28 January 2010

Burbank Sportscards: good for the hobby or just plain greedy?

Anyone who has ever spent hours searching eBay for steals and deals on cards of the players and teams they collect know the name all to well.

Burbank Sportscards is one of the largest eBay sellers and, possibly, one of it's most greedy.

Burbank has a very large inventory of cards, with most of them being extremely rare and low numbered. Some are just plain tough to find (like mid to late 90's parallels and inserts that rarely ever hit the auction block), while others are more prevalent, but still overpriced.

Just searching their store on eBay you can see how they value their cards, which is usually 200-250% of what the going rate is on the open market for most cards.

Now why do I bring this up? I was doing my daily search that I do for a few players and became incensed when pretty much all of the low numbered cards I found of one of my guys was strictly sitting in Burbanks store. This wouldn't be so bad, if they were willing to negotiate prices (I collect the guy, I know his going rate and I am not trying to screw anyone out of money), had scans of their cards (according to the guys running the show, with so much inventory, they do not have the means necessary to scan in every card) and better communication.

Not to mention, I have talked with a few people who have been to their store and they said that if you are interested in seeing any of their cards, you basically have to commit to purchasing said card because they have to dip into their extensive inventory just to find the card(s) you need.

Now, am I saying don't buy from the guys? No. Sometimes they do have cards listed with the price lower than the going rate or at a very competitive price, making it worth the time to buy it.

I am just saying they are a pain in mine and many others asses. If you have bought from them in the past and were happy with your purchase, congrats. I personally don't see myself making any purchases from them any time soon.

Now, if I happen to win the lottery.......

27 January 2010

Anyone interested in joining a fantasy baseball league?

I usually run one league a year, so this year will be no different....except for the site I use and the overall make up of the league.

I will also be using a new-ish website to run the league, that allows for more freedom and ability to be creative in my league.

Basic setup nonsense:

14 Teams
25 active players, unlimited bench spots
7 man minor league roster
6x6 Roto scoring (H, R, HR, RBI, SB, OPS x SV, HLD,  ERA, WHIP, K, QS)
August 31 Trade Deadline
Dynasty League....keep as many or as little players as you want from season to season

And, best of all, it's FREE!!! That's probably the best 4 letter word in the ENTIRE English language (even better than l-o-v-e and f-u-....well, you can figure that one out).

Also, there will be a prize, on my dime. Not sure what it will be yet, but I am sure the winner of the league will be pretty damn happy with what they win.

So, if any of you bloggers out there decide you want to hop in the fantasy arena with a fellow blogger, email me or drop a comment on me and I will get a link out to ya, so you can join.

26 January 2010

Larry Dierker takes signs from Milt May


 Notice anything different between the two photos above?

First, let's find the things that are the same. Same set? Check. Same team? Check. Same font? Check. Same sport? Check. Same jersey? Che...wait a minute.

Notice it now? Both Dierker and May are wearing classic home game jerseys for the Houston Astros, but they are two totally different jerseys. The May jersey has Houston on the front, whereas the Dierker clearly has Astros with an orange star and some black lines going across the chest.

Now, this wouldn't be a problem if the photos were game day photos or actions photos but, it just seems as if these are staged photos, possibly in the same place (so possibly on the same day).

Why would two players from the same team be wearing two different home jerseys in the same set, yet neither of the pictures are action shots? You got me. Hell, I am struggling just to find any pictures of ANY Astros player in an action shot from 1975, just to try and confirm exactly what they wore that year.

Have you ever seen two players from the same team in the same set wearing different home or away jerseys and they are NOT from an action shot? I know, to my knowledge, this is the only example I have.

25 January 2010

2010 Fantasy Baseball Top 20 Players

Well, I am a fantasy baseball junkie and absolutely cannot get enough of the game. This is fueled by my passion for baseball, plus my passion for stats and competition.

Through spring training and the regular season, I will begin to have some ranks posts, opinion pots, advice posts and, possibly, mailbag posts (if enough people deem my advice worthy) on all facets of fantasy baseball.

For my first post of the year, I will go over the top 20 fantasy players for 2010.

#1 - Albert Pujols - 1B - STL - This is basically a no brainer. Many people try to argue for Hanley Ramirez here because of position scarcity and his potential to go 30/30 (30 homers and 30 steals), but you cannot pass up taking the best player in all of baseball first. You just can't. Not to mention with Matt Holliday staying in town, his numbers are sure to improve. I predict another MVP season.

#2 - Hanley Ramirez - SS - FLA - Dan Uggla staying in Florida is really going to help Hanley keep his numbers good enough to stay at #2. A consistent threat to hit 30 homers and steal 20 plus, Hanley's numbers should basically mirror what he did last year, though a bump in RBI's may be in order if Cameron Maybin finally establishes himself this year.

#3 - Alex Rodriguez - 3B - NYY - With a full season of Mark Teixera and the addition of Curtis Granderson, ARod will only improve his numbers from last season (obviously, since he was out with an injury for awhile). We could see ARod putting up his best homer totals and possibly his highest RBI output since his days in Texas, as Granderson is a huge upgrade over Cabrera and adds the element of good speed to the top of the Yankees order.

#4 - Ryan Braun - OF - MIL - The outfield position used to be the deepest position in all of baseball, with almost half of the first round picks in most drafts being from said position. As the stars got older and the up and comers never making their mark, Braun has guided himself to the top half of the draft with his consistent bat and great health. Braun is the best hitter in the bigs when facing the best pitching and could be considered being taken 3rd overall, so long as Fielder stays healthy.

#5 - Chase Utley - 2B - PHI - Probably the surest thing at 2B, Utley always produces as a top 5 to top 10 talent, year in and year out. Playing in the fun house that is Citizens Bank ballpark with an All Star line up surrounding him (including fellow 1st rounder Ryan Howard), Utley's numbers stand to be great for the next few years.

#6 - Miguel Cabrera - 1B - Showing the depth at 1B, Miggy is one of 5 1B in the top 20. It was recently revealed he has kicked an alcoholic habit that had been affecting him for awhile, which should definitely reflect in his numbers. And that is pretty ridiculous, seeing as he was putting up great numbers while being addicted, who knows how high they can go without having to deal with that. Not to mention he has lost weight in the off season. The only negative is that the Tiggers have traded Curtis Granderson for unproven Austin Jackson....so Cabrera's RBI totals may go down a bit.

#7 - Prince Fielder - 1B - MIL - Fielder makes he and Braun the first two teammates to be taken in the first round. His OPS has been downright Pujolsian (new word, bank on it being in Merriam's by next year) two of the past three years. Combining with Braun to be a one-two punch, Fielder's numbers are very consistent from year to year.

#8 - Evan Longoria - 3B - TB - 24 years old. Has two speed demons hitting ahead of him in the lineup. Has a power 1B hitting behind him. He's only 24 years old. He has hit since he came up, with no doubt power and a great eye for pitches. He's only 24 years old. He will only get better. Did I mention he is only 24 years old?

#9 - Tim Lincecum - SP - SF - The first pitcher off the board, Lincecum is coming off of back to back Cy
Young seasons and is only looking better. The Giants offense looks to be improved over last year, so this should mean more wins for little Timmy. Not to mention, none of the teams in the NL West seemed to get any stronger offensively, so he will continue to get to face weak competition (not to mention a slew of pitchers batting) and most likely roll right through to his 3rd consecutive Cy Young.

#10 - Matt Kemp - OF - LAD - One of only 4 outfielders I would consider taking in the first two rounds. He has 30/30 potential, with a good BA, high runs and potential for high RBI's. He faces weak pitching in the NL West (aside from Lincecum, Cain and Jimenez) and has a very solid offense around him (Manny, Ethier, Loney, Russell Martin, Furcal, etc.). He logged more than 300 at bats from the bottom third of the lineup last year but that has to change this season. If he gets the opportunity to bat anywhere from 2-4, watch out. He could end the season as a top 4 player.

The second half of my top 20 will be posted later on in the week. If you have any questions regarding any facet of fantasy baseball - trade help, running a league, joining a league, keeper decisions or league set up - don't be afraid to email me. I have a fiery passion for fantasy baseball and I strive to help anyone who asks (even people in the leagues  was in would come to me for advice...and I was playing AGAINST these people).

24 January 2010

Red Bull...It gives you wiiiiiiiiiiiings.....

Jesus, I forgot just what a red bull really does to your system.

Here I am at 2 am, wide awake and bored. So what better to do than update my blog after a 11 day hiatus?

I got some pretty sweet stuff in the mail and I am going to steal the eBay pictures from those auctions to show them off:

I know i've shown this off before, but it helps me complete one of my 2010 goals, so I am showing it off again.

Not the Gibson auto I wanted, but for the price and the set, I have no complaints:

 Knocked off one of my top 10 most wanted cards and it is probably the cheapest of the bunch:

For my Javier Vazquez PC, another nice DK insert and lower numbered parallel (numbered out of 50).

This card contains two things all of my favorite inserts have: it's die cut and serial numbered. For the Hidalgo PC, which has really been picking up as of late.

What else has been going on, huh?

Let's see, 2010 Topps has come out in select Targets and the initial reaction to the design, insert sets and overall appeal of the set is pretty diverse. Most dislike the font used for the team names and would prefer just the team logo. Others like the base set but don't like the new insert sets. No one really knows what to expect with the Million Cad giveaway redemptions, but everyone wants to redeem something sweet if they get one.

Donruss Elite Extra dropped and it may be the best looking one since Donruss lost their license. The first Albert Pujols auto from the set hit eBay and sold for $555.55....truely an anomaly, but quite the random number, no? It seems there have been many more hot boxes this year then in years past, but no one is complaining.

A top Oakland Athletics minor league decides to leave the game prematurely, to join the clergy and follow his heart. Opinions are split on this. On one hand, A's fans and baseball prospectors are perturbed, as he was a top 10 farm hand in Oakland...and we all know how well most players in that system fare (pretty damn well). On the other hand (that would be your left hand), many people are praising him for the move, for following his heart. A few people have compared it o what Pat Tillman did (if you don't know the story, Tillman was an NFL player and "retired" early, joined the Army, became an Army Ranger and then was killed by friendly fire; became one big, ugly story before all was said and done).

2010 Bowman Jumbo boxes/cases will be a much better bet to bring you back your money as they provide 2 times as many autos as regular Bowman boxes/cases, therefore causing more people to buy the Jumbo cases as opposed to the regular cases.

As for things in my personal life, the University of Texas Longhorns men's basketball team lost their first game of the season earlier in the week, I filed my taxes and found out I am getting a very LARGE sum back and I also found out I will be getting promoted from a PFC (E-3) to a SPC (E-4) next month. So hooray me!!!

I have a few more posts bottled up in me, but I will be typing them up and having them pop up over the next couple of days.

I will also be doing a little refreshing of my sidebar and starting a blogs 'o' the week tomorrow.

13 January 2010

Baseball Tonight is back!!!!

Baseball Tonight is FINALLY back, which means we are inching closer and closer to baseball season.

I am 100% excited about this, as baseball keeps me going year round. And since I will be deploying to Afghanistan this summer, baseball is a great deflector of what is going on when you are deployed.

Not to mention....it means fantasy baseball will soon be in high gear :D

Heck, I even have my first fantasy mock draft tonight.

Just letting anyone know, who didn't already, the greatest show in sports television is back on ;)

(A side note: I do not get MLB TV out here, so I have not seen their round the clock MLB show that plays during games from the beginning to the end, so I do not know how good that show is...yet.)

12 January 2010

McGwire finally admits to steroid usage....

And in other news....well, this is the news.

I am sure if you are reading this blog, you already know about this (I doubt you hit my blog before any other site), but I figured I would bring it to our little world.

What's this mean for his cards? Probably not much. anyone with an IQ higher than that of a carrots knew he was using steroids, we just didn't care. When the magic of '98 happened, it rid of us the pain and misery brought forth by the strike of '94.

It comes as no surprise he finally admitted it though. Being the hitting coach for the Cardinals this season was sure to bring a lot of attention his way, so why not get the biggest distraction out of the way before pitchers and catchers report?

No more "No Comments" or straight up denials. Just the facts: Mark McGwire used steroids.

The big question is, will his admittal convince the HoF voters to let him in the Hall in the near future? He had a paltry display for votes this year and one has to think he has a place in the Hall in the back of his mind. Why not bring a little attention to the situation, show that you feel bad about lying and then move forward as the poster boy for those superstars (that are retired) that used and lied? He was always a fan (and media) darling, so he had nothing to lose and everything to gain by coming clean.

If you had a ballot for the Hall of Fame (say, class of 2011), would his admittance of steroid use push you to vote for him (if you wouldn't have before) or does it change nothing (if you wouldn't have voted him in)?

11 January 2010

Has the greatest pull of 2010 already happened?

It looks like the best possible card that was still in a box somewhere has been pulled:

That's a 1/1 dual cut, 6x game used swatch card of Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth, from 2009 Topps Triple threads. Pretty. Freakin'. Amazing. It has been estimated it could sell for $15-20,000 at auction.

There is only one problem though. Based on many, many other cut autos, the Babe Ruth seems way off. The guys over on FCB noticed this first and it seems like the biggest card of the year (or of 2009, whatever), could also be the biggest counterfeit card of the year as well.

A few other examples of Ruth's signature:

Those are just two examples of authentic Babe Ruth signatures.

Notice the biggest differences are in how the "Babe" was signed. In the two definite real autographs, the b has a definite loop, while in the TTT, it does not. Also, the e has three like lines...like a capitalised lower e, whereas in the TTT the e has a more modern look...like how an e looks like when typed. In the "Ruth" part, you may note that the u is farther away from the R in the TTT, as well as the R has a much bigger gap between the curve and the straightness of the letter.

Does that make it a definite fake or forgery? No. But it does raise some questions.

Two more to ponder:

What do you think?

10 January 2010

The Greatest Insert Set Ever?!?!?!?

With the influx in popularity of 90's inserts of the last year or so, there have been many debates over what the greatest insert set ever was. It is well known (or at least plenty debated) that the best insert sets were made in the 90's.

They had the most creativity, originality and were truly rare. In 1995 limited to 4,000 made a card super rare, seeing as there could be as many as 100,000 cases of a product produced, making it even tougher to pull the insert you wanted.

Why would I choose the 98 Crusades over say, the 1993 Finest Refractors or the 1997 Certified Mirror sets?

With three different colored parallels numbered to three different scarcities, they are not only truly rare, but also amazingly good looking cards. Not to mention, they wre extremely different to pull, as these cards were available to be pulled in about 8 different products from 1998 Donruss/Leaf. Adding to the rareness is that multiple players also had prototypes of all three colors and you can see just how tough it is to complete the set.

Plus, they are the most aesthetically pleasing insert set of all time.

The greens look great (/250):


The purples look better (/100):


And, finally, the reds look the best (/25):

Why are the first two pictures from my photobucket and the last from eBay? I won the Hidalgo Red on eBay last night (the one shown) for about HALF of what everyone else has been asking for it (it is the 3rd one I have seen on eBay in three months and everyoneelse wanted $90 or more).

This completes the Crusades rainbow for me and makes it possible for me to have all three of my favorite players cards that are available in the greatest insert set of all time.

09 January 2010

Topps Craptastic

Or, as it is known in the mainstream, Topps Tribute.

Ironically enough, this is not even a tribute. The original Topps Tribute was full of retired players and Hall of Famers, whereas the newest edition of Tribute has boatloads of current players, many of whom wouldn't even be considered stars, much less players you would want to be included in a high end set such as this.

Players such as Derrek Lee, Akinori Iwamura, Matt LaPorta, Lance Berkman, Joey Votto, Clayton Kershaw, Tommy Hanson, Aramis Ramirez and Melky Cabrera have no place in a high end product...at least not now. These high end sets need to have top of the line current stars, retired players and Hall of Famers.

Not to mention, Tribute looks like Topps Sterling, right down to the base parallels (the black and gold parallels look almost exactly the same) to the sticker autographs (an ugly silver sticker that really destroys the card, in my opinion).

Not to mention the overall look of some of the cards:

That is a piece of GU bat on the right and on the left, that looks to be of a seat in the stadium. But, because of the lack of description on the back, you have auctions like this on the 'Bay: 09 Topps Tribute Dual Bat Babe Ruth. And that is for the card above.

Do you think Babe ruth was using a multi color bat in the '20's? Neither do I.

Would you want to spend $200 plus on a box (of 6 packs) and pull on autographs and game used of Melky Cabrera, Aramis Ramirez, Joey Votto, Carlos Beltran, Matt LaPorta and Sal Bando?

I know I wouldn't.

06 January 2010

Hall of Famers: 2010 & Beyond.....well, And Before

So, the 2010 Hall of Fame voting is behind us and the Hall will only be welcoming one newcomer: Andre "Hawk" Dawson.

Now, some will wonder and argue why he should be in the Hall, if it took him this long just to get in (this was his ninth appearance afterall), while others will argue he should have been in long ago (like, say, his first ballot).

I would be one of the voices screaming: YOU SHOULDA PUT HIM IN ON HIS FIRST TRY!@#!@#@!!

Why, you ask, should the Hawk have made the Hall of FAME on his first attempt? Well, here are the numbers: eight gold gloves, four silver sluggers, one of three members of the 400 HR/300 SB club (the other two: Willie Mays, Barry Bonds), one MVP, ROY and seven all stars. He is also 25th on the career list for total bases, 45th overall in hits, 34th in games played, 24th in RBI and he has the 24th most extra base hits. Not to mention he hit 13 or more home runs for 18 straight seasons.

That, to me, is a Hall of Famer.

The top two who just missed, ol' Bert Blyleven and Robbie Alomar, deserve to get in. Blyleven, because the numbers don't lie (over 3,000 strikeouts, a ridiculous amount of shutouts and 9th most shuouts) and Alomar because he was one of the greatest offensive second basemen ever (him and Craig Biggio ran neck and neck for 10 full seasons beginning in 1990).

As for the others, take'em off the ballot.

I really believe you should only have like 3 or 4 chances to get in, then you get taken off. As others have argued, what makes you more fit for the Hall of Fame on your 8th try then on your 1st or 2nd? If their is any doubt in someone's mind that you shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame and many, many others agree on that opinion, then you don't belong. It is the Hall of Very Good or the Hall of Durbaility & Longevity (i'm looking at you Julio Franco), it's the Hall of Fame (though, fame is used in such a way that people can sway it to mean more than just stats, like say, how FAMous a player was, made them a better ball player....ask Roger Maris about that). You can be quietly a Hall of Famer (little fame out side of your own city) and loudly a Hall of Famer (Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Bob Gibson, Nolan Ryan, etc) and no one would blink an eye.

If I could, I would blow up the Hall of Fame and start completely over.* Go back through all the 200+ members of the Hall of Fame and designate them to a different level of Hall of Fame-ness. Say, 12 levels (or stories), with the 12th level being the "Epic" Hall of Famers. Those guys who just come through the league and blow through ridiculously and leave no mind that they are the best damn player. People like Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds (pre-steroids and with steroids), Roger Clemens (the same) and soon to be joining them Randy Johnson, Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols (and others). The guys at the bottom are the barely in, but posted good career guys (Jim Rice) and so on from there. We would set a "level player", if you will, which would be the player you use to gauge a player's worthiness for that level. Say level 9 was Duke Snider, he would be the bare minimum for that level. A player to be on that level would have to have been at least as successful as Duke, if not more. but if you weren't as good as Duke? Drop a level please, unless you are just visiting (take a step back Cal Ripken Jr., your floor is two floors down). As for commissioners, umpires, announcers, owners, managers and coaches, they would get their own wing in the Hall of Fame. As well as players who had legendary performances, but just weren't Hall of Fame worthy (Roger Maris, anyone who has thrown a no hitter or perfect game that isn't in the Hall of fame, players who hit for the cycle or had four homer games, Fernando Tatis' two grand slams in one inning, etc.). As well as actually having the museum still attached and an area for the lighter side of baseball: baseball cards, video games, apparel, autograph signings, book releases, etc.

Plus, you gotta have a baseball themed restaurant. Maybe something like Charlie's Hustle or the Mad Dog Grill.

And, by the way, Shoeless Joe and Charlie Hustle himself would find a place in that Hall of Fame. Their accomplishments were not hindered by their gambling (or perceived gambling). Their stats (and stature off the field) spak for themselves.

So what does this mean for the future? This means 1) my dream will never happen & 2) mroe and more less qualified players will be getting into the hall of fame.

David Cone and Kenny Rogers? Sure, why not, you guys threw no-hitters, didn't ya?

*This was "borrowed" from Bill Simmons, ESPN's Sports Guy, in his new book "The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy". Go out, pick it up and read it. 700 pages of basketball greatness. (I am receiving no compensation for this...though I should ask for some.....)

P.S. If you have a ballot and vote for no one, then one of the bad ass hall of famers (Reggie Jackson or Nolan Ryan probably) will come to yoru house, take your ballot and kick you in the nuts for being a ninnie.

04 January 2010

The Newest Member to my Posse

Right now, my posse stands at Hunter Pence, Javier Vazquez and Richard Hidalgo.

I have the 90's covered (Hidalgo) and the modern times covered (Pence and Vazquez), but in my collection, I don't have ANY of the vintage covered (at least in a player collection sense).

Well, that time is over.

Just before Christmas I started a trade with a member of SportsCardForum for a starter lot of stuff of this vintage guy. If you have checked out my Top 10 Most Wanted list, he appears twice on the list.

That player: Bob Gibson.

I wasn't alive when Gibson was an active player, but seeing highlights and looking at his stats absolutely pulled me into Gibson. I don't know why I never collected him before, but I am glad I have started.

And the primary reason I chose him is: for being such a dominant player, his stuff is relatively cheap. Outside of his rookie card and low numbered autographs, his cards are all priced fairly well. His mroe abundant autos and game used all end under $20, which is awesome when you think of the career he had: 2 Cy Youngs, 2 World Series MVP's, set the modern era record for ERA in a season with 1.12. During that season (1968), he also won the NL MVP, allowed only 2 earned runs of a 90 inning span (a 0.20 ERA), threw 13 shutouts (2nd all time behind Grover Alexander's 16), struck 17 tigers in game 1 of the World Series and lost FIVE 1-0 games (including one game where the Cardinals were no hit). Because of his dominant season, it led to the pitching mound being lowered by five inches. The only time someone has played so well that the rules of the game were changed.

So, here are a few cards I am getting in that package, though it hasn't arrived yet (Note: These are not my pictures, none of the cards are graded):

1969 Topps #432
1973 Topps #190

1965 Topps #138

I will also be receiving two magazines in the trade:

1969 Who's Who in Baseball
April 1971 Baseball Digest

And, to end the pickups (for now), I picked up this book on eBay this morning:
The Autobiography of Bob Gibson
(Advanced Copy)
I picked this book up (plus the magazines) because I have never collected oddball stuff outside of cards for ANY of my collecting ventures. For ol' Bobby though, I plan on collecting books and magazines with his face on the cover, McFarlane's, beanie babies, dvd's, etc. Anything and everything interesting to me.
So if you ever run across anything Bob Gibson, keep me in your mind.
Also, I will be starting a project soon that I would like to have as many opinions on as possible. I am rethinking the Baseball Hall of Fame and a way to make it have more prestige, by making a "level" system, where, based on stats and HOF credentials, a player would be placed on a different level (like, Jim Rice and Willie Mays wouldn't be on the same level, nor would Gaylord Perry and Walter Johnson).
It will be pretty time consuming and quite a long process, but should be a ton of fun and will need particpation from a bunch of different minds.
More details will be revealed in the future.

02 January 2010

Florida's Greatest Catcher of All Time is.....Mike Piazza?!?!?!?


I mean, really, the choice wasn't too hard. Other than Mike Piazza, who else has donned a mask for the Marlins or Rays? Charles Johnson? Dioner Navarro? Ivan Rodriguez (I mean, yeah, he was on their WS winning team, but so was Mike Redmond)?

Pudge's defensive dominance aside, it has to be Piazza. Even if he was only a Marlin for a week, during that tumultuous 1998 season when he was traded TWICE in a span of ten days or so. And it was during his peak years (he hit 32 homers that season and still had 4 more 30 plus homer seasons and 3 more 20 homer seasons on top of those 30 homer seasons).

Why do I bring this up? Mainly, just to show off the ONLY card I have of Piazza wearing a Marlins uniform. But also to ask, has any other superstar (and future Hall of Famer) ever been traded twice, in one season, at the height of their time?

01 January 2010

Through the Mail 2010: The Houston Astros Project

First day of the new year, so it is time to unveil my first ever through the mail project.

I am following in the foot steps of what someone else is doing (Therion, over on the FreedomCardBoard forums), though, I am a little behind him in terms of progress.

Therion is attempting to get an autographed card from EVERYONE to ever don an Astros uniform. His goal for 2010 is to have 350 total different Houston Astros autos.

My goal isn't as near as lofty as his, but still pretty substantial. I want to send out to 125 current, former or retired Astros and have a success rate (or return rate) of about 70%. So, out of the 125 people I send to, I hopefully receive a signed card or two back from 78 of those people.

This will not be my only TTM project of the year, but this is the most grand. I am still pondering exactly what I want to do with the other project(s), but I will have my head wrapped around it a little better in the upcoming weeks.

I will keep track of all the people I send to and keep track of when I receive them back. Hopefully I hit my goal (or even better, exceed it) and move further towards the same goal that Billy (Therion) has: One auto from every player ever to wear an Astros uniform.

Many thanks to give out today....

And by many thanks, I mean 3 thanks. (I borrowed all pictures, so none are my originals)

First up, is Mark from "Mark's Ephemera". He sent me a handful of cards he picked up on the cheap at his local cardshop. They were:

2000 Topps Traded Francisco Rodriguez ROOKIE (I plan on grading this eventually, it is in great shape)

2007 Bowman Brent Celek Rookie & Darelle Revis Rookie
2003 Bowman Tyrone Calico Rookie (For my Titans collection)

Next up, is Wrigley Wax. He contacted me a few weeks back mentioning he had some early 70's Topps Astros for my Astros Topps Team Sets project. He sent me nine 1974 Topps, 2 1974 Topps Traded and seven 1973 Topps cards. The highlight was the 74 Topps NL All Stars Amos Otis/Cesar Cedeno card. Cesar was such an underrated player for th 70's and 80's 'Stros.

Last, but not least, is C. Kugelman, from Indianapolis. He sent me a box with a handful of goodies. Probably 70 or 80 2008 topps, of which I needed 30 of and a few Hunter Pence cards I needed and a few Javier Vazquez cards I needed. The thing is, I don't have even the vaguest of clues as to who this is in the blogging world. So, if you are a Mr. (or Mrs.) Kugelman, please email me or leave a comment.


The Balk Four Great Big Ol' Trade Post

Well, this will be the ONLY time I ever have a trade post, so check it out. If I get anything new in, I will updat the post. So if you ever feel the need to trade me something I need, a link to this post will be in the sidebar for all of eternity (or as long as this blog survives) so check in whenever you want and throw me an offer for something you need.

A little heads up: my scanner has crapped out on me, so this post will be about 80% text with only a small amount of my cards having scans.

The scanned cards:


2000 Royal Rookies:
Frederick Torres 2402/4950 RANGERS
Jose Morban 2883/4950 RANGERS

1996 Leafe Signature Series Tom Lampkin GIANTS
2001 Royal Rookies Javier Calzada A'S
2007 SP Authentic By The Letter Kevin Cameron "R" 14/50 PADRES
2007 UD Elements Clar Cut Aaron Harang AUTO/JSY 068/350 REDS
2001 Topps Archives Moose Skowron YANKEES
2007 UD USA Junior Jersey & Signature Jarrod Parker AUTO/JSY 260/295 DIAMONDBACKS
2008 Bowman Nyjer Morgan PIRATES
2007 UD USA Today & Tomorrow Jemile Weeks/Christian Colon A'S

Game Used

2002 Fleer Classic Cuts Ted Williams Bat RED SOX ***Only looking to trade this for something really nice for my PC (Think a nice Pence auto, Bagwell auto, Biggio auto, Bob Gibson auto or graded Gibson 59 Topps)
2008 UD Ballpark Collection Quad Swatch Memorabilia Griffey/Harang/Soriano/Zambrano 4x JSY REDS/CUBS
2008 UD A Piece of History Stadium Scenes Adam Dunn JSY w/ Stripe REDS
2002 Sweet Spot Classics Graig Nettles BAT YANKEES
2003 Flair Power Tools Jim Thome BAT 138/500 PHILLIES
2009 Goodwin Champions Brandon Webb JSY w/Stripe DIAMONDBACKS
2002 Upper Deck NL All Star Swatches Fred McGriff JSY CUBS
2007 Sweet Spot Classic Cal Ripken Jr. JSY ORIOLES
2001 UD Pros & Prospects Then & Now Schilling/R. Johnson DUAL JSY DIAMONDBACKS


2008 SPX Winning Materials:

JJ Hardy 4 Color 66/99 BREWERS
Andruw Jones 2 Color 70/99 BRAVES

2005 Donruss Zenith Andy Pettite 4 Color 14/100 ASTROS

Serial Numbered Inserts

2007 Topps Updates & Highlights GOLD Jeff Salazar #22 1860/2007 DIAMONDBACKS
2001 Topps Traded GOLD JD Martin RC #T263 533/2001 INDIANS
2001 Topps Traded Gold Dane Sardinha RC #T194 745/2001 REDS
2001 Topps Traded Gold Jeff Randazzo RC #T254 516/2001 TWINS
2004 Topps Traded GOLD Javier Guzman RC #T196 1240/2004 PIRATES
2004 Topps Traded GOLD Jim Crowell RC #T113 1556/2004 PHILLIES
2008 Donruss Elite COLLEGE TIES Dusty Coleman/Aaron Shafer #CTC-17 627/1500
2005 Donruss Elite ELITE TEAMS BRAVES #ET-10 592/1000
2008 Bowman ORANGE Scott Rolen #43 223/250 BLUE JAYS
2008 Bowman DP&P BLUE Henry Sosa #76 246/399 GIANTS
2008 Donruss Threads GREEN Will Clark #44 46/250 GIANTS
2006 Reflections GREEN Pedro Martinez #46 30/499 METS
2005 Donruss Zenith GOLD ARTIST'S PROOF Johnny Estrada #58 40/50 BRAVES
2005 Donruss Champions GOLD? Vernon Wells #340 38/50 BLUE JAYS
1999 Upper Deck Black Diamond DIAMOND DEBUT Shane Monahan #118 866/2500 MARINERS
2002 Donruss Classics GOLD Wilson Valdez #223 384/1500 MARLINS
2007 Bowman Sterling REFRACTOR Phil Hughes #PH 147/199 YANKEES
2004 Donruss Elite ASPIRATIONS Carlos Delgado #68 68/75 BLUE JAYS
2005 Donruss Elite ASPIRATIONS LEG Johnny Bench #161 43/95 REDS
2006 Finest REFRACTOR Zack Greinke #27 52/399 ROYALS
2005 Donruss POWER ALLEY Manny Ramirez #14 257/1000 RED SOX
1998 Donruss Fan Club FANTASY TEAM Larry Walker #13 1433/4000 ROCKIES
2005 Diamond Kings BLUE BORDER Mark Buerhle #333 23/100 WHITE SOX
2008 UD A Piece of History BOX SCORE MEMORIES Chipper Jones #3 47/75 BRAVES
2007 M&M BLACK Mickey Mantle #RBI57 16/29 YANKEES
2005 Donruss PRESS PROOF RED DK Alfonso Soriano #23 45/200 RANGERS
1997 Donruss POWER ALLEY Andruw Jones #6 3095/4000 BRAVES
2000 Crown Royale BLUE Albert Belle #17 09/75 ORIOLES
2006 Finest GREEN REFRACTOR Freddy Garcia #10 143/199 WHITE SOX
2005 Topps Pristine COMMON BASE Chuck Tiffany #119 28/66 DODGERS
2005 Donruss Elite ELITE TEAMS MARLINS #4 300/1500

To be finished later
To be finished later

I will finish this at a later date. I can just feel carpal tunnel kicking in and I still have one more post to knock out (my thank you post).

Happy New Year from Germany!!!

Well, the new year is here already for those of us out here in Germany.

Obviously, since I am posting, I didn't do anything too major. I just plan on getting a few posts up.

One is going to be a thanks post for a few different bloggers and the other is going to be the unveiling of my Through The Mail Auto project.

Thanks to all of those who have read my blog and commented or emailed me in the short time I have been a part of the baseball card blogosphere.

Here's to another year of great health and, hopefully, some new GOOD luck.

-- Anthony K.