Sunday, January 31, 2021

Getting Help From a Fellow Supercollector

There is a lot of good in this hobby and the supercollector niche really rises to prove that.  

Ever since I redefined my collection and trimmed off a lot of the fat, just focusing on Collecting Cutch, I have made interactions with a group of guys who help each other out with their player collections.  

I get excited when I come across a Roy Oswalt Superfractor spelled wrong on eBay because I know exactly who wants it. Check out Chris' Roy Oswalt collection here

The same situation can be said when other collectors come across a McCutchen card they think I need.  I have gotten a lot of awesome cards via Twitter because of being tagged about their existence.

The supercollector that has in my opinion, the most impressive collection of a single player is Robert Morris aka dalsubfan.  Robert collects Mark Teixeira.  

His collection can be viewed on SportsCard Album under the name dalsubfan.  There you will see over 1,000 1/1s of Mark Teixeira.

If you thought my collection of Andrew McCutchen baseball cards was impressive, your socks are about to be rocked.  Robert's Tex collection is insane!!!

The fellow supercollector reached out to me because he had bought a large lot of autographs and among them was a certain autograph of the Pirates franchise player from the 2010s.  

He asked if I wanted it and sent it my way free of charge because "the McCutchen was a throw in for the lot I bought".

How awesome is that?

These 4x6 photocards were given out at Pirates charity events and their annual PiratesFest held each year in December.
The photocard was signed at an event and is certified on the back by JSA with matching certificate identification number.

Based on the back of the photocard and the image used, I believe this to be a pre debut "card" and autograph of Andrew, likely from the PiratesFest event held in 2008.  

While I am not a handwriting forensic scientist, I have hundreds of things signed by Andrew over the years and know that sometime between 2008-2009 he shortened his signature to the now more simple and better recognized ACutch found on many items.  

If you read this Robert, thank you for the awesome gift.

And if you want to look at thousands of baseball cards of one player, go check out Robert's SportsCardAlbum.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

I'm back

5 days without a post?

That is the longest stretch I've had on the blog without a post.

Things have been wild and crazy as I worked 73.5 hours this week and that doesn't count the 2 hours driving to and from daily. 

But things should start to settle down.

With news breaking yesterday that Nolan Arenado had been acquired by the Cardinals, I thought it was a good time to show off this behemoth of a booklet.  

Talk about an impressive group of players.

17 All Star Games
1,019 HR
13 Gold Gloves
13 Silver Sluggers
2 Roberto Clemente Award Winners
Three members of 2017 Team USA gold medalists (only Rizzo wasn't on team)

Nolan Arenado is a future Hall of Famer with the projection of his career.  

In his still short career of only 8 seasons, he has finished in top 10 MVP 5 times.  He has gotten the gold glove in every year of his career.  He is also a 4 time Silver Slugger and has lead the National League in Home Runs three years.  

He is signed through the 2026 season and looks to be a problem the Pirates pitching staff will have to face more often for many years to come.

Congrats Cardinals fans!

Sunday, January 24, 2021

A Blogger Had Me Targeted

My Andrew McCutchen collection is pretty familar around the card blogs.  Unfortunately I tend to not be too involved with checking email very often.

Evidently I missed an opportunity to add an Andrew McCutchen card to the collection by not checking email. 

Instead I noticed it when I checked eBay for new McCutchen cards and noticed the Target exclusive 2020 Update red parallel was listed.

It had a very reasonable buy-it-now price and the seller had immaculate feedback.
So I bought it.

A few days later it was in my mail box with a note from Jim of the blogger profile GCRL and current author of Cards As I See Them

Have you ever made a purchase with another blogger, not knowing it was them?

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Setting The Pace

I set a few goals for my hobby regarding CollectingCutch in 2021, which you can revisit here

One of the goals I am looking forward to the most is seeing what Pirates playing days cards (2005-2017) of Cutch I can acquire this year.  I set a goal of only 50 cards from his Pirates playing days because of a few reasons.  

It's a nice even number.

It's basically one a week for an entire calendar year.

A lot of cards from those days have either "dried up" or are not available for reasonable sale prices.  

There are also a lot of his minor league uncirculated autographs available, but I want these cards acquired to feature a Pirates logo or in Panini's case state that it is a Pittsburgh card.  I could easily go to stonersports on eBay and add 25+ dual player printing plates of Cutch with guys that never made it in the majors to star levels or even have meaningful careers.  I'm going to pass on those.

This is going to be fun because there are a lot of tough gems to get for the collection still and many of them are from 2009-2017.

To kick things off here is a card that I haven't seen pop up for sale very often since it's 2017 release.

2017 Topps Inception blue
I owned the black 1/1 and the magenta printing plate 1/1, but hadn't gotten the blue to 25 copies.  

It's funny how sometimes the semi rare cards (/25) become tougher to acquire than the rarest card in the rainbow.

More exciting than the fact it popped up, is the price I paid for it.
$11 for a single modern card of a guy who has fallen off track of his HOF trajectory might seem like a lot, but I can now cross off this card from the wants list and put it into the haves list.

And for $11, that is perfectly fine with me.

This is my first pickup of 2021 of Cutch's Pirates playing days cards I added to the collection.  I do have 2 more coming and they were both ahipped without tracking and it's been two weeks since they were dropped off at the post office.  If they arrive this week, I am on pace to hit the goal of 50 new Pirates playing days cards this year.  If they don't arrive, I have some ground to make up as we head into February.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Remembering Hank

One of the game's greatest all time passed away today.  

Henry Aaron better known as Hammerin Hank was the All Time Homerun King when he retired.  

When I think of Hank Aaron, I remember doing a report on a significant black person to change history in grade school.  I chose Hank Aaron as my subject.  

I also think about Daniel of It's Like Having My Own Card Shop.  Daniel is a big Hank Aaron fan and has a really nice collection of the true HR king. 

Daniel sent me the card below back in 2017 as part of a trade package.

This card is the gold parallel /25 copies from 2015 Stadium Club Instavision.  

It captures my favorite homerun in recent Pirates history.

The Pittsburgh Pirates had made it to the post season in 2013 and 2014.  The team was surging just before the 2015 All Star Break, but so were the St. Louis Cardinals.  The two teams had the two best records in the league.  

On July 11th the Cardinals came to Pittsburgh and faced AJ Burnett and the Pirates.

Highlights of the game can be found here.

The complete game can be found here.

The Pirates truly were the Battlin Bucs as they battled back from being behind after the 8th inning THREE TIMES that game.
It culminated in a walkoff homer by the Pirates star centerfielder, Andrew McCutchen.

Cutch has hit six walk off homers over his 12 year career.

Hank Aaron hit nine over 23 seasons.

R.I.P. Hammer

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Another day, another auto

I have been seeking some of the "older" McCutchen autos not already in my collection over the past 2 months more aggressively.  

2012 Topps Tribute offered gorgeous on card autographs with foil technology designs and every card was encased in a 1 touch.  

It is my favorite year of Topps Tribute and I think it's because it's distinctive and stands out from other 2012 products in general and other Topps Tribute designs.  

Cutch had two different photos to chase after on the right of the card.  One is a running photo, the other is a smiling batting photo.  

The batting photo is numbered AM1 on the back and discusses Cutch's rookie season offensively.
Despite not debuting until June, Cutch finished 4th for the BBWA Rookie of Year Award, but did receive the (albeit less nationally acclaimed) Baseball America's NL Rookie of Year Award.  He lead all rookies in extra base hits (47) despite missing about 2.5 months of the season and lead the Pirates in Runs Scored and Stolen Bases. 

This card was purchased at the end of last year and has been in my possession for about a month.  
One of my 2021 goals was to add 50 new Pirates playing days cards to the collection this year.  This card would have qualified if I purchased it this year.  

These are the types of cards (and deals) that I am really looking for the most in 2021. 

So far I have added only 1 to the collection through the first 3+ weeks.  2 more are hopefully in transit (and one is a big one too, but the seller didn't put tracking on it so hopefully it shows up eventually).  At the current pace of 1 per week, that will keep me on track to hit this goal for the year.

How are you doing so far with your 2021 goals in the first few weeks of the new year?

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

These pants got swag

2020 was a very strange year.

Unemployment went to record heights and many brick and mortar stores closed up due to the pandemic.

And yet there was a renewed interest in sports cards and other hobbies soared to heights the market hasn't seen since the early 90s collecting craze that impacted both comics and cards.

I was able to add a lot of really unique items to my collection in 2020, but one of the coolest items was a pair of game used pants worn for a game featuring a top 10 card of the year.
Many youtube channels and hobby forums reviewed their most iconic cards of 2020 and wouldn't you know, the man who wears 22 had a short print Series 2 flagship rank #2 on Beckets top cards of 2020.
I'm not a follower of anything Beckett or Blowout or Hobby Connection or other hobby related news has to say because quite frankly my collection isn't bought to stay trendy.  

My collection is currently just cards (and other items) of my favorite athlete of all-time.

So while Beckett may say the card is iconic, I say the pants are more iconic as they were worn only once and helped create one of the most swaggy cards of this millennium.

Here is the hologram which can be verified via
I really have no idea how I will display these since I don't have the jersey.  
Is it weird to get a mannequin just for the lower half?  

Monday, January 18, 2021

Entry 2: 2015 Pirates Yearbook

I said I would show off some noncardboard items from time to time so here is entry 2 in that format.

Today we will be looking at the 2015 Pirates Yearbook, but first I want to tell some of personal interactions with yearbooks..  
I remember when I was younger I could go to the Vet (Veterans Stadium, home of the Philadelphia Phillies) and buy full size batting helmets (with no ear flaps) for any of the teams and even yearbooks for any of the teams.  I know this because I had all 28 helmets represented hanging across the top of my bedroom walls.  The Devil Rays and Diamondbacks weren't in the league yet, but I had the Marlins and Rockies.  

In addition to being able to buy helmets of any team there were also many other licensed products available at the souvenir shops inside the stadium.  I bought the inaugural Marlins yearbook (with a very young Trevor Hoffman in it), White Sox yearbook, and Rockies yearbook.  I know the Phillies were a pretty bad team for a decade until their magical 1993 season, but why were the vendors selling other teams products?

I stopped watching baseball after the 1994 strike and hadn't attended a baseball game in person until 2005.  I did attend a baseball game with a female friend of the family in 1997, but all we did was avoid watching any baseball (I was 16 and don't need to explain any further details).  

That 2005 game reunited my love for the Pirates (specifically a fan of Ryan Doumit), but there was NO Pirates merchandise to be found inside the stadium.  It was nothing but Phillies merchandise.

When did this change happen?
Were other teams selling merchandise of other teams in the late 80s/early 90s?

Well, after 2009 I began making the Pirates my favorite thing to collect and I started to add a Yearbook and/or Media Guide to every trip I made out to Pittsburgh.

I got the 2015 Yearbook when I attended the home opener in person against an interleague matchup vs the Detroit Tigers.

I decided to flip through it and thought it would be fun (and heart breaking) to see how much the organization has changed in only 5 seasons since the 2015 season ended.

It's Been Only 5!!!! ?????

On the cover we have one of the best players in baseball, Andrew McCutchen, who had just come off his 3rd straight top 3 MVP award votes along with the 2013 NL Comeback Player of the Year, Francisco Liriano, and the local Pittsbugh native, Neil Walker.
Open up the cover and you get two more images of the former MVP, Andrew McCutchen
Both are local reporting agencies.  Tribe Total Media is a local newspaper and Root Sports is the local channel for 150 Pirates games.

There is also a table of contents, which I will get into a bit later
There is a copy of the yeam's schedule along with seating information for purchasing tickets.
The Pirates went on to a 98-64 record in 2015, good for the second best record in the majors that season, unfortunately it was also only good for second best in their own division.  This meant they would have to host the 1 game Wild Card Game, which they ultimately lost to the Chicago Cubs.

There is information about the Pirates ties to the military and how they wore home camo jerseys to support the troops.
Neil Walker appears in an Allegheny Health Network advertisement.

There's a great article about the resurgence of the team and the core of exciting players they grouped together to put together this winning culture in Pittsburgh.  Unfortunately following the 2015 season, the core was broken up as Pedro Alvarez was released and Neil Walker was traded to the New York Mets.

The article goes on to talk about the team becoming a destination for free agents and a future Cy Young vote getter Charlie Morton says that he is proud of where the organization is now, knowing where it was.
(He would also be traded following the season)

The yearbook then goes on to look at the Pirates by position
Following the 2014 season many baseball insiders claimed the Pirates had the best outfield in baseball.  They had a perennial MVP centerfielder (McCutchen), a rising star and gold glove left fielder (Starling Marte), and the best outfield prospect in baseball who was on the verge of his first full season in the majors (Gregory Polanco).  
The team also had one of the best front four rotations in baseball lead by former number one pick, Gerrit Cole.  AJ Burnett returned to Pittsburgh in 2015 to finish out his career in the Steel City.  Francisco Liriano and Charlie Morton Both had shown to be solid back of the rotation guys.

The yearbook also features information about how to get unique items from PNC Park like throwing out a first pitch, shagging flyballs in batting practice, or changing the bases during the game.

There is an article that talks about new players to join the Pirates in 2015 that weren't part of the team in 2014.  AJ Burnett, who spent 2012 and 2013 with the Pirates chose to opt out of his deal with the cross state Phillies to rejoin the Pirates because he thought they had the best chance to win in what Burnett chose to be his final playing year in his career.  Jung Ho Kang, the first Korean position player, would also join the Pirates in 2015 (and finish 3rd in Rookie of Year).
Continuing the trend of former Yankees catchers (Martin, Stewart) the Pirates traded for Francisco Cervelli and he immediately took over the void of losing Russel Martin in the off season. 

There is a deep look at the Pirates top 10 prospects in 2015.  The Pirates top prospect in 2015 was Tyler Glasnow, who was a top 15 prospect in baseball.

Speaking of top 15 prospects, the Pirates also had guys like Jameson Taillon, Josh Bell, and Austin Meadows on the farm system.  

Of the four listed above, only Taillon is still with the organization as both Meadows and Glasnow were traded for Chris Archer in 2018.  Bell was traded less than a month ago to the Washington Nationals for a pair of pitching prospects.
These three were all traded or released in recent years.  Reese McGuire looks to be an everyday catcher for the Toronto Blue Jays .
Each player on the 40 man roster received a black and white photo along with some basic player information (birthday, jersey number, height/weight, bats/throws, and position).

I had a lot of fun going through this yearbook again as it brought back A TON of excitement and enjoyment from the 2015 season and thinking for the future. 

Only Gregory Polanco remains on the 25 man roster from the 2015 team that won 98 games.

I would consider getting a second copy to cut out and frame some of the images in the book.

Have you ever removed pages from a Yearbook to hang up?

Do you collect old team yearbooks?
Are you happy with your team's current status from where they were 5 seasons ago?

Sunday, January 17, 2021

The Official Goals List

We are officially a few weeks into the New Year so I think it's about time to set some goals.  
One of the best advice I ever got from a supervisor was when they said "bowling is more fun with the lights on."  I'm going to paraphrase hear, but he went on to explain what that meant.  Well if you go bowling with your friends and it's dark and you throw the ball down and hear some pins fall, it's pretty cool.  But when you throw the next ball and don't hear any pins, you're left wondering what happened.  Bowling is always more fun with the lights on.  You need to see what the goals are so that you can win.

If I want to consider my collecting ways to be fun in 2021, I need to have goals.

So first and foremost I want to have fun with adding new McCutchen items to the collection.  This should be an easy goal.

I want to add another BIG 1/1 to the collection.  2020 saw me add another Topps Chrome Superfractor to the collection, a Jackie Robinson game used Patch with signature, and a few printing plate completed rainbows.  I want to add something similar this year.  Superfractor, Prizm Black Finite, 1/1 relic (bat knob, bat barrel, or any other unique item), or an Optic Golden Vinyl will be on the radar for this year.

I want to add another 3D licensed item I need to the collection (souvenir cup, store display item, stadium giveaway, etc)

McCutchen is an official sponsor for Marucci so I would love to add some printed magazine articles ads or even store display items for Marucci this year.
I have a Marucci store display with Buster Posey and Alex Bregman, but there is one that exists with Chase Utley, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, and Jose Bautista on it.
Getting a printed form of the above image would be a huge score for the collection.

Get a Pink/Magenta card from a prior year (2016 or earlier) I need in advance of October's #SAVESECONDBASE event.   

Add 50 new McCutchen cards to the collection from his Pirates playing days (2005-2017)

Update my checklist to have an accurate amount of what cards I own by the 1st of every month.  I feel like this will be the hardest goal for me.

Add ticket stubs for any monumental games (1st HR, multiHR games, 500 hit, 1000 hit, 1500 hit game, 100HR game, 200HR game, 100SB game, etc)

Add a unique game used item to the collection.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

You're The Best Around

When you think of Karate Kid, there are likely a few things that come to mind

A crane kick to the face

"Wax on, wax off"
Or the soundtrack with the hit song "You're the best around"

Travel with me back to 2017 when I showed off a post talking about my love for the Karate Kid soundtrack.

Over 3 years later and I am still talking about "Being The Best Around"

Bowman Best, that is!
All 4 of the 1/1 printing plates from 2015 Bowman Best
Because it is a chrome based product, all plates are printed with a negative reverse.
Black, Magenta, Cyan, Yellow.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Enter, the Hawk

One of my favorite characters in Cobra Kai is the character, Hawk
 Originally introduced in the show as one of the nerdy loser kids of the school, Eli was often bullied because of his cleft lip.
He joined Cobra Kai as a way to learn to fight back against the bullies and Johnny Lawrence, the sensei of Cobra Kai, teases Eli about it by saying "so it looked worse before the surgery" and suggested to Eli that unless he wants to be called Lip for the rest of life to find a way to distract others from looking at his birth defect.

Eli, entered the dojo later sporting a blue mohawk, and got the respect of his sensei, dubbing him Hawk.

Hawk became the second best student of Cobra Kai after Miguel.
Over the course of the two seasons that followed we have seen a lot of personal development of the character as he has struggled with ethics, friendships, and relationships.
Hawk is my second favorite character of the series after Johnny Lawrence.  His screen time and struggles make me a Fan of the show.

There was also a baseball player who was known as Hawk.

According to baseball reference, Andrew McCutchen's age 31 season was most similar to Hall of Famer, Andre Dawson the Hawk.
Andre Dawson's age 31 season fell in 1986, his final year in Montreal.
The 1986 season saw the Hawk hit 20HR in 130 games a few years removed from a serious knee injury. He stole 18 bags and had an .815 OPS with 65 Runs scored and 78RBI.  
Cutch's age 31 season was in 2018, his first year away from Pittsburgh where he split time on both coasts in San Francisco and New York.  

Cutch hit 20HR with 65RBI and 83 Runs scored with 14 stolen bases and a .792 OPS.

2020 Donruss saw a throwback to the 1986 design with a few players getting the autograph treatment.  
The fronts featured a chrome like design in an obvious throwback to the 1986 design.
The back features a 1986 Donruss inspired back to compliment the front.

Fun side note, Karate Kid 2 came out in 1986 and Andrew McCutchen was born in 1986.

What memories do you have of 1986?