Saturday, March 30, 2013

Two More for the Mantle!

Hey guys, Drew back here! After a day and a half long adventure in upstate New York visiting a few colleges, I'm back here to complete my recap from last Sunday's card show! Meeting all of the old Pirates players was really awesome for me, but that wasn't the main reason I asked Dad to go to this show. I hadn't added to my Mickey Mantle multi-signed photo in a few months, so with two of his former teammates signing I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity!
First up was former All Star second baseman Bobby Richardson! Richardson was one of the best all around players in the league back in the late 50's and early 60's, so I was excited to add him to the photo! Known exclusively as the only player to ever win a World Series MVP on a losing team, Richardson also won 5 Gold Gloves and made 8 All Star teams. He happily signed the Mantle photo directly below the Chairman of the Board, becoming autograph #37 on the picture.
I felt bad because with my Pirates gear on, Bobby would never know I was a Yankee fan. Hopefully the signed Yankee photo spoke for my true allegiance, but he obviously assumed me to be a Bucs fan. However, it didn't take away from the experience, as he was a very nice guy and posed for a nice picture with me!
The 38th autograph on the photo went to former spot starter and reliever Jim Coates! Before the show, I'd never heard of Mr. Coates, but after researching a bit I learned that he was actually a pretty good pitcher! In 1960, Coates went 13-3 with a 4.28 ERA, and if it weren't for several injuries he could've had a much more successful career. He gladly signed right below Richardson, which would've upset me if he wasn't one of Mantle's teammates. The spot Richardson signed I wanted to reserve for Berra, but the likelihood of getting Berra is getting slimmer and slimmer by the day. I'm glad these 2 guys took those spots though.
Coates was also a very nice guy. He charged $20 for an autograph, so not many people took the plunge on him unless they needed him for a team signed item. His wife (I assume) was with him trying to sell his autobiography, and she almost convinced us to buy it but I knew I probably wouldn't have much time to read it. 
The autographs look pretty good (below Whitey Ford towards the bottom in the center), although they signed on angles like Ford did. I'm not sure how that will affect the rest of the signatures on there, but I'm sure if I load it with a lot of other signatures it won't matter in the slightest. A guy in line for one of the signers was talking to me about the piece, and suggested when it's done to save up for a Mantle cut autograph to mat below the photo. I thought it was a smart idea, but it won't be very cheap.

What do you guys think? Would it be worth doing? Thanks in advance, and also thanks again to Dad, JP's Sports, and all of the great signers!

See Ya!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Re-Experiencing Early Hobby Memories!

Hey guys, Drew back here! As I mentioned yesterday, I met a solid group of players at last weekend's JP's Sports March Madness card show! First of all, a big thank you and shoutout to the guys from JP's Sports for doing a great job as always! When I look back on my early days in the hobby there's no way I could ever forget my experiences meeting so many legendary players. Although I met 6 former players that day, I've shaken all but 3 of their hands in the past. I'll explain further in a minute. But, to kick things off, I jumped on the free signer's line early because those lines always seemed to grow quickly. Not many people seemed to be in attendance that day, as the show was relatively quiet. But nothing is worse than being stuck in lines for hours!
This show's free signer was former Orioles' Rookie of the Year Ron Hansen! Hansen battled injuries throughout his prime and later career, which severely impacted his opportunity for success in the big leagues. However, the 6'3 shortstop had a great rookie year, batting .255 with 22 home runs, 86 RBI in the lower half of the O's lineup. He made both All Star teams from the season, but never was the same player.
Hansen was a real nice guy, signing a ball for William for me, as well as a 1961 Topps for my collection! He assumed me to be a big Pirates fan, judging by my McCutchen jersey and Pittsburgh hat, so he asked me if I was excited to meet the Pittsburgh players signing. Of course, as you all know, the Pirates are my second favorite team but I don't love them nearly to the extent that I love the Yankees. Hansen posed for a picture and I was off on my way to meet some former Bucs. 
The first of three Pirates I visited that day was 4 time batting champ Bill Madlock! I've met Madlock along with the following two players at my first White Plains show back in the summer of 2009, and he was a fairly nice guy. I believe he signed for free that day, however Sunday he charged $15 with a free inscription. Last time the "Mad Dog" had a clean look to him, which was uncharacteristic for a 70's Bucco. This time around, he was sporting a beard and the New Era Pirates hat. He didn't say a whole lot, similar to the last time I met him, but he signed my ball and posed for a picture. 
I figured that I should take advantage of the free inscription, so I got him to add "Mad Dog" in between his first and last names. He has a clean signature, but it isn't exactly easy to read. In my ball display area, he'll be placed right next to the Crime Dog, Fred McGriff, to make for a pair of tough dogs you certainly wouldn't want to mess with during their primes.
 Next up was a player who ended up becoming one of my favorite old school players following the first experience I'd had with him, Mr. Dave Parker! Parker had all of the tools, but never really used them to the fullest extent that he could have. Unfortunately, drugs and hysteria got between Parker and the Hall of Fame, because most people knew he had the potential to reach the hall. Dave looked good today; it appeared that he lost some weight since last time, and he was really friendly as usual.
He signed my ball, and I asked him if he could put his "Cobra" nickname on it. He replied "how did you know about that nickname?", and I told him that I didn't know, and that I made it up. He laughed and then told me his trainer gave it to him because his batting stance was coiled. He started writing Cobra on the ball, and then below it he continued to inscribe it. I wasn't sure what he was doing until I looked at it a minute after I left him.
 Below Cobra, he wrote his number 39, with a cobra in the shape of a 9! I don't normally shop for his memorabilia on eBay, but I checked later on to see if it was a commonality or if I was lucky. There were no balls like that currently on eBay, so for now I'll go with me being lucky! I wouldn't sell it, but it is really cool to think of how few people may have what I have throughout the world. Thanks to the Cobra once again for making my day!
The final signer (for this installment of drewscards) was 2 time batting champion Al Oliver! Oliver was also a free signer back in 2009, but this time he was $15 per autograph with a free inscription, exactly like Madlock's. Oliver was friendly the first time and he didn't disappoint the second time, although he was shocked to see a New Yorker decked out in Pirates gear. "You a true Pirate fan, kid?" he asked me. "These jerseys aren't cheap Mr. Oliver," I replied, and he said "Now I hear ya on that man!" Always something interesting when Oliver is around.
Oliver went above and beyond on inscriptions as well, signing his nickname "Scoop" and writing 1971 WS Champs below his name, which may be disheartening to you Orioles fans, but it is what it is. All of the balls came out spectacular, and I'm glad I added them all to my ever growing signed baseball collection!

That's not all though! Stay tuned for the final two players I got to add to my Mantle photo! In the meantime, go Pirates!

See Ya!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March 24th White Plains Show Pickups

Hey guys, Drew back here! So, on Sunday, Dad and I took a quick trip down to White Plains! I didn't bring as much money as I usually do, but I still had a good time and got some nice deals. The main reason I wanted to go was because some personal favorites of mine were signing autographs, and I wanted to add them into my signed baseball collection. You'll get to see all of that tomorrow, but for now, take a look at what I was able to pick up!
A little while into the show, I found a younger guy selling a bunch of prospect and star autographs, which is usually what I look for at these shows. Over time, I've composed a list of my Top 100 favorite players, and my goal is to eventually have an autograph of all of them (I have 66 of the 100)! However, this Ty Hensley autograph from the new Bowman Sterling stood out first to me, since I had the refractor version already. He wanted $8 for the card, which was a bit much for this one for me, so I tried to see if he could work with me. 
I then saw this sweet Zack Greinke autograph from 2004 Topps, and decided to ask the price on it. He said it books between $20 and $30, but then said he'd give me the two cards for $20! I couldn't pass up that offer, as Greinke had been an autograph on my list for a while now. However, I decided to keep looking and make sure there weren't any other cards I wanted. 
Well, there was one more, this sweet 2006 Upper Deck F/X Matt Cain autograph! Again, I inquired on the card, and he said it books around $30, but he'd give it to me for $10! I hadn't seen a Matt Cain autograph for around $10 in ages, so I pounced at the 3 for $30 offer he gave me! Cain and Greinke were two of the top pitchers I've wanted, so it was awesome to knock them both off in one swing. I don't believe that Greinke is deserving of the fattest contract for a right handed pitcher ever, but I guess he showed up to free agency at the right time.
Then, Dad & I went to a table ran by two girls that usually have the nicest new cards in the building. They have all sorts of rare 1/1's, printing plates, and parallels of prospects, you know; the stuff all out of my price range. However, they also had some mid-end stuff, including this beautiful Tyler Austin Bowman Chrome autograph! Austin's prices have skyrocketed since he became the Yankees 2nd best prospect according to many lists, so I've had a hard time getting a hold of this one for a solid price. Fortunately, I paid $30 for this one, which is certainly fair according to eBay value. The last time I spent $30 on a prospect autograph it was of Manny Banuelos, who proceeded to get injured directly after the purchase, crushing his stock. Hopefully that doesn't happen this go round.
My Dad decided to treat me to a sweet card also from the same girls, this 2006 Topps Finest Robinson Cano autograph! I can never add enough autographs of my favorite semi-affordable player, and Dad understood that by helping me out here. Now the 9th Cano autograph in my collection, this one is up there as one of the shiniest (go grammar!) of his that I own. However, this is already an old autograph in my Cano collection... and you'll see what I mean in a few days. 
Before Dad and I left the show we also picked up a jumbo pack of 2013 Topps! I haven't gotten to open any of it yet but made it a priority to do so at the show. I really like the design, and I think a lot of them would look great signed TTM. I counted about 8 cards in the 50 card pack that will probably be going out in the mail once the season starts, so hopefully I'll get a few of those back as well. It's amazing to see how clear and visually appealing Topps' flagship products have gotten over the years. I'm definitely impressed, even though I'm not exactly a huge Topps fan thanks to their poor customer service.
Fortunately, I did awesome on the inserts, although I didn't get a hit in the pack. I don't think I'd trade any of these, except for the Lowe emerald which will probably go towards William's set chase. By the way, if anyone has any of those emeralds laying around, be sure to go check out his blog and see if you can help with his daunting task! Final thoughts: the Calling Cards seem pretty pointless but I love the die-cuts and '72 minis! I tried the Million Dollar Chase and it is pretty lame. If anyone wants Desmond Jennings (who went undrafted in my 8 team fantasy draft) for their Topps team let me know.

Thanks again to Dad for taking me to the show and for the Cano! I've got a whole lot of awesome things to come; be on the lookout! See Ya!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Salute to Baseball's Finest Gentleman

Hey guys, Drew back here. Well, it was a rollercoaster of a Sunday for me, certainly filled with its ups and downs. The highest of highs were spent in White Plains, as Dad and I went down to spend a little money and meet some players. We had a great time, and I originally planned to begin recapping the show today if it weren't for the news my friend William reported to me around noon. As many of you have now read on William's phenomenal blog, the great Virgil Trucks passed away yesterday at the age of 95. 
Trucks was a great pitcher throughout his 17 year career, winning 177 games with a career ERA of 3.39. He threw two no hitters in the same season, was a part of two World Series teams, and made two All Star games to top off his list of on-field accomplishments. 

However, not many of us got a chance to know that side of Mr. Trucks. Instead, we know him as one of the greatest Through the Mail signers of all time. Most players in today's game are hard to reach TTM, with the exception of a few excellent signers. Most of the retired players and Hall of Famers can be a bit risky and could often lead to failure. There was no such thing as failure with Trucks. He made sure throughout his whole life that he would sign every piece of fan mail, and during the latter half of his life, he would go above and beyond expectations. 
I sent a custom card and an index card for Trucks to sign back in October 2010 after hearing of his remarkable reputation with his fans. Instantly after receiving 5 autographs back from that same request rather than the two I'd asked for, I became one of those fans. He even wrote a handwritten letter to me talking about his stint with the Yankees and advising me to keep up my hard work and good grades! The experience was incredible, and unfortunately I never got the chance to thank him in person. I've received over 100 Through the Mail successes, including superstars like Yogi Berra, Steve Young, Peyton Manning, and Shaquille O'Neal; but none of those successes excited me as much as his did. He truly was a wonderful man in every sense of the word, and it is unfortunate that he is no longer with us. The world lost a great athlete, but more importantly, a great man today. 
I'll leave you all with the very letter I received from Virgil Trucks two and a half years ago. Although the "Fire" may have finally been put out yesterday, Trucks' impact on our hobby and sport will carry on forever.

Rest in Peace.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

2013 MBL Fantasy Baseball Draft Recap!

Hey guys, Drew back here! Last night was really cool for me, as I got the chance to host my 1st ever Fantasy Baseball draft party! I had my entire league (with the exception of one person) over my house, and we sat around the big board I constructed eating pizza and picking players the way fantasy was meant to be done. It was an extremely fun experience and I'm very happy with not only the party turnout but my team as well. My ESPN Fantasy league has 8 teams in it, and after drawing out of a hat, I landed the second pick of 8. It was a Snake Draft, so after picking 2nd, I had to wait all the way until Pick #15 for my second round choice. Despite the long wait, I was pleased with the way my team came out. Take a look:
Round 1, Pick 2: Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Detroit Tigers
Despite the recent allegations, Ryan Braun was taken 1st overall. I was a bit surprised that Cabrera wasn't taken first, so I jumped at the chance to add the Triple Crown winner to my team! My original plan was to take an outfielder such as Trout, McCutchen, or even Kemp, but I think I was better off with Cabrera, even despite the strong amount of fantasy caliber third basemen.
Round 2, Pick 15: David Price, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
Over the past few years, I've tried to make pitching my team strength in fantasy, and clearly this year I was going for the same idea with Price being selected in Round 2. Verlander, Kershaw, and Strasburg were already taken, so I went with my gut and chose the reigning AL Cy Young winner. This year should show whether Price will be a perennial ace or if he reached his peak last season.
Round 3, Pick 18: Jose Bautista, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
Boy, does Toronto look scary or what this season? I don't quite think they'll live up to the hype, however I still think they'll be a tremendous improvement from last year. With a fresh lineup of top notch hitters, I thought taking Joey Bats would be a safe choice, even though he missed a good majority of 2012. 
Round 4, Pick 31: Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Boston Red Sox
One key factor in my league's drafts is that Red Sox never get any love. Maybe that could be because most of them haven't lived up to the hype lately, but I think the bigger reason is that most of us can't stand them. I don't like Dustin a whole lot, but I have a lot of respect for the way he plays, and he was the best second baseman available at the time.
Round 5, Pick 34: Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado Rockies
I talked pretty poorly about Tulo going into this draft. I said how overrated he is and that I didn't understand why he was ranked so high. Well, I didn't expect him to sit on our draft board for as long as he did, and by Round 5 he was easily a great value pick. I couldn't pass him up, and I was able to fill 2 of the most difficult positions relatively quickly.
Round 6, Pick 47: Cliff Lee, SP, Philadelphia Phillies
Cliff Lee was another guy I wasn't very high on leading up to the draft, but again, when you let someone as good as he is drop around 3 rounds later than he should, there isn't much of a choice to me. Lee was easily the top pitcher available, and I think people passed on him because of the low amount of wins he had last year. Few realized that he actually had a great season, but just couldn't put a lot of 'W's' on his stat sheet. 

Round 7, Pick 50: Jason Heyward, OF, Atlanta Braves
Just like the past two players, I really wasn't interested in Heyward either. However, sitting in the draft room looking at bargain value players is like watching eBay auctions at extremely random times. When you see a ridiculously low price with seconds left on the clock, instinct tells you that you need him on your team. As a #1 outfielder, I'd be a little concerned personally, but I'm more than happy to have him as my #2.

Round 8, Pick 63: Austin Jackson, OF, Detroit Tigers
Austin Jackson has really grown on me over the past year. I had him in my outfield for most of the second half of last season, and he was as productive as it could possibly get. He does a little bit of everything, and is becoming more and more of a threat to be a 20/20 player. This could be a breakout year for the former Yankee prospect, so I was glad to take a chance on him here.
Round 9, Pick 66: Johnny Cueto, SP, Cincinnati Reds
Cueto has got to be one of the most underrated pitchers throughout all of baseball, so I was pumped to make him my 3rd starter! He's matured a lot over the last few seasons, and he's turned out to be a threat for 20 wins on a year to year basis! Plus, he has the chance to be on a contending team for the next years to come, which really won me over with the choice.

Round 10, Pick 79: Martin Prado, 3B/OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
I didn't honestly have a clue who to choose with this pick, so I went with the versatile Prado, who could turn out to be an X-factor for my team. He should fit in nicely with the Diamondbacks lineup, and if he bats around .300 I'll be content to have him in my outfield.
Round 11, Pick 82: Aroldis Chapman, RP, Cincinnati Reds
Let it be known that I was the guy who started the closer picking spree in this year's draft. Sure, Kimbrel went a few rounds earlier, but everyone knows he's above and beyond all of the others. Once I took the Cuban Missile in Round 11, they began to drop like flies. I'm not normally an advocate of picking closers early on, but after dealing with Heath Bell and John Axford last year I needed to feel assured with Chapman.

Round 12, Pick 95: Adam LaRoche, 1B, Washington Nationals
I may have waited a bit too long to choose my first baseman, but with strengths at other positions I should make it out alright with LaRoche. He had an awesome year last year, but he's struggling in Spring Training and he isn't exactly a young guy at this point either. He could potentially end up as a 2009-2011 Mark Teixeira type player, or a 2008-2010 Adam LaRoche. I guess I'll have to wait and see.

Round 13, Pick 108: Josh Willingham, OF, Minnesota Twins
Essentially; I chose the same type of player on back to back picks. Two power bats coming off breakout seasons that in my mind are still high risk type guys. However, Willingham really seemed to find his groove last year in Minnesota so I figured it was worth giving him a shot.

Round 14, Pick 111: Anibal Sanchez, SP, Detroit Tigers
If Anibal Sanchez didn't dominate to the extent that he did during the playoffs last season, I don't know if he'd even be considered in this draft. He showed a lot of people up during that time, and I feel like coming off the fresh contract he could have a really nice, possible break out year.

Round 15, Pick 124: Torii Hunter, OF, Detroit Tigers
I'm not a Tigers fan, I swear. In fact, I didn't even realize how many of them I took until the draft was over! Hunter was another guy who did wonders for me at the end of last season, so I was glad to give him a shot again this year. He'll most likely hit second in the Tiger's order, behind Jackson and ahead of Cabrera, so he should see a lot of great pitches to hit! 
Round 16, Pick 127: Hanley Ramirez, SS/3B, Los Angeles Dodgers
I don't buy the hype in the Dodgers at all. I don't like Hanley Ramirez. And to top it off, he's missing 2 months of the season. However, he could be a potential keeper for me if he comes back strong (I'll be able to keep him if my team stays relatively healthy). I'm not always right, and I would love it if Hanley made me look bad by dominating when he comes back. For now, I'm a fan.

Round 17, Pick 140: Brandon Morrow, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
I don't much of anything about Morrow, other than that he's an injury prone strikeout machine. I've never had him on any of my teams, so this should be interesting. He was the top starter on the board, and was sitting there for a good 4 rounds at that point so I figured I'd put him out of his misery and into my lineup.
Round 18, Pick 143: Nick Swisher, 1B/OF, Cleveland Indians
New team for Swish? Don't care! Nick is still one of my favorite players although he left my beloved Yankees this offseason. He's been on a tear this spring, and Cleveland is shaping up to be another much improved American League team. What I love most about Swish, other than his love for the game, is his consistency. You know what to expect out of him year in and year out. Glad to finally have him aboard.
Round 19, Pick 156: Jeremy Hellickson, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
Hellickson is definitely one of the more underrated pitchers in baseball, and I thought this was a really smart pick on my part because his low ERA should correspond well with the higher ERA strikeout pitchers I'd already chosen. He isn't a star fantasy pitcher, but I believe this could potentially be a breakout year for him as only as he stays off the shelves.
Round 20, Pick 159: Brett Gardner, OF, New York Yankees
It took me 20 rounds to take my first Yankees player, after Cano, Sabathia, Kuroda, Jeter, Granderson, Ichiro, and Rivera were already taken. Seven of the 8 kids in my league are Yankees fans, so they tend to be a bit overrated. However, I found a hidden gem in Gardner towards the bottom of the spreadsheet, which could turn out to be the best low risk-high reward move I made on that night. If Gardy can hit enough to get on base a good amount, he should finish high in the steal categories this season!

Round 21, Pick 172: Wade Miley, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Much like Hellickson, I chose Miley to try and balance out my pitching styles. It's nice to have a bunch of guys who will blow hitters away, but strikeouts are only one category, with two others relating to how few runs and hits they allow. Miley could regress from his solid rookie season this year, but I figured he was worth a shot at that point.

Round 22, Pick 175: Joel Hanrahan, RP, Boston Red Sox
Closers were running thin around this round, but I still found a pretty solid option in Hanrahan. I've always liked the Hammer, but I have a funny feeling that the pressure in Boston could be too much to handle. I didn't have many other options though, so I'm hoping he can give me more than I expected!
Round 23, Pick 188: Dan Uggla, 2B, Atlanta Braves
This was by far my least favorite pick of the draft. I really lost interest in Dan Uggla's playing style, along with all of the other low average high home run hitters. I actually dropped Uggla immediately following the draft for Erick Aybar to fill my middle infield spot that Hanley Ramirez will eventually inhabit. I already had a power heavy team, so the drop was probably for the best.

Round 24, Pick 191: Matt Harvey, SP, New York Mets
At this point, I was hoping for a needle in a haystack, and I went with the Mets young gun Harvey. I liked what I've seen out of him so far, and who knows, maybe he could have a Rookie of the Year level season!

Round 25, Pick 204: Salvador Perez, C, Kansas City Royals
Yeah, that's right. I waited until my final pick to take a catcher. Why? It's simple, each team needs 1 catcher, and it's really out of the ordinary for someone to take multiple backstops. The first 7 came in and went, but I figured Perez could be an underrated option, and saved him for the end. Miguel Montero is also a free agent, so worst comes to worst I could pick him up if need be, but for now I'm liking what I see out of Perez.

Overall, I was pretty happy with the way my team came out. Obviously, an 8 team league delivers some star studded teams, but there can only be one winner in the long run! How do you think I did?

See Ya!

Monday, March 18, 2013

TTM #'s 104 & 105! NY Sports Greats!

Hey guys, Drew back here! I've recently been trying to use some of the spare time I get to write TTM requests again, and I sent out a batch of 8 last week. Today, I came home to 2 successful returns of those 8, making for a pretty great mailday! Both players were contributing factors on championship teams that have never been forgotten by New York Sports fans! Without any further ado, here are my 104th and 105th TTM successes!
First, former Mets shortstop Bud Harrelson signed 2/2 for me in less than a week! Harrelson was one of the grittier players during his era, often remembered for his fist fight with Pete Rose, but he was also one of the key contributors on the 1969 World Series winning Mets team. His career statistics didn't speak for the impact he left with the Mets, and following his player career he went on to coach and eventually manage them as well. Bud signed a 1972 Topps and a 1986 TCMA "All Time Mets" card nicely for me, and I'm very happy to add him into my growing autograph collection!
Also, today I received back from New York Jets Super Bowl winning running back Emerson Boozer! Boozer was a solid running back for the Jets in the late 1960's and early 1970's, rushing for slightly over 5,000 career yards and 52 touchdowns! He never reached his full potential due to many injuries, but his hard work allowed him to change his playing style to contribute to the best his body would allow. Boozer signed a 1974 Topps card for me, inscribing his #32 and "SB III Champs!", along with a 1990 NFL Pro Set Super Bowl III card. 
He also signed an index card for me and wrote a nice note! I'm really glad I finally sent out to him, as his autograph has been eluding my Jets collection for a while. I wish more signers would take out the time that he does!

Thank you to both Mr. Harrelson and Mr. Boozer! See Ya!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Reminder of Why I Love My Hobby

Hey everyone, Drew back here. Sometimes, I wish I enjoyed this hobby with the same passion that I had in the beginning of my collecting "career". I rarely buy packs anymore because I simply lost faith in spending ridiculous amounts of hard earned dollars on useless cards. However, it's really nice to go back once in a while and recollect what it was like to be a 10 year old collector. I was recently given that opportunity by my good friend Ethan, who fell into and out of the hobby during our elementary school years. Ethan asked me if I wanted his entire card collection, because he knew I'd still be interested and he had no idea what to do with them. I gladly accepted his offer, and sure enough, he gave me a bag filled to the brim with cards that held great memories shortly after.
I spent that night picking through the stacks of mid 2000's greatness, reflecting on some of the cards I remembered him having. In 5th Grade, there were 2 lunch tables for each class; a typical rectangular table, and the round table. Sitting at the round table normally required rushing to lunch each day, due to it being so highly sought after and important. I had never seen more children cry about a table than I did with this round table. Anyway, eventually our teachers needed to stabilize the cafeteria atmosphere, so they allowed a certain 5 or 6 kids to eat on the 'cool table'. My friends and I got the table in the latter half of the school year, and we made good use of it. I introduced my best friend Mike to collecting cards, and from there we had every 5th grade boy involved in the hobby! Every day we would trade cards back and forth, holding more value in the players than of the card type. I remember a friend of mine trading a Jerome Bettis rookie card for a Peyton Manning base card, because Peyton was the man back then.
While picking through the cards, I remembered all sorts of small tidbits of 5th grade lunch. The Chien-Ming Wang base card laying deep within the pile acquired by Ethan for a Troy Tulowitzki rookie card. Boy, were we bad traders. I found the Boomer Esaison card that I so desperately sought after in 5th grade that Ethan would never let me trade for. Ethan didn't know much of anything about baseball or football, so he used our reactions to judge whether they were worth keeping or not. We all started elementary school with Yugi-Oh and Pokemon, but eventually grew up to sports cards. 

Today, only a few of my friends are still interested in the card hobby. Mike loves making custom cards for TTM requests, and Schuyler loves digging through discount boxes for shiny cards that strike his interest. They never became obsessed with the hobby to the extent that I had, so it's still the simple things that make their days. 
I, however, am too busy scanning these serial numbered cards separately, to entertain the collectors that prefer these "rare" cards over the usual. In 5th grade, we didn't even know what serial numbers were. And as for the 1964 Topps Dick Stuart, well; we cried over cards like that. At my first card show, I remember buying a 1969 Joe Niekro card for a few bucks because it would become the oldest card in my collection. I didn't even bring that card with me to school because it was that valuable to me. Joe Niekro was a decent pitcher, but today I laugh at the fact that I thought that highly of the card.
We didn't think much of relics back then either, as you can tell by the large crease going across this Joey Porter card. We knew that the materials were from games, but honestly, we didn't care at all. Today, collectors search through packs just to find these cards, and perhaps sell them on eBay. 
I never even knew Ethan had this Kerry Wood autographed card, so I was pleasantly surprised to find this in the bag. I sort of wish it wasn't there though, because I really was having a good time looking at the 2006 Topps cards that we revolved our entire lives around every day for a good chunk of my childhood.

It's crazy to think that at one point things as simple as this were that important to me. I've grown up quite a bit since my early days in the hobby, and all it took was a simple google search of "baseball cards" to completely shift my interests into the industry that's more of a business than a hobby. It's absurd that I've had this blog for well over 4 years, and how much my collection has grown in terms of value. I can't even imagine myself having any other hobby at this point, although there are a lot of aspects I don't really like about our hobby today. But whenever I have negative thoughts about the hobby, I'm going to pull out this bag and reminisce; and I'll remember how this hobby has stuck with me longer than most friends and all other things. One of the first things I was told as a young collector is that no matter what you go through in your life, even if you have to stop collecting at any point, the hobby will always welcome you back.

Thanks Ethan for reminding me why I do what I do.

See Ya!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

COMC Spring Cleaning Special!

Check Out My Collectibles

Hey everyone, Drew back here! I just wanted to stop in and let everyone know that I am running a 30% sale in my Check Out My Collectibles store for the week! Every single card in my inventory has 30% of it's already solid price marked off, in hopes that I can get a little bit of extra money towards my White Plains Card Show I'm attending in 2 weeks. If you have a minute to spare to pick through my store, please feel free to! Thank you so much everyone, and happy collecting!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Wright Kind of Purchase!

Hey guys, Drew back here! Well, it was supposed to be baseball season, but apparently Mother Nature doesn't agree all that much up here in the Northeast. However, we've started some indoor open gyms for our Varsity team, and I've been working towards getting ready for my 2013 campaign. As a third baseman, over the past couple of seasons I've been trying to follow the examples left by 2 particular professional players at the position: Evan Longoria and David Wright. I really like the way both of them play the game, and have tried to emulate their playing styles on the field.
Last week I was able to find this beautiful 2009 Topps Tribute David Wright auto relic numbered to 99 for a relatively low price. I'd been wanting to add his autograph to my collection for a while, and that day finally came! Despite not being a big advocate of sticker autographs; I've always had a soft spot for Tribute cards. I've never been a fan of the Mets, but Wright is one of those guys that it's very difficult to not root for. I'm glad they locked him up long term this past offseason.

What do you guys think of David Wright? See Ya!