Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ouch, Static!

Greetings. I've been working on my next showing off my pickups at once post, this time involving hitters, but I wanted to show this particular pickup on it's own first.

This, my friends, is one of Topps/Bowman's newest parallels. I understand that these are referred to as static refractors.

These are numbered to 35 (because we really needed more oddly numbered refractors don't we?). I basically got this for the price of one pack of 2014 Bowman Chrome (S&H included) which is worth it in my book. The parallel's gimmicky nature aside, Thairo Estrada is a player I've had my eye on for a while and I'm glad I was able to pick this up for that low. Before Torrens was assigned to Staten Island on a rehab assignment, Estrada was arguably the best prospect on the Staten Island Yankees. And had Torrens never come to SI (and had Estrada managed to stay in SI a little longer) Estrada might've been my newest PC guy.

Anyway Estrada was signed out of Venezuela (Venezuela keeps pumping out my PC guys doesn't it) as a 16-year old non-drafted free agent in 2012 (along with LUIIIIISSSSSSSSSSS and soon to be minor league sensation Jorge Mateo). As such Estrada was sort of an afterthought/sleeper pick amongst prospectors who were more interested in LUIIIIISSSSSSSSSSS and Alex Palma. That said he managed to turn some heads in 2013 when he arrived to the US ahead of schedule (many thought he'd spend a little more time in the DSL), hit for a solid .278/.350/.432 slash line and was even ranked as the 20th best prospect in the GCL by Baseball America. Considering how he was just picked up for $49k (a small amount compared to what the high profile players from Latin America usually get) it looked like he came out of nowhere.

In 2014 Estrada had a chance to really take a step forward and force his way into the Yankees shortstop of the future conversation after being assigned to the Staten Island Yankees as an 18 year old, which is young even by NYPL standards. And he sort of did, hitting for a .271/.348/.288 slash line (take it with a grain of salt, it's SS-A after all) before he suffered a leg-injury and went to rehabilitate it in Tampa. After he got his leg back in order he spent the rest of the season down in the GCL (meanwhile the Staten Island Yankees gave the starting SS job to newly-signed Vicente Conde while also testing out Billy Fleming) and the GCL Yankees managed to go all the way to the finals before dropping the last game in the Championship Finale to the Boston Red Sox GCL affiliate.

I have a feeling that Estrada will be back in Staten Island next year, although he could very well be a candidate for Pulaski or, worse yet, Charleston. He's not on too many radars now, but it wouldn't surprise me one bit if by this time next year Yankee-prospects heads like myself will be talking about how the Yankees have too many good shortstops in the low-mid minors and guys like Estrada were behind it. Thanks to the insanely huge international free agent haul the Yankees brought in this summer, coupled with a few notables from past drafts and signing periods, we'll have (at least) Tyler Wade, Abietal Avelino, Thairo Estrada, Jorge Mateo, Yancarlos Baez, Dermis Garcia, Diego Castillo and Hyo-Joon Park all competing for jobs at the lower levels (up to high-A Tampa) and eventually the higher levels as they slowly move up.

Anyway thanks for stopping by again and take care :).


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Weekend TTM Roundup: 10/6-10/11

This week I didn't get a whole lot of returns (I only got one actually), but it was a very special one.

Received On: 10/6/2014

My only return this week was from former Yankees farmhand Ryan Bicondoa.
Bicondoa was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the New York Yankees in 2002. He was a pretty dominant starter at Western Kentucky University before turning pro and he was a big reason why the 2002 Staten Island Yankees managed to win the championships. Bicondoa went 6-4 with a 1.90 ERA in 85.1 innings and even threw three complete games during his time as a Baby Bomber.
In 2003 Bicondoa was promoted to Tampa but was traded midway through the season for Armando Benitez who was boo'd out of the Mets bullpen and into the Yankees. Bicondoa was assigned to the St. Lucie Mets for the remainder of 2003 but he found himself in indie ball for the next two seasons (still better than being a Met). Then in 2006 the Chicago Cubs took a chance on him and he appeared in eight games for the high-A Daytona Cubs before being released. He went back to indie ball and stuck around for a few years before finally retiring for good in 2012. He is now a coach for a high school baseball team and lives with his wife Jodi and his two sons Taylor and Tyler.

In addition to the signature, Mr. Bicondoa also sent along this note. Making this return even more special.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).


2014 TTM Count: 213

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Revisiting Profiles: Lefty Davis

Welcome, today I thought I'd try out something different.
When I feature cards on here, I tend to feature a pretty large number of cards at once in a show-offey "look at this!" type fashion with some commentary or a little background information about the player(s) depicted along with it. But there are times when I do the player profiles a little haphazardly and I don't do the card subject enough justice. Most of my TTM returns and IP autos fall under this category, as well as a few hundred other card subjects I've featured on here. So today I thought I'd go back and give one these subjects the proper bio they deserved.

Today I'll be revisiting Lefty Davis.
This fascinating odd-ball of Alfonzo DeFord Davis was sent to me by Nick the Dime Box king. Back when I still doing trade/PWE posts, I spoke about how unique the card was as a card (sort of).

Back then all I did was talk about how interesting it was that the back just blatantly called Lefty Davis a disappointment. Which, for all I knew, might've been true but I didn't look deep enough or ask the right questions. What I should've been asking were...

*Why was Davis considered a disappointment?

*Was Davis highly regarded enough before coming to the Highlanders to merit a "he was a disappointment" reaction?

*If so, why did Pittsburgh let go of such a promising player who had a strong rookie year?

*Did something happen to Davis before he came to the Highlanders?

*Where was he during 1904-1906?

*What else happened? Give me more Goddammit!

Amongst others.
While the first and second questions were sort of answered on the card, we'll need to know the complete Alfonzo story (or as complete as it can be given how a lot of his information has been lost to time) to figure out the rest. Lets begin.

Born on February 4th, 1875 in Nashville, Tennessee, Alfonzo DeFord Davis was a 5'10 outfielder who most likely got his nickname due to the fact that he was left-handed. Interestingly enough some sources claim that his first name is actually spelled "Alphonzo" while others say it's Alfonzo. Unfortunately I was unable to find Davis' birth certificate (not like Nashville issued them when Davis was born anyway) so I can't confirm which one is correct.

Anyway details about Davis' early life are pretty sketchy/non-existant with a simple Google search (sorry, I'm not as diligent as Thom over at Baseball History Daily).
All that's known is that Lefty Davis had entered pro ball around 1896 and played on various minor league clubs before being signed by the Philadelphia Athletics sometime prior to 1901. But sometime in early-ish 1901 Davis jumped from the A's to the Brooklyn Superbas and hit for a triple slash line of .209/.287/.231 in 25 games before being released by Brooklyn.

1909-11 Colgan's Chips (Scan Courtesy of The Trading Card Database)

He was then picked up by the Pittsburgh Pirates and broke out in a big way by hitting for a triple slash line of .313/.415/.421 with 22 steals in 87 games. It appeared as though Pittsburgh had itself a new speedy superstar. Keep in mind that the Pirates back then were a dominant team that won the NL Pennant three years in a row from 1901 to 1903, the future was very bright. However, Davis suffered a leg injury on July 11th, 1902 and ended up missing nearly half of the 1902 season. Which is a shame considering how he was hitting for a .280/.377/.336 triple slash line before the injury.

Lefty Davis (12) And The 1901 Pittsburgh Pirates (Photo Courtesy of Baseball Revisited)

Alright, here's where things get interesting/we find out why the Pirates let go of Davis.
Sometime between August and October, the Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss learned that some of his players had been offered money to jump from the Pirates to the newly formed American League. Outraged, he released those players he thought were trying to jump ship, which included members of the inaugural New York Highlanders team such as Jesse Tannehill (who leaked the names of the players offered money to Dreyfuss while he was under the influence of ether during a medical operation), Jack Chesbro (!), Wid Conroy, Jack O'Connor and Lefty Davis.

With the Highlanders Davis was patrolling the outfield alongside future Hall Of Famer Wee Willie Keeler but his leg had not yet healed and it cost him his speed that once made him a very good baserunner and outfielder (Davis only had 11 steals in 1903 as opposed to 26 in 1901). He finished his only season with the Highlanders with a triple slash line of .237/.319/.263.
Davis spent the next three years down in the minors trying to recover and put up some decent numbers but it wasn't until he was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 1906 rule five draft that he got another chance to play in the big leagues. In 1907 Davis made one last return to the majors and hit for a triple slash line of .229/.293/.297 with 9 steals in 73 games. After that he spent some more time with various minor league teams (he was even a player-manager in 1913 and 1914) before hanging up the spikes for good in 1915. He died four years later at the age of 44.

All in all the story of Alfonzo DeFord Davis, is a tragic one. So can he still be considered a disappointment? Personally I'd go with half yes, half no. Davis' drop in performance is understandable given the circumstances but what really makes it disappointing is when you consider what could've been and how things might've gone differently if he hadn't had that leg injury (or if it was properly treated).


So there was my first revisited post, I hope you guys liked it. I'm not sure if this will be a running theme on this blog (I have a terrible track record with series') but considering how fun it was to prepare this post, I'd definitely be open to doing it again the future.
As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).


Tuesday, October 7, 2014


So I went out and got a few more piece of the Torrens rainbow.

Starting us off is this blue refractor. I don't know why my scanner suddenly hates blue refractors, but it can no longer scan these properly as this is way more prettier and shinier in person than this scan would have you believe. Or am I simply in denial?

Ironically I think I spent more on this blue ref that's limited to 250 than I did for the purple ref that's numbered to 199. But that's what happens when it's sold out on COMC I guess.

Next up is the gold refractor. In my last progress report I made a comment about how I'll need a bunch of gold to pay for this rainbow. In hindsight I've come to realize how lame that is and would like to apologize to all of you who had to suffer through it.

BTW out of all of the Torrens card I picked up online this gold was possibly sent to me the neatest. It came in a new sleeve, new top-loader, and the seller even threw in a few cards to serve as protectors, all in a bubble mailer of course. Only package that's really topped it so far is the super which came in a screwdown.

And finally, my latest Torrens pickup was this printing plate. Now before you get all excited let me just say that this is the printing plate for the minis.

In late 2013 Topps/Bowman decided to piss off completists release Bowman Chrome mini. A complete set of every prospect card in 2013 Bowman, Bowman Chrome and Bowman Draft, only miniaturized. It also came with a few parallels and has become the bane of my existence for making my chase for the rainbow harder.

That said I consider the minis and the regular sized cards to be separate entities so I don't go insane or bankrupt (or both). Yet I decided to pick up this plate. The main reason for that is because the seller didn't properly state that this was the mini version in the description (although I was admittedly too lazy to look at the scan of the back). Oh well, it never hurts to add another 1/1 of LUIIIIISSSSSSSSSSS, especially now that he's put himself on a lot of radars and will have more eyes on him going forward. Hopefully I'll be able to add the full sized plate sometime soon.

So with that I only need 6 2 more pieces of the full sized rainbow. Which includes the parallel I dreaded having to tackle the most, the accursed yellow refractor that only was only available in retail packs. What makes it worse is that they're numbered to 10. GAH!

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Luis Torrens Named 4th Best Prospect In The NYPL

Recently BaseballAmerican unveiled it's list of the top 20 prospects in every league in the minors. And on the top 20 New York-Penn League prospects, blog hero Luis Torrens made an appearance at number 4.

Now I'm sure we all know that number four is far too low for a player of LUIIIIISSSSSSSSSSS' caliber (unless we're talking about batting orders), but I respect Baseball America's choice to put Marcos Molina, Reynaldo Lopez and Amed Rosario in front of Luis. Their decision is wrong of course, but I respect it. #Scorin'Torrens

Still, I am pretty happy for Luis. He's the only Staten Island Yankee who managed to make it onto the NYPL top 20 (Hensley just missed making it due to lack of service time) and has opened quite a fair number of eyes here in 2014. By this time next year he'll hopefully be in the list of the top 20 Florida State League prospects.

I'm so happy in fact, that I've already begun planning another contest. Stay tuned for updates on my next giveaway.

Anyway as always thanks for stopping by and take care :).