Sunday, March 31, 2019

Scripture Sunday Corinthians 15:33


It's Opening Day weekend!!
The above relic card is from 2017 Topps.


Corinthians 15:33
Do not be misled, bad company corrupts good character.

I chose this verse because a coworker of mine recently confided in me that he has been struggling with an addiction.  I was proud to hear that he has chosen to correct this beast that he wrestles with and that he has already relieved himself of the company he had once kept.  Hopefully that is the start of good things to come for him.  I will keep him in my prayers and pray that he gets some good spiritual advice to no longer need that addiction in his life or to be tempted by those he once called his,friends.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Early Season Predictions

I have a bunch of cards featuring Cutch with postseason hardware.

Let's start off with the two most important awards in the league from a personal level.

The MVP Awards
Cutch win the National League MVP award in 2013 as the Pittsburgh Pirates pushed for their first winning season in twenty years.
The MVP Award card you see above is from 2017 Topps.

I am predicting Cutch's current teammate Bryce Harper to win the MVP award.  I know Rhys Hoskins looks like a good choice after the first game, but I think teams will start pitching to Bryce and he will live up to the money he is being paid (at least for this year).  The Phillies will make the postseason for the first time since 2011.

In the American League, I am predicting Mike Trout to win another MVP award because, well it's a safe pick.

As for Team MVP for the Pirates, I think Corey Dickerson will be the first half MVP of the team, but will be traded at the deadline.  I can see Gregory Polanco being the second half MVP for the team.

Rookie of the Year
Well, Cutch didn't win the award in 2009, finishing third to Tommy Hanson and Chris Coghlan.  Cutch was a representative for Topps All Rookie Team though.
Topps has used Cutch for their Rookie Cup and Rookie Trophy cards in recent sets.


National League Rookie of the Year
Fernando Tatis Jr
The fact that the Friars believed enough inbhis ability to be a game changer that they risked an extra year of control says how legit this defensive wiz can be.

American League is loaded with top prospects Vlad Jr, Eloy Jimenez, Kyle Tucker.  I think that Tucker will stand out among the others.

As for the Pirates Rookie of Year, I am going with Nick Burdi.  The Seinfeld Boys (Kevin Kramer and Kevin Newman) are both ranked above Burdi as is their top pitching prospect Mitch Keller.  However, I think that Newman and Kramer will be fighting for playing time with other middle infielders on the Pirates roster.  Keller likely will have to have at least five strong starts in the minors before being promoted.  There will also have to be epic failures by the back of rotation in order for Keller to get a call up.

Cy Young
In the NL, I think Mad Max Scherzer continue to carve up hitters an route to another stellar season.  Blue Eye will strike out 300 hitters for a second straight season.

American League
Cutch's former team mate Gerrit Cole will step up in a big way as he is looking for a monster contract as the top free agent following the 2019 season.

Billy Ripken made a bold prediction that Trevor Williams will be the Cy Young.  I think he will be the team's best starting pitcher for the 2019 season.


Friday, March 29, 2019

Cardboard Cameos: Thhhheeee Yankees Win!

Baseball is back!!!

I am sure that Yankees fans will hear John Sterling's famous Yankees call many many times this year.

This is a cameo card I picked up during the off-season as part of a massive lot of cards I submitted best offers on.

It is, to the best of my knowledge, my only Aaron Hicks card in my collection.  I grabbed it for the Cutch cameo (wearing 26) of course.  The card celebrates Hicks walk off hit that guaranteed the Yankees a Wild Card spot in the 2018 playoffs.

I will have to look at Phillies Topps Now cards all year for Cutch cameos.

On another note, the Pirates blew a 7th inning lead yesterday. 

Thursday, March 28, 2019

It's Here!!!

Opening Day is finally here. At the three o'clock hour, Cutch will be the first batter the new look Philadelphia Phillies send to the plate to kick off their 2019 season.
Cutch didn't make the Series One release, but his card appears in the 2019 Phillies Team set.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Opening Day Inserts

With Opening Day starting tomorrow for 28 teams, I thought I could show off a pair of Opening Day inserts from a few years ago.

Topps used the same picture for the Opening Day Stars and Alternate Reality inserts.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Monday, March 25, 2019

The Lesser Of Rares


I love Topps Heritage.
It combines the current stars of today on designs of yesterday.  Of course there are parallels to chase too.

2013 Heritage had black back Venezuelan variants.  I already had the action variant for the black back which I showed off here.

I finally got the action variant with the standard back.  It goes with the action variant black back and base version with base back.
Action Variants have the 003284 code on back.
The base back has a code 003281.


Sunday, March 24, 2019

Scripture Sunday - Isiah 40:31

I have been very tired as of late and yesterday, the Lord gifted me with a sign that I need to get some rest.

As I was driving home from work I hit the biggest pothole near the stadium where the Trenton Thunder play.  I drove for about a mile when I realized I had a flat tire.

There was no repairing it.  It was toast.

The lack of places that could mount a tire late on a Saturday forced me to take a day off from the exhaustion that has become my life.


Cutch looked tired in this 2017 Archives card as he is sitting down on second base.
You can see Cutch was bearing his cross arm band in the card.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Cardboard Cameos: Celebration Nearly 20 Years In the Making


The image you see above is the end result of a single small trade that started over 20 years ago.

We end with a celebration of Sean Rodriguez returning to the city Pittsburgh, hitting a walk off homerun hours after being traded.  Star centerfielder, Andrew McCutchen, is the blurry object on far right.

He would eventually be getting drenched in a Gatorade bath from a city that loves the Gatorade punching utility fielder.

Pretty cool moment if you click the video...

Did you forget how much he hates Gatorade?

But where did it begin?

Well it began with the last Pirates player to be involved in throwing a no-hitter.

It began with the name brought up in the Brad Pitt starred baseball movie, Moneyball.

Ricardo Rincon was a lefty specialist who bounced around internationally before signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates and breaking into the majors as a 27 year old.  He never started for the Bucs but was on the mound for the final out of the team's combined no-hitter in 1997 against the Astros.

In November 1998 he was traded to the Cleveland Indians for Brian Giles.

Giles went on to become a star in Pittsburgh appearing in 2 All-Star Games while smashing

Once it was time for Giles to get near free agency, he was traded for two more star players who were just prospects at the time.

Jason Bay went on to win the National League Rookie of the Year in 2004 and would be a two time All-Star in Pittsburgh. More on his future with the team later...

Oliver Perez would go on to be one of the top strikeout pitchers in the National League in 2004.

Perez would be part of a trade to the Mets for Xavier Nady who was ultimately traded to the Yankees for Jeff Karstens, Jose Tabata, and Daniel McCutchen.

Bay, like Giles, was approaching free agency and was traded as part of a blockbuster that sent Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers and Bay to the Red Sox.

The Pirates received prospects from both clubs that included Craig Hansen, Brandon Moss, Andy LaRoche, and Bryan Morris.

Moss went on to become an All-Star...in Oakland.

Hansen and LaRoche never met the expectations set on their prospect status.

Morris was a key part of the Pirates 2013 "Shark Tank" bullpen and became one of the better longmen relief arms in the National League during 2013 to 2015.

He was ultimately traded to the Miami Marlins who were struggling with relief pitching in 2014 for a competitve balance draft pick between rounds one and two.

Using the 39th overall pick the Pirates selected Connor Joe, a catcher/third baseman.

Connor Joe who was the pick used for the Bryan Morris trade eventually was traded to the Atlanta Braves for Sean Rodriguez who had worked incredibly hard during the off-season to come back from a car accident that left him hospitalized for an extended peiod of time.

A few hours after hearing the news he was traded he was on a flight to Pittsburgh and winning the game for a team that he loves.

In a post game interview.


So to recap, a left handed specialist Ricardo Rincon was traded for Sean Rodriguez over the course of 20 years of trading and in between there was a few All-Star appearances, a top 5 strikeout leader, rookie of the year, draft pick trades, and a lot of fun memories with all those involved along the way.


Friday, March 22, 2019

Did You Survive The Purge?

For those that aren't familar with the Purge movies, last night to this morning at 7am was the time slot that the Purge movies allow all crime.  I hope this country never does something like that as it completely contradicts my beliefs.

I would like to see our great country fall in love with baseball more.  It is clear that Football is the number one sport.  All the games are meaningful and have implications on the playoff picture.

Baseball is a long season and the games dont seem as meaningful.

That is why I absolutely love the World Baseball Classic every four years.  Meaningful games with a sense of pride for each team.

Andrew McCutchen participated in the 2017 WBC tournament.  He was second on the team with RBI batting predominantly out of the six hole for the tournament.
Juan Rosales has contributed a bunch of 1/1 sketch cards to this blog over the past few years.  The sketch of Cutch taking batting practice in his Team USA gear is one of my favorites, especially with the red and blue background.
Two years ago Team USA defeated Team Puerto Rico 8-0 to capture the Gold Medal.  It marked the first time that Team USA won the tournament.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Hero For a Day

With Ichiro taking his final at bats in his career at the Tokyo Dome today, we are reminded of how historical great he was.  To fans of baseball in Japan and across both sides of the USA from Seattle to New York and down to Miami, he was a hero to those that watched him.

I suspect that my favorite player, Andrew McCutchen, will be remembered in Pittsburgh to a similar stature for the rest of his career, but likely won't be as much of an International star that Ichiro was.

Cutch is a hero to the Pittsburgh and San Francisco communities, but that's about it for now.
This is a unique 5x7 Topps Website exclusive from 2014. 
The back is just plain cardboard

Watch this video about Sean Campbell, a young boy who had a heart monitor put in to regulate his heart before his first bday.
If that didn't make your eyes water, maybe this one will.
Cameron Pittman used the Make-A-Wish Foundation to spend a day with Andrew McCutchen.  After arriving by helicopter, Cutch and Pittman spent the day hanging out.



Wednesday, March 20, 2019

March Madness?

March Madness is just around the corner.  Duke looks to be the front running favorite, but there are sure to be upsets abound.

My bracket has North Carolina winning it all. 

Donruss Optic (the chrome version of Donruss) has been using a parallel called Carolina Blue in their sets over the past few years.

I had to grab the jersey numbered 22/50 from last year's release.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Orange You Glad I Got More To Post

I have over 2,500 unique Andrew McCutchen cards with another dozen or so on the way.  I have shown off some of my favorite "major mojo" hits in the past containing on card autographs, massive patches, and the like.

However, some of my favorite cards to stumble across are color parallels from before Cutch became a Superstar.

For most collectors, the Superfractor is the most seeked out card because of it's rarity.  What I have noticed though is that the red bowman chrome is almost impossible to find though.  The reason for this I believe is that only 5 exist and often they stay in collections rather than test the secondary market pricing.  Everyone onows that the 1/1 will bring instant big bucks.

Not to be outdone by the other color parallels is the orange bowman chrome, which is also very lowered.

With only 25 copies produced (mine is 9/25) the orange really pops in a collection.

I will continue to show off some more cards of Cutch in a Pirates uniform over the next few days, but don't forget to join my contest from St. Patrick's day.  A piece of Fenway Park's Green Wall is the prize.

Monday, March 18, 2019

I Am Groot

Ever since Fuji left a funny comment about my wooden Gallery parallel a few months back, I have been wanting to show off all my wood parallels.
With news breaking over the weekend that James Gunn will once again take up the reigns of directing Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3, I could think of no better time to show off my wooden parallels.


I am Groot
Translation: Below is the 2017 Wood Mini from Allen & Ginter

I am Groot
Translation: This is the standard number version numbered 1/1

I am Groot
Translation: Below is the Short Print Rip High Number Exclusive from 2016
I am Groot
Translation: This is the high number from 2016 Allen & Ginter numbered 1/1

I Am Grooooot!
Translation: Below is my 2018 Triple Threads Wood Parallel Autograph Patch

I Am Groot...
Translation: This is one of four versions available.  This particular one is about his NEW HOME in San Francisco where Cutch quickly was clutch in his first homestand leading the Giants to two walk off victories days apart.


On a completely unrelated note, don't forget to join my contest to get the Green Wall relic featuring Yaz from 2004 Topps Tribute. Its a stunning card.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

FlawLESS Victory Contest

Saint Patrick's Day is here so I wanted to run a contest perfect for a celebration of green.

Here is one of my favorite "green" cards of Cutch.
It is from 2017 Flawless and is the green emerald parallel which features an on card autograph numbered to only 3 copies (!!!!) And encapsulated in a nice one touch case complete with a Flawless sticker.

From 2016 Flawless I have a giant patch of the Jolly Roger sleeve logo on an Emerald card numbered 2/5.


Flawless Victory

Speaking of Flawless Victory
Above is a video of the Pirates clinching their playoff spot back in 2014.

I have a bottle that was used in the champagne showers that evening and it is signed by Andrew McCutchen.
Here is another image of the bottle. I shrink wrapped around the signature so it won't fade over time.

Here is the authentication for the bottle

The Pirates 2014 team was a fun one to root for despite them not advancing very far in the Postseason.   They, like everyone else in the 2014 Postseason, got Bumgarnered. There are a few other reasons though why I can't label it my favorite team roster.

That distinction belongs to the predecessor year, 2013.

2013 was a magical year for Pirates fans.  It marked the end of the 20 year losing streak.  More important though there was a group of men that I watched develop into one of the best teams in baseball.

2013 was loaded with many individuals getting hardware and personal accomplishments.

Andrew Mccutchen was MVP, Player's Choice MVP, silver slugger

Clint Hurdle was Manager of Year

Pedro Alvarez was a silver slugger and HR champ

Francisco Liriano was Comeback Player of Year

Jason Grilli won Reliever of Month twice and was featured on Sports Illustrated

Pirates All Stars included Cutch, Alvarez, Grilli, Jeff Locke, and Mark Melancon.

The team had veterans like Garrett Jones, Russell Martin, and AJ Burnett built around a young core coming into their prime.

We saw flashes of brillaince from rookie "future ace" Gerrit Cole as he won his first 6 games and beat former Cy Young Winners: Tim Lincecum, Clayton Kershaw, and Zack Greinke in his first three games.  My brother got married in 2013 and I made a bet with him that if the Pirates made the postseason in 2013, he would name his first son Cole because of Gerrit Cole.  I love my niece, but am still hoping I get a nephew one day and my brother lives up to that bet.

Even the bench and role players were fun to root for.  Travis Snyder may have been a top prospect a long time ago, but his career never blossomed into superstar.  Still, Lunchbox as he was known was an everyday guy who fans could root for. The same can be said for guys like Mike "The Fort" McHenry and Clint "Journey" Barmes.  I suspect Pittsburgh is the only city that gave Clint a standing ovation as a visiting player in his career.



So here is the contest.
Make a post about a year your favorite team DIDN'T win the World Series.  Be sure to include why that year's roster stood out to you.  Who were your favorite players that aren't superstars? Did any members of that team go on to Hall of Fame careers? Tell as much as you can about that team and any many memories you may have about that year in general.

After you make the post, leave a comment here with a link to your post.  (Please reference my contest in your post)

On April 2nd, 2019 I will hit the randomizer 3 times.  The person at the top of the randomizer will receive...

2004 Topps Tribute Carl Yastrzemski Green Wall Relic card.

I thought with it being St. Patrick's Day, a green wall relic of one of the most historically trophyless franchises (prior to 2004 at least) seemed appropriate.