Monday, October 26, 2009
A First Time Trade With First Day Issue or Rays of Sunshine Ahead!
Here it is my very first trade with the legendary trader and Mariners fan, Mr. Bud of the First Day Issue blog. I have wanted to pull off a trade with Bud for a long time, not because I had Mariners cards to unload (I had very few actually) but because I have seen a lot of other bloggers post cards that they received from Bud and they are always great cards and everyone is always happy. I was quite happy when I went to the Post Office on Friday and there was a large manila envelope from Washington State with “Rays of Sunshine” written on the bottom of the envelope. There it was! Bud does in fact exist, he isn’t just a mythical legend made up by the blog-o-sphere, he is real and he sent me some really cool Rays cards! There was a note that said something like “I hope you find some cards you like, I've got plenty more if you do”… Did I find some cards that I like? Hell yeah, every last one of them! There was about 40 cards, nearly no cards that I already owned and there was a great variety in years and brands. Let’s jump right in with a new card of one of my favorites, blog reader and Rays minor league coach Jared Sandberg on a 1999 Bowman Chrome card, #118. I love this card, but I can’t figure out why the space needle (is that what that is?) is behind him on the card… I wanted to start with Sandberg, but I also like to include original Devil Rays whenever possible and I have really liked what I have seen from this 1999 Fleer Traditions set. Nice bright photos, good action, great lighting, good stuff. This one is card #413 of utility infielder Aaron Ledesma. I had never seen or heard of this set before; it’s from an Upper Deck series from 2004, Power Up! I am guessing… It’s a goofy bright green card of Rocco Baldelli with some kind of code on the side. I don’t think Rocco’s head is really that big… It is an odd looking card and I am gonna go out on a limb and say I don’t think this was a very popular set. The fun fact info on the back was interesting though. I knew that Rocco turned down a number of college scholarships to sign with the Rays, but I didn’t know his was offered Division 1 scholarships for baseball, basketball and volleyball! I have said this quite a few times on here, but I really, really like the 2009 Topps set. It is a great design, the best photography that Topps has ever had, it is just a cool and classy set and after what they had shown the rest of this decade, I had pretty much given up on them. Aside from the cool blue bordered set of 2003, everything has been totally blah this entire decade. That said I am collecting the heck out of every crazy card and parallel that the ’09 set has to offer. I only realized that the Topps Chrome version had blue refractors in it recently and I am obsessed with them already! Bud anticipated this and sent me another shiny blue one that I didn’t have yet. This guy had a horrible year in 2009, but I think that Andy Sonnanstine is a legitimate big league starter and I really think he will bounce back next year and claim the #5 starting pitcher slot with the Rays-or get traded to a team where he will be a starter. Either way, I think he will start 25+ games in 2010 and I am psyched to have one of the 199 shiny chrome refractors of this card in blue. If anyone else has "Blue Rays" they are willing to share, hit me up! Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, Scott Kazmir, Aki and Longo are all at the top of my list! From Topps over to Bowman, here is a 2008 Bowman Draft Pick card of Rays future (?) first baseman Mike Sheridan. They scooped Sheridan up in the 5th round of the 2008 draft out of William and Mary. He is another guy that I watched a lot in Instructional League this year, he is a solid defensive first baseman who has a lot of hitting potential. Time will tell if the potential will evolve him into a big league hitter, but he is one to watch. A good comparison, if he reaches his full potential would be Tino Martinez. Tino was one the keys to the Yankees resurgence in the late nineties and he won 4 WS rings with them. He also made a stop in Tampa Bay in 2004 where he hit his 300th career home run on his way to 23 total for the D-Rays that year. This card from the 2005 Upper Deck set shows him after hitting one of those 23 bombs. He finished his career with the Yankees and retired in 2005 with 339 career homers. Back to Bowman, 2007 Bowman of the Chrome variety, this one is card #BDPP83 of Rookie of the Year Candidate Jeff Niemann shown in Team USA gear. He didn’t finish this season too well, but his 13-6 record with a 3.94 ERA and 125 Ks is still pretty nice… Andrew Bailey has to be the man to beat this year. I think that Niemann has a bright future in the Rays starting rotation though and here is another card of him that Bud included-a 2008 Upper Deck Timeline, card #70 of the 6'9" righty. Last years Rookie of the Year was a no-brainer decision and a Tampa Bay Rays player, too. Evan Longoria ran away with the award and he is a darling of the hobby and collectors all over. This is an insert from the 2009 Upper Deck Series 2 Starquest. I have a number of the BJ Upton and Carlos Pena cards from this subset, but this is my first Longo and I think this one is special cuz the back says it is “Blue Uncommon”. It is card # SQ-39 in the subset. One of the things that I haven’t liked about Topps over the past few years is every pack has like 5 inserts in it. This makes set-building kind of difficult. It is cool when you like the inserts though, but I never pull ones that I like. Fortunately others do and they send them to me. This is from 2007 Topps Chrome, from the Generation Now subset featuring ex-Ray Delmon Young. I am still pretty confident that D-Young is going to grow into an All Star and I still get pretty excited when I get cards of him, especially chromey and shiny ones. This next card (?) came from the 2008 Topps set I think, but I have never pulled one of these. It’s a tattoo. I think it’s a pretty cool idea, I prefer stickers, but tattoos are cool, too. It’s not very big and I probably have this much blank skin available so I may try it out. With all of the great cards he sent it was pretty hard choosing which ones to display and what not to. There was definitely a lot of great stuff in there! I really wish I had some more Mariners cards to offer up because I would definitely like to see what else Bud has. Maybe this is a good excuse to buy a box of something… There are 5 more cards that I will show; they are all of the best leftfielder in baseball, MVP candidate and igniter of the Tampa Bay Rays lineup, Mr. Carl Crawford… First up is a 2003 Upper Deck MVP card #199 of a young Carl Crawford. Considering that he hit .259 with 9 steals in 2002, he was hardly an MVP back then, but perhaps they were looking in the Upper Deck crystal ball… From the 2005 Donruss Studio set, here is card #269 of a black and white CC with a purpley cityscape behind him. Next is a 2002 Topps Stadium Club Future Stars card, #108 of CC. The back of the card says that he has “surprising instincts”, whatever that means… This one is from the 2007 Upper Deck set, its an insert series called "Cooperstown Calling" and has a picture of Cal Ripken Jr. on the front. There is a long and complimentary quote on the back that you would assume came from Cal. Cool idea. This is the first card from this series that I have seen, it is card # CC-CC. The last card in the awesome package from First Day Issue is a 2006 Upper Deck, card #438. This is a parallel of some sort and is very shiny and has a serial number on the front, 93/99 and has a nice shot of CC getting ready to take a ball for a ride! I never get tired of getting Rays cards in the mail, especially a variety like this. Awesome cards Bud, thanks so much! I sent you every last Mariners card I had, you should get them soon. I love to trade and truly appreciate you sending these my way. If you haven't checked out Bud's blog already, or if you have Mariners cards to spare, you can find it right here-http://firstdayissue.blogspot.com/ Go Rays! Troll out.