Archive for Bowman Chrome

In Memoriam: Jose Fernandez (July 31, 1992 – Sept. 25, 2016)

Posted in In Memoriam with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 25, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

When I stop to post something on a baseball player who has passed away, I typically will show their rookie card — or something close to it — and leave it at that. Today, I will do something more.

img_0245By now you’ve heard the news, Marlins ace pitcher Jose Fernandez was killed early Saturday in a boating crash. He was 24.

I repeat, TWENTY FOUR.

People come and go in our real lives, usually not at or before the age of 24. And if by chance they do pass at a young age we all stop and call it unfortunate. This case, albeit involving an athlete, a budding superstar, a guy paid millions to play whats been called  kid’s game, is no different.

The death of Mr. Fernandez has struck me like no other athlete’s has struck me in recent memory. Muhammad Ali passing a few months ago was big, but didn’t punch me in the gut this way because Ali lived a full life. Besides, by the time I came to know Ali he was already in retirement; I was only living with the legacy that he’d already built.

When Dave Henderson died in December of 2015 that hit me a bit because growing up I watched him play in Oakland AND two of his twin nieces were in my fourth and fifth grade classes. They  brought a signed bat of his to class for show and tell once. Even then I merely posted  picture of his 1982 Topps rookie card and moved on.

When Cardinals top prospect and super rookie Oscar Tavares died during the post season of 2014, the card world mourned because he was supposed to be THE guy. Collectors bought into him heavily hoping to reap financial benefit, but they all wound up dumping his cards post mortem for mere pennies on the dollar. Personally I was saddened as usual, but wasn’t really affected — I hadn’t had a chance to see him do much of anything on the diamond. Also, the suspicion that he was driving while reportedly being intoxicated kind of changes the tone a bit.

And then there is the sad case of Angels super prospect Nick Adenhart, who died after his car was struck by a suspected drunken driver on the morning of August 9, 2009, just HOURS after Adenhart in his one and only MLB start of the year. I repeat: His car was hit by a suspected drunken driver; Adenhart was not the party who was intoxicated. A bright future was there for Adenhart, but again, he had a lot to prove at the Major League level.

Now lets come back to the present as it pertains to Mr. Fernandez, the bright, smiling face of a Marlins organization that comes and goes as it pleases in baseball with almost no real foot print. True, outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is the longest-tenured Marlin with the club and sure-fire Hall of Famer Ichiro recently joined the land of baseball immortality with his 3,000 hits, but neither of them in my mind was as big of a star for the Miami club as Mr. Fernandez.

He was all of 24, but everything he showed us in his four seasons in Major League Baseball lead us to believe he certainly was flirting with greatness.

During his age 20 season, he went 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA and 187 strikeouts en route to capturing the 2013 National League Rookie of the Year honors.

Elbow injuries shortened his 2014 and 2015 seasons, but even when he was playing he still maintained his dominance to the tune of a 10-3 record over 19 starts during which he struck out 149 batters in 116 1/3 innings.

And this year he was dominating his opponents to the tune of 12.5 strikeouts per 9 innings. At the time of his death he’d struck out 253 batters in only 182 1/3 innings of work. He had 16-8 record and a 2.86 ERA over the course of 29 starts. In his final outing on Sept. 20, he went 8 innings against the eventual National League East champion Washington Nationals, allowing only three hits while striking out 12 batters — just another typical Fernandez outing.

I took a liking to Fernandez during his rookie year. His stuff was electric and his style — even his hair — reminded me a bit of Ricky Vaughn from Major League the movie. There was just something about the guy that made you watch the game. I made it a point to own the above pictured 2011 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Refractor autograph and when it came to keeper fantasy baseball leagues, he was mine — forever, just as Clayton Kershaw shall be.

img_0239Oddly enough the news of Mr. Fernandez’s death came to me through a push notification from Yahoo Sports.  There I was using the restroom when a bell rang on my phone. I’m in the semi-finals of my league’s playoffs, a day away from entering the championship round, so I was intrigued by this seemingly odd notification that Fernandez’s status was changed from “healthy” to “day-to-day.” I clicked on the link and boom: the news hits me like a ton of bricks. And not because he was a part of my team, but because he was a hell of a talent and because he was just a kid.

He was 24. What were you doing at age 24? For me. I had graduated from college a year earlier and was only a few months into my career as a professional journalist. The Marlins, oddly enough, had defeated the Yankees in the 2003 World Series and in 2004, my favorite team, the Boston Red Sox, had completed an unbelievable comeback against the New York Yankees during the American League Championship Series and then went on to win club’s first World Series in 86 years.

By the time I had turned 24 I hadn’t been married yet and was still five years away from having the first of my two children. At age 24 I was just becoming an adult. Sure, Mr. Fernandez had talent, fame and fortune that most of us could only dream of, but I’d imagine that when all of those material things are stripped away, he wasn’t that much different that most of us at that age. He was enjoying the life of a young adult, but still had many real life milestones ahead of him.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Fernandez. May there be nothing but called third strikes for your pitching career in the afterlife.

 

 

 

 

Pack-Pulled vs Industry Standard

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , on October 19, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

As a rookie card (and prospect) collector, it is a goal of mine to acquire early cards if every guy who has played in the Majors. It’s a daunting task that at times I struggle to adhere. With players from pre 2002, it was fairly simple to decide which card(s) I wanted to target.

In the last decade or so the lines between first, early, rookie card, prospect card, etc. have become blurred and there are any number of cards a collector could target.

As most of us know, Bowman Chrome autographs in any form are pretty much the industry standard.  But we also know, obviously, that many other brands exist. Which creates an interesting scenario when a collector who owns multiple cards of a single player.

Example: Jose Abreu.

  
Shortly after Abreu broke into the majors in 2014 I picked up this shown Bowman Chrome Prospects autograph on the secondary market. For all intents and purposes I was done with Abreu. And then Lo and Behold I bought a blaster of Bowman Platinum and pull the shown blue refractor Abreu auto.

Conventional wisdom would have this one of two ways: Keep both, or unload one and go add something else. The latter is where my head is considering I could turn one of these into another sogned rookie or prospect of a buy whom I do not have.

And so here is the true dilemma: Keep the Bowman Chrome autograph because it’s the industry standard, or the Bowman Platinum because It’s technically rarer (it is serial numbered to 199) and I personally pulled it?

Wedding anniversary trip leads to unlikely card shop, big prospect score

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , on June 27, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

Can you honestly say that you’ve ever been on a trip and counted more card shops than you did Targets or Wal-Marts?

Well, it happened. And the score is 1-0 so far.

My wife and I are celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary this weekend and during the trip we found ourselves in Solvang, Calif., which is a small Danish town in the central coast of California. 

The town is essentially made up of store fronts and businesses replicating the look of the architecture of Denmark. 

So, imagine my surprise when I stopped at a building that had a display including faded sports cards. 

 
I stared at the cards wondering why they were there in this small tourist town.  And then I saw the business card.  

  I thought to myself: “There was once a card shop here?!”

Then I looked up:

   
 

There at the end of Copenhagen Drive on the second floor is a real card shop! And it still exists!

My wife and I, and our two kids, went inside for a few and I chatted with the owner, whom I guess is “Tom” based on the business card.

“Tom” said he had been in business for more than 40 years.  I asked how business was and he stopped, looked and me and said “what business?” He went on to explain how slow things had been and how he doesn’t deal on the a internet. I could tell I was touching a nerve so I decided to stop the chit-chat and find something to buy. 

I always try to find some sports card during a trip my wife and I take to add to my collection.

The first card I found was a 1986 Fleer Update Robby Thompson rookie car.  This former Giants second baseman and I share a birthday, and I’m almost positive I don’t own this particular rookie yet. 

  
Second card is another rookie card I don’t own, the 1985 O-Pee-Chee Dwight Gooden. I was happy with the card at this price.

  
I have a soft spot for certain cards from the early 1990s, anytime I find copies of them I have to buy them. This 1991 Score flag card is one of them.

 
  

I was pretty happy with those three cards and happily would have pulled out $3 for those cards and moved on.  But I felt compelled to keep digging. So I did.

I located this Blake Swihart 2010 Bowman Chrome USA card in another box. The price, as it turned out was higher than I could have paid on COMC, but that’s OK. I opened a bunch of 2010 Bowman products and somehow never pulled this one.

 
And grabbed the next stack of cards and started thumbing trough. Then IT happened… 

Yes, this was THE Carlos Correa. Yes, this was Chrome. Yes, this is 2013, his first year. Yes, this is a black refractor. Yes, the card is numbered 99/99. And yes, this cost $1.

At this point I started digging g through stacks faster, looking for other gems.  I dug for another five minutes and feared the shop owner would wonder why I was trying to hide a huge smile so I started to wrap it up.   

I opened my wallet and realized I had no cash, only my debit card. And the owner told me it was a $10 minimum for debit/credit cards so I grabbed two overpriced 2015 Topps Series 2 packs at $2.95 each and checked out.

Once I paid and exited the store, I let out a celebratory smile. The Correa was a big find for $1.  It’ll go right into my rookie/prospect PC.

In case you’re wondering, the packs were decent too.

Pack One:

  
Pack Two:

  

Icon-O-Clasm: 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Mike Trout Auto

Posted in Icon-O-Clasm with tags , , , on April 17, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

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Monster Mailday: Superstar Signatures and Chrome Prospects

Posted in New Addition, Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2013 by Cardboard Icons

Ah, the beloved mailday post. It doesn’t get much more easier or gratifying than this.

Over the last three months I made several purchases on COMC.com using store credit I earned by selling my lesser valued cards. I turned those into some pretty major additions to my collection. As it turned out, this package of 14 cards arrived on the same day as another big addition I made via eBay.

Let’s start with the eBay mailday.

IMG_9744Hank Aaron is still a mythical figure to me. Sure, Barry Bonds sullied the All-Time Home Run mark, ripping the title from Hammerin’ Hank. But Hank is still Hank. He’s revered in baseball, still a legend in our hobby, and in my mind, his signature is a must-own.

Hank’s autograph has worsened over the last 10 years, likely because he’s getting older. His signatures are not hard to come by, but getting his name inked on a card you love is something that can be a costly endeavor. For me, that card is the 1954 Topps rookie card.

Here’s the 1994 Topps Archives 1954 Topps rookie reprint of Hank Aaron, which was limited to 1,954 copies and was available via redemption cards that were issued into packs of the nearly 20-year-old product. The quality of the signatures on some of these cards is suspect. At times the ink can be seen running off the card. This one however looks great. The grade “8” issued by Beckett Grading Services might be a tad off-putting for some. But the reason the card graded so low was the “7.5” mark issued for centering. I’m 99.9% sure this would re-grade higher. Both the front and back have really good centering, certainly better than the issued “7.5.”

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OK, now my COMC mail …

I’ve been raving about this site for almost three years now. I’ll start by saying that it is not for everyone. You have to spend a little money and time to make your lesser-valued cards work to your advantage. But if you’re the kind of collector who doesn’t really have the space or desire to keep a lot of inserts, the the site could work to your advantage.

Here’s a small grouping of signed rookie/prospect autos I needed for my collection:

2005 Topps Chrome Nate McClouth, 2004 Bowman Sterling auto Carlos Quentin, and 2010 Bowman Chrome Draft Yasmani Grandal

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A few more Chromes …

2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects autograph Kolten Wong. (I upgraded from a 2012 Bowman Prospects auto orange /250, almost straight up)

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2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects Autograph Refractor Sonny Gray

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2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects autograph Trevor Bauer

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2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects Autograph Refractor Matt Moore BGS graded 9/10 (upgraded from a basic Chrome auto for about the same price)

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A 2012 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Joey Chestnut autograph. Chestnut and I went to the same college, and truthfully, this will go well with my 2006 Topps Allen & Ginter Takeru Kobayashi signature. Eat up, Boys!

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Here’s some PSA Graded rookie action. Both were acquire for about $5 each:

1987 Topps Traded Greg Maddux rookie PSA 9 Mint.

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1989 Topps Traded Ken Griffey Jr. rookie PSA 9 Mint.

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A vintage hall of fame rookie … 1933 Goudey Fred Lindstrom rookie card. Creased, but priced accordingly.

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Now my big three in this batch from COMC…

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Matt Wieters is going to save baseball!

Before Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and even Stephen Strasburg, Wieters was considered the next big thing. I’m sure you remember. His 2007 Elite Extra Edition autograph was easily a $150 card.

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Well, Wieters hasn’t been the immediate massive mashing monster we all thought. But he has been an all-star and he’s a solid contributor for the up-start Baltimore Orioles. That said, I’m thrilled to have added this card to my collection post-hype for just about the price of a retail blaster.

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Matt Harvey is the next Nolan Ryan or Tom Seaver!

A stretch? Probably. But the price of his signed 2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects card certainly makes you wonder if it’s closer to the truth.

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Harvey is the current champion of the hype machine. He’s THE guy to own right now, (aside from Yasiel Puig) and as luck would have it, I did not own this card. Well, after some finagling of items on the site and some back-and-forth negotiating, I managed to acquire one. The front looks awesome, but the back is slightly off center. Not a big deal to me because the signature is really clean.

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Sandy Koufax signs a lot!

If you’ve joined the hobby in the last two or three years, you’re probably sick of hearing about that Sandy Koufax guy. His face is in damn near every Topps insert set and his signature is the high-priced trophy we all try to obtain when ripping packs. Well, before 2011 Koufax really didn’t have many certified signatures on the market. He had a few Upper Deck cards, and one 1998 Donruss Signatures signed release, which also came in a refractor-style parallel.

Well, looky here ….

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One popped up on COMC and I was able to negotiate it down to a price at which I was really, really happy to add it to my collection.

All in all, a quality mailday. Two major signatures finally added to my collection and most of the cost was off-set using funds I acq1uiredby “selling” cards I already owned.

IMG_9745Interested in COMC.com? You can see my seller list here.

Video Breaks: 2x Discount 2012 Bowman Chrome Blasters; 1x 2013 Topps Heritage Blaster

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , on March 8, 2013 by Cardboard Icons

Enjoy; watch them in order.

Jon Garland was a different kind of ‘gamer’ on his rookie card

Posted in Icon-O-Clasm, Instagram Portraits with tags , , , , on February 27, 2013 by Cardboard Icons

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