As I continue to live with the in laws for the forseeable future, I have been forced to look at my binders of Cutch cards more often and pay less attention to the big sick mojo hits of autographs, patches, etc that are in toploaders and one touches in storage.
It's actually been calming to look back on the base cards and revisit the card backs and fronts instead of just concerning myself with all those wacky parallels that Topps and Panini are doing.
Similarly I have really slowed down in terms of adding new Cutch cards to the collection. This is for two reasons. 1)We are continuing to look for the perfect home in a difficult market and 2)The parallels in current products don't scream to me the way they once did.
One parallel I haven't seen hit yet is the 2021 Topps Series 2 pink parallel for Andrew McCutchen. If one of those does pop up, you can be sure I will be adding it for the October event.
Anyway, as I was flipping through my binder I came across a page with 2015 Bowman cards.
As you can see from this page there are quite a number of parallels on this page. The Orange parallel pops, but I want to talk about a pair of cards in today's post.
I want to focus on the cards on the right side of the 2nd and 3rd rows.
I took them out of the pages and used the camera scanner app on my phone.
They both look pretty similar, right?
The only differences I could see on the front was that the unique "ice" technology pattern continued all the way to the edge of the card on right, but the card on left had that technology stop at the borders of the card's design. I have bought missing foil stamp cards and as you will see in a future post (maybe even tomorrow) I have bought severely miscut or error cards.
I thought this was something similar.
I didn't remember much about the 2015 Bowman release so after flipping the cards over I discovered that I had something special.
Yeah, the card on the left is a pretty unique card indeed. The card where the pattern stops at the borders is called a White Ice parallel and was printed as a 1/1.
I can't find any details for hobby pack insertion rates, but the purple ice (pictured on top right corner of page) were limited to 50 copies and found 1:239 packs. At a similar rate, the white ice parallels would land 1:11,950 retail packs. Expand that to a 300 player checklist and you would need to open nearly 3.6 million packs (3,585,000 to be exact) to ensure getting the McCutchen.
With the current hobby market, that would have been a lot of 6am Friday visits to Target!!!
I honestly had forgotten all about this parallel and might not have even realized how rare it was, as proven by it just being in an Ultra Pro Platinum 9 pocket page.
What kind of rare cards have you found recently that you forgot you owned?
Topps Project 70 had Andrew McCutchen debut with card number 10 by Blake Jamieson. The always fan favorite and charismatic McCutchen was left without another card in the Project 70 run until yesterday. Philadelphia artist Chuck Styles just created a card featuring Cutch's Uncle Larry persona.
Of course I had to pick one up and you should too. Just head over to Topps.com and grab your copy.
I of course will be on the lookout for foils when they surface, but did preorder one of the artist proof cards limited to 51 copies also.
The card design is loosely based on the 1976 Topps design, a design that Cutch hasn't appeared on yet. Instead of a cartoon ballplayer in the corner, we have a drinking cup (made famous by that swag dugout photo)
I love everything about this card and will be possibly picking up a 10 pack prior to the 70 hour window closing. At the very least I have a base and artist proof coming my way.
Hopefully other artists like Alex Pardee, distortedd, efdot, and Ermsy join Blake Jamieson and Chuck Styles in making more Cutch cards.
What are your thoughts on the Chuck Styles Uncle Larry card?
Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there reading this!!!
Today's card is the 2011 Bowman Chrome blue parallel.
I chose this card because it features an image of Cutch wearing the blue wristbands from a Father's Day game played in 2010 against the Cleveland Indians.
Coincidently Father's Day in 2010 was also on June 20th.
The Pirates defeated the Cleveland Indians 5-3 at PNC Park. Cutch scored the go ahead run in the 8th inning when he walked to lead off the inning and came around to score on a Pedro Alvarez sacrifice fly.
At the plate, Cutch went 0 for 3 with a walk, run scored, and RBI.
He finished the day with his triple slash line being .315/.392/.479. It's a shame that Evan Meek was the Pirates lone representative at the 2010 All Star Game and that Cutch was snubbed from the game.
Today is my brother's birthday. He is my best friend and I just wanted to take a moment to wish him a very Happy Birthday.
I am fairly certain that he got this card for me almost 10 years ago as a Christmas present as it was staged away with a bunch of vintage Pirates cards I know he got me for Christmas back in 2011 or 2012.
At the time I didn't have anywhere close to the Cutch collection I have now. That was mostly due to the fact that Topps wasn't creating parallels of parallels in the early 2010s and they weren't having a new release every other week like the company does now.
Whether or not he actually got me this card, there were a pair of 1/1s that he won for me from 2005 Bowman Heritage. I wrote about them back in January 2018.
Happy Birthday Kevin!!!
Above is a picture from almost a decade ago (July 2012) when I took him to his first trip to PNC Park (he has since gone back a few times on his own).
He roots for all Florida teams (Jaguars, Magic, Rays/Marlins, Lightning) like I root for all Pittsburgh teams. Neither of us are from Florida or Pittsburgh. We are a strange pair of local oddballs.
I recently received a severely rare card that qualifies for one of my top 10 Cutch PC cards I wanted to add to my collection. I can't wait to show if off in the future.
I couldn't believe that I was a winner!!!!!!
Above is the 2017 Topps Archives Gold Winner Parallel from the 1992 design. While not as rare or exclusive as the card I recently picked up, this card is still a pretty difficult pull. These 1992 Winner parallels were available 1:110 hobby packs or 1:137 retail packs. The 1992 design contained 100 player subjects for the 2017 Archives set.
The original Topps Winner cards in 1992 were available by collecting "100 Runs" as part of Topps Match the Stats game inserts. Once mailed into Topps, the recipient would receive a pack of 10 cards with the gold foil winner stamp.
Coincidentally the 1992 set was the last time Topps released their cards as a single series set. It also marked the first time that Topps printed on white cardstock.
The backs of the Winner cards look identical to the traditional look of a 1992 Topps card.
Were you collecting Topps cards in 1992? Do you remember the 1992 Gold Winner parallels?
Last week I showed off a 1/1 Gypsy Queen mini and asked the question if I should show off some more mini cards from the collection.
While there wasn't a lot of responses, I have always enjoyed the miniature sized cards found as inserts.
Topps is often known for their 1952 set to the casual hobbyist, but it was their 1951 release that resembled a card game that helped to get them on the map.
Released in 1951 was a set of cards with players that you would shuffle into your deck. Based on the card you drew that would indicate the action taken for your team.
Topps has used this idea and even design many times since 1951 including the 2020 release by Blake Jamieson, one of the head artists for Project 2020 and Topps Project 70.
In 2015, Topps released a set of cards containing 104 players. It had a MSRP of $79.99 upon release. In addition to a complete set for the (roughly) $80 purchase, the box also contained 21 color back parallels and 1 autograph.
The 21 parallels were seeded into the set by the following breakdown:
Red Back (10 per set)
Blue Back (5 per set)
Green Back (3 per set)
Black Back (2 per set)
Gold Back (1 per set)
As you can see from the below picture I have all the color parallels from this miniature release.
Do you have any 1951 Topps Game cards, either modern cards that use the old design OR any originals?
I was never a huge fan of Superman compared to other superheroes. I always liked the darker more angsty heroes like Wolverine, Green Arrow, or Batman or I liked the comical heroes like Flash or Deadpool.
I do respect Superman though. He is an American icon.
Superman is also known as The Man of Steel.
Here are some other Men of Steel from my Andrew McCutchen Triple Threads collection
So as many of you know, I am in the process of moving to what will hopefully be my final landing spot complete with my own man cave to display the Cutch goodies in proper displays.
Because of living with the in laws as this housing market settles down and we can save some extra money, I have had my hobby mail go to my dad's house because I quite frankly don't feel like going to storage every few weeks. He has basically become my personal PO Box for hobby related stuff.
Well about a month ago I got a Twitter message from the blogger "Rosenort" of the Rockies and Redskins based blog condition-sensitive.
He said he had a McCutchen card he didn't think I had in my collection and was willing to send it to me.
Bold statement as I have over 3,000 unique cards of Cutch, but awesome!!!! I gave him my dad's address and had him send it to me.
It's been a few weeks since I got the chance to catch up with my dad so over the weekend I stopped by after work to visit with him and he told me that I had gotten a few things since the last time I visited.
Cool. I put them in my car and didn't think anything of it.
I opened up the package and found a Topps Now card holder inside,
instantly thinking it may be a parallel of a Topps Now card.
Some I have, many I don't.
I opened it up and was immediately greeted with his signature card
which ranks up there with Fuji's for coolest blogging business cards.
Then I saw what he had sent me....
A 1/1 Andrew McCutchen printing plate from 2012 Topps Mini!!!!!
Yeah I am pretty sure I don't have this.
But rest assured I will find a way to repay you with a RAK (Random Act of Kindness)
In all seriousness, thank you so much to all of you who read this blog and think of awesome things like this to gift upon me. It's amazing!!!
Do you remember who won the National League MVP in 1960?
If you answered Dick Groat, your baseball knowledge is very very very strong.
Groat was the starting shortstop for the 1960 World Series Champions, Pittsburgh Pirates. He finished the season with a .766 OPS. While advanced analytics weren't that common back in 1960, it took one teammate to voice his opinion about what he thought about the writer's choice for the 1960 NL MVP campaign.
Roberto Clemente, one of the greatest Pittsburgh Pirates ever, voiced his anger towards the writers selecting Dick Groat over Roberto Clemente for the 1960 MVP. I found an article from 2008 that discusses a very early sabremetric look at the 1960 campaign to see how far off Clemente was. Clemente finished with an 8th place vote with three other Pirates voted higher than him (Dick Groat, Don Hoak, and Vern Law)
Dick Groat might seem like an unlikely victor for the 1960 MVP as he hit only two home runs, stole zero bases, scored only 85 runs and knocked in only 50 runs. He did finish with the second highest hit total in the senior circuit that season behind Willie Mays (who also happened to have a .936 OPS with over 100 runs and 100RBI while stealing 25 bags. Goat's WAR that season was 6.1 which was based largely on his glove which accounted for nearly half that total (2.6 dWAR).
While Goat's MVP season remains as much a controversy today as it was in 1960, Barry Bonds, the NL MVP of 1992 isn't questioned nearly as much.
Bonds QUIETLY put up a near Triple Crown campaign in 1992, his last season with the Pirates. He finished 1HR shy of the leader, Fred McGriff and only 6RBI behind the NL leader, Darren Daulton. His batting average of .311 was good for 6th place behind Gary Sheffield. Bonds posted a 9.0WAR, the best among position players that season. He also lead the league in on base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS (1.030!!!). Bonds hit a HR once every 13 at bats in 1992.
Between 1993 and 2012 there wasn't much to root for regarding the Pittsburgh Pirates as the franchise suffered two decades without a winning season.
That all changed in 2013 when the Pirates went to the playoffs in 2013 largely due in part to Andrew McCutchen, who was emerging as one of the game's greatest stars. Cutch finished the season with the highest WAR among position players and finishing many categories in the top 10 (hits, HR, batting average, runs, RBI, SB). Cutch didn't lead any traditional statistical categories, but excelled at them all. He received 28 (of 30) 1st place votes for the 2013 NL MVP.
I came across the signed photo you see above via eBay about a year ago. It doesn't have any third party certification for the signatures, but the source I bought it from specializes in Pittsburgh sports signatures. The autographs for Groat and Bonds both look authentic and the Cutch, while being a quick signature appears to be valid as well. Even if it is not authentic, it is still a great looking 8x10 photo to hang on the wall as it features the Pirates 2014 Opening Day ceremonies with Dick Groat and Barry Bonds presenting Cutch with his MVP Award and Silver Slugger based on the 2013 season.
I thought it might be fun to look at cards that feature Andrew McCutchen with former teammates and do a "Where are they now?" type thing.
I got the idea from one of those ads that takes a look at a movie cast to see where they are now. It was followed by watching the Friends Reunion show with Ms. CollectingCutch as we saw the faces of Matthew Perry, Courtney Cox, etc in their current appearance.
So the first person I am going to look at is Gerrit Cole.
Gerrit Cole was drafted by the Yankees in the first round of the 2009 amateur draft, but chose not to sign and instead attended UCLA where he was drafted 1st overall by the Pirates in 2011.
Cole made his debut in 2013 and helped to push the Pirates towards their first playoff run in over two decades.
He joined a young Pirates team loaded with talent that included the 2013 NL MVP (Andrew McCutchen) and the 2013 NL Home Run Champion (Pedro Alvarez)
Cole finished his rookie season going 10-7 with a 3.22 ERA over 19 games started. He also went 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA and 0.64WHIP over 11 innings in the 2013 Postseason.
The following season saw the Pirates make another playoff push and finish with the top Wild Card position. Cole went 11-5 with a 9K/9 and 3.23FIP in his sophomore season. The Pirates lost the Wild Card Game and Cole didn't get a chance to pitch in the postseason. Meanwhile McCutchen continued to be a perennial MVP candidate (finishing 3rd in MVP voting) and helped anchor one of the best outfields in baseball.
The Pirates began 2015 the same way they finished 2014, as one of the youngest and best teams in baseball. The young team constantly flirted with the best record in baseball behind their division rivals, St. Louis Cardinals.
Gerrit Cole emerged as a true ace of the Pirates pitching staff (that also included AJ Burnett, Charlie Morton, Francisco Liriano and saw top prospects Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow continue to rise in the minors).
Gerrit Cole received Cy Young votes (finishing fourth) and MVP votes while making his first All-Star team.
Cole was joined on the roster by MVP caliber Centerfielder, Andrew McCutchen along with rotation mate, AJ Burnett, and team closer Mark Melancon.
The 2015 Pirates finished with the second best record in baseball, but would again lose the Wild Card game. Cole started the game and was the losing pitcher.
The 2016 Pirates saw some significant changes occur. Previous year rookie of year nominee (finished third) Jung Ho Kang struggled with injuries. Andrew McCutchen had the worse season of his career after four straight top 5 MVP seasons. Cole regressed significantly after a breakout 2015 campaign and suffered a 7-10 record, largely based on his 1.44WHIP.
The Pirates also made some significant moves by releasing Pedro Alvarez and trading away local fan favorite, Neil Walker.
The Pirates struggles continued into 2017 and the team that seemed destined to become a constant postseason threat by having a top 5 MLB team (at least according to record) along with a top 5 farm system was making changes.
Just before New Year's 2018, the two faces of the franchise were traded away within days of each other.
Gerrit Cole was traded to Houston for a package that included Joe Musgrove, Colin Moran, and Jason Martin.
Cutch was shipped off to the San Francisco Giants for Bryan Reynolds and Kyle Crick.
Cole became a different pitcher in Houston and improved his spin rate becoming one of the best pitchers in the game.
He made the All Star team both seasons in Houston and would lead the American League in K/9 both years. In his 65 starts with Houston he went 35-10 with a 2.68ERA and 602 strikeouts over 412 innings. His K/9 jumped from 8.4 with Pittsburgh to 13.1 with Houston.
Following the 2019 World Series, Cole became a Free Agent and signed with the team that originally drafted him.
In 148 innings with the Yankees, Cole alread has struck out nearly 200 batters and has a miniscule 2.54 ERA to go with a 13-6 record.
In 18 postseason innings with the Yankees last year, Cole struck out 30 batters and won both games he was involved in a decision.
Should I look at other former teammates of Cutch and show off some of my cards with that player?