Sunday, July 25, 2021

Sketch Sunday

I mentioned that one of my goals was to add some original art and oversized pieces to my Cutch collection and through the Twitterverse I stumbled across @soxsketcher who does 8x10 sketches of athletes using only a sharpie marker.  It's absolutely awesome!!!  In case you can't tell by his twitter handle, he is a Chicago White Sox fan, but his art is stunning no matter the subject matter.  

Knowing that I would be requesting a commission of Cutch and his art style really lends itself to Black and white images, I requested that Cutch wear a Pirates alternative black jersey.
He crushed it!!!

If you are interested in your own commission, hit him up.  You won't be disappointed.  Tell him CollectingCutch sent you.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Frickin Jackpot Foil Friday!!!

I did it!!!

I beat the odds!!!

Now before I reveal my amazing card, let me give you some back story on why I am so excited about this card.

Many people aren't in love with the Project 70 art cards and I completely get it.  Many of them I am scratching my head on as well.  

With such a broad range for this project I knew there would be some cards I really liked and some cards that just didn't appeal to me at all.  When the project first hit I said I would get any of the Andrew McCutchen and Roberto Clemente cards that were released.  If something struck my fancy I would pick them up as well.  If a collector committed to an artist's entire run through Topps they could qualify for a free print at the end of the project that depicted that artist's entire run.

Well, Cutch was one of the first cards to appear in the set as he was Blake Jamieson's first card of the set.  In addition to Cutch and Clemente I was also going to add any cards that Blake Jamieson produced.  

Early on in the set, Alex Pardee, another artist released a Ronald Acuna Jr card that looked like it had crossed paths with a Venom symbiote.  Being a big comic book fan I grabbed the Pardee Acuna and had to add Pardee to the list of cards I would always buy during the 70 hour ordering window.
Now my list consisted of anything Cutch, anything Clemente, anything Blake Jamieson, and anything Alex Pardee.  

At $19.99 per card this was going to get expensive.

Then Ermsy (one of my favorite artists from last year's Project 2020) created a tripped out Dock Ellis.
I'm a Pirates fan and love the no hitter that Dock threw while supposedly on LSD.  I grabbed that card as well.

Then other artists started making more cards of Dock Ellis.  At one point Dock had more cards than Mike Trout in the set.  

I hit the reset button and got back to basics.





Nothing else unless it really catches my eye.

Then a funny thing happened.
Blake Jamieson, who is one of the most awesome people on this Earth, released a card of rookie Jarred Kelenic of the Seattle Mariners.

I like Blake as a person and really want to get a print of Blake at the end of the project, but do I want to spend $20 on a Jarred Kelenic card?  

I literally waited until the final hour before I pulled the trigger and ultimately got it.  One more player I don't care about and I'm not going to continue this though.

A few more Clementes were released.

Then Blake released a Randy Arozarena card.  I don't care about the Tampa Bay Rays.  I have no extra love for 1968 Topps.  As a matter of fact, I hate 1968 Topps.  Despite wanting that print because of the Cutch appearance I was dropping Blake's cards from my list.  I just didn't want to spend $20 for a guy who was potentially involved in a domestic abuse case on a team I don't care for on a set design that is easily in my personal list of top 5 worse Topps designs pre2000. 

Sorry Blake.

But then just a few days later, something amazing happened.

Andrew McCutchen was getting another card in Project70 and it was by Chuck Styles, a Philadelphia artist with strong ties to Black Lives Matter.  What a perfect match!!!!

And the card depicted Andrew's alter ego, Uncle Larry.


And then Pardee started his mustache guys cards.

I loved the Randy Johnson with the screaming ball and the dove.  

The Dennis Eckersley and Rollie Fingers were also great.
But then there was a Polar Bear for Pete Alonso.  It's a great nickname and it actually made sense for Alex to draw Pete as a scary bear, but quite seemed to obvious.  I loved Alex's weird interpretations he had done.  

I was out on Pardee.
I was out on Jamieson.
I was only in for Clemente and McCutchen cards again, which is what I originally set out for.
Then something crazy happened.

I picked up another batch of mail and noticed this invoice with 3 Project 70 cards inside from Topps

Ok, I knew I bought an artist proof (and discussed hoping to hit a foil when I revealed the card back on this post a month ago), but there was three cards inside this package and according to the invoice numbering it looks like I was getting something special inside.
Artist Proof with silver frame limited to 51 copies

Foil!!!! Limited to 70 copies
Put on those sunglasses
😎 😎 😎
Holy foilboard Batman!!!

I am super stoked about getting this card.

Needless to say I could turn my $20 investment into $150+, but honestly I would rather keep the McCutchen in my collection than pocket the extra $130+ profit I could make.

With all the hype around sports cards in the past 18 months have you chosen to hold onto cards that you know you could flip for an easy profit, but instead chose to hold onto them because they mean more to you than some extra dollars?

Have you ever felt like you hit a cardboard lottery?

Thursday, July 22, 2021

A kaleidoscopic look at life lessons through baseball cards

I have been rummaging through my binders and I have to say, I never truly appreciated some of my cards as much as now.

When I was getting a new McCutchen card nearly every day it was just buy it and put it away.  I never took the time to really appreciate what I had as I was always looking for what I didn't have.  

That's the problem with being a completionist rather than a collector.  However, it is absolutely impossible to collect every unique card of a modern star player.  Not only are there hundreds of 1of1s being produced these days, but even the cards numbered to 50 are becoming difficult to acquire.  Case in point, not a single Mother's Day pink parallel from 2021 Series 2 Andrew McCutchen has hit eBay yet and the product has been out for nearly 2 months.

I have been looking back at what I have more than what I don't now and that is a pretty cool feeling.  Don't get me wrong I still do daily searches on my usual sites, but the buying has been far more limited than before.

It wasn't until I dug out a binder and looked at some parallels that I noticed the kaleidoscope type refractor the Topps Chrome prism refractors give off.

When shined in the right light, these things are awesome!!!!

Ooooh, the 2015 Prisms look awesome!
The back for all the prism parallels don't have any distinguishing identification like Refractor or a numbering system unique to prisms.
Personally I think the 2016 (seen below) is the best of the prism refractors.
Here is the 2017
Here is the only McCutchen Giants prism refractor from 2018
And the 2019 is McCutchen's first Phillies prism Refractor
Cutch didn't appear in 2020 Topps Chrome so he didn't have a prism refractor released last year.  I am curious if Cutch will appear in 2021 Topps Chrome.

Has there been a parallel that you never appreciated until years later?

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Rabbit season, Bucks season, Duck season?

If the title of this post makes you think of the Looney Tunes, it was done intentionally.  I just got done watching Space Jam: A New Legacy starring LeBron James and while I do have mixed feelings on the film there were several things I wanted to quickly throw out as my first impressions.
1) Settling the G.O.A.T. debate via comedy
When faced with the basketball game challenge LeBron James wanted to build a super team like he has done in Miami, Cleveland, and Los Angeles by trying to recruit Superman, Iron Giant, and King Kong.  Michael Jordan got the Looney Tunes who averaged in heights up to 3ft tall and requested comedian Billy Murray lace up his sneakers for 1 play.
2)The Looney Tunes are the greatest cast of cartoon characters ever assembled 
3)The lack of actual NBA players and references in New Legacy was kind of surprising for a game that has so many individual stars recognized world wide.  

The best player in the NBA, Gianis Antetokounmpo, reportedly turned down a part for New Legacy so that he could focus on his off-season training and not be involved with scheduling conflicts that may prevent him from being the best player on the court for the Milwaukee Bucks.  He now has a World Championship and Finals MVP on his resume. 

Congratulations to the Milwaukee Bucks fans out there!

I am sure that Gianis will be adorned on many magazine covers in the near future  to celebrate the team's victory.

Oddly enough, the Greek Freak has only appeared on two issues of Sports Illustrated over his 8 year career.

April 8th, 2019 and January 9, 2017 are the only times Gianis has appeared on the cover despite world wide fame.

My favorite player, Andrew McCutchen has also appeared on the cover twice oddly enough they were printed exactly one year apart.

Details of the covers can be found on this 2019 Big League Baseball black and white parallel numbered to only 50 copies.
The back of the card gives a few bits of trivia that aren't exactly common knowledge.
Cutch has since surpassed Ian Kinsler for runs scored since 2009 and Ian didn't play in 2020 or this year.  Kinsler is going to be a participant in this year's Olympic games as he is representing Team Israel.  
Earlier this month he joined the Long Island Ducks to help get him prepared for the Summer Olympics.

Team Israel faces off against Team USA in the first round of play on July 30th.

Will you be watching any of the Olympics?

Did you watch any of the NBA Finals? 

What is your favorite Sports Illustrated cover?

Monday, July 19, 2021

On the search for the truth

Following up on my Discovery Channel Shark Week style event, I am turning today's post into an Expedition Unknown to try and find out more information about this card you see below.
It says it is from All Sports Magazine, which was a legit magazine in the 20th century.  I can't find any print copies from 2015 which this card is supposedly from.  

Furthermore I am confused by the numbering 6/7.  

At first I thought it was the month(s) of publication meaning this card came from a magazine for June/July.

However finding Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera cards from 2015 numbered 4/7 and 6/7 have proven that theory invalid.

If you have any information about this card or a theory on it's existence, please comment below.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Fish Are Friends, Not Food

Today is the last day of Shark Week programming.  I'm saddened by this as I always enjoy learning more about sharks each year.

I will FINish up the week of celebrating this Jawsome event by highlighting some more former sharks that are teammates with Cutch.

After all... fish are friends, not food

I have shown off a few of my former Jupiter Hammerhead, JT Realmuto, and a few Clearwater Threshers too.  

Today I am going to look at another former Clearwater Thresher who is a current teammate of Cutch.  

I am talking about Rhys Hoskins

Now before I go showing off a pair of Rhys & Cutch combos I wanted to talk about Rhys' 2015 season in Clearwater A+ ball.  

In 67 games with the Threshers, Rhys hit at a .317/.394/.510 slash line good for a .904 OPS.  He also collected 39 RBI, 29 BB, and clubbed 8 homers in those 67 games.
Pretty good numbers for the former Clearwater "ninja shark".

Now for the cards...
Above is a dual autograph from the Target exclusive Topps Fire product.  
It is limited to only 25 copies.

Above is the on card autographs of Cutch and Rhys from 2019 Topps Five Star.  It is limited to only 10 copies.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

A FishTail of 2 Cities?

I remember in 5th or 6th grade I got very sick and ended up missing about two weeks of school.  Because this was the 80s, things were a lot different than now to say the least.  One of my missed homework assignments was to tell a fish tale.  Ok, easy enough.  I ended up WRITING (anyone remember actually writing?) a story of how I went fishing with my grandfather off the Jersey Shore and how we caught a small bass and ended up cooking it that night.

Well, unknown to me due to another part of the assignment was to read a short story similar to the premise of A Boy Cried Wolf but it revolved around how this kid caught a fish and each time the fish grew larger and with each lie told, an actual fish was growing and eventually ate the boy and his family when they went to a lake.  

Weird? Yup
Morbid? Yup
Life lesson story telling for a 5th grader? Probably
Missed homework assignment? Yup
Lost context for my assignment? Absolutely
Encouraging 5th graders in the 80s to tell stories of lying? Priceless!

I bring this up because one of my favorite weeks of the year, Discovery Channel's Shark Week is FINishing up their new programming today.  

Among the programs that tied Into pop culture and unique programming this year we saw the casts of Jackass!, Stranger Things, David Dobrik, Tiffany Haddish, and even the stars of Sharknado appear in programs.  

We have seen clever titles like The Tiger Queen (focusing on all the female tiger sharks) and Ninja Sharks: Mutants Rising (focusing mostly on threshers) bring new shark species to the forefront of shark Week instead of just the Great White Shark overload from the past.  It has been an absolute blast seeing these programs that extend my interest in shark documentary processes other than just "here is a shark. It eats when hungry" that most people generally think that Shark Week is about.  

Sharks are not the man eaters that many people think they are.  
Fewer than 2 dozen fatalities occur each year globally from sharks.  There is a far greater chance to have a fatal car accident than to die from a shark attack. 

Since this is a baseball blog though let's take a look at how Cutch has faired over his career against a former shark.

Cole Hamels pitched for the Clearwater Threshers in 2004.  He was inducted to the Clearwater Wall of Fame in 2017.
In 31 plate appearances, Cutch has hit at a .333/.375/.500 triple slash line.  He has 1HR and 7 RBI.  

It is rumored that the Phillies were one of the teams interested in signing Cole Hamels after his recent workout in Texas.  Should Hamels sign with the Phillies, the former cross state rivals would be on a playoff contending team something that both men are familiar with.  

Do you think Cole Hamels will sign a major league deal before the trade deadline?  If so, what team do you think he ends up with?

Do you know of any other Shark named teams besides the NHL team from San Jose and the pair of minor league teams (Jupiter Hammerheads and Clearwater Threshers)?

Friday, July 16, 2021

The Tiger Kinga

Remember when COVID hit and many people were forced to stay home and the most binge watched streamed show wasTiger King?

Well, I wasn't a part of that chaos as I kept working through all of COVID due to being an essential worker and I wasn't about ready to binge watch that show.

However, Panini took note of how popular tigers became and decided to make a new parallel for their 2020 Select release.

It's not in hand yet, but I did fairly recently add a JT Realmuto tiger stripes parallel to my ongoing COMC shipment.

You can see it below.
2020 Panini Prizm - [Base] - Tiger Stripe Prizm #172 - Tier II - J.T. Realmuto - Courtesy of
2020 Panini Prizm - [Base] - Tiger Stripe Prizm #172 - Tier II - J.T. Realmuto

I bring this up in the middle of shark week because 1)JT is a former Hammerhead (in the minor leagues) and 2)Tiger Queen aired this week on shark week. 
Kinga Philippe is a diver and filmmaker that recently had a special about searching for male tiger sharks.  There is a remote area in Turks and Caicos that contains mostly just female tiger sharks.  Kinga wanted to research and film where all the males are.  She is in addition trying to bring more notoriety to female researchers and filmmakers interested in the conservation of sharks.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

It's Colossal

Well it's Thursday which means that Shark Week is getting closer to FINishing up.  Oh wow is that punny?!!!!

Even if you don't watch Shark Week and get excited for a week of documentaries like I do, I am sure that you have seen the image below.
Filmed in 2012 and featuring an iconic image for the Air Jaws documentary franchise, the image sees a 16 foot, 3000 pound great white shark breaching the water only 10 feet away from the Seal Sled filming.  The shark was named Colossus, an appropriate name for a fish that is the size of a Subaru Impreza.  I don't know about you but if I am in the open ocean and something that big comes out from under the sea with intents of killing a seal, I would probably have a heart attack from fear.

I like looking at the image of the great white shark named Colossus from afar.

Consequently, I like looking at my 2020 National Treasures Colossal card from up close
What a MASSIVE laundry tag patch embedded in this card.  The autograph only makes it more sweet. Limited to only 3 copies, this is one of my latest cards I "discovered" while going through some moving boxes.  

Have you seen Air Jaws (or any of it's sequels)?

What are some other items you can think of that are 14-16ft long to put into perspective how big the shark Colossus is?

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Reflecting on Sharknado

I've mentioned Sharknado a few times on this blog in it's brief history.  It combines my love of sharks (Hey it's Shark Week on Discovery Channel!!!) and those bad animal feature films.  

The first film series debuted in 2013 and starred former 90210 heart throb Ian Ziering (born in Newark, NJ in 1964).  Ziering plays Fin Shepard, a former surfer who is the world's best hope to stop these tornadoes that spew out hundreds of sharks.  Shepard uses a chainsaw as his main weapon to combat this natural disaster.

Because it's Shark Week (one of my favorite weeks of the year) and Discovery Channel recently showed an episode starring Ian Ziering (and Tara Reid) debunking some of the stories discussed in all the Sharknado movies, I thought it would be fun to discuss my Cutch collection and Sharknado.

I wonder if there's a baseball card of Andrew McCutchen that references both 1964 and 2013?

Behold 2013 Topps Heritage!
The 2013 Topps Heritage Set uses the same design as 2014 Topps.  Andrew McCutchen's base card is 438, the same as a checklist in the original 1964 set.  Talk about a huge missed opportunity.

Above are the 9 cards I have of Cutch from 2013 Topps Heritage.
1st Row:Base, Base League Leaders, Chrome
2nd Row:Action Variant, Red Retail, Black Retail
3rd Row: Purple Hot Box Chrome, Black Refractor Chrome, Venezuelan black back action photo variant

I still need two of the chrome parallels
 Gold Refractor /5 and Chrome Refractor /564

A gold Refractor was listed last fall, but was pulled before the auction ended.  It was being sold by a seller in Japan.  I tried to reach out to the seller, but got no response.  Here's hope I can land one of the other 4 sometime.

Have you watched any of the Sharknado movies?

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Shark Week and All-Star Fest

This has been a fun start to the week in terms of TV viewing.

First up has been all the Colorado MLB All Star Game events and the MLB Draft.  I am excited for the future of the Pirates and really enjoyed the All Star Game Home Run Derby last night.  I am looking forward to see the Pirates having a player start the All Star Game tonight.  Adam Frazier will start the game at 2B and Bryan Reynolds will start the game in Centerfield becoming the first Pirates player(s) to start the game since Andrew McCutchen started the 2015 All Star Game in Cincinnati.

Current Cutch teammate, JT Realmuto, will begin the game as the starting catcher.

Before JT was a teammate of Cutch 
and before Cutch was leaping over JT when they were opponents
JT was a member of the Miami Marlins

I have built a small stash of cards in my next COMC shipment.  I'm holding off on shipping until we have moved into our new permanent residence.   

You can see some of the cards I have purchased below.  I will show off the full mini PC I have created once they all arrive (whenever I decide to ship of course) 
2017 Topps Stadium Club - [Base] - Sepia #71 - J.T. Realmuto - Courtesy of
2017 Topps Stadium Club - [Base] - Sepia #71 - J.T. Realmuto

  2020 Topps Gold Label - Gold Label Framed Autographs #GLA-JRE - J.T. Realmuto - Courtesy of
2020 Topps Gold Label - Gold Label Framed Autographs #GLA-JRE - J.T. Realmuto

2020 Topps - Significant Statistics #SS-23 - J.T. Realmuto - Courtesy of
2020 Topps - Significant Statistics #SS-23 - J.T. Realmuto

2018 Topps Stadium Club - [Base] #287 - J.T. Realmuto - Courtesy of
2018 Topps Stadium Club - [Base] #287 - J.T. Realmuto

2019 Panini Donruss Optic - [Base] - Pink Velocity Prizm #105 - J.T. Realmuto /199 - Courtesy of
2019 Panini Donruss Optic - [Base] - Pink Velocity Prizm #105 - J.T. Realmuto /199

I have also been enjoying Shark Week on Discovery Channel this week and am on the hunt for a JT Realmuto minor league card of his time in Jupiter when he was a member of the Hammerheads.
Picture above is for reference only.

Will you be watching the All Star Game tonight? Anything you're looking forward to? Pregame predictions?

Have you or will you be watching any of Shark Week?

Monday, July 12, 2021

With the 1st Overall Pick...

The MLB Draft was last night and the Pirates went in a direction I probably wouldn't have gone if I was the General Manager, but I am not the GM so I guess it's not right for me to question someone else trying to make their mark on something I have no control over.
The Pirates drafted college backstop Henry Davis who has been compared to other #1 overall catchers drafted in Joe Mauer and Adley Ruschmann.  

If Henry Davis can turn into a Russel Martin or Yadier Molina leader type behind the plate with above average offense, I will be very happy with this pick.  I think Jack Leiter will become a future Cy Young winner one day, but that's just my prediction. 

The Pirates have had the number one overall pick 4 previous times having drafted 3rd Baseman Jeff King and college pitchers Kris Benson, Bryan Bullington, and Gerrit Cole.  

Cole is the only one of that group to become an All Star in Pittsburgh when he was selected to the 2015 All Star Game along with Andrew McCutchen, Mark Melancon, and AJ Burnett.
I have shown off some of my Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen pairings in the past, many as recent as last month.
With the draft it is important to plant a seed for a future and recognize what is currently in the system and what will be coming in the future.
The franchise has a major lack of depth at the catcher position in the minors.  The Pirates have only one catcher in their top 30 prospects, Endy Rodriguez, and he profiles to not be able to stick at the position long term.  Rodriguez came to the Pirates as part of the 3 team trade that saw Joe Musgrove go to San Diego and Joey Lucchesi go to the Mets.
The Pirates talent pipeline is loaded with middle infield prospects (4 of top 15 prospects) and that isn't even taking into account their current MLB roster which features All Star Adam Frazier and former first round draft picks Cole Tucker and Kevin Newman.  The team is also very rich in the right handed pitcher department in the minors with seven of their top 12 prospects being right handed starters.
The Pirates saw success in the majors from 2013 to 2015 when the core of their team featured multiple 1st Round draft picks (Neil Walker-2B, Pedro Alvarez-3B, Andrew McCutchen-CF, Gerrit Cole-SP) and homegrown Latin America signings (Starling Marte-LF and Gregory Polanco-RF) all around the diamond.  

By drafting catcher Henry Davis to go with middle infield and starting pitcher franchise strengths, the Pirates are building towards the future with a high contact rate and pitching in mind.  

The Pirates are clearly in a rebuild right now.  They have a few pieces in place for the future already with Ke'Bryan Hayes, Kevin Newman, and Brian Reynolds still under team control through roughly 2026 the next great Pirates teams could feature yesterday's first overall pick, Henry Davis, being the signal caller.

Did you watch any of the MLB Draft?
Are you happy with your team's selection?

Saturday, July 10, 2021

The Shadow Knows...

We all have those movies we loved when we were younger, but when you look at them as an adult they don't really stand the test of time. 

For every Goonies, Karate Kid, and Back to the Future I enjoyed watching, there is also a Bio-dome, 3 Ninjas, and Time Cop on my list.  

Another movie I really enjoyed a lot when I was younger was Dick Tracy.  I loved the star power in that film and the bright and bold colors.  

Sadly much like Karate Kid being the timeless classic and 3 Ninjas not, I can group together some pulp hero movies in the early 90s I was obsessed with.  

Well for every Dick Tracy, there exists a movie like The Shadow. 

Starring Alec Baldwin and based on the pulp comic series The Shadow, this film features less than good CGI effects and Baldwin's over the top acting.
One of the key lines and premise of the Shadow is 
"Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?"

The Shadow Knows

Below you will find my cards of Cutch that feature him with shadows
2009 Topps Red Hot Rookie Redemption (Rookie Card)

2009 Topps Update Base, Black, Gold
(Rookie Card) pictured as a collage

2010 Topps Turkey Red

2012 Bowman Orange

2020 Topps Series 2 SSP photo variant

2021 Topps Series 2 

Do you remember watching The Shadow film?

Do you have a favorite movie that followed the pulp comic craze of the early 90s (Rocketeer, Dick Tracy, The Shadow, The Phantom, etc)?

Are there any unique images you see on the shadows on these cards, much like a "Rorschach test" involving shadows?