Monday, April 16, 2018

Comfortable Where I Am

Have you ever had a collection that you were perfectly content with? As in, you didn't feel the need to keep going or accumulating and adding to it even further? I do. Not any of the collections I'm known for really. But for the first player collection I ever had. My Dellin Betances collection.


As a guy who had been a Betances fan and collector for basically the peak of his really terrible era (right up until he turned into a really good reliever), it's tough to see his fall from grace again. But it does bring me back to 2012 when I was collecting him heavily and for cheap thanks to his struggles and diminishing chances of ever being an impactful major leaguer.

That changed obviously and I tried to capitalize on it (tried is the keyword there), when Betances eventually become the 6'8" fireballer in 2014. I traded away a good chunk of what was once my proud and deep Betances collection. Nowadays there isn't a whole lot left. Just some notable pieces I wanted to keep around for myself for various reasons.

So today I wanted to revisit my old collection and see what I still have of a good reliever who just happens to be the Yankees' worst reliever right now. Also this'll give me a chance to see if I've really added anything in the years since.

2005

Starting us off is some of Dellin's first offerings as part of USA baseball.


The crown jewel in this group is obviously the dual autograph where he's matched up with Clayton fucking Kershaw of all people. For a while there I used to joke that Kershaw sapped all of Betances' potential after being paired up like this. Then it turned out to not be true. But here in 2018 it might be true again. And no I'm not trading it or selling it.

2006

In 2006 Dellin was drafted by the Yankees in the eighth round. Forgoing a commitment to Vanderbilt and signing with the Yankees instead.


I only have the Tri-Star autograph in terms of Dellin cards from 2006. I think I got it for like $2 way back when and the Dellin Betances Experience has come full circle so that's actually the going rate for them again.

2007


Dellin finally got his first Bowman/Bowman Chrome releases. Seeing as how this was the oddest time in the oddies he also got a Bowman Heritage card and an Elite Extra Edition card to boot.


And of course his MiLB issued card as a Staten Island Yankee.

2008


Dellin didn't have a ton of cards released in 2008. Around this time the only ones releasing cards of him were the minor league teams he was on, as well as c-listers like Tri-Star and Just Minors.

2009


I scooped up this Tri-Star PROjections gold card (#'d 23/25) for like a quarter back in 2013. Oh how times have changed. Now it'd probably cost me a whole dollar. Dellin didn't have any other notable cards in 2009 since this was where problems started to emerge.

2010

I don't have any cards of Dellin from 2010 and according to most databases and online sellers, nobody else does either. Not surprising though since he had just gotten surgery (not TJS) the year before and the bad times were creeping up.

2011

It wasn't all doom and gloom though. Betances had the frame, size and velocity to be an intriguing pitcher still.



The Yankees wanted to give him more chances to prove himself as a starter before pulling the plug on that and relegating him to the bullpen.


Plus he made his MLB debut in 2011.

2012

Okay, now here is where we get to some of the good stuff in terms of cards. Which contrasts way too much with how 2012 was an abysmal year for Dellin as a pro. He struggled so badly in triple-A that he was demoted to double-A. He continued to struggle there too. It almost looked like the end for him. The Chicago White Sox were really interested in acquiring Dellin (could you imagine?!). But because he was the Yankees' token rookie he was in everything that year.


In Series 1 he got his first rookie card (number 252). As well as an insert. This was the first rainbow I ever tried chasing. As you can so I didn't even get remotely close.


I am glad I got two of the more rarer components of any flagship rainbow though. The dreaded unknown parallel that comes the fuck out of nowhere (represented by the Gold Rush stamped card), and the equally dreaded parallel that only comes as an exclusive with those boxed complete sets.


Yup. Betances was in Allen & Ginter, Gypsy Queen and Heritage too. For a long time I hated the Heritage cards because the one I encountered the most was the floating head one and the one I really needed was a short print. Grrrr.


Topps Chrome was especially generous to my collection. At one point I had around 20 base autographs and five refractor autographs. Good times.


This scan makes me sad the most. For one thing it features the two unlicensed cards I have to acknowledge the existence of. For another thing it has my third and final minor league issued card. Lastly because that Finest rookie card is all I have left of my once proud and substantial Topps Finest Betances collection. Yeah, at one point I almost had a rainbow autograph going. I had the atomic autograph numbered to five, the red autograph numbered to 15, the gold autograph numbered to 50, the orange autograph numbered to 99, the green autograph numbered to 199 and the x-fractor autograph numbered to 299. Eventually I broke that up to be used in trades. When I broke it up a friend of mine called it my collection's equivalent of the Fall of Roman Empire.


You knew that Bowman was going to show at some point. I lumped Bowman and Bowman Chrome together here for my convenience.


Unlike my Topps Finest collection, my Bowman Chrome autograph collection ended on a happier note. While I missed out on the superfractor autograph, I got two HUGE pieces in the red refractor numbered to five and the gold refractor numbered to 50. I still need the superfractor but before that the orange refractor autograph and the blue refractor autograph are also white whales for me.


After so many years of just casually flashing the red autograph on this blog I'm glad I finally got a chance to talk about it and show it off like it deserves to be shown off. This is hands down the centerpiece of my Betances collection and it remains as one of the biggest and best parts of my card collection in general. I'm never giving it up or selling it. If anything, one day I hope to meet Dellin and have him inscribe "To Kenny" on it for me. IDGAF about resale value or what happens to it after I die lol.

That concludes 2012. It's all downhill from here folks (at least for this collection).

2013

As far as I know the only card Dellin got in 2013 is a minor league issued card from Scranton that I do not have. This was the year where the Yankees officially pulled the plug on Dellin the starter and converted him into a reliever. The initial results in triple-A were really promising.

2014

2014 showed us all that Dellin's conversion into a reliever was a huge success. He broke camp with the Yankees and pitched 100 mph heat all the way to the All Star Game. He also got a franchise record 135 strikeouts by a Yankees reliever that season and finished third in Rookie of the Year voting. As fun as it was to see Dellin be an absolute monster, this was the year I pulled the plug on being on a Dellin collector.


My last Dellin acquision as an active Betances collector was this 2014 Topps card. Seemed poetic and right at the time. I was with him through the really bad parts of his minor league career, I'm letting him go when he's finally made it.


Shortly after that he actually talked to me (via Topps' Twitter account). That was pretty cool.

2015

Even after I stopped collecting him, I have had a few more Betances cards trickle in through the years. Part of me does want to keep adding his flagship Topps and Bowman cards if nothing else.


Even though I don't have his flagship Topps base card from this year. Stupid irony.


I personally love the Series Next diecut the most out of this lot. Although the Heritage card is also a nice one and pairs nicely with his floating head heritage rookie card from 2012.

2016

Another year, another dominant season for Dellin.


Writing this post made me realize that I don't have a Dellin Topps flagship base from 2016 either.
It's also probably a crime that I have a parallel of Betances on my all-time favorite Topps set design but not the base.


But I did have his New Era card. My favorite from 2016's offerings and probably of all of the post-2012 Dellin cards in general.

2017

This is where Dellin started to take a few steps back. He wasn't 2012 Dellin again, but he wasn't 2014 Dellin either.


To make things worse, I didn't have a Topps flagship card here either. At least I kept the Bowman flagships going lol.

2018


What does the future hold for Dellin? I'm not sure.

It's been a long and very turbulent road for the 30 year old (he's 30!) Washington Heights native. In spite of his recent struggles he's accomplished so much in his life that I will forever admire him for. Being the hometown kid who plays for his favorite team growing up. Being a good baseball player from New York City. Buying his parents a new home using his signing bonus money to get them out of NYC. The dude is awesome. As a former PC guy of mine, and just a genuinely awesome dude in general, I wish him nothing but the best. I hope he regains some confidence and some form of his former self. I guess I just hope he has enough left in the tank to reach the 10 season mark to get an even bigger pension plan for his post-MLB life.


Collection wise there's nothing I want to particularly do except see what else trickles in via trades/pack openings/bargain bins over the years to come. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I'm perfectly okay with where my Betances collection is at. I've got a nice mix of some unique and early cards that I'll forever tie to 2012, my first full year as a hardcore baseball card collector. The things that have come out since then don't really interest me that much. Maybe as time goes on I'll add some of the flagship cards I need and maybe see if I can find the minor league baseball releases (those are always fun). Maybe even the rest of the 2012 BoChro RC rainbow. But I'm not going to actively chase them. This is one collection I've got where I can just look back on what I have and smile at what I've got rather than keep stressing about what I don't have even when I know that what I don't have outnumbers what I do have. I want to keep it that way.

Big thanks to Dellin Betances for the wonderful collecting memories.

And as always thank you (the readers) for stopping by and take care :).

8 comments:

  1. I didn't realize he was already 30 years old. I thought he was just a young pup in his mid twenties.
    The short conversation on Twitter was pretty cool. Does Topps still do that #ToppsTakeover thing?

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    1. Well he was graduated high school in 2006 so time is catching up. His performance shows that it's really starting to wear on his arm too. And a quick look at Twitter suggests that Topps hasn't done a Takeover specifically but I'd assume they've done Q&A's with players.

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  2. Since I don't really player collect I'm content with my collection once a player moves on to another team. Kind of creates a natural purge. I don't have much of a desire to own a Cutch Giants card or Cole Astros.

    Love your Betances collection. Having a red /5 auto is quite the accomplishment. Most of the really low numbered Bowman cards I have are either fringy prospects or guys that flamed out pretty quick.

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    1. For a while there Betances looked like a flameout. Hence why I got one lol.

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  3. That’s a very impressive Dellin collection! Thanks for sharing.

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  4. For being a former pc guy... you sure have a collection that blows away most of the collections I have for guys I currently PC. Awesome collection!

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    1. At it's peak it was a force to be reckoned with...

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