Archive for game used baseball

Mailday of game-used baseballs also includes a vehicle title? Oops …

Posted in HBP Collection, Mail Day with tags , , on July 8, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Monday was a glorious mailday. I received a handful of game-used baseball cards and a few packages of new Clayton Kershaw cards for my collection.

But one of these packages contained something completely unexpected …

I ripped opened a large bubble mailer that I knew contain two new balls for my game-used collection and removed the balls. And then I peered inside the bubble mailer and found something I KNEW had to have been sent my mistake — the title to the seller’s truck.

Had I been a person of no morals, I could have made this an absolute nightmare situation. But that’s not who I am. I immediately reached out to the seller — who is part of a Facebook group for game-used collectors — and confirmed it was indeed a mistake. He offered to send me money in exchange for the title; but if you know me that’s not necessary. It was an honest mistake; the paperwork will be in the mail in the morning.

The moral of the story for us all is to make sure that in the haste of packaging up collectibles, make sure you don’t accidentally include important documents as packing materials.

So, what was supposed to be in the package? Two new additions to the HBP Collection — Shelby Miller’s first-thrown HBP, and the first ball that struck former prospect Mike Olt.

Boooooo! Give it to the kid!

Posted in Commentary, Misc. with tags , , , , , on June 18, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

He sits in his seat, left hand in his fielding glove, eyes transfixed on the field before him.

Like many other kids his age, his dream is to catch a ball. Game-used, player-thrown or -hit, whatever … it doesn’t matter. A ball is a ball, and it was the object of his desire.

This was me as a youth. Hell, it was you, and your friend. It was your dad, your brother, your cousin, your nephew.

It is my son.

My boy in recent months has taken a liking to the game, more so than I ever images he would at his age. I mean, like many baseball-loving dads, I hoped my son would be the kid who would be crushing Whiffle balls with a pacifier in his mouth, or throwing darts from right field to third base before the third grade. But that hasn’t always been the case. Even though he had been exposed to the game since birth, my son until recently hadn’t shown love for the sport.

But then it happened. He wanted to know about cards; about the game; about the rules.

And recently, when attending games, he started bringing his glove. And just a week and a half ago — on June 7, 2019 — while at the Dodgers-Giants game he asked if he (and his sister and cousin) could go to the front two of the bleachers during batting practice to see if he could snag a ball.

They didn’t get close to catching one, but watching their faces being among the crowd of folks with the same childhood dream — was priceless.

At one point a ball had gotten tossed into the stands and a scrum ensued and my nephew managed to get a finger tip on it, before a group of guys crashed into each other and a young girl walked away with it in her hands. No one was upset; hell, I was proud of my nephew for the effort. And found great comedy in watching a group of boys (and men) picking themselves up as the pre-teen girl held it up and flashed a giant smile.

Fast forward to Monday, June 17, a day after Father’s Day. My kids were with me for a few days and I sought out cheap entertainment. Of course my mind instantly went to baseball. I managed to find some bleacher seats for the Orioles at Athletics game and asked the kids if they wanted to go. Without hesitation, both my son and daughter agreed. And as we headed out the door, my son grabbed his glove.

By the time we got to the stadium, the first row on the left-field bleachers was full — which is to be expected in Oakland. They have some die-hard fans in left and right field bleachers, the type that bang on drums and cow bells, wave flags and have hand coordinated gestures.

But, we got there early enough to pick the seats we wanted. And sure enough, as we say down my son had his left hand in his glove, seemingly ready for anything that came his way.

For the first two innings, my son jumped out of his seat for anything that got hit toward left field. He wasn’t the only one. But his instincts were making me proud. Then in the third inning — after the A’s scored two runs — outfielder Ramon Laureano hit a flyball to left field for the third out.

Orioles left field Anthony Santander gloves it and began running toward the infield, and he threw it to Second baseball Hanser Alberto (who at this point was standing between second base and left field) and Alberto threw it into the left field bleachers. The ball clanked off a seat in section 136 and rolled down to section 135, row 29 — right behind my son. My son reached back and hand two fingers on it when an older kid — maybe late teens early 20s — comes flying over from 136 and aggressively grabs the ball, then turns around with his treasure.

Almost immediately, the crowd laid him.

“Booooooo! Give it to the kid!”

I asked my son if he was OK, and he said he was. He explained he had two fingers on it when it got snatched away by the other person in a blue shirt. I put my hand on his head and told him it was OK. I can’t say I was upset because I didn’t see how much control my son actually had of the ball. Also … I don’t know that older guy’s story. Hell, it’s not like the guy appeared to be in his 30s or anything.

Nonetheless, after a few moments, the guy in the blue shirt comes over and hands the ball to my son, apologizes and walks away halfway through my head nod to acknowledge his actions.

It was a great gesture, one I wish I could have thanked him more for at the time — but I froze. I was concerned about my son being embarrassed — also I wanted to make sure he actually held the ball and didn’t let it roll away.

To the guy in the blue shirt, thank you. I wish I could have shaken your hand before you disappeared. It’s not something you had to do, even if the others around you put pressure on you to give it up.

Having said that, what IS the protocol for older kids, young adults or older folks chasing a ball when clearly it’s in the grasp of a kid? Is this something I should have been upset about? Is this a scenario for which I should even be thanking the guy in the blue shirt?

As for the ball … I went aback and watched the replay of the final moments of the third inning. It appears this ball was initially used in a Khris Davis groundout to Hanser Alberto, who threw it to third base on a fielder’s choice — that’s where they tagged out a Matt Olson for the second out. Then on the next pitch Laureano pops out to left and eventually the ball ends up in the stands.

It was of apropos that Laureano was the guy who last hit it. He has been a golden thread weaved through my baseball story over the last year or so. My kids and I were there for his first career homer; I was there in April when he gunned down Xander Bogaerts at home, and again in May when he threw out another player from deep centerfield. And of course now this flyout which my son now owns.

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.

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.

Bryce Harper on the mind … now I want THIS ball even more

Posted in Game-Used Items with tags , , , , , on February 6, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I have two collecting passions, it’s baseball cards and game-used baseballs. When it comes to the balls, there is a certain niche I began collecting a few years ago and that’s balls used in Hit By Pitch at-bats.

I’ll showcase all those balls in another way later. Rather this topic comes to mind today as we got word of the San Francisco Giants meeting with Bryce Harper this week. Now, ai’m a Red Sox fan but would love to see Harper in San Francisco. After all, the Giants are one of two teams in my area.

I was lucky enough to see Harper play once, and that was on Memorial Day 2017 when I surprised my kids with an impromptu train ride and the game. As it turned out, that was the game when former Giants reliever Hunter Strickland beaned Harper on the hip, and a short fight ensued.

As it happened, my kids and I were walking around the stadium just as Harper was coming up for that at-bat. And when I saw him approach the plate, I pulled out my camera and told my kids I wanted to take a few pictures.

That’s when this happened.

I have several other frames in between and after these images, but these photos tell the story.

It was an amazing sight, something I had to explain to my kids, who were ages 8 and 6 at the time.

I digress, today’s news about Harper’s meeting of course gets talked about locally and this play gets brought up a lot. Also getting discussed is the fact that Strickland — the pitcher — is no longer part of the team so that wouldn’t be an issue.

I feel lucky to have witnessed the play and have document it with my camera, but what I REALLY want is that damn baseball … and you can see it just lying there on the ground in the third photo.

I did acquire a ball from that game — a Matt Weiters single. But I want the ball that struck Harper; it’d go great with the other HBP balls I already own, including ones that struck Mike Trout, Kris Bryant, and the ball that struck Alex Bregman in his very first HBP.

I’ve asked Giants if they have it, and they apparently they do not. I’m hoping it was authenticated by MLB and the Giants that day.

Do you know where the ball is? Have a lead on it? Let me know.

When your friend says he brought you two balls…

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

“Hey, I placed two balls in your mailbox.”

That’s an actual quote from a co-worker.  Fortunately the co-workers is a good friend, and the balls were in fact baseballs, not something else.

This friend is a guy whom I’ve written about before. He has an extensive game-used NFL jersey collection, and sometimes dabbles in game-used baseball items.  I assist him occasionally in photo matching items and he sometimes randomly surprises me with gifts.

Today was one of those days. The gifts included two baseballs, both of which he wanted me to guess the signature before he told me.

The first ball was inside a red Rawlings brand cardboard box. I opened the box and instantly recognized the poorly faded chicken scratch as that of Red Sox legend Jim Rice. What’s cool is the ball is inscribed with “MVP 78.”  The ball is authenticated by Celebz Direct, which is a company from which I have purchased before, they contract with players to do signing, and from time to time sell collections acquired from the player.

The second ball stumped me initially, but I was able to figure it out with the assistance of the Internet.  Not only is the ball signed, it apparently is the ball that Cleveland Indians closer Michael Jackson used to shut down the Detroit Tigers on July 25, 1998. It was Jackson’s 25th save of the season. The signature is again authenticated by the aforementioned Celebz Direct.

Neither of the balls would fetch big money on the open market, but neither of them are intended for the market – they’re heading into my show case to go with other signed and game-used baseballs I’ve acquired over the years.

Thanks for the baseballs, friend.  Can’t wait to see the new loot you picked up.