Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Nationals are World Champions!!

So it seems like every time I think I come up with an idea for a cool BBA, it blows up in my face and nobody reads the post or follows my train of thought, so I think I will just keep my thoughts to myself and try not to feed my ego, lol. I think my posts come out better anyways when I'm not writing something that I am hoping will get a lot of comments.
With that being said, here is a post about your 2019 MLB World Champions, the Washington Nationals. I can't belive they won, but I guess anyone can win as long as they get in the playoffs. I was rooting for them because most of the team didn't have rings, and it was nice to see older stars like Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, and Max Scherzer get rings.
To celebrate their big win, here are some customs I have of Nationals players/coaches (they may not be pictured as Nats on the custom, but oh well).

First up is Nats manager Dave Martinez. I have always been a fan of Dave. He got the first hit in Tampa Bay (Devil) Ray history, and he was always a likeable guy when he was with them.
In 2009, I saw the Rays and Indians play a Spring Training game in Winter Haven, FL. It was just before the Rays had their magical '09 season where they took the AL by surprise and made it to the World Series.
I had come to the game early to get autographs, and as I was walking in to the park, Dave come up to my right. I guess he had drove to the park by himself and was walking in to the stadium. I quickly dug out my 3 cards of him that I brought, and he signed them. I remarked to him how surprised I was to see him just walk up to the park like that and not go in through a player entrance. He was really nice, and I knew he had a big baseball mind when he was coaching with the Rays, and something told me that he would win a World Series. This custom is from the 1999 Topps set, and celebrates that first Rays hit.

This custom of Strasburg is kind of a mash up. Most of it was done by reader Richard, and I added the 2009 Draft Pick part to it. I think I may try to do another one with a different font, and maybe put the Draft Pick part on the top somehow. I have always thought Stephen Strasburg would just break out and have a 20 Win season and show all of his potential. He had injuries slow him down, but he had a decent season this year, was great in the playoffs, and now can put his name on the list of players who have won a ring.

I think I have shown this custom before. If MLB hadn't changed the rules for putting rookies and minor league players on cards in '05-'06, we would'be probably seen a card like this. The Alex Gordon from that set would've got all of the attention, but this card would've been the one to hold its value over time.
Max Scherzer has accomplished just about anything a pitcher can. He has a 20 strikeout game. He has 2 no-hitters. He now has a ring. 3,000 strikeouts is on the horizon in a season or two. He is maybe missing a perfect game from his resume, but it is not crazy to think that he would throw one. The thing that floors me is that he has only been pitching in the Majors since 2008, and he has 2,692 strikeouts. That is only 12 seasons!!  He has put together a Hall of Fame career, and still has 5-6 years left if he decides to ride his body out.  I don't want to brag, but this card is mine!!!
And so are these!!
Not that I would ever sell them, but it feels nice to actually have some decent cards of someone who is putting together a great career.

I just made this one up today. This set is going to be one of those sets that I wait until like 2050 to attempt. It is so tough to make a good template for it, and the curved nameplate kills me. Not the best custom, but this could've been Anthony Rendon's rookie card had Topps been allowed to make Draft Pick cards. Rendon has put together some good seasons, and established himself as a great player for the Nats.

This one, I believe, was made by Richard. Davey Lopes has been in baseball forever. He was a good infielder for the Dodgers in the '70's, and played through the '80's with a few teams, and then coached ever since. He was a coach for the '98 Padres that made it to the World Series, and he went on to manage the Brewers in the early '00's. Now, he is with the Nationals, and won a ring. I did some digging, and found these coach customs I had made of Davey. I love the '94 photo of him getting tossed from a game.

Well, that's about all I have of National player/coach customs. If Zimmerman wouldn't have had a card in the '05 set, I would've definitely added one, but he did, and I don't have anything of Zim.
I might try to work on some 2020 Topps World Series customs, so stay tuned for them.

I finished the 2011 Topps missing player checklist, and am starting the 2012 checklist. There might be a small chance that I can finish all of them before the end of the year. Just 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2019 to go. It could happen. It won't be a big deal if it doesn't, but it would be cool to catch up to Topps and be able to crank out customs and templates. Thanks for following me on this journey, and congrats to the Washington Nationals. It is tough to even make it to the playoffs, and you only get so many chances, and have to take advantage of them.
Last thing before I go. I played basketball in middle school at the YMCA. The first 3 seasons, we had ok teams, but always got knocked out of the playoffs in the 1st of 3 rounds. Every team got in the playoffs, so it wasn't anything special to get in, but it was if you won. Well, that 4th seaosn, playing for the Grizzlies, I had a great coach who had a defense where he would have a fast guy guarding whoever had the ball, 2 guards at the top of the key, and 2 big/tall guys (I was a tall guy, so this was where I would play) by the hoop who would intercept passes. We rode this defense through the 1st round, beating the worst team in the leauge, the Rockets. We won the 2nd round against a decent Pacers team. In the finals, we played the Wolverines, who was coached by my best friend Jon's brother. My best friend was their star center, and my friend Antoine was their star forward. They had a lead in the 1st half, but because of rules, they had to play their subs in the 2nd half because they hadn't played all game. We took the game over, and won the title.
The next year, our team was good on paper, but we stunk up the regular season. In the 1st round of the playoffs, we staged a 2nd half comeback to win. In the 2nd round, we played the 2nd best team in the leauge, and found ourselves down by like 8 starting the 2nd half. Our shooting guard Roger hit a 3, we got a rebound, Rog hit another 3, and I found myself believing that we could come back and win, which we did. In the finals, we played the best team in the league, were down going in to the 2nd half, and came back and won. I scored 4 points, but it was kind of bittersweet. I started every game that year, and coach Z. counted on me to get rebounds and score points close to the bucket. I was in 10th grade, and wouln't be eligible to play the next year. I kind of knew my basketball career would be over. During the last few minutes of the final game, we were ahead, and coach Z. took me out. With a few seconds left, I wanted to be on the floor for my last game, but I didn't say anything to him, and I sat on the bench and watched the clock run down to 0.0, and we shook hands with the opposing team and recieved our trophies.
I say all of this to say that championships are special and don't happen that often, so if you find yourself a part of one in any part of your life (whether it be winning an award at work, winning a personal victory over something, finally having a baby after trying so hard, getting the girl of your dreams, getting a job you wanted, winning a softball championship, whatever), take a breath and enjoy it!! You don't know if it will ever happen again, and they are special moments. Always remember them and let them remind you that good things can happen and remember how far you have come. And if you are on the bench in the final seconds of the last game of your career, ask your coach to put you in. You won't regret it. Here is a photo of my 2nd championship trophy.
Thanks for checking out my latest post.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Players who seem to find me

I decided to make a post showing some of the players and teams I have a good record of finding hits of. While I'll be the first to admit I don't buy nearly as much retail as I used to and don't open near as many packs as I have, I do find a number of parallel/insert/jersey cards of a few particular players. I don't know if it has been done or not, but perhaps this theme could be a good Blog Bat-Around topic, and if not, at the very least it could be a nice resource for player collectors to find out who is getting all the cards of their favorite players.

First off, is a player I collect, Jacob deGrom. I have hit a few inserts of deGrom in the past 3 years or so, including 2 Chrome Refractors of reprint cards ('84 and '87 Topps). It's always nice to pull good cards of someone you collect. 
If you are a Tyler Naquin collector, I would suggest letting me pick out some packs of Topps Chrome for you. I pulled Pink Refractors of him in the 2016 and 2017 sets, as well as an insert in the '17 set as well.
I have pulled a shiny insert and parallel of Dominic Smith of the Mets during the past 2 years, so he makes the list as well.
Here is one guy I admire and one guy I think is a lousy cheater. Cal Ripken is a class act. I was lucky enough to see him play during his last series in Tampa Bay in 2001, and was lucky enough to get his autograph. After batting practice, he was nice enough to come to the front of the dugout and sign autographs for about 30 minutes before the game. From what I have heard, he did this at just about every park that year. I don't pull bat cards that often, but in 2003, I pulled one from a pack of Finest, and in 2011, I believe, I pulled another one from Gypsy Queen. I can't tell Gypsy Queen/Allen & Ginter/the last 10 years of Bowman apart. (I looked, and it was the 2011 set).

Nelson Cruz is a guy I have a beef with. He hit a walkoff Grand Slam and a 3-run HR in Game 4 of the 2011 ALCS against my Detroit Tigers. I always wondered if he was on steroids. He seemed like he was a failed prospect and then all of the sudden started hitting Homers in Texas. He was suspended in 2013 after being involved in the Biogenesis scandal, which made his performance in the '11 ALCS hurt even worse. Then in 2014 ALDS, he almost single-handedly beat the Tigers again. I really think he is still doing steriods, and I am happy Tampa Bay didn't sign him last year. I was (un) lucky enough to pull his '17 Topps Chrome Pink Refractor, and his '18 Topps Independance Day parallel. Feel free to make me an offer on them.
A player who kind of forced me to collect him is Hunter Dozier. I pulled 2 low-#d parallels of him out of '17 Bowman and '17 Topps. Haven't pulled anything other than base cards of him lately, but like I said, I haven't really been busting that many packs either.
I have had pretty good luck with pulling A-Rod hits over the course of my collecting career. In 2005, I pulled a Bowman's Best '93 Bowman's Best reprint autograph of him out of an '05 Bowman's Best pack that landed me on the Wall of Fame of my former (since closed) LCS, Lakeland Sports Cards & Collectibles. Somewhere I have a picture of the shop. Since then, I have pulled a jersey card of him out of '05 Topps Turkey Red, and a jersey card of him out of 2006 Topps Heritage.
Lastly, here are 2 guys I have pulled the exact same parallels of. In 2003, I pulled 2 Topps Gold parallels of John Burkett. If I just get 19 more, I can say I have exactly 1% of the production run. 
In 2018, I pulled 2 Topps Gold cards of Dylan Bundy. Kind of stinks when you pull the same parallel of the same guy, but at least there are guys out there to trade with. 
While this isn't a player that I have pulled a number of hits from, I figured I would post these 3 cards, as I have had great luck with this set. 
In 2008, I lived in Montgomery, Alabama, and wasn't making much money. I would, however, try to budget as much as I could so I could get packs of cards. Our local Target got packs of 2008 Upper Deck Piece of History, and I was intrigued by the Americana/history cards in it, so I picked up a pack or two, and pulled the Mike Myers pants card. A few weeks later, I got another pack or two, and pulled the Clooney relic. I realized that the thicker packs, although I usually tried to stay away from them because they usually just had a decoy card, were the ones that I got the relic cards from. I got another 8 or so packs and I believe 5 or so were the thicker ones, and pulled a Justin Verlander relic (since traded away), pulled a few decoy cards, and on the last pack pulled the Zambrano/Hernandez relic. I don't know if our Target had a hot box or what, but I definitely pulled some good relic cards from the assortment of packs that they had. I might have pulled 1 or 2 other inserts, which was strange, because I would've figured that I would get an assortment of inserts along with the relics, but maybe the card feeder got all Oprah with the relics (a relic for you, a relic for you, a relic for you!!!!), and they happened to all get in the box that was shipped to my local card supply. 

So there are the guys I have had decent luck with pulling. As far as teams, I casually glanced through my refractor/shiny card/relic binders, and couldn't really find anything out of the ordinary. I had a good number of Yankees (which would be expected as companies put a ton of them in products), and a good number of Rangers. 
My hope for this post is that others will make posts like this and that trades will happen and guys who collect certain players and teams will see where all the cards they want to pull are going. I'm sure there is someone who wants my Tyler Naquin and Nelson Cruz cards (please???), and anything on here (besides the deGrom's and Dozier's) are up for trade. I am a little low on Dodgers/A's/Cubs/Padres as I have made some trades with guys who collect them over the past few months, but I am hoping to check out my LCS here in DeLand soon and re-stock, plus you never know when I'll make another COMC purchase. I should be getting a nice bonus from work sometime in November, and I'm hoping my wife will let me use at least a little of it on COMC's Thanksgiving sale. 

I should be getting the '19 Topps Update set any day now, so please don't ask me for money when I get all the Vlad Jr./Tatis Jr./Pete Alonso cards that will make me rich. It will be fun organizing them and putting them into binders and completing the year's team sets. 
I am closing in on finishing the 2010 Topps missing player checklist, and hopefully will finish a few more years before the close of 2019. My wife should have a new job in the next few weeks working days, so I may have a few free days when I'm off to do nothing but customs and work on checklists. 

How about this World Series. I find myself pulling for the Nationals becuase there are a number of guys who don't have rings on the Nats, so I really hope they win Game 6. If Scherzer can get back to healthy, he would pitch game 7, and give them a good shot to win it all. My '08 Bowman Chrome X-Fractor would really like that. If not, I would be ok with the Astros winning, as it would give Joe Espada a ring. He went to college at the University of Mobile, and I attended there 2 years after he graduated.
Whenever the World Series is over, I will add coach/manager cards of both teams, and a team photo of the winner to the 2020 Topps checklist, as well as some of the recently hired managers. Can't wait.

Please feel free to post guys who seem to find you and lets get some trades going to help our fellow collectors out. 

Thanks for taking the time to check out my latest post.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Happy Yankee Elimination Day and some Player Collection additions

Today celebrates one of my favorite days of the year, Yankee Elimination Day!  It is the day of the year, where either the Yankees get eliminated from the playoffs or are mathematically eliminated from participating in the post-season during the regular season, and it is probably just a tad above the Alabama Criminal Crimson Tide Elimination Day for me as one of my favorite sports days of the year. Here is a custom I made to comemmorate this years YED.
I have made a few other cards after YED in the past, and I might try to start a mini-collection out of it. Topps has produced some in a few sets, notably in the 2003 (Angels in 2002 ALDS), 2004 (Marlins in 2003 World Series), 2005 (Red Sox in 2004 ALCS), and in the 2006 Update set (Tigers in 2006 ALDS).  I have most of those, but I will have to go through my highlights binder to see which ones I need. Here is one I made for the 2017 YED (also the last time the Astros won the World Series.

On another kind of 'being a hater' note, one of Dime Box Nick's latest posts talked about some players who some people used to like, but now, for some reason don't. One of the guys he mentioned was Aubrey Huff. Huff has taken some heat for his strong Christian/intellegent design/creation beliefs and for how he voiced them on Twitter, as well as a Twitter argument he had with former teammate Seth McClung. While yes, I totally agree with Huff on his views on all of those subjects, I don't neccessarily think Twitter is the best place to discuss subjects like that. I think more face-to-face situations where both sides can talk at length are better, especially since places like Twitter don't really allow you to see the emotion or tone of voice with either parties, and things can get misconstrued and misunderstood rather quickly. With that being said, I think that Huff is has and is going to take some undo heat for voicing his opinion, mainly because it goes against what the rest of the world wants to believe. He will get painted out as ignorant and as an aloof crazy person. I don't think he is. I have met him numerous times during his Devil Ray career, and he would always sign autographs and genuinely seemed to care about his fans. I realize that it could totally be a show, but he really seemed like he was a nice, normal guy. I've met former Red Wade Rowdon, who said he was basically blackballed from the Reds for being vocal about his faith. Same thing with Tim Tebow and the NFL. Carl Everett had similar intellegent designs views, and like Huff, got made fun of. He could've been better with how he expressed them, but I have met him before, got his autograph, and he didn't seem aloof like the media and fellow 'graphers told me he would be. My point is how come people like Aubrey Huff, Wade Rowdon, Carl Everett, and Tim Tebow can voice opinions that are pro-God, pro-intellegent design, and they get ridiculed, and then the media paints out guys like Colin Kaepernick, Bruce Maxwell, Michael Sam, and Billy Bean get painted out to be heroes just because thier views line up more with what the current media wants you to believe?  Nothing against Colin, Bruce, Michael or Billy. I have never met any of them, and from what I've seen, Billy is very gracious with his fans and signs ttm for anyone. I respect them standing up for what they believe in,  I just wish the media were fair about covering everyone the same and not painting some people as 'heroes', and some as 'unintelligent fools' just becuase of how they feel about a certian issue. People (and ballplayers) have reasons they believe what they believe, and I'm sure if they would get the chance to tell their story instead of being labeled, it would do a lot of good. For anyone who reads this blog, I hope my views on things don't effect how I treat you, how you feel while reading this blog, or make your views on me any worse than they were when you started reading. I appreciate everyone who takes the time to check me out, and even though we collect different players, like different teams (even Yankee fans), I truly root for you and hope you can have the best life you can no matter what. 
With all that, I think I am going to add Aubrey Huff and Carl Everett to my Favorite Player Collection. I have met them both, and followed them during their career, and I applaud their decision to voice their (unpopular) opinion, so why not? So feel free to dump your unwanted Huff and Everett cards on me. I am also thinking about adding Cecil Fielder to my Favorite Player Collection as well. Cecil was the star on the Detroit Tigers when I first started following baseball, and I have always enjoyed watching him play. I was lucky enough to meet him, get an autograph, and shake his hand in either 2009 or 2010. I'm a little torn about Fielder. It would mean I have to probably add a few Yankee cards to my binders, and I think Cecil will just have a ton of cards. I think I am just going to ask everyone's opinion. I will put up a vote thing on the sidebar and leave it up until November 1st, and just ask a simple question: Should I start collecting Cecil Fielder? 
So have fun with that. I will check in periodically to see how the voting is going. Hopefully we will have a fun World Series. I am rooting for the Nats, just because most of the guys on the Astros won a title just 2 seasons ago. 
Thanks for taking the time to read my latest post,

*edit* I can't figure out how to add a poll to the layout, so if you have an opinion on collecting Fielder or not, just leave me a comment. 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Fixing (one of) Selig's Mistakes

In 1994, when MLB switched to 3 divisions per league and added the Wild Card team, Bud Selig couldn't be prouder of his invention, and me, as a wide-eyed 11-year-old, didn't think anything of it either way. Neither of us could've foresaw the ramifications that would manifest themself in the coming years.
The strike in 1994 robbed us of a chance to see who would win the World Series, but in the next 25 or so years, we would see many teams win the World Series who weren't exactly the best team in baseball that year, only the hottest team. Looking back on it, yeah, it sometimes sucks that in the old format there were only 2 teams from each league who would be in the playoffs. Many times, my favorite teams didn't have a shot at the playoffs unless they made the Wild Card, but that extra playoff slot, the extra one because of the extra division, and now the extra one with the 2nd Wild Card have watered down the playoffs. The AL/NL East/West winners now have to go through an extra round, and risk losing a 3-game opening series, which isn't hard to do if you face a team with good starting pitching. How many times has a Wild-Card winning team that won the World Series actually been the best team in baseball?  Were the '97 Marlins, '03 Marlins, '05 White Sox, and any of the '10, '12, and '14 Giants teams really the best team in baseball?  I think not.
I am going to list all of the teams who really won the World Series from the 1995-2018 seasons, and then imagine that the AL and NL still had 2 divisions and only 1 playoff round before the World Series. Once we get our new playoff teams, I will pick who I think will win the World Series given the new criteria. For each season, I will try to post a custom I have made of one of the playoff teams (if I have one).

1995: REAL WORLD SERIES WINNER: Atlanta Braves
          MY WORLD SERIES WINNER: Cleveland Indians

For this one, it's really a wash for me. The Indians and Mariners were the best teams in the East and West, and I think it would've been a similar ALCS, with the Indians winning in 6. For the NL, it was a lot different than the regular season. The Braves won the West, but the best team in the East was the 73-71 Cubs. I have the Braves sweeping the Cubs, and rightly so. The Indians and Braves were almost equally matched for this re-do of the '95 World Series. Both teams had a great leadoff hitter, great HR hitters, great starting pitching, and a great closer. In this one, the Indians get the nod in 7 games.

1996: REAL WORLD SERIES WINNER: New York Yankees
          MY WORLD SERIES WINNER: Cleveland Indians (2nd since '95)

I think the Yankees got a real boost from their ALDS performance, which was helped by a bad call, which helped the Yankees steal a game from the Orioles. I think the Indians were ultimately a better club, and if it were only the AL East and West winners in the ALCS, they wouldn't have even had to play the Yankees, just a weaker 90-win Rangers team, whom they would beat in 5.  The Braves would've won the West, and the Expos and Cardinals would've tied for the East. I think the Cards would've beat the Expos in a 1-game playoff, and the Braves would've beat them in 6.  I think that the Indians could've matched the Braves that year and won the World Series in 6 to get their 2nd straight title.

1997: REAL WORLD SERIES WINNER: Florida Marlins
          MY WORLD SERIES WINNER: Atlanta Braves

I feel like the Indians were certainly a good team, but they got hot in the postseason. The Orioles would've won the East, and faced a 90-win Mariners team in the ALCS, beating them in 5 games. The Marlins should've never beat the Braves in the NLCS, and the Braves would've won the West, the Marlins, the East, creating an NLCS like the real one. This time, I think the Braves would've won, then beating the Orioles in a 5 game World Series.

1998: REAL WORLD SERIES WINNER: New York Yankees
          MY WORLD SERIES WINNER: New York Yankees

This one kind of sucks for me. The Yankees won the East, and the closest competition in the West was the 88-win Rangers. The Yankees easily dispose of them in 5. I have never believed for once that the '98 Padres were better than the '98 Braves. In my mind, the Braves won the West, and the best team in the East was the 90-73 Cubs. Even with Sammy Sosa in his prime, the Cubs were overmatched, and the Braves win this one in 5. I hate the Yankees with everything I have, but I think at this point in the Yankee monopoly dynasty, they beat the Braves in 6.

1999: REAL WORLD SERIES WINNER: New York Yankees
          MY WORLD SERIES WINNER: New York Yankees (2nd)

Again, the Yankees won the East, and the Rangers won the West. Again, they were no match for the Yankees, being swept. The NL was a little tricky. Even though the Diamondbacks won 100 games, with the 2 divisions staying, and the Braves somehow being in the West, their 103 wins was enough to take the division and leave Arizona high and dry. The Mets got the best record in the East, but lost to Atlanta in 5. In the World Series, the Yankees win their 2nd in a row, beating the Braves in 5.

2000: REAL WORLD SERIES WINNER: New York Yankees
          MY WORLD SERIES WINNER: Cleveland Indians (2nd)

This year, the Yankees wouldn't get the 3-peat, as the Indians bested them in the East with 90 wins over New York's 87. Take that, Jeter!  The White Sox won the West with 95 wins. Cleveland takes the ALCS with their experience, winning in 5 games. The Giants won the NL West over the Braves, and in the East, and the Cardinals took the division with 95 wins. The Cardinals beat the Giants in 6, on the strength of a 3-HR Game 6 by McGwire. The World Series was won by the Indians, beating the Cardinals in 6 games. Mr. Pole gets a ring!!!

2001: REAL WORLD SERIES WINNER: Arizona Diamondbacks
          MY WORLD SERIES WINNER: Seattle Mariners

Nothing changes here in the AL. The Mariners won the West, and the Yankees won the East, but this time, the better team DOES win, and Ichiro and the Mariners win in 6. In real life, the Astros and Cardinals tied for the NL Central lead with 93 wins. In my version, the 93 wins would give the Cardinals the East and the Astros the West. This would turn out to be a close series in my mind, with it going back and forth, with the Astros winning Game 7 on a walkoff HR by Jeff Bagwell, but it could've went either way. The Mariners easily win the World Series in 5 games.  Note: I'm going to keep trying to post customs of the World Series or playoff teams as long as I can, but the pickins are getting pretty lean. This might not last much longer.

2002: REAL WORLD SERIES WINNER: Anaheim Angels
          MY WORLD SERIES WINNER: New York Yankees (3rd)

Both the Yankees and A's won 103 games, clinching the AL East and West. The A's gave the Yankees a handful, but ultimately lost to them in a 6-game ALCS. The Braves and Cardinals won their divisions in the NL, and the Braves beat the Cards in 6 games. I am beginning to hate this experiment, and I can't see the Braves beating the Yankees, and I figure the Yankees beat them in 5.

2003: REAL WORLD SERIES WINNER: Florida Marlins
          MY WORLD SERIES WINNER: New York Yankees (4th)

Again the Yankees win the East. The Mariners win the West, and get beat by the Yankees in 5. The Braves 101 wins gives them the NL West over a 100-win Giants team. The Marlins 91 wins gives them the NL East instead of the Wild Card. Somehow, they STILL get in the playoffs!  They do not, however, get past the Braves, and get beat in 6 games. Do we really have to do this again??  Yankees over Braves in 6.

          MY WORLD SERIES WINNER: St. Louis Cardinals

Dang. Yankees win the East, and the Red Sox don't get in the playoffs because of no Wild Card. The Twins and Angels tie for the most wins in the West with 92. The Angels beat the Twins in a 1-game playoff, and gosh, I don't know how this one would go. Could the Angels beat the Yankees 2 seasons after they did in real life with Vlad and Bartolo on the team? I still think they are just a tad behind the Yankees and lose the ALCS in 7. This kills me. In the NL, the Braves and the Cardinals take the West and East (again). I think the Cards beat the Braves in 6, and I think they have the firepower to beat the Yankees in 7 on a Chris Carpenter shutout, giving Larry Walker his ring.

2005: REAL WORLD SERIES WINNER: Chicago White Sox
          MY WORLD SERIES WINNER: St. Louis Cardinals (2nd)

Another version of where the division allignments are jacked up, and the Chicago White Sox win the AL West. Had they been in the East, the Yankees would've came in 2nd. I really don't think the White Sox could've beat the Yankees like they did in real life, and I think the Yankees beat them in 6. Probably 5, but I'll be generous. In the NL, the Cardinals and Braves won the East and West again. The Cardinals beat the Braves in 5, and beat the Yankees again, this time in 6.

2006: REAL WORLD SERIES WINNER: St. Louis Cardinals
          MY WORLD SERIES WINNER: New York Yankees (5th)

I really hope this one turns out good. I have never felt that the Cardinals were better than my Detroit Tigers in 2006. Well, it didn't happen. The Yankees won the East, and the Twins won the West. Yankees wipe the floor with the Twins in 5. The Mets won the NL East, and the Padres and Dodgers tied for the West title. I give the Dodgers the 1-game playoff on the strength of their hitting. In a tight series, the Mets take the NL pennant in 7 games on a Pedro Martinez shutout. In a 6-years-too late Subway Series, it's a little closer this time, but the Yankees win again in 6 games.

          MY WORLD SERIES WINNER: Boston Red Sox

The Indians and Red Sox tied for the best record in the AL East, forcing a 1-game playoff. This one could go either way, but I give it to the Red Sox on the strength of a 2 HR game by David Ortiz. The Angels won the West, but fall to the Sox in the ALCS in 5 games.  The Phillies won the NL East, and the Diamondbacks and Rockies tied for the West title, giving us 2 1-game playoff games in a season. I think it is close, but the Rockies win it. Looks like we get the same matchup as in real life, and I see the Red Sox taking it in 5, and the Red Sox finally break the curse!!!

2008: REAL WORLD SERIES WINNER: Philadelphia Phillies
          MY WORLD SERIES WINNER: Tampa Bay Rays

I hope this one turns out different. I don't feel like the Phillies were better than my team, the Rays. I saw the team play in person once, and on TV many times that season, and the Rays just had a special team. The Phillies were good, but I don't think they could match with the Rays in a series. The Rays clinch the East, and the Angels clinch the West in '08. I think the Angels were a bit overrated, and the Rays beat them in 6 games. Justice is done, and the Cubs win the NL East over the Phillies, and the NL West is a little tricky. Since the leagues only have 2 divisions, I am acting as if the Brewers stayed in the AL. They had 90 wins, enough to make the playoffs (perhaps) in the NL, but not the AL. The most wins in the NL West goes to the Houston Astros, with 86. The Cubs had a good team, and I think they could take the Astros in 6 games. I still think the Rays were a better team than the Cubs, and the Tampa Bay Rays win thier first World Series title in 6 games!!!

2009: REAL WORLD SERIES WINNER: New York Yankees
          MY WORLD SERIES WINNER: Philadelphia Phillies

Another season where I thought the World Series loser (Phillies) were better than the winner. The Yankees and Angels took the AL divisions, Yankees beat the Angels in 6 (sigh....). The Phillies and Dodgers take the NL division crowns, and I really think it could be either team. I'll go with the Phillies in 7 on the strength of a Cole Hamels complete game and 2 titanic Ryan Howard Home Runs. And we'll right the wrong and see the Phillies beat the Yankees in 7 as Chase Utley wins it on a sac fly in the top of the 9th and a scoreless inning of relief by Brad Lidge. Pedro gets ring!  Cliff Lee gets his ring! 

2010: REAL WORLD SERIES WINNER: San Francisco Giants
          MY WORLD SERIES WINNER: Philadelphia Phillies (2nd)

The Rays and Twins won their respective divisions, and I don't see the Twins getting past the Rays. Tampa wins in 5. In the NL, the Phillies and Giants won the East and West, with the Phillies beating the Giants in 6 games. I can see this World Series going pretty long, basically a coin flip. Unfortunately, I have to give it to the Phillies on the strength of their starting pitching.

2011: REAL WORLD SERIES WINNER: St. Louis Cardinals
          MY WORLD SERIES WINNER: Philadelphia Phillies (3rd)

Here is a prime example of a team getting hot in the playoffs and winning a World Series when they were not only not the best team in the World Series, but not even the best team in their league. The stinking Yankees won the AL East by 2 games over my Tigers, and the Rangers took the West. I think the Rangers could take the Yankees this year, and I see them winning in 6. The Phillies have a dynasty going, and win the NL East. The Diamondbacks won the West. I see the Phillies sweeping the D-Backs, and facing the Rangers in the Series. The Phillies get a 3-peat, beating the Rangers in 6 games.

2012: REAL WORLD SERIES WINNER: San Francisco Giants
          MY WORLD SERIES WINNER: New York Yankees (6th)

This year, I really thought the Tigers were a better team than the Giants. They had Fielder, Cabrera, Verander, Scherzer, and a host of capable players. The Giants had Bumgarner, Posey, an overrated punk known as Hunter Pence, and that was about it. The Tigers were better than the Giants in all facets of the game, but somehow didn't win the Series. Let's see how this plays out...
Well, the Tigers don't even win the division, the Yankees do, and the A's win the West. Of course, the Yankees beat the A's 4 games to 0, and in the NL, the Nationals and the Reds were the division winners. I think the Nationals would beat the Reds in 5 games, and I really don't think the World Series would be close, with the Yankees winning in 5 games. Ugh....

          MY WORLD SERIES WINNER: Boston Red Sox (2nd)

The Red Sox and A's took the divisions in the AL, with the Red Sox beating the A's in a 5 game ALCS. The Cardinals and Braves won the NL divisions, and the Cardinals set up a World Series rematch, beating the Braves in 5. I think the Red Sox repeat history, beating the Cardinals again, in 5 games.

2014: REAL WORLD SERIES WINNER: San Francisco Giants
          MY WORLD SERIES WINNER: Los Angeles Dodgers

The Angels and Orioles won the West and East divisions in the AL, giving us some new blood in the playoffs. I don't see either team being dominant, and I just don't think the Orioles have the pitching to beat the Angels, who win in 6. I can hear all of the Trout worshipers now....Let's see who comes out of the NL. Looks like the Nationals and Dodgers. I think the Dodgers get to the World Series in 6 games. An all LA series sees the Dodgers beat the Angels in 6. Kershaw gets a ring!!

2015: REAL WORLD SERIES WINNER: Kansas City Royals
          MY WORLD SERIES WINNER: Los Angeles Dodgers (2nd)

I thought the Mets were a smidge better than the Royals in '15, but let's see. The Royals win the AL West, and the Blue Jays win the East. I see the Royals beating Toronto in 6. In the NL, the Cardinals win the East, and the Dodgers win the West. I think the Dodgers repeat as NL champs, beating the Cardinals in 6 games. In the World Series, the Dodgers repeat, beating the Royals in 6.

          MY WORLD SERIES WINNER: Chicago Cubs

The Indians and Rangers took the divisions in the AL, with the Indians beating the Rangers in 5 games in the ALCS. The Cubs and the Dodgers won the NL titles. This one is tough. I think the Cubs win this one in 7 games. In the World Series, it really is a coin flip. Let's go with history again, and say the Cubs win in 7.

2017: REAL WORLD SERIES WINNER: Houston Astros
          MY WORLD SERIES WINNER: Cleveland Indians (3rd)

The Indians win the AL East, and in the regular AL West, the Astros would've taken it, but they remain in the NL, so that doesn't happen. The West title goes to the Twins, who the Indians sweep in the ALCS. The Nationals and the Dodgers win the NL divisions, with the Dodgers taking the NL title in 6 games. I think this time, the Indians are able to take down the NL team, beating the Dodgers in a 6-game World Series.

          MY WORLD SERIES WINNER: Boston Red Sox (3rd)

In the final season of this project, the Red Sox and Athletics win the AL titles. The Red Sox beat the A's in a 4 game ALCS to make it to the World Series. The Astros win the NL West, and the Cubs win the NL East. I think the Astros would beat the Cubs in 6 games, giving us a sweet Red Sox/Astros World Series. I think the Red Sox just had too much firepower in 2018, and beat the Astros in 6 games.

This was a fun, but time-consuming project. I hope I got everything right as far as division winners. Before starting this project, I figured I would get a number of different championship teams, and that some of these cheap Wild-Card teams that won titles would be avenged. The latter happened, but unfortunately, it gave us 2 additional Yankee titles. Boo!
The good news is that the Red Sox got 3 titles (only 1 short of what they really had), and the Rays won it all in 2008.

Speaking of 2008, I finished the missing player checklist for the 2008 Topps set, and that just leaves me with the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2019 checklists, and I will have listed every player that Topps has missed from every base set they have made.

I hope you have enjoyed this playoff project. Hopefully, I won't have to do it for the 2019 Postseason. Thanks for checking out my latest post.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Quick trade with Baseball Card Breakdown

About a month ago, I puchased the 2019 Topps complete set. The set included a pack of 5 iconic card reprints which featured Chrome Refractor technology on them. I didn't know it then, but Gavin, the writer of the great blog Baseball Card Breakdown, really wanted a card of Tony Gwynn's 1983 Topps rookie featuring the Chrome Refractor hookup. Well, I just happened to pull one from the special pack, and posted it. Gavin mentioned he wanted it, and I was happy to send it to him. Shortly after I sent it, I got a pwe in the mail featuring these 4 cards. 

The Phil Clark '95 Topps had been on my Top 12 List for a while, and now it is obtained. The Juan Encarnacion autograph is the completion of a23-year quest. I lived in Lakeland, Florida in 1996, and we had a minor league team, the Lakeland Tigers, who were a high-A club for the Detroit Tigers. Juan was on the team at the time, and I was only 13 at the time, but I was smart enough to realize that he was one of the better players on the team, so I wanted to get his autograph. I was out by the clubhouse gate after one of the only games I went to that summer, and I asked if he was out yet, and someone told me he was in the shower. He must be like me, and likes to take long ones, because we waited for about 15 more minutes, and my mom told me we needed to get home, and I never got his autograph that year, or for in Spring Training for the rest of his duration with the Detroit organization. Thanks for helping me get it, Gavin. He also sent 2 Rays cards, a Clayon Henning Cracked Ice Bowman, and an Evan Longoria Prizm.

Things are finally normal again, and we've had a somewhat normal routine for about a week now, and I think it's going to do some good for me and the rest of our family. I'll try to spare all the boring details, but basically since July, my wife's grandmother has been living at our house. She was 92 and had worsening dementia and stage 4 cancer in her colon at that point. My wife quit her daytime job and started working nights at a skilled living facility when she moved it, and it just threw our lives upside down. On nights my wife would work, I would pull double-duty, taking care of our son, and her grandma. Then my wife would come home the next day and try (most times unsuccessfully) to get a few hours of sleep in the daytime. On days where she worked back-to-back days, if her grandma had a bad day and needed lots of help, she wouldn't get any sleep. It was beginning to take it's toll on everyone, but we just kept on chugging. Almost a month ago, Karen's aunt came down from West Virginia to 'help', but it almost was worse. Instead of  helping her grandmother use the bathroom commode during the daytime, she would almost always wake Karen up so she could help. In addition to that, it just seemed like she was always bringing in fast food and creating trash/dishes, and not cleaning up after herself. I'm not saying she didn't help out with Karen's grandma, but it just got to be too much for me, having a crappy day at work, and then coming home, cleaining up after extra people, and then watching grandma and my son before going to bed and doing it all over agian the next day. Towards the end of everything, we had probably 3-4 extra cars in our yard for a week or so, with hospice nurses, family, and visitors.
Karen's grandma was a great person, always giving of herself, her time, and her money, for the betterment of the family. She offered to pay for me to go back to college more than once, and she really has a hand in every custom I make, as she offered to buy me a new laptop when my old one crashed. I was really sad to see her pass away a little over a week ago, but I know she is in a better place, and isn't confused or in pain anymore. As much as I have hated having all of this extra company and extra duties during the last month, I would do it again if she could have more time as long as she was comfortable.
She had a celebration of life service this past Saturday, and our worship band at church (along with a good representation from the family) did all of the music for the service. We were tight and bringing it. I can honestly say that one of the songs we did was the best I have ever played it. No mistakes, tight with the drummer, and throwing in runs I never had before.
I guess the plan moving forward is for Karen to start a new position at her company during the daytime. That will be great for us. She will be on the same schedule as me basically, and on my days off, I can have a good amount of time to work on customs. I anticipate finishing the missing player checklists sometime in the spring, and make a ton of customs after that. During the last few months, things have been crazy, but it's over, and I think there are good things up ahead.
Thanks again for the cards, Gavin.

Thanks for checking out my latest post.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Trade with The Buc Stops Here

I recently discovered the Buc Stops Here blog, and was really impressed by Nate and all of the cool Pirates card he is collecting. I also like looking at his box breaks. I am trying not to crack so much wax, so it is nice seeing what is in some of the newer products. 
I e-mailed Nate a few weeks ago, and we got a nice trade started. He hooked me up with some nice Tigers cards, Rays cards, and guys for my Favorite Player Collection

I got a slew of Topps Tiger cards, which came from some years where I purchased less than 10 packs of the flagship set the entire year. These will help fill in holes in a number of Topps sets. 

Nate was happy to hook me up with some Rays, and he got me some nice ones. The Myers Chrome rookie is sweet!  That card was very hot when it first came out. When I first saw the Canseco Allen & Ginter, I wasn't expecting him to be pictured as a Ray on the front. Glad Topps is making some good decisions and putting Rays photos in sets when it would've been easier to show Canseco as an Oakland A. The Rays don't get many cards in sets, and they aren't that popular, so it is nice to be the 'Rays guy' for many bloggers. You can dump as many Rays cards on me as you got. I'll take 'em.

My player collections got some nice additions. I am now close to having a rainbow of Brandon Inge's 2013 Topps card.

I got a number of parallels, including a sweet 2011 Topps Diamond Sparkle card of my former classmate Steve Pearce. Next to it is a 2014 Topps Wal-Mart Blue parallel and a Gold Sparkle 2012 Topps Laynce Nix. I got some nice Jacob deGrom cards, including 2 reprint cards, and I now have 3 Topps Chrome cards of Jameson Taillon (3 years in a row. 2017, 2018, and 2019). 
Thanks, Nate, for the great trade. I will keep my eye out for Pirates cards at future shows and card shop trips.

Things are finally starting to get back to normal with me and my family. Work is going to be crazy in less than 2 months, but I think getting back into a routine unti then will be good for all of us.
I have also been able to get back on some projects that have been pushed to the back burner. Today, I finished the missing player checklist of the 2005 Topps set. That leaves 13 more sets until I'm caught up to Topps. This can probably be accomplished sometime in 2020.
I have also done a few posts on my other blog, Completing the 1992 Topps Set. If you haven't ever been to it, I have made custom cards for every missing player in the 1992 Topps set. On the blog, I am going through each card, and telling info about it, I look at the players career, and figure out how many other Topps cards they are missing. Check it out if that interests you.
On that note, Gavin from Baseball Card Breakdown is doing another blog which is run along the same lines. He is going through the 1991 Pro Set SuperStars MusiCards set one by one. Here is the link to his new blog so you can check out all of the cool cards from that set.

I am hoping to work some on the 2006 Topps checklist and maybe do a few 1985 Topps customs this week. I am also thinking about working some on making templates for some sets after all of the checklists are done. 2020 is going to be a fun year.

Lastly, a  music note: I had the honor of leading worship at our church for the first time this morning. I think it went ok, but even so, it was a great opportunity and I feel like it could lead to more responsibility. I HATE responsibility and dread having to do more tasks at my work, but it is different with music. I want to have the pressure and responsibility and all of the tasks and whatnot that leading worship entails. As for the band thing, Joe, the guy who wants to get something going, is out of  town for the next week or so, and I had a number of things to do this week, but I think definitely in a week or so, we could get together and see what happens and what ideas come about. With that being said, I'm a little nervous. I have been in a number of bands. I have been in a number of bands with guys named Joe and Nick. All of these bands had potential, but broke up because of some issue with Joe or Nick. Nick #1 got a girl pregnant and moved to Kentucky. Nick #2 had an issue with his girlfriend and ran off to Sout Carolina. Nick #3 just went crazy and moved to Texas to try out for WWF wrestling and took my digital piano, keyboard amp, and dual stand. Joe #1 up and left and moved to Kentucky. Joe #2 didn't have any issues, but was just a casualty of being in a band where the lead singer was a recovering drug user who got back on the wagon. I guess bands with Nick's or Joe's don't work well for me, but I trust this new Joe and would love to hear what he can do on the guitar. If anything happens, I will have a site up with the music.

Thanks for checking out my latest post.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Parallels and Numbered cards I've pulled in the last decade or so

With Ronald Acuna and Max Scherzer participating in the playoffs this year, I figured now would be as good a time as ever to show off some of the cooler parallel and numbered cards I have pulled over the past decade or so. 

We start it off pulling from my Tigers binder. The Miguel Cabrera Gold Refractor was pulled from a box of 2011 Topps Chrome back when it came out, and is numbered to 50. I almost like how the Atomic Refractors from that years set look better than the Gold Refractors, so I find it funny how the Gold ones are numbered lower. The Suarez card isn't numbered, but it is a nice parallel of a rookie card of a guy who darn-near hit 50 Home Runs this year. Too bad. I really wanted another guy to join the club. 
The last card from my Tigers binder is a 2015 Topps Victor Martinez League Leaders Snow parallel card numbered to 99. Yeah, Altuve and that Brantley guy for the Indians are on it, but it has a Tiger on it, so therefore, it is a Tigers card. I pulled this out of a pack of 2015 Topps Series 1. 
On to my Favorite Player binder. In 2017, I pulled 2 low-numbered parallels of Hunter Dozier, and I considered that the collecting gods were telling me to super-collect him. I pulled a base '17 Bowman card of him and a base '19 Topps card of him since then, and also added a base '19 Topps Archives, and '17 Topps Chrome Refractor and '19 Topps 150th Anniversary parallel through trades and a card show. That still puts me at over 50% of my Dozier collection being parallel cards. I also need to mention that I pulled a Blue '17 Topps parallel of Evan Longoria and somehow didn't scan it. 
On to my Refractor binder, and here are two guys who are having good seasons. I pulled these 2 out of Purple Refarctor packs from 2010 Bowman Platinum.

The next 2 are from a Purple Refractor pack of 2011 Bowman Heritage. Not sure if the Machado is a rookie card or not, but the Matt Harvey is, and it makes me wish he would've panned out better.

My Relic binder only features one, a Black parallel of a jersey insert from 2019 Topps numbered to 99. This card was pulled from the same pack of a card in my next scan.

Nothing too special in this picture, but I did pull the Nelson (Steroids) Cruz from the same pack as I pulled the Kershaw. The Cruz is numbered to 76, the Rivera is numbered to 62, and the Miley is numbered to 25.

These are some serial numbered cards I pulled that had the serial numbers on the front. The Luke Jackson is numbered to 10, the Jose Santiago is numbered to 40, the Cabrera is numbered to 29,  and the Harper and O'Neill (hits I pulled in the last year) are numbered to 50.

Normally, I would save this card for the end, but I wanted to feature the guys named at the top of the post at the ending. This '07 Upper Deck Jose Contreras Printing Plate was the first one I've ever pulled. I ended up pulling a Mark Canha Printing Plate from a pack of 2017 Topps Series 2, but traded it to a guy who super collects Canha.

Here is the Acuna I promised. I pulled this one from a pack of '17 Bowman. He was nobody at the time, but since it was a Blue parallel, a rookie, and numbered to 150, I put it in a sleeve and put it in my rookie card binder. Last year when people started talking about him, I checked to see if that blue card I remember pulling was him, and sure enough, it was. It is probably one of my best pulls ever, depending on how his career turns out. The 2015 Topps Chrome Purple Refractor next to it is also one of my best pulls. I hope he can regain the form he had during the Cubs Championship year.
The Studio cards underneath them still fool me. I purchased probably 10-15 packs of Studio in 2005. Not a crazy amount, especially for me at the time. I pulled a Scott Podsednik Studio Stars Acetate card out of the first pack, and was hooked, so I kept buying more. I believe you got an insert in every pack, and I pulled a few more Stars cards, but I pulled a ton of these Portraits cards. I may have pulled one or two from other Studio/Donruss sets/years, but these 4 aren't even all that I pulled. I know for sure I pulled another one of Kirk Gibson, and I think I have a low-numbered checklist and a low-numbered Ichiro card from the set as well. I was just surprised at pulling so many of these and how low the numbering of the cards are. For me to pull 5 cards #d to 30 or less out of less than 20 packs, I think I beat the odds by a good amount.

On to the last guy of the bunch, Max Scherzer. I'm going to highlight him because he is one of my favorite players. In the 2009 offseason, the Tigers traded away Curtis Granderson to the Yankees and I was pissed. Number one because they traded Granderson away, and he was a star. Number two because they got Phil Coke back. He was one of my favorite Yankees from the past season because he gave up so many Home Runs. Number 3, because in my opinion, they didn't get much else back with Austin Jackson and Max Scherzer coming back. Boy, was I wrong about Scherzer. Around February 2010, I loaded up on Max Scherzer cards to get signed in Spring Training that March. I loved how X-Fractors look, so I found a cheap 2008 Bowman one of Max, and a cheap jersey card, and I was set. I pulled his 2008 Stadium Club and 2008 Topps cards 2 years ago. That Spring, I got Scherzer to sign the '08 Bowman Chrome X-Fractor, the '10 Upper Deck jersey card, and the '08 Stadium Club card. I wanted to get more signed the next year, but he basically shut down signing other than for little kids. If only I had my son a few years earlier...
Fast Forward to 2019, Max has 3 Cy Young Awards, a 20 K game, 2 No-Hitters, will get 3,000 Strikouts next year, and is back in the playoffs. He should get in the Hall of Fame, and I got his X-Fractor rookie for probably 1-5 bucks, and it is signed. For all of the bad luck I've had in my life, this one almost makes might make up for it
Here are all of my other Scherzer 'hit cards', the autographed '08 TSC, '08 Topps, '10 UD Jersey autographed, another Jersey card, and a numbered Donruss card. 

I hope you have had fun checking out some of my better cards and that your home team (except for the Yankees) does well in the Playoffs. I am probably pulling for the Dodgers in the NL (although I'd be ok with the Nats getting through), and my Rays in the AL (although it will probably be either Houston or the Yankees). I would probably give the Astros a slight edge. I think if the Astros made it out of the AL, they will win it all. I really want the Rays to get to the World Series, because that might be my one chance to cross attending a World Series game off of my bucket list. My wife has already given me the ok, but I don't think she has a clue at how expensive the nosebleed seats will be. I don't think they will make it, but we can only hope. 
Thanks for checking out my latest post.