Saturday, September 30, 2017

Let's take a moment to show some respect...

On this day 45 years ago, Roberto Clemente hit his 3,000th career in his final career at bat.

No baseball player is more beloved in Pittsburgh than Roberto Clemente.  No Latin American is more beloved than Roberto Clemente.

There's good reason for that.

Roberto Clemente had a famous quote "any time you have the opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don't, then you are wasting your time on Earth."

Let's all emulate Roberto Clemente today and do something good for someone else today.

Thank you and God Bless!

Above was an original piece of art by Wilfredo Santiago that was used in the graphic novel "21".

As many of you know, I used to collect comic books and loved to get sketches from the artists at comic book conventions too.  When the opportunity presented itself to own the most iconic image of Clemente from the comic, I had to own the original.

Tomorrow and all October long, we will be having a new feature to Collecting Cutch.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Cardboard Cameos #3 and a Contest (MIKE TROUT JERSEY CARD)

In today's Cardboard Cameos appearance we have a 2017 Stadium Club photo variant of Starling Marte.  The RunPMC group is doing their standard post game celebration in the outfield.

You can see Cutch on the far left, Polanco center, and Marte on the right.

I tried to research the game, but can't find this exact image on the net.

Here's a few things I know about the game.
The Pirates won based on the outfield celebration.
The game is from 2015, 2016, or very early 2017 before the Marte suspension.
The game was played in Pittsburgh based on uniforms.
The game ended in evening as no player is wearing sunglasses.
It's a rare game where Cutch and Polanco did not have their high leg socks on.

Be the first to tell me what game this is from (with proof) and I will send you this Mike Trout Nickname Jersey Swatch.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

This Day in Cutchstory: Sept 28, 2013

2013 was a magical season for Pittsburgh Pirates fans.  We got to see our team end two decades of futility and advance to the playoffs.

The NL Central was loaded with 3 powerhouse teams all with 90+ wins (Cardinals, Reds, and of course the Pittsburgh Pirates).

Home field advantage for the first ever one and done Wild Card game would come down to the final series of the season between the Reds and Pirates.  Whoever won 2 games would decide who had home field advantage for the One Game Wild Card Game.

The Pirates opened the series on September 27th with a victory.  In order to win the advantage for home, the Pirates would need to send veteran pitcher Charlie Morton against Reds veteran Bronson Arroyo on Saturday September 28th 2013.

Here's a recap of the game by MLB

The Pirates Win!!!!!

They will host the Reds and PNC Park would have it's first ever playoff game.

I recently purchased an unused ticket from that game that clinched Pittsburgh to be the hosting city.  Some key moments of the game
Andrew McCutchen homered
Pedro Alvarez hit his NL leading 36th homer
Andrew Lambo hit his first MLB homer, a no doubt about it shot!!!!
Neil Walker hit 2 HRs
Marlon Byrd hit a HR.

The ticket stub ran me under $2 and is my 18th ticket stub that Cutch homered.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

First Grand Slam, 8 RBIs = Another Contest Winner

Last night Andrew McCutchen hit his first career grand slam.  It was career home run #202.  As I stated in a previous post I will continue to send out free cards for anyone who guessed a game he would hit a HR.

Sport Card Collectors guessed that Cutch would hit #200 on September 26th, but instead it was #202 and #203.  I am placing a COMC order this week and will be adding some cards for your collection based on your needs.

So how do I celebrate Cutch's first career Grand Slam?

How about a new 1/1 on bat auto?

This is my latest autograph from 2017 Immaculate.  It has been 5 years since Cutch signed anything but stickers for Topps and Panini.  I'm hoping that Topps could get Cutch to sign some more products, because as great as these Panini autographs are, nothing beats licensed products.

When I saw this 1/1 appear, I knew I had to add it to the collection.  It's one of the most expensive cards I have added, but once it arrived I can say it was worth every penny.

Cutch should be getting the Topps Now treatment today with his performance last night.  I might need to pick up a few depending on what the card looks like.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Bash them with glitter

There's a few things I genuinely despise
Mayonaisse, glitter, and sauerkraut.

Strange, I know.

Fortunately this piece of cardboard doesn't contain any kraut or mayo and the glittery sparkle effect won't come off and stick under an eyelid for days.

It's my 4th parallel of the series.

It joins the pink, negative, and vintage parallels.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Black cards matter

With the PC world we live in today, I was really debating if my title might offend someone as I show off a new card for my PC.

I  hope it doesn't.

You see words can have different meanings.
PC to the general public can mean something different to us card collectors.

Actions can have different meanings too.

My favorite athletes for baseball and football are both black men.  I respect the  lives that they lead to become some of the most accomplished Pittsburgh athletes of all time.  Both Andrew McCutchen and Jerome Bettis, to the best of my knowledge, have never done anything to cause controversy from a political statement.

My favorite sports teams wear black and yellow.  The Steelers will no doubt be making lots of news today regarding their actions yesterday.  I thought if I should voice my opinion on the matter.  Maybe that's where the yellow comes in.  While I disagree with the statement made, I will not go into politics.

This  post will not be about politics.
I will not discuss my feelings about the Steelers withdrawal from the National Anthem
Nor will I discuss what our president has said recently.

No, this post will be about me acquiring a black whale of a card.  I love this country because I am allowed to love tiny pieces of cardboard with grown men on it.  Think about how weird that sounds.  It's pretty fricking weird.  And yet in America, I can FREEly say it.  It's acceptable.

This country is GREAT!  It's not a matter of again, it's always been great.

Ok, I did get into a little bit of a political soapbox.  Let's get back to the cardboard...

I finally snagged this sweet black parallel from 2014 Topps.  The black parallels always seem to be tough to track down once the initial two weeks after release occurs.  I know some people collect the black parallel rookie cards for their PCs and I am sure there are some set builders out there.

Earlier in the year I showed all my 2014 Topps parallels.
I'm not sure if the semi low numbering has something to do with the rarity of these cards on the secondary market, but these haven't been popping up very often.

I am so relieved to finally cross this off the list.

On a side note, I have finally signed up for Beckett to keep track of my Cutch cards.  It should help me identify cards I need in addition to my Google Sheet which keeps track of everything I have.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Some miniature savings

I get so confused with what minis I need and what ones I have based solely on memory.  The regular standard size cards I can look at and instantly say yup I have it or Ohhhhhh I need that.

For whatever reason I always have to cross reference my spreadsheet for the minis.  There was recently a 2011 Gypsy Queen sepia mini numbered 1/99 listed but with Allen & Ginter in title.

I checked my spreadsheet and saw that I didn't have this one.  I also checked my Gypsy Queen mini post earlier in the year to verify.

The card was listed as an auction with 99 cents opening bid and a buy it now $4.99.  I contemplated hitting the B-I-N but chose to let it end naturally as an auction.

6 days passed.

I was the only bidder as seconds ticked down towards zero.

A little bit of patience saved me $4.
And now I have this mini in hand with some miniature savings.

How often do you see something with just a fraction of price between auction and B-I-N and just naturally go towards the B-I-N instead of trying to save the extra few bucks with the risk?

Saturday, September 23, 2017


I collect Andrew McCutchen
And I am a collectaholic

Oh, I thought this badge with a $0.60 Donruss card gave me access to this room.  It doesn't?

Ok.  I'll just leave....

But (turns head and whispers "I am a collectaholic")

My latest Cutch addition falls in the way of a Panini Corporate Sponsor badge I purchased off eBay.  The seller had 2 listed and offered to ship me both.  I said one is fine.  In hindsight I should have taken the other and given it to Matt.  Sorry buddy, wasn't thinking.

Packages went out today to 85338, 08566, 90230.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Money and WAR, what is it good for?

This 2017 Immaculate card features 4 guys who are on the verge of having Hall of Fame careers.  All four players were signed to contract extensions within 2 years of one another and all player for smaller market teams.  There's no New York, Chicago, or LA players here.  

An article for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette was recently written about how frugal the Pirates have to be in terms of their market and valuing.

I will take a look at all four players contract extensions and calculate their WAR as provided by Baseball-Reference.  It's understand that 1 WAR is currently valued at roughly $8 million.

Let's begin with the top right corner and work our way around clockwise.

The Tigers extended Miggy in 2014 after restructuring his current contract and extending him an extra 8 years for a 10 year $292 million deal.  So far Miggy has posted WAR totals of 5.0, 5.2, 4.9, and -0.6 giving him 14.9 WAR over the first 4 years of the 10 year deal.  At $8mil per WAR that values his performance at $119.2 mill.  His AYV salary is $29.2 mill which is $116.8 million for the first 4 years.  The Tigers have gotten value, but Miggy's performance is heading in the wrong direction and could lead to tough times ahead for Tigers fans.

Votto was awarded a 12 year contract worth $251 million with a club option for his age 41 season at the start of the 2012 season.  It's not that Votto has been unproductive.  In fact he continues to put up MVP caliber numbers year after year by slashing .300/.400/.500 lines almost every year since signing the contract.  Since signing the contract in 2012 Votto has posted WAR ratings of 5.9, 6.6, 1.9, 7.6, 4.0, and 6.4 equal to 32.4 WAR with 7 seasons remaining on the contract.  32.4 WAR at $8mill per WAR is equal to $259Million.  So far the Reds have gotten their value from the Votto contract.

The absolute steal of the bunch has to be Jose Altuve.  He was given a $12.5 million contract extension with a $750,000 signing bonus.  There are two club options for the 2018 and 2019 seasons at $6 million and $6.5 million respectively.  Over his 4 year contract he has produced 26.5 WAR which when extended by $8mill per WAR would equal $212 million ($200 million over his actual salary).

Cutch signed a contract extension just before the 2012 season for 6 years and $51.5 million.  The Pirates reaped the benefits very early on the contract as Cutch posted monster WAR numbers 7.0, 8.1, and 6.3 for the 2012 to 2014 seasons.  Post dreadlocks era Cutch began with good WAR (4.9 in 2015) but has become more average in the past two years -0.7 and 2.1 (this year).  Depending on if the Pirates pick up the team option for the 2018 season could linger on how he finishes this September.  His 6 year contract has amassed 27.7 WAR which equals $221.6 million in value.

So to recap since signing the contract extensions the teams all received positive returns on their investments so far.

The Tigers seem to be in severe jeopardy of recouping value on Miggy if his numbers continue to decline.

Votto continues to put up outstanding numbers and won't be a free agent until 2023.  His numbers could begin to decline as the contract wears towards the end.

Both Cutch and Altuve contracts have provided the most benefits to the teams this far and both teams have club options to pick up the contracts of the players at season's end.  Altuve is a lock for having his contract picked up and I suspect Cutch will get his option picked up as well since there will be no asset returned to the team if it's not exercised.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

New Era cards return

I didn't hear anything about this from my Lids store, but apparently Topps has partnered up with New Era to make a 32 card set with the 2017 design in addition to about 20 players using the 1987 design.

Details on the card set along with the hat relics the company produced can be found here.

Once I found out about the promotion I had to add this Cutch to the collection.

It features an image of Cutch we haven't seen on a Topps card yet (see how much more fun that is for us collectors Topps?)

On the back it has the same basic information as the regular release, but with the New Era logo on bottom corner and a different number.

It has Cutch's career stats on the card.  In only 8 years, Cutch has produced 40.6 WAR.  Hall of Famer Jim Rice had a career 47.4 WAR.  Even if Cutch only produces 2-3WAR over the rest of his career he should no doubt be in HOF discussions.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Immaculate Winnings

I entered a player 8 case break for Cutch and unfortunately I didn't hit anything super big (autos, bat barrels, etc) or even any base cards.  I did however manage to score two of these 5 jersey relics.

Why am I showing off only 1?

Because the other is already in the hands of Matt at BobWalkthePlank.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

This Day In Cutchstory: September 19, 2012

As part of my HBP Moments 1/1 search for Cutch's Career Homerun totals, I added another card to show on This Day in Cutchstory

How did the boxscore look that day?

The Pirates fell to the Brewers 3-1.  Kyle MacPherson made the start for the Bucs and pitched himself out of a lot of trouble early on.  The Pirates offense couldn't get any traction against Marco Estrada as he pitched 7 scoreless innings while surrendering only 4 hits. The Pirates only run came on a solo shot by Andrew McCutchen off John Axford in the 9th inning.

Cutch went 2 for 4 that day, raising his average to .340 for the season.  He also stole his 19th stolen base of the year in that game.  Cutch was winning the batting title when the game was over as Buster Posey was batting .334 at close of day.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The First On Card Autograph since 2012

It has been years since fans were given ON CARD autographs by Cutch.  5 years in fact.

If you remember I recently showed all my certified autographs (125 at the time).  This is the 4th autograph I have added since that post.

2017 Immaculate delivered a handful of on card autographs with jersey patches.  Literally a handful.

Numbered to only 5 copies these on card, logo patch cards feature a throwback uniform wearing McCutchen.

The back of the card highlights how clutch Cutch is late in games.

There are several other Cutch autos in 2017 Immaculate and I will be looking to add them.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Congratulations and nothing else...

Tier 1 tends to put out a bunch of lousy jersey swatch single relic cards in their product year after year.  For being a high end set, I would be extremely aggrevated if I got a single small jersey relic in a pack.  Each pack contains only 3 cards (1 relic and 2 autographs).

Here's how I have always viewed Tier 1.
It's an autograph chase set with a few relics as basecards.   I have a few Cutch autos from Tier, one of which was recently acquired from BobWalkThePlank.

There are some extremely nice looking autographs in the set year after year.  Many are on card and have some of the hottest young players in the game in addition to Hall of Famers.

I don't want to hate on the set as a whole though because there are some nice relic cards that can come out of the set.

Such is the case for the Prodigious Patches I recently purchased, which you can see below.

You might look at the pinstripe and Pirates patch uniform thinking, when did they wear uniforms like that?

The answer is the late 90s and early 2000s when the team was lead by Jason Kendall, Aramis Ramirez, and Brian Giles.
As you may recall I showed off this Super Short Print (SSP) Heritage Throwback card back in June.  The card commands hundreds of dollars because of it's rarity and master set collectors.  The patch on the Tier 1 card I recently got is from Cutch's jersey number "2".

Video highlights from the game can be found here.

The back of the card wants to CONGRATULATE you on receiving this card along with some fine print legal information.  No stats.  No write-ups.  Just congratulations.

Speaking of Congratulations...
I want to thank everyone who participated in the Cutch hits #200 contest.  Greg and SCC will be receiving the big prizes (Hall of Fame Autographs), but for everyone who predicted a date I am going to offer up a consolation prize.  If any of you play Fantasy Football you know the joy (and frustrations) of watching a game that your team isn't playing in, but you want 1 or 2 players to do good in those games.  There's probably not a lot of Titans fans here, but if you got Demarco Murray, you're paying attention to how the Titans are doing.

I am offering up this fun rooting exercise for the blogosphere and those that predicted dates.  If Cutch hits a HR on a day that you thought he would go yard for #200 you will receive a prize.  I will try to make the package focused on your team and collecting ways.

The first person to get a prize will be Daniel from It's Like Having my Own Card Shop.  Daniel predicted Cutch would hit #200 on September 16th, but in fact hit career HR #201.

Thanks as always for reading the blog.
God Bless!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

What to do, what to do

I have needed a 2010 Topps Peak Performance Relic Blue parallel /99 for a long time.  They don't pop up for sale very often.  Only 2 have hit the market in past year.  They aren't overly expensive, but they are just rare to come by.

I finally saw one, but it was graded with substandard grades.  (Only an 8)

I needed the card, but hate the grade.  For $6 it seemed like a fair price to grab it.  Should I remove it from the case or just keep it as is?

If I do choose to remove it, what is the best way to do so?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Trouble with the Curve?

Congratulations to the Pirates AA team, Altoona Curve on their Eastern League Championship.  Top prospect Mitch Keller dominated the playoffs.

I wasn't able to see any of the playoffs games this year, but vividly remember the Curve winning the Championship in 2010.  I was in Trenton when they won the Championship lead by efforts of Justin Wilson, Rudy Owens, Josh Harrison, Chase d'Arnaud, and Andrew Lambo.

The young group of men playing for the Curve look like future big leaguers and should make the Pirates position depth very good beginning as early as next year and beyond.

Of all the players on the team I am pulling for the most is former 1st Round Pick, Cole Tucker.  If anyone has some Tucker cards they wouldn't mind giving up, I will happily take them off your hands.
I love to chase down early Cutch minor league cards.  I have quite a few and would like to add some more.

Above are all my Andrew McCutchen cards in an Altoona Curve outfit.

Here are a few of the Curve Stadium Give away figures and bobbleheads I have gotten over the years.

Out of this World Bobblehead

MVP bobblehead

OYO figure
There is one more Cutch Curve bobblehead that I need in a standard batting pose.

Here's a few others I have though

Tony "Elementary" Watson bobblehead

Starling "Martay Partay" bobblehead

The Shark Tank Bullpen (Hughes, Watson, Wilson)

The Curve's marketing department has really upped their game in terms of SGAs over the past few seasons.  Other notable figures include a Gerrit Cole Garden Gnome (on my desk at work)
Along with these that I don't own
 Jordy Mercer "Lloyd Christmas"
Jameson get your "Suit and Taillon"
Josh "Need more cow-" Bell
Gregory "El Coffee Barista" Polanco

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Cutch hits #200!!!! Gotta See This Post

Andrew McCutchen hit his 200th career Home Run yesterday.

Congrats to Greg at PlaschkeThySweaterIsArgyle.  You will be receiving the Bob Gibson auto sometime next week.  Drawing for the Raines for the 3 pimps will be at end of post.

Once Andrew reached 190 I knew he would be able to hit the 200 mark before the season was up.  Cutch often has hot and cold streaks over the course of a season.  He only connected for 1 HR in August, but has hit two in the past three games.  I drafted this post on August 8th and hadn't updated it until today.

Only 3 Pirates have more homeruns than Cutch in a Pirates uniform and they are ALL in the Hall of Fame and ALL have their number retired.
The 3 players are
Willie Stargell (475 Hr in 7927 AB)
Ralph Kiner (301 Hr in 3913 AB)
Roberto Clemente (240 HR in 9454 AB)

It is possible that if Cutch stays another full season with the Bucs he could pass Clemente on the list, but that's unlikely with his contract up after next year.

How can I celebrate #200 for Cutch though?

How about if I show off 200 of my favorite Cutch cards?  Well...they might not be my favorite Cutch cards.  They are some of my rarer ones though with my favorites mixed in.

I ran a contest for my top 10 which can be seen here.  (A few of you never emailed your addresses so I still have prize packages for you.  Email me bstryker81 AT Gmail DOT com to claim your prizes)

Here are 200 cool Cutch cards that I own.  I hope you enjoy.

First up all 156 1/1s in the collection.
(Update: since the original draft I have added 9 more 1/1s)
Even if it's a gimmicky blank back or printing plate, a 1/1 will always be highly sought after for me.  I have learned to control what I pay for some and that is why so many plates are available on the secondary market.  $40 is my max for a regular size plate.

When composing the 200 list, I decided to utilize all of my 1/1s.  That means only 44 non 1/1s would be included.  If you've seen my collection grow over the years that doesn't leave a lot of room.

So shall we begin?  Let's begin with
The Letters
Up first, the boxtopper and my #1 favorite card.
Next the nameplate using letters from various jerseys in a custom case.
Some extra letters...

Next the buttons.

The Logoman & Majestic Logos and some All-Star booklets

The Bat Knob

The Bat Barrel

The Printing Plates (more are coming too...)

The Red Borders/Ice/Glossy/Parallel Colors/etc.

The HBP Milestone Homeruns 1/1s

The Vault Blank Backs

The pack inserted and Artist Proof Sketch Cards

The Superfractors

Wow!!!! That's impressive to look at above.

Next up...

Some nasty looking patches (some with autographs), booklets, and very low numbered pre Cutch rookies and some low numbered Cutch rookies.

Only one of these goes towards the 200

My favorite on card Cutch autograph in my collection

Some All-Star Patches

 And to finish out, a very nice looking Pirates booklet that I wish had the Jolly Roger sleeve patch behind Cutch also.

With the exception of the All-Star laundry tags, none of my other 6 tags got scanned.  Some cards on here are appearing for the first time on the blog.  I will have posts about some of them in the future to spotlight them a little more.

As you guys probably have figured out my collection grows on a weekly basis.  I didn't have time to truly update this post as more and more cards came in.  I originally wrote this post on August 8th and between life and the number of cards that have arrived in the past month, I just haven't had time.

Now for the Rock Raines card being randomed off for the 3 pimps that shared my contest.

Sport Cards Collectors, you are the winner.  Send me an email to verify your address is still what I have on file.

A few people still have not emailed me their addresses from the last contest.  If you entered the top 10 and have not received a runner up package please email bstryker81 AT Gmail DOT com

I realize this wasn't a true top 200 and that it was rushed and not finished.  I'm sorry for that if you want a true ranking.

Do you guys like these massive card posts?
Should I make a separate tab at the top of the blog for Autographs, Printing Plates, Patches, booklets, etc?  I got a lot of people that commented how they liked the 125 Autographs I showed off.

As always thanks for reading the blog and God Bless!

UPDATE: Cutch will be receiving a Topps Now card commemorating this exclusive group of Pirates Sluggers.

I took these images from TwinsJake's eBay listing which I just won with a best offer of $5.50

I will spotlight the card when it arrives.