Saturday, September 19, 2020

Hoping for a New Era of Fun

Pirates have been bad this year.  
That may be an understatement actually.  They're 21 games under .500 through 51 games.  With a record of 15-36 they have a winning percentage of .294.  Extend that winning percentage out to a 162 game season and the team would lose 115 games.

Losing isn't fun, but if some key pieces are in place in the farm system, you can almost accept it.  

The problem is, there's not a lot already in place and the personalities on this team aren't even fun.  Besides Trevor Williams and Cole Tucker, many of the members seem to be introverts and not very outgoing. 

I'm exvited for the new era of Pirates baseball to start and hope that names like Hayes, O'Neil, Gonzalez, Reynolds, Cederlind, and Priester can match the names and excitement that McCutchen, Walker, Alvarez, Cole, Morton, and Burnett brought. 

Maybe Mason Martin becomes the next Pete Alonso and maybe O'Neil Cruz becomes Corey Seager.

I just want some fun again!!!!

This 2017 Lids exclusive Topps card was available for purchasing a New Era hat at Lids.  The card captures a jovial image of Cutch coming out of the dugout.  
The only logo indicating it is a New Era Lids exclusive is at the bottom right of the card under the stats

Oddballs like these and the Utz cards of 2019 and 2020 are fun.  

I wish there were more fun cards like this today like at McDonald's or Wendy's or Buffalo Wild Wings.

At least we have a few sets from Lids and Utz though.

There was also a 2016 New Era relic that Cutch appeared on and these are EXTREMELY DIFFICULT to find.
These cards have New Era listed more boldly on the card are are numbered to only 99 copies.  
The back of the card also talks about how they are found exclusively at Lids stores and made courtesy by Topps and New Era teaming up.  A quick search of eBay shows not only are there no McCutchen relics, but NO relics of any players found on the checklist.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Building a Rainbow: 2016 Panini The National Exclusives

I was challenged yesterday to come up with posts about either butterscotch pudding OR superhero origins.  I am kind of short on time today, but will work on something for the weekend.  

Butterscotch pudding?  Really Fuji????  What the heck!!!!

It has been awhile since I did a post showing off some rainbows in progress.  I thought I would show off my 2016 Panini The National Exclusives rainbow in progress because there is a good chance many of you aren't familar with this release.

Details of the set can be found here.
Collectors would get special foil packs from Panini by purchasing their products at the National Sports Card Convention.  

The set focused on multiple stars and rookies across MLB, NBA, NFL, and international soccer.  Like previous sets, Andrew McCutchen was part of the MLB players featured in the set as he was coming off his 4th consecutive year as a top 5 MVP candidate. 

Base cards were produced with traditional stock, but also produced using a thick stock.  Parallels for both thickness include hyper plaid, hyper foil,  and infinite.  

Above is the infinite parallel.  It looks like circuits on a computer grid and is numbered to only 10 copies.

Above are all the standard thickness cards I have of Cutch.  As you can see I have completed the rainbow for those.  Oddly enough, the serial number for the hyper plaid isn't listed on the back of the card.

You may notice that the serial numbering for this card appears on the top right corner, which is different than all other standard thickness parallels placement of the serial numbering.

The thick stock version has the numbering on the back

Here are the 5 cards I have in my collection for this potential rainbow

I still need:
The Thick Stock versions of the base, hyperfoil, and infinite parallels.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Yello, this thing on?

It's a short post today to remind everyone about my contest as we prepare for the 4th annual Save Second Base event on Collecting Cutch.  I have retconned the 1st annual Save Second Base on my original blog, Pirates Treasure Room, and treating like it never happened.  

As a comic fan, super heroes have their origin stories periodically and new #1 issues are published to set new standards.  

With over 3K cards in my Cutch portfolio, are there any subject matters you want to see me cover and try to connect it to a Cutch card?

I am up for the challenge.
After all, YOLO (You Only Live Once) or in the case of this card I purchased off COMC, yellow.

as in yellow printing plate
of Cutch's 2018 Topps Chrome card.  

Cutch has appeared in a few surprisingly fewer releases this year than I would have expected.  

He didn't appear in Gypsy Queen, Topps Chrome, Topps Archives, and most recently Allen & Ginter.  

He does have a jersey relic in Ginter, but it isnt one of the framed mini relics that Ginter fans really like.  

I suspect that next year will be even worse as Topps seems to be forgetting more and more about Andrew McCutchen because he's not new and shiny like so many other players they push in their products.

Over Cutch's career his baseball-reference Similarity scores compare most to Reggie Smith, Andre Dawson, and Ellis Burks.  I am sure that any baseball fan that has watched any of those three players play back in the day will tell you that they were all fan favorites and stars in their primes.  

It is becoming hard to accept that Cutch's career is coming to an end, but I still get extremely excited when I continue to add cards like the above yellow printing plate to the collection.  

Give me some writing ideas!

Go join my contest!  It ends on Monday

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Is this really high end?

High end sets continue to get more and more extreme as the years go by.  Back in the early 90s, Topps Finest, Upper Deck SP, and Fleer Flair were considered high end.  Today those sets would be considered low end as they focus on only base cards and a few parallels to chase after.  Today high end boxes start at roughly $75 per card (Panini National Treasures) and go up from there where a "box" can cost up to $26,000 for 205 cards (Topps Transcendent). 

Today I am going to look at a pair of high end Cutch cards I have had in my collection for a few years that I was able to get for under the price of a blaster.
The card on the left is from 2015 National Treasures.  We all know that Panini lacks the MLB licensing so there are no team logos on the cards.  The jersey is hidden so that isn't much of a problem, but it would have been nice to cut more of the helmet off so the lack of a team logo wasn't so apparent.  
Each National Treasures box contained 8 cards and had a MSRP of about $600 per box.  On average two of this kind of relic (numbered to 99 copies) could be obtained in a box opening.  For a high end product, I would be disappointed with a boring road grey jersey swatch if I were not a player collector.  The grey swatch does pop against the black jersey, but a spring training yellow, black alternative, or (gasp at the thought of) a prime patch would have worked really well there.

The card on the right features a very similar boring road grey jersey relic on another high end product.  This time it is a licensed Topps product from a set called 2017 Diamond Icons.  
Each box sold for just over $1K and had 10 cards per box.  This jersey relic is numbered to only 10 copies despite being just a plain swatch and that is because Diamond Icons produced only 1 relic per box.  The other 9 cards had autographs on them.  The nice thing about this swatch is that it matches the uniform the player is representing on the card, a road Pittsburgh grey uniform.  

Which plain jersey swatch card looks better? Are cards like this a waste in a high end set like National Treasures or Diamond Icons? Leave a comment below.

Monday, September 14, 2020

The First Save Second Base Prize Revealed

We are nearing October so that means we will be doing the yearly Save Second Base event I do each year.  Much of the concept for the past few years will remain the same, pink (and it's shades) baseball cards will be shown all month long while I highlight a celebrity that can somehow relate to that card.

This year I am going to kickstart things with a beautiful celebrity (and amazing human) that loss her life to breast cancer this year.

Kelly Preston died back in July due to complications resulting from the breast cancer she was diagnosed with only two years prior.

She began her acting career in 1980 on an episode of Hawaii Five-O
She would later star in the 1985 film Mischief
She married John Travolta
Her last Instagram post was a tribute to her husband saying that she and their children love him.  
What a remarkable woman, taken way too soon.

To win the card at the end of this post pimp this contest and say what John Travolta movie is your favorite (there are plenty to choose from).  

I thought about what mine would be (Punisher, Pulp Fiction, Face/Off), but it ultimately came down to Grease.  Grease is such a fun movie with plenty of adult humor, catchy sing alongs, great quotes, and and a memorable cast.  

I guess it helps that my high school girlfriend reminds me a lot of Olivia Newton-John.  Newton-John, famous for her singing and acting, has also battled breast cancer and has had three major battles with it.  

Because Grease is my favorite, I am going to offer up a card that is based on the year that Grease took place to kick off the Save Second Base event.

This Topps Project 2020 drawn by Ermsy is based on Bob Gibson's 1959 rookie card.  Ermsy was an artist that I considered buying all the project 2020 cards for, but the Trout continues to be one of the most expensive cards the set has produced so I cancelled that plan.  
If you want a chance to win this card, leave a comment below with a link to your blog post talking about a John Travolta movie you liked and mention that John's beautiful wife lost her battle with breast cancer and that we all must work to raise awareness for a cure.  I will randomize the entrants on September 21st so you only have 1 week to get those posts ready!

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Scripture Sunday using serial numbers

I thought I would do something a little different today using a serial number on a baseball card to come up with today's bible verse.

First up the card
This is the 2019 Bowman Chrome National Exclusive gold parallel.
Cutch is wearing his famous armband with the cross on it as he connects with his swing.
The serial number is 44/50

Today's verse
John 12 44:50

44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life.  So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Blogging Friends Power Activate

I still don't do a lot of social media.  I don't have a Snapchat, only update my facebook status maybe once a year, don't share videos on YouTube, and have exactly 2 pictures on my Instagram.  This blog is pretty much my only digital footprint I leave regarding my hobby.  

Well, the blog and Twitter that is.  I joined Twitter in June 2019 and have already added some very impressive cards to my collection including a few high end 1/1s.  

Thanks to being on Twitter, my blogging buddy, Daniel of It's Like Having My Own Card Shop was able to message me quickly regarding an Andrew McCutchen jumbo patch he saw for sale on Facebook Market.  I made arrangements with Daniel in a matter of minutes and the seller of the card agreed to sell it to me.  Were it not for Twitter and Daniel's presence on social media, I wouldn't have been able to add this to my collection. 

A few days after messaging Daniel via Twitter, this was in my mailbox.

That is my first jumbo patch of Cutch in a Phillies Jersey and it's a beauty numbered to only 5 copies.

Thank you Daniel for setting this up and the great friendship you've provided over the years with rare Cutch sightings.