Saturday, July 31, 2021

Rookie Reflections

We are nearing the three quarter mark for the 2021 season.

Ke'Bryan Hayes was an early pick to win the Rookie of the Year thanks to his September call up last year when he won Rookie of the Month.  Despite only 95 at bats last year he still came in 6th place for Rookie of Year voting due to his 1.124 OPS and 199 OPS+ (nearly twice as good as average player). 

He started off the 2021 season the same way he finished up the 2020 season, by blasting a HR in his first at bat.  

Card prices soared!!! And his base Bowman Chrome Auto (of which I have 4) climbed up to $600 each during Opening Day.  The following day, he injured his hand and was put on the IL for an extended stay of a few months.  

He is still having a productive season while not looking like Mike Schmidt at his prime.

While providing Gold Glove level defense, he has also privided the Pirates with a glimpse into the future with his bat.  

In only 73 games played (due to the COVID shortened season and a hand injury this season) he has amassed 3.3 WAR.  

Over a full season, he could provide up to 7 WAR which would put him into some elite company at the hot corner.  Here are a list of players to get to 7+ WAR in a season over the past 5 years
Kris Bryant 2016 MVP season
Josh Donaldson 2016 (4th place MVP)
Nolan Arenado 2019 (6th place MVP)
Matt Chapman 2018 & 2019 seasons (finished top 7 MVP both years)
Manny Machado 2016 (5th place MVP)

If Ke'Bryan Hayes can get healthy and consistently repeat his September 2020 month, he may become the next Pittsburgh Pirate to gain MVP votes, something the Pirates haven't had since Andrew McCutchen.

Dynamic Duals is a Topps On Demand product that provides collectors with one dual (sticker) autograph card, a 25 card base set, and a combination of 2 parallels or insert cards.  There are three insert sets to collect: Manager's Dream, Cooperstown Combo, and Rookie Reflections.  Above is the base card to the insert series called Rookie Reflections that looks at this year's rookie class and compares them to players of the same franchise. 

These inserts can fall 1 per set ($149.99 MSRP per set) and include pairings with names like
Jo Adell & Mike Trout
Ryan Mountcastle & Eddie Murray
Joey Bart & Buster Posey
Tristan McKenzie & CC Sabathia
Dylan Carlson & Albert Pujols
Bobby Dalbec & Nomar Garciapara
Casey Mize & Justin Verlander
Christian Pache & Ronald Acuna
Alec Bohm & Mike Schmidt

There are color parallels to chase as well.  The red is /10 and the gold is a 1/1.

Which rookies have you enjoyed the most this year?

Building a Super Team

Let's look at some of the Pirates draft picks that failed to sign or players that the Pirates did sign, but would not be free agents until after this year is up.

The Pirates had used the draft and international signings as a strong basis for their "successful" years of 2013-2015 when they had collectively the 2nd best record in Baseball during that 3 year stretch.  Unfortunately the Cardinals, a division rival, had the best record.

With the recent trade of Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Dodgers, this got me thinking of the Pirates failures to build a competitive team year in and out.  They have missed out on signing elite talent through the draft as you'll see in this post and have traded a lot of their talent away for no impact.

SP Walker Buehler
2012 14th round selection (failed to sign)

SP Tyler Glasnow
2011 5th round selection, traded to Rays in Chris Archer 2018 trade

SP Jameson Taillon
2010 1st round selection

1B Josh Bell
2011 2nd round selection, traded to Nationals for 2021 season

2B Adam Frazier
2013 6th round selection, traded to Padres midseason 2021

SS/Util Trea Turner
2011 20th round selection (failed to sign)

3B Ke'Bryan Hayes
2015 compensation 2nd round selection

OF Austin Meadows
2013 1st Round, traded to Rays in Chris Archer trade

OF Starling Marte
Signed 8 year extension for $53M (2014-2021)

OF Bryan Reynolds
Acquired in the 2018 Andrew McCutchen trade prior to Andrew reaching free agency

C Jacob Stallings
2012 7th round selection

On the farm
SP Nick Lodolo (Reds Top Prospect)
2016 1st round compensation pick (41st overall) failed to sign

SP Shane Baz (Rays #3 prospect)
2017 1st round selection, traded to Rays in Chris Archer trade

SP Gunnar Hoguland (Blue Jays 1st Round selection in 2021 draft)
2018 1st round compensation, failed to sign

2B Nick Gonzalez (Pirates top prospect)
2020 1st Round selection

If that doesn't depress the casual Pirtes fan, I don't know what does.  It is easy to go and look at things in hindsight and to try to win every trade and sign elite talent through the draft and extend players at the right times in their careers, but Neal Huntington, the former GM of this team gutted the farm system for Chris Archer at a time when the team had no chance of making a deep playoff run.  Furthermore, they had a chance to acquire Gavin Lux or Will Smith at the 2019 trade deadline for elite relief pitcher Felipe Vazquez, who is now likely to be spending life in prison. 

Had the Pirates signed Walker Buehler and Trea Turner that would have bolstered the team with 8.5 Wins Above Replacement.  

The Pirates traded Adam Frazier, Austin Meadows, Starling Marte, Tyler Glasnow, Josh Bell, and Jameson Taillon prior to them reaching free agency.  Those players equate for another 12 Wins Above Replacement.

Imagine adding 20 Wins to a team?
That would put them in the playoff picture for the division or one of the two wild cards.  Had they sign either of their 1st Round compensation picks in Gunnar Hoguland or Nick Lodolo OR not traded Shane Baz as part of the Chris Archer trade, the Pirates would have a farm system loaded with top prospects that many teams covet and they could trade for a game changing pitcher like Max Scherzer.

The Pirates front office seems to be on track with righting the ship (no pun intended) by recognizing their inability to compete for the next few years and that is why they have unloaded pending free agents and stockpiled prospects.

The next 2 years may be rough, but Pirates fans will be seeing the team return to the postseason in 2023. That's my prediction.  

Friday, July 30, 2021

So, you're a Trade-er?

Today is the trade deadline so I thought it would be appropriate to discuss one of the more surprising trades that has happened.  The Scherzer/Turner to LA is a topic for another day, but I really want to discuss Anthony Rizzo, long time face of the Cubs and the player who owns the ball which ended the 100+ year World Series drought has been traded to the New York Yankees.  This came just one day after Joey Gallo was traded to the Yankees.  Rizzo has the face and personality to win over New York Yankees fans immediately, but I am sad to see him leave Chicago.  I know he was drafted by the Red Sox and played briefly as a rookie for the Padres, but I will always associate Rizzo with the Cubs and their complete rebuild which ultimately lead to a championship.  Rizzo was the Cubs, through and through.  

I've shown off some of my Cutch and Rizzo cards in the past including the one in today's post.

One of my favorite booklet cards I own is a quad patch card of Nolan Arenado, Anthony Rizzo, Andrew McCutchen, and Giancarlo Stanton.  
It's an impressive piece of oversized cardboard, containing massive chunky jersey cards from

Nolan Arenado
3xTop5 NL MVP
6x All Star
4x Silver Slugger
8x Gold Glove
43.1 WAR (career)
⚾ ⚾ ⚾ ⚾
Anthony Rizzo
1x World Series Champion (2016)
2x Top 5MVP
3x All Star
1x Silver Slugger
3x Gold Glove
36.6 WAR (career)
⚾ ⚾ ⚾ ⚾
Andrew McCutchen
2013 NL MVP (4xTop5 MVP)
5xAll Star
4xSilver Slugger
1xGold Glove
46.1 WAR (career)
⚾ ⚾ ⚾ ⚾
Giancarlo Stanton
2017 NL MVP (2x Top 5)
4x All Star
2x Silver Slugger
42.1 WAR (career)

All players on this card have been traded since they signed their contract extensions.

3 of these players have been traded to the Yankees (McCutchen, Rizzo, Stanton).

All four players signed contract extensions for 6-10+ years with the teams depicted on this massive booklet.  

Many fans of these franchises were hoping these players would all finish their careers with the Rockies, Cubs, Pirates, and Marlins respectively.

It seems that 1 team franchise players will long be a thing of the past.  The days of Cal Ripken Jr, Derek Jeter, Chipper Jones, and Todd Helton type players appear to be gone.  I love the extensions given to Tatis and Acuna, but feel they will one day be traded as well.  

What active player do you think has a chance at staying with one franchise for his entire career?  Can you see Clayton Kershaw or Jacob Degrom pitching for another team?  Will Freddie Freeman test free agency next year and sign with another team? 

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Over Rated or Under Appreciated?

Bryce Harper has always had huge expectations placed on him since he was drafted number 1 overall in 2010.  He made his MLB Debut in 2012 after only one full season of minor league baseball and became a reserve on the National League All Star Team at the young age of 19.  

Because of the young age he came up people have always placed a sense of envy or jealousy towards Bryce.  Oddly enough his first MLB hit (a double against the Dodgers) had fans "mooning" him just before his hustle double.  The MLB video archive of the game has had the fans cropped out of the frame which you can see on YouTube if you prefer your baseball viewing without drunk men showing their asses at a teenager.  The cropped out video is available here.

In his 7 year career with the Nationals, Bryce made 6 All Star Games.  He also won the Home Run Derby in 2018.  He was the youngest player to unanimously win an MVP when he won it in 2015.  That 2015 season was the only year he finished in the top 10 for MVP votes. 

At the still young age of 28 and as of July 28th 2021, Harper is only 2 home runs away from 250 career homers.  He also has already collected over 1,200 hits and scored 800 runs and drove in over 700 RBI over his career. 

Through his age 28 season according to baseball-reference Bryce Harper has similarity scores comparable to names like Barry Bonds, Darryl Strawberry, Andruw Jones, Reggie Jackson, Jose Canseco, and Justin Upton. 

Since joining the Phillies, Harper hasn't received any MVP votes or been elected to an All Star game.  His former team won the World Series the year he left for Philadelphia and the Phillies despite having one of the largest payrolls in baseball hasn't had a winning season since 2011. 

Many fans are hating on Bryce Harper for his $300+ million contract he signed with the Phillies and say that he is overrated.  Oddly enough Harper has hit more HR per game played in his Philly years (1:4.59 vs 1:5.04) compared to his Washington years. His Runs scored and RBI are nearly identical to those counting stats of Philly vs Washington per game played.  

His slash lines are nearly identical too when comparing his Washington days versus Philly years
Washington .279/.388/.512
Philly .271/.389/.522

So why is there all the hate for Bryce Harper since joining Philadelphia?  Is it because he already has 10 years in the league and many people are more enamored with the "younger guys" like Acuna, Soto, Tatis, Alonso? 

He is definitely the face of the Phillies franchise now and leads the team in On Base Percentage, Slugging Percentage, On Base Plus Slugging, and Stolen Bases.  

I think most fans would wish to see him get more RBI as he is currently 5th on the team in RBI this year behind Hoskins, McCutchen, Realmuto, and Bohm.  I think fans also want to see more home runs from the former MVP as he trails both Hoskins and McCutchen in that category as well. 

I haven't been buying much in the way of new McCutchen cards this year, but I do like that Cutch has been appearing on some cards with Bryce Harper this year.

I want to add those Stadium Club Superstar Duos cards to the collection at some point, but there was one card that really stood out that I had to add to the collection.  

It just so happens to feature the guy who is the face of the Phillies franchise for the next 10 years too.

Below is a dual autograph, dual patch booklet card of two former MVP Winners playing the corner outfield spots for the City of Brotherly Love.  It is limited to only 10 copies and will become one of the cornerstones in my Cutch Phillies collection.
They just so happened to hit back to back homeruns on Tuesday too.

What are your thoughts on Bryce Harper?
Is he over rated? Under appreciated? Over hyped when younger and just above average now?  Is he still on a Cooperstown path?

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Josh Trout > Mike Trout

Mike Trout may be a generational baseball player, but Josh Trout is a generational sketch artist.

Let me set the stage

Behold the box it was shipped in
I carefully removed the outside band holding the package card inside.
Above is the very unique box that acts as a perfect compliment to the card itself.  I love the rookie cup design stating it is a Topps Artist and officially licensed.
Inside was a very nice hand written note on one of Josh's business cards.  It just so happens to feature that other Trout guy too.
Once I removed the business card I had this beautifully drawn absolutely stunning card of the Keystone State Legend that is Andrew McCutchen.

Thank you Josh!

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Time for an update

One of Cutch's earliest Phillies autographs was in the product, 2019 Topps Luminaries.

Luminaries in case you are unaware is a very high end release.  Each box contains ONLY 1 card and it is serial numbered to 15 or less copies.  Boxes of 2019 Luminaries currently sell for around $400 on the secondary market.  
In addition to the "base" autographs numbered to 15 copies there were also red to 10, blue to 5, and black 1/1.  

The Luminaries brand celebrates Hit Kings, Home Run Kings, and Masters of the Mound by noting the player's current level of statistics for a given category.  

Cutch was part of the Home Run Kings due to the fact that he is one of the active leaders in the category of round trippers.  

The front of the card you will notice notes 6HR.  

The back discusses Cutch's Walk off Home Run total as 6 entering the 2019 season.  

Only Ryan Zimmerman (11) and Albert Pujols (12) had more Walk off homeruns among active players at the time of the production.

In case you missed it, Cutch blasted a walk off HR versus the Washington Nationals yesterday to steal a 6-5 victory for the Phillies.

I am sure that Topps will produce a Topps Now card for Cutch and I am sure I will buy it as well. 

Monday, July 26, 2021


Sweet Spot autographs from Upper Deck made all collectors nervous of fading autographs in the future.  

Panini has recently tried the same concept. Time will tell how they hold up over the years.
Absolute Baseball recently came out for 2021, but Cutch signed a total of 12 of these baseball themed cards for the 2020 product. Among the 12 are 6 of the red stitch baseballs, 5 of the green stitch baseballs, and 1 of the red/blue stitch baseballs.  That's it! 12 of them total.

Very few active, non rookie, players signed these style cards.  Most of the checklist consists of retired players, many of which were Hall of Famers or dominant players that are borderline Hall of Famers in their day.  The active players checklist contains Cutch, Jordan Hicks, Shohei Otani, Dustin Pedroia (he hadn't officially retired yet), and Dylan Carlson.  

Retired players in the Hall of Fame include Frank Robinson, Chipper Jones, Pedro Martinez, Cal Ripken Jr, Frank Thomas, Ken Griffey Jr, Dave Winfield, Barry Larkin, Don Sutton, Eddie Murray, Jeff Bagwell, Wade Boggs, Reggie Jackson, Mariano Rivera, Ozzie Smith, Vladamir Guerrero Sr, Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, and Whitey Ford.  That is a stacked lineup for Hall of Famers.  Print runs range from 10 to 50 depending on the player for the standard red stitch baseballs.

Retired, non Hall of Famers include Paul Konerko, Dwight Gooden, Omar Vizquel, Don Mattingly, Roger Clemens, and Rafael Palmiero.

There is a video of the 1/1 Cutch being pulled on a YouTube break and I have tried to acquire it to limited response.  I do have the green foil, green stitches also, but will be sharing that off next March.  

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?