Tuesday, February 25, 2014

One Month Of Sobriety (Almost)

For the first time in roughly 3 years, I was on the verge of lasting a month without buying any new cards. The key word there is buying as I have acquired quite a lot of cards these past few weeks via trades (which I'll blog about once I finally get off my behind and scan everything).
*Note, the rack pack and T206 Jack Quinn I blogged about a while back were both purchased on 1/31 so they don't count*
And yes, I'm aware that February is the shortest month of the year so the "feat" wouldn't have been impressive anyway. Not that that matters anymore since my sobriety only lasted 19 days, as I picked this up on eBay a while back.

T206 Birdie Cree

I went bonkers and ended up paying a few cents shy of a retail blaster for this (including shipping). Which I suppose is pretty reasonable considering that this is a 100 year old T206 Yankee Highlander, but I did kind of feel like I overpaid a tad for this seeing as I had a couple of other T206 Yankee Highlanders on my watch list that were a few dollars cheaper.
But now that I finally have this card in hand and also noticed that some of the other T206 Cree's on eBay have gone for far more than what I paid (some in even worse condition), whatever buyer's remorse-ish thing I had going on is pretty much gone.

Normally I'd include a in-depth bio on Birdie Cree here but I can't compete with this fantastic bio on SABR (I'd highly recommend checking it out). So here is a small list of things people should know about Mr. Cree.
  • Mr. Cree was born on October 23rd, 1882 in Khedive, Pennsylvania
  • Mr. Cree's real name is William Franklin Cree
  • Mr. Cree was very fast and established the Yankees franchise record for the most triples in a single season with 22 triples (record was broken later on)
  • Mr. Cree also played football
  • Mr. Cree got his nickname "Birdie" when he was playing for Penn State's baseball team
  • Mr. Cree became a fully qualified teacher in 1903 and taught in public schools in California city
  • Mr. Cree went under the name "Bill Burde" at the beginning of his professional baseball career
  • Mr. Cree's contract was purchased by Connie Mack of the Philadelphia Athletics but was later acquired by the Detroit Tigers
  • Mr. Cree was then traded to the New York Highlanders in exchange that George Moriarty sign with the Tigers the following season
  • Mr. Cree made his MLB debut on September 17th, 1908 for the Highlanders as a centerfielder and batted third
  • Mr. Cree had a career year in 1911 as he led his team in average (.348), slugging (.513), total bases (267), triples (22), stolen bases (48), extra base hits (56), and was even tied for the most home runs (4)
  • Mr. Cree was tied with Tris Speaker for 6th place in the 1911 MVP voting
  • Mr. Cree's career after 1911 was plagued with injuries and he retired after the 1915 season
  • Mr. Cree died on November 8th, 1942.
Please keep in mind that this is only the tip of the iceberg of the Birdie Cree story. You'll find a lot more interesting facts about Mr. Cree in the link I posted above.


Going back to the card, this pickup will hopefully be the only baseball card I actually purchase in February. And for those of you who are wondering why I'm making such a big deal about not spending money on baseball cards, all will be explained next month (provided I don't make anymore impulse buys and ruin my plan).

Anyway, thanks for dropping by and tolerating me showing off another T206 (they've become an addiction, HELP!). Take care guys.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

TTM Return x2: Don Larsen & David Phelps

Two returns from two awesome Yankee pitchers :).

Received On: 2/22/2014

I'm pretty sure that most of you know who Don Larsen is. He was in the majors for 15 seasons and threw a perfect game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series for the Yankees. And he was a pretty darn good hitter (as far as pitchers go).

I sent Mr. Larsen the card above along with a donation/fee and he sent it back signed along with a catalog/price guide for various other memorabilia (mostly 8x10 photos).

Up next is my first return from an active Yankee. David "Phelpsie" Phelps.

Received On: 2/22/2014

Phelpsie was drafted by the Yankees in the 14th round of the 2008 MLB player draft (440th overall). Phelps spent four seasons in the minors, made the Yankees' Opening Day roster in 2012 and made his MLB debut on April 8th, 2012 as a reliever.
Since then Phelps has been in and out of the Yankees rotation often filling in for injured starters.
2013 didn't go very smoothly for Phelps as he spent a lot of time on the DL but I really hope he bounces back in 2014. He's currently one of the candidates for the 5th spot in the starting rotation and IMHO is probably the strongest candidate. It'll be interesting to see what happens if Phelps doesn't get the job as the next logical job for him would be the long-man in the bullpen only that job is probably going to by occupied by Adam Warren. Good luck Phelpsie!

I'll go a lot more into detail about Phelps (especially his time in the minors) in a future edition of Players With Staten Island Yankees Cards.

So huge thanks to Mr. Larsen and Mr. Phelps for the awesome autographs.
As always I'd like to thank those of you who took the time to read all of this. Take care everyone.

TTM Goal Countdown: 40

Monday, February 17, 2014

2012 Sega Card Gen Ichiro Suzuki (Yankees Ver.)

July 23rd, 2012 is the day that the Seattle landmark Area 51 disappeared. Ichiro came into the (2012) season after his streak of 200+ hits per season ended the previous season, showed signs of age, wear and tear, and in the last year of his contract. He left the team by his own accord as he found the team around him getting younger and younger and now part two of the Ichiro story begins.

I love this card. The picture was clearly taken during his first at-bat as a Yankee at Safeco a few hours after the trade had been announced. Although part two of the Ichiro story (technically part 3) has not been too great.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Everything Is Awesome

As the title probably doesn't suggest, I recently saw the new Lego Movie.
I don't want to spoil the movie for anyone but I was relatively sad that it was CGI animated and not stop motion (although it did do it's best to look like a stop-motion film) and that the film had the same old plot that's been done an infinite number of times in kids movies (trust me, you've seen this movie before under a trillion different titles already). Oh and they completely screwed up Batman's personality (although I suppose one could argue that there's a difference between The Batman and Lego Batman).
Despite that, I thought the film was pretty harmless, the moral (albeit one that's been done to death) is still an important lesson for kids and it did make me want to go play with my Legos again.

Which brings me to what this post is about.
Before I was as into baseball cards as I am now, I had another obsession hobby. LEGO.
I absolutely loved Lego. I had a ton of play sets (mostly Star Wars themed) and and every once in a while I do suddenly get the urge to just spend an entire day just playing with Lego blocks.
Occasionally I even bring my old hobby and new hobby together,

I know that I need a Boba, I'm working on it!

Or at least I would if I had any idea how.
I've always struggled to bring these two together. It's kind of like the pizza and ice cream effect where you like them both but can't really combine them.
I suppose that it could be because I'm not creative or "artsy" enough to come up with a way to bring them together, especially now that I'm a boring adult-ish person. The closest I ever got to bringing these two together usually just resulted in me creating a house with Lego and leaning a card against one of the walls.

Despite the compatibility issue (that probably only I have) Lego and baseball cards do have one thing in common.
That's right, they're both ungodly expensive.

Well okay I suppose they do have a few more things in common. Like how they're both (usually) sold in boxes, how one company has the industry on lock/near-lock, how you can get used "singles" you want for a cheaper price on the secondhand market (although Lego minifigures cost A LOT more than 90% of baseball cards) and that they're both sold in single packs where you have no idea what you're going to get (although I suppose that's just for the minifigures series).
Speaking of which I picked up a trio of those minifigure packs seen above after seeing the movie (yes I'm a sheep, BAA!) and I managed to hit two of the minifigs I was kind of hoping to get.

Emmet (the film's protagonist/hero)
Wyldstyle (Emmet's love interest)

Emmet and Wyldstyle (Lucy) are two of the film's main characters. The Emmet minifigure has another facial expression on his head (an even happier one) and the Wyldstyle/Lucy seen here is a disguise version (she's usually wearing a hoodie in the film) and is, kind of, dressed like how women used to dress when they attended baseball games.
Attention baseball fans, please bring back the suits and dresses! No more casual T-shirts or replica jerseys with grease stains on them. At least have the decency to look like you're from the past when your favorite teams are wearing throwback jerseys. Thank you.

Larry The Barista

My last minifig was Larry The Barista who I think was only in the movie for like 5 seconds. Warning, the coffee in his hand will cost you 37 bucks. Still cheaper than Starbucks though.

Anyway I suppose my search of the perfect way to combine LEGOs and baseball cards still continues and will probably never end. But if any of you have any ideas/suggestions on how these might go together or have any stories of playing with both (if you collected both that is) I'd love to hear them.

As always I'd like to thank those of you who've managed to last this long and read my unfocused ramblings. Take care and make sure you don't step on any Lego blocks ;).

Close(r), but not quite

Friday, February 14, 2014

TTM Return: Justin Masterson

My latest TTM return is from my favorite pitcher who isn't/was never a Yankee.

Received On: 2/14/2014

Justin Masterson was originally drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 2nd round of the 2006 MLB player draft and made his MLB debut on April 24th, 2008 and was yo-yo'd up and down the majors and minors for the rest of the year. The following year he was traded along with Nick Hagadone and Bryan Price to the Cleveland Indians for Victor Martinez and has since gone on to be the Indians' ace and was their opening day starter in 2012 and 2013.

I really love this return because this is now the 4th Sega Card Gen card I've had a player sign. Plus Masterson even took the time to inscribe a bible verse.
But the same time I feel like an asshole right now because I figured that this return (which I sent in mid-August last year) was never going to return and sent another request to Mr. Masterson just last week for try number 2. I feel pretty guilty for letting impatience get the better of me. Hopefully I won't make the same mistake next year with somebody else.

TTM Goal Countdown: 48

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

2002 Japanese Topps/Topps Kanebo

Back when I was living in Japan I was lucky enough to come across this.

Now I know that most of you just went "big deal, that's just an ordinary 2002 Topps card of Jorge Posada" but it's far from ordinary.
You see, if you look on the back...

It's actually a Japanese version of Jorge Posada's 2002 Topps card.
Back in 2002, the MLB was getting very popular in Japan after Ichiro-mania took both Japan and the US by storm. And at the height of MLB's popularity in Japan, Topps and a company called Kanebo Foods released a product called MLB Gum.

As the name suggests these cards came with a stick of gum and a raffle-ish sticker which would let you know if you had won a special binder and/or a semi-creepy bobblehead (I've never seen a pack so I'm not 100% sure how these were actually distributed).
There were 2 sets of Topps Kanebo (aka Japanese Topps) that were released. One in 2002 and one in 2003. And, as far as I know, there were 2 different kinds of parallels released as well. A greyish/silverish parallel and a black border parallel. I'm not sure about the 2003 set but the 2002 set had a total of 55 cards and I was actually lucky enough to find a full set of 2002 Topps Kanebo in Japan for aprox. 10 bucks.

Some highlights

I originally intended on keeping this set intact and eventually selling it in it's entirety once I came back to the US but I could never agree on a price with potential buyers (that's a problem when you're dealing with foreign cards with undefined value) so I decided to keep it. There may come a time when I decide to break this set up (I'm keeping the Yankees & A-Rod though) as I know quite a few player/team collectors who could use these. But for now I don't mind keeping it around.

Some more highlights

Even more highlights

As always, thanks again for stopping by and take care.

Let it haunt your nightmares for a week!