Wednesday, April 26, 2017

April 26: This Day in Cutchstory

A year ago today, Cutch blasted three HomeRuns to help the Pirates beat the Rockies 9-4.

Here's the Topps Now card from last year highlighting the feat

And here are some other cards that mention Cutch joining Hall of Fame Pirates Alumni Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, and Ralph Kiner as the only Pirates to ever accomplish the feat.

To say Cutch isn't one of the greatest Pirates ever would be a huge injustice to the career of Cutch.  He made baseball relevant again in Pittsburgh.  Sure players like Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez, AJ Burnett, Francisco Liriano, and Russell Martin all helped, but it was Cutch who was a top 10 player in the league for a 4+ year stretch that made them become a playoff team.

Let's hope he can get his form back and lead this team to a playoff push.  The team has been in almost every game this year, only getting beat badly once.

The starting pitching has been strong and the bullpen despite giving me minor heart attacks has done it's job. The offense needs to take a step forward to remain relevant though.  The Pirates were 5 games under .500 on this date in 2014.  They went on to be a playoff team.  It has happened before.  It can happen again.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A 1/1 Signature

Having nearly 1,700 unique cards of Cutch I am now looking for any inscription cards that appear to be different than other autographed cards by the former MVP winner.

I have been slowly buying another collector's Cutch inventory.  This was one of the main cards I was interested in.

It's not numbered but an inscription like that makes me think that not many are out there like this.  Only one has popped up for sale in the past 5 years and it was sold to the guy I bought this from.

The back is exactly the same as the standard autographed version.
After the embarassing game yesterday, the Bucs could use some cheering.

Let's Go Bucs!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Clemente vs Cutch Heritage comparison Pt 1

Over the years, Topps has used Heritage to bring the current stars of the game on designs from the past.

Cutch has appeared using the same numbering as Pirates Legend Roberto Clemente a handful of times.

I want to preface these segments and state that I do not believe that a single season of Cutch can take away from the greatness of Roberto Clemente's life or his baseball career.

Each of these Heritage comparisons will take a look at a card of Cutch and compare it to the design's original numbered card.

I am going to start with the 2014 Heritage release because of all the parallels I have.
The 2014 Heritage card release is based on the 1965 design.

Cutch's 2014 Heritage card is numbered 160 the same as Pirates Legend and Hall of Famer, Roberto Clemente.

To pay homage to the original Clemente Topps even made a super short print error variant to recognize the misspelling of Pittsburgh (Pittsburfh) on the back.

As will be customary for these Heritage Comparisons I will take a look at the standard counting stats typically found on the back of a baseball card for the players previous year.

Slash Lines
Clemente in 1964 went .339/.388/.484 for an .872 OPS
Cutch in 2013 went .317/.404/.508 for .952 OPS
Advantage Cutch

Plate Discipline
Clemente had a 1.70 K:BB rate (87:51) during his 2nd batting title run in 1964
Cutch's MVP season showed one of his best career rates when he had 1.29 K:BB (101:78)
Advantage Cutch

Extra Base Hits (XBH)
Clemente had 40 doubles, 7 triples, and 12 HR in 1964
Cutch had 38 doubles, 5 triples, and 21 round trippers
59 v 64
Slight advantage Cutch

Runs Scored and Runs Batted In
Runs scored and RBI are based on who hits in front of you and who hits behind you.
Clemente scored 95 runs and drove in 87 in 1964.
Cutch scored 97 runs and knocked in 84.
It was almost a draw (182 v 181), but a
very slight Advantage goes to Clemente

Hardware and awards
Clemente won his 2nd Batting Title, 4th straight Gold Glove, and was elected an All-Star
Cutch won the MVP award, his 2nd straight Silver Slugger, and was elected an All-Star
Advantage Cutch

I hope you enjoyed the comparisons made based on the Heritage and original design numbering.  I will continue to do these segments if there is enough interest in them.

Now I will show off the parallels I have for all my 2014 Heritage cards.

First up are the black retail exclusive border with the black chrome /65 border below it.

Now from top row Base & Logo Variation
Middle Row Chrome & Purple Chrome
Bottom Row WalMart Blue & Pittsburfh back

The only variations I need are Superfractor 1/1, Gold Chrome /5, Refractor Chrome /565, and Topps Vault Blank Back 1/1,

Please let meknow what you think of these segments.  Are they are a cool and fun idea to look at cardboard?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

An oddball is added

Herodecks offers fun caricature designed playing cards of your favorite athletes, celebrities, etc.

I was given Steelers and Penguins ones for Christmas a few years back, but my true sports love is the Pirates and baseball.  Thanks to some eBay bucks I still had, I decided to finally grab the Pirates one.

The cover features 3 very memorable outfielders of the Bucs.

Inside, the playing card suits are broken down by the eras they played.

Cutch and the millenium Pirates (2000-current) are spades.

Some of the other eras you can figure out by looking at a few of the cards below.

Sorry Matt, no one can draw Bob Walk.  His majestic look is no match for card games.

The Poison brothers and the Pittsburgh Poison Takers can be seen below.

If you are into oddball cards, look at these hero decks to add to your collection.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Derek Jeter!

Being a New Jersey native, I have had the pleasure of seeing future Hall of Famer play a few times.  I recently saw that Bald Vinny, key contributor to the Bleacher Creatures in New York is getting an autograph card when Archives hits.  I don't like that at all.  I bring this up because everytime I hear Derek Jeter's name I think of those chants at Yankee stadium.

Derek Jeter
Derek Jeter

The Pirates have a home series against the New York Yankees this weekend that I hope they can win.

I don't have any dual autos or relics of Cutch with current Yankees players (besides a Jacoby Ellsbury in a Red Sox uni quad relic with Cutch, Jones, and Trout) so I am forced to show off a card I recently snagged off eBay.

It's the Derek Jeter 2015 Prizm parallel.  These are insanely hard to come across.  As a matter of fact, only the Jordan Zimmerman, Cole Hammels, and Dee Gordon ones are for sale on eBay and COMC as I type this.

Mine is numbered 1/2 and I know who has 2/2.  I won't ever be able to get that away from him though as he also has the Black Infinite 1/1 to complete the rainbow.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Harpooned A Sex Whale!

Ever since I let the last 2012 Bowman Platinum Hexagraph booklet escape my clutches, I have been asking Bob Walk The Plank if he would ever part with his.

Only 10 exist and while they don't feature any big time hobby names, the card does feature World Series Champion Javier Baez.  Javy is my girlfriend's favorite player because she likes the passion he plays with and the way he showboats.

The card features a top draft pick of the 2011 draft along with some of the top players (at the time) with the same team.  The Cubs Starlin Castro is teamed up with Baez.  The Nationals Ryan Zimmerman is teamed up with Anthony Rendon and the Pirates have Cutch and rookie Josh Bell.

Far too often with cards like these you get a couple guys that didn't even make the majors or only got a cup of coffee.  This card looks to have some fan favorites that will last in the memories of those franchises for years to come.

Ryan Zimmerman was the first Nationals draft pick EVER and is having a good start to the season.

Cutch could be a borderline Hall of Famer if his career continues the way it started.

Castro is a 3 time All-Star and a singles hitting machine.  He started his career early enough that collecting 2,500 career hits shouldn't be out of the question.

The book has just been opened on Baez, Bell, and Rendon so there is plenty of time left to see how those young men's careers turn out.

Looking back at the 2011 draft it would have been nice to get Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley paired on this card, but it seems like they were going for a National League look with only position players.

This card is a huge get for my collection.  The seller was very patient with me getting the funds together to send him payment past the 5 day period.

I was nervous that it would take a very long time for the card to arrive since it was coming from New Zealand.  In only six days I received this six player autograph booklet that has been a whale for a few years.

Fun fact: the New Zealand accent makes six sound like sex.  Thus I got my sex whale title.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Rainbows and Sparkles

As a predominantly only player collector now my main focus is to complete rainbows.  I am still working on getting a complete NEEDS list but here's my 2014 Topps flagship #150 cards I have.

The main card of this bunch is the sparkle variant that you can see on Cutch's helmet by his neck.

Another of the variants is the photo variant where Cutch is doing the Zoltan sign used by the Pirates in 2012-early 2014 when a player would get a key hit.

Other parallels include the retail exclusive yellow/green and red/blue parallels.

Some others are the Red Hot Foil

And the Power Players online redemption code

Some of the parallels I need for this are the Gold /2014, Black /64, Pink/50, and Camo /99.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Range of Emotions

Yesterday was a test for my Pirates fandom.  Starling Marte, star outfielder for the Pirates, was suspended 80 games for using a performance enhancing drug known as Nandrolone.  At first I was upset, thinking that Starling was innocent and somehow something must have been slipped in a protein shake or something and he didn't know about it.

In terms of the Pirates season, I wasn't too worried because Adam Frazier has been hitting great lately and needs a place in the everyday lineup.  When Marte got hurt in 2014, Josh Harrison came out of nowhere to become an All Star and help get the Pirates back to the postseason.  Maybe Frazier can do the same thing this year.

My feelings towards Starling and his innocence changed when I realized that the substance he took is an injection drug.  That doesn't happen accidentally.

I wish nothing bad to happen to Starling's career, but am hoping that this gets the front office to recognize the importance of Andrew McCutchen and the role he played to get this franchise to become a respectable baseball team again.

It seems like because of a sub par season, the marketing of the Pirates changed from being Cutch's team to being Starling as the franchise face.  Even the Topps Team Sets sold at PNC Park had Starling as the cover this year.

If the Pirates struggle during Marte's absence we could see a fire sale at the trade deadline with several players only having a few years left of control (Cutch, Cole, Jaso, Harrison, Watson, Hudson, Bastardo to name a few).  The next 80 games will certainly be interesting.

Here are my Cutch cards with Starling Marte.  Last year I decided to purge a few of my high end Marte cards to solely focus on Cutch.  I still have almost 200 unique cards of Starling, but his recent actions make me wish I had gotten rid of more to pick up more Cutch cards.

This card arrived yesterday just a few hours after the news broke.  It's my only 2017 relic of Marte and Cutch together as I missed out on a handful of the Quad Relics from Heritage featuring Cutch, Marte, Polanco, and Stargell.

The Cutch relic is from a 10-0 victory over the Marlins on 5/30/16 in which he batted 1 for 5 and scored a run.

The Marte relic is from an 8-7 Pirates victory over the Angels on 6/4/16. Marte raked at the plate going 3 for 4 with a single, double, triple, and his 18th Stolen Base of the year. He also scored 2 Runs in the game.

This is another fairly recent pickup and features two guys who will likely miss half the season (or more) in Marte and Kang.  The card features awesome patches for everyone except Jung Ho.

My very first relic featuring RunPMC together is an unlicensed Panini card

I included a scan of the back because it actually has a writeup

A pair of Triple Threads "Guarding the Alleys" featuring Polanco, Marte, and Cutch

I wish this card had better jersey pieces like the 2017 versions had.

And finally some more standard Museum cards with boring jersey swatches except the Alvarez patch

This one provides us with a nice Cutch patch and ....Gregory Polanco's pants?

Before Topps started to put the authentication stickers on items regularly (Strata, Tribute to name a few) these cards that featured authentication stickers were highly sought after cause it proved they were game used.
The above Gregory Polanco swatch is from his Pittsburgh Crawfords pants worn on June 28th which was a 5-3 Loss to the Royal Giants (NY Mets) as part of a Negro League Heritage game.  Polanco went 0-5 with 2 strikeouts

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I'd like to buy a vowel

Normally when I show off a letter nameplate patch, I show off the image of Katy Perry in an Elmo shirt from the Saturday Night live skit.

Today though, I'm going old school with Wheel of Fortune.

I needed a vowel.

So I bought an "E"

This is my 20th 1/1 letter patch of Cutch.

It's my first grey away jersey letter nameplate I own.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Superstar Impressions

Are you ready to be impressed?

I recently got this gold 2013 Prizm Superstar parallel numbered 6/10

It goes well with these
Are you impressed by my Cutch collecting commitment?

Joe Maddon is impressed according to the back.

I wonder if he is still impressed that Cutch had 2 game winning RBIs in the series sweep of the defending champs.

I am continuing to cross off some of the older parallels needed for my collection and realize I need to make a needs list.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

They're at it again

I've been showing off a lot of Cutch and JHay pairings since I created this blog.

You can see them by clicking here.

A few days ago I got in a couple of bubble mailers with some cards I had ordered off eBay.  I will be saving the higher end pickups for a later post, but these two cards were welcomed additions to the Cutch PC.
2016 Topps Black and 2015 Topps Gold

Yesterday they both homered to give the Pirates a series Win against the defending World Series Champs.  They're looking for the sweep today.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Remembering Jackie Robinson

One of the greatest men to ever play professional sports broke the color barrier 70 years ago.

Andrew has stated in numerous interviews that Jackie Robinson was an influential icon and he has been imitating his homerun celebration since watching the movie, 42.

Here is all my Cutch cardboard referencing Jackie Robinson

Panini has been recognizing Jackie for years with both their National Treasures and Prizm releases.

The thing I like most about the 2016 release is that it specifically what day the material is from.  That's a nice touch by Panini.

The 2015 version....doesn't offer the same guarantee.

Prizm was the best looking unlicensed card release for a few years.  The color parallels have been a lot of fun to chase.

Because it's Jackie's 70th Anniversary, Topps has finally decided to aknowledge the player that paved the way for some of the finest athletes to be household names in our culture.

Topps just released a Throwback Thursday series of cards exclusive to their online store. The set has several players discussing how they pay tribute to Jackie. I have placed an order to acquire it.

And for the purpose of recognizing that all players wear #42 every April 15th here is a Topps Triple Thread Unity Relic where Cutch is wearing the retired jersey.