Saturday, July 30, 2022

I'll be back

Happy 75th Birthday to Arnold Schwarzenegger!

The most famous line from Arnold's career has to be "I'll be back" from the Terminator franchise. 

Terminator is one of those rare movies where the sequel may actually be better than the original, however the more recent sequels will never live up to the original Terminator or it's sequel T2:Judgement Day.

Topps has featured Cutch in his Pirates gear a lot in recent years despite being a current Phillie or Brewer.  This is odd for me because unlike other stars of the game that have been traded from their original teams (Goldschmidt, Arenado, Baez, Bryant, Lindor, Stanton, Yelich, Miguel Cabrera, Bryce Harper) those active players aren't getting featured in insert sets as Diamondbacks, Rockies, Cubs, Indians, and Marlins unless the insert set is discussing their debuts.  
The most recent example was including Cutch in the 2022 Series 2 1987 All Star set as a member of the Pirates. While he will likely always be remembered as a member of the Pirates (unless he hits a playoff series ending HR with the Brewers this year) he hasn't played for the Pirates since 2017.  Yes he made all 5 All Star Games as a Pirate, but then why is Javier Baez featured as an All Star with the Mets (his "current team" when the cards were produced?  Javy wasn't a member of the Mets when he made an All Star game.  
Paul Goldschmidt is featured as a Cardinal in the 2022 1987 All Star Game set because that is his current team, but he never made an All Star game as a member of the Cardinals (until this year which wasn't known at the time of production and distribution).  The same can be said for last year's NL MVP, Bryce Harper, who never made an All Star appearance since joining the Phillies until this season, which again wasn't known at time of production. 

It's just a very strange situation. 
But for whatever the reason is, I'm happy to see cards of Cutch in a Pirates uniform that I didn't have.

Good to see him back. Lol

Cutch has always gotten a warm welcome in Pittsburgh whenever he "has come back home"

Thursday, July 28, 2022

What killed the dinosaurs?

Continuing my posts about Arnold Schwarzenegger we have a line from Batman & Robin where Arnold played the villain, Mr. Freeze.

What killed the dinosaurs?

The Ice Age
Above are my Bowman Platinum silver ice parallels of Cutch 2016-2019. 

What are some other great Arnold one liners you'd like to see?

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

It's Naht a Tooma

Continuing the theme of showing cards that relate to famous Arnold Schwarzenegger movie quotes comes a suggestion from AJ of The Lost Collector.  

The former California governor and star of many of the most iconic action movies of the 80s and 90s will be turning 75 this week.  

AJ's suggestion of "It's Not a Tumor" comes from the film Kindergarten Cop.
Here is a police card given out by Pittsburgh Police and Pirates Charities.
The back if the card reminds us all that every choice has a consequence.
I will be continuing this Arnie theme all week. I have a personal favorite tomorrow for it's pure ridiculousness.  I will also feature at least two more from your suggestions. 


Monday, July 25, 2022

Stick around

On July 30th, just a few days away, Arnold Schwarzenegger will be 75 years old.

My plan is to count down using some of Arnold's famous and corny punny lines from all his movies.  If there's a quote you'd like to see, leave it below and I will try to find a corresponding card or item in my Cutch collection to spotlight. 

Predator is in my mind, the ultimate man movie. It just screams I am rough and rugged and will battle to the death.  And not to be biased because it's one of my top 10 movies all time, but it's my favorite Arnold film so I'm using it to kick off this event. 

Today's quote to kick off Arnie week is 

Stick Around

My card of choice is the 2012 Topps Archives 1977 Cloth Sticker.
I also have 3 of the 1/1 printing plates for this card.

What other quotes would you like to see represented?

Friday, July 15, 2022

Am I the Dr Evil of CollectingCutch?

Have you ever had a Dr. Evil moment when dealing with card sellers?  

I'm all for people trying to make money in this hobby, but when you open a box that costs $2,500 and your best hit is a card that is AT BEST $300 card you aren't automatically going to recoup your money by convincing the internet's #1 Andrew McCutchen collector that it is a $4,500 card because it has a Nike swoosh on it.  
And if you're going to charge that much, you better offer free shipping.

As someone who has been collecting Cutch extensively since his MLB debut I do consider myself an expert when it comes to his pricing.  

Not to brag, but my Triple Threads Nike booklet and Nike Swoosh autograph from Five Star are better looking than a plain road grey jersey with an ugly red swoosh. 
Hell, the image used for the swoosh this guy is trying to sell is the same as the one on my booklet which features two unique patch like swatches along with a Laundry Tag that includes the Nike Logo, the MLB Logoman, and a QR code so you can determine what game the uniform was worn. 
My other Nike Logo features a bold on card autograph and a blue Nike Swoosh on a home uniform. 

I've shown them off in the past, but here they are again along with the prices I paid for them. 
So an autographed version and a booklet version went for $305ea.  Why would someone pay almost 15 times that? 

What followed after seeing the item was a comical interaction I had with the seller where I had to convince the eBay user with only 15 feedback that his card was only worth $300 at best. I even asked him if he put the decimal in the wrong spot, thinking he tried listing it as a $450 buy it now or best offer instead of $4,500.  I won't put the entire conversation on here, but let's just say it gave me some very serious "I'm new to the hobby vibes" especially when using terms like it's a 1/1 so there's no comps and it's first off the line.

Panini uses First off Line terminology, not Topps.
Even if it is a 1/1 there are always "comps" you can use even if you don't want to believe them. 

Take these Javier Baez and Cody Bellinger Nike Swoosh cards from the same set.  They don't include autographs like the Devers and Buxington also pictured on this screenshot.  Both the Cody and Javy finished under $250. 

After some back and forth he told me he couldn't accept less than 800 for it.  I told him I'm not going anywhere near that price as I had two better examples of Nike Swoosh logos in my collection that I only paid $305 for. At best I would be around $225-$250.

He lowered his price today to $1,250 and sent me an offer for $325.

I didn't even respond back to him when he sent that offer.  I just hit decline offer.

I don't have time to repeat myself or for silly games.  

Now that I have such a massive collection of Cutch I am really cutting back on trying to acquire every 1/1 that shows up.  It's just that simple. 

What funny eBay experiences have you had?

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Serial History: A No-No and No.400 chop suey style

I always love to use serial numbers as an inspiration for posts especially when I have writer's block.

This 2022 Topps Heritage card is serially numbered 7/15 and is based on the 1973 design
It also has a 1973 nickel.

Let's look at some important things that happened that day.

Nolan Ryan threw his 2nd career no hitter.
You can hear the radio call on YouTube here.  The best part of this story is that Norm Cash with 2 outs in the 9th went to bat with a table leg before being told to use a real bat.  
It's my understanding that there's not a full video available if the entire game online. 

Willie McCovey became the 15th player in MLB history to hit 400 career homeruns. He would eventually go on to hit 521 over his 22 year career.  I couldn't find video of his 400th career, but here's a few HR highlights video of Stretch.

The drummer for the metal band System of a Down, John Dolyman was born.  
I got a chance to meet John at New York Comic Con around 2009 if I remember correctly.  He had his drum set on display which featured artwork by a number of elite comic book artists including Jim Lee, Bernie Wrightson, Art Adams, Tim Bradstreet, and many more. Unfortunately this was when I was still taking pictures with a digital camera and those files (and that PC) are long gone.  I had some on MySpace, but most of my photos were set to private and it's been at least 12 years since I logged in. Below are a few pics of the drum set I found online if anyone is interested.
Wolverine by Jim Lee on one side and 
Batman by Jim Lee on the other side
Jim is a legendary comic artist who drew one of the best Batman stories ever created (Batman: Hush) and also the highest selling comic book of all time (X-Men #1) and helped form Image Comics with his creator owned series WildC.A.T.S

All three of these things occuring on July 15th, 1973 and how there's no video of them in entirety got me thinking of what other pre 2022 items have been lost due to not having the cloud and digital formats more readily available. 

Since we live in an era where everything is forever forged in a digital footprint, what are some things you wish we had images or video of?  Let's keep it to only things after your birth year.  I'm sure it would be fun to imagine Instagram in the early 1900s, but let's be realistic. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

It's here, The Big One!

I can't believe that with over 239,000 orders ahead of mine a few weeks ago that it's here already.  

You may recall I mentioned that I requested shipping for my COMC order for everything that's been in my account since the end of 2020.


It's here, the big one
This is going to take some time to sort through
This is going to be fun.  I believe there's about 90 new Cutch cards along with a bunch of Jerome Bettis, Troy Polamalu, and Kris Letang PC cards along with some randoms I barely remember why I got them. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Buried Museums

I went through a box of relic cards yesterday just to refresh my memory on some of the relics I have from 2017 and found this massive patch that I never showed off before.
It's nice to find cards like this that I completely forgot about.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

#CutchsCrew: Zero Year Teammate

Andrew McCutchen made 5 straight All Star seasons from 2011-2015.  He debuted with the Pirates in 2009.  

Josh Harrison was traded from the Cubs to the Pirates organization in 2009.  He made his MLB debut in 2011.  He didn't become an everyday player in the lineup until 2014 when he made his first All Star game.  

The two would go on to form a great friendship on the field and be two of Pittsburgh fan favorites in recent years both receiving everything from T-shirts to bobbleheads to garden gnome giveaways. 
It could be argued that Cutch was more deserving of being named to the 2017 All Star Game than Josh Harrison as you can see in the comparison below.
Cutch lead JHay in every offensive category except Stolen Bases.  Joe Maddon, the NL ASG manager, felt differently though and liked JHays versatility. 
After Cutch got traded in 2018 Josh Harrison made statements that he too wanted to be traded seeing two franchise favorites (Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole) get traded within days of each other. 

JHay played one more season with the Pirates in 2018 before going to join the Tigers for the 2019 season.  
Cutch joined the Phillies in 2019 and it looked like he was trying to get "the band back together" for the 2020 season as the Phillies had signed both Neil Walker and Josh Harrison to minor league contracts with spring training invites. 

The 2020 season was put on pause due to the Coronavirus and Topps had to alter their production and distribution of sets because of it.  There were a few guys who got cards in 2020 but didn't make appearances with the teams featured when the regular season came around.  

One such card was Josh Harrison's 2020 Topps Update card which features Harrison in a Phillies Spring Training uniform even though the Phillies would not bring him north and he would play the 2020 season with the Washington Nationals. 
He also got the Topps Heritage treatment for a Phillies card.
I would have loved to seen Walker, Harrison, and Cutch all make meaningful contributions to the 2020 Phillies team and get a triple relic of those 3 Pirates fan favorites on a Phillies card.  That would have been cool. 
On a completely side not, Josh Harrison has had some amazing Topps Flagship cards over the years that show how fun and scrappy he is as a player. 

What are some of your favorite cards featuring an athlete that never played an actual game for the franchise?

What former All Stars have played together on different teams that you're a fan of?

Friday, July 8, 2022

The Artist Who Never Gets Credited

I got a chance to learn a few things from photographer Dustin Bradford last week and I'm not sure how much he wants me to reveal, but it was fascinating to learn a bit about the Topps photography process.

Dustin is a photographer who works out of Colorado and has photographed a bunch of cards that occur at Coors Field every year.  His Instagram is loaded with many cards that he has photograohed along with some of his personal collection.  You can view his Instagram by clicking here.

He saw a card of Cutch I had posted from the July 4 2018 game where Cutch was a member of the Giants and they played the Rockies and noted that the photo used was one that he had shot.  I asked him if there were other cards of Cutch that have been produced that he may have shot.  

Well, as it turns out two cards in 2021 were shot by Dustin.

The 1992 Topps design found in 2021 Topps Update as an insert card features an image of Cutch at Coors Field.  You can view the original image at Getty Images here. Cutch went 0 for 4 at the plate in a 12-2 Phillies loss. 

The 2021 Holiday Relic also features an image of Cutch at Coors Field.  The snowman didn't make it into the lineup that day so that got generated in later. 

I asked Dustin if he could sign the pair of cards he photographed and he kindly obliged.  These are only the 2nd and 3rd autographs he has signed, the first being a Ronald Acuna Jr HR card. 

Thanks for honoring my wacky request Dustin.  For those that want to see his photography please visit his Instagram and check out all the awesome images that his eye and skill has transformed into a baseball card.

Have you ever thought about the original images used for baseball cards?  

What are some of your favorite images captured on baseball cards? 
Mine is the Kevin Mitchell 1987 Topps

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Where's the Happy Face?

It looks like Randy Arozarena and Austin Meadows recently had fake autographs used for Topps Definitive, a VERY HIGH END release ($2500 per box)

I've often questioned the authenticity of guys who just scribble an autograph with a single line and no distinct markings, but both Meadows and Arozarena have distinct signatures.  

As a former Pirates prospect autograph seeker I have been able to get Austin to sign in person and it looks like his cards signed for Topps products.  Below is a sampling of some recent eBay auctions for Meadows autographs if you're not familiar.
Randy's signature has a very distinct feature where he makes a "smiley face" before the R.  The last A is also extremely large.
What do you think happened with these dual signed autograohed cards?  What should be done by Topps for those that pull one of these cards if in fact they can prove they weren't signed by Randy & Austin?

Oh and here is a card of Cutch smiling.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Who's To Blame pt1: Jacoby Ellsbury

When Andrew McCutchen debuted in the majors in 2009, he was given #22 as his uniform choice.  The number was previously worn by Xavier Nady.  Cutch has gone on record saying he would have liked to have number 24 as it was the number of his childhood hero, Ken Griffey Jr. At the time of Cutch's debut Tom Gorzelanny had been wearing #24 for three seasons. 

The number 22 hasn't been worn in Pittsburgh since 2017 when Cutch was traded to San Francisco prior to the start of the 2018 season. 

Cutch has become very associated with the number 22 and has it as part of his social media handles and sometimes will still sign ACutch22 while a member of the Brewers.  

I thought it may be fun to show off some cards I have featuring guys who have prevented Cutch from wearing #22 in a MLB uniform.  

After spending 9 seasons in Pittsburgh and collecting 4 SS, 5ASG, 1 GG, 1 MVP, the Roberto Clemente award, Baseball America's ROY, and bringing the Pirates back to the postseason for the first time in 20 years, Cutch was traded to San Francisco.  The Giants had #22 available for Cutch and it was announced during the 2018 season that #22 would be retired to honor Will Clark.  Cutch would be the last Giant to wear #22.  With the Giants slipping out of playoff contention and the Yankees having outfield injury concerns the two teams made a late August waver wire trade deadline and Cutch was sent to the clean shaven NY Yankees.

One of those outfielders who was injured was Jacoby Ellsbury, who took a monster 2011 season and a healthy 2013 season which he lead the AL in stolen bases and turned it into a 7 year $153 million contract with the Yankees to start the 2014 season.  

Jacoby debuted with the Boston Red Sox and had established himself as a high contact, high speed threat atop the Boston lineup.
He was becoming one of the young stars of the game by showing an ability to hit for high average (all his full seasons were .280+) while also leading the league in steals in 3 of his 4 full seasons. 

Injuries took their toll on Ellsbury in 2010 and he was limited to only 18 games. 

Ellsbury had a breakout season with the Red Sox in 2011 where he finished second in MVP voting along with winning the Comeback Player of the Year.
Ellsbury improved his power numbers by smashing 32 HR in 158 games.  His previous 4 seasons (2 full seasons) had only 20 HR combined.  
Ellsbury maintained his high batting average (.321) and high SB (39) in the 2011 season.

He would again suffer injuries in 2012 and that would limit him to only 74 games.

He bounced back in 2013 though, leading the American League in stolen bases yet again with 52 swipes and maintaining that .298 batting average.

After the season was over, he switched rivals going from Beantown to the Bronx.  

Ellsbury wouldn't reach 150 games played again in his career, coming closest in 2014 (149) and 2016 (148).  His batting average in NY would never reach the heights they were in Boston and his SBs while still very good would average only 24 a season, a far cry from the 50-70 range he was putting up in Boston.  

Ellsbury suffered injuries and his last game played was September 30th, 2017.  However because he was on the 40 man roster he still had to have a uniform number.  That uniform number was 22.

This prevented Cutch from getting #22 and Cutch was ultimately assigned #26.
Cutch would play 25 regular season games with the Yankees September 2018 and help the team get to 100 wins.  In that month long sample he had an .892 OPS and a 145 OPS+ 

When Cutch left NY for free agency in Philadelphia his #26 was assigned to DJ LeMahieu who has worn it since the 2019 season and has become a fan favorite among Yankees fans. 

Since Jacoby's #22 uniform became available after his 2019 release, two other players have worn the number not available to Andrew McCutchen.  They are Jordy Mercer and Greg Allen. 

What athletes look different wearing a number they're not usually wearing?

Do you think if Jacoby could have stayed healthy, he would have been in discussion for being a great of the 2010s?