Archive for baseball

Kershaw 2018 NLCS Game 5 First Pitch game-used ball added to collection

Posted in Collecting Kershaw, Game-Used Items, Misc. with tags , , , , , on April 19, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

When it comes to sports collectibles, baseball cards will always be my first love.

But in today’s collectibles climate, MLB authenticated game-used baseballs just might be the new hot girlfriend who may be a better partner than the first wife.

And this week, that new girlfriend arrived looking finer than any of the girls that came before.

This week the mailman came through with a massive mailday that contained a purchase I made last week. The contents? THE baseball that Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw used to start Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.

Kershaw is my dude. My guy. My favorite active player. And last year I was lucky enough to witness in person an almost improbable collision of worlds when Kershaw faced off against my favorite team, the Boston Red Sox, in Game 5 of the World Series.

True, the outcome was not what Kershaw would have wanted. But that did mean that the Sox did clinch a world title in Dodger Stadium while I was present.

But the road for the Dodgers to get there that night was something that I, as a Kershaw fan and collector, would not forget. And his start in Game 5 of the NLCS, during which the southpaw would strike out 9 Milwaukee Brewers over 7 innings en route to his 9th career post season victory (and the last to date), was something that Dodger fans absolutely needed to see from their ace.

The performance in the NLCS helped set LA up for a second straight World Series appearance, and was one that eventually would lead to the aforementioned dream scenario of me seeing my favorite player gave off against my favorite team with all the marbles in the line

I’m not going to kid myself. This newly acquired baseball isn’t the dream ball I’m still chasing. I absolutely NEED to acquire a Kershaw-thrown ball from Game 5 of the World Series. But this NLCS Ball is something I could not pass up when I noticed it up for sale recently.

There had been two other Kershaw-related NLCS balls posted on eBay for sale. One was actually the second ball used during Game 5 against the Brewers and the other was used during the at-bat in which Kershaw walked during a plate appearance against Brandon Wooddruff.

But the ball I bought trumped all of that as it is THE ball that Kershaw used to warm up, then thrown for the first pitch (a 90 mph fastball) and then a bouncing slider to Milwaukee lead-off hitter Lorenzo Cain.

2019 Topps Kershaw Printing Plate added to collection

Posted in Collecting Kershaw with tags , , , , , on April 16, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

The last few weeks have been so busy that I haven’t been documenting/sharing a ton of stuff here. I have this stack of Clayton Kershaw cards on my desk that I’ve been meaning to sort. Along the highlights is this 2019 Topps Series One Yellow Printing Plate.

I still enjoy printing plates from time to time, even if the majority of the hobby has moved away from them. But honesty, others going in a different direction just means I’m more likely to acquire them at a cheaper price.

The 2019 base Topps card is also amusing because it’s an image from Opening Day 2018 and Kershaw’s zippier is down, something I noted just says before the product was released.

HBP Collection: Fernando Tatis Jr hit by Madison Bumgarner

Posted in HBP Collection with tags , , , , on April 15, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Early last week I was watching the San Francisco Giants host the San Diego Padres. One of my favorite pitchers Madison Bumgarner was on the hill and facing top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. Bumgarner beamed Tatis and my immediate thought was “I Want THAT ball!”

So I fired off an email to a contact, but the email went unanswered. I thought less of the situation as the week went on, knowing that I already had tickets for Sunday’s game against the Rockies. I figured I’d check when I got to the park, and if it was gone then it was out of my control.

Sunday was “Youth League Day” (aka Little League Day) and my family headed to the game and eventually got settled in our seats. I then told them I wanted to go look at the game-used balls. Just a few minutes later, I got a gander at what was left … among them were a handful of pitches to Tatis, all prices sort of high considering there was no contact.

But hidden in the back row was possibly the ball I inquired about. It was labeled as “Bumgarner to Tatis Jr. – Hit By Pitch.”

I snatched the ball up, and moments later it was officially mine. I don’t recall in what inning I saw the Bumgarner-Tatis Jr. HBP on television; and as it turned out Bumgarner hit the prospect TWICE that night.

This ball is from the seventh inning, the second HBP of the night. And as it turns out, the two times Tatis was hit in this game were the first two times during his MLB career that he was hit.

So now I own Tatis Jr’s second career HBP. And while it wasn’t as cheap as the common balls, it does feel like a decent bargain given that balls thrown in the dirt during Tatis Jr at-bats weren’t all that much cheaper. On a related note, this was MadBum’s 54th career thrown HBP.

And to make things even more satisfying is that there is a picture on Getty Images showing the moment Tatis got hit by THIS ball.

I could never own a card shop

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , on April 14, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

When I was a little kid, I had the luxury of living directly across the street from a card shop. I could peer out the window of my first-floor apartment and see the moment the shop owner flipped over the “We’re Open” sign. But who am I kidding? My friends and I –we all lived in the same building — often beat the owner there. We were often the first customers, and sometimes the last when we would return in the evening after a day of collecting bottles and cans for more cards.

I had dreams of owning a shop. In fact, I once created little business cards and slipped them under the door of my friend’s apartments. It was silly, but remember, I was 8 and fresh into this hobby. I held this dream through middle school as I had no obvious desire to do anything else.

As I grew older, this dream of course began to fade. And now as an adult — even with the ever-changing landscape of our hobby — I realize the dream was best left as it was — an imperfect heaven that appeased my immature brain.

I give a lot of credit to card shop owners who have had the ability to make a living to support themselves and/or their families in this niche hobby. It’s not like there is this endless pot of gold to which you can continue to return; there are no overtime opportunities to bridge the financial gap during tough times. Card shop owners cease to make money the moment they shut their doors at night, or on a random Tuesday or Thursday as some stores might do.

While the financials might not make sense in my head, the reason I couldn’t own a shop is because of my conscience.

Because when the mother and boy walk in seeking baseball cards, I’d almost rather give the kid some cards to get him started instead of trying a hard sale on some lower-end wax.

Because it would pain me to see a guy spend 90 minutes digging through the quarter boxes and not give him a heads up that someone else spent that same amount of time the day before pulling every card up with upside — the same purpose this newer customer were there.

And because I could not standby and watch a teenager spend his lunch money on packs from a box on the counter which you may already know is void of the single guarantee hit advertised on the box, knowledge you’ve acquired because one of your whale customers decided to open and buy pack by pack from that box until that hit was gone.

It seems to me that it takes a certain amount of selective memory, and a certain shrewdness to make ends meet. And I’m not piling on shop owners, because I understand how difficult these decisions could be at times. I’m merely saying that I know that with my personality it would make it difficult to be a shop owner … and that’s not even addressing how tough it might be to draw the line between collector and retailer.

Love-Hate relationship with Topps Tek

Posted in Collecting Kershaw with tags , , , on April 6, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

The late 1990s were a fun time in our hobby. That was when we saw a lot on innovation. We had already transitioned away from Cardboard baseball cards to other materials, and among them was acetate — a plastic that had been around for years but not in an abundant way.

Topps Tek was initially released in 1998 and at the time wasn’t exactly a product I targeted. I had put player collecting on hold and was targeting rookies at the time. But still I appreciated the different vibe the plastic cards and variations brought. Was it a bit of a gimmick? Yeah. But it was more than just gold or silver parallels.

A few years Topps revamped the line and brought it back. And while the company upped its game in terms of design and technology, it failed to label these cards in a proper fashion.

The first sets in the 1990s at least identified the cards as Pattern 1, Pattern 2, etc. but the latest versions don’t say anything.

This week I received three new Kershaw Topps Tek cards for my collection including the Pyroteknics insert serial numbered /99.

The base cards, however, are deceiving. While opening the package I was disappointed as I thought both Kershaw base were the same — both have same pattern and color. Alas they are different. One is plain and the other is some sort of parallel. It’d be really helpful if they were labeled.

For the record, I have no love for Bowman Tek and am glad they shelves that product for 2019.

Next-Level disrespect for the base card

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , on April 4, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Over the last few years there has been a trend among some persons in our hobby, a practice that has involved using base cards as packing materials to help protect the key card in a package.

Usually the practice involves a single key card in a top loader and then one or two — or more — base cards places on both sides of the top loader as them all of those cards places within a team bag.

When so first saw it, so had mixed feelings as it was clear that the base cards had been relegated to being nothing more than packaging materials. But alas they also were kind of extra fun items that could evoke emotion.

I let it go.

And then this happened this week.

The base cards were TAPED directly to the top loader with scotch tape. The base cards had zero chance to survive.

I know these are your cards and you’ll do as you will with them. But this is definitely some next-level disrespect for some base cards, let alone ones from such a classic set such as 1987 Donruss. it’s gut wrenching to some degree.

I’m a CARD collector but this Topps ART is amazing

Posted in Collecting Kershaw with tags , , , , , , on March 29, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

When Topps released the image of the Clayton Kershaw Topps Living Set artwork there were some mixed reactions.

Personally I loved the rendition by artist Mayumi Seto.

It’s a tight-crop of Kershaw’s face, his beard slightly hidden behind his right shoulder, which prominently displays the Dodger’s 60th anniversary patch. It’s a different view of the pitching legend and maybe that’s why I liked it. Being a Kershaw collector I’ve grown used to the full body shots showing his face contorted in some weird way as he’s about to release the ball.

I bought five of the Topps Living Set cards and figured I’d snag a print when it was produced. And the print was released just a few weeks ago so I ordered one.

The print arrived today and I was not disappointed when I removed it from the packaging. This 10×14 print comes on textured paper and are hand numbered, mine 73/87.

The prints are highly recommended for any player or team collector who enjoys the image used on the Living Set cafd. I almost wish I had ordered additional copies, or considered the 1/1.