Archive for game-used

Collecting Kershaw: The first pitch from a historic start – The Winningest Left-Handed Pitcher in MLB History

Posted in Collecting Kershaw, Game-Used Items with tags , , , , , , on September 5, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

The mailman this week brought me two amazing baseballs, one of which will be the subject of this post; the other will come soon.

While Hit By Pitch balls are my niche in game-used baseballs, I also dabble in Clayton Kershaw items. I was able to acquire a ball from the Giants this week that has some historical significance.

Kershaw is at the stage of his career where he is passing folks on various statistical charts, and on 8/27/2020 he won his 173rd career game by defeating the Giants. The win made him the winningest left-handed pitcher in MLB history. It’s sort of a convoluted stat as it’s percentage driven and the number changes, but it is history.

Anyway, the ball that arrived today is the first ball Kershaw used that day against the Giants. The ball was used for warm up pitches and then for eight pitches spanning three batters.

Giants lead off hitter Mike Yastrzemski saw three pitches, the third of which he rapped into center field for a single – his 136th career hit. The ball was fielded by Cody Bellinger and thrown back to the infield where it was tossed to Kershaw for the next hitter.

Wilmer Flores saw two pitches from Kershaw, the second of which he blasted to right-center causing Bellinger to chase it down near the warning track, a play that was replayed on television with high praise.

Evan Longoria, a fellow 2006 draft pick, saw three pitches from this ball including a classic Kershaw knee-buckling bender that was on the inside corner but called a ball. On the third pitch, Longoria fouled the ball off the chalk of the batters box and the ball was removed from play, ending it’s lifespan.

I’m always a tad skeptical when I see balls that are authenticated as used for various batters, especially when they are out into play. So when I opened the package today and saw that this ball is hammered, it made me smile as again the Giants Authentics department left me with zero doubt as to the authentication.

I also ordered the associated Topps Now card pictured below.

What I did with my Q2 eBay Bucks

Posted in Game-Used Items, Mail Day with tags , , , , , , on July 10, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

It’s always fun to get something for free. This quarter, my eBay Bucks amounted to a tad over $50, and honestly, it could have been much higher had I been smart about when I made some purchases during the second quarter of 2019.

So, what did I get with my reward?

A game-used baseball thrown by Perennial National League CY Young Award contender Max Scherzer that struck former mega prospect and All Star Yoenis Cespedes.

In the bottom of the first inning, Scherzer faced off against Cespedes and on the sixth pitch, he nailed Cespedes on the leg with a 84.5 mph changeup. The Nationals TV announcer had a great comment during the replay:

“With quads like that, you figure that’s a likely place to get hit.”

The encounter was the 28th time Cespedes has been struck by a pitch, and it was the 60th time Scherzer hit a batter during his MLB career. In this game, Scherzer earned his 133rd career victory with his 8-inning, 10-strikeout performance.

The game-used ball represents the 36th in my collection of Hit By Pitch balls I’ve collectively dubbed “The Wall of Pain.” More are on the way; all will eventually be shown here.

Collecting Kershaw: Came home to a mailbox full of a sack of rocks …

Posted in Collecting Kershaw with tags , , , , , , on June 4, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I returned to my California home yesterday from my trip to Pittsburgh and found a sack of rocks waiting for me in my mailbox. Under most circumstances, this would be cause for concern, but let it be known that this sack wound up here intentionally.

Before embarking on my first trip to the East Coast in almost a decade, last week I struck a pretty neat deal for a pair of game-used items from Cleveland Indians games. One was a ball struck as a single by 2018 MVP candidate Jose Ramirez, the other was an MLB authenticated Game-Used rosin bag from the June 13, 2017, battle between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Cleveland Indians. The pitching match-up for the day? Just Trevor Bauer versus future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw.

I wouldn’t say that I forgot about this purchase, but I was dumbfounded for a second when I grabbed the bubble mailer and felt what literally felt like a sack of rocks. Then when I opened the package I got a smile on my face.

I own more than a half-dozen baseballs thrown by Clayton Kershaw, my favorite active player. Among them are two that were used during his 2015 NL West clinching 13-strikeout, 1-hit performance against the San Francisco Giants, a game in which I attended. Also, I own the first ball thrown by Kershaw against the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2018 NLCS Game 5. There are a few other balls in the collection including ones he threw against Oakland in 2018 when I again saw him live, one fouled off by fellow 2006 first-round pick Evan Longoria in 2018, and another fouled off by Giants catcher Buster Posey in 2015. But in terms of other game-used items, I’d never even seen a rosin bag like this for sale so it was a must-own when it popped up.

The seller accepted offers and after a bit of back and forth we were able to negotiate a price that would end up with me owning this often forgotten piece of baseball memorabilia.

We all know about balls, bats, helmets, cleats and jerseys being collected. But rosin bags? Do people collect those? I know I have seen other rosin bags for sale on eBay and other sites, but I never really thought I’d end up buying one. But in this case, this seemed like a no-brainer, even if the MLB attribution does not specifically mentioned any players. And the bag itself does not have any pine tar on the exterior so it is unlikely to be from the on deck circle. The bag is full, the exterior is caked in powder and dirt that appears to be from the pitchers mound.

This was a battle between two big name, big league pitchers and in the end my guy, Kershaw, wound up with his 135th career victory after throwing 7 innings and striking out 4 Indians batters.

The item was shipped to me in an Indians Team Store bag and left me wondering just how I was going to display it. I thought about purchasing a plastic case like the ones used for Beanie Babies, but found a 200-count two-piece plastic box in my stash of supplies and that seems to be working just fine.

My next step is trying to find a screen shot showing Kershaw, Bauer and others handling the bag.

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.