Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Box Number One - 2014 Topps Heritage - The Results

This box was waiting for me when I got home from work yesterday. I tore into it like no body's business! It has a twin - which I badly wanted to rip, but I promised myself I would post the first box before I ripped the second...

So here goes, my commitment to myself and some of the notable things that came in this fancy box o'cards.

I should note that I had vowed to finish my 1965 Topps set BEFORE I started the '65 version of Heritage. This might be an anti climatic way to announce this - I had a little fan fare planned - but we will take the no frills approach. The 1965 set - cards 1 - 598 are all safe in my binder. I found the final 3 cards I needed online just a few weeks ago. A trio of Hall of Famers. I had been held up on these 3 cards for nearly a year, but I kept on having the feeling like I had one of them already.

Turns out I was correct. I had found a Phil Niekro rookie YEARS ago - long before I even put the cards in the binder. As I was cleaning up the extra bedroom at Christmas time to prepare for some amazing visitors - I found the Niekro/Clay Carroll card I had long forgotten about.

I guess I can start this post off by offering this little slab as trade bait. Card #461.

Anyway, back to cards I actually needed... card#526 featuring Catfish Hunter brought me close and card#250 Willie Mays finished off the journey.

So, what could have been a very long story is over for now and so is my quest for '65 Topps. (Arguably) the GREATEST player to ever play this game, Willie Mays drove home the winning run and provided the final card for my set. With it done, I can start on it's great-great-grandchild - 2014 Topps Heritage, so here we go.

After opening the shrink wrap I was greeted by this wrapper. I had no idea there would be a 50th Anniversary stamped real '65 in here. Nice touch, Topps. I wasn't thrilled with Charlie Smith, but the idea of pulling a Mays or a Mantle (1 in 598 odds?) was pretty darn cool.

After I ripped open the very first pack and saw the back of the first card I wondered if I had a "hot pack" filled with vintage cards. I saw this League Leader card and the blue back was dead-on. Once again, well done Topps.

It took a few minutes before I got much more excited. The first 6 packs yielded no inserts or SPs, but did provide me with cards of four of my favorite players - a really sharp looking Desmond Jennings which came in my second pack and stands as my favorite card in the set so far.

He was followed by one of my favorite non-Rays. Former O's second baseman Brian Roberts.

As a fan of his I am glad he has a job and a chance to be a starter AND to have a big role in Derek Jeter's farewell tour, but man it burns me to see B.R. in pinstripes (or NY road greys)...

Speaking of teams I hate and players I like - my third pack contained card #135 commemorating game 4 of the World Series. Ken Boyer's grand slam was on the original and my man Jonny Gomes' 3 run homer gets the modern one.

My 4th pack had my favorite pitcher in it, Alex Cobb on a fairly blah looking head shot.

It also had my first Rookie Cup card featuring an ultra close of up of Padres second baseman Jedd Gyorko.

Pack number five contained my first look at the World's Largest Vegetarian (I think Robert Parrish is the tallest, but Prince is far larger) in a Rangers uni. I hated to see Ian Kinsler leave TX, but preseason prediction - I think Prince knocks out 40 plus this year.

Another cool card for me was this Rays dual rookie featuring Enny Romero and Tim Beckham.

Both will be at Durham this year, but I think both of them will be playing in St. Pete this fall...

Pack number six had my first SP and my first chrome card as well. The SP was Prince's former teammate, Mr. MVP Miguel Cabrera on the prestigious card #500, formerly occupied by HOF slugger Eddie Mathews. The chrome featured Mr. Met David Wright.

As I finished the box off, I pulled the appropriate number of SP (1:3) high numbers (8) and I pulled 2 chromes (1:14) and 1 refractor (1:27) of Jon Lester.

The box promised a Real One Autograph OR a relic card - I got neither. That was a HUGE bummer. If I pull 2 in my next box I will be happy, but otherwise I feel kinda scammed...

I did get one "hit", a logo variation SP card of Mets inactive phenom pitcher Matt Harvey, these are 1 in 135. Unless someone wants this, it will likely end up on eBay. I will wait a week or so in case somebody needs it, but please get in touch soon with an offer if you do want it. Same goes with everything - I am not chasing any of the insert sets or saving chromes. I am determined to finish this set sooner than later. There are 75 high number SPs and I have 8 thus far, so I will need to do some serious trading.

Back to my ripping... It was Mike Trout who got the honor of Willie Mays card #250.

The standard insert series' all returned this year as well. I got a few of each - New Age Performers, Then and Now and Flashbacks.

I didn't rip any Heritage last year so i don't know for sure if this is new or not, but this year's set included a MLB Draft First Rounders set (1:12) and I pulled 2 of them.

Aside from the short prints the last few packs were highlighted by a pair of former Rays and a trio of current ones.

I ripped pretty quickly, stopping only to put a few cards in penny sleeves. After waiting for what seemed like forever, about 10 minutes after meeting Charlie Smith i had a stack of wrappers and an empty box.
The good news is that now that I have posted this box - I am free to tear into the next one!!!

Thanks for reading! Go Rays!
troll out.
PS. The Rays won again last night, Wil Myers led-off and had 3 doubles. They are down the street in Sarasota today against the Orioles.
PSS. Every insert is available, so hit me up if ya need anything. I will have a wantlist up soon...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Guess What Came in the Mail Today???

It has been pouring rain all day... My guard dog - who is scared of EVERYTHING, especially the sound of thunder, rain, wind, everything... has been flipping out all day. She has been so tense she didn't alert me when the Mail Man dropped by. A few minutes ago I took out the trash and peeked into the mailbox. Three wet letters, all bills. I picked 'em up and started walking back upstairs when I realized that on the back of one of the bills someone has written "package" with an arrow. All jokes ignored - I followed the error and searched for the "package"... Found the package soaking wet, behind the recycle bin. I picked it up like I was rescuing a baby and ran upstairs - very concerned about water damage to whatever I had received...
Let's make this long story shorter...
The box was well packed, the contents were bagged, nothing was damaged.
Inside the box I found not one, BUT 2 BOXES OF 2014 TOPPS HERITAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah, I am pretty psyched... Tune in tomorrow for some details...
Go Rays!
troll out.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

I Have the Best Tan of Any Third Shift Machinist in the World!!!

It was a great weekend of spring baseball in Port Charlotte, Florida. Hung out with my lovely Wife, saw back to back Rays wins over AL East rivals, got a ton of sun and feel really good about MY team being ready for games when it counts in two weeks...
On Saturday it was a split squad game with the Blue Jays. They didn't Joey Bats or Edwin E, so the Rays weren't facing a formidable offense by any means. The Rays had Zobrist, Myers, Jennings, DeJesus and Joyce elsewhere as well.
That said, Erik Bedard didn't do too bad... He still has strikeout stuff, he can still hit 90-91 on the gun, he still can throw a knee buckling curveball on occasion and he can get a ground ball when he needs it. Not great and I don't still don't feel confident about him being our 5th starter (I would prefer Jake Odorizzzi) but it could be worse.
This game was more about the guys rounding out the roster than the regulars and those guys made the most of their chances... With a ton of SEC baseball fans in the crowd, former LSU Tiger star and Rays minor leaguer Mikey Mahtook's first at bat came with the bases loaded and the crowd was screaming "Mikey Mikey, Let's Go Tiger"!. He drilled a pitch over the left field wall. GRAND SLAM. I had good seats, but his smile was so big when he was rounding the bases you could have seen it from the parking lot. The kid was psyched and the fans went nuts.
Mahtook had been sent back to minor league camp a while back, but with a split squad game he dressed as JIC-guy. Actually more than that cuz he got the start, but he really made the most of things. I've watched him play A-ball in Port Charlotte and really like his game - he's still pretty far from being a big leaguer, but he showed that he could tear up bad pitching and make a guy pay for a mistake. Well done Tiger.
Today was more about David Price. My favorite part was his pick-off of Jackie Bradley Jr. There's always something special about beating the Red Sox, too, whether the games count or not. Seeing Price pitch into the 7th, give up a few hits and fan 7 was pretty nice. Watching James Loney at the plate was a show in itself. He's batting over 400 this spring and had 5 rib eyes today. NICE.
Thats all for now. Much more to come... The Price card at the top came from an awesome surprise package from Jeff of 2x3 Heroes. My scanner is non functional right now - when I solve that problem, I will give him a proper post cuz he made my week with all the 2x3 gems he sent my way. Oh - the Longo throwback patch came from him as well. Freaking awesome! Thanks Jeff!!
Go Rays!
troll out.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

Heading to Port Charlotte with the Wife... It's our first game together since the Playoffs last year... Woot woot. Go Rays!
troll out.

On a card note - there was some sort of delay in the shipping of 2014 Heritage - my boxes were shipped to me yesterday and I should have them on Tuesday. Can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Hot Plans for Thursday Afternoon!

I must say I have a number of posts that are ALMOST ready to share...
Right now all I have is an awesome announcement about my plans for Tomorrow... Last minute, but worked out perfect...

Just scored a pair of second row tickets at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida tomorrow. The spring home of the Baltimore Orioles...

The O's will be hosting the Tampa Bay Rays and my Father and I will be attending! I am amped for ANY game, but SO excited  to go to an outdoor, afternoon game with my Dad!!!!

I have no idea what the line-up will be and it really doesn't matter, but it would be neat if David Price spent an inning on the hill...
Go Rays!
troll out
post script / una cosa mas... Dad has agreed to wear a Rays cap - our Father and son outfit is ready to go!

and another thing... on the trading front - I am READY to go! My 1963 Topps, 1964 Giants and 2008 Upper Deck Documentary want lists are updated. I will get to the others soon. My 2014 Heritage boxes should be arriving any day now, so there should be some spare cardboard to trade in there. Also, if anyone is still working on 2013 Allen and Ginter - I have a TON of dupes to trade mail me yer needs list and I will hook you up!