Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Finding Value in Lil Lots

My girlfriend and I sometimes go to Big Lots to get value for our dollar, but I have been getting pretty good value on purchasing little lots of Cutch cards on eBay recently because of Cutch's continued struggles at the plate.

Often times lots of Cutch cards don't do me much good as I normally have 75% or more of the cards listed in the lot.  This lot was for 3 cards all of which I needed.

You can see the 3 new additions to the Collection below.

2017 Bowman Green /99
2016 Optic /199
2016 Optic Diamond Kings /25 (Christmas edition)

I won the lot with a winning bid of $5.  The Black Optic Diamond Kings is a card I have seen go north of $15.

The announcement of the winner of my contest will be held tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Walk It Off!!!!

The struggling Andrew McCutchen hit a line drive opposite field Home Run yesterday for a Walk Off Winner against the Diamondbacks.  It was Cutch's 6th Walk Off HR of his career, a Franchise Record tied with Hall of Famers Willie Stargell and Ralph Kiner.

I was hoping that the card was made into a Topps Now card as there were some other pretty memorable events yesterday too (Astros scoring 11, Benches Clearing in San Fran, David Price 2017 debut, Adrian Beltre 2017 Debut, another Aaron Judge HR, Hunter Renfroe Grand Slam, etc)

Thankfully Topps is making it into a Now card.
 I took a screenshot of it and will show it again once I receive it in person.

There is only a little over an hour to join my contest.  I will random off the Biggio Dynasty tomorrow.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Flava Flav!!!! Cross off these 2 rookies!

I have been adding some of the harder to find early Cutch cards to my collection recently.

To make a pun of the collection this year, it's been a bit of a Cutch22 (catch 22) adding the cards.  Because of Cutch's near Mendoza level batting average (.213 entering today) his card prices have dropped substantially over the past year.  This is good for adding cardboard of my favorite athlete of the past decade.  It's bad because well....he's my favorite athlete of the past decade.

Recently two of his more expensive rookie cards 2009 Bowman Sterling were ending around the same time.  The price on the refractor has typically been in the $25-$35 range since 2012.  The gold refractor (/50) has been in the $50+ range since that time.

I managed to grab both the refractor and gold for $25.
Reading the back of this card made me laugh.

Thanks for everyone who entered my Top 10 contest.  There is still some time to enter!
Remember the top prize is a Craig Biggio Topps Dynasty autograph patch card.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Won it for under a buck

Sometimes it's good when a player you collect is struggling.
You can end up getting great deals like this.

2009 Turkey Red BGS graded 9.5 rookie card

Winning bid $0.99
With shipping it was still less than $5.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

1/1 Sketch Card Interview: Juan Rosales

These type of posts always seem to be some of my favorites.  Before jumping back in to the sports card hobby, I used to collect a bunch of comic books.  I had nearly every issue of X-Men, Daredevil, and The Flash dating back to the 1960s.

Over the course of time I began to collect original artwork used in the production of the comics and would commission artists at comic book conventions to draw some of my favorite characters.

That fad eventually wore off for me as I began getting back into sports cards.  However the itch is still there per se so I have been picking up sketch cards of my favorite athlete, Andrew McCutchen.

Some are pack pulled cards.  Some are personal sketch cards (PSC) and some are artist proofs.

For those that don't know an artist proof is a blank sketch card not inserted into packs that the artist who worked on the series for the manufacturer (Topps, Leaf, etc) was given as a method of payment and contribution to the set.  Often times the artist proofs are sold as commissions by the artist.

I was fortunate enough to come across an eBay auction that Juan Rosales was doing for artist proofs of Leaf's Best of Baseball.

Through a few quick emails and some reference material, I was able to communicate to Juan what I was looking for.

This is the result.

Here is the reference image I gave him
As you can see Juan was able to add some of the Pirates home lettering to the card to make it even more special.

I chose the image above for Juan to use because all my other Cutch sketch cards have him with his trademark dreads during his MVP seasons.  I wanted to show some of his swagger that (I thought) he still had left in his approach at the plate.

As is customary when I get a new sketch card I reached out to the artist to try and get some questions answered.

CC: What got you into drawing?
JR: I always liked doodling when I was younger, and once I reached high school, I got serious about taking art classes and refining my skills. High school is really where I built my foundation. I stopped drawing once I reached college and didn't take it up again for another 12 years or so, but once I started drawing again, everything came back to me. Now it's something that I devote a lot of time to.

Where did you study at/grow your craft? 
The only formal training I have is through my high school. I took art classes each year, joined the Art Club and even lettered in Art.

Your deviant art site shows that sometimes you collaborate with your wife.  Did art bring you two together? 

Not initially, but once we realized that we both had some degree of talent, we started encouraging each other and working on projects together. 

Your art style is extremely realistic.  When you aren't doing commissions or working for card companies, do you have a more stylized comic book style that you like to dabble in? 

I don't. I've never been a comic book fan, and I've never had an interest in drawing in that style. Many of the artists I personally who DO create comic-style art are very talented, but it has never grabbed my interest.

I read that you are a Pantera fan.  What's the better album in your opinion, Vulgar Display of Power or Cowboys From Hell? 

First, Pantera is my all-time favorite band. Asking me to choose my favorite of these two albums is impossible. One day, I might be in the mood for one album, and the next day the other album will be on my playlist. I will say, though, that Cowboys From Hell does a great job of showcasing Phil's early vocal talents, when he was regularly using a higher voice in some of their songs. And Vulgar showcases their artful progression into a much heavier sound. Their 3 classic albums (these two and Far Beyond Driven) are three of my all-time favorite works from any artists in any genre.

You do a lot of athlete commissions. Do you have a favorite team/player? 

Baseball is my favorite sport, and I grew up a big Rangers fan in the Dallas area who idolized Nolan Ryan. After living in San Antonio for the past 20 years, however, I really don't follow the Rangers anymore, as the Spurs are pretty much my one and only team. I'm a die-hard Spurs fan who absolutely loves Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker (as do most people in SA). Baseball will always be my favorite sport, but I'm more of a fan of baseball history these days. Aside from reading summaries online, I don't follow the current game.

If someone was to make a movie about your life, what would it be called? I have no idea! I'd probably pay someone else to come up with a title, to behonest

Thank you so much Juan for taking the time to answer these questions and for drawing such a kick ass commission artist proof.

Juan can be found online at his deviant artsite and still has some Artist Proof commissions available through eBay.  If you decide to get a sketch from him let him know that Brian from Collecting Cutch sent you.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Team MVP?

Since his MLB debut in 2009, Andrew McCutchen has been the Pirates Team MVP according to WAR. Last year he struggled to produce his All-Star level and MVP level numbers. Many suspect this was due to him playing through injuries, batting in a different spot in lineup, playing out of his comfortable deep center field position.

The Pirates are starting to go back to a youth movement and create a new core for the Pirates future.

Gone are the days of callups like Garrett Jones, Cutch, Neil Walker, Jose Tabata, and Pedro Alvarez.

The team has focused on their international scouting a lot since Neal Huntington took over.  The first Korean born position player (Jung Ho Kang) made his debut in 2015 along with the first African born player (Gift Ngoepe) in 2017.

The new core will likely feature many international players going forward in 2018 and beyond.  Gregory Polanco, Starling Marte, Gift Ngoepe, Alen Hanson, Felipe Rivero all will likely compete with Josh Bell and Adam Frazier for the Team's MVP name going forward.

I think with Cutch batting only .200 his time as Team MVP is over.

And it saddens me...

Prizm 2013 spotlights Cutch's incredible 2012 season, which unfortunately ended with a rough September.  The drop off of Cutch's production likely cost him the batting title, MVP, and the Pirates Post Season hopes.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The 7 Samurai: My 7 Superfractors

I have been rewatching an anime from the early 2000s recently called Samurai 7.  It is loosely based on the old black and white movie, the Seven Samurai from 1954.  I tried once to watch the original live action film, but never got into it.
The anime under the name Samurai 7 drew me in like a flailing nunchuck though.

Has anyone watched an old anime series (or cartoon series for that matter) and researched it many years later admiring the intricate details placed in the creative process of it?

I can't get enough of watching this show again for the first time in a decade.

Because of my revived love for the anime, I thought it would be a goodtime to show off my 7 Superfractors

Here they are in order of release year.

2009 Bowman

One of my favorite cards as noted in my contest which IS ENDING SOON...

2009 Topps Chrome

I believe this may be a proof, but despite not having the 1/1 stamp Topps representatives have assured that it is the true Superfractor

2015 Topps Chrome Gallery of Greats

This insert series is beautiful.  It was the first ever complete rainbow I ever made and my very first Superfractor.

2016 Topps Chrome

I completed this rainbow recently.

2016 Tribute

Another rainbow that is nearly completed

2016 Finest

The color parallels for Finest in 2016 really popped.  The Superfractor did NOT.

2016 Topps Chrome Perspectives

Take a beautifully photographed insert set and add 1990s Microsoft Paint effects to it and you got Perspectives.  The inserts received the Chrome parallel treatment which included the Superfractors.  Unfortunately, the darkness of all these Perspective cards as many are night time cards don't do much to the eye for the Chrome version.

I will always be on the hunt for more Superfractors, but always have a price in mind when acquiring them.  I will NOT pay $600+ for a current release.  That's just stupid.  I could get a Clemente Rookie for that price.

I will end with this video of the opening to Samurai 7.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Bazooka Joe makes me want to....

I recently grabbed this 2010 National Chicle variant (Bazooka Joe back).  It got me thinking, how many more variants do I need?

With over 1,700 unique Cutch cards in my collection I am still at less than 50% of cards produced.  Ever since Topps started producing 2+ additional copies of every card exclusive to their store (5x7s and Gold 5x7s and 16x20s) my goal of getting a complete collection of every non 1/1 Cutch card has become almost impossible.

I don't mind chasing different backs like the one seen above.
I don't mind chasing different borders and color parallels.

But Beckett is now saying if you want to Supercollect a player you have to have these 200+ 5x7 cards in your collection.

Fuuuuuuuuuugettabout it!
Me and Bazooka Joe say no no no!
I want simpler times.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

All 80 of my Printing Plates

I was starting to organize my cards into my new Custom Case I showed off Tuesday and laid out all my cards into categories and sub categories.  Among them were all my 1/1s.
I started to organize my plates and put them by color to see if I have any colors I have a significant amount more of.

What I discovered which is completely unintentional was that I actually seem to grab them in fairly equal amounts.

Here's the breakdown

Black 16
Cyan 21
Yellow 20
Magenta 23

Not too bad.  I have an autograph printing plate for Black, 2 Cyan, 2 for Magenta, but 0 for Yellow.

The only plate not pictured above is my 2005 Topps Chrome Cyan Printing Plate Autograph.

I showed it off in my top 10 cards for my contest which is still running for another 10 days.  Be sure to join the contest for a chance to win a Craig Biggio Topps Dynasty Autograph Patch.

Friday, May 19, 2017

English Indie Rock Tunes are stuck in my head

Have any of you ever opened up a package and upon opening it you break out into song and dance?  Well that is what happened  when I opened up and saw this.

Ruby Ruby Ruby Ruby! 
Do ya do ya do ya do ya
Know what you're doing, doing to me
Ruby Ruby Ruby Ruby!

The death of Chris Cornell has caused a great void in my musical pleasures.  Ever since I was 10 years old I listened to everything that Chris was affiliated with.  While going through the radio stations the other day I came across this band from England and now I can't get this song out of my head.

I don't even really like the song.  It's just so damn catchy.

I have many 1/1s of Cutch in my collection. Superfractors, Bowman Red Papers, Printing Plates galore, Patches, Logoman, Bat Barrels, Bat Knobs, etc

But one thing I didn't have in my collection was a Ruby parallel of the Triple Threads base set.....until now.

Ruby Ruby Ruby Ruby!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Classic Cutch

Yesterday's post was very dark and pessimistic.  In all my years of being a Pirates fan in the Huntington era I always wanted to trust the process and believe in Neal.

I am still not sure what will happen come the last day of July, but announcer Joe Block reminded us fans yesterday that as recent as 2014, the Pirates had a sub .500 record of 7 games on this same date that year.  They would go on to have the 4th best record in the senior circuit and gain home field advantage for the Wild Card game.  Unfortunately, that was the year of Bumgarner's post season heroics and he would throw a complete game shutout.

I watched the Pirates game last night and came away with these three things.
1)Gerrit Cole is a freak and very under rated pitcher.  He could bring back a massive haul if traded.
2)Adam Frazier is a great leadoff hitter for this club and should find some way to be in the lineup every day.
3)Cutch looked like classic Cutch out there as he batted 2 for 4 with 2 RBI and 2 stolen bases.  His 2 outs were hard hits at 'em balls to third base and centerfield.  The hot shot to third looked like it could have been a double play off the bat, but Cutch was hustling down the line like he used to so he wouldn't get doubled up.  The last time Cutch stole 2 bags in the same game...2014.

Cutch has always been a slow starter each year.
Once the weather warms up though, WATCH OUT!

Could last night's game have triggered a hot streak for the Pirates?

Will Cutch return to MVP form now that the weather is warming up?

Tune in today
Saaaaaaaame Bat Channel (ROOT sports)

Neeeeeeew Bat Time (12:35pm)

Today I wanted to show off an older bat relic in my collection while making a reference to the 66 Batman.  I don't have many bat relics of Cutch, certainly none that tie into a 1966 Batman theme.  The 1975 mini from 2011 Lineage was the closest I could get.

Topps hasn't produced many bat relics over the years, but Panini certainly has.  Cutch has had bat relics in National Treasures, Diamond Kings, and Donruss releases in the past two years.

I am starting to branch out my super collection of Cutch to include HomeRun tickets.
Here's one from 6 years ago today.
It was Cutch's career HR #36.  It also happens to be a Charlie Morton complete game victory.

Currently these are the tickets I have of significant Cutch moments.

June 4, 2009 MLB Debut
August 1, 2009 3 HR Game vs Nationals (HRs 4,5,6)
April 17, 2011 HR @ Cincy (career #31)
April 29, 2011 HR @ Rockies (career #32)
April 30, 2011 HR @ Rockies (career #33)
May 18, 2011 HR @ Cincy (career #36)
Aug 29, 2011 HR @ Houston (career #47)

If anyone comes across McCutchen HR ticket stubs and wants to trade them to me, I am open to offers.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

At the crossroads

I have to admit, I didn't think it could get this bad this quick.  I suffered through a 99 loss season in 2009 and over 100 losses in 2010.  The teams placed on the field were terrible.  I enjoyed rooting for the guys though and I thought Andrew McCutchen would turn into a superstar.  I was right.

For four straight seasons (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015) Cutch would be a Top 5 MVP vote getter, winning the award in 2013.

Last season he looked lost in the outfield as the team tried some new alignments (playing shorter).  It earned him the Sabremetric stat of worse defender in baseball.  If you watched Cutch you could tell he wasn't the worse, but he was also far removed from being a Gold Glove outfielder.

At the plate, he still managed to drive in almost 80 and hit 24 HomeRuns. His batting average slipped to .256 though.

I really thought the Pirates and Cutch would have bounce back seasons.  Every game early in the season they were one timely hit away from winning.

After watching last night's game though, I look at the starting rotation, the bullpen, the position players and wonder to myself "How many of these guys could get us bigger pieces at the trade deadline for something to build a team with more than 3 winning seasons"

If we are going to run John Jaso out as an everyday right fielder and cleanup hitter, please commit to tearing everything else down.  It was hard to swallow seeing Jason Bay, Jack Wilson, and Freddy Sanchez leave, but there was a plan to build it correctly.  It made the 99 and 105 loss seasons following easier because we had something the team was building towards.

And for three short seasons the team was one of the best in baseball.

A lot of those guys are gone already and many were All-Stars during that time (AJ Burnett, Mark Melancon, Pedro Alvarez, Jeff Locke) and a few were really really good everyday grinders (Neil Walker, Russell Martin)

"Plunder the Lox"

Sell the Cutch, JHay, Cole Train, and ElemenTONY Watson.

Let's build this team back up.

Congrats to AJ from the Lost Collector for correctly guessing that Andrew would get 0 hits in yesterday's game.  You played the odds and as a prize will be getting the 5x7 Pujols I showed.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Custom Storage Case Arrives

I'm not going to show off a card today.  Instead I am going to show off an awesome custom case that Corey from Themagcase made for me.  I asked for something to house my Andrew McCutchen higher end cards and Corey knocked it out of the park.  (No pun intended)

The case holds both magnetic one touch holders and all graded cards.

To take the picture I just temporarily placed a bunch of my mags and slabs in there.

I will likely get two more to house in the following categories.
3)Low numbered non Auto/non relic cards

If you have a PC I strongly recommend getting one of these cases.  He can make anything from Jersey numbers to team logos to league affiliates.

If you message him tell him Brian from Collecting Cutch sent you.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Arizona Splits

So I recently purchased 2 Stadium Giveaways from the Arizona Fall League Bowman Series. These cards were 5x7 Bowman cards given out to attendees of last year's games.  I can't find a lot of information about them, but according to Beckett there is a 25 card set featuring some of the game's best players.  On average, individual cards have been selling for around $10 each.

My main gripe with the series is that the players are featured in their MLB team uniforms and not the teenage/early 20s versions when they played in the Fall League.

Cutch is card #4 and features a cool bit of trivia on the back.
The card shows the Phoenix Desert Dogs as team affiliation, but the team is currently the Glendale Desert Dogs.  It changed  to Glendale in 2013.

Since it was a 2 card lot and I don't have much need for Albert Pujols, I will hold a 2 day contest to get this card.  It makes sense to split up these AZ cards after the Pirates just split a series in AZ.

I have placed a 2017 Matt Joyce basecard next to it to show the size difference.  The card will be shipped in a 5x7 Top Loader.

Guess how many hits Andrew McCutchen will get on Tuesday's game against the Washington Nationals and the first person with the correct answer wins the card. If no one guesses correctly, I will add it to the pile for Top 10 PC contest winnings.  Keep in mind, Cutch is currently batting under .215 at the nearly quarter stretch mark.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Seeing Doubles

I have discussed how Topps often uses Cutch when recognizing Roberto Clemente from older sets.  You can see my first Heritage Comparison post here.

Here's another example

And another example
The more recent cards of Cutch are similar design to the 1968 Topps Game pieces.

Here's 2016 nonDread Cutch compared to 2014 dreads Cutch in 5x7 format

And here's the gold 2014 5x7

With the backs of the 5x7s below