Friday, April 30, 2021

Kong is better than Godzilla

I recently got myself an HBO Max subscription to test out so that I can stream a few movies (Zach Snyder Justice League cut, Godzilla vs Kong, and Mortal Kombat).  

The first thing I streamed was Kong: Skull Island.

I have a secret I need to share.
I love primates!!!!
I have been a fan of King Kong since I went on the old Universal Theme Park ride and it smelled like bananas.  I loved that ride so much when I was in my preteens.  I even enjoyed the 2005 Jack Black starred, Peter Jackson directed King Kong movie that lasted almost 4 hours long. 

I also loved Brie Larson in Kong:Skull Island so that helped to rewatch K:SI 
Once I watched Kong: Skull Island I went back and rewatched both Godzilla movies.

I'm not as big a fan of Godzilla as I am King Kong.  One of my old friends was obsessed with Godzilla.  I never understood the fanhood of the character.  

Now I don't want to spoil anything in Godzilla vs Kong, but Kong comes up in a huge way to help save the day, but let me say that in an actual fight between the two Godzilla will certainly win, but I'm rooting for Kong.

Much like sketch cards I prefer the (Brian) Kong variety to the (Bob)Zilla variety

Above is the original art Brian Kong created for a pack inserted sketch card in 2015 Topps Museum Canvas Collection.
That sketch card was also used to create the reproduction insert card found in 2015 Topps Museum Canvas as seen below
Brian Kong's art is so good it was also used as the reproduction art for the 2016 Topps Museum Reproction Canvas Collection cards
Above is the 5x7 gold parallel numbered to 10 copies

Below is a 1/1 mini sketch card from 2014 Allen & Ginter.
The above sketch is by also by Brian Kong, who has worked with Topps for many years on many different projects. I have been able to talk to Brian about comics and baseball fairly regularly when I would see him at comic book conventions in the mid 2000s.  

Above is the first sketch I ever got from Brian at the Big Apple Comic Con April 2005.
My two favorite characters (Sawyer and Kate) from my favorite TV show of all time (Lost).

I've been doing a lot of talking about (Brian) Kong, but let's talk about that Zilla now...
Bobzilla has fed off the hype of the Topps Project2020 and Project70 success and has been drawing on cards and selling them via ebay which I have lost because quite frankly the art style doesn't appeal to me.

  A few lines and a dinosaur?

I can do that myself.
For much less money too...

I've been drawing on cards for half a decade and some of you may even have some of my originals, which I did long before TP2020 or TP70 came out.  No offense to Mr. Zilla but I'm going to stick with my favorite Kaiju named artist and that is KONG!!!!

Who is your favorite kaiju?
Godzilla, King Kong, Mothra, or something entirely different?

What do you think of these "artists" like Bobzilla selling cards that have been drawn on?

Thursday, April 29, 2021

#TBT: Topps Unique

It has been a few months since I showed off Cutch wearing some Throwback Uniforms from his Pirates days.  

I am going to show off a pretty unique (pun intended) and short lived release by Topps.

Today I am looking at the gold parallel from 2009 Topps Unique

Cutch is wearing a uniform reminiscent of the Honus Wagner days celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the World Series winners
As you can see the back of the card discusses when the unique throwback uniform was worn and what the occassions was for the throwback uniform.  

Cutch made his MLB debut just a week and half earlier and was starting to make people aware that he may be a Rookie of the Year despite such a late start to the year.  The Pirates hosted the Detroit Tigers on June 14, 2009 to honor the 100 Year World Series that saw the Honus Wagner Pirates defeat the The Cobb lead Detroit Tigers.  

I wish the back of the card also mentioned Cutch's stats for the game.  He went 2 for 3 with two walks, a stolen base, and 2 runs scored in the 6-3 Pirates victory.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Set That Keeps Giving...

2011 Topps Update is widely recognized as the greatest modern baseball card set.  The product contains rookie cards of Mike Trout, Paul Goldschmidt, Jose Altuve, DJ LeMahieu, Anthony Rizzo, Eric Hosmer , Mike Moustakas, and Charlie Blackmon.  

At the time of it's release you could get 24 packs for about $50 retail.  Today a sealed box will cost tens of thousands of dollars. 

Hidden among the star studded rookie class are a few appearances by Andrew McCutchen that I like to chase after (that will be a pun for a future post).  Last year I discovered that Cutch had a Cameo on the Jay Bruce All Star Game card so I set out to try and find parallels of that card to add to the collection. 
The Blue Hope Diamond is the rarest of the non 1/1 parallels to track down and I had gotten one via a COMC order I placed last year.
It is numbered to only 60 copies on the back.

Jay Bruce recently announced his retirement. 

Because of how close Cutch and Jay Bruce were drafted along with being long time division rivals (and eventual teammates)  I have written a few articles about Jay Bruce in the past.  You can revisit them by clicking on one of the following posts:

Some other Jay Bruce related articles I suggest reading...
Tom Verducci recently wrote an article for Sports Illustrated discussing Bruce's retirement and the impact the shift is having on players. 

Fangraphs also did an article on Jay Bruce and the incredible hot start he had to his career.  Of course prospecting was a thing when he was beginning his career, but it is nothing like what it is today.  

Could you imagine what his 1st Bowman Auto would fetch on eBay in this market if in his 1st week as a rookie?  His first three games in the majors he went 3 for 3 with 2 walks, had a 4 hit game and scored the winning run, then hit a walkoff homer in his 3rd career game and somehow had a batting average of .577!!!!  

So yes Jay Bruce didn't live up to the Larry Walker comparisons from his prospect days, but he still made 3 All Star Games, 2 Silver Sluggers, and collected 319 homers over his 14 seasons.

What are some memories you have of Jay Bruce?

If he was beginning his career, rather than ending it what player in today's game would you compare Jay Bruce to? 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

A Rare Artifact Emerged

As a player collector, I am often looking for the rarest of items first rather than the more readily available items.

Yesterday I discussed passing up a grail item due to the large sum of money it went for.
For every 1,000 listings of 2020 and 2021 Topps Heritage cards (and all the parallels that coincide with it) there is maybe 5 listings for a 2009 Upper Deck SP Authentic card of Cutch.  

As of today there are ZERO base cards of the SP Authentic card available for sale via an eBay auction. 


The fairly recent release of 2021 Topps Heritage yields nearly 100 card listings for McCutchen.  

I don't have to spend my money and time searching for those right now, they'll be readily available for bulk purchase on COMC in the months to come. 

I would rather focus my efforts on the cards that don't pop up too often. 

Back in February one of the rarest Cutch rookies appeared for sale from a company no longer attached to baseball cards.

I pulled the trigger.

2009 Upper Deck SP Authentic offered a simple design with a limited number of parallels to chase for each card in the 200 card set.
Gold /299
Copper /99
Silver /59
Titanium /19

I already owned the base, gold, and copper versions of this card.  The next rarest was the silver limited to 59 copies.

I can cross that silver off the need list.
I am still messing around with the "scanner" on my camera phone as I threw out the old scanner as part of the temporary move.  
How do the images look with the camera phone scanner?

Monday, April 26, 2021

✌ I'm at peace ✌

On Saturday night at 1130pm a grail card was ending on eBay being sold by PWCC Vault and it was already graded as a PSA9.  

PSA, 1/1, and PWCC tend to be a mix for very high sales
Now when I say grail card, I literally mean THE CARD that any Andrew McCutchen fan would want to own.

Above is the Superfractor 1/1 from Andrew McCutchen's Bowman Chrome draft year (1st Bowman)
Would it be nice to add such a legendary card to the collection?
You bet your ass it would have been awesome.

6 months ago, I probably would have gotten into a bidding war for it even though it is being sold by PWCC who is known to be involved in graded trading card scandals over the past few years.  
Not today though

Because here's the thing...
as I was packing and preparing to move I came to a very zenful moment regarding my collection.  

I'm at peace with my Cutch PC.

I have acquired over 3,000 unique cards of Cutch including over 20 1/1 cards that use the Superfractor technology (this includes Bowman Platinum Foilfractors and Panini Gold Vinyl cards)

In addition to those Superfractors (and similar style technology) I also have the 2005 Bowman Chrome Draft Red Refractor, which just happens to be a 1/1 also.  I wrote about it just over a year ago here.
The 2005 Bowman Draft Chrome release had 6 1/1s available for each card produced when you take into account the 4 printing plates, Superfractor, and Red Refractor.   Having bought the red 1/1 for 10% of the Superfractor is fine with me.  I don't need to drop THREE GRAND on a card to prove I have the best McCutchen collection, grail card or not.

That doesn't mean I won't be adding new Cutch items to the collection.  I am most definitely not done CollectingCutch.  

I'm just changing my mindset on how I am going about adding new things to the collection and the prices I am willing to pay.  I got more of an adrenaline rush adding the foul ball hit before his EPIC walkoff homer in 2018 than any 1/1 Superfractor could bring.

Card prices are stupid right now and that's why I'm changing it up a bit

I will share a top 10 list soon...

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Get to know your Cutch

Andrew McCutchen wasn't very well known to the nation until his breakout campaign in 2012.  

The Pirates had a Q&A with him in their magazine shortly after his debut season so that fans could get to know the face of their franchise a bit better.  
Above is the Q&A from a Pirates magazine that was signed in person by Cutch. Once things settle down with moving and I can show off the new Cutch cave in all it's glory you can bet that this will be hanging on a wall somewhere.

Friday, April 23, 2021

This card is Frameous - Episode 2

I have been fortunate over the years of collecting my favorite athlete that Topps has produced some really nice metal framed cards.  

One of the first of these appeared in 2014 as an insert set available in Topps Series 2.  They were made to look like the original designs from Topps Gold Label 2000, but were limited to only 99 copies and had a gold metal frame around the card.  

They were EXTREMELY difficult to pull and landed on average 1 per case and the checklist consisted of 25 players (current and retired)

You may recognize this type of card from my first Frameous post which you can revisit here.
The back captures the original look of the 2000 Gold Label set and has the Class 1 designation.  (There were no other classes produced).  

If you're interested in seeing who else was part of the 25 player insert set, visit here.

I think that the success of this insert ultimately lead to the reintroduction of Gold Label as a yearly product.  

The product is produced now using traditional card stock with holofoil designs and the Class 1, Class 2, Class 3 rarities along with a few color parallels (black, blue, red) per class.  

The current production of Topps Gold Label uses frames for their autograph cards, which come on average 1 per box.  

Would you be interested in seeing framed cards shown once a month on this blog? 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

So you're saying there's a chance

Before I was a teenager, my uncle tried to convince me that Ken Caminiti was the greatest baseball player he ever saw.  This of course is a far cry from most people's expectations when watching Cammy play.  My uncle was in his late 20s/early 30s when he met Caminiti at a bar out drinking everyone and later saw him in spring training picking grounders with the slickest of fielding.  

To this day, my uncle swears that the two best players he saw play were Pete Rose when he was growing up and Ken Caminiti in his prime.  

The Caminiti selection seems like a "homer" pick.  He still makes arguments about what ifs and how were it not for a late career start, injuries, and some substance problems he thinks Caminiti could have been one of the all time greats at the hot corner with his switch hitting ability and gold glove caliber and under rated defense.

I have similar conversations when it comes to my favorite player who I met when I was in my late 20s.  

Cutch started his career as a 22 year old and suffered a serious knee injury in his age 32 season. He fortunately hasn't dealt with substance problems, but has had a season shortened by a global pandemic in a year that followed a season ending injury. 

In Cutch's first seven years in the league, he seemed like a sure fire Hall of Fame path.  He won 4 silver sluggers, MVP, Baseball America Rookie of Year, 2xPlayers Selection MVP, 5xAll-Star, and won a Gold Glove. He was also the 2015 Roberto Clemente which showed that he was a leading example of the good character clause.

Last year there was an article written about the 10 players that could be hurt most at a Hall of Fame career if the 2020 season were cancelled.  Of course, there was a baseball season and Cutch performed pretty good coming off such a huge injury.  He managed to hit 10HRs in the shortened season and joins Nelson Cruz, Edwin Encarnacion, and Robinson Cano as the only player since 2009 to have 10 or more homeruns each season since 2009.  You can visit the article here.

Baseball has always been a numbers game and if you look at some numbers of Cutch's career to other recent Hall of Fame outfielders, you can see that Cutch still has a pretty good shot at eventually making the Hall of Fame.
Although Ichiro hasn't officially made it to the Hall of Fame, he will likely be a first ballot Hall of Famer.
Through his age 33 season, Ichiro collected 1,592 hits.  
Cutch currently has 1,719 career Hits.
Cutch also has Ichiro beat in career HR and RBI even if he doesn't collect another over his career.  He is also outpacing Ichiro for career Runs scored through age 33 season. Ichiro had 782 and Cutch has 974. 

Edgar Martinez
Edgar's post age 33 season he was able to put up 1,216 Hits, 192 HR, 777 RBI, and 615 Runs.

If Cutch were to match those numbers by Edgar Martinez he will have finished his career with 435 HR, over 200 stolen bases, 2935 Hits, 1589 Runs scored, and 1630 RBI.  I don't think anyone would deny those numbers as Hall of Fame worthy.  

Harold Baines
Baines career through age 33 mirrors McCutchen almost identically.
Baines had 1 less homerun, but more  (almost 200) hits.  Cutch has him beat substantially on runs scored, stolen bases, but is trailing by a bit on RBI.

Baines put up an additional 940 hits, 142 HR, and roughly 500 each runs/RBI after his age 33 season.  

If Cutch does that he will have over 2,600 Hits, almost 400 HR, over 1300 RBI, and nearly 1500 Runs scored.  

Again, pretty consistent with Hall of Fame outfielders, especially one that played the majority of his career in centerfield in a pitcher's ballpark. 

Larry Walker
Walker was a five tool outfielder that could hit for power and average while being above average on the base paths and had a cannon for an arm in the outfield.  
He finished his career with 2,160 Hits, 383 HR, 1353 Runs scored, and 1311 RBI while swiping 230 bags.

His post age 33 season yielded 632 hits, 112HR, 405 RBI, and 405 Runs scored.

If Cutch duplicates a Larry Walker career post age 33 he will have numbers that are frightengly similar to Hall of Famer, Larry Walker
Walker V Cutch
2160 hits V 2351 hits
1311 RBI V 1258 RBI
1353 R V 1379 R
383 HR V 355 HR
230 SB V 226 SB

Oddly enough, Larry Walker is often considered a great defensive outfielder, but in more career chances, Walker made less put outs than McCutchen and has a lower fielding percentage than Cutch.  

⚾ ⚾ ⚾ ⚾ ⚾ ⚾

I'm not sure if Cutch has 8 more seasons in him like Edgar or Ichiro or if he will retire before he hits age 40 like Larry Walker, but Cutch is certainly still on a Hall of Fame path, especially if writers decide to put as much emphasis on the good side of the character clause as they do the bad side for players like Bonds, Schilling, and Clemens. 

Cutch has had a slow start to the season thus far, but that's nothing new for the former MVP.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Strange Rules are afoot with the Hayes, K.

So as I was packing up all my McCutchen cards and collectibles in general, I was talking to my girlfriend about the hobby and things got off on a tangent when trying to defend some of the standard rules we use while collecting.

I came across a small stash of Ke'Bryan Hayes cards that I had purchased 5+ years ago before I shifted my collecting focus to be just Collecting Cutch and started to explain to her how much these cards are worth now and she was shocked.
3 base rookie autographs that currently sell in the $400-$450 range, a BGS 9.5 with 10 auto, and the 1/1 Magenta Printing Plate auto.  Not a bad stash.
How about a 1/1 Superfractor from 2016 Bowman Top 100 Prospects?
Or some more autographs from Bowman?
The dual auto with his dad is serially numbered 12/25 (paging Gavin)
Laundry tags and Buttons and prime patches and acetate autographs all from Panini and Leaf products
Speaking of Leaf...

I am currently looking to move these via other social media accounts instead of eBay as they don't fit where my collection is currently at.

Click here to remember the origin of how I became CollectingCutch.

I had to explain some of the rules regarding card collecting and it got me thinking that some of them are just stupid...

For example why do people pay more for a rookie card in 2009 Topps Update than a 1st All Star Game appearance in 2011 Topps Update two years later that may have a smaller print run and is from the most famous flagship baseball set of modern times?

Why do supercollectors collect 5-20+ parallels of basically the same card, but with different borders?

Why do people in the hobby even collect tiny pieces of cardboard that could just be printed on photostock and hung on the walls?

All interesting points and it really got me thinking about how I am going to collect going forward.  Fortunately I have at least 1K cards in my collection I never showed off on here so there will still be content as things settle down on the moving front.

I did order my first card since moving out of the old apartment.
It's a Ke'Bryan Hayes Project70 card by Alex Pardee.  Something about the oddness of this card reminds me of those awesome Metal Universe cards from the mid 90s where the hottest stars were on alien worlds or fighting tentacles or atop a pyramid.  Weird stuff is awesome.  

Thursday, April 15, 2021

The 1st Cutch Cameo of 2021 Arrives

As I continue to pack up for the temporary move with the in laws for a few months a handful of packages from Topps are starting to come in including the 1st Andrew McCutchen cameo card of the 2021 Topps Now season. 

Cutch made a cameo in the Jean Segura Opening Day walkoff.
I didn't scan the image as my scanner is already packed up, but instead just took a screenshot of the card and cropped out to show Cutch.  That's why it may look a bit like some rare Bigfoot low-res image. 

I hope you all are having a good day, New Jersey is getting pummeled with rain today.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Been busy, I'm moving

It's been almost a week since my last post.  I've been incredibly busy packing up as I am moving.
It joins my list of changes I have chosen to make this year. 

I may be quiet for a few weeks as I continue to transition things around. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021


The 1972 Topps set will always be associated to me as the last playing days card of Roberto Clemente. It also is represented by my first look at the 1972 set via the 1987 Turn Back the Clock subset featuring Clemente. 

So it was a nice surprise to see Topps pay respect to Clemente by creating a 21 card insert set to Roberto Clemente in this year's Topps Heritage release which pays homage to the 1972 design.  The number 21 was of course worn by Clemente throughout his playing career.

I quickly jumped on adding the black refractor from this year's Topps Heritage to my collection.  It is limited to only 72 copies.
Mine is serially numbered 21/72 in the top right corner.  So close to a Cutch22 serial number, but I will gladly take the Clemente numbering for a 1972 inspired set.

Have you gotten any Topps Heritage cards yet?  

If so any luck pulling a Clemente insert card?

Monday, April 5, 2021

Monsters of Baseball?

I was going through some old articles I had bookmarked just in case there were ever a need to show off some cards relating to it and stumbled across a little gem about the Philadelphia Phillies.

Wow, have things changed a lot in 5 years.

Look at this article from 2016.
It discusses how the Phillies will again become a juggernaut in Major League Baseball with a monster payroll supporting home grown stars like Mikael Franco, Odubel Herrera, Jerad Eickoff, Vince Velasquez, and Aaron Nola.  

Well they were right about Nola.

It also mentioned the Phillies flexibility to add talent to the "historic free agent class" of 2018 when guys like Matt Harvey and Jose Fernandez will be available along with Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

The article goes on to talk about their farm system and the expectation of JP Crawford "becoming a star" and Cornelius Randolph being the best prep bat in the previous year's draft.  

It wasn't too long ago that I did a post about the Pirates fall from success and how only 1 player remains with the team that won 98 games in 2015 (Gregory Polanco) and many of their top prospects coming out of that season have all been traded and are no longer a part of the organization (Josh Bell, Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows, Harold Ramirez, Reese McGuire, Nick Kingham).

Monsters of baseball?

I think not.

Good start to the 2021 season for the Phillies by sweeping by the Braves?  
Yes I think so.
I really like the Bryce Harper card above from 2020 Topps.  I may seek out some of it's parallels to chase.  

To wrap things up I will show 3 cards of Cutch in a Phillies uniform.
2019 Topps Fire Dual Auto with Rhys Hoskins limited to 20 copies
2019 Allen & Ginter Double Rip with Rhys Hoskins limited to 25 copies
2019 Topps Museum bat barrel nameplate 1/1

Each Phillies sweep this year will be followed up with a post featuring Cutch in Phillies gear.  Among the cards posted will be at least 1/1 during each sweep. 

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Scripture Sunday: John 11:25

✝Happy Easter Everyone✝

With it being Easter Sunday, I thought it was appropriate to show off some cards of Cutch that show him wearing his cross armband over the years while playing for 4 teams.

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die. 
What are your Easter Sunday plans?