Saturday, March 26, 2022

The Ultimate Lineup Using only Andrew McCutchen cards

After looking at some of the reactions to my recent Dynasty post, I thought it might be fun to do a similar "make a team" style post.  This time however, my team can only consist of players from cards I own that also feature Andrew McCutchen.

Let's start with my bench players:
Tris Speaker and Mike Trout
Reggie Jackson
Miggy Cabrera

Now that I have your attention by claiming 2 of the best centerfielder of all time and one of the best modern day right handed hitters are on my bench, it's time to round out with the best of the rest I have to put on the bench

Javy Baez
Nolan Arenado

Now for the lineup

Rickey Henderson (LF)
Honus Wagner (SS)

Roberto Clemente (RF)
Willie Mays (CF)
Mike Schmidt (3B)

Willie Stargell (1B)
Ken Griffey Jr. (DH)
Jackie Robinson (2B)
Buster Posey (C)
Clayton Kershaw (SP)

Relief Pitchers/Rotation Starters
Jason Grilli
David Price
Andrew Miller

Gerrit Cole
A.J. Burnett
Cole Hamels

So there's my team featuring players to appear on a card with Cutch. I would love to see if any of you can pick a single player in your collection and field a better team using cards of only players pictured on cards with one of your favorite players. If you do a bat around style post, please leave a comment below and share your team. 

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Building the Dynasty from Cutch's former teams

Andrew McCutchen had played for 4 teams over his 13 season career through 2021. 

He has played 1,761 games and has amassed 1,826 career hits which includes a shortened 2019 (injury) and 2020 (COVID) seasons.

Before Cutch's 1st regular season game with the Brewers, I thought it would be fun to look at the best team I can put together using only players from the Pirates, Giants, Yankees, and Phillies.  
I am doing this because I have collected an autograph of Cutch representing each team he has been on via 2021 Topps Dynasty.  Topps Dynasty is a beautiful set. On card autographs, big chunky patches, one touch cases, what's not to love????

This will be a fun exercise, but to avoid putting a roster full of mostly just Yankees All Time Greats though I am making some rules.

I can only select 1 player from that team equal to the number of seasons (even if they weren't full seasons) for each team that Cutch played for. This means that Cutch's 25 games with the Yankees during the 2018 season limits me to select only 1 Yankee to be on my roster because he only played for that team in one season.

My 13 player roster must include one player for each position (1B, 2B, SS, 3B, RF, CF, LF, C), SP, and relief pitcher.  That takes up 10 spots on my roster.  I'm also going to include a DH so I don't have to worry about taking out my starting pitcher late in games and the DH is now a universal rule in both leagues.

Now for the real fun, if a player played for same teams that Cutch played for, all teams count.  This means that if I want to use Barry Bonds for Left Field because he played for the Pirates, I can't use any other players who played for the Giants, so Willie Mays and Willie Mccovey are both out because Bonds played for the Giants and Pirates.  I will have to be diligent about my selections.

The player I select can not have played less games than Andrew did for that team.  This means that if I wanted to use one of the greatest second baseman of all time, Ryne Sandberg, and claim him as a Phillie, I can't.  Cutch played 260 games for the Phillies and Sandberg appeared in only 13 games for the Phillies. 

So here's how the maximum number of players per team will breakdown equal to the number of seasons Cutch played with them.
9 Pirates
1 Giants
1 Yankees
3 Phillies

With a team having to consist of so many Pirates, I wanted to look at the All Time Greats, especially those that played their entire careers with the Pirates.

Let's look at the guys who have statues outside PNC Park first
RF Roberto Clemente
SS Honus Wagner
1B/LF Willie Stargell
2B Bill Mazeroski

That's a good start to the team.  It takes care of my basic infield and a key spot in the lineup with Clemente being a middle of order guy and a perennial gold glove winner.  I will circle back to the Pirates after I knock out some more obvious choices

For the Giants there is only one player I want
The greatest player of All Time

CF Willie Mays
If you wish to argue against Mays being the greatest player of all time, I welcome your challenge in the comments below.

The Yankees have such a deep and rich history I could pick anyone from Yogi Berra to Mariano Rivera to Babe Ruth to Lou Gehrig and everyone in between.  So instead I will skip forward to the Phillies.

Let's fill out our infield with the best 3rd Baseman of All Time, Mike Schmidt.

Schmidt won 3 MVPs over his career along with ten Gold Glove Awards.  He is the most beloved player in Phillies franchise history ahead of notable HOF alumni, Steve Carlton. 

Now as far as pitchers go, Steve Carlton would be an obvious choice.  He started nearly 500 games for the Phillies and won 4 Cy Young Awards.  There is one problem though, he played 6 games for the Giants.  This eliminates Carlton from being used as he played for both the Giants and Phillies and played in less games for the Giants than Cutch did.  Sorry Lefty!

Roy Halladay recently had his number retired by the Phillies and won a Cy Young with the club and pitched a no hitter with them in his first post season appearance.  Unfortunately, Doc doesn't qualify because he pitched in less games than Cutch played for the Phillies.  

If I want to use a pitcher it will likely have to be someone with the Yankees (only 25 games played by Cutch in pinstripes) or be a Pirate or Phillies starter who made A LOT of starts. 

It really is a shame that Carlton played those 6 games with San Francisco disqualifying him from this team I am making.

There is one lefty in the Phillies though had a lot of success with the Phillies, more so than Hall of Famer, Robin Roberts.

I am talking about Cole Hamels
294 games started
3.30 ERA
World Series MVP
Nearly 1,900 strikeouts with Phillies
In addition to those stats he had a better ERA+ and a better WHIP than the HOF pitcher Robin Roberts.

Cole's teammates Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Ryan Howard could all have a place on my team.  I will have to see how the rest of my roster plays out.  I do have one more Phillies spot left on my roster. 

Catchers are thin in the history of the Pirates, I may have to look at other teams.
Buster Posey, Yogi Berra, and Thurman Munson all come to mind. I can't use Buster if I want to use Mays.  Do I really want to use my only Yankees selection on Yogi Berra?  

The answer is no. I am using my ONLY Yankees selection on the ONLY PLAYER TO BE UNANIMOUSLY elected into the Hall of Fame.  

Enter Sandman!
Mariano Rivera is my closer and my only Yankees selection.  This may be viewed as an odd selection since I only get one player to represent the Yankees.  No one dominated as a reliever quite like Mo.  Sure there are guys like Roy Face that won 18 games out of the bullpen for the Pirates, but if I want to ensure the game is won late in the game, give me Mo.

So here's what I have left to use 
1 Phillies
5 Pirates

And here is my lineup thus far
1B Willie Stargell (can also play LF)
2B Bill Mazeroski
SS Honus Wagner
3B Mike Schmidt
RF Roberto Clemente
CF Willie Mays

SP Cole Hamels
RP Mariano Rivera

I still need a LF, C, and DH

For catcher, I'm going with one of my favorite players of the late 90s and early 2000s, Jason Kendall.  Kendall is one of a handful of catchers with 2,000 career hits at the position and because he played his best years on a terrible Pirates team, he is often very under rated.  He was a 3 time All Star and finished his career with more walks (721) than strikeouts (686).  He had a .366 OBP which is a very high OBP for a catcher, higher than Carter, Fisk, and Bench.

As for LF, I'm going to put Ralph Kiner out there.  Kiner hit 301 HR over 8 seasons with the Pirates and is the only player to lead the league in HR for 7 straight seasons.  Kiner also provides another option at 1B.

As for my DH, I'm going with another slugger, Ryan Howard.  Prior to his 2011 postseason injury, Howard put the league on watch and became the fastest player in MLB history to get to 300 HR.  Dick Allen would be a fallback option with his .902 OPS in Philadelphia.

So how would I put this lineup together?

SS Honus Wagner
RF Roberto Clemente
CF Willie Mays
1B Willie Stargell
LF Ralph Kiner
3B Mike Schmidt
DH Ryan Howard
2B Bill Mazeroski
C Jason Kendall

SP Cole Hamels
RP Mariano Rivera

At first glance I was going to move Schmidt higher in the lineup but wanted to split up all the right handed bats (Wagner, Clemente, Mays, Kiner) so I threw Stargell into the cleanup spot.  The amount of HR power the 3-7 spots have without a single Yankee is mind blowing.  

Kendall can restart the lineup from the 9 hole and act as another leadoff option if needed. 

Do you agree with my selections?
How would you put together a roster using a max of 9 Pirates, 3 Phillies, 1 Yankees, 1 Giants? 

Friday, March 18, 2022

Milestones on the horizon?

I just got in a new card for the internet's best Andrew McCutchen collection.  At least that's what I tell myself in regard to my collection.

This is from the February 2022 Future Stars Club, a Topps exclusive set.  This card is part of the upcoming milestones set that focuses on some of the milestones that could be achieved this year.

It is a 5 card set that includes
Albert Pujols (17HR away from 4th all time)
Miguel Cabrera (13 hits away from 3,000)
Yadier Molina (2RBI from 1,000)
Joey Votto (100 games to have 2,000 for career)
Andrew McCutchen (2 SB for 200 career)
It's a pretty neat set that looks at players who have actually accomplished something in their careers instead of constantly speculating like many guys do these days.

Here are some more upcoming milestones for Cutch.
30 HR to get to 300 (hit 27 last year)
2 SB to get to 200 (stole 6 last year)
174 hits for 2,000 hits (likely two seasons away)
67 more RBI to get 1,000 RBI (had 80 last year)

These numbers wouldn't cement Cutch as a no doubt Hall of Famer, but if he got all those accomplishments by the All Star Break in 2023, he would likely stand alone for active players with all those career accomplishments. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Enter The Multiverse

Now that Spider-Man: No Way Home is available for digital download I thought it would be fun to discuss the multiverse of card collecting.
If you are into the Marvel movies, go watch Spider-Man: No Way Home!!!
It's Amazing (no pun intended)

It's no secret that Topps and Panini have been pumping out dozens of parallels over the past few years.  Sometimes they may look similar to one another, but very often there are bold enough color changes that you can tell a magenta speckled from the standard pink refractor
 or differiante the lime green donut circles from the forest green flash variants.  
Every now and then though they release these variants (Loki reference) that look a lot like the original.

Right before the holiday season I was able to grab a pair of Superfractors that look nearly identical.
These Superfractors look nearly identical, right?

Well, if you turn them over you will see the only difference of these 1/1s.
One is the standard Topps Chrome Update Superfractor and the other is the Topps Chrome Update Sapphire Superfractor.

We are probably all familar with Topps releasing value boxes that contain a chrome pack with their Update release each year.  These Topps Update Chrome parallels are often very sought after as they were produced in very limited supply.  

Topps has been making a product called Topps Sapphire since 2016 and has recently made a Topps Update Sapphire addition as well.  Oddly enough this Topps Update Sapphire edition doesn't always follow the same numbering as your standard Topps Update set or Topps Update Chrome edition.  

All these parallels and multiple issues are getting tough to keep up with. 

Do you think Fanatics will continue the parallel trend that Topps and Panini has been building upon over the past few years? 

Monday, March 14, 2022

The Brewers?

I mean at least they're a competitive team
Mere moments after the announcement this image @jrdesigninc posted this recoloring of Cutch's 2020 SP Topps card.  The talent on the internet is amazing!

I have never been a fan of the Brewers.  That mostly was because of Ryan Braun and Carlos Gomez though.  

I actually like the current players on the team like Yelich and Adames. The pitching with Hader, Burnes, and Woodruff are fricking amazing too. 

We'll see how the season goes, but I'm more concerned about what number Cutch will be.

#22 already belongs to Christian Yelich. 
Cutch has had a successful time hitting in Miller Park as he has a .931 OPS.  He has 23 HR in 75 games played there.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Some 2022 Cards of #22

Baseball will officially have a 2021 season and I have received 3 more cards for the Cutch PC this week. 

Nothing very expensive (all three cards cost $5 shipped), but they are welcomed additions to the growing collection. 

Friday, March 11, 2022

Favorite Bands?

It's been awhile since I discussed music on this page. 

About 4.5 years ago I discussed the 5 albums I could listen to repeatedly and showed off a card in my Andrew McCutchen PC relating to that band or album.  You can revisit that post here.

There are plenty of other albums that I listened to a lot that helped define my taste in music.  One band that had a major effect on me fashionably was the band 311.

I've discussed 311 on this blog two years ago when showing off some Andrew McCutchen Triple Threads Amber parallels.  You can visit that post here.

311 was a mainstream pop punk band that made spiky bleached hair, silver ball necklaces, and baggy cargo shorts/pants cool.  For a young teen of this era, they were one of the coolest bands and a band that helped lead the way for more heavier rock/rap bands to get noticed by MTV.  Without 311, Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park probably wouldn't have gone on to have as much commercial success that they had.  

I probably wouldn't rank 311 in my top 10 favorite bands of all time, but they were definitely influential on my life, which is odd. 

As I was cleaning out some boxes I came across this lot of 5 autographs from the band for Goodwin Champions.
I am looking to sell the entire lot for $100 despite recent comps being $30-$50 per card. ***ONE DAY 3/11 SALE ONLY***

What are some bands that influenced you fashionably?

Do you have any autographs of musicians in your card collection?

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Taking the Bus of Superfractor Journeys

While I was saving up to purchase our first home I was presented with several opportunities to add many new Superfractors to my collection.

One of them was the 2005 Bowman Draft Superfractor which was sold by PWCC not once, but twice within a span of 3 weeks.  A month later news broke that PWCC would be banned from selling on eBay and was caught up in shill bidding. Both times it sold for around $3K.

I also had the opportunity to add Cutch's 2005 Topps Chrome Superfractor via an online auction house.  Only one person had bid on it and I probably could have acquired that card for around $3K also.  Fast forward to January and the new owner of that card offered to sell it to me for $6K.  I again passed as I had just moved into the house and didn't feel comfortable adding the card to my collection, despite being a grail card, because I wanted to remain financially responsible in the new house.

Fast forward two more months and that card is now listed on eBay for $35K or best offer.  

That is insane!

I love Superfractors.  I have 28 of them (includes the Panini gold vinyls which use the same technology)
I love 1/1s. I have nearly 300 of them.
I love Andrew McCutchen cards. I have over 3,500 of them.

What I don't have is $35K to spend on a baseball card for a card I could have gotten for under $3K only five months ago. 

Would I love to add that card to my collection? Absolutely! 

Will I ever add the card to my collection?
Probably not.

I made mention of appreciating what I have more instead of just hoarding more cards.  I have started to catalog all my Jerome Bettis cards and came across this rather unique (sort of rare) Jerome Bettis 1994 Topps "Special Effects" strip card.
The technology on this card is about a decade before the term superfractor was used.  Although the circles aren't golden, they do reflect the light the same way.  Copies of this card can be picked up for around $3, which is a great price for a Hall of Famer second year card. Much cheaper than a McCutchen first year superfractor for sure. 

I will keep showing off Cutch cards and maybe even some progress pics of the Cutch Cave, but while I'm still refined to staying off my feet, I'll just sot around and go through these boxes of Jerome Bettis cards.
Jerome Bettis is my favorite football player (with Troy Polamalu a very close second).  I suspect I will be having fun organizing the collection. 

What football player(s) do you collect? How many unique cards of him do you have?

Monday, March 7, 2022

Keep Grinding for the Super Collection

This will likely be my last big mailday for awhile, but don't worry I have plenty of cards to show off.

The first is actually the highest numbered card of today's mailday.  It is a 2021 Topps Five Star Inscription autograph. 

The card is numbered 9/20 and comes with an inscription saying "Grind"
In my job, our owner often thanks us for all the hard work we do and says "I know it's a grind, but thank you for everything you do." I guess Cutch lives by that same motto...just keep grinding.

The other two cards I got today were both one of ones.  Yup, a mailday consisting of two 1/1s.

Topps Gallery really changed up the product last year.  Rather than using artist drawn cards with a limited number of parallels, this year's set only had artist drawn cards for inserts and really upped the number of parallels this year including a bunch of new shiny sparkly parallels.
The 1/1 red parallel requires sunglasses to look at as the shine on this card is unlike anything I have ever seen from a Topps retail exclusive set before.

My other 1/1 was a very generous gift from a Twitter friend Josh JrNoble1
This is the 2020 Topps Chrome Update cyan printing plate.  I have the magenta and Superfractor. Maybe I will chase after the yellow and black printing plates to complete the set.

Friday, March 4, 2022

Nearing the end...

I said I would take the unplanned time off due to my achilles injury and update my spreadsheets so I know what cards I have in my collection without having to go off memory or flip through boxes.

Well, I am on my last storage box and am shocked at how many Cutch cards I have accumulated in my time of collecting. 

I am currently sitting at 3,443 cards not counting what you see below.
What an insane amount of baseball cards of one player.

I might need to slam the breaks on adding cards for awhile and really appreciate what I have as this collection has gotten out of control. 

Thursday, March 3, 2022

The Art of Juan Rosales

You may have seen me talk about the amazing talent of Juan Rosales on this blog before.

Amazing is Just one word to describe his style.  
I have gotten at least one sketch card of Cutch from Juan for the past 6 years.  

It was time to add another sketch card from Juan to the collection.  I thought about what image I wanted Juan to use as reference and ultimately chose for him to use the last HR Cutch hit as a member of the Phillies as inspiration. 
In typical fashion of Cutch's career he made a lasting impression with the Phillies fan base by hitting a home run in his final at bat with the club (it should be noted that he hit a HR in his first at bat with the club also). He also went on to celebrate in a very fun manner as he had done all year long, by wearing a straw hat with the Phillies logo under it.

Here is what Juan came up with

He added the lime green and neon pink to the background as a tribute to the Miami theme.

What is your favorite moment of your favorite player from the 2021 season you'd like to see turned into a sketch card? 

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

The Mount Rushmore, non HOF edition

MLB Radio recently was discussing Mount Rushmores of MLB teams and it got me thinking about who the Pirates Mount Rushmore would be.  Many teams Mount Rushmores (including the Pirates) can be quickly identified by retired jersey numbers and bronze statues outside the ballparks.

The 4 best players for the Pirates are 3 guys who spent their entire career with the Pirates (Willie Stargell, Bill Mazeroski, Roberto Clemente) and one guy who was pillaged from another team that it actually changed the team name to the Pirates (Honus Wagner).

All obvious choices, but what about the unsung legends of our favorite franchises lore?  

Who are the guys who likely won't be in the Hall of Fame, who won't have a statue outside a ballpark, and who won't have their number retired? 

Who are those guys that fans of the franchise will talk about for many years to come?

I think we all know who I'm going to lead off with on my Mount Rushmore of Pirates legends not in HOF, number retired, or bronze statues....

Andrew McCutchen
Pictured above is a canvas photo signed by Cutch that is hanging in the Cutch Cave.

Now for a pair of guys who were legends on the 1979 World Series Championship Pirates

As you descend into "The Pitt" my Pittsburgh sports theme bar area in my basement I have some great pieces of artwork by Dan Horine of Popflyshop.
Dave Parker
Another MVP winner, but also a member of the last time the Pirates won the World Series, Parker was a batting champion, All-Star MVP, Gold Glove winner with the Pirates before going on to be a member of 

Kent Tekulve
His most famous years were with the Pirates when he was the closer for the 1979 World Series Champions. He later went on to be in the bullpens of the Phillies and Reds. He also served as the post game analyst for the Pirates home games over the past few decades before officially retiring a few seasons ago.

Temporarily hanging up in the utility area of "The Pitt" is this canvas photo signed by Steve Blass and Manny Sanguillen.
Steve Blass
An odd choice I know, when you consider guys like Jason Bay, Jason Kendall, Barry Bonds (he will be remember more as a Giant), Al Oliver, Manny Sanguillen will be omitted, but I have to give it to Steve Blass who was the pitcher on the mound when the Pirates won the 1971 World Series and would later go on to broadcast for the Pirates for nearly three decades.  

Who are the top 4 non hall of famers on your favorite team?

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Honor The Game

I was in the process of building the McCutchen Museum or Cutch Cave or Uncle Larry's Lounge (still working on the name of it).

Since I am restricted to only lifting 5 pounds that has really limited me in terms of what I can do in the man cave area.

One thing I put up using only heavy duty command strips was this really awesome Marucci cardboard store display.  I am not sure what year it was produced but we do know it is post 2017 since it has Alex Bregman on it. 
The saying on this display by Marucci is Honor The Game.  That's something the owners and players should try to do as soon as possible to ensure there is a game in the future.  

I fear if the season is severely jeapordized the game will die very quickly due to the rising interests in other sports.

When do you think the season will start?