Thursday, February 9, 2012

Astros CAREavan Stops By

If you're an Astros fan you know that February means two things; spring training starts in a few weeks and the Astros will be driving around Texas and Oklahoma interacting with fans in different cities. I love the annual Astros Winter CAREavan because it gives fans the chance to meet players and coaches.

Depending on who is signing that day the lines can be 75 deep or 200+ deep if someone like Bagwell or Biggio is signing. Luckily yesterday the line was only about 100 deep and I got the chance to go back through the line a second time. Two of my favorite young Astros (Brian Bogusevic and J.D. Martinez) were there and I was stoked to meet them.

 Jim Deshaies
Jim Deshaies is a former Astros pitcher and current broadcaster for the Astros on FOXSports. It's always fun meeting broadcasters and recognizing their voice while you're standing in line. Make you even more excited for the season to start.
 Brad Mills
This was my first time to meet Mills and he was a really nice guy. We didn't talk much but I told him good luck this season. He said "Thanks" and "Thanks for coming out tonight."

Jose Cruz
Cruz has been with the Astros for what seems like forever. I'm too young to know much of his playing days but I remember always seeing him outside the foul lines as the first base coach. I love how he signed the "Cheo" nickname on the 1977 Topps card I gave him. He even included his #25 which was retired by the Astros a nearly 20 years ago.

J.D. Martinez 
J.D. Martinez was the main reason I went to the CAREavan stop last night (also because it was only a 10 minute drive from my house). He's my favorite current Astro and I'm hoping for big things out of him this season. He was actually a lot nicer than people told me he'd be so that was good.

Brian Bogusevic (brim) and Jason Bourgeois (side)
Bogusevic is another guy I really like for the Astros and I think he's finally hitting his stride as an outfielder. He was drafted as a pitcher and the Astros took too long before deciding to switch him to offense. That's the reason he's had slower progress than you'd want but it looks like patience may be paying off.

Jason Bourgeois is a local boy from Houston who'll be competing for a starting position this year. I honestly think he's a better option in CF than Jordan Schafer but we'll see how it plays out. He's got super quick speed and range in CF. He's also a pretty active Tweeter and likes to interact with fans.

J.D. Martinez (right), Brian Bogusevic (bottom left) and Jason Bourgeois (top left)
The second time I went through the line I decided to get the guys to sign my 59/50 Authentic cap. I was hoping they'd still have some of their cards they brought to sign (so I could trade a few) but they were out so I settled on getting the cap signed.

I'll be in Katy tomorrow hoping to meet Jason Castro, Jed Lowrie and Brett Wallace. I'll take more pictures tomorrow and hopefully come back with some more fun loot.

Friday, February 3, 2012

My Randomized Brew Crew

As previously mentioned the Brewers were my randomized team in the recent Nachos Grande group break. I don't hate the Brewers by any means but I'm not a fan. I did pull some pretty nice cards in the break though and for that, I'm happy.

 I was lucky enough to pull two Astros like this (lower print runs on those) and pulling this as my 3rd one is just icing on the cake. I remember hearing Grissom's name a lot when I was growing up but I never really watched him play. 

This was probably the coolest card I pulled in the group break. It's a die cut of Robin Yount for the 3000 Hit Club. It may be kind of gimmicky but I like the obnoxiousness of it, ha. The back of the card gives some highlights of Yount's career. Interesting trivia from the back of the card, in 1999 when Yount, Nolan Ryan and George Brett were inducted into the HoF it was the first time since 1936 that three guys got in their first time on the ballot.

 More of the Upper Deck Decades 1970's cards. Not much to say about these cards but it might be a fun set to put together. I wasn't around in the 1970's so I don't have much attachment to the players of that era but maybe some of you do. 

Another full page scan of the Fleer Tradition set. I've already got two teams down now (Astros and Brewers) so if/when I decide to put this set together I'll be good to go. This set came out in 2000 and I grew up watching baseball in the 90's so many of these guys remind me of my childhood. 2000 really doesn't feel like it was 12 years ago, man I'm getting old.

Overall I'd say I did pretty well in my first ever group break. The Astros cleaned up nicely and the Brewers had a few nice inserts themselves. The only bad thing about doing well in my first group break is now I can see myself getting addicted to them, ha. That's why my girlfriend is around, to keep me in check. She'd rather me waste my money on dates and gifts, absurd.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Group Break Pickups from Nachos

I've finally scanned my Astros pickups from Nachos Grande's last group break. The cards have been sitting on my desk for about a week just begging to be scanned and organized. Or maybe it was my girlfriend begging me to scan and organize them. Either way here are the pretty awesome results...

I really wish my scanner would show how nice this J.R. Richard card looks in person. It's chrome like but you can't really tell that from the scan. This card comes from the UD Decades 1970's set which came out in 2001. Great little card to add to my Astros PC.

A couple of future Hall of Famer's from the 2000 Fleer Gamers set. Luckily I didn't own any cards from the boxes Nachos busted so these are all new PC additions. I don't really like the texture of these cards but luckily they'll be going in binder pages so I won't have to touch them.

I love this Bagwell from 2000 Fleer Tradition even though it only books for $0.50. Maybe it's cause I love the old blue and gold uniforms of my childhood or because it shows Biggio and Bagwell on the same card, a 2-for-1 if you will. Whatever the reason I'm happy to have pulled this card.

Pulling these two serial numbered cards was awesome. Once again we get to see the blue and gold that I love AND the card is serial numbered. I'm not a big Caminiti fan but it's still a nice card. I like seeing Biggio's Sunshine Kids pin on his cap, he wore that thing everywhere. The card looks elegant in person and lucky for me I pulled 2!

This is just a page full of Astros cards I pulled from the 2000 Fleer Tradition set. I'm actually a big fan of this card design and its simplicity. Of course there are tons of retro sets out there right now that I like but the pops of color set this one apart for me. 

I pulled a few other Astros in the group break but didn't want to go too scan crazy. My randomized team from the group break was the Brewers and I'll be showing those cards off soon. Thanks again to Nachos Grande for making my first ever great group break  a great one. I can't wait to participate in another one this year.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Front and Back by Request

I had a request to scan the back of a 1987 Mini Topps from 2012 Topps Series 1 so here it is, enjoy!

 2012 Topps 1987 Mini Topps (Front)

2012 Topps 1987 Mini Topps (Back)

Not what I had originally planned

I planned on showing you my recent pickups from Nachos Grande group break but that will wait until tomorrow because I ran into 2012 Topps at Walmart this afternoon. This post will be pretty scan heavy but I figured I'd get some pictures out there to show everyone what the set looks like this year as well as the inserts.

 Base Cards

 Walmart Blue Border

Manufactured Patch from the blaster

Classic Walkoffs is on the top and I scanned two separate cards to show you from and back of it. Timeless Talents is the bottom card and once again it's a different card scanned to show front and back.

Golden Moments 

Golden Greats 

Gold Standard (card have foil showing milestone's for the players)

Golden Futures 

Golden Anniversary (just like diamond anniversary but golden and sparkly)

1987 Mini Topps (these are probably my favorite from the set)

Golden Giveaway Code Cards (I doubt I'll be participating this year)

Overall I like the design of the base cards much better than 2011. I'll be collecting the Golden Futures and 1987 Mini Topps for sure. I won't be collecting the other inserts unless they have Astros or PC guys on them. It was fun breaking the new product and I may break a hobby box in a couple of weeks to finish off the base set but I'll mostly be buying singles/trading. 

Good luck to all those who'll be busting boxes soon!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Trading with a soon to be "rival"

  When the Astros (or whatever their name will be that season) move to the AL next season they'll become rivals with the Texans Rangers. That's what every stupid sports talk show mentions when they discuss the Astros move to the AL. 

If you ask fans on either side they'll probably agree and say there won't be a huge rivalry anytime soon. When the Astros were great the Rangers weren't so great. Now that the Rangers are great again the Astros are at the bottom of the barrel. I'm sure there will be years where they're both competitive in the future but it's not happening yet. I'm sure most Rangers fans are pretty apathetic towards the Astros just like many Astros fans really don't care what's happening in Arlington. For the sake of baseball I hope a true rivalry does blossom for both of these teams but I don't like MLB trying to manufacture one. 

I got off course there so let me get back to the happy news, ha. After busting a mini-box of 2011 Bowman Sterling I made a trade with Brian over at Play at the Plate or PatP for short. He was interested in the Ogando dual relic I pulled and he sent me over the goodies below. It was a simple trade but a great one and I couldn't be happier with the results.

I don't have very many serial numbered Bagwells so it was great to get this beauty. The front scan doesn't do the card justice as it looks so much nicer in person. I was expecting a couple of Bagwells but nothing this awesome. 

Three orange Astros refractors are a nice addition to my PC. I didn't buy ANY Topps Chrome last year so every chrome card in my PC from 2011 was via trade. These cards look great in person and now I feel compelled to finish the Astros orange team set, ha.

This was the big piece in the trade we made. I love the look of the Masterpiece base cards and these relic cards are just as great looking. I know Berkman is now a Cardinal but it's still awesome to add a jersey card when you can. I do miss Big Puma but it was nice seeing him get a championship finally.

I just want to thank Brian again for the awesome and simple trade. Brian, don't worry even if the Astros and Rangers become EPIC rivals I'll still trade with you as many chances as we get. After all we know once they're done rebuilding the Astros will go back to being THE team to beat in the great State of Texas!!! Only kidding...kind of.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Few 1938 Tobacco Cards

Due to a death in the family my girlfriend's mom recently went back to England, where my girlfriend and her family are from. While she was there cleaning her dad's house she found the following album from 1938 of Player's Cigarettes tobacco cards. 

The album has a near complete set, only missing two cards out of the 50. I know they aren't worth much money but they're gorgeous looking cards and it's cool to know that Katie's grandpa actually hand collected all the cards when he was younger. Most are in great condition, except for the fact that they're glued inside the album, but the fronts are excellent. I just thought I'd take a break from showing off recent trades and purchases to give you a look at a few of these.

 Album Cover
 Page One

Page Two
That's only a couple of pages but the rest look pretty similar with a few blemishes on some of the cards. I really like how underneath the cards there is a mini-bio of each player and his history in the sport of cricket. I'm not much of a cricket fan but there in England it's part of the Big 3 with soccer and rugby being the other two. I hope you enjoyed the look!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"O" No!!! Another Trade Post

Tonight's trade post comes courtesy of Ryan over at "O" No!!! Another Orioles Blog. I contacted Ryan about helping him with some of his set needs in exchange for a few PC items. Ryan did not disappoint as he sent me some pretty awesome pieces which I'm excited to share with you. 

2011 Topps Update Cognac, 2011 Topps Update Walmart Blue, 2011 Topps S2 Diamond Stars Matt Holliday
I know what you're thinking, "Why would a lifelong Astros fan have a PC consisting of a St. Louis Cardinal?" Long story short my mom is in love with Matt Holliday AND I really like him as a person/player. He seems pretty down to Earth and I've seen him play so much when the Cards visit Houston that I've grown to love him. Also he hasn't been a Cardinal for TOO long so it's not like I'm rooting for Chris Carpenter or Molina.
2011 Bowman's Best Jonathan Singleton
I really wish Singleton was in his new Astros uniform in this card but the trade happened after the fact so I'm ok with that. Singleton is the biggest prospect in the Astros organization and he's one of the potential bright spots from the Ed Wade era. 

2011 Bowman Chrome Throwback Delino DeShields Jr.
DeShields is a high ceiling prospect that most fans are hoping turns into a solid major leaguer. He is a speed demon on the bases and if he can get on-base more the next few seasons he should help the rebuilding Astros.

Ryan, thank you so much for the great trade and I'm sure it won't be out last. I'll be on the lookout for more of your set needs and any Orioles you need. Also, congrats on hitting 100 followers on the blog. It's a great blog so it's a well deserved 100+ followers. Maybe by the end of 2012 I'll be closer to hitting the century mark.
After thinking about it I was wondering how many of you fellow collector's have a PC, whether it be small or large, of a "rival" team's player(s)? I know I can't be the only one so let your voices be heard!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Goodies from the Platter

Today's mail brought a beast package from Spiegel over at Nomo's Sushi Platter. I recently sent him some A&G minis and a random Matt Kemp card and he sent me this loot. It was way more than I expected and I love it. 

To most of you it's a plain old Brad Mills 2011 Heritage card. For me it's a blessing because I recently took this same card out of my Astros team set so I could get him to sign it when I meet him in a few weeks. Lucky for me I can add it back to the team set and use this card for the autograph. 

Two rookie cards of young Astros Altuve and Martinez. This may come as a surprise to some of you but I didn't previously own a J.D. Martinez base rookie from 2011 Topps. I had pulled/bought every other version of the card except for the base so I am happy to add this to my J.D. Martinez PC. The Altuve is a duplicate but that's a good thing again because I can use this one for TTM during ST. 

In the mail today I received two of these cards. One from this trade and a second one I bought on eBay. You guessed it though, I need both so I can have one in the Astros set and one in the J.D. Martinez PC. 

I was surprised to see a trio of vintage cards in the package (1981 is semi-vintage for me ha). Cedeno is an Astros legend, Rader and Reynolds are both names most Astros fans remember. These three additions are just the beginning of my goals to get more vintage into my PC.

If you read Nomo's recent post about Gonzo signing for him then you may have seen this card before. Truth be told I saw the post as well and when I read it was for a trade he had going I quietly hoped it was coming to me. Obviously I'm pumped to have this in my PC now because I grew up watching Gonzo play. He brings me back to the old days when the family and I would catch a game or two in the Astrodome.

It's funny how things work out sometimes. Sure I got some duplicates in the package but they were needed duplicates. Now I don't have to go searching my LCS or eBay for those cards. There were way more cards in the package but I didn't want to take up too much blog space showing off all the awesomeness. It's always hard to pick out the ones to post so please know the others will be just as loved. 

Thank you again Spiegel for the awesome trade and I hope to do some more trading throughout the year. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Time to Check Another 2005 Astro off the list

As some of you may know I'm currently working on acquiring autographs from all the members of the 2005 Astros World Series roster. I'm trying my best to get the autographs either in person or TTM. I've already received a few of the bigger names (Bagwell and Oswalt) from previous in person signings and some of the lesser known players through TTM. However, some of the players are harder to obtain than others. Some guys don't like to sign TTM much, some have retired and their addresses aren't in any databases yet. 

Adam Everett is one of those guys who I've had no luck with TTM. I decided that maybe I could just get an auto off eBay and I'd just replace it if I ever get the chance to obtain his auto in person or TTM. I bought this beauty off eBay for dirt cheap and I'm pretty excited to add it to my PC. I know it has a pretty decent size scratch on it (it was marked as Near Mint??) but since it's just a stopgap for the time being I'm alright with that. 

The autograph looks really sharp and other than the scratch I love this card. Everett was a fun SS to watch on the field. He's traveled around a lot since leaving the Astros and I hope he finds a nice home. If he's done playing for good then I wish him the best in retirement and hopefully I'll be able to meet him one day when the 2005 team has a reunion.

I still have a lot of the roster left to obtain but I have faith I can get close to finishing it this year. I'll keep everyone posted throughout the year. Tomorrow the Texans play the Ravens so I'll be pretty nervous over the next 24-36 hours.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tomahawk Chopped

That will be my new phrase anytime I complete a trade with Derek from Tomahawk Chopping. After posting my Bowman Sterling results Derek showed interest in the Braves auto I pulled. After a few quick emails we agreed on a trade which sent Sean Gilmartin to Derek and brought Christopher Wallace down here to Texas.

2011 Bowman Sterling Christopher Wallace Auto #BSP-CW

Christopher Wallace was drafted by the Astros in 2010. He's a lifelong Astros fan from here in the Houston area and actually went to the University of Houston. I don't know if he'll ever be a fulltime guy in The Show but it's hard not to root for a hometown kid who is chasing his dreams of playing for the "good guys."

Thanks again Derek for the awesome and quick trade. I love trading with people here in the blogosphere and there's never a trade too small. I hope you enjoy the Gilmartin autograph because I know I love the Wallace. 

I hope everyone's had a great week so far and tomorrow is Friday so that's a plus.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Contest Winning's from The Daily Dimwit

Sam over at The Daily Dimwit recently held a small contest. All you had to do was leave a comment with one of your 2012 collecting goals and he'd random off the names. Lucky for me I was the winner and got to choose from one of his duplicate Astros GU cards. He threw in a handful of Bagwell's as well which made the win even sweeter.

I didn't have any of the Bagwell's Sam sent over so these instantly went into my Bagwell binder/Bagwell box. One of my goals is to get to over 180 different Bagwell's (remember I didn't start collecting until last February) and with these cards plus the few I picked up at the LCS I should be well on my way. 

2006 Bazooka Basics Relics Craig Biggio

Call me nostalgic but I love the look of these cards. It takes me back to when I was growing up in the 90's and I'd always chew Bazooka gum and read the wrapper comics. Speaking of those comics, I have no idea what half of them were about and I don't think I laughed once. I don't think anyone understood those Bazooka comics but their gum sure was delicious. This is my very first Biggio GU card and it hopefully won't be my last.

Thank you again to The Dimwit for holding the contest and sending me these awesome cards. I'll return the favor soon and I'm excited to get together when you come into town for the Tristar show.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Saturday's mail + Monday's mail = Awesome.

First let me start off by saying congratulations to Barry Larkin for making it into the Hall of Fame today. I remember watching Larkin as I grew up in the 90's and he was consistently dominant throughout the times I watched him. He deserves to be a HOFer and I'm happy to see him get in. 

I got 3 packages in the mail on Saturday but due to the Texans game (which they won, thank you) I postponed posting them until today. Today I also received 3 packages, one of which was from The Dimwit so it'll get its own post.

1962 Topps #304 Dick Farrell - Houston Colts
This is now the oldest card in my PC. One of my goals for 2012 is to collect a lot of the 1962 set in hopes of collecting it all one day. 1962 is the year my parents were born so that's the reason I decided on that set for my vintage set collecting. Getting a vintage Colt/Astro seems to be a great start to the 1962 set and I picked it up for less than $2.50.

2011 A&G FF17 USS Texas
I grew up about 10 minutes from where the USS Texas is now docked. Growing up we went on numerous field trips to the San Jacinto Monument and the USS Texas. Even in high school I'd take off early and go out to the USS Texas to watch the ships come through the Houston Ship Channel. (If any younger kids are reading I do not condone skipping class ha) 

2011 Topps Lineage Michael Morse Auto
I started to like Morse when I saw him on a couple of episodes of MLB Network's Intentional Talk. He is hilarious and he's also a pretty good ballplayer. I'd been eyeing this one for awhile so it was nice to finally pull the trigger and purchase it. I'm excited to see the numbers he puts up this season, as long as it's not against the Astros of course.

 2011 Bowman Sterling George Springer Auto

George Springer is one of the top prospects in the Astros farm system. He was their top choice in the draft and scouts think he'll be a pretty good big leaguer. I used my eBay bucks on this auto which meant I only had to pay the $3 shipping so I'm okay with an investment like that. His auto does leave something to be desired though.

2001 Leaf Rookies & Stars Jeff Bagwell Dress for Success

This card is just beautiful. It has a nice picture of Bagwell, a simple yet good looking design and TWO pieces of GU memorabilia. I love GU bat cards and this one has to be my favorite I have now. I said I'd be focusing more on my Bagwell collection this year and for the most part I've stayed true to that. Not necessarily adding quantity to the PC but definitely some quality pieces. 

Tomorrow I'll show off the awesome cards I won from The Dimwit's contest. It's always fun winning contests but even more fun when the contest is run by an Astros fan.