Sunday, November 18, 2018

Scripture Sunday - Jeremiah 17:14

I have been battling a nasty cold for almost a week now as I approach my 3rd consecutive week of 70 hour work weeks with no days off.  Gotta love the holidays in the supermarket industry.

I'm looking for some help in healing so that I may enjoy these final days leading up to Thanksgiving a little bit more.

Jeremiah 17:14
Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me LORD, and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Upper Deck, I miss you

Andrew McCutchen had a very brief appearance in Upper Deck products before they lost their license to produce MLB official cards in 2010. 

That brief window produced a very rare short print Signature Sensations autograph though that despite it's simplistic design still ranks as one of my favorite autograph cards of Cutch in my collection.

And with over 150 unique autographs of Cutch, thats saying something.

I think I like the relaxed spring training game photo used more than a regular season game photo.

Upper Deck was always known for their innovative photography on cards.  It ultimately lead to brands like Topps Stadium Club and Fleer Ultra. 

Stadium Club has been a let down for Cutch cards over the years since the brand came back and I wish that there would be more fun entertaining cards of Cutch like a few of my favorite players I collected growing up.

Some of my favorite players from my youth included

Barry Bonds

Gary Sheffield (one of the greatest under appreciated hitters of all time)

Andy Van Slyke

Ken Caminiti

Nolan Ryan
Frank Thomas

And Kenny Lofton

I will show off a few of my other Cutch Upper Deck cards in the future, but I definitely miss the candid photos of Upper Deck.

Friday, November 16, 2018


How early is too early to set up a Christmas tree and decorations?

Just testing out everyone else's theories. 

My girlfriend wants to set up the tree this weekend, but I am trying to convince her not until after Thanksgiving like we have done in the past.

Is now too soon?

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Willie Mac Unis

I wish I had this card in hand to show off when remembering the great Willie McCovey. 

Cutch has been getting the Throwback uniform treatment in Heritage each of the past two years.

I'm pretty excited I was able to land a copy for about half of the going rate for this Super Rare short print.

Heritage always knocks it out of the park year after year.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Red Hot, Hot Stove

The hot stove is upon us.  Rumors of who will be signing where will no doubt be flying as we near December.

The Pirates are wasting no time at shuffling their 40 man roster at the early stages of the off-season.

They have already renegotiated a contract with Jung Ho Kang to keep him in Pittsburgh after he missed the 2017 and most of the 2018 seasons due to legal issues and injuries.

In addition they traded away a pair of rookies (Max Moroff and Jordan Luplow) for utility infielder Erik Gonzalez and a pair of 19 year old pitchers.

While these aren't the blockbuster moves that teams with larger payrolls make, I like that the Pirates are beginning to check off some of their needs to make the team more competitive.

The Pirates know they will begin the year without starting right fielder, Gregory Polanco, and many thought Jordan Luplow would be the Pirates first option.  Many fans weren't pleased about this logic.  Shipping Luplow out to get a glove first utility infielder fills the void that Sean Rodriguez leaving caused. 

Now obviously I would love a reunion with Cutch to fill Polanco's injury issue, but there are a lot of really good corner outfielders on the market this year.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

R.I.P. Stan Lee

News shook the pop culture world yesterday when it was confirmed that Stan Lee had died at age 95.

He was a legend in the comic industry and helped create so many icons that kids and adults still love today.

Fantastic Four? Yup
Hulk? Yup
Spider-Man? Yup
Thor? Yup
Iron Man? Yup
Black Panther? Yup
X-Men? Yup
Daredevil? Yup
Inhumans? Yup

The list goes on and on for what Stan helped create with Jack Kirby, Steven Ditko, John Romita, and the many many other contributors of the Silver Age of Marvel Comics.

Even Cutch was a fan of some Stan Lee creations.
Yup, Cutch wore a Black Panther mask in the dugout while a member of the San Francisco Giants this year.

How anybody can't root for Cutch is beyond me.

And he even got compared to Spider-Man (Lee's most iconic superhero) sometimes as seen on the back of this Panini Fathers Day card.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Why Topps? Why?

You may recall back in May that I showed off an early preview of 2018 Topps Update.  You can see it here.

I was excited to collect all the parallels of Cutch in his new Giants uniform.  I have checked off a few of the parallels, but still need the base.

The initial preview showed a gold parallel of Cutch on a horizontal design.  I really liked how it looked as I don't have many cards of the former Pirate in a horizontal look.

The card however was produced vertically using a closer cropping of the same image.  You can see the gold parallel below to,compare them both.

Which version do you like more?

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Scripture Sunday - Daniel 11:32

Daniel 11:32
The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out GREAT EXPLOITS.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

In Need Of A Clever Title...

I literally couldn't come up with anything to write about. 

Here's a 1/1 yellow printing plate from 2018 Topps Update.


Friday, November 9, 2018

Free Agent Jigsaw: Bryce Harper

It was recently revealed that the Washington Nationals offered Bryce Harper a 10 year $300 million contract.

By all accounts that sounds ridiculous to play a game of baseball.

The 26 year old Harper could set a record for the largest free agent contract in any of the four major American sports this year.

Bryce Harper had a monster year in 2015 when he unanimously won the National League MVP award and had a very high Wins Above Replacement of 10.0.

That was his age 22 season.

Andrew McCutchen was a rookie in his age 22 season so Harper had a 3 year head start on compiling career MLB stats.

Let's look at the two players WAR and DRS (defensive runs saved) from their age 22 to 25 seasons.
I chose these ages because one was making their debut and the other was making a breakout performance at age 22.  Both would go on to sign contracts during their age 26 offseasons. 

One had a WAR of 18.5 and the other had a WAR of 17.5 during those 4 seasons.  One signed a 6 year extension for $60million at age 25 and the other is looking for 10 years over $300 million.

Cutch had the higher WAR and went on to post his highest single season WAR of 7.9 during his age 26 season.
Neither player has been known to be a great defender over their careers.  In the four years I am comparing Cutch to Harper (age 22 to 25) Cutch had a defensive runs saved of -14. Harper had a DRS of -12.

It will certainly be interesting to see what Harper gets in free agency, but it is very likely that the latter part of the contract won't be worth the money he gets paid in his age 30+ seasons.

Where do you think Harper signs and how much do you think he will sign for?

Thursday, November 8, 2018

My 1st Unofficial Cutch Yankees Card

During the month of October I purchased three cards of Cutch wearing a Yankees uniform.

One was a Topps Now Postseason card for the Wild Card game.  It just got printed and arrived.

Another was a short print photo variant of Cutch wearing the pinstripes found in 2018 Update.  I received that card on Halloween.

The first "card" I received was a limited print sketch card from Edward Vela that is signed and limited to 50 copies.

For those unfamiliar with his work, Edward digitally paints images of players and prints them out on slightly thinner stock (similar thickness to acetate cards from the 90s).

They hold no value long term and the digital paintings are cool, but for just a novelty item I see the benefit of adding them for the $5 price tag.

I will show off the other Yankees cards I have of Cutch in the future and am currently having a sketch card drawn by Topps Super Artist Juan Rosales wearing the legendary pinstripes.  It looks amazing so far!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Beating The Spread

I am not sure if anyone else follows Andrew McCutchen in Instagram, but he makes some super funny videos.

Recently he made a video about going to a restaurant and receiving butter that is so hard that it is impossible to spread.

You can check out the videos here.

With the midterm elections yesterday and talking about "beating the spread" I thought I would show off this 2009 Topps Victory Propoganda card.

These cards were a fun insert set featuring a player from each team with old style war propaganda artwork.  The checklist is a who's who of 2009 and has some pretty cool looking cards. 

Here is a screenshot of someone selling half the set.
 The backs are really cool designs too.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Hey Now! You're an All-Star

After 4 years I finally added a gold parallel of Cutch's 2014 Topps Update All-Star Stitches.

Got it for a great price too as it ran me under $5 to win.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Scripture Sunday - Isaiah 26:3

I have been having some frustrating times at work dealing with some problematic associates.  This verse is quite helpful.

Isaiah 26:3
You, Lord, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Free Agent Jigsaw: Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw didn't give me much time to debut my off-season segment by agreeing to an extra year extension on his two year contract rather than opting out and becoming a free agent.

Over the course of this off-season I would like to look at some of the marquee free agents out there and discuss possible landing spots for them.  I will also show off some cardboard that features Cutch with the pending free agents.  That list includes Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson, Adam Jones, among others.

I will also hold a contest to guess where Cutch will land this off-season. Details will be up Monday.

Since the 3 time Cy Young winner and 7 time All-Star is off the market lets look at a handful of cards I have with Kershaw and Cutch.
These 2014 Elite Face2Face inserts are a really cool insert set that I wish Topps would use the concept of in one of their many products.
The concept is to take two elite players in the game to determine how they face off against each other.

Think about how cool it would be for fans young and old to look at the stars and how they do against each other.  Mix in a few parallels and you could have a very collectible insert set and a player collector's dream/nightmare.

Sale vs. Judge
Verlander vs. Trout
deGrom vs. Harper
Otani vs. ANY pitcher or hitter they choose
Syndergaard vs. Yelich
Chapman vs. Betts
Kimbrel vs. Stanton
Kershaw vs. Goldschmidt

And the list goes on and on...

I also have a boxtopper featuring Cutch and Kershaw from Topps Heritage 2015.
These Heritage box toppers are always fun to add to the collection as it offers me the opportunity to get a card of a player I normally wouldn't collect.

The final pair of Cutch and Kershaw cards comes from Immaculate and feature some of the best players in the game.

Travel back to 2015 and you won't find any bigger names following the 2014 season than Mike Trout, Cutch, Giancarlo Stanton, and Clayton Kershaw.  That is because the National League MVP voting was Kershaw, Stanton, McCutchen in that order and all three players posted WAR over 7.0 each.

On the American League side, Trout won his first MVP award in 2014.

The limited to 49 copies has a patch version numbered to 10 copies, but I have only seen 1 copy appear in 3 year's.


If this card was a booklet, it would probably rank near the top 10 for my favorite Cutch cards featuring other players.  Unfortunately because of how thick it is and the fact that I can't show off Cutch/Trout/Stanton/Tulo at the same time as Kershaw/Posey/Abreau/Cano/Cabrera it loses some of it's luster.  Just some though.

As this card is