Archive for Albert Pujols

Before they were great … They were unproven

Posted in Instagram Portraits with tags , , , , , , on January 10, 2013 by Cardboard Icons


Cardboard Icons’ Top 25 Acquisitions of 2012

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 23, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

The year 2012 marked the 25th year in which I had been in the hobby of collecting baseball cards.  Perhaps the highlight of the year was making the trip to Baltimore to attend the National Sports Collectors Convention, which was documented on the Web and in print in a recent issue of Beckett Sports Cards Monthly. Oddly enough, the highlight of that trip to the East Coast really didn’t involve baseball cards at all.  It involved a 35-year-old game-used jersey being signed by the Hall of Famer who wore it.

I digress. I am a baseball card collector.  I eat, sleep and shi… ship …. baseball cards.  So it would only make sense for me to have acquired some cardboard goodies in this milestone year. So here are my top 25 personal collection additions in this, my 25th  anniversary in the hobby.



1948 Bowman Bob Feller BVG 3


For years I had owned a copy of Bob Feller’s rookie card, but it was one that had his name written (not by him OR me …) on the front.  To say I needed an upgraded copy of Rapid Robert’s rookie would be an under statement. (From eBay)



1991 Donruss Elite Legends Series Nolan Ryan /7500


Series numbered insert card makes my Top 25?  And the card is not inked?  Yes.  This Ryan is from the first Donruss Elite Series insert set and is one of the toughest to find from that year.  As you might know I am working on completing the Elite Series sets from 1991 through 1993, including the autographs.  This won’t be the last Elite card on this list. (From eBay)



1951 Bowman Whitey Ford BVG 2


Card #1 from one of the greatest sets every made, and it’s the rookie card of one of the game’s best post-season pitchers.  Ford’s rookie card is easy to find, in pretty much whatever shape you want, and can be had at different price points.  What made this one appealing to me was the fact that It was already graded by Beckett Grading, which is my preferred company for my collection.  It also helps that I was able to acquire this card without “spending” money. (From COMC)



1975 Topps Robin Yount (Raw=BVG 7.5)


When buying raw vintage cards online, one must be wary of condition.  Cards that look like they are mint often are flawed, or have been trimmed.  I saw this Yount in raw form and it had ZERO bids … all the way up until the last second (literally) when I threw a $5 bid on the card.  I won.  I received the card and it looked authentic and unaltered.  A few months later It was sent to BGS with one of my orders and it came back a 7.5, as you see here. (From eBay)



2004 Bowman Chrome Felix Hernandez Rookie Card Autograph (RAW=BGS 8)


You see the BGS 8 and immediately move along.  I get it.  Current cards graded an 8 are lesser specimens in our hobby. But this card was raw when I got it, and I got it considerably lower than I expected to ever pay for a King Felix chrome auto rookie.  The overall grade really doesn’t bother me.  The signature is perfect and the card looks better than the grade that its been assigned. (From eBay)



1992 Score Franchise Autographs Carl Yastrzemski /2000


I detailed over the summer my quest to scratch an itch that started some 20 years ago … to obtain one of the three signed cards from this iconic chase card set.  When this card popped up on Check Out My Cards over the summer, it had to be mine.  (From COMC)



1992 Score Franchise Autographs Stan Musial /2,000


Like the aforementioned Yaz auto, this Musial was a card I’ve always wanted.  This one means even more to me because I’ve pulled two of the un-signed versions from packs over the last two decades.  Additionally, the quality of Musial’s signature has worsened over the years due to his age.  It’s a beautiful thing to see one of these cards in person signed in gold ink and numbered on the back in black calligraphy pen. (From eBay)



1991 Donruss Elite Signature Series Ryne Sandberg /5,000


Can you imagine what it was like in 1991 to open a pack of 1991 Donruss (the ones with the blue borders) and seeing a gold card in the middle of the pack with the signature of one of the game’s premier players?  I wish I had the pleasure of having that happen to me at the time, but I wasn’t so lucky.  That said, this was the first signed card in the Elite Series set, one that I needed for my set.  My only gripe is that I wish Sandberg and Donruss agreed to use a different color pen or picture so that the loopy signature could be more visible. (From eBay)



2006 Fleer Greats of the Game Decade Greats Kirby Puckett Autograph /30


Generally speaking I try to avoid sticker autographs, but this is a case where the price was right.  Kirby Puckett autographs are not cheap.  He has a big fan base and simply put he doesn’t have many certified autographs because he died at such an early age.  While I’d always wanted a Puckett auto for my collection, this one came at a price that was about 65 percent cheaper than an identical one that was listed on eBay. (From COMC)



1949 Bowman Duke Snider (PSA 1 – BVG 3)


I had Willie.  I had Mickey.  So I needed “The Duke.”  As a collector of baseball rookie cards, there were some glaring holes in my collection and among them was this Snider and the next card … (From eBay)



1949 Bowman Roy Campanella (PSA 1 – BVG 3)


Mr. Roy Campanella.  I picked this up along with the aforementioned Snider from the same seller on eBay.  They were graded PSA 1’s, and from the images on the auction, it appeared to me they looked better than the Grade One suggested.  Granted that grading is really a subjective business, but people do put a lot of stock into the visual appearance of a card, as well as the number that a third-party grader has attached to it.  Happy to own both of these … big rookie additions.  Besides they rounded out my Dodgers Mt. Rushmore of Rookie Cards. (From eBay)



2005 Topps Chrome Refractors Andrew McCutchen /500 (Raw – BGS 9/10)


There was a time recently when I itching to own just the basic auto version of this card.  McCutchen has been one of my favorite up-and-coming players and I needed to add this to my collection to fill that void.  Well, I bought a basic auto for $40 on eBay late in 2011.  But when this one popped up on eBay (raw), I snagged it for $50.  And when I re-sold my basic auto for about the same price, I essentially upgraded my McCutchen auto rookies at no cost to me.  Also love that it came back a BGS 9. (From eBay)



1909-1911 T206 Polar Bear Walter Johnson (SGC 1 – BVG 1)


Over the last five years I’ve acquired a half dozen or so tobacco era cards.  That’s not a lot, but I did focus primarily on the big stars from that era.  Late last year I added Cy Young, but all along I’ve been missing a century-old card of The Big Train.  In February I added this Johnson to my collection.  I love this card.  (From eBay)



2011 Bowman Prospects Bryce Harper Autograph BGS 9.5/9


This card was once the holy grail of Harper cards.  OK, I realize how ridiculous that sounds since Harper is merely 20 years old and his popularity is still rising.  But still, this IS his first certified Bowman auto, which gives it iconic status in my opinion.  I boguht a TON (almost literally) of 2011 Bowman and the best thing I pulled was a Michael Pineda retail auto.  So when I had a shot sat this one on COMC, I snagged it. Nice addition without actually spending real money. (From COMC).



2010 Topps Chrome Rookie Autographs Refractor Stephen Strasburg (Raw – BGS 9/10)


This is the only card on this list that was actually pulled from a pack.  Earlier this year I was checking Toys R Us stores for discounted packs and ran across a stash of 2010 Topps Chrome baseball packs at 50 percent off.  Knowing I had a shot at Strasburg, Starlin Castro and Mike (Giancarlo) Stanton autos, I decided to take a shot.  Well, the one time I did NOT tape my pack-breaking session, this shiny gem popped out of the center of a rack pack.   It’s not his legendary 2010 Bowman auto, but it is chrome, shiny and pack-pulled.  It goes nicely with the aforementioned Harper; AND looks awesome with the aforementioned Walter Johnson, to whom Strasburg has been compared. (From a pack at Toys R Us)



2005 Bowman Chrome Refractors Matt Kemp Autograph (Raw – BGS 9/10)


I like to chase things.  Sometimes I get caught up in the hype and buy at the wrong time, other times I sit back and wait.  In this case I waited and boy did it pay off.  Back in May, everyone was talking about how Matt Kemp had finally arrived as the best player in the game.  As such, his Bowman Chrome autos were flying off eBay at crazy rates — $250+ for base autos, $500+ for refractors, and the such.  Well, Kemp got hurt and people holding Kemp autos looked for ways to recoup.  That’s where I stepped in.  I snagged this refractor in raw condition less than the price of what the base autos were going for during the height of Kemp Mania. (From eBay)



1973 Topps Mike Schmidt/Ron Cey rookie BVG 8


I’ve owned a Mike Schmidt rookie card for years.  I bought a low-grade copy for about $50 about four years ago.  I was happy.  But I was not satisfied.  I located this one on eBay with a bad title more than six months ago.  I thought the price was right for such a SOLID grade on a vintage classic rookie card. (From eBay)



1967 Topps Tom Seaver rookie card BVG 3


There are cards on my ever-growing want list that never seem like a priority.  Seaver’s rookie had been one of them.  Seaver is a Hall of Fame player who never really seems to be at the top of the hobby hierarchy.  I get it.  But I had my mind set on owning one of these cards this year and the opportunity was right.  The card was graded by BGS and was in the right price range for me.  Winning combo.  Another biggie knocked off my list (From eBay)



1992 Donruss Elite Signature Series Cal Ripken Jr. BGS 9/10 /5,000


Um, wow.  I never thought I’d own this card.  I suppose that could be applied to anything on this list, but this one is a tough one for me.  One of the reasons I never chased this card was the fact that I already owned a Ripken auto.  But I’ve come to the conclusion that not all autos are the same.  This fact is even more magnified when you’re working on a Elite Series set that simply cannot be complete without the autos.  Sandberg — the first auto in the Elite Series — was already on this Top 25 list. Ripken was several spots higher. (From eBay)



1949 Bowman Satchel Paige rookie card (SGC 1-BVG1.5)


Talk about iconic rookie cards that remained illusive to me.  I’ve tried several times to acquire a Satchel Paige rookie card.  But the deal never added up to me … maybe the price was too high, maybe the card was in too bad of a condition.  But this year, a short while after returning from The National, I found the deal that made sense to me.  This card was graded by SGC prior to it settling in my collection.  The main problem is a single pin hole. I have no issue with that, I mean look at this card.  It has great “eye appeal.” (From eBay)



1959 JCM 31C Murakami Sadaharu Oh rookie card (Raw-BVG 1.5)


FINALLY!  I’ve been waiting and waiting for the right 1959  Oh rookie to call mine.  I found mine not online, but in Baltimore!  When I learned earlier this year that I would indeed be heading to my first National Sports Collectors Convention, I had one target in mind:  Find a Sadaharu Oh rookie card.  Low and behold I found one being sold by one of the nation’s biggest Japanese card dealers and the price was significantly less than what I had been looking at on eBay.  Love the card and the fact that I bought this thing during a very special trip.  It could be the top card on this list, but there are four more cards that are better in my opinion. (From The National)



2001 SPX Albert Pujols rookie card autograph (BGS 8.5/9)


So, I’ve come to the realization that the 2001 Bowman Chrome Albert Pujols rookie auto is simply a card that I will probably never own.  It’s a beautiful card for sure, but I can’t shell out three grand for that.  So, what is the next best thing?  Well, you’re looking at it.  For the last three years I’ve been contemplating adding one of these SPX auto rookies to my collection.  I believe this is the only other on-card rookie card auto for Pujols.  He has a few sticker rookie autos, and on-card rookie-year autos.  But they are not on-card rookie cards.  Some people don’t care.  I get that.  But I do. Well, like the aforementioned Harper auto, this badboy came to me from COMC.  In a nutshell, I was able to add this card to my collection without actually spending any money … I essentially traded my low end stuff (via port sale) and used the funds to purchase one big card. Yeah, buddy! (From COMC)



1961 Topps Roger Maris autograph BVG/JSA


So, have I mentioned that I love COMC?  This is another Check Out My Cards special.  Maris died at a relatively young age and his autographs are tough to come by.  They usually cost $450+ on eBay and that’s for ones that don’t look like this.  Here we have a Maris auto signed in ballpoint pen on a 1961 Topps MVP card and it is already authenticated and slabbed by BGS/JSA. Um, thank you! (From COMC)



1992 Score Franchise Autographs Mickey Mantle/2000 BGS 7.5/10


Earlier on this list, we saw similar signed cards from Carl Yaztrsemski and Stan Musial.  The third guy featured in the iconic Franchise auto series is none other than Mickey Mantle.  Two years before Mantle put a sharpie on cardboard for Upper Deck, the Yankee legend did the same for Score signing 2,000 of these single-signed cards.  To say these were a tough pull is an understatement.  Mantle autos are not hard to obtain, but they are not cheap.  This card in particular seems to have increased in demand in recent months.  It also should be noted that the signatures on these cards tend to fade.  This one is perfect. (From eBay)



1933 Goudey Babe Ruth rookie card (SGC 1 – BVG 1)


Late in 2011, I posted my three goals for the upcoming year, and at the top of the list was obtaining a 1933 Babe Ruth “rookie card.”  True, Ruth had some cards prior to this one.  But his cards in this Goudey set, and in Sport Kings, are considered as his “rookie card.”  Well, the goal was to get one of these for my collection, and by the end of February, that goal was obtained.  It was the earliest card on this list that I acquired in 2012, and through all of the additions, it remained at the top card of the year. (From eBay)


Which of these 25 would you say is the best?

Facepalm: 2012 Topps Jose Reyes & Albert Pujols

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , on June 9, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

Back in March when Topps released Series One of its annual card set, the card manufacturer introduced us to the first Albert Pujols card featuring him in an Angels uniform, and the first Jose Reyes card showing him as a Miami Marlin.  The cards were extremely short printed and each was fetching upward of $100.

2012 Topps Series Two Jose Reyes and Albert Pujols

Within the last two weeks, Topps’ Series Two hit shelves.  Naturally I bought a few packs.  And within the first five packs I bought I pulled both a Pujols and a Reyes.

Are they the same as the Series One cards?  No.  But they do have the same card numbers (Pujols 331/Reyes 332).  The only real differences are that Topps used different photos on the short printed versions in Series One and limited their quantities, and because of that, obtaining the Series One cards will still cost you close to $100 each, where as the Series Two cards might … might … cost you 100 pennies.

There are a lot of ways to view the whole business of “super” short prints. Personally, I see them as hidden lottery tickets — they’re kind of senseless to me, especially in this case because we knew that Topps was going to release more common versions of Reyes and Pujols.  However, I don’t mind the super short prints too much because I’m more than willing to cash in on the payday if I pull one.

Pujols was card No. 331 and Reyes was 332.

Topps’s Series Two set was released within the last week and in this pr

Topps puts collectors in an interesting situation for Pujols’ Angels cards

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , on March 15, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

By now you know that the 2012 base Topps set features a super short print card of Angels’ first baseman Albert Pujols.  It is the first card to feature Pujols in an Angels uniform, even though Panini America released a card of Pujols in its 2011 Elite Extra Edition that lists him as playing for “Los Angeles.”

The Panini card, which merely showed Pujols in a red workout shirt, sells for about $1.

The basic Topps card, which features Pujols in Photoshopped uniform, sells for about $100.

Topps’ short print card is desired not only by hardcore Topps collector’s, but also people who want Pujols shown as an Angel.

But here is where things get interesting:  Topps’ new release of 2012 Topps Heritage also has Pujols as an Angel and it is NOT a short print.

There is a variation of the newly released Pujols Heritage card, but a basic Heritage Pujols card featuring him in an Angels uniform can be had for int he neighborhood of $2.

Wonder where you’ll be spending your money.

A sneak peak into my on-going project

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , on October 28, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

For the last several weeks, I’ve been putting my non-graded/slabbed rookie cards into binder pages. I’ll have an announcement coming in a few weeks regarding this, but here’s a few images of one of the binders.

Are Goodwin Champion minis underrated?

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

So the other day I completed a small trade for some minis from Topps Allen & Ginter, as well as UD Goodwin Champions. Among them were two black border parallels — a 2009 Allen & Ginter Albert Pujols and a 2009 Goodwin Joe Mauer. These two cards reminded me of a thought I had late last year — are Goodwin minis underrated?

Allen & Ginter gets a lot of love because people dig A&G with a passion. But what about Goodwin? Sure, it has been treated as an A&G knockoff, but truth is UD’s Goodwin line is a rendition of an old tobacco brand, just like Topps’ A&G.

The thing I like about the Goodwin cards is that there is a sense of realism about them. Aside from the cloudy background, UD used actual pictures on their cards, where as Topps’ ran the images through a filter on some photo editing software to get this artistic feel.

I suppose it’s a matter of taste; there really is no wrong answer as to which is better because they both are good-looking cards. I just think that Goodwin may not have gotten the credit it was due. Afterall, UD’s brand was cheaper and did have minis of Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Alex Ovechkin and Smarty Jones last year — all of which look pretty damn cool if you ask me.

Cardboard Porn: 2005 UD Mini Jerseys Albert Pujols

Posted in Cardboard Porn with tags , , , , on July 15, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

Cardboard Porn: Because sometimes words just get in the way.

This is the sixth in an on-going series of card images titled “Cardboard Porn.”