31 May 2010

100th Post Contest......

.....over at BA Benny's Baseball Card Buffet.

What, you thought it was for this blog?

Well, not yet. I need to formulate a contest first. Look for it in my next post ;)

30 May 2010

Newest Autos to the PC Collection

Well, over the past few months I have been able to pick up auto cards of my two main PC guys (Richard Hidalgo & Javier Vazquez) at pretty considerable amounts, so I felt like showing them off.

Javier Vazquez

First up, I will start with one of the newer auto sets, from 2010 Chicle.
 This is an Artist's Autograph, numbered 6/10. I really like two things about the Chicle set: on card autos and, well, I really like the art work on his cards.

Next up is a hard to find Leaf Certified Material Mirror Gold auto.

 Now, onto the three recent Richard Hidalgo auto pick ups, starting off with something from far south of the border.

 This is a 94-95 Line Up Venezuelan auto, shipped from, well, Venezuela. The seller has two other autos up for sale, but for more than I paid for this one, so I am holding back on buying them. Please note, this isn't a bad scan, just what is on the "top loader", which seems to just be a crazy piece of plastic all around the card.

 2003 Donruss Team Heroes auto, 74/100. I've seen a few here and there, but usually for BINs much higher than I would be willing to hit on, even for a PC card. I hate sticker autos, but it doesn't look TERRIBLE on this card, in my opinion.

 1997 Scoreboard Visions Signings auto. These are generally easy to find, but some of the bigger names in the Scoreboard sets have a tendency to be faked, so a lot of people ignore this set. A great early, on card auto of Hidalgo.

Well, those are all the auto'ed cards I have gotten in recently. I have a few more big mailday packages coming in soon, including 2 from Check Out My Cards, one from sportlots (just a large handful of base, but more to knock off of the ol' checklist) and a decent sized lot from Syndicate Sports Cards, in an off eBay deal, where they were willing to take an offer of less than the total combined price for all of the cards. And, yes, the 3 larger lots include more autos.

Thanks to the sell of all of my game used and auto cards that were not PC, I have been able to work very diligently at my 2010 Collecting goals and should be able to knock out a lot by the end of the year.

Thanks for looking guys.

28 May 2010

Favorite player of yore...

Well, my mother-in-law couldn't think of anything to buy me for my birthday, so she just sent birthday cash instead, which, is never a bad idea for a card collector.

So I spent some time diving around eBay, looking for something nice to pick up and settled on an autograph of one of my favorite players of all time (oh, and it has a jersey piece too):

Tony Gwynn

 I received it in the mail yesterday and was terribly pleased with the quick shipping from the seller (not to mention the free shipping). This card of Gwynn will be one of the few non-Hidalgo or Vazquez cards that will be in my PC. And, to make things even better, my mother-in-law happened to be a huge Gwynn fan growing up as well and even did a little card collecting of him when she was younger. Small world, huh?

I know she still doesn't collect cards, but I have a decent amount of Gwynn base cards laying around, so I may go ahead and get those together and give them to her as part of a gift (maybe for like Christmas or something), to help bring back the memories from her youth and the enjoyment she had collecting his cards.

You may be asking yourself, "Now, how come you never mentioned Gwynn being one of your favorites and why did you wait so long to pick up an auto of him?". Well, this isn't the first auto of Gwynn's I have owned (nor is it the best). The previous auto I once had in my possession was foolishly sold with the rest of my earlier collection to purchase random boxes and an XBOX (yeah, I know, gambling and video games, who would have thought, huh?). I had my reasons though: I was having a string of good luck with pulls from boxes and someone had recently stolen my XBOX (the original, not the 360, it was quite some time ago) and some of my games, so I needed entertainment at the apartment (no cable, no internet, so it was kind of the dark ages there).

Why have a waited so long since then? Outside of a few choice cards (a Beltran Super I won for a guy who couldn't afford it, the Hidalgo Red Crusade and the Hidalgo 98 Donruss Signature Series Century auto being the three), I had never spent more than about $15 on any one card. Maybe i'm cheap, maybe i'm selective, I don't know.

The good thing is, it is one more thing knocked off of my 2010 Goals list, meaning I can now aim for slightly more expensive autos (Mike Piazza and Nolan Ryan, as a matter of fact).

27 May 2010

Ubaldo F@$%ing Jimenez.....

Gonna try a little something new on the blog here: random daily recaps of games I choose from the day before.
  • Ubaldo Jimenez, the Coors Field Wizard, was at it again last night. Though he allowed what is now an uncharacteristic 6 hits, he also struck out 3 and once again allowed no runs, lowering his league leading ERA to 0.88. He also won his league leading 9th game of the season. NL All Star starter and Cy Young candidate anyone?
  • In his first start since making it apparent he wanted to be traded, Roy Oswalt had his 10th consecutive quality start since the beginning of the season, continuing his team record. With only 4 hits allowed and 9 strikeouts over 8 shutout innings, he is making a tough case to be traded (and making other teams realize how expensive he is going to cost).
  • The always erratic Bronson Arroyo held it together for 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball against the Pirates. He allowed only 5 hits, while lowering his ERA to 4.12. A bright spot for the upstart Reds, they need continued production from their SP to keep themselves at the top of the NL Central.
  • New York Mets off-season import Hisanori Takahashi helped the Mets blank the Phillies for the 2nd consecutive night. It was Takahashi's 2nd big league start and the 2nd time he allowed no runs over 6 innings in those starts. Takahashi may have found himself a spot in the Mets rotation with his pitching in these two starts.
  • AJ Burnett flashed his inner brilliance, holding the Twins to no runs on 3 hits over 5 innings, with the Yankess relief core handing the ball over to Mariano Rivera in the 9th to close it out (which would be his first of two saves on the night).
This was an all pitcher update because, well,the pitchers were quite fantastic yesterday. With so many great pitching lines, it was tough to really pay attention to any hitting.

24 May 2010

The Parallel Set That Started It All

While I was busy doing a random eBay search, just browsing through the auctions, trying to find things to convince myself to purchase, I stumbled upon what is, in my opinion, the greatest insert set ever, up for sale, all in PSA 9's and 10's.

1993 Topps Finest Refractor Set; All PSA 9's and 10's

Now, this may be the ONLY 93 Finest refractor set where all of the cards are graded a PSA 9 or higher, so this is the standard bearer for all of the PSA set collector's out there, for the Finest refractor set.

As I type, the auction is at just under $10,000 and by the time this post hits, will probably exceed $10,000....but maybe not the reserve (why people still use reserves, I will never know).

Anyways, I just thought it was awesome to see this set up for sale and to see so many of them in PSA 10 grades.

Sweet Spot Autos

And the way they fade.

This card has been in my collection a few years:

As you can tell, the auto has faded TERRIBLY. Now, I don't mind too much, since I got the card for a solid price and it is 25/25, but I bring this up because I recently won my second Sweet Spot auto glove:

As you can see with this one, more fading, but not as much. One would think that the fading would happen throughout the product, on all types of cards, but it seems the actual baseball autos have held up pretty well:

Now, I could attribute this to the types of pen used. It seems as if a regular, blue pen was used to sign the above card, whereas the two glove cards seem to be signed by what looks like bleeding felt tip pens, hence the thicker lines.

I am no expert on ink life, light exposure and how to keep these autographs from fading over time, but has anyone else experienced this much fading on any surface other than the brown glove Sweet spot autos? From the ones I have seen, I think I can confirm there are no fading problems with the black leather autos.

Also, anyone have any ideas on how to display these cards WITHOUT the fading becoming worse?

Thanks for any ideas guys.

21 May 2010

Contest Announcement

Over at Enough Already, there is a relatively easy contest going on.

Just answer 6 questions.

That's it.

See, easy, right?

20 May 2010

Purging the Collection and New Blogs to the Blog Roll

Well, as recently as yesterday I did something completely major with my collection.

I sold every autographed, patched or game used card not containing the names Richard Hidalgo or Javier Vazquez.

Now I am pretty torn about the sale, but at the same time, I am thankful for the $250 I got (and the $235 I netted after fees and shipping). There is some stuff on eBay I am eyeballing and need the funds for, since I have no extra funds right now, thanks to the wreck.

But, but, but, what will you trade now? you say. Well, I still have all of my inserts, parallels and base cards. And since I still need a ton of Hidalgo's and Vazquez's base and insert cards, I figure those will do for awhile.

This may seem crazy, but at the same time, I may be able to lock up some large lots of game used and autos for a decent portion of the $250 to restock and still have money left over for the PC, so I am not going to be upset if that does come to fruition.

So, if you have anything of these two guys, that is not game used, drop a comment, send me an email, drop me a line on Twitter, find me on Facebook...you get the drift.

Now, onto the new blogs on the blog roll:

Emerald City Diamond Gems -- Seattle Baseball. Pretty easy to guess, right? Plus, he has an affinity for collecting retired players (4 to be exact) and a player with a hyphenated last name. Give it a read, make a trade, finally unload all of those Mariners you've been talking about giving away.

The Sandlot -- Not only is it named after the greatest baseball movie EVER (ok, I was like 12 when I made that call, but still, it holds up pretty good to today's standards), but it is also a blog about the Mets. And his dog is named Shea, you know, like the old stadium ;)

Lipgloss and Baseball: A Minnesota Twins Blog -- Uh, yeah, do I need to say much more? Lipgloss, baseball, Twins. Too easy, right?

And the last blog, but definitely not the least:

The Infinite Baseball Card Set  -- This is a place where I will post the baseball cards I designed and illustrated. There is no complete set, it will go on forever, each card representing a unique and interesting baseball player, from Negro Leaguers and obscure semi-pro players to cards of hall of famers when they were in the minor leagues. I am going to create all the cards I wanted when I was kid, and share some knowledge and stories from baseballs forgotten corners. (Ok, that is directly from his blog...but he said it better than I could have. Check out mojo and beardy's fantastic card blog to see a sample card he made and for info on buying a set of your own ;) ).

Oh yeah, if you aren't already, feel free to click on the Twitter link and follow me over there. I try to tweet everyday, if I get a chance. It's not always baseball or cards, but it's worth the price you pay.

It's free, get it? Eh. Oh well.

18 May 2010

The Unknown One of One

I like to think of myself as someone with some pretty decent knowledge of baseball cards from about the turn of the new century up until now.

Even with this knowledge, though, some things still tend to slip through the cracks. Usually these things are super low numbered parallels or SP'ed autograph cards. More often than not, they are usually 1/1's from sets I paid little attention to.

One of those sets, was 2004 Upper Deck Play Ball. Up until the past few months, all I knew about the set was a) it was produced by Upper Deck and b) they had produced it for two years and not since.

What I have learned since then is that the base "rainbow" consists of the base card and 4 parallels: Blue, "Parallel" numbered to 175, Green numbered to 15 and Purple, a 1/1.

Lucky for me, I had the funds available when the Purple 1/1 of Richard Hidalgo popped up, which made it the first 1/1 in my Hidalgo PC.

Anyone else have any of the parallels of their player or teams? Has any else seen another purple? To date and to the best of my very fragile memory, this is the only Purple 1/1 I have seen from the set. Maybe due to it's lack of popularity, terrible design or overall cheapness, I don't really know.

The Parallel Chronicles

You ever have a day start out terrible, just because you woke up too early?

Then, slowly but surely, as the day gets going and things get moving, it starts to get better?

That was my day today.

Hunter woke me up before 9 and I let mama sleep in. Then, I had a brave battle with the sleep monster, while sitting on the couch, and won, while my son played and watched Sesame Street around me. I then got out of the house, stopped by Burger King for breakfast and then headed to the insurance office to find out what can be done about the rental and the wrecked Jeep.

Good thing #1: Rental will be paid for for a total of 7 days, so no worrying about transportation until next weekend.
Neutral thing #1: Car may be totaled, meaning a new vehicle is probably in my future.

We then proceed to go back home where mama has decided to arise from her slumber. I have already forgotten what was eaten for lunch, but I know it was something pretty good.

Then, it was off to the post office, where I had two packages waiting for me.

The first package had these two cards in it:

I needed both of these and they ended up in one little auction. How nice.

The second package contained the last and final piece to this little autograph rainbow (it's the blue one, the Century Marks):

Sexy, I know. I got all 4 of those for less than what Burbank Sportscards wants for the Century Marks and Preview combined. Including shipping.

Believe me when I say that this REALLY put a smile on my face.

And, hey, look at that, I got some scanning done today as well ;)

17 May 2010

Yeah, it's back, a new trade list.....

Only looking to trade for Javier Vazquez and Richard Hidalgo stuff I don't need. Other than that, I wouldn't mind selling first and trading second, as I would only be trading for trade bait at that point.

Sorry it's a lot to read, but the scanner is on the fritz right now and I really do not want to mess with it.


09 SP Authentic By The Latter "T" Shairon Martis 53/65
09 Topps T206 Rich Hill
08 SPX Rookie Signatures #117 JR Towles
07 Fleer Ultra #217 Hector Gimenez 123/299
99 Fleer Sports illustrated Greats of the Game Bob Gibson x2
05 Topps archives Jim Frey
99 Upper Deck Retro INKredible Fred Lynn
94 Nabisco Bob Gibson w/ COA
07 USA Today and Tomorrow Jemile Weeks/Christian Colon
08 Bowman Nyjer Morgan
04 Fleer Greats Bob Gibson
97 Donruss Signature Series Rondell White
97 Donruss Signature Series Shawn Estes
97 Donruss Signature Series Neifi Perez
07 USA Junior Jersey & Signature Jarrod Parker w/ JSY 260/295
08 Donruss Elite Extra STATUS Tyson Brummett 22/50
99 Upper Deck Century Legends EPIC Signatures Bob Gibson
07 Upper Deck Exquisite Reflections Kevin Cameron/Justin Hampson 20/40
05 Bowman Chrome Xfractor Mike Rodriguez 223/225
99 Fleer Sports Illustrated Greats of the Game Joe Niekro
04 Donruss Elite Extra Mitch Einertson 914/1047
07 Upper Deck Exquisite Rookie Signatures Signature Materials Josh Barfield w/ QUAD JSY 21/50
1960 Fleer Charlie Gehringer

Game Used

2010 Topps Peak Performance Kevin Youkilis JSY
02 Playoff Piece of the Game Lance Berkman JSY
08 Topps A&G Brian McCann JSY
08 Upper Deck Yankee Stadium Legacy Gary Sheffield JSY w/ Stripe
09 Upper Deck Icons Roy Halladay JSY 02/25
05 Sweet spot Classic Wade Boggs JSY
03 Upper Deck MVP Curt Schilling/Randy Johnson DUAL JSY
08 UD Ballpark Quad Swatch Griffey Jr., Harang, Soriano, Zambrano QUAD JSY
02 Fleer Box Score Press Clippings Troy Glaus JSY
08 UD A Piece of history Stadium Scenes Adam Dunn JSY w/ STRIPE
05 Sweet Spot Majestic Materials Roy Oswalt JSY
05 LCM Fabric of the Game Fred McGriff JSY 65/100
04 Upper Deck Marquee Attractions Jim Thome JSY w/ Stripe
04 Fleer Tradition Stand Outs Jose reyes JSY
03 Leaf Limited threads Roy Oswalt DUAL JSY 38/44
05 Diamond Kings GREEN BORDER Lance Berkman DUAL JSY/BAT 12/25
07 UD Spectrum Super Swatches Lance Berkman QUAD JSY 33/50
04 Sweet Spot Home Run Heroes Hank Blalock JSY 164/199
09 UD Ballpark Collection Stat Kings Holliday/Soriano/Granderson/McLouth/Pence/CB Young SIX TIMES JSY
05 Sweet Spot Classic Bob Gibson JSY
01 Upper Deck Gold Glove Official Issue Berkman/Hidalgo BALL
09 UD Goodwin Brandon Webb JSY w/ Stripe
05 Sweet Spot Classic Duke Snider JSY
02 Upper Deck NL All Star Swatches Fred McGriff JSY
02 Sweet Spot Classics Graig Nettles BAT
08 Sweet Spot Sweet Swatch Dual Oswalt/Zambrano DUAL JSY
01 UD Pros & Prospects Then & Now Randy Johnson DUAL JSY w/ Stripe
03 MLB Hot Prospects Hot Tandems Lance Berkman/Adam Dunn DUAL BAT/JSY w/ Stripe 34/100
05 Donruss Studio Studio Heritage Dale Murphy JSY 180/250
04 Absolute Memorabilia Tools of the trade Lance Berkman TRIPLE GLOVE/JSY/BAT 11/50
07 Upper Deck Game Materials Roy Oswalt JSY


08 SPX Winning Materials JJ Hardy 4-color 66/99
08 SPX Winning Materials Andruw Jones 2-color 70/99
05 Donruss Zenith Andy Pettite 4-color 14/100
03 Fleer Patchworks Level 2 Roy Oswalt 3-color 64/100
08 UD Premier Premier Patches Brian Roberts DUAL 3-color/3-color 37/75


85 Topps Roger Clemens
85 Topps Kirby Puckett
85 topps Mark Mcgwire
02 Upper Deck Brian McCann

Printing Plates

07 Fleer Jason Lane BLACK
09 Bowman Rene Garcia CYAN

15 May 2010

When disaster strikes....

It strikes hard.

Had quite an eventful latish night last night.

I was headed home from Frankfurt, travelling on the autobahn. Due to the rain and construction area, I was going around 80kph, when I came around a blind curve. Much to my dismay, there was an eighteen wheeler that had slowed down to 40kph. This meant I had to attempt to slow down to half my speed in a short distance, without hitting the truck. So, instead, I hit the guardrail. As I attempted to slow down, my car fishtailed in the rain and I lost control of it. I struck the guard rail a total of three teams, causing quite a bit of damage to the car, as seen in the following pictures:

 That fifth and final picture is the bumper and grill from my Jeep Liberty, that was salvaged from the road.

The car is now located two hours away. I had to finish my drive home at 1130 at night, in a rented car, in the rain. Needless to say, I was scared shitless on that part if the drive home, but I made it out of the whole ordeal with no injuries, so I am definitely blessed.

Luckily, my insurance should cover the rental car (quite expensive out here) and most of the damages (not sure if I have a deductible or not, so maybe I should bone up there, huh?).

This means I will be tapping into my card money, which caused me to miss out on a few auctions I REALLY wanted, but I was lucky enough to get something sweet as a belated birthday gift, so I guess it makes up for that:

May have overpaid, but I don't really care, as it was my birthday money and I really wanted a Gwynn auto (knock that off of my 2010 goals list :D).

Anyways, I am off of work until June 1st (thank you pre-deployment leave), so I plan on getting myself back on track with a bunch of posts and comments on other blogs.

Thanks for checking me out guys!!

09 May 2010

Printing Plates: Do you collect them?

I recently bough a 15 year old printing plate for my personal collection, bringing the total number of plates I own to 5:

Probably one of the more rare printing plates I will ever own, as the Scoreboard company wasn't around for too long and most people don't attempt to sell what they have of lesser known players.

But it brings me to the question at hand: to all of your team and player collectors out there, do you collect printing plates? If you collect like I do, the answer is obviously yes. I collect any and all cards of the players I collect, plus I collect inserts, base and one auto per in my team collection. That brings us to, do you even consider a printing plate a card? Obviously, it is card shaped, since it was used to produce the card, but not all printing plates have always been available to the public.

Do you count it like all other 1/1's and add it to the ever growing list of tough to find cards? Or is it more of an anomaly and you only pick them up if they are a good price?

Why am I asking so many questions, like I am 4 years old?

To all the fantasy baseball managers who read my blog....

I am now a writer over on the Fantasy Baseball 101 site. I just finished up my second article for the site and hope to get more insightful articles on the site more often.

I may not be an expert, but baseball is and always will be my first true love, so reading, watching and learning way too much goes a long way in helping me make my fantasy decisions and I would love to be one of the people who helps you make yours (even you guys in the blogger fantasy league).

So head on over to Fantasy Baseball 101 and check it out!!!

Completing a rainbow.....

You know, it really feels great when you finally complete something.

Well, last night, I felt great, because I completed something: the 1998 Donruss Signature Series Richard Hidalgo autograph rainbow.

I had the red (base), green (millenium) and yellow (preview). The Blue "Century Marks" autograph has been setting in Burbanks store for well over a year now, but i couldn't imagine spending $40+ delivered for the auto, especially when I got all three of the others COMBINED for less than $25 shipped.

Anyways, the blue popped up this week and ended yesterday. so, for $27.95 delivered, I present to you the final piece in my second ever rainbow, the 1998 Donruss Signature Blue "Century Marks" Richard Hidalgo autographed card:

(photo taken from eBay)

To say I was excited to win this is an understatement. After winning the LCM Gold autograph of Javier Vazquez earlier in the week and now this, it has been quite a week for my player collections.

Anyone else complete a rainbow? What player and what set?

07 May 2010

Sometimes, it's better not to win something the first time around.....

I just won this Javier Vazquez auto on eBay:

(group scan, not my fault)

Well, this was sold on eBay in the recent past and 1) sold for more than I won it for and 2) sold for more than I had available at the time.

It was the first time I saw the card a few months ago, so I was really bummed to have missed out on it. It goes without saying I was terribly happy after winning it earlier today.

I really think I am going to knock out a lot of my year end goals, maybe even before the year hits the halfway point, if I keep this up.

How is everyone else coming along on that front?

06 May 2010

When work gets in the way of fun......

Who would have thought it would be so tough to find just a little bit of time to knock out a well thought out, thought provoking, interesting, knowledgeable post, while also being a part of the Army?

One person I know: This Guy.

I eventually knew it was going to get crazy around the Balk Four Headquarters and it did. For the last two to three weeks, work has been starting early and ending late. I rarely have internet time and have even less time to blog.....which sucks.

Today, I just caught a break. Wet, cold weather coupled with going to a German firing range (and earning an award, but more on that later) meant a short day at work today, which means I have time to blog :) (that, plus the wife and boy are talking to Grammy and the wife is watching America's Next Top Model).

Anyways, since my lat post about the volcanic activity and the disruption in my life it has caused, the one card pictured, hasn't arrived (I mean, seriously, two plus weeks eBay seller, really? I bought something LAST week and received it yesterday, get it together). What has arrived, though, was many, MANY packages, including a few 1/1's.

Without further ado (well, some ado after the photos) my mailweeks, in pictures:

 Ok, obviously that is only 7 pictures, probably a lot less then you expected. Well, that's less than I expected too. I haven't had a chance to scan anything yet, so eBay pictures had to do and many of my ended auctions had the pictures already pulled. My bad.

I also won a 52 card lot of Jeff Bagwell, had a 200 card order from Sportlots and FINALLY received my Nike+ Running Device, so I can finally track my workouts better.

On a sad note, I am slowly but surely, selling off everything in my Hunter Pence collection besides the Blue Refractor auto and the base and inserts. All of the autos have been sold and all but like 3 game used are gone as well. It has become terribly tough to collect four players and a team, so I decided to focus on the team and three other players. It was a tough decision to make and even tougher to list the auctions (especially since almost all sold for way too little), but it was a decision that had to be made.

On the positive side: My family and I headed down to a resort in the Alps of Germany last weekend for a marriage retreat, which is really a "free trip to the alps with three hours of suggestions on how to further enrich your marriage". This is the second time we have gone and it was more expensive this time than last. Why, you ask? Well, my 25th birthday was last weekend, so we went out for drinks that weekend. For my wife, that was the first time in THREE years she has been able to go out and drink over night, without being A) Pregnant or B) home by 11. I went out the night before (Friday) with a couple of buddies and had a great time as well. Got pretty drunk (hey, it's been awhile and I am still young), had a German band sing Happy Birthday to me in English and woke up without a hang over. As for Saturday, my wife and I went out with the supply sergeant of my troop and his wife and hit up a few Irish pubs. We started out the night with Black Irish Russians and ended the night drinking Irish Whiskey (Paddy's Irish Whiskey to be correct, can't find it in the states, but you can get a few companies in England to mail it to you.....it's worth the extra money, believe it).

Other than that, we have been packing for deployment, going to ranges (all kinds of cool shit, M4, M249 SAW, MK19, M2 .50 Cal Machine Gun, a new gun the M320) and today I went to a German post (our sister company in Germany) and had the chance to fire three of their weapons in the schutesenschneres and earn a Bronze badge, which is awesome. What makes it better is, in the two plus years I have been in Germany, my troop has only sent FOURTEEN people, so I was extremely happy to have been chosen to go.

Ok, wow, that was a TON of words. Anyways, i'm hoping to be back in the blogging game (and active on Twitter, because I have block leave soon, plus things are finally starting to slowdown at work, so I should have plenty of more time to get back into the swing.

Thanks for reading guys, sorry for so many words.