Saturday, May 7, 2022

Redefining an Icon

Two years ago Topps tried to create an art project by getting 20 influencers to give their take on twenty of the most iconic cards Topps has produced over the years. The project was known as Project 2020 and it was very successful despite some people having absolutely zero interest in the project.  

Part of the problem with that project was one of the most iconic cards (1952 Topps Mickey Mantle) Topps didn't have a license to use Mickey Mantle's likeness.  Another part of the failing of the project is not all iconic baseball cards are Topps brands. When we think of iconic baseball cards there are a few others that likely come to mind like the Bo Jackson Score, Ken Griffey Jr 89 UD, and the 88 Fleer FF Billy Ripken.

Thanks to the greatest custom card creator in the western hemisphere, I have a unique opportunity to showcase the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr with a special Collecting Cutch take on the card.  Tanner Jones, the former Jose Canseco supercollector, and known as mouschi on many sports card forums created the below masterpiece.

I had a duplicate Andrew McCutchen patch card that I had won as part of a lot of patch cards that I needed 3 of the 4 cards.  Not having a need for the duplicate card and knowing I wouldn't get much value if I sold just that card by itself I reached out to Tanner to slaughter the Topps Tribute card and create the above masterpiece.  The Star Rookie logo was replaced with the patch of the Topps Tribute card.

The Upper Deck logo was replaced with a Collecting Cutch logo. 

The bat was positioned to be on Andrew's shoulder similar to Griffey's and the treeline in the background was added to mimic the Griffey as well.  I asked Tanner to show an image of Cutch wearing a chain necklace on the back of the card (which you can see below). 

Since Griffey is a lefty and Cutch is a righty, the bats were mirrored.
The back of the card discusses part of the inspiration for the card. 

I think he nailed it.
Here is an image of the duplicate patch cards.  I chose for the "better" patch to be cut up because the yellow matched up with the Star Rookie better.
What do you think? 

What are some of the most iconic non Topps cards?

Friday, May 6, 2022

All about that base, bout that base

Only 1 new Andrew McCutchen card has come in this week.  I told you I was slowing down with the Cutch pickups.

It's the base card from 2021 Topps Big League. I got it for less than $2 delivered.  

Last week I got a big lot of Troy Polamalu careds that pushed me near the 100 unique card lot.  I want to concentrate on only the great insert cards like the Kaboom and Downtown cards I showed off in my last post. I want to focus on unique images before I start venturing down the path of chasing parallels with Troy.  Prizm has included Troy in recent years as a legend player and there are over 30 different parallels to chase of that one image.  Some are great looking. Some aren't.  

Here are a few of my recent favorite base cards of Troy I have gotten including a 2003 UD Standing Ovation rookie. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

May The 4th & Taz

I love pop culture. Not so much stuff today like Fortnite or Pokemon or whatever that Five Freddy thing is, but the stuff from the 80s and 90s I love!!!

I never considered myself a huge fan of Star Wars, but I do enjoy the original trilogy and *parts* of the prequels/sequels. 

Here is a card I have shown off many times before on Star Wars Day.
I wanted to take a moment though to discuss where my current collecting is.  I still plan to pick up as many Andrew McCutchen cards as I can, but I am really looking at streamlining what I am picking up and the prices I am willing to pay.  

5 years ago I would have just paid whatever was needed to grab new Cutch cards, but now I have certain prices in mind for what the card is (base, serial, auto, relic, patch, etc).  

It's a lot more enjoyable this way.
Plus my mailman isn't going to throw his back out with less than 5 new pickups a week opposed to dozens of cards incoming. 

Now, I say all that and have to admit...I am splurging on football cards now more than ever. 

I am looking for Jerome Bettis & Troy Polamalu cards for the collection.  I have close to 500 unique cards of the Bus and am nearing 100 unique Troy cards.
For a brief time, Troy was being called the Tasmanian Devil due to his style of play on the field.

Here are a pair of recent Taz pickups.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Hobby Love?

First I want to invite everyone to follow me on Twitter and Instagram if you arent already.  I used to try and post my pickups here almost on a daily basis, but I am using other social media sites to do the "show & tell" type posts and using my blog for more thought provoking posts.  

I will continue to post here as often as possible, but for the most part have been posting daily on IG and Twitter (@CollectingCutch) fairly regularly for new pickups and the "show and tell" type posts.

Thank you all for the loyalty of this blog over the years.


I was having a conversation with a friend of mine about baseball good versus hobby good versus role model good.

He grew up a diehard Mets fan because of the 1986 team.  I understand that.  The young brash mentality of that team has been well chronicled and many members of that team went on to have roles in film, cartoons, and tv.  That 1986 team had many different types of characters on it and many fans of that team would tell you that one of Strawberry, Gooden, Carter, Hernandez, Dykstra, McDowell, Franco, Mookie were one of their favorite players ever. 

Doc Gooden while nearly unhittable for his first few years in the league was never under serious consideration for the Hall of Fame.  Yet, as proof by the Project 2020 and Project 70 items, Doc is still loved around the hobby and outsiders of the hobby still enjoy his game and cardboard.  Granted Doc Gooden had his issues with substance problems and he may have ruined his chances at baseball immortality in the Hall of Fame due to the character clause, but there is another Doc who had very similar numbers over his career and was a 1st Ballot HOF member and is revered among players and analysts of the game as one of the best ever.

View the Doc comparisons here.
Gooden won only 9 games less and had an ERA difference of 0.13 over his career. Gooden did have slightly more CG and more SHO and more strikeouts while pitching a similar amount of innings.  Gooden gave up fewer hits, but many more walks.  The comparisons of the two Docs is really really close from the traditional stats perspective.  

Halladay doesn't get much hobby love, but got immortalized in the Hall of Fame while Gooden still gets fans collecting his cards despite being dropped from the ballot after only one year.  

We have recently seen the same thing happen with Tim Lincecum, who fell off the ballot after one year, but is still very heavily collected by Giants fans. 

Another curious case are more guys from the 80s like Dale Murphy, Don Mattingly, Darryl Strawberry, Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, and Will Clark. Many of these guys fell off the ballot well before the 10-15 year period they were allowed.

In general the 80s are very under represented in the HOF, yet some of these guys have the most loyal fan base collectors in the hobby.  There are entire Facebook groups dedicated to collecting these players. 

Of course guys like Bonds and Clemens have the accolades to be in the HOF, but the steroid issues kept them out by the writers ballots.

Let's look at Darryl Strawberry.  He was an 8 time All Star, but finished his career with only 1,401 career hits and a .259 batting average. Eric Davis another 80s star had slightly more hits, more SB, higher average, but less HR than Strawberry and gets very little hobby love from what I have seen.  Yet their style of play on the field was similar and they played in the same era.  

Then you can take a player like Steve Finley who blew them both away in terms of traditional stats and he gets no hobby love in modern sets besides maybe 1 brand making him an autograph subject a year.  For a guy with over 300 career HR, over 300 career SB, and over 2,500 career hits his prices are dirt cheap. 

Why is it some players are so well loved in the hobby and others are neglected?  
Is it really because the 1986 Mets were that much loved over the 1990 Reds or 2001 Diamondbacks?

Why do Mark McGwire, Will Clark, and Don Mattingly get all the hobby love from collectors of the 90s, but first basemen like Mark Grace, John Olerud, and Tino Martinez (besides AJ of Lost Collector) of the 90s not get the same love?

As McCutchen is entering the twilight of his career with likely just a few years left before he retires, I am wondering if he will be one of those guys that gets heavily collected still post career or will he be one of those guys that gets no hobby love and few people collect his cards from what once looked like a promising Hall of Fame career.  

Here is a fairly recent pickup for my collection that features a few guys that get above average hobby love (Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, Kris Bryant, Andrew McCutchen).  
How many of them will get immortalized in the Hall of Fame?  Only time will tell...

And here is a card that features a guy that despite winning 2 MVPs before 30, I feel is undervalued in the hobby.
Bryce Harper will likely be a Hall of Famer when he retires despite not being an All Star since 2018.  His rookie card prices compared to prospects is still very undervalued.  Rhys will likely be one of those guys that is a fan favorite, but doesn't get much hobby love.  Alec Bohm may have redeemed himself a little after yesterday's comments.  The book is still very open on him, but he will need to start performing if the Philly Phaithful are to ever demand more his card prices. 

Feel free to leave your comments below and let me know if you follow any supercollectors of guys who likely will not be in the Hall of Fame (any Social Media accounts welcomed as I have started to post on Instagram and Twitter more frequently)

Saturday, March 26, 2022

The Ultimate Lineup Using only Andrew McCutchen cards

After looking at some of the reactions to my recent Dynasty post, I thought it might be fun to do a similar "make a team" style post.  This time however, my team can only consist of players from cards I own that also feature Andrew McCutchen.

Let's start with my bench players:
Tris Speaker and Mike Trout
Reggie Jackson
Miggy Cabrera

Now that I have your attention by claiming 2 of the best centerfielder of all time and one of the best modern day right handed hitters are on my bench, it's time to round out with the best of the rest I have to put on the bench

Javy Baez
Nolan Arenado

Now for the lineup

Rickey Henderson (LF)
Honus Wagner (SS)

Roberto Clemente (RF)
Willie Mays (CF)
Mike Schmidt (3B)

Willie Stargell (1B)
Ken Griffey Jr. (DH)
Jackie Robinson (2B)
Buster Posey (C)
Clayton Kershaw (SP)

Relief Pitchers/Rotation Starters
Jason Grilli
David Price
Andrew Miller

Gerrit Cole
A.J. Burnett
Cole Hamels

So there's my team featuring players to appear on a card with Cutch. I would love to see if any of you can pick a single player in your collection and field a better team using cards of only players pictured on cards with one of your favorite players. If you do a bat around style post, please leave a comment below and share your team. 

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Building the Dynasty from Cutch's former teams

Andrew McCutchen had played for 4 teams over his 13 season career through 2021. 

He has played 1,761 games and has amassed 1,826 career hits which includes a shortened 2019 (injury) and 2020 (COVID) seasons.

Before Cutch's 1st regular season game with the Brewers, I thought it would be fun to look at the best team I can put together using only players from the Pirates, Giants, Yankees, and Phillies.  
I am doing this because I have collected an autograph of Cutch representing each team he has been on via 2021 Topps Dynasty.  Topps Dynasty is a beautiful set. On card autographs, big chunky patches, one touch cases, what's not to love????

This will be a fun exercise, but to avoid putting a roster full of mostly just Yankees All Time Greats though I am making some rules.

I can only select 1 player from that team equal to the number of seasons (even if they weren't full seasons) for each team that Cutch played for. This means that Cutch's 25 games with the Yankees during the 2018 season limits me to select only 1 Yankee to be on my roster because he only played for that team in one season.

My 13 player roster must include one player for each position (1B, 2B, SS, 3B, RF, CF, LF, C), SP, and relief pitcher.  That takes up 10 spots on my roster.  I'm also going to include a DH so I don't have to worry about taking out my starting pitcher late in games and the DH is now a universal rule in both leagues.

Now for the real fun, if a player played for same teams that Cutch played for, all teams count.  This means that if I want to use Barry Bonds for Left Field because he played for the Pirates, I can't use any other players who played for the Giants, so Willie Mays and Willie Mccovey are both out because Bonds played for the Giants and Pirates.  I will have to be diligent about my selections.

The player I select can not have played less games than Andrew did for that team.  This means that if I wanted to use one of the greatest second baseman of all time, Ryne Sandberg, and claim him as a Phillie, I can't.  Cutch played 260 games for the Phillies and Sandberg appeared in only 13 games for the Phillies. 

So here's how the maximum number of players per team will breakdown equal to the number of seasons Cutch played with them.
9 Pirates
1 Giants
1 Yankees
3 Phillies

With a team having to consist of so many Pirates, I wanted to look at the All Time Greats, especially those that played their entire careers with the Pirates.

Let's look at the guys who have statues outside PNC Park first
RF Roberto Clemente
SS Honus Wagner
1B/LF Willie Stargell
2B Bill Mazeroski

That's a good start to the team.  It takes care of my basic infield and a key spot in the lineup with Clemente being a middle of order guy and a perennial gold glove winner.  I will circle back to the Pirates after I knock out some more obvious choices

For the Giants there is only one player I want
The greatest player of All Time

CF Willie Mays
If you wish to argue against Mays being the greatest player of all time, I welcome your challenge in the comments below.

The Yankees have such a deep and rich history I could pick anyone from Yogi Berra to Mariano Rivera to Babe Ruth to Lou Gehrig and everyone in between.  So instead I will skip forward to the Phillies.

Let's fill out our infield with the best 3rd Baseman of All Time, Mike Schmidt.

Schmidt won 3 MVPs over his career along with ten Gold Glove Awards.  He is the most beloved player in Phillies franchise history ahead of notable HOF alumni, Steve Carlton. 

Now as far as pitchers go, Steve Carlton would be an obvious choice.  He started nearly 500 games for the Phillies and won 4 Cy Young Awards.  There is one problem though, he played 6 games for the Giants.  This eliminates Carlton from being used as he played for both the Giants and Phillies and played in less games for the Giants than Cutch did.  Sorry Lefty!

Roy Halladay recently had his number retired by the Phillies and won a Cy Young with the club and pitched a no hitter with them in his first post season appearance.  Unfortunately, Doc doesn't qualify because he pitched in less games than Cutch played for the Phillies.  

If I want to use a pitcher it will likely have to be someone with the Yankees (only 25 games played by Cutch in pinstripes) or be a Pirate or Phillies starter who made A LOT of starts. 

It really is a shame that Carlton played those 6 games with San Francisco disqualifying him from this team I am making.

There is one lefty in the Phillies though had a lot of success with the Phillies, more so than Hall of Famer, Robin Roberts.

I am talking about Cole Hamels
294 games started
3.30 ERA
World Series MVP
Nearly 1,900 strikeouts with Phillies
In addition to those stats he had a better ERA+ and a better WHIP than the HOF pitcher Robin Roberts.

Cole's teammates Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Ryan Howard could all have a place on my team.  I will have to see how the rest of my roster plays out.  I do have one more Phillies spot left on my roster. 

Catchers are thin in the history of the Pirates, I may have to look at other teams.
Buster Posey, Yogi Berra, and Thurman Munson all come to mind. I can't use Buster if I want to use Mays.  Do I really want to use my only Yankees selection on Yogi Berra?  

The answer is no. I am using my ONLY Yankees selection on the ONLY PLAYER TO BE UNANIMOUSLY elected into the Hall of Fame.  

Enter Sandman!
Mariano Rivera is my closer and my only Yankees selection.  This may be viewed as an odd selection since I only get one player to represent the Yankees.  No one dominated as a reliever quite like Mo.  Sure there are guys like Roy Face that won 18 games out of the bullpen for the Pirates, but if I want to ensure the game is won late in the game, give me Mo.

So here's what I have left to use 
1 Phillies
5 Pirates

And here is my lineup thus far
1B Willie Stargell (can also play LF)
2B Bill Mazeroski
SS Honus Wagner
3B Mike Schmidt
RF Roberto Clemente
CF Willie Mays

SP Cole Hamels
RP Mariano Rivera

I still need a LF, C, and DH

For catcher, I'm going with one of my favorite players of the late 90s and early 2000s, Jason Kendall.  Kendall is one of a handful of catchers with 2,000 career hits at the position and because he played his best years on a terrible Pirates team, he is often very under rated.  He was a 3 time All Star and finished his career with more walks (721) than strikeouts (686).  He had a .366 OBP which is a very high OBP for a catcher, higher than Carter, Fisk, and Bench.

As for LF, I'm going to put Ralph Kiner out there.  Kiner hit 301 HR over 8 seasons with the Pirates and is the only player to lead the league in HR for 7 straight seasons.  Kiner also provides another option at 1B.

As for my DH, I'm going with another slugger, Ryan Howard.  Prior to his 2011 postseason injury, Howard put the league on watch and became the fastest player in MLB history to get to 300 HR.  Dick Allen would be a fallback option with his .902 OPS in Philadelphia.

So how would I put this lineup together?

SS Honus Wagner
RF Roberto Clemente
CF Willie Mays
1B Willie Stargell
LF Ralph Kiner
3B Mike Schmidt
DH Ryan Howard
2B Bill Mazeroski
C Jason Kendall

SP Cole Hamels
RP Mariano Rivera

At first glance I was going to move Schmidt higher in the lineup but wanted to split up all the right handed bats (Wagner, Clemente, Mays, Kiner) so I threw Stargell into the cleanup spot.  The amount of HR power the 3-7 spots have without a single Yankee is mind blowing.  

Kendall can restart the lineup from the 9 hole and act as another leadoff option if needed. 

Do you agree with my selections?
How would you put together a roster using a max of 9 Pirates, 3 Phillies, 1 Yankees, 1 Giants? 

Friday, March 18, 2022

Milestones on the horizon?

I just got in a new card for the internet's best Andrew McCutchen collection.  At least that's what I tell myself in regard to my collection.

This is from the February 2022 Future Stars Club, a Topps exclusive set.  This card is part of the upcoming milestones set that focuses on some of the milestones that could be achieved this year.

It is a 5 card set that includes
Albert Pujols (17HR away from 4th all time)
Miguel Cabrera (13 hits away from 3,000)
Yadier Molina (2RBI from 1,000)
Joey Votto (100 games to have 2,000 for career)
Andrew McCutchen (2 SB for 200 career)
It's a pretty neat set that looks at players who have actually accomplished something in their careers instead of constantly speculating like many guys do these days.

Here are some more upcoming milestones for Cutch.
30 HR to get to 300 (hit 27 last year)
2 SB to get to 200 (stole 6 last year)
174 hits for 2,000 hits (likely two seasons away)
67 more RBI to get 1,000 RBI (had 80 last year)

These numbers wouldn't cement Cutch as a no doubt Hall of Famer, but if he got all those accomplishments by the All Star Break in 2023, he would likely stand alone for active players with all those career accomplishments.