Monday, June 29, 2009

Goudey Short Print Treasure Hunt

This weekend marked the first time I'd purchased a pack of Goudeys in over a month. Honestly, it felt like forever, and I missed them, so while I was at Target Friday night I grabbed one pack. Oh, also, I mistakenly grabbed a pack of 2008 Topps Series 2. I thought I was grabbing 2009. Lesson learned, never grab and run. Look carefully, both ways, lest you walk away with something very undesirable.

Anyway, I was excited to see that my Goudey pack was useful. Prior to opening this pack I was down to needing only 10 cards for the base set of 200. Make that 9, and welcome aboard Mr. Curt Schilling.

It helps that I love Curt Schilling too. He and Mike Mussina were definitely my favorite pitchers of the last decade, and yes it helps that they lead my fantasy baseball teams to greatness, I won't lie about that.

Now, back to the short print treasure hunt. I was lucky to have pulled a Ted Williams to go with my Whitey Ford and the Johnny Bench I received in my bundle of Goudeys from Card Cache. Now I'd like to go for all of the short prints, and I grabbed this list courtesy of Cardboard Junkie:

201 Brooks Robinson
202 Carlton Fisk
203 Gaylord Perry
204 Jack Morris
205 Rollie Fingers
206 Ron Santo
207 Sparky Lyle
208 Nolan Ryan
209 Whitey Ford
210 Phil Niekro
211 Ryne Sandberg
212 Jim Palmer
213 Joe DiMaggio
214 Johnny Bench
215 Ted Williams
216 Robin Yount
217 Ozzie Smith
218 Reggie Jackson
219 Yogi Berra
220 Mike Schmidt

For the time being this will be my Goudey focus. I'd especially love to trade for the Jim Palmer or Robin Yount cards to get this started. For convenience I've listed the cards I have in bold. Once I've tackled these short prints from the base set, I'll look at getting the Sports Royalty and Heads Up cards. I'm also currently looking for more 4-in-1s and will post a list of cards I need/want this week.

I have some 2009 Goudey Minis I'm willing to trade. You can check out my previous post here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

HBL Week 12

Headed toward the halfway point in the fantasy baseball season. Let's recap last week:

1. Tried and failed to move Carlos Beltran, and of course he's injured again now. Go figure
2. The 2B, SS, 3B, OF, 1B, DH platoon of Vlad, Zobrist, Tulo, Scutaro, Berkman, Howard, Werth, Hart, Upton, Beltran, and Branyan is still in effect. It drives me crazy.
3. Added some random players last week in hopes to catch pitching lightening in a bottle. Something called Mazzano, Scott Richmond who promptly lost his two-start status this week, and a catcher called Hannigan for the Reds.

I don't really have much to add. Last week the pitching melted down that's to bad performances by Verlander and Cueto and anyone else in our lineup I'm sure. Downs was hurt all week as well, so that didn't help. We did manage to catch up to the bottom of the pack in RBIs and AVG, but we're still basically in last in those categories and need another huge offensive week to crawl back into it. I'll give it another couple of weeks before trading off Beltran (if he's not out for the year) and Coco Cordero.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Spoils!

It was well worth the week long wait to have a very special package show up on my doorstep this afternoon.

A while back when I first posted the list of cards I needed to complete the 2009 Goudey base set, a nice guy named Ryan over at Card Cache informed me he had a good majority of the cards I needed available in trade. Eager to make my first trade I replied to the message he left in my comments here.

Ryan did one better than trade with me, and sent me all the 2009 Goudey cards I needed for my set with a couple of special surprises.

The first, pictured in the lower right is a Ben Sheets Goudey Memorabilia card. The second pictured in the upper right is a green mini Heads Up Ryan Braun card. Also included amongst the cards I needed for my set were other Brewers cards from the base set along with about 14 4-in-1 cards, including 3 blue and a green.

Easily my favorite, which you can see in the lower left of the picture, was a card featuring Jim Palmer, Bob Gibson, Gaylord Perry and Nolan Ryan. Little did Ryan know I spent a good portion of the 80s and early 90s collecting Jim Palmer cards, and when I save my collection from the depths of my parents basement sometime this summer, I'll take a look and see where I left off.

I intend to pay this favor forward by not only keeping my eyes peeled for some of Ryan's favorite players which I hope to learn about through his writing at Card Cache, but also by sending an Albert Pujols mini over to Marie at A Cardboard Problem as soon as I can.

Ryan, you'll be happy to know I also passed along about 30 cards from my pile of extras to my friend Brian who is sharing in my obsession with me this summer. We had a draft for the 4-in-1s tonight and it was fantastic and I can't thank you enough.

Albert Pujols Chrome 2009 Topps Heritage

If my laptop here at work and my phone would cooperate the world could have a chance to see the Topps Heritage Albert Pujols Chrome card I pulled over lunch today (in all its crappy Moto Q cell camera glory). Numbered 1666 of 1960.

For now, just know that it happened and that I was happy.

That is all. Carry on.

Monday, June 8, 2009

HBL Week 10

Week 10 begins with our heroes stuck somewhat firmly in the bottom half of the leagues. Yes, still. The Golden Valley 55ers sit in 9th place as the week begins - 31 points behind the Winona Whizards.

There is hope however, as the 55ers finished last week as the third hottest team, and climbed significantly up the offensive categories. Jayson Werth did turn it around, as projected, but hit only 7 singles. I called him the only "sure bet" in my outfield plays last week. The others being Bossman Junior and Carlos Beltran. Beltran ended up missing a series with that lingering flu, and batted only .235 in his return, not exactly what we were hoping for. This week I'll mix my prognostications up a little bit:

Sure Things:

Johnny Cueto should have two easy wins against WAS and KC this week.
Justin Verlander should continue to be the best pitcher in baseball, although I hate the White Sox park for pitchers.
Bossman Junior Upton will continue to terrorize pitching and the basepaths.

And that's where it stops folks, it's all tossups from here.

Should Be Good:

Lance Berkman is batting .360 something over the last two weeks, he's getting hot and that's getting me hot.

Ryan Howard is on a power binge, but isn't making consistent contact right now.

Russell Branyan will never be a sure thing, but here's to hoping the streak continues.

My closers, Francisco Cordero, Scott Downs, and Heath Bell should hopefully combine for more than the 2 saves they posted last week. I'm doubling down and leaving all 3 in.

And now for my ever favorite category . . .

Who Knows What You're Going To Get:

Troy Tulowitzki. He can't be this bad all year, can he? I'm starting him at SS and banking on a breakout.

Ben Zobrist. Power is still there, but the average is down, but I'm calling Scutaro "done" for now even though he snagged a base for me last week. Its Zobrist at 2B and Tulo at SS until I find another 2B hot streak to ride.

Welcome Rod Barajas. John Baker is gone after playing only about 3 games last week, Barajas has had a good year in TOR and I'm hoping to cash in on a little of it. Please don't go cold now!

Vlad Guerrero . . . you've never hit under .300, time to pick up the pace now that you've been back for a week. I see you stole a base last week. Please feel free to continue that this week.

Carlos Beltran is batting way over his career average, he's due to come back down, but I'm never going to have him out of my lineup, I'd be silly to miss any of his hot streaks.

Finally, there's . . .

Hi, Who Are You? :

Jeremy Bonderman has 2 starts this week. I'm likely insane for playing him, but I'm not touching Jon Sanchez and Chris Volstad has only one start in STL against Wainwright. I'll pass.

That leaves only a handful of players I'm not touching this week. As I said, no Jon Sanchez, Zumaya hasn't been handed the keys to the 9th inning yet, Doumit and Weeks are hurt, Scutaro is likely done playing over his head for a while, and I just can't trust Chris Davis yet. I want him to be RED HOT when I plug him back in for Branyan. No sense trying to buy the pot when there is so little to gain over Branyan.

Jayson Werth and Corey Hart both sit this week in favor of Vlad. Hart isn't hitting in a useful spot in the Brewers order (and likely won't all year) and Werth didn't show me anything I couldn't live without as he runs into Johan, Daisuke, Beckett, and Lester this week.

Friday, June 5, 2009

2009 Topps Heritage

It's a beautiful Friday afternoon here in sunny, sunny Minnesota and I was inspired to take an extra long lunch to go out and grab a pack of cards.

Inspiration came directly from the Cardboard Junkie post I read sometime this morning about his favorite Topps Heritage pack from this year.

So let's preface this with I've never bought a pack of Topps Heritage in my life, but was intrigued by the old school design and the possibility to try out some new school baseball card gum. I see they protect the cards from the gum nowadays. Pfffffffffffft, I'll take the stains, that's character right there!

My first card was that of Kevin Youkilis #111

I also pulled #185 Kyle Kendrick, and apparently he's not a NASCAR driver like I pictured in my head. And there's no mention of it on the back of his card so its got to be true, right?

Then I started to pull cards directly related to my fantasy baseball team which made me happy. #32 Johnny Cueto (GV 55er) and Jay Bruce

After that I was rewarded with a Ryan Howard (GV 55er) and Ernie Banks then and now card. Surprisingly enough, the HR leader totals were very simliar for both 1960 and 2008.

Card #500 was a Billy Wagner Topps Magazine All-Star card

To continue the trend of big market players, I got a Knuckle & Fork card featuring Tim Wakefield and Jonathon Papelbon. Remember back when Papelbon was going to be a starter and not waste all his talent in one inning which sometimes may or may not feature anyone all that difficult to pitch to? Me too, I miss that.

#102 Adrian Gonzalez taunts me since he's on an opposing fantasy baseball team

#98 Shawn Marcum rounds out the pack

All in all I'm satisfied with what I saw, again, it would have been cool to see a Brewer or Twins card, but that might have caused me to go back for more right away and I'm still working on finishing up that Goudey base set as well as the Topps Series 1.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

1998 Topps Need List

Just looking to finish the base set:

1 103 208 298 356 430 495
3 108 210 300 357 431 496
4 109 211 301 358 432 497
7 110 212 302 359 433 498
8 112 213 304 360 434 499
9 113 214 305 361 435 500
11 114 215 306 362 436 501
13 115 218 307 364 440 502
14 116 220 308 366 441 503
15 117 221 309 367 442 504
16 121 223 310 369 443 505
19 126 224 312 371 444
21 127 225 313 372 448
25 129 229 314 373 450
30 136 231 315 374 451
32 137 232 316 375 452
33 138 233 317 376 453
34 141 234 319 377 454
37 143 236 320 379 455
43 144 242 321 381 456
44 146 244 322 383 457
46 147 249 323 384 460
47 148 253 325 385 463
49 150 255 326 386 465
53 152 256 327 387 467
54 154 257 328 389 468
55 157 259 329 390 469
57 158 261 330 391 471
58 159 262 331 392 473
61 162 263 332 394 474
62 166 264 333 395 475
65 167 268 334 396 476
66 171 271 335 397 477
67 173 273 336 398 478
68 176 275 337 400 479
72 177 276 338 403 480
74 183 277 339 404 481
76 187 278 340 405 482
77 188 279 341 406 483
80 191 282 342 410 484
81 193 284 343 411 485
82 194 287 346 412 486
83 195 289 347 415 487
85 196 291 349 416 488
86 197 292 350 417 489
87 199 293 351 419 490
88 201 294 352 420 491
89 202 295 353 423 492
91 204 296 354 424 493
99 205 297 355 425 494

1999 Nolan Ryan Reprints

Tonight I spent some time organizing the Topps cards I collected during 1998 and 1999 and I came across these Nolan Ryan reprint cards.

The first one pictured here is a bit different and if I have googled correctly, its a 1999 Topps Finest refractor card reprinted in the image of Ryan's 1987 card. It differs from the three other cards in that its glossy and doesn't have the gold foil stamp. It's number 20 of the 27 reprints.

In an effort to complete both the 1998 and 1999 sets I'm hoping I can work out some trades for the Ryan cards. I'll list all the cards I need for the 1998 set and I'll post 1999 soon enough. I'm uncertain why I have the largest needs for cards numbered higher than 300 as I don't think there was a Series 1 and Series 2 back then, if anyone has any guesses or can enlighten me, please let me know.

The Final Countdown

Well, as I was saying, when I went out in search of my second Goudey blaster I noticed that pretty much every Target store in my area was out, so when I found one (actually 2) I bought both.

I figured I could get pretty close to the entire base set with three blasters and make trades to finish off the rest. More on that to come once a certain package arrives later in the week.

Anyway, as many of you out there may have noticed, Target has restocked with Goudey blaster boxes, something like 4-6 at each store, so if you were looking for one, they are out there again in force, or at least were as of this weekend.

Back to my story, the third box, the last of my 24 packs. It was a nice summer afternoon and a friend and I had just finished running 10K. Our reward for hitting our goal time was to break open the last four packs. As we started into the first pack, he reminded me that I was "ahead" due to the fact that I pulled a Bill Hall Memorabilia card. I reminded him no one really wins when his wife is sitting there making fun of us for opening baseball cards like two middle school kids.

Nevertheless, all I really wanted out of this last box was a black parallel. Low and behold, three packs into the final four, I found this:

Pictured are Jose Reyes, Johan Santana, David Wright and Carlos Beltran some in the black jerseys, and stamped 18/21. I was very excited and consider each and every blaster a success, but I'll consider my summer of Goudey complete save for trades with anyone out there that's looking to deal.

I'd consider dealing the Mets card pictured above for a Brewers black parallel 4-in-1 if that exists - I haven't gone through the complete checklist as of yet.

My friend was not shutout in his three boxes as he managed to pull a Josh Willingham memorabilia card, although the other night he'd already convinced himself it was Ryan Zimmerman and I have to bring him back to the reality that it was Willingham. I'm sure he'd also deal that card for something of the same variety but featuring a Twin or Brewer.

Monday, June 1, 2009

HBL Week 9

The only way to describe this fantasy baseball season is "painful".

I don't recall a season in which so many teams were suffering through injuries to their top players.

For my squad, the Golden Valley 55ers we were dealing with Beltran being in and out of our lineup all week and it looks like whatever virus he caught is going to keep him out of Week 9, so we're sitting him again.

This also means our roster is now filled with mostly "of the moment" guys like Marco Scutaro, Russell Branyan, and Ben Zobrist. I'm very excited about the Zobrist acquisition. This kid can hit and he'll stay eligible at 2b throughout this year and next.

Since I'm getting on the Zobrist bandwagon, I'd like to find someone with an auto or relic card of his to trade for . . . just a thought . . .

I decided to stop riding Kurt Suzuki's hot streak and jumped over to John Baker of the Marlins at catcher. Ryan Howard has finally started to heat up at first base. Troy Tulowitzki has not heated up at SS. I'm tempted to play Zobrist there and look at some other combination of outfielders.

Speaking of outfielders, I'm trying to find the hot hands each week. After dumping Delmon Young this past week, we're now carrying Corey Hart, Carlos Beltran, Vlad Guerrero, Jayson Werth, Ben Zobrist, and BJ Upton. Upton is still not batting over .200 and I've resigned myself to benching him, that is, if Beltran wasn't sick.

Ideally, I'd run out Beltran, Guerrero, and Upton if all were playing well, but this week it looks like Upton, Zobrist, and Werth. Zobrist is red hot and Werth is heating back up. Vlad hasn't gotten going yet, but should soon.

So as I was saying, I could throw Zobrist at SS, sit Tulo and put Upton, Werth, and Vlad in the outfield, or take my chances with Beltran coming back early in the week.

Over to the pitching side of things, I'm done with Liriano. I'm not going to deal him after seeing what he did last year after the same sort of start, but wow, he's destroyed my ERA and WHIP this year. In a roto league, that hurts, a lot. So for now we only have 3 serviceable starting pitchers: Chris Volstad, Johnny Ceuto, and Justin Verlander each with one start this week. That means we're running out 4 relievers, but we can't afford to do that very long. We're at the top of the K leaderboard but middle of the pack in Wins and Saves, and near the bottom in ERA and WHIP. Scott Downs, Joel Zumaya, Francisco Cordero and Heath Bell round out our staff.

My last note for this week . . . I can't believe I just played Chris Davis through a 3 for 40 stretch. Please Chris, find that sweet stroke again, we need it. And when you do, please share the secret with Upton, Berkman, and Tulo. K Thx.