a huge hurry to finish it due to other pc considerations, but I am determined to get it finished off.

As always many thanks AJ.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Big Game James Pick Ups.

The last couple of months have been slim pickings for my James Shields PC. I have picked up a few base cards from various years and the odd refractor to fill some holes in the PC, but cool cards have been very few and far between, so far there have been no Shields autos in any set and until Update arrived no Game Used Either. Also appearing in Update was a Shields fake glove card, I'm not much of a fan of these type of cards due to the fact Topps sees them as a hit when clearly the are not. The cards come in the unnumbered tan style, the numbered to 99 black as we see above and the ever popular nickname card numbered 1/1. My chances of owning the nickname card are zero or less. To be honest I think it's a pretty cool card and am happy for it to sit in the collection. The card cost a massive $1.95 + $3.00 shipping, a bargain in my mind. My problem now is getting the more available tan version, these seem to be costing more than the numbered ones, go figure.

The other nice "card" I managed to get my grubby paws on was the 2011 A&G printing plate you see above. I think it's the magenta one and I can't be bothered to check the back to see if I'm right. I love A&G, I honestly think it's the coolest set of the year, mainly because Shields is always in it and there are some nice variations of the cards to collect. This is my first Ginter plate and at a cost of $20 a bit of a steal in my humble opinion. The new glossy set has just been released and a Shields glossy is on it's way to Tampa Towrs as I write. The only A&G 2011 card I am missing is the wood mini which surpassed my limit for a non auto card a few weeks back, I have a feeling I know who owns it and he has the best Shields PC I have ever seen, so there is no chance it will appear in my collection.

So as the sun sets on another baseball season the hunt for cards continues.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Couldn't resist. Sorry.

A big Hello to all Red Sox fans.

More Coolness From AJ.

A few weeks ago I did a trade with AJ from The Lost Collector blog, it was a smooth and easy trade with a really cool guy. Due to problems with immigration which forced a trip to Hong Kong to sort out a new Philipine visa and a typhoon which has just decimated the country I have not been able to post the results of said trade. Well wait no longer faithful viewers, because here ar the results. If I remember rightly AJ got a 1952 Gene Woodling and a 1955 Scooter Rizzuto, I'm sure I sent something else but for the life of me can't remember what it was. Anyway AJ was kind enough to trade me three 1953 Topps cards for my ever growing Brooklyn Dodgers PC. The thing I love so much about these cards is the "loved" condition.

I don't have a huge budget for cards and I really appreciate any trade that can get me a few vintage Dodger cards. Condition is always secondary to me where vintage is concerned, and the loved condition of the above cards just adds to the coolness. AJ didn't know me from a hole in the road when I emailed him via his blog, He probably thought "who is this oddball from the UK". AJ was a kind and gracious trading partner and someone I will be willing to trade with on a regular basis (even if he is a Yankee fan). I humbly suggest you search out his blog if you have not already, it's a really good read and very informative.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Carl Who???

We all knew Carl Crawford was going at the end of the 2010 season, we all knew he was going to be making 20 billion dollars over the next 500 years (or something like that), what we didn't know was where he was going. He decided to go to Boston and instantly became a Rays anti-hero. I wasn't a big fan of Crawford due to his insistance on not batting lead off and refusal to play centre field, but I wasn't a hater either. I respect his decision to go to the Sox, I just hope it blows up in his face.

Anyhow, on to the subject of todays rambling. Crawfords long term replacement is this guy above, Desmond Jennings. He was called up in June and I think he is staying for good. Last night against the Jays he hit two home runs and stole a base. His stats so far this years are as follows, .354 avg, 8 homers, 19 rbi's and 14 stolen bases. I believe he has more homers than Crawford and is not too far behind him in steals. Of course it is a small sample size, but I honestly believe Desmond Jennings is going to be a super star for many years.

On a side note about the card. I bet the dude to the right of Jennings wishes he was holding a different pose when the shot was taken, imagine for the rest of that dudes life he is the fish face dude from Opening Day 2011.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Look Into My Eyes.

What is Billy Loes thinking? That is a serious stare he has. The card is a Bowman 1954, picked up last week from good old ebay. My Brooklyn Dodgers PC has been lying dormant the last few months and I have had the urge recently to start collecting a few more cards. This one is the first of a few picked up through trades or buying.
Billy Loes played for the Dodgers from 1950-1956 he also played for the Giants and Orioles. He had a record of 80-64 in his eleven seasons of major league ball. He was an all star in 1957. Sadly Billy passed away in July of this year at the grand old age of 80.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Thank You Mr Fuji.

The rather sweet card above is a Fleer 1981 Willie McCovey, Mr McCovey was good enough to put his auto across the card. The card was my prize in the rather splendid contest run by Fuji from The Chronicles of Fuji. Not only does Fuji write a first class blog and run a really great contest he is also a really nice guy. So many thanks for the contest and the prize and keep up the good work.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Say Hey Ernie. is usually a pile of old toss, the usual junk wax era stuff with a bit of good thrown in, usually cards being sold by the other UK bloggers. Every now and again there are cards that will surprise. Last week during one of my seemingly fruitless trips through the crap, I came across a nine card lot of Topps 1970 cards. Aha I thought this will be guys I have never heard of, but I clicked on the link and to my utter surprise included in the lot were Willie and Ernie plus seven lesser cards. The problem now was how much to have as a highest bid, due to the auction ending when I would be tucked up in bed. So I bid fifteen pounds or twenty three dollars if you prefer and retired to bed. I was very surprised the next day to find that I had one the auction, even more surprised when I got an email from Tony (Collector across the pond) telling me he had just missed out on a lot of 1970 Topps. Tony is a massive Giants fan and was no doubt looking to get the Willie.

I guess the moral of the story is, just keep on looking as you never know what you may find. Hey Tony the Willie is for trade!!!!!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Shields Allen and Ginterness

Had a nice PC mail day yesterday. A nice lot of four Allen and Ginter 2011 Shields cards. The mini cards are the regular, A&G back and the black border. The full sized card is a break the code card, so I'm still missing the regular full size card which will hopefully be in my box that's coming from the States. Although it would appear that the box has been strapped to the back of a turtle for delivery it's taking so long.

As usual it's a great looking set of cards, I really like the black border this year and the cool code cards. I'm hoping for some Pacquio cards but will probably end up with Ian Desmond cards instead.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Don Newcombe was one of the lucky ones, he only played one year in the Negro Leagues before being bought by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946. After three years in the Minors Newk was promoted to the Dodgers in 1949. In 49 he was voted rookie of the year and went to the all star game. Newk was the pitcher relieved by Ralph Branca in the famous 1951 play off with the Giants, Branca went on to throw the fateful pitch to a grateful Bobby Thomson.

Not only was he a great pitcher he was also a great hitter, his lifetime average of .271 is the ninth best by a pitcher in baseball history, he is one of the only pitchers to be used regulary as a pinch hitter.

Newk lost two years of playing time due to the Police action in Korea.

Newcombe is the only player to win the MVP, Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards. So hats off to Don Newcombe still going strong at age 85.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Trade With Collector From Across The Pond.

Here are the results of a trade with Tony from the blog Collector From Across The Pond. In exchange for some Brandon Belts, Timmy Lincecum and Yu Darvish cards Tony was kind enough to trade me these beauties. First up is the iconic 1955 Bowman of Phil Rizzuto, I really like this set, the TV screen is such a cool idea. Shame Topps can't think of something this good in 2011. There is a little paper loss on the front and back, but who cares it's a HOFer and from a cool set.

Next we have a 1952 Topps Gene Woodling card, I know nothing about Gene Woodling and can't be bothered to google him, but he is a Yankee and a sweet old vintage card.

Lastly we have a 2001 Cooperstown Collection Johnny Bench Bat card. Bench is considered one of the best catchers of all time. I love having Hall of Fame GU cards in my collection and this will sit nicely with my others.

A word about Tony. Not only is Tony a great guy to trade with and a good mate he is the Uk's premier Adam Lind collector. So if anyone reading this has some nice Adam Lind cards they want to off load via trade give Tony a look via his blog.