Friday, January 31, 2020

Falco Files: Walgreens Runs

This week has been an amalgam of pain and discomfort emotionally and physically.  From losing my grandfather last week to getting a tooth infection and strep throat this week I have been to Walgreens more in the past week than in the previous year.

In my trips I haven't come across any of the exclusive yellow packs that Walgreens offer.  I am still in need of the 2019 Series 2 McCutchen yellow parallel, but I do have a Bryan Reynolds yellow parallel I purchased shortly after release.
I am shocked that the price on these yellow retail exclusives is still relatively low compared to some other parallels with similar print runs.

As a reminder you can access Falco Files cards by clicking here.  Falco Files is a series I made to show off cards of players who have replaced Cutch on a roster either by trade, injury, or jersey number.

Bryan Reynolds, a second round draft pick of the Giants, was traded to the Pirates in 2018 as part of the Andrew McCutchen trade.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Are You In The 582 Club?

The Topps 582 Montgomery Club has been producing some really nice and unique sets that are exclusive to members of their club.

In addition to a base set of cards with exclusive foil stamping (like you see below on my McCutchen) there are also some player inspired sets.
Francisco Lindor, Bryce Harper, and Fernando Tatis have all had unique sets designed for them with some great checklists and fun designs.  I really don't collect much outside of Cutch and the Pirates, but if you're a fan of any of the more popular players in the game today you might want to check them out.

On top of those sets is the Brooklyn Collection that now has two years running of nothing but on card autographs using "recently discovered" failed test designs from the Topps Vault for the 60s and 70s.  I showed off one of the cards in February of last year.
 It's tough to distinguish if this would be a 1960s or 1970s style design.

Since that post last year I have picked up 5 more (2 more unique designs and 3 color parallels).  I will show them off eventually in a future post.  I briefly showed one in my 1,000 posts sneak preview post, but that one is being saved for next month's Black History Month.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Just some filler on the schedule

I have a lot of really nice cards to show off and am in the process of doing a month long event for February to celebrate Black History Month.  Last year I did four posts on the four Thursdays in February to discuss Judy Johnson, Cool Papa Bell, Satchel Paige, and Josh Gibson.  While watching the HBO original Soul of the Game and the recent passing of Kobe Bryant, I came up with a fun way to remember the impact that African Americans have had on today's culture.  I know that the MLB Network does a daily feature celebrating a black player during Black History Month and I intend to do that as well.

With that series of posts taking up all of the February slots (minus my yearly Wear Red post celebrated the first Friday every February) it will be some time before I can show off all these great cards I want to talk about.  Some of them are pink too so you know that they won't be shown until October.

With that being said there might be some posts that are just filler.  They won't go into anything relating to current events nor will they be very exciting in terms of SUPER SICK MOJONESS.  They are all still cards I've acquired to bring my collection closer to 2,700 unique cards of Andrew McCutchen.

So please keep reading daily as I try to pump out daily posts.  There will be fun history trivia, a new month long event, some cardboard connections to cards from the 50s-70s, and of course some sick mojo hits.

In the meantime, here is a pair of pocket schedules I have featuring Cutch.

The 2015 Pittsburgh Pirates had a legitimate shot at going deep into the playoffs with one of the top 5 pitching staffs in the league lead by a trio of All-Stars (AJ Burnett, Mark Melancon, and Gerrit Cole) with a solid back of rotation (Francisco Liriano and Charlie Morton) including one of the leagues best bullpens (Tony Watson, Joe Blanton, Vance Worley, and Joakim Soria).  The team also boasted a top 5 offense lead again by perennial MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen with exceeding performances by guys like Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez, Jung Ho Kang, Gregory Polanco, Starling Marte, and Francisco Cervelli.  The 2015 Pirates had the most depth at each position than any previous playoff bound team the Pirates put together.  It all came to a halt in the 1 game Wild Card though when Jake Arrieta shut the Pirates out ending their magical 98 win season.

Some of the building blocks for that 98 win team were actually a part of the 2009 Indianapolis Indians team, the Pirates AAA affiliate.  The cover of the pocket schedule shows Cutch who was ranked the 12th best prospect on top 50 list.

The following players played at least one game for the Indianapolis Indians in 2009 and were a part of a winning Postseason team with the Pirates (2013-2015):
Andrew McCutchen
Neil Walker
Jose Tabata
Charlie Morton
Garrett Jones

In addition to that group there were a few players who were traded to other teams who would go on to have lengthy Pirates tenures.
Brad Lincoln, the 4th overall selection in the 2006 MLB draft (ahead of Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Andrew Miller, and Tim Lincecum) pitched 12 games for the Indianapolis Indians to a 4.70ERA.  He would go on to make his MLB debut the following year and would eventually get traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012 in a one for one trade of "failed prospects" for Travis Snider.  Travis Snider would go on to be a 4th outfielder for all three of the postseason teams before he eventually got traded to the Baltimore Orioles for Steven Brault and Stephen Tarpley.

In his time with Pittsburgh, Snider made one of the best catches I have ever seen in person when he channeled his inner Spider-Man at Citi Field against the Mets.

Another pitcher for the 2009 AAA affiliate was Tom Gorzellany who was traded along with John Grabow for Josh Harrison (who was actually the throw in lottery ticket of the trade), Kevin Hart (the pitcher, not comedian), and Jose Ascanio.  "Gorzo"  started 15 games for Indy that season before being traded and had a 2.48ERA with 83K in 85 innings.  He looked to be a building block for the Pirates pitching staff.

Josh Harrison as we know became the modern super utility player that all teams currently try to get on their roster.  He played every infield position except catcher and first base and played all three outfield positions.  Yes he even pitched two thirds of shutout baseball.  He was a two time All-Star and in 2014 was a top 10 finalist for NL MVP.

Everyone knows about Javy Baez and his magic acts of avoiding tags, but let me remind everyone that the Pirates had a pretty good magical act in Josh Harrison at his prime.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

And Then There Was 1...

This week has been full of sh*tty news.

Yesterday the Pirates traded Starling Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks.  That means that there is only one player left from the 2015 Pittsburgh Pirates who had the 2nd best record in the majors and finished with a 98-64 record.

That lone player is Gregory Polanco.  I wouldn't be too shocked if hegets traded midseason as well as the Pirates appear to be in full rebuild mode now under their new management team.

I am going to show my favorite 6 cards of #6, Starling Marte.

Up first is my only Logoman of Marte.  It is the Logoman to his 2011 Futures Game jersey.
Next up, one of my favorite Cutch pairings.  This Gypsy Queen captures the gold glove caliber outfield pairings of Marte and Cutch in their primes.
It's Heritage Red Ink.  Do you really need more explanation?
The only knock on this card is the sticker autograph.  An on card auto would have been much nicer.
Speaking of on card auographs, I sought out every silver ink Pirates auto I could get my hands on from 2011 to 2015.  This pre debut prospect of Marte is a great looking design.
This card I have shown off a lot in the past month.  It's very low numbered and features some of my favorite Pirates outfielders of All-Time.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Remembering Kobe via Cutch Cards

News broke yesterday afternoon that Kobe Bryant passed away in a helicopter crash.  He was only 41 years old.  His 13 year old daughter was also aboard the helicopter.

The number of accolades and accomplishment that Kobe had on the court immediately puts him in discussions of being of the greatest of All-Time.

He is the first player to wear two numbers in his career and have both numbers retired by the same team.  While it may seem gimmicky, Kobe's numbers with the two numbers (8 and 24) are actually pretty comparable.

Read this article and you can see the crazy parallels of Kobe's number 8 and number 24 journey.

For those that don't want to click the article, here is a snapshot

Number 8
8 All-Stars
3 NBA Championships
16,777 points

Number 24
10 All-Stars
2 NBA Championships
16,866 points

He also won a scoring title with both jersey numbers.

Today I will look at 8 serially numbered 24/xx cards of Andrew McCutchen to remember the Black Mamba.

2017 Donruss Optic Black & Orange Parallels
Numbered 24/25 and 24/199

2016 Topps Pink
 Numbered 24/50

2017 Diamond Kings Blue Artist Proof
 Numbered 24/25

2013 Bowman Chrome Orange Parallel
Numbered 24/25

 2014 Topps Tek TEKtonics insert
Numbered 24/50

 2015 Bowman Best Orange Parallel
Numbered 24/25

2010 Topps Finest Gold Refractor
 Numbered 24/50

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Rediscover Memories

With my grandfather passing I am having so many memories of 1989 Topps, NASCAR, Tetris, Hess Trucks, and Big Bang Theory pop in my head. 

The coming days will be tough, but as I get together with my cousins and uncles I haven't seen in a long time I am sure we will all be rediscovering many many great memories.
2017 had a lot of buybacks inserted into their packs including the Rediscover Topps and 70th anniversary Bowman cards.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

R.I.P. Pop Pop

I got some heart breaking news late last night.  My grandfather who suffered a stroke on New Year's Day after a 10 year battle with cancer passed away.

Growing up I always called him Pop Pop.  He will forever be a major influence on my life due to his work ethic and the way he tried to support his family.

R.I.P. Pop Pop

Here is a sampling of my Willie "Pops" Stargell collection.
Pops will always be the leader of the Pirates 1979 team which has been dubbed "We Are Family".  My Pop Pop could be thought of the same way.
 I'm not in the blogging mood today so please just enjoy these cards.