Sunday, September 29, 2013

More Non-Licensed Goodness

Along with the absolutely awesome Brian McCann Fearless insert from Prizm, which I recently posted, I also received a few other great Panini products in the mail the past few days.

2013 Panini Prizm Rookie Challengers #RC3 Evan Gattis

I won two of these bad boys on eBay for a total of $2.02 plus shipping. Gattis isn't nearly as hot of a commodity in the hobby as he would have been four months ago, but it's still exciting to get something of his. Atlanta really need him to go on a tear in the postseason.

2013 Pinnacle Clear Vision #CV4 Craig Kimbrel

Another interesting insert featuring acetate, this one has a little more color to it than the other Pinnacle cards that I had previously picked up. With shininess, the red part of the acetate, and the die-cut outlining Kimbrel makes this one of my favorite inserts in recent years.

2013 Prizm #203 Evan Gattis

Yet more shininess. The greatness of this card is that it shows the slugging rookie...on defense. Behind the plate. With his mask still on. Definitely a nice change from the typical card of a slugger at the plate.

2013 Pinnacle Essence of the Game #EG4 Chipper Jones

I knew that card companies would continue to include Chipper in their products following his retirement. I fully expected to see him as a SP variation in the Topps base product or in one of the retro products (either A&G or Gypsy Queen)- but not in something like this. And I am overjoyed to see this one- even if there's no Braves logo.

2012 Panini Elite Extra Edition #30 Alex Wood (168/200)
The only card in this group that I didn't receive by mail, I picked up this gem for 50 cents at yesterday's card show. Lots of folks are upset that Wood isn't going to be in the playoff rotation- but I think that's a good thing. I like him long-term as a starter, but he's needed in a bullpen which hasn't exactly been lights out during the past four weeks.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fall Card Show #1: 50 Cents Buys More Than It Used To

It's a refrain we're all too familiar with, 'a dollar doesn't buy what it used to.' And while that might be true 99.9% of the time, there's still that slight chance that you find the exception to the norm. Today, at the Fall card show, I discovered that a dollar will, in fact, buy more than it used to.

After visiting nearly every table in the conference room, I stopped at one dealer's table shortly before leaving to head back home.They primarily had football, so I wasn't expecting to find anything of interest- but I noticed a couple of shoe boxes marked Baseball, with a sign reading 10 Cards for $1, so I figured, why not?!

Slotted by team, I immediately began searching their Braves cache. As I did, I tried holding back the grin that was aching to break out. 'Surely these are in the wrong box,' I thought to myself. No mistake- they were as priced. 

I pulled the following five cards before moving onto searching the other team's bins, in which I found three cards for trading material. I then pulled a couple of other Braves cards which probably aren't worth more than the 10 cents I paid for them.

The last time the Braves won the East was 2005- the same season this Marcus Giles relic card was released. Watching Dan Uggla completely suck for the better part of three seasons really has me longing for the days of having Giles as our second baseman.

How often did Maddux post cartoon-like numbers in his career? I guess the term used today is 'video-game like numbers'- but whatever. He was ridiculously good. Next summer, he will be a part of the Class of 2014 in Cooperstown.

My second favorite Braves shortstop of all-time, behind only Andrelton Simmons. 

He never played in a game at the major league level for the Braves- he would be traded to Detroit the season after this card was released- but he has pitched in 172 major league games. Now with the Phillies, he will start tomorrow against Atlanta in the final game of the regular season.

'Signs of Greatness'- but not a great signature. A Braves 2006 second round draft pick, Locke was sent to Pittsburgh along with Charlie Morton and Gorkys Hernandez in the Nate McLouth deal and was a big contributor to their first post-season appearance since Sid slid.

Fearless: An Attribute of a Leader

I've got to admit, when it comes to collecting, Brian McCann has never ranked as one of my favorite Braves. I've tried to keep the players I collect to a minimum, and BMac, for whatever reason, has never been one of those guys. And now, as we are getting closer to the end of what is expected to be his final season in his hometown, I'm looking to pick up more cards of the seven-time all-star catcher.

2013 Panini Prizm 'Fearless' #F15 Brian McCann

I recently spotted one of these beauties on eBay, and was immediately drawn to it because of the nice, large photo of McCann, the card design, and the colors on the bottom third of the card. So as I began searching for others like it (I didn't like the shipping cost on the first auction), I came across an auction for not one, not two- but THREE cards with an opening bid of 99 cents. Fully expecting to be outbid, I nevertheless threw in my minimum bid and ended up with the lone bid.

We have all seen the highlights of Mac as he stood between third base and home plate in a game against the Brewers earlier this week, confronting Carlos Gomez for his foolish antics both before and after his home run. Say what you will about the incident, but you can't deny that Brian McCann is the heart and soul of this Braves team. He's a leader, and he has demonstrated that throughout his career. That particular evening, he defended his pitcher and his home-town team, showing why he is such a well-respected teammate.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Alumni Food-Issue Friday: 1978 Papa Gino's Ralph Garr


 Sorry, but I've been looking at this 1978 Papa Gino's Disc of Ralph Garr, trying to think of something- anything- to write regarding the disc of the former Brave. I'm not having much success. But that seems to be fairly normal of late.

1978 Papa Gino's MSA Disc #37

Excuse me, but would that be the Chicago White Sox, or the Chicago Cubs? Judging from the color scheme, one would think it was the National League team.

Like many of the discs licensed through Michael Schechter Associates, this one features a recycled photo of Garr. The same could be said of the 1978 Big T/Tastee Freeze Disc, the 1976 Wiffle Ball Disc, and the 1978 RC Cola cans.

1978 Big T/Tastee Freeze Discs #21

1976 Wiffle Ball Discs (unnumbered) 

1978 RC Cola 

I guess creative blocks are nothing new.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

New Product List: Braves 2013 Topps Heritage Minor Leagues

This new release from Topps seems like it would be the perfect set to take to your local minor league ballpark with the hopes of getting a signature. After all, it's got a good selection of players, plenty of space for a signature and its card stock screams out, "on-card auto!" So I would like to know this: why would you wait until the minor league season is completed before releasing a set devoted to prospects and minor league journeymen? I suppose the fine folks at Topps know what they're doing, but I couldn't help but ask...

Anyway, this set once again offers Braves collectors some of the organization's top prospects on an oldie-but-goodie: the 1964 Topps baseball design. It also has one of the best ideas for a minor league insert set-
Road to the Show (which, by the way, has a great design featuring the player's photo in the middle of a diamond with some of the stops on the way to the majors along the sides). While I do like the selection,
it would have been nice to see Cody Martin included. Also- we've seen the photos of Graham and Merejo used before; how about using something different?

One last thing, the black bordered cards numbered to 96 look phenominal! With that low of a serial number, I probably won't be collecting the team set, but would really like to get a Lucas Sims at the very least!        

2013 Topps Heritage Minor Leagues Braves

6 J.R. Graham
7 Gus Schlosser
115 Edward Salcedo
117 Sean Gilmartin
122 Luis Merejo
128 Matt Lipka
162 Mauricio Cabrera                                                                                                                              
188 Lucas Sims
214 Christian Bethancourt- SP

Clubhouse Collection Relics/Patches
CCR-JG J.R. Graham

MLB Hat Manufactured Patches Set
MP-CBE Christian Bethancourt

Real One Autographs
ROA-ML Matt Lipka

Road to the Show
RTTS-LS Lucas Sims

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Date Night Cards

My wife and I went out on one of our monthly date nights last night- something that we used to practice for the first few years of our marriage, but got out of the habit of doing. It's only been the last couple of years that we have tried to make it once again a priority in our marriage. Anyway, on this particular night we had a little over an hour to kill between dinner and the starting time for The Conjuring. She got her trip to Bath & BodyWorks and I got my trip to Target to search the card aisle...

Pack 1: 2013 Pinnacle Baseball
Well, despite saying last week that I would pass on the base cards from this set, what did I go and do? I bought a couple packs of them. And my mind still hasn't changed. I'm not a big fan of the base product.

112 Cole Hamels
125 Brandon Phillips
155 Jose Fernandez RC~ Your 2013 NL Rookie of the Year

164 Tyler Skaggs RC
PP9 Position Powers DIE CUT- Ryan Braun~ I would have preferred someone else. Should have been included in a set called PED Users.

40 Allen Craig
44 Rickey Henderson~ Rickey likes Rickey on non-licensed cards

2 Jesus Montero

Pack 2: 2013 Pinnacle Baseball

122 Adam Dunn
103 Josh Johnson
199 Avisail Garcia RC
174 Mike Olt RC
PP18 Position Powers Mike Trout~ Your 2013 AL MVP
26 R.A. Dickey
83 Jon Lester
86 Troy Tulowitzki

Pack 3: 2013 Panini Prizm
These cards rate a little bit better than the Pinnacle brand. At least the front of the cards aren't so...dark.

186 Matt Adams RC
MVP4 Team MVP Dustin Pedroia

20 David Wright
96 Matt Harrison

Pack 4: 2012  Panini Prizm

135 Will Clark~ I don't recall Will the Thrill being included in any recent products. Should have included him as a member of the San Francisco team.

172 Hector Sanchez RC
78 Billy Butler
55 Jose Altuve

What's This- A Football Post?

1994 Fleer Rookie Exchange #2 of 12 Trent Dilfer

So I've decided to throw a curveball and post a football card this morning. You might be asking why would I do such a thing? Well- it's simple, really. I'm still in a grumpy mood over the Braves' inability to wrap up the division, that their offense fails to shows up more times than not and that home field advantage seems to be slipping out of their grasp. 

Let's move on to another team that frustrates me, shall we?

After failing to close out two late fourth-quarter leads during the first two games, things don't get any easier for Tampa today as they face the Pats. A loss today should all but finish any playoff hopes, so somehow this team needs to nut-up and pull off the upset. 

Regarding the Dilfer card, I believe there was a redemption card seeded at 1:200 packs, in which the lucky collector could send it in for a twelve card set. I picked this one up at a card show when the sets first started showing up, and it's still one of my favorites. I love the '94 design- it's got to rank among my all-time favorites.

Friday, September 20, 2013

New Product Checklist: 2013 Topps Chrome Braves

The upcoming Topps Curl Chrome baseball set will include a number of Braves, including Rookie Cards of Evan Gattis and Alex Wood, as well as variations of Justin Upton and Freddie Freeman.

Base Cards:
6 Jason Heyward
18 Kris Medlen
23 Julio Teheran
99 Craig Kimbrel
113 Brian McCann
143 Justin Upton (w/ variation)
148 Evan Gattis
159 Chris Johnson
164 Alex Wood
218 BJ Upton
219 Freddie Freeman (w/ variation)

1972 Topps Chrome
72C-CKR Craig Kimbrel
72C-JHE Jason Heyward
72C-JU Justin Upton

Dynamic Die Cuts
DY-CKR Craig Kimbrel
DY-JT Julio Teheran

Chrome Connection Die Cuts
CC-BU BJ Upton
CC-JHE Jason Heyward
CC-JU Jason Upton

Autographed Rookie Cards
148- Evan Gattis

Triple Autos
ITA-UUH  Justin Upton/BJ Upton/ Jason Heyward

Dynamic Die Cuts Autos
DY-JT Julio Teheran

Back to Back Die Cut Autos
BTB-FH Freddie Freeman/ Jason Heyward
BTB-UU Justin Upton/ BJ Upton

Division Die Cut Boxloaders
DB-4 Ryan Zimmerman/Brian McCann/Dominic Brown/Jon Niese/Logan Morrison

Auto Patch Base Relics
23 Julio Teheran

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Obscene Cards

So... there was an article that I saw tweeted not once, but twice today concerning an 'R-Rated' card of the Houston Texans' J.J. Watt. And I have to admit,  it is kind of funny disgusting- but nowhere near as good  obscene as Bowman's cards of the Braves outfield trio.

Who does Topps have on their staff- Larry Flynt?

Useful Things

While I'm perfectly content picking up cards of my favorite team via ebay, COMC or card shows, there's a part of me that would like to start opening boxes just for the opportunity to trade with fellow collectors/bloggers (and, I must admit, it is exciting to do!). But, if I'm perfectly honest with myself...I know that doing so would create stacks (well, okay- boxes) of stuff that I would probably never get around to mailing. And so I figure, 'why spend my money on stuff I don't want, when I can buy stuff I do want!'

That being said, every now and then I will come across something that I know a fellow collector would like and so I send something off to him- and they always return the favor.

I received a package Monday from Night Owl, whom I had recently sent a couple of envelopes to- including a card of some rookie sensation, whose name escapes me. Anyway, Greg sent a note along with the cards which read, "I hope there's something useful here." Let's take a look, shall we?

MINI 2011 Allen & Ginter #198 Freddie Freeman (RC) *and an A&G Back, to boot!

Can I use it? Yes, I can!

1996 Leaf #28 Chipper Jones

Can I use it? Oui

2013 Topps Mini ('72) #TM-100 Eddie Mathews

Can I use it? da!

2001 Topps Chrome Through the Years #270 Warren Spahn

Can I use it? ja!

2002 Topps Gallery #135 Rafael Furcal

Can I use it? si`

1975 Topps #9 Frank Tepedino

Can I use it? si`!

1986 Donruss Highlights #41 Dale Murphy

Can I use it? Gosh, yes.

Along with these welcomed additions to my collection, the Night Owl also included eight other cards which I already have, but will go into the Braves doubles box.

Thanks again for the great cards, Owl!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

If I Wanted A Lot of Black and Gold...

...I'd become a Pirates collector.


What to do about unlicensed products.

At one time, I loved 'em. Food-issues, odd-balls, it didn't matter. They were tastefully done and held my interest. They may not have included logos on the hats or helmets, but at least the players looked like they were representing their team.  Fast forward to the present day & it's hard to even identify which team they're supposed to represent. At least it's that way for Pinnacle cards featuring players from the Atlanta team.

Atlanta, you say? Heh- looks more like they should be representing Pittsburgh.

2013 Pinnacle of Success #PS8 Craig Kimbrel

I remember the introduction of the acetate card back in the 90's- or was it the 2000's? Anyway, whenever it was that we first started seeing them in the hobby, I wasn't a fan. However, I decided to pick up a Kimbrel acetate card from the Pinnacle of Success insert set found in the recently released Pinnacle baseball product. And I've got to say...I was pleasantly surprised.  The only thing that I think this card is missing (as with just about every base or insert card from the set) is a little more color. All the black used for Atlanta jersey's and hats (not to mention borders) is painfully boring. A blue cap with a red bill would have really made this thing sharp!

While buying the Kimbrel was a no-brainer, this Mad-Dog card required a little more indecision. So while I'm not crazy about the design or the photo, I am excited to see the Professor inducted into Cooperstown next year. That sealed the deal. 

2013 Pinnacle Awaiting the Call #AC2 Greg Maddux

As far as the rest of the Braves from this series. Hmm...I'm going to pass on the base cards, but will go for some of the other inserts. I was excited for the return of the Museum Collection, but after seeing some on the 'Bay- I'm going to have to pass. Without any color, they seem to be quite boring. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Cheap Trick for the Collector

No, it's not a Rick Nielsen or Robin Zander autograph, but a solution for the budget blues. 

I recently began the process of reorganizing my collection. What was once a low-maintenance project has become more complicated as I moved away from being an exclusive Topps/Bowman team set collector to one who is adding the other manufacturers to the fold. My storage was simple: five binders with Braves Topps cards (by year, of course) and two binders for player collections. Everything else that would come my way would just get placed in a couple of 550 count boxes, with no method to the madness.  And anyone who knows me will tell you that I hate disorganization. Something had to be done for the new additions.

One thing that has held me back from doing something about this growing problem has been finances. I would rather spend my 'allowance' on cards- not supplies; and I'm sure you're well aware of the costs of Ultra-Pro pages and binders. They don't come cheap! A solution I found for these budgetary blues is to take advantage of the Register Rewards offered by Walgreens. Twice in the last three weeks, the pharmacy giant has offered $5 Register Rewards with the purchase of a 42ct. box of Prilosec. The offer also coincided with a buy 1 get 1 free on Wexford Binders. Now, their binders are normally about $9 for a 2" D-Ring binder- which is way more than I'm willing to pay. But, with two $5 Register Rewards, I've been able to get 4 binders for about $8 and change. Not too shabby! I figured since I take Prilosec on a daily basis, I might as well take advantage of the offer. 

So now I can begin the process of consolidating the various manufacturers into binders for each season- beginning with 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994. Everything else will, for the time being, remain in its present place of storage. Hopefully Target will have a similar binder sale soon that will coincide with one of their gift card offers.  

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Mr. Monk Gets Suspended

It can be hard to maintain a blog about baseball cards when the subject matter is primarily focused on one team. I mean, how often can you post about Tom Glavine before the well runs dry? The remedy, I have found, is Bowman baseball. And the older the set, the better. Packed with prospects, many of whom never got close enough to sniff the majors, it is the cure for SMD (subject matter disorder).

2005 Bowman #BDP53 Brandon Monk

It's A Jungle Out There

Brandon Monk, the Braves 7th round pick in the June 2005 draft, had a short career. As an 18-year old in the Gulf Coast League, Monk put up a respectable .269/.324/.391 slash line with only 16 strikeouts in 156 at-bats. Brandon split time the next season between Danville (in the rookie Appalachian League) and low-Class A Rome, struggling mightily with a .186/.235/.226 line. Beginning the 2007 season back in Rome, Monk appeared in only 19 games before being suspended on May 25th for 50 games after testing positive for a PED.  Monk's father described the drug as being one which is prescribed for ADD, and had the second baseman not failed to get his medical paperwork filed, there wouldn't have been a problem. Although the prescription drug contained an amphetamine, it is one that has been approved by major league baseball. Anyway, following the suspension, Brandon returned to play eight games for the GCL Braves, another eight with Danville, and then closing out the 2007 season by playing in thirteen games for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (High-A). He would never play in another professional baseball game.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Hale Yes!!

Braves prospect David Hale makes his MLB debut this evening as he takes the bump against the San Diego Padres. 

I was somewhat surprised that the team recalled the 6'2 right handed Hale, but with Brandon Beachy all but done for the season, Paul Maholm still injured, and a couple of young starters needing to get some rest, I guess it's not such a surprise. 

Pitching at AAA Gwinnett this season, Hale went 6-9 with a 3.22 ERA, 77 K and 36 BB in 114.2 innings and a 1.387 WHIP.

Congrats on the call-up, and give them Hale, David!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

1964 Topps #271 Bob Sadowski

After an impressive 1963 rookie campaign in which he started 18 games for the Milwaukee Braves, Bob Sadowski appeared to have a bright major league future ahead of him. Despite a record of 5-7, the 6-2 right-handed Sadowski finished that first season with a WHIP of 1.106 and a 72/30 K/BB ratio.

The following year, Bob began the season in the starting rotation, but soon became a swing man for the remainder of the 1964 season. Starting the second game of the year for Milwaukee, Sadowski had a poor outing against the Giants- getting roughed up for 6 ER in 2.2 innings. He would go on to appear in a career-high 51 games (18 starts, once again) while going 9-10, with a 4.10 ERA, 5 CG, 5 Saves and a 1.290 WHIP.

Best Game of '64:
 Starting the final game of the season, Bob threw a two-hit, complete game shutout against the Pirates, walking only one while striking out six.

Feelin' Lucky?
  Bob started an April 26th home game against the Dodgers- his second start against them in a week- and somehow escaped serious damage. Despite walking 7 batters and allowing three hits, he was able to pitch 8-innings while allowing only 1 run. Unfortunatley, the Braves couldn't score against Phil Ortega, and took the 1-0 loss.

...Or Not
An injury cut short Sadowski's career after less than four full seasons in the majors. Even worse, Bob has had to endure various ailments in the years since- all without the medical benefits that today's players receive. Chris Goltermann of the Newnan Times-Herald wrote an interesting look at Sadowski, who, along with an estimated 750 other former players, missed out on pensions and medical benefits due to a shortage in service time. 

Custom 1963 Topps Card
I featured a custom card of Sadowski last year, and mentioned his place in Milwaukee Braves history. It can check it out here.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Well, That Sucks

You may have noticed that from time to time I've been including a feature called One Score and Zero Years Ago, which is simply a look back at the sets released twenty years ago. My collecting had been getting a bit stale (my Topps Braves team sets wantlist was getting smaller and smaller), and so I thought it would be fun to go back and pickup older cards from other manufacturers- but with some sort of structure. Doing something haphazardly is not me. I hate chaos. 

Anyway, one of the cards that I always wanted 'back in the day' was the 1993 Donruss Elite Dominator card of Fred McGriff. According to, the Elite Dominator set was available exclusively on the Shop at Home Network, with one Dominator card included with each '93 Donruss I or II box purchased for the amazingly low price of $99 plus $6 shipping. Each of the twenty cards had a press run of 5,000- making it (for the era) a pretty 'rare' set.

1993 Donruss Elite Dominator #2 of 20 (#0082/5000)

I recently picked up one of McGriff cards on the 'Bay for $2 and some change; I was disappointed, however, when I took the card out of its top-loader. You see, as I pulled the card out of the sleeve so that I could put it in my album, some of the green foil peeled off of the card. This led me to wonder if this is a common problem with the set; or, if there was any known counterfeiting problems due to the popularity/'rarity' of the cards.

  Has anyone out there in cardboard land encountered this problem?

I guess I will have to eventually find another card to replace this one. I don't mind beat-vintage cards, but on newer ones? Nah.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Alumni Food-Issue Friday: 2000 Keebler Arizona Diamondbacks DannyBautista

Issued as part of a Keebler Cookies stadium giveaway, these cards were distributed in 28-card packs to children 14 and younger. In an effort to encourage trading, the packs contained 21 different cards along with seven duplicates. And as you can tell, the cards are similar to those issued by Mother's Cookies- from the portraits to the rounded corners and the region in which they were distributed. When one considers the logos that Mother's included on their cards beginning in 1997, they could very easily be mistaken for one another (at least on the fronts).

2000 Keebler Cookies #25 Danny Bautista
It seems like big things were expected of Bautista when he first arrived on the scene with Detroit in 1993. And while he had what I would define as a 'Nice' career, he certainly didn't turn out to the player many thought he would be earlier in his career. Bautista's best seasons would be as a Diamondback, which was the last organization he played for.

  Atlanta Stats:
3 Seasons- .240/.280/.375 in 267 at-bats (163 games)

Also went 3-14 during the 1997 and 1998 postseason for Atlanta, with 2 RBI.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Why Bother with the Relics?

After recently purchasing two relics from the 2013 Allen & Ginter set, I asked myself the question, "why even bother with the things?" Let's face it, they have become the 'selfie' of the collecting world- just another subject crying out, 'look at me!'

The thing is, when it comes to the Allen & Ginter relics, it's not about some little swatch. Same goes for the other countless sets which include similar pieces (unless, of course, you get one of those uber-cool patches or an extremely rare piece from an old-timer). The focal point of the card, at least for me, is the player who's portrayed on the front.That, and the design of the card-which certainly contributes to the overall "wow-factor."

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

One Score and Zero Years Ago: The 1993 Upper Deck Series 1 Braves

As much as I liked the 1994 Upper Deck baseball set, I think the 1993 release is the last of the 'great' sets produced by the Carlsbad, Ca. company.

For its fifth release, Upper Deck would make use of a glossy stock, which gave it a much more high-end appearance. At 840 cards, it was also the company's largest set to date. Yes, the photography was still second to none, and once again the set featured a great checklist of stars, commons, prospects, and aging veterans. 

1993 Upper Deck Series 1 Atlanta Braves

21 Melvin Nieves, 24 Chipper Jones, 29 Javy Lopez, 75 Tom Glavine, 90 Mike Stanton, 91 Rafael Belliard, 104 Sid Bream, 163 Terry Pendleton, 166 Deion Sanders, 187 Greg Olson, 246 Steve Avery, 264 Ron Gant, 292 Otis Nixon, 363 John Smoltz, 366 David Justice, 376 Ryan Klesko, 393 Kent Merker

Home Run Heroes
#HR17 David Justice
  HR18 Terry Pendleton

On Deck
#D16 Chipper Jones

Walter Iooss Collection  
#WI5 Steve Avery

Favorite Card in Series 1 Team Set:
24 Chipper Jones How could I not choose the Star Rookie card of the young prospect? Great pose, black border on top and bottom and of course the star rookie logo all contribute to the beauty of this one.