Archive for MLB

MLB Network host returns autograph; gives scoop on upcoming set

Posted in TTM Success with tags , , , , , , , on September 9, 2016 by Cardboard Icons

When 2016 Topps Allen & Ginter came out a few months ago one of the first cards I pulled was that of Heidi Watney, the Fresno, Calif. native who currently hosts “Quick Pitch” on MLB Network. It’s no secret that the television network is my favorite. So one of my goals was to get this card signed.

img_1991Moments after I pulled it I posted a picture of the card on Twitter and tagged Heidi, asking her if she’d sign the card.  Much to my surprise she answered the question — and it was in the affirmative.

Before I penned my letter to Heidi I managed to acquire another copy of the card so I felt it right to send one for her to keep and one that I hoped she would return inked.  And along with the cards I sent to the Network address a letter asking her about cards focusing on the Network personalities.

You see, the Network had a soft launch in late 2008 and then went full boar in January 2009. I was right there from the beginning.  My daughter was born in January 2009 and in the days before her birth and in the weeks after I spent many a night and early morning with my eyes clued to the TV network. Heck, I wrote this piece titled “Dear MLB Nework, I Love You” on Jan. 1, 2009, after I discovered that an item that I picked up at a flea market months earlier was the object being showcased in an original commercial shown during the full airing of Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series. Check out the post if for no other reason to see some cool baseball nostalgia.

In the years after the Network’s launch I contact a few different people at the Network about a baseball card set that may or may not exist featuring some of the personalities of the early days of the network.  I still have not pined down if the set exists.

Nonetheless, when I wrote my letter to HeidI I let her know that I was a fan of the Network and wanted to know if she had any information about the rumored set. On Friday I received my return envelope with the above shown signed card and this hand-written letter on MLB Network stationary giving me a scoop:

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So, while the mystery still remains about the rumored existing set, apparently there IS one on the way. (It should be noted I haven’t confirmed this with Topps.)

Thanks to Heidi for the autograph and for the hand-written note.

Thrift Treasures 101: An authenticated signed baseball for under $3

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , on December 14, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

I almost missed it.

Last week I took my 5-year-old to the thrift store with me and as soon as we got to the toy section he started doing pee-pee dance.

I did a quick eye scan of the toys as we headed to the restroom on the corner of the store.  I saw nothing that caught my eye immediately.

After the restroom trip we headed back toward the toy section and I initially walked three steps past the stuffed animal section when a small hologram caught my eye. I backtracked and look up to find this:  

I immediately Tweeted the picture to see if anyone else could figure out who signed the ball. My gut said Julio Franco, a fan favorite who played 23 seasons in MLB and even at age 57 is still playing ball in Japan. The signature is in fact that of Mr. Franco.

This is a Braves team ball, one with a slick surface, not like the leather on an official Major League Baseball. When these balls are signed, the ink tends to bleed into the faux leather, which is why the signature looks as it does.

So here’s the kicker. There is no question about the autographs authenticity. How do I know? The ball has been authenticated by MLB!  That’s the hologram that caught my eye.

When you run the serial number on the hologram through the MLB database, this comes up:

  

Not a bad find for a quick trip to the thrift store.

  
Total cost of this Treasure: $2.99.

You can see more Thrift Treasures posts Here

In Memoriam: Darryl Hamilton (Dec. 3, 1964 – June 21, 2015) 

Posted in In Memoriam with tags , , , , on June 23, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

  

Thrift Treasure 81: MLB Showdown ASG finds a home

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , on February 18, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

I’ll say this up front, I am not a big card game guy.  I never got into Magic.  I never played Pokemon. I don’t hate it.  I don’t dislike people who play such games.  I, personally, have never felt the need to sit down and learn or play those games.  They are games of strategy; I prefer to apply my knowledge — the little that I have — to my hobby, where I acquire real things. That’s just how I operate.

IMG_9512Having said that, I do find some intrigue when I find card game cards at thrift stores.  I have a little knowledge as to what is “worth” money, but I can say that I have not cashed in on anything card game related.  This post, I suppose, follows in those foot steps.

So, in the early 2000s, Wizards of the Coast, makers of the Magic The Gathering cards, produced a series of baseball strategy card game that spanned the course of four of five seasons I believe. The game had a mild following. I don’t recall the cards ever being scorching hot.  And every now and then I find them in thrift stores, usually mixed in with some typical baseball cards. I usually pass on them unless I see an absolute reason to buy:  Multiple foil cards, many “first edition” cards, multiple stars, quantity for little money,  etc.”

On this occasion, I happened to find this box (shown here) sitting in an aisle of photo albums.  It must’ve been mistaken for a photo box, but I knew what it was immediately. When I opened it, I got a bit excited because while the bx itself makes for a fun display, it had a fair amount of cards. I was even more exited when I learned that the $3.99 price tag on it was incorrect for on this day, this item was half off.

IMG_9513So for $1.99 everything in this picture came home with me.  And while I won’t strike it rich with this find, it turned out to be a bargain.

The box contained 5 foil cards …

IMG_9543A bunch  of cards, albeit it a 4:1 ratio of strategy cards to player cards

IMG_9545Some neat team — and other subject/set — dividers

IMG_9546and … 50 2002 All-Star Game cards, which is the whole set.

IMG_9544The funny thing is the 2002 All Star Game is infamous for having ended in a tie, which ultimately led to then-Commissioner Bud Selig to the ASG “count” in subsequent years.

Total cost of these treasures: $1.99

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE

Newest Hall of Fame autograph has arrived (Thanks, Topps!)

Posted in New Addition with tags , , , , , , on September 7, 2013 by Cardboard Icons

RickeyIt pretty much goes without saying … WE ALL DISLIKE REDEMPTION CARDS.

Notice I didn’t say Hate.  It’s too strong of a word.  I think dislike is more apt because I think deep down there is some joy that some of us get from these cards.

While we’d all like to have the card fresh in-hand from the pack, redemption cards do present a great opportunity to those who are willing to wait out the redemption process.

On Saturday I received my 2012 Topps Five Star Rickey Henderson autograph card, which was the result of a redemption card I purchased on eBay about a month ago.  The good news was when I bought the redemption card, there was already word that the cards were already live, so I figured I wouldn’t have to wait that long.  From start to finish, it took about three weeks to turn the redemption card into the live card, which is shown here.  In the end, I saved roughly $35 and received a gorgeous card.  Thank you, Topps.

Icon-O-Clasm: 1990 SI For Kids Ken Griffey Jr

Posted in Icon-O-Clasm with tags , , , , , on August 13, 2013 by Cardboard Icons

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Cards of Little Leaguers are cool, but of babies? Not so much.

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

When I was a Little Leaguer, I thought the coolest thing in the world was to have my own baseball card. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, my league didn’t offer such things in the picture package.

But in 1991, thanks to a Donruss and Milk Duds promotion being held at Oakland-Alameda Coliseum (home of the Oakland Athletics) I finally got my own card, and the good folks hooked me up with Dave Stewart’s awesome 1990 statistics. I was legendary! OK, not quite. Nonetheless, I loved this card. I cherished it. I placed it in a hard case and displayed it with some of the best cards in my collection at the time, most notably my 1985 Topps Mark McGwire rookie.

At the time I was only about four years into the hobby and thought what a cool idea it would be to have cards of present-day stars that showed them when they were my age. I wanted to see what my heroes looked like as kids. And then lo and behold that same year I found a book called “Little Big Leaguers” and it came complete with a sheet of tear-out baseball cards, including this Tony Gwynn, which still sits in my collection.

Over the next two years, Donruss took this concept mainstream and placed in its “Triple Play” set a subset called “Little Hotshots,” which, as you can guess, showed Major Leaguer players as Little Leaguers. Check out this scrawny young Mark McGwire wearing, ironically, an A’s uniform. He actually kind of looks like Kelly Leak from “The Bad News Bears.”

The reason these cards are so cool is that when some kid looks at these, they get to see that all Big Leaguers got their start as kids. None of them came out of the womb with huge muscles and the ability to hit 70 home runs as Mcgwire did in 1998 or hit .394 like Gwynn did in 1994. They had to learn the game, hone their craft and be a kid.

So when Topps came out with the 2010 Topps “When They Were Young” insert set, I was again intrigued because I knew the set would show modern players as kids. The first couple cards I pulled were pretty neat, even if they were of mediocre players.

But then I snagged two cards that really gave me the creeps, those of Alex Rodriguez and Russell Martin.

What on Earth was Topps thinking when it made these two cards showing these pro players as babies? It’s bad enough the baseball card collectors get a bum rap for “collecting pictures of men,” but now we’ve added pictures of babies to the spectrum.

I know there already are cards (1993 and 1994 Classic) that show Alex Rodriguez as a high school player, but why even include him in this set if you’re not going to show him doing something baseball related. Although I will say that we did learn something from the A-Rod card: he ALWAYS had the purple lips.

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Shameless plugs: Don’t forget to vote for Cardboard Icons in Upper Deck’s Best Blog contest. Also, sometime this week I’ll be giving away an AUTHENTIC 1958 Topps Hank Aaron/Mickey Mantle card. See details here.