Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Beam Team!

Like many of you I took full advantage of the half off blasters of Stadium Club. They were a fun rip, but didn't yield any autographs. I was able to add both of these stained glass gems for less than the cost of a half price blaster. Sticker autos aside, these are pretty awesome! Don't forget to vote for the All Star team! Carl Crawford deserves to start! I will post my All Star picks for the BBA vote this week. Ideally I will have my American League team up tomorrow and the NL soon there after. I have started to rip for the group break. I will try and get a few packs posted on A Pack to be Named Later this weekend before they ship. Go Rays! Troll out.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

2008 American League Champions Autograph Quest Part 7

Part 7 in this ongoing series shows Rays reliever JP Howell on a 2007 Bowman Heritage Signs of Greatness card. As I continue to gather certified autographs of my favorite team I am beginning to build favorite sets. 2009 Goodwin Champions and 2007 Bowman Heritage are definitely among my favorites. Good art, simple design, clear on card autos, awesomeness! JP Howell has been an integral part of the Rays bullpen the past two seasons. This year he started the year on the DL with soreness in his throwing arm. It turned out to be worse than anticipated and he had season ending surgery in May. Dr. James Andrews performed the procedure and JP is expected to be back and better than ever for 2011. JP came to the Rays from the Royals who chose him in the first round of the 2004 draft. The Rays sent Joey Gathright and Fernando Cortez. That was another of the wise trades that led the Rays to the postseason in 2008. Things were not good for Howell in his first 2 seasons in Tampa Bay. In 2006 and '07 he was 2-9 with an ERA over 7, but he came into his own in 2008. He was 6-1 with a 2.22 in 61 games striking out 92 in 89 innings while serving as a setup man for Troy Percival and Dan Wheeler. In 2009 Howell was forced into the role of closer and was not really ready for that position. His record was still respectable going 7-5 with 17 saves and an ERA of 2.84. He also struck out 79 batters in just 66 innings. Like most fans I am so used to seeing a closer come out of the pen throwing heat that seeing Howell in there in the 9th tossing the ball 78 MPH was a bit weird. I have heard he can reach 90 MPH with his sinker, but I have never seen it. He has a cutter, a curve, knuckle curve and change and they all stay between 75-85 MPH, but his movement and location keep batters swinging and missing. I look forward to seeing Howell back on the field, in the pen and on the mound in 2011. Go Rays! Troll out.

Monday, June 28, 2010

2008 American League Champions Autograph Quest - Part Six

David Price was the first player selected in the 2007 Draft. He began the 2008 season in A ball, but jumped to AA, AAA and was called up to Tampa Bay in September. He had a combined mark of 13-5 and earned himself a spot on the postseason roster. He pitched out of the bullpen and finished 5 games in the playoffs showing poise, composure and overpowering stuff. He seemed to be a lock for Rookie of the Year in 2009, but didn't match the hype early on. He finished with a respectable record of 10-7 in 23 starts, but his 4.42 ERA was too high to garner ROY attention. He was nearly unstoppable at home last year, but didn't earn his first road win till late in the season. After failing to win ROY many wrote him off as a prospect. He is still only 24 years old and in 15 starts so far this year he is 11-3 with a 2.44 ERA, 1 shutout and 84 Ks in 91 innings. The day after the D-Backs no-hit the Rays Price took the hill to stop the bleeding. He responded by striking out 11 D-Backs and garnering his 11th win. The Baseball Bloggers Alliance (of which I am a proud member) voted Price as the American League's starting pitcher for their All Star Team and one can imagine that Joe Girardi SHOULD chose Price as the AL's starter as well. The card is a 2009 Goodwin Champions ON-CARD auto. I think the rendering makes Price look like President Obama and the signature doesn't exactly fill the space on the card, but I am thrilled to have a D Price auto in my collection. Go Rays! troll out.

The Readers Have Spoken!

Thanks to everyone for voting. I think that all involved got a chance to vote. It wasn't close, the majority have spoken and I will "rip it and ship it!". All the wax shown here plus a whole bunch of loose packs will be ripped this week and divided up team by team. I will get everything in the mail a week from Monday. There is close to 300 packs worth of cards here and I am optimistic that there will be some good stuff in the rip so I think some of you will be very happy. At the very least I think everyone will have 50 or more cards of their favorite team. If I haven't traded with you recently, please resend me your address. Also, PLEASE do post your take on your own blogs. Thanks to everyone for your patience and understanding. I was really excited about this rip, but I got overwhelmed. I hope that everyone will be happy when they get their cards. Thanks again. Go Rays! troll out.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

2008 American League Champions Autograph Quest Part 5

The 5th post in this ongoing series of on-card autographs from all the members of the 2008 AL Pennant winning Tampa Bay Rays is of right handed pitcher Edwin Jackson. The card is a 2008 Topps Heritage which he signed after a game in 2008 for my wife. Edwin is a super ball park signer and really good TTM as well. I think by now everyone has heard of EJ's triumphant return to Tampa Bay. He no-hit his former team and blanked the guy he was traded for-Matt Joyce who was 0-4. I wanted to say congrats to EJ on an amazing performance. I couldn't ask for my team to be no-hit by a better dude. Go Rays! Troll out.

Friday, June 25, 2010

One Day Left...

To decide the fate of the group break. I have picked up some more packs for it. I found some 2002 and 2009 Topps T206 that I am psyched to rip, plus some more junk wax, two more blasters and a few more packs of mid 2000 stuff. On a baseball note I had great tickets for tonight's Rays game. Rays versus D-Backs. Upton vs. Upton. The return of Edwin Jackson. The return of the guy he was dealt for, Matt Joyce. Hopefully the return of a win streak. Jeff Niemann on the hill... Anyway, I gave the tickets away to a lucky friend as I have to work... I will be posting this weekend, so many new cards. My want lists are up to date. If you are a part of the group break, please vote! Go Rays! troll out.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Quick Post, A New PC Addition, A Contest Update and a Question for the Group Break Faithful...

I miss my blog!!! All of them. I got so used to posting daily on at least two of my blogs and it is driving me crazy to not be around. I am working 7 days AGAIN this week and I have finals on Monday and Tuesday and then I begin summer semester B on Wednesday. No rest for the wicked I suppose... I have hundreds of great cards that I have recieved in trades to post, kind bloggers and readers from all over the world have been tearing up my want lists which are all updated. I also updated my needs list on the side bar for autographs from the 2008 AL Champs team. I am down to needing just 5 cards. I have autos of three of them already, but not on Rays cards. I think ultimately I want to upgrade and have the whole team on-card. I looked through the collection and I am pretty close. I only have one sticker auto that I still need to upgrade. The unfortunate thing is that sticker auto is of their third baseman and his on-card autographs ain't cheap... I will get a few posts up this weekend. I will also update on the promised contest. It will coincide with my 600th post which should happen next weekend. The question will be how many cards I have in my Carl Crawford collection. I have been buying recieving a lot of new cards lately, so you can't guess yet. I will set a date and then count everything. The closest to the right number will win. First prize will be closest without going over and second prize will be closest over. The prizes will include a Carl Crawford Topps Traded rookie card and a few other goodies for the non-Rays fans out there. One prize will be a very nice Tony Gwynn rookie card so stay tuned and start thinking of your guesses. I will give you a hint now... I passed 200 at the end of 2009. I will also tell you that I count variations as different cards so if I have a 2007 Topps, the same card with a red back and the same card in gold it will count as three different cards. I will also count any card that pictures and names Crawford on it. For instance this new addition to my collection will count. It is a 2007 Upper Deck Premier Rare Patches Dual card with BJ Upton. It is numbered 48/50. I like dual player cards when they make sense and Crawford and Upton have patroled the same outfield together for a while now. I really don't like all the Crawford cards with Scott Podsednick (sp?) or Jose Rios. Those don't make sense. This card doesn't identify which swatch is from which player, but I love that the patch is below the photo of CC. I know everyone out there is over jersey swatches. I became obsessed with them when I got back into collecting and now I am getting bored a little bit, too. Patches on the other hand still have my interest 100%. Thats it for now, I really hope to be able to post some of the amazing trades I have recieved very soon. You guys-my readers and fellow bloggers-are amazing and your generosity continues to blow me away. Oh... one last thing. If you are a participant in my long overdue group break I have a question. Would you rather continue to wait for me to slowly post the rips OR would you rather I tear EVERYTHING and not post it, but send all of your cards out and you-the recipient-will post them on your blogs? Please let me know. I feel really bad that everyone rushed payment and I have not sent anything in return out yet. I put up a poll question, please vote on it. Oh before I sign off I have a very odd card in my Rays collection. I found this card-it is a 1998 Best Trading Cards promo card of Kerry Wood. Wood came up with the Cubs obviously and he never played for a second in the Rays organiztion, but in 1997 he was in AA with the Cubs and played for the Orlando Rays, which were still a Cubs team. Oddness... Does anyone know if Wood signs TTM? I would love to have this card signed... Thanks for reading! Please check out my freshly updated want lists. Go Rays! Troll out.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

2008 American League Champions Autograph Chase Part 4 - Happy Trails Aki!

Part 4 in this ongoing series is this card of the Rays starting second baseman Akinori Iwamura. This is another on-card beauty from 2009 Goodwins Champions. This one Aki signed in-person for my little brother this spring as a member of the Pirates. I have several Aki-graphs, but this is the most special. The prior season Iwamura was the Rays starting third baseman, but moved to second to create an opening for Evan Longoria. Aki adapted instantly and he and Jason Bartlett formed a defensive force up the middle. Tampa Bay bid Aki farewell after last season. Last night Pittsburgh bid farewell to the infielder as well. I expect to see Aki back on top very soon, I just hope it isn't in New York! Your still number 1 with me. Good luck! Go Rays! troll out.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

2008 American League Champions, The Autograph Quest Part 3 The Spitter

The third card in this ongoing series comes from 2009 UD Goodwin’s Champions. It is an on-card gem of Matt Garza. 2008 was Garza’s first year with the Rays. He and Jason Bartlett came over from Minnesota in exchange for Delmon Young and Brendan Harris. I think that Delmon Young will be a great player someday, but that trade is one of the best in Rays history and paid immediate dividends. Garza was 11-9 with a 3.70 ERA in 30 starts for the Rays. He tied for the league lead with 2 shutouts and was third in the AL with 3 complete games. He dazzled on the national stage in the 2008 ALCS. Against Boston Garza was awesome! He was 2-0 in 2 starts with a 1.38 ERA. He pitched 13 innings and struck out 14 and was award the ALCS MVP honors. Like Bartlett, Garza has many certified autos available during his days as a prospect with the Twins, but not too many Rays autos. This is my favorite. After 2 months of being outbid at the final second I finally won this one and I love it! This is my third Rays auto from Goodwin’s and I hope to get them all. Incidentally, Garza started this season red hot. He has cooled down a bit, but is still holding onto a very respectable 7-4 record with a 3.50 ERA and a shot at making his first All Star appearance this year. I expect to see Price and Niemann on the staff, but it would be amazing if Garza makes it, too. I love this game and I love this hobby! Thanks for reading! Go Rays! Troll out.

Monday, June 14, 2010

3 Out of 4 Aint Bad...

Yesterday I scanned at least 200 cards. Mostly stuff for A Pack to be Named Later and the group break, but a few trades, too. When I went to bed I left the computer on and left like 10 windows open for all of the stuff I was working on. When I got up the computer had restarted itself. I think our Webroot Sweeper Anti Virus software had run. Anyway, none of the pics I scanned are left. I have a pretty slow scanner and scanning 300 cards took roughly 10 hours - I was doing other things... Anyway, all of the scheduled posts are left without images. I didn't want to be silent all day so here is a new gem for my growing Carl Crawford collection. This is printing plate #3 out of 4. I am fairly certain that is a Marlins catcher and not a Twins catcher, but my eyes aren't great. I am now desperately seeking the magenta plate and the SUPERFRACTOR! Go Rays! Troll out.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A One-Card Post - Yes, It is Carl Crawford...

It’s Sunday and I am enjoying my first day off so far this month. My wife is out with her best friend. One of my friends called and asked if I wanted his Rays tickets for today, but wifey has the car so I am “organizing” my cards. This means there are thousands of cards all over the floor. I have about 12 posts half written or partially scanned for 4 different blogs. I haven’t posted anything all day, so here is a quick one-card post. It’s a favorite card of mine, so it’s okay. It comes from 2009 Topps Updates and Highlights and the highlight is the game that Carl Crawford had on May 3, 2009. I was glued to my TV set for every single pitch of that one. James Shields earned his third win of the season beating Brad Penny. Carl Crawford was on base 5 times in 5 plate appearances going 4 for 4 with a walk. He drove in a run and scored 2 more and oh yeah, he also stole 6 bases!!! That is a record folks. Actually it tied a record. Otis Nixon and Eric Young Sr. did it. Hall of Famer Eddie Collins did it too. Collins actually did it twice, in the same season, actually in the same month - September of 1912. The official record is 7 steals in one game. Hall of Famer Sliding’ Billy Hamilton did it 1894. He also batted .404 that year and stole 98 bases. Six is considered the modern record however. The back of the card points out that Crawford and Eddie Collins were the only 2 to steal six while having 4 hits in the game as well. Crawford’s six steals gave him 17 for the season. Jacoby Ellsbury, who would lead the AL in steals in 2009, was thrown out in his lone stolen base attempt. All of Crawford’s steals came against Sox Captain Jason Varitek. The card is #UH179 in the set. I don’t know for sure, but I really hope the picture on the front is from that game. Being under that assumption, this is one of my favorite cards. This now the third version I own of it. The regular base, the gold #ed to 2009 and now the BLACK version. Mine is numbered 42/58. I bought this card for myself as an early Father’s Day gift. I have “black Crawford Topps” as a “saved search” on an auction site, but seldom get an alert. When I saw this one for auction, I HAD to have it. Now if I could just find the platinum version I could finally complete a Crawford Quadrifecta. Thanks for reading! Go Rays! Troll out.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

2008 American League Champions Autograph Quest Part 2-From the Wicked Vault!!!

Okay, here is an awesome card that I have been eager to post for some time. This one came to me in a big (unposted) lot from my buddy Wicked Ortega of the My Past Time I Love It blog. It is a 2007 Topps Triple Threads card of Devil Rays catcher Shawn Riggans. This is one of the coolest cards I own. It is a triple relic swatch including a 2-color patch and it is autographed! It is one of those cards that is really awesome, but you kinda wish it was of someone else... I take that back, Shawn Riggans was an awesome guy. He is missed in the organization. He left this spring when he signed a minor league deal with the Mets, but didn't make the club out of spring training. I think he is a man without a ballclub right now. In 2008 he appeared in 44 ball games for the Rays. He added 6 homeruns. He was the only player to spend the entire playoffs on the roster without appearing in a game. As always I owe a HUGE thanks to My Past Time I Love It! for this great card. I just got another package from him with even more goodies! I promise to scan and post them someday! I posted the autos I still need for this project in the side bar. There are 7 players total. Thanks for reading! If anyone knows where Riggans is right now, please let me know... I will try and post one of these per day, so stay tuned! I posted on the Nitty Gritty today for the first time all week. Check it out! I am tomorrow and will try and schedule a full week o posts. Go Rays! Troll out.

Unclaimed 2010 Topps Series 1 Inserts, Come and Get Em!

Okay, with my want list for Series 1 officially straightened out I have also determined what is extra. I decided not to chase Ticket to Topps Town Gold and have 5 cards-Vlad, Manny, McCutchen, Longo and CC. I also elected not to collect the When They Were Young Cards so Damon, Doumit and Verlander are available. I have Your Mama dupes as of right now-CMT 15, 16, 26, 40 and 42. I also have original back cards of 1978 Nolan Ryan and 2009 Longoria-(these are taken). There are also a couple of History, Tales, Peaks, LL and a whole mess of TTT and one lone Turkey Red of Willie McCovey. I still have about 50 or 75 dupes from the base set. If you want anything, claim in the comments and send me an email. If you can help with anything on my lists, bonus, if not I can help you out anyway... My want list for '65 Topps and 2010 Heritage and Rays team sets are up to date... Go Rays! troll out.

Friday, June 11, 2010

More on 2010 Topps Series 1...

I made a post yesterday about 2010 Topps Series 1, but I posted it prior to updating my lists. The base set is done, Ticket to Topps Town is done and now I have the final Legendary Lineage card in my hot little hands... I don't normal like to post Jeter cards on this blog, but I think the image of Cal Ripken offsets it. I have updated my list now. Sorry bout that. It was an uphill battle, but I need just 4 more cards to finish off Yo Mama. A few more Peak Performances, History and Tales of the Game and a whole bunch of Turkey Reds. Thanks to all who have contributed along the way! Collectable Cards, KC Royals Scorecards, Sign Here and Here, Cards on Cards, Play at the Plate, Roll out the Barrel, reader Ted from Florida and an awesome new blog called Crinkly Wrappers! Hopefully I will post all of the great stuff you guys sent me very soon! Check them out cuz they are awesome! Go Rays! Happy collecting! Troll out.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cesar Izturis is Traded!

No, Izturis wasn't actually traded again. 6 teams in 7 years is enough for him for now... The title is somewhat relevant though. Since your here anyway, read on...Scouring the other blogs you see a lot of folks writing about Topps Series 2. I think most everyone has finished or forgotten about Series 1. I have yet to rip any Series 2. The main reason is that I am pretty broke right now, but also because I wanted to finish off Series 1. I moved through S1 pretty quickly thanks to my fellow bloggers who annihilated my want lists. I declared my set complete long before any of the cards had arrived. When the dust settled, everything arrived and I finally got a binder and some pages for the set I realized that I was one card short. A bunch of people commented that they had card #78 and offered to send it over. I took it off of my list, but the card never came. A few months have passed by with me sitting one-card short of finishing the set. Anyway, Cam from Collectable Cards wrote to me and said he had that elusive card. I told him I had heard that before, but was getting pessimistic about actually getting it. He promised he had the card and would send it and I got together a few cards from his list. I told him all I really wanted was that one card. Anyway, I guess he was pretty happy with what I had sent him because he did send me my most wanted card and a bunch of other stuff I needed. The most famous trade that journey man infielder Cesar Izturis was ever involved in was in 2006 when the Dodgers sent him to Chicago for 300+ game winner Greg Maddux. Our trade wasn’t as epic, but Cesar Izturis is all mine and that wasn’t all I got. I am thrilled to have the book (binder) closed on this set. I owe a huge thanks to Cam for hooking it up! He took some other shots at my want lists, too. I am time deficient right now, so I will only show a couple cards. He sent card #55 of Josh Beckett from 2008 Allen and Ginter. That was another set where my want list progress didn’t match reality. I thought it was done as well, but it turns out I was 12 cards short. Now I am just 8 cards away. If you have #43 of Rickie Weeks, 83 Kobayashi, 95 Garrett Atkins, 238 Todd Clever, 305 Randy Johnson, 315 Tom Glavine, 318 Andre Ethier or 341 of Ty Wiggington, let me know please! Cam also sent 14 cards I needed for 2010 Topps Heritage including this short print, card #464 of Albert Pujols. He hooked up a new card for Joe Kennedy personal collection-this card, #328 from 2005 Donruss Champions. I will end this post with another new card from 2010 Topps Turkey Red, card #TR9 of Josh Johnson. I will try and post the other gems he sent soon. Thanks so much to Cam from the Collectable Cards blog for finishing off my 2010 TS1 set!!! More thanks for all of the bonuses! I have quite a few completed pages and many great trades to post, plus I have that Carl Crawford contest to start, so stay tuned. I love this hobby!!!!!!!!!!!! Go Rays! Troll out.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

2008 AL Pennant Winners Autograph Collection Part 1

I decided a while back that I wanted to collect an autograph of every member of the 2008 Pennant winning Rays team. Every player on the postseason roster, on a card (sticker autos are okay) and in a Rays uniform. I was going to wait until I had the set finished, but I want to get these posted before they win the 2010 Pennant! I still need a couple players to finish this. The list is getting smaller, but I do still need Gabe Gross, JP Howell, Cliff Floyd and Erik Hinske. I thought I would start with Carlos Pena. I own several autographs of his, but this is the first one in a Rays uniform. I suppose this will be post 1 of 25. The card is a 2008 Topps Moments and Milestones, card #MA-CP celebrating Pena's winning of the AL Comeback Player of the Year Award. Go Rays! troll out.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Obsession Continues...

The quest for Carl Crawford 2010 Bowman printing plate domination is on. 2 down, 2 to go! When and if I get the 4th one, expect a LONG and drawn out post about the mechanics of printing and methods of printing with metal plates. Something to look forward to? If anyone knows the whereabouts of the magenta plate, let me know please. Go Rays! Troll out.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

One More For the CC PC

When I first got back into collecting in 2007 I bought exclusively Heritage. One day the shop was out and I bought a box of '07 Topps. That yielded my first ever Carl Crawford card. It was just a plain old base card, but I put it in a screw down holder anyway. I wasn't buying singles at the time and the CC Heritage card was an SP that I hadn't pulled yet. Anyway, it is a really cool shot of him sliding and it has become one of those cards that I can't get enough of. Here is another piece to my Carl Crawford 2007 Topps Rainbow Collection. A Topps Chrome RED Refractor, numbered to 99. I have never pulled a refractor of my favorite team from a pack and the 2008 Hunter Pence black Heritage refractor I yanked two years ago still stands as the only limited refractor I have ever pulled. I really don't care if I ever pull one honestly. This is a new favorite card of mine and it shipped to me for the same price as a hobby pack of 2010 Heritage. Awesome. I have seen it as a BIN in the 10 and 20 dollar range, but I only bid on actual auctions and I got a STEAL (ha!) on this one. Incidentally the Perfect Storm is having a pretty year so far. He is a three time All Star, won the games MVP last year and it looks like he has a shot to start this year. I haven't even cast my 20 votes yet! I think this card will be this weeks blog header, I REALLY like it... By the way... I am ripping and scanning cards for a Pack to be Named Later and I have a question. I have two unopend rack packs. This one of '87 Topps and an '89 Fleer. I hate to rip something I have kept sealed for so long. Does anyone want them to save? I will trade either one for any single card from my wantlists or for a 2007 Carl Crawford Platinum... Go Rays! Troll out.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Rainbow of Gomes and Some Crowning Moments...

Lately, well the past couple weeks, I have received a few boxes (not envelopes) but boxes from my awesome readers. This is picked from one of the 2 two-hundred card count boxes that reader Noah from New York sent my way. I didn't even realize that these rookie cup cards were available in different flavors. I have had the base for a while, but now I have 4 colors of the rainbow. I would assume that there are more and naturally greed has taken over and I want them all. For now I am pretty happy with these 4. Another big group of cards he sent were these 6 different 2005 Donruss Crowning Moment cards. I remember when you had to be a legitimate star to have Dick Perez immortalize you in a Diamond King painting. I love all these players, but some of them are far from being Diamond Kings, at least Joey Gaithright is... The illustrations are really nice though and I really like this set. None of these were painted by Dick Perez, but by artists like Ron Adair who did Brazelton and Baldelli and Ron Stark who did Scott Kazmir. Now I am curious if Carl Crawford or Jonny Gomes appear in this set. If they do, I need 'em! Thanks so much for the great stuff Noah! I look forward to posting up the other goodies. Oh, the Carl Crawford related contest WILL happen. I will list the rules of engagement and prizes this weekend. Oh, as an end note. A few readers, most recently Ted, have sent me cards toward the forgotten 2009 Topps Updates set. I went through the trouble of putting this one in a binder, now I need to finish it off. I am getting close and I posted a wantlist HERE. Thanks again! Go Rays! Troll out.