Tuesday, February 14, 2017

First Baseball Pack of 2017

2017 Topps is here! At this point everyone's posted their take on the new set. No matter your opinion on the design, it is great to have fresh packs to break open. My wife was nice enough to grab a blaster for me over the weekend after we made some unsuccessful trips in previous days. Here's what I pulled from my first baseball pack of the new year.

First Card:

Alex Bregman #341

I've seen a few others who've had this as their first card. Could definitely do worse than the #1 pick in the 2015 draft.

First Atlanta Brave Card:

Arodys Vizcaino #300

Viz will be back as a key part of the bullpen in 2017. Started off as the closer last year before getting hurt. He pitched in 43 games for the Braves in 2016.

First Parallel Card:

Alex Reyes Vintage Stock #103 /99

These cards are nice and thick and have the Topps logo in the corner. A nice parallel to pull. Can't they make the whole set out of this stock? I guess that's what Heritage is for.

First Insert Card:

Kenley Jansen MLB Awards #RLY-2

I like the design of this set. The color scheme is modified based on the team of the player, which is nice. Isn't always a given.

The rest...

Steven Souza Jr #10

Adam Wainwright #221

Francisco Lindor Jackie Robinson Day #JRD-6

This insert I didn't care for. The Jackie Robinson theme is nice, but the rest of the card doesn't fit the theme.

Chicago Cubs #206

Carlos Santana #121

Rajai Davis #239

A solid first pack. two inserts, a parallel and a Brave. Cleveland Indians fans would have been glad to open this pack, with three cards.

Will recap the rest of the blaster in a future post.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Stack from Cards On Cards Hits Every Part of Collection

Back in September, Kerry from Cards on Cards sent me a large stack of cards that hit just about every part of my wantlist and player collections, including a bunch of Indiana Pacer cards that fit nicely into my basketball collection, which I am starting to get back into and document here. While I opened the package from Kerry back in the Fall, life dictated that I am just getting around to sharing it now. More on that soon. What a stack of cards it is! And below are just the highlights!

I love getting new cards of Cesar Izturis. While I mainly followed him when he was playing for the Dodgers, he ended up on a number of different teams in his career, and these are the first post-Dodgers Izturis cards that go into my binder. Known for his work in the field, these two cards from 2012 Topps Update and 2008 Upper Deck show him at work there.

The Andruw Jones is from another one of the Ultra sets that I'm a big fan of. Will look to pick up the other Braves to complete a team set.

I wonder if we'll have any cards in Pizza products this year? These are the first two that go into my binder. I did open a few packs of these but didn't hit any of my guys. I'm still looking for the Freeman and then I'll have the ones I want.
Can't go wrong with a Heritage insert of one of my favorite players. Already a 3-time All-Star at age 24, what a career Manny could have if this level of play continues.

A trio of Ripken inserts. Almost any Ripken card is going to be new to me, so every package with Cal is like Christmas morning. Really digging the Gypsy Queen N174 insert. Would be a pretty set to display in a binder. The third card is from 2012 Panini Triple Play and is a neat design despite any logos. The second card from 1994 Stadium Club is so cool, I had to research to find out more about it.

Here is the card back. This is a Dugout Dirt insert from 1994 Stadium Club. All aboard the Ripken Express! This has to be one of my favorite cards, and especially card backs. Look out Lou Gehrig!

Yoan Moncada's time with the local Greenville Drive was fun and I'm glad I made it out to a game to see him play. Dirt was kept, player t-shirts were sold, there was lots of excitement around the team when he came to town. Even though he's since been traded to the White Sox in the deal for Chris Sale, I'm still glad to have cards of former Drive players in my collection. 

A trio of cards from the best pitcher in baseball? (Actually 4, an Opening Day card like the one in the middle was also included). Can't beat that. Right? Well it keeps getting better. Particularly like this Power Players insert from 2014 Topps, by the way.

Lastly we have a trio of Mookie cards that weren't already on my have list. Mookie has three cards from The Future is Now insert set from 2014 Topps, and now I can cross this one off.

Another Mookie from 2014 Topps, this time from the Update set showing his MLB Debut. I love cards like these. Nice shot of Yankee Stadium in the background. Mookie went 1-3 with a walk, a hit, and a run scored. His first hit was a single to center in the top of the 4th inning.

Last card I'm showing- I thought this was a base card from 2015 Topps...

Turns out it is a Boston Red Sox version of the card. So I can cross that off my list as well! This stack of cards was full of surprises.

Thanks again Kerry- I've got a stack of Trail Blazers to send your way soon!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Diving Catch Tops This Stadium Club Stack

While I'm still missing a few Braves from 2016 Stadium Club, I'm off to a good start.

Love these Braves uniforms. This is the second card of Ender with the stars on the Braves script on the front of the jersey. The other is 2016 Gypsy Queen. Anyone seen any other cards with this uniform?

Speaking of Ender Inciarte, I hope he's in the team's long-term plans. He's been fun to watch in center field this season. I know the Braves suddenly have too many outfielders with Mallex Smith in the mix next year and the newly acquired Kemp. I also know the Braves are trying to extract as much value from every player, but please hold on to Ender!

Speaking of getting value, the Braves were able to unload Aybar on the Tigers, essentially in return for a catching prospect. This is fine with me as we get a first look at Dansby Swanson in Atlanta.

Nice angle on this card of the Mad Dog. 

Julio returned from the disabled list the other night for a tough assignment against the Nationals. He has a potentially better match-up against the Diamondbacks this week to get back on track.

Unique shot of Freeman here going after a foul ball. 

And the best of the bunch of course is not a Brave. It seems more and more likely that Mookie will get good consideration for the AL MVP. He and Altuve seem to be the front-runners.

The two best photos here are the horizontal shots. This tends to be the case for these sets in general, from what I've seen.

What is your favorite card from 2016 Stadium Club?

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Andruw Jones and 'The Catch'

Thursday night the Braves gave away an Andruw Jones 'The Catch' bobblehead, referencing an off the wall catch Andruw made against Astros in 1999. He robbed Bill Spiers with this grab. 

Here's the bobblehead, and even though I couldn't make it to the game, I may try to pick one of these up on ebay. Too cool.

Sadly I've shown off my only Andruw Jones at the wall cards in a previous post, and my Andruw Jones wall relic card in another. I'm sure no one minds seeing them again.

Maybe my favorite Andruw Jones card, from 1999 Ultra. What a shot there with Andruw on top of the wall.

Piece of the wall. Can't beat unique relics like this. You could definitely argue for Andruw being in the Hall of Fame, in addition to the Wall of Fame.

And now for some cards I haven't shown before on this blog. 1998 Collector's Choice was the first full box of baseball cards I opened. I've still got a ton of these in a box somewhere, along with many of the Starquest inserts. 

I never played MLB Showdown, but seems like something I would have enjoyed. I am definitely a stats guy and I also enjoy card and board games. 

There's a Sports Illustrated Kids card of Jones jumping at the wall which would have fit perfectly into this post. I'll have to add that one to my wantlist.

I have several Braves from this Upper Deck Vintage set. Need to see how else I am missing so I can complete a team set.

I've talked about how much I like 2005 Ultra baseball before. This Andruw is one of my favorites. Great sliding shot here. He had four straight seasons of stealing 20+ bases early in his career but didn't accomplish this past his fifth major league season. 2004 was the lone year in a five year stretch where he wasn't an all-star. He followed it up with his best offensive season in 2005 though, with 51 home runs and 128 RBIs, finishing as the runner-up for the NL MVP, behind Albert Pujols.

Watching the Braves and Nationals last night, Chip Carey and Joe Simpson talked about how they might have underappreciated Andruw Jones during his time in Atlanta. He provided gold glove level defense for most of his career and averaged 30+ home runs a year for a ten year period. They mentioned this stat in particular, and that he was overlooked because hitting 30 home runs wasn't as big a deal during that stretch. I would have to agree.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Topps Series 2 Stack

Anyone else having trouble keeping up with all the recent sets? The Braves are on a winning streak and I wanted to pick up my first cards of some of the current players.

Adonis Garcia has come on strong in July, raising his batting average by over 30 points to about .270. During the month he had a 10 game hitting streak and 9 multi-hit games. 

Arodys Vizcaino started the year as the closer, registering 10 saves with limited opportunities, but struggled a bit before going on the DL mid-July. He struggled Thursday night in his return.

Beckham hit well through May before going on the DL, but he hasn't hit well since returning in early July, hitting just 9 for 68 from July 15th through August 8th. 

The Braves traded Bud Norris to the Dodgers after Norris strung together five solid starts.

This is probably my favorite card in this group of base cards. Peterson has become one of my favorite players on the squad this season. Jace has really bounced back after a demotion to the minors in May.

Marksberry's pitched 3.1 innings for the Braves this season and is currently on the DL. He's spent most of his time this season in AAA Gwinnett. He has a solid era there of 2.45 in 28 appearances. The Braves could use some bullpen help. The last few games the games have gotten out of hand once the starters have left the game.

I'm optimistic that Folty will be a strong member of the rotation for awhile. A theme I've noticed is when he doesn't get a strike call or has some bad luck he can let his frustration impact his game. But he's got the talent to be a good starter. 

Tyler Flowers has also been a surprise for me this year with above average hitting and ok defense. While none of the catchers on the team are the long-term solution, they have been fine to bridge the gap to... well we don't know who yet. This is the base version and the rainbow parallel.

A.J. has struggled offensively, but he's not the only one on this Braves team who has. 

I appreciate series 2 and update series about as much as series 1.  It's one of the few sets to get cards of some of these guys. Bring on more sets with longer checklists!

I picked up some inserts but will talk about those in a future post.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Logo-less Chrome, I mean Optic

What's one way to make Donruss better? Chrome it up. 2016 Donruss is a set I haven't picked up too many cards from. I'm not likely to bust many packs of Donruss Optic with some other new sets being available, but picking up singles of the Braves and a few others definitely interests me. I picked up a half dozen from Just Commons recently. 

Some base cards of the heart of the Braves order right now, who are suddenly playing much better and have won 10 out of 14 games as of Tuesday night. I will have to settle for a San Diego Kemp for now until he gets some Braves issues. Mookie was recently named AL player of the month for July.

And a few refractors, I mean Holos, the regular versions for Freeman and Betts, and an Orange parallel of Freeman #'d out of 199. The Orange Freeman is pretty sharp, although I wouldn't have identified it as Orange out of the pack necessarily.

Based on seeing these in person, I would imagine the Diamond King cards from Optic would look great. The Markakis will go on my wantlist.

Friday, August 5, 2016

2015 Finest Stack

Over the past week I've been catching up on sorting and putting my 2015 cards into binders. While I prefer the 2014 Finest design over 2015, some of the cards below are pretty slick.

Oftentimes cards like this fail to scan as well as I'd like, but these scanned nicely. You can even tell which cards are refractors. Here we've got the base card, followed by a Prism Refractor of Manny Machado. Adam Jones really picked things up offensively in the month of June.

Base, refractor, and black refractor of Julio Teheran. Maybe I should go after the whole set of parallels for him. Teheran is quickly becoming one of my all-time favorite Braves. It's been fun to watch him pitch despite getting little to no run support.

And a base and black refractor of Freddie. 

I don't understand why the different parallels aren't labeled somewhere on the back. Pulling these from packs it'd be tough to tell what you have, especially if you've been out of the game awhile. I wouldn't know the difference between a prism parallel and a regular refractor. But overall, a solid design. Over the last several years, I rank them this way: 1) 2014 2) 2015 3) 2016