Saturday, February 28, 2015

Card of the Day - 2014 Bowman Chrome Draft : Julio Urias Base Black Refractor Parallel (24/75)

The more and more I read about and see this young mild mannered kid pitch in person the more I think he will be a front of the line rotation piece in the majors. Might not be like Kershaw, and who is really?, but I think he will perform very well. I have been sort of "hoarding" Urias's cards and have had great luck with Bowman and this one is no different.

I have bought raw blue and black parallels from this year's Bowman Chrome brand and submitted them to BGS and they returned as gem mint 9.5's. When this card reached my doorstop I see no reason why this one won't do the same with also the possibility of a pristine 10 as I see no flaws. Of course that is wishful thinking as I have only earned one of those in all my time collecting.

At purchase time this card had just been released so the purchase price had to be something I was going to be comfortable with. At the end of the day it was lower than the black and blue ones I already had of his so I consider that a win. Card now sits in the growing pile of cards to get submitted to BGS. May it come back gem mint and fingers crossed for a pristine grade.

24 / 75

Have a blessed day and thank you for reading.

- Penguin

Friday, February 27, 2015

Card of the Day - 2014 Topps Dynasty : Mike Piazza Base Autograph w/ Relic (9/10)

A new set hit the market in 2014 with a price tag that was/is outrageous and in each box there is exactly one card. Imagine plucking down $350+ and coming away with a $50 card? Yeah, I would be pissed beyond belief. That is why other than Bowman Chrome I do not buy boxes anymore. It just seems like a waste of money and any card that is in a set you can probably acquire for a lot cheaper on eBay or other sites. Once I looked at the checklist for this product there was exactly one card that I wanted to acquire . . . and this is that card.

9 of 10

As shown yesterday I finally reacquired Piazza's autograph in the form of an old SPx card. While it was sufficient enough for me at the time I held out hope that I could get a better autograph of the former Dodger in a more current issue but the requirement was that it had to be an on card autograph and in a Dodger uniform. 2014 brought about many new Piazza autograph cards but most were of him in a Mets uniform and the couple Dodgers ones had sticker autographs... till now.

The cards is stamped 9 of 10 but that is a bit of a stretch as Piazza (and all players for that matter) have multiple 9 of 10's in the set. On the Dodger side there are eight 9 of 10's so I had 80 to go through. The first item of business was to create some funds for the future acquisition and that came in the form of me selling off the SPx card. I also added a months worth of comic codes and then I was off to the races and looking for a copy of this spiffy card.

I have heard that this card looks better in person rather than pictures and I can now attest that I agree with that comment. The card comes in a sealed magnetic one touch case and I have yet to take it out. I don't want to mess it up.

The signature really pops against the darker background of the card. Since this card is "uncirculated" as it's has been sealed since it was created you would think that it is minimum a gem mint card if it were to be graded by BGS. Well I am going to find out as I will submit it to them in the coming month to see what they think. Either way though this is a fine addition to my collection of the former Dodger catching great.

Man, I remember those 3 years fondly.

In final, I can never see myself paying that much on a pack of card(s) on the "chance" of getting a great card but these Dynasty beauties are nice indeed and I wouldn't mind adding another to my collection at a reasonable price.

Have a blessed day and thank you for reading.

- Penguin

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Card of the Day - 1996 SPx : Mike Piazza Die-Cut Hologram Autograph

One of the most important autographs to reacquire on my checklist has finally been secured and is now in hand and damn if it wasn't a long time coming.

Even though Mike will most likely enter the Hall of Fame at some point it will be with a New York Mets hat on the plaque. He still has resentment towards the Dodger organization and I don't blame him. It can be argued that his best years on the field were with the Dodgers but he meant more to New York when the city needed him and I am okay with him going in with the Mets logo. His autograph though had to be as a Dodger and more so I wanted it to be on card and not a sticker.

Having Mike's autograph while in Dodger blue is hard enough. Being an on card variety is near impossible as I believe this is the only one that fills those requirements. Looking at releases from multiple years Piazza's autographs are always shown with him in Mets gear. Well a few 2014 releases have finally shown him in Dodger gear. I went to look at the selection but they are stickers not on card. I was bummed but that was going to be my back up plan. I then saw that he was going to be featured in Five Star which is on card and I hoped it would be of him in a Dodger uniform. Found out he wasn't.

Well with plan B as an option I went searching for the one card I knew that he was in Dodger blue and the autograph being on card, this one. One big obstacle was that this card's autograph at times can have streaking and/or fading issues. There was a BGS 9.5 one up for sale but that ended up going for $200. Didn't have enough in the til for that one. I was okay with minor streaking but fading would not be acceptable. Picky much? This one came up one day as a BIN with a best offer attached. I sent the seller 3 offers and each one either was rejected or never responded to. A pet peeve of mine, please respond don't just ignore. Anyways, the auction closed and I moved on but then I saw it pop up again on a traditional auction with a starting bid of LESS than my offers. Uh...okay. Anyways, back onto the watch list it went and as the auction was coming to a close there were no bids so I put mine in and won the card.

With the "funniness" of the auctions I wondered if the card would arrive and if it would be in good condition. A week later it did and no harm was done to the card. I knew there would be minor pen streaking and that is okay.

Finally able to add Piazza back into my collection and its a beautiful card of him in glorious Dodger blue,

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

2015 Photo Recap of Dodger Spring Training Trip

What now has become the yearly tradition of the wife and I travelling to Arizona at the end of February or beginning of March has come and gone once again. Unlike 2013 this time I came away with an autograph from Yasiel Puig. Two years ago he denied me all 4 days I was there but this time I got him on the 1st of 2 days I was there. Go figure. I did come away empty handed on the one I really wanted (like everyone else) as Kershaw denied me both days and on the 2nd day he skipped right over me and went to the guy on my left. UGH... Maybe next year.

The 1st day was far and away the better of the two quantity wise but could have been trumped by getting Kershaw's autograph on the second. It just wasn't meant to be. Here are my pictures of the autographs that I did acquire and they are all on 8x10 photos. A few random pictures are also included as I actually did leave the ballpark.

On our way to Arizona the wife and I stopped over at the Patton Museum for a break to stretch our legs. The #walletcard game was in full effect and those standings will be updated later today.

What is my personal tradition whether I am going by myself or have friends and family in tow I head over to the local Chick Fil A for a meal prior to going to Camelback. Breakfast of champions.

The entrance to Camelback Ranch which has a handy map for those that are visiting for the 1st time or have just forgotten where everything is.

When players first come out for the day they usually don't sign but Zach Lee was kind enough to sign for a few fans. I got him back at the Dodger FanFest last month so I didn't need anything from him.

Kershaw walking by. He never signs in the morning but he did at least acknowledge fans on his way to the fields.

The 1st autograph of the day was probably the "worst" of the trip. I asked Davey to sign above his head so the silver ink would pop but he signed on his pants instead so the silver sort of blends with the white. Oh well.

Kershaw jogging by.

Practice was over so autograph hunting commenced in full force. Ryu walked the line and signed for everyone that put something in front of him. I wanted something different so I went with a "batting" picture. I do love me some interesting photo shots and this falls in that category.

Yeager and Lopes walked by and I was able to get them both to sign this black and white photo project that I started last month. Sadly, Lasorda was not at Spring Training yet so I will have to wait to get him.

On day two A.J. was signing for just kids and some women but thankfully I got him on the first day when he signed for almost everyone.

Right behind A.J. was appropriately the catcher that will take a lot of A.J.'s playing time. Grandal was the focus of the Kemp trade and since I didn't have a photo of him in Dodger blue I had to settle for him here in Padre colors.

Pedro was a late addition to Dodger FanFest so I missed him there but thankfully I was prepared this time and though he was quiet and didn't really interact with fans he signed for everyone and smiled.

I have missed Turner on 4 separate occasions when he did a free signing and I was starting to wonder if I would ever get him before his time is through with the Dodgers. Thankfully I won't have to find out as he signed for people right after practice and then when most fans left he popped out again from the clubhouse and engaged with fans. Good guy this Turner kid.

Close to be my favorite get of the trip. I was able to acquire Andrew Friedman's autograph even though he was on the phone at the time. No, I didn't bother him as I think that is rude but someone that did was right next to me so I just slide over and had him sign this photo. Andrew even added the Go Dodgers inscription without me asking. Thank you again Andrew.

The funniest autograph get was from 3rd base coach Lorenzo Bundy. When he saw the picture he told me I should burn it. I asked why and he said it looks like a black man that stayed out in the sun too long. Toasty!! Great sense of humor. Love it. Thank you for the autograph on your hated picture.

On top of the black and white project this Simpson's one is the other long term one I am doing. Don started signing before his normal area and I yelled out to him that I have his Simpsons photo and he either was playing dumb or just playing and said he had to see it to believe it. Got him to sign and I now have 2 autographs on this very hard project.

The final autograph of the day was the biggie. Puig as with Kershaw are the two real big stars on the team and have mobs of fans trying to acquire their autographs. Puig was jogging off the practice field and I was waiting and prepared for him. Just like Kershaw he jumps around signing for various people but luckily for me he chose to sign my photo. Go figure, in 2013 he denied me when hardly anyone was looking for his autograph but here in 2015 he is in high demand and I barely have to fight for it. You just never know how things pan out.

Day was over for me at Camelback but the plan was to come back the following day for some more autographs but till then I had a day to kill.

I met up with the wife and her friends and we headed downtown to a Piazza joint she wanted to try but the wait was so long we ended up at T.G.I.F.'s in Chase Field. Even when I am not trying to do something baseball related I end up doing something baseball related. #walletcard game once again was in effect.

It was night time but I still wasn't sleepy and our friend's kids wanted to watch a movie. They wanted to see Sponge Bob. Yeah... Hell no. = ).
Luckily there was a movie more to my liking so I sent the kids into watch their movie while I watched mine.

Day two and I had a partner in crime tagging along today. The Dodgers brought the freaky Lasorda bobblehead from Dodger Stadium so I had him take a picture with him.

While I missed Kershaw once again, Brandon League was tailing him when they were coming off the field so I was able to get League's autograph once again. He is always pleasant so thank you once again Brandon.

Now that Julio Urias is becoming a bigger name in the baseball world I am always prepared and have a spare picture or two for him to sign when I know he might be around. This year was a polar opposite unlike last year when he could walk around and no one was bothering him. Not like a Kershaw mob but Urias did draw a big crowd. I think he is still getting used to it. He signed for me once again. I've been very lucky with Seager and Urias IP autographs.

To end my two trip at Camelback I decided to get Don's autograph one more time. This time with him in Yankee colors. As always he was cordial with all fans and signed for everyone after practice. Thank you again Don for your continued interaction with fans.

Well that's it for another year at Dodger's Spring Training for me. Quantity wise this was the best year ever for me. If I would have landed my elusive Kershaw autograph it would have been the perfect trip but it wasn't meant to be. One day it will be mine. Next year I hope to meet up with some friends that are going this year but we were all on different schedules. Thank you to all the players that signed and good luck to all the autograph hounds that are still out in Arizona.

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Card of the Day - 2014 Topps Chrome : Zack Greinke Base Black Refractor Parallel (15/100)

My first ever purchase/acquisition that was not from a trade, eBay or I found a new outlet, Instagram, though I don't expect to do much business on it in the future.

I am pretty much done with the blue parallels (a couple left) so my focus has shifted more to the blacks now for Topps Chrome but they don't pop up on eBay much anymore. One day I was going through Instagram and one of the people I follow (he followed me 1st and I have no idea who he is) put up cards that he wanted to unload. Had no interest in most of them but he did have this one. Was kind of surprised I could be so lucky since all he wanted was $2 for it. Thankfully when I contacted him (for our 1st conversation ever) he still had it and I sent him the necessary funds via Paypal and had the card in hand within the week.

Always love the simple purchases and this qualifies as such.

15 of 100

Monday, February 23, 2015

Card of the Day - 2008 Stadium Club : Nick Adenhart Base Autograph

I went looking for yet another Clayton Kershaw autograph and I ended up obtaining this card and for one day I am more than happy with that transaction.

Those that do not know the tragic story of Nick please Google it and see how a young life was taken away from our world way too soon. Unlike some athletes and people in general he was not intoxicated when he was behind the wheel when he got T-boned by a drunk bastard who already had a history of drunk driving. Nick had just left Anaheim Stadium after his best game of his young career and was celebrating with his friends when said drunk bastard killed him. Thankfully after the bastard ran off from the scene of the crime he was caught and eventually tried and convicted and is now rotting in jail. If you can't tell I have zero tolerance for drunk drivers as I grew up around people that drink to get drunk.

I was looking for Clayton's autograph from this set as I am still and always will be on the hunt for Kershaw autographs but there was not one to be had this particular day but eBay recommended some other autographs I might have an interest in and Nick's happened to be one of them. I had forgotten about Nick and his story as it's been years since the incident but once I saw this card I knew I had to own a copy. There is no investment potential in this card and with Beckett assigning a value of $20 I can never see it going up in value from there but that is not why I wanted this card. Even though I had a little higher limit than normal for a card like this I was still able to acquire it for a mere $5. Reasonable enough to me.

R.I.P. Nick

Never EVER drink and drive.
You will hurt more people than you probably ever will hurt yourself.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Card of the Day - 2014 Topps Chrome : Mike Trout Base Blue Refractor Parallel (50/199)

Another one of those irritating pursuits is at last done as I finally acquired the blue parallel of Trout from the 2014 Topps Chrome set.

Though not overly rare (199 copies) it has been a struggle to get my hands on one of them. Beckett still has this valued at $20 so at best my ceiling for the card was $10. Auction after auction I would lose out as it continuously sold for over $11 and at times finished in the $14 range. There is/was one on the bay at a BIN for $18 but I wasn't going that route. Yet another chance came around when this one went up for sale on eBay and yet again I had my set ceiling (and at time of purchase it was lower than previous auctions) so off to the races I went once again.

Unlike the other auctions there was less action on this one so on the last day the high bid sat around the $5 mark. Crossed my fingers and placed my bid and at the end of the day I came out the winner in the single digits. Finally picked up my blue copy and at a deal at the same time. Now onto the black parallel


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Card of the Day - 2008 SP : Matt Kemp By The Letter Autograph " L " (43/50)

... and I have now reached a point in this project that I didn't think would be happen but it has.

With this letter "L" now acquired and it being the second of two needed for the phrase, I need just one letter left. The problem is that I need 4 of them. Ugh.

The phrase has 25 letters in it and I now have 21 of them. The last 4 needed all happen to be "E's". I can not believe I have been on this project for over 18 months and yet I have not come across a single "E" and I still need 4 of them. Oh boy, this will be fun. This "L" was had pretty cheaply and considering I needed two and the print run is 50 I am happy to be done with it.

So hopefully this post is not the last one for awhile on this project and I am able to get the "E's" in a decent amount of time but I am also being realistic and know that it could and probably be a very long time till I get them all. Anybody have a spare "E"? Anyone? Hello?

43 of 50 and second one in the collection

Friday, February 20, 2015

Card of the Day - 2014 Bowman Chrome : Dee Gordon Base Blue Refractor Parallel (194/250)

Bowman Chrome
Blue parallel
Cost at under a dollar.

You just can't beat that under any circumstances.
With my Topps Chrome needs almost finished (mainly need black parallels and only a few at that) I can put my focus firmly on completing my Bowman Chrome needs which is a longer checklist and I've only made a small dent in it so far.

Prices still seem to be slightly inflated so you have to work at scoring a deal and/or wait till someone puts a card up at a low price thinking it will be bid up which is what happened here with Dee. Unfortunately for the seller it did not get bid up as he had a starting price of 75 cents and at the end of the auction I was the only one to put a bid in. Not too shabby for a chrome parallel. Many more to go but nice to lock one up at a cheap price.

194 / 250

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Card of the Day - 2009 Topps Heritage : Clayton Kershaw Real One Autograph BGS Graded Mint 9.0

Oh happy day. Another Kershaw autograph has been acquire and added to the collection. Always a cause for celebration.

Multiple reasons why I wanted to add this specific card to the collection. The first being that all of my Kershaw autographs (other than his rookie card) use more recent photos with his beard and him looking older. I don't have but the one with him in baby face mode. Well this card handles that so that was reason one. The next was that it has all ready been graded by BGS and it is in mint condition. As I've stated many times before I want all my autographs of Clayton in mint condition it at all possible.

The funny thing is that I saw this exact same card a couple months prior on eBay and after the price exceeded my cap I moved on. I guess the winner decided not to pay as the same seller had it up again for sale. Well I was back on it again and at the end of the day it closed at $70 less than the first time it sold. Just goes to show you that off season purchases are usually where you can score some great deals.

Card arrived a few days later with not a issue with card or case. My Kershaw autograph collection grows by one. Woo Hoo

.5 from gem mint

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Card of the Day - 2014 Bowman Chrome : Alex Guerrero Photo Variation (5/99)

So....have I ever mentioned how much I love mislabeled eBay auctions? Well I do and I have gone and scored another short printed card from one.

It is probably safe to say I will never score another deal like the 99 cent purchase of a $50 photo variation of Matt Kemp but that doesn't mean I will stop looking for similar deals. The 2014 Bowman Chrome series had a 10 card subset of rookie photo variations and there was one Dodger included in the group, Alex Guerrero. Not many have popped up on the bay and the few that did I lost out on as the price went over $25. I want it but not that bad,

Well one day this card went up for sale titled "Bowman Chrome Alex Guerrero". No mention of it being limited to 99 or that the photo was different than the one on the standard issue. Only if you knew what you were looking for did you know what you were seeing on the computer screen. His starting asking price was under $10 and until the last day of the auction there was not a single bid on it. Too vague of a title kept people away. Good for me. Someone else put a bid in with about a hour left so I wasn't sure what I was in store for bidding wise. When I put my bid in the price only went up a mere 50 cents and I was declared the winner shortly thereafter.

Again, I so love these mislabeled auctions. Another 1 card project done and for a fraction of cost.

5 of 99

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Trade with Fellow Blogger : Luis of Big L's Collectibles

Luis of Big L's Collectibles reached out to me a week or so ago inquiring about doing a trade together. Luis and I have met before and he even won a contest I ran last year. Even with a past relationship we have never done a trade before. He asked if I was interested in any of 3 cards he picked up on trade that he was not attached to and of the three, I was interested in two.

The main card for me was this BGS gem mint graded autograph of Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox. He was always on my wish list to acquire but with so many other cards I wanted/needed he kept getting pushed back. So much so that I hadn't even looked for an autograph of his in over a year. I wasn't looking for a gem mint card but my love for them makes this one a major perk/bonus.

1 / 5

Check another autograph of my wish list.

The other card Luis had that I wanted was a 2012 Allen and Ginter mini frame autograph of Angel Jered Weaver. Now this card I had seen on eBay for quite some time but never pulled the trigger as other things came up. This is my favorite year of A and G as they are black bordered. I have never had any luck getting Jered's autograph in person so getting this card eliminates that need but if I ever do then it would be a bonus.

With that I was content with our trade. We agreed on those two cards in exchange for autograph cards of Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Maury Wills, Johnny Podres, Paco Rodriguez and a blank ball for autograph purposes. The wife and I headed up to his work place and during one of his breaks we met up and did the exchange. Only "problem" though is that Luis threw in more cards. Ugh. Even though I have a lot more inventory than I did a year ago I don't have much in "excess" cards to throw into trades. As a bonus he gave me all of this :

Signed 8x10 of Manny Mota

2014 Topps Chrome of Jose Ramirez
2013 Bowman Chrome of Dylan Cease

Zach Lee in minor league form

And surprisingly the biggie of the bunch even though it is a non autograph. Luis must have read my mind as I was looking for this on eBay recently.

2013 Bowman Chrome Purple Recfractor Parallel

131 of 199

Even though I stopped doing the "rainbow" collections of the Dodgers I decided that I was going to do it for the two super prospects in the Dodger organization, Julio Urias and Corey Seager. The idea is to get them all in gem mint form but at worst they had to be in mint or looked to be in mint then work myself up if  need be. I was on the hunt for purple but now with Luis throwing this in I don't have to worry about that. I can tell from the naked eye that the centering is not the best BUT if it can score at least an 8.5 which I think is reasonable, everything else looks up to par to earn a 9 overall. We shall see as BGS will be in town in a couple of weeks.

For me this was a very nice haul but I feel kind of bad as I think I did not give enough on my side of the trade with all the bonus cards/photo. Next time we meet up at the Stadium I will give him a few bonus cards to make the trade a little more equal. Nevertheless, thank you again to Luis for reaching out to me on this trade as I would have never known that he had these cards available. Our first trade and hopefully not our last.

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day.