Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tommy Hanson Mania

Tommy Hanson has received a considerable amount of attention ever since his stellar performance in the Arizona Fall League. He continued that trend in AAA with the Gwinnett Braves going 3-3 with a 1.49 ERA in 11 starts. He added 90 strikeouts while walking only 17 batters.

Collectors have been anticipating his June call-up for some time. His 2007 Bowman Chrome has risen from the $5 range to the $8 range within the last couple weeks. The value of this card is also helped by the fact that he has no other 2007 releases, unless you count Just Minors.

Well, Hanson got the call and made his first major league start today against the Milwaukee Brewers. He started off very strong, going into the 4th inning before yielding his first hit. It all went downhill after that. He gave up three 2-run home runs, two of those to Ryan Braun. All told, he went 6 innings giving up 6 runs.

Prospectors will be keeping a close eye on his second start which should be June 12th at Baltimore.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Update - 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates TTM Project

Date sent 5/22/09
Date received: 6/6/09

Dick Groat is my fifteenth TTM return from the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates. Groat played fourteen seasons in Major League Baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants. He also played one season in the NBA for the Fort Wayne Pistons. Groat was a two sport star at Duke University, playing basketball and baseball. He went straight to the Pirates out of college, never playing in the minor leagues.

Groat was a career .286 hitter, finishing with 2,138 hits. He was a five time All-Star and won the league MVP in 1960. Groat was also part of one of the best double play combinations of all time with Bill Mazeroski.

Well, this was really the last realistic request I had out there. I'm going to consider this project completed. The others that I'm missing will have to come from in-person signings or off of eBay. It seems like I've been doing this forever but the first request went out only 41 days ago on April 27th.

The autographs I received during that span are R.C. Stevens, Roman Mejias, Roy Face, Hal Smith, Gino Cimoli, Bennie Daniels, Dick Schofield, Bob Skinner, Danny Kravitz, Dick Groat, Bob Oldis, Bob Friend, Vern Law, Bill Virdon and Joe Gibbon. I also purchased a Rocky Nelson signed '60 Topps card on eBay.

I don't know what my next TTM project will be. I'm open to ideas if anyone wants to leave one in the comments. I'm ready for a new challenge.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Update - 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates TTM Project

Date sent: 4/27/09
Date returned: 6/5/09

Roman Mejias is one of the requests I had out there that I was beginning to wonder if I'd get it back or not. I'm very happy to get this one back.

I've also had my George Witt and Don Gross requests out there for about the same amount of time. I don't really expect to get those back as the reported successes for those two are very low on Hopefully I'll be able to pick those up in some other fashion.

Roman Mejias played six seasons for the Pirates, never getting more than 276 at-bats in any of those. He went to Houston in 1962 and finally got a chance to play full time. He batted a respectable .286 with 24 home runs and 76 RBI.
He was the first Latin American player in Houston franchise history. In 1963 he left to play for Boston and retired after the 1964 season.

I found an incredible stat while researching Mejias' career. He's one of 336 major league players to hit 3 home runs in one game. No, that's not the incredible part. The incredible part is that he did it in 1958 when he only had 5 home runs the entire season. That has to be the lowest amount of home runs in a season for a player that had a 3 home run game.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Ultimate 1981 Topps Football Cello Pack

What could be better than Joe Montana on the front of a 1981 Topps cello pack? How about Joe Montana on the front and back of a 1981 Topps cello pack! It's times like this that you don't care about getting doubles in a pack.

I know that I've seen two of the same card on the front of a rack pack before but never a card of this caliber. The cello is on eBay and ends Sunday. It's currently up to $330.55. I can't wait to see what this goes for.

This is also the first time I've ever seen a PSA graded pack. I had no idea they were offering that service. I thought I only GAI was doing that. Does anyone have any idea how long they've been grading packs?

I've never had a pack or box of cards graded. Although, I've never had a pack valuable enough that would make sense to grade. I've had pricey boxes of vintage cards but I bought them to open them. I just don't know how I feel about getting a box of cards graded. I could see getting a pack graded, especially something like this. I really can't see myself ever getting a box graded, though. I'm not even sure that PSA grades boxes but I know GAI does.

Hopefully one day soon I'll have a pack or box valuable enough to consider grading. That's a problem I'd like to have.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Update - 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates TTM Success

Date sent: 5/26/09
Date returned: 6/2/09

This is my thirteenth return from the 1960 Pirates. This is also another one that came back in one week or less. I actually just went back and checked the numbers, ten of the fourteen have been returned in one week or less. That's amazing.

This return is from Bob Oldis. He played in the majors from 1953-1955 and 1960-1963. He was a backup catcher that played for the Washington Senators, Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia Phillies. He amassed only 236 at-bats over his career, batting .224. He still works as a scout for the Florida Marlins.

Well, There are only five more living members of the 1960 Pirates that I need. Four of those requests have been sent. The other one, Joe Christopher, is not worth sending as he doesn't sign TTM. There's going to be a 1960 Pirates reunion in Pittsburgh next year so I'll catch him then.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Upper Deck Baseball Series 2 Review

I had to run some errands on the way home from work today. I had to go to the drop off some packages at the post office, buy a birthday card and buy some groceries. I could have bought the birthday card at the grocery store but they don't have baseball cards. I went to Target instead and bought four packs of 2009 Upper Deck Series 2 Baseball. Oh yeah, I got the birthday card too.

I'm going to start a new series in the next couple of days for new product reviews so this post will just be to show the "hits" that I got and a quick first impression of the product.

The packs were $2.99 each and come with 18 cards per pack. Target also had blasters for $19.99 each. Those have 10 packs with 8 cards per pack. They also had the fat packs of 36 cards for $4.99 each. The fat pack is the best deal in terms of price per card but I'm not sure if those include all the inserts available in the blasters and retail packs.

The cards are pretty much what I expected as they're not much different from series one. I actually got a few doubles in only four packs from the same box. That's not very impressive. On the flip side, I think I got some good "hits" for only purchasing four packs. I got a Michael Jordan Goodwin Champions preview card, a 20th Anniversary Retrospective Pedro Martinez and an Emerald StarQuest (Ultra Rare or something) Nick Markakis. These are all pictured below. I also four common StarQuest cards and a Team USA card that aren't pictured.

I don't know that I'll purchase more of this product. I have no interest in building the set and the insert cards aren't that interesting to me. Getting a StarQuest card in every pack is a bit much. The Goodwin Champions cards look nice but I'd rather buy that product when it comes out than to buy Upper Deck 2 to chase the preview cards.

Update - 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates TTM Project

Vern Law
Date sent: 5/26/09
Date returned: 6/1/09

R.C. Stevens
Date sent: 5/22/09
Date returned: 6/1/09

This are my eleventh and twelfth TTM successes in my quest to get autographed 1960 Topps cards from all living members of the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates Team. My original plan was to complete this and give it to my Dad for his birthday but it's on Wednesday. This will have to be a gift for another occasion as it's not going to be completed in time.

These two returns are from Vern Law and R.C. Stevens. Vern Law came back in less than a week. I've been impressed throughout this whole project at the speed of some of the returns. Stevens took a bit longer but still came in under two weeks. You can't ask for more than that.

R.C. Stevens only played in the majors for four seasons. His career high in at-bats was only 90. That was in his rookie season of 1958 with the Pirates. He played for the Pirates through the 1960 season and was traded to the Senators after season. He played in Washington for one season which would be his final in baseball.

Vern Law played sixteen seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates accumulating a 162-147 record. Law won the Cy Young award in 1960 going 20-9 with 18 complete games. He topped that off by going 2-0 in the World Series. Law is currently the head coach of the Provo High School varsity baseball team in Provo, UT. His son, Vance, also a former major leaguer, is head coach across the street at Brigham Young University. Law was credited with saying "
Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards."

Hopefully I'll be reporting a few more returns in the near future.

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