Blog Archives

A one in a million trader

I don’t post the cards I receive in the mail very often anymore on here. I usually post them to Twitter then put them in the stack to be sorted. I think I will change that, because this blog needs some lovin’. So here is a trade recently completely with Beau of the One Million Cubs Project, who I met via Twitter (@onemillioncubs). I sent him a handful of Cubbies recently, and he loaded me up with Reds and Reggies.

Reggie Jackson is one of the non-Reds players that I collect, and Beau hit a few holes in my collection here. I don’t have an official wantlist, but I believe there are at least four cards in this lot that I didn’t previously have.

Reggie

Then there were the Reds. From Eric Davis to Tucker Barnhart to Pete Rose to Mario Soto, Beau scattered the selections throughout several eras of Cincinnati baseball.

Reds

And he sent over a few 2014 Allen & Ginters, which I don’t even have on my wantlists yet! I need to change that soon. I got a Joe Morgan, Frank Robinson, and a mini Billy Hamilton rooooooookie card…

BHAM

And it’s always cool to get an autograph, even if you’ve never heard of the guy. Tanner Rainey was a second round draft pick in 2015 and split last year between Dayton and Pensacola, so he’s not a washout yet. Hope this guy can get to the bigs and help out the Reds…they sure need it on the mound.

Rainey

Eric Davis is another guy I collect everything of, whether Reds or not. It’s hard to find a Reds card of Davis I don’t have (though there are a handful), but when you send me Dodgers and Tigers and Orioles and Cardinals cards…there’s a good chance I don’t have it yet. Like Reggie, I don’t have a wantlist up yet, but maybe I’ll be able to change that this summer? (HAHA yeah right)

Davis

But what is this? Yes, it IS a Reds card of #44 I didn’t already have! From Baseball Cards Magazine…

Davis

Beau posted this and several more Reds from Baseball Cards Magazine, and I knew I had to ask if they could be included in the trade. Fortunately no one else had spoken up yet. If you need any of the non-Reds from the panels, let me know and they are yours (except for Darryl Strawberry, he’s already spoken for). The other Reds besides Davis were Barry Larkin, Randy Myers, Scott Scudder, Rosario Rodriguez, and Joe Oliver (sharing a card with John Wetteland of the Dodgers)…

Larkin

Myers

Scudder

Oliver

All of those came on uncut panels with other players, but they will be freed and bindered at some point.

Thanks Beau for an awesome trade!

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A pleasant surprise

When I went in to work Friday, there was an envelope in my work mailbox. The work mailbox is not used a great deal by me, other than to store my headset and some other random papers that may someday be important. So I was a little surprised to see an envelope inside.

This was not a regular envelope, though. This was a small, padded envelope. The type used by baseball card collectors to send each other goodies. All that was written on the outside was my name, so I knew it came from someone who I worked with.

I tore it open, and this beauty fell out…

Hamilton

A Topps NOW card featuring Billy Hamilton, commemorating the Reds’ five single-inning stolen bases earlier this year! This was a very pleasant surprise, and I got busy trying to figure out the identity of the mysterious baseball card fairy. It did not take long, and the trail led straight to TWJ contributor Patrick. We no longer work in the same building, but we still exchange baseball cards, memorabilia, and books from time to time.

Such a great surprise on a Friday night! I’m very grateful to Patrick and his continued support and contributions to The Writer’s Journey.

A few words about Topps NOW…I’m not a huge fan of the process. And I’m not the only one. For me, it’s the price that bothers me. However, I noticed something on the Topps NOW website a few minutes ago:

prices

$3.99 or even $4.99 is a lot easier to swallow than $9.99. Of course, that is only if you are purchasing multiple copies of a single card. But what if the idea was extended to include multiple cards? Say I wanted to place an order for ten cards that were to be produced during the season. Obviously, I don’t know what ten cards I would want, but each day I could check the Topps NOW site, and if I decided I wanted one of those cards, I could click “add to cart” and the quantity. When I accumulate ten cards in my cart, they are then shipped to me. If there are additional slots in my cart at the end of the year, I automatically receive that quantity of the last card in the set (which will likely be a celebration of the Chicago Cubs’ first world championship in over a hundred years).

If I were buying individual cards throughout the year, that would run $99.90. But if I pre-purchased a ten-card package, it would only be $49.99. Or the twenty-card package for $79.99. That might be something I would be willing to do (if the Reds had a better team and I expected them to have 10 or 20 Topps NOW cards this season).

I like the concept of Topps NOW, I really do. But the price for a single card is way too high for this bargain-bin collector. I would love to see Topps make some sort of “subscription” like I described above available to collectors like myself.

Cards from a Royals fan in Nebraska

Klinker

On more than one occasion, I wondered why Mike was a Royals fan. He lives in Nebraska. There is no connection whatsoever between Nebraska and the Royals, is there? Then it dawned on me…OMAHA! The city has hosted the Royals AAA affiliate since 1969, so it makes sense for Mike to be a Royals fan. (To be fair to Mike, he has probably told me this and I just forgot. My memory seems to be slipping more and more with each passing day.) The Royals actually have an A-ball team about an hour from me; maybe I’ll try to get down there and catch a game sometime this summer with the boys.

I started this post off with a 2011 Bowman card of Matt Klinker (parallel! green border! numbered to 450!) because Klinker was a career minor leaguer, and 2011 was his last season, split between the Carolina Mudcats and Louisville Bats. He also spent some time in the Venezuelan League in 2011, but has not pitched professionally since according to his B-R page. It would have been nice to have seen Klinker on the big league stage with the Reds; the back of his card says he grew up as a Reds fan in Kentucky. His B-R page shows that he graduated from Lakota West High School in West Chester, OH, a suburb of Cincy. I love the local-kid-makes-good story, but it wasn’t meant to be in this case.

Mike sent over several other awesome cards. Let’s travel back to 1972 with George Foster

Foster

…then to 1984 with an autographed Dann Bilardello

Bilardello

…then to 1989 with an autographed Van Snider

Snider

…before returning to the present time with some 2016 Donruss cards, including speedster Billy Hamilton

Hamilton

…and the best first baseman in the majors, Joey Votto

Vottomatic

I know Donruss gets a lot of grief from collectors because of the lack of logos, but I like the cards and am so happy to see an alternative to Topps this and Topps that and Topps then and Topps now. The 1982 throwbacks are especially nice, though the logo and year seem a bit big and bulky. Other than that, I think Donruss is doing a pretty fantastic job.

Thanks for the cards, Mike, and be watching for an envelope full of Royals coming your way!

Fun Cards Submissions: 2016 Topps “Now” Tyler Holt and Billy Hamilton

Holt

Topps introduced a new type of baseball card this year, commemorating on-the-field achievements as they happened and making the cards available for purchase for just 24 hours on their website. The concept is called “Topps Now,” and the cards appear to cost $9.99 each. So far, David Ortiz, Bryce Harper, Trevor Story, Francisco Liriano, and the Kansas City Royals/2015 World Series trophy have been featured. Only the Ortiz is currently available for purchase.

I like the concept, but not the execution. This is the way the Upper Deck Documentary set should have been done a few years ago. A short write-up of daily events, with a photo from the actual game. But $10 per card? Not in this lifetime. I suppose I should be glad the Reds are not expected to perform well this year; that just means there are fewer Reds cards I will never add to my collection.

Hamilton

“Fun cards,” however, are another story. TWJ contributor Patrick saw fit to commemorate Tyler Holt and Billy Hamilton‘s spectacular ninth-inning defensive plays Monday afternoon that saved the Reds from an embarrassing start to what is expected to be an embarrassing season. Look at how fast Hamilton was moving when he dove for that ball! It’s like the Flash, so difficult to get a clear photograph because of his lightning speed!

Thanks for the great “fun cards,” Patrick!

The Card Chop Swap

I recently sent some Dale Murphy and Atlanta Braves cards to Steve of The Card Chop, and he responded with a package of Reds cards. Always happy to receive an envelope full of Reds, especially when I need every single one…

VottoPhilllips

Let’s start with this Joey Votto/Brandon Phillips “Back to Back” card from the new 2016 Topps flagship. I like this card. A lot of people are hating on this particular insert set, and while it’s not the most fantastic card ever, I still like it. Plus, Topps was smart by using two players that were pretty much guaranteed to still be on the Reds roster when the season opens. As opposed to this guy…

Chapman

…who will be sitting out the first thirty games serving a domestic violence suspension. I’m not sure how much the Reds will actually miss Aroldis Chapman this year, since he is a closer and expected to save games. The Reds probably won’t have very many games to save.

Bruce

And then there is this guy, who was almost a Blue Jay last week. Jay Bruce has been the subject of trade rumors since the All-Star break last year, and I still would not be surprised to see him in another city for opening day. He has a big contract that Cincinnati would love to get rid of, despite being one of the league leaders in homers and RBI just a few years ago…

Bruce

Bruce

Speaking of league leaders…

Hamilton

…when is Billy Hamilton going to get on base enough to lead the league in stolen bases?

Keeping with the league leaders theme…

Harang

Aaron Harang had the most strikeouts in 2006. That kinda blows my mind. He’s still looking for a job this spring, after finishing the 2015 season in Philadelphia. Another former Reds pitcher…

Arroyo

…is trying to rejoin his former skipper Dusty Baker in Washington. Bronson Arroyo considered returning to the Reds, but settled for a minor-league deal with DC.

Steve sent over a slew of 2006 Topps Reds that I didn’t have yet.

Reds

Ross

David Ross announced that 2016 would be his last season in the bigs, and Jason Heyward gave him a pretty “suite” retirement gift.

Phillips

Brandon Phillips is the only player from the 2006 Reds team that is still in Cincinnati in 2016. 2006 was before Votto and before Bruce. One of the players on that roster is now deceased. It seems like an eternity ago, when Ken Griffey and Adam Dunn still roamed the outfield at Great American Ballpark.

Steve sent several other 2006 Topps Reds, but I don’t remember half of them. I did want to show one other card in the package, going way back to 1995…

Larkin

Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, punched out of a Sports Illustrated for Kids magazine. I loved the 90s.

The want lists were updated while strains of Zeppelin filled the air

xmas

That’s a good bit of my Christmas loot there. A brand new record player, a stack of vinyl (including Van Halen, Lynyrd Skynryd, and Led Zeppelin), and several stacks of baseball cards. I have not scanned any of the cards I scored today yet, but earlier this week I received cards from Night Owl and TWJ contributor Patrick, and had a few minutes to scan them.

2015

Greg from Night Owl Cards helped fill several needs from the 2015 Topps and Donruss sets. I love the Donruss design; I know a lot of people aren’t crazy about them, but I love how they pay tribute to the heritage of 1980s designs.

2014 hamilton

The Owl also sent over some other needs, such as the Billy Hamilton Heritage “Rookie Stars” (above) and the 2013 Hometown Heroes Eric Davis (below)…

Davis

I also received my very first 1975 Topps mini card…

Carroll

…which coincidentally (or not?) featured a cartoon owl on the reverse…

Owl

There were several other cards in the package, including the late Ryan Freel.

Freel

It was just before Christmas three years ago that Freel took his own life. A very sad story. Freel was a huge fan favorite in Cincinnati because of his hard-nosed play.

2014 and 2015

Patrick also hooked me up with quite a few 2014 and 2015 Topps cards. I have gone from having only a handful of 2015 Reds to needing only two for the whole team set. So if you have an extra Daniel Corcino (209) or Kristopher Negron (547) laying around, shoot me a message.

Patrick also gave up a couple of hard-to-find gems. First, from 2015…

Gapper and Rosie

Rosie Red and Gapper dancing on a special All-Star Game card that was available during the FanFest, and I believe a few were handed out at RedsFest as well.

And then, from 2006…

Nuxy

The ol’ left-hander, Joe Nuxhall, from a set that I’m not familiar with. I tracked down a Chuck Harmon card from this same set online, but no full checklist or information about how they were distributed. I love getting cards that I know nothing about, because that just means I have something else to learn.

The Reds want lists have been fully updated to the best of my knowledge. You might have noticed that there are some non-Reds things in some of the stacks pictured at the beginning of this post. I got some nice stacks of Shawon Dunston, Chris Sabo, Kurt Stillwell, and Doug Dascenzo as well from my family for Christmas. I will eventually update those want lists at All-American Baseball Cards and fire that blog up again. I haven’t posted since January there, but I think I have a way to overcome the monotony of what I was writing. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for 2016 on that.

Thank you again Greg and Patrick for the cards you sent! I hope you had a very merry Christmas, and that 2016 is awesome!

Reds cards from a ChiSox fan

Reds

I love getting cards in the mail. Jeff over at 2 by 3 Heroes loves sending cards in the mail. (The converse of both of those statements is true as well, by the way.)

Jeff recently sent over a nice handful of 2015 Reds that I did not yet have. I don’t have my wantlist fully updated for 2015 yet, so I may have missed out on some A&G and Stadium Club, but I’m very happy with what I did get. In addition to all those cards above, Jeff also sent an Archives Jay Bruce

Bruuuuuuuuce

Future Star/All-Star Rookie Billy Hamilton

Speedy Hamilton

(combining both the “Future Stars” designation and the All-Star Rookie cup on the card confuses my junk wax era brain. You’re one or the other, you can’t be both!)

And Home Run Derby Champion Todd Frazier

Frazier

I absolutely love this card. If I could only keep one 2015 card, this would probably be it.

Thank you for the Redlegs, Jeff! Hope you have a fantastic Christmas!

I will be sending out my own “Christmas cards” soon, so if you haven’t already told me your address and favorite team, send me an e-mail with that information.

2015 Reds, 1990 Score style: Billy Hamilton

Billy Hamilton

He is one of the most exciting baseball players to watch when he gets on base, but his on-base percentage is south of .300. Billy Hamilton has only taken 25 walks this season, and has struck out 70 times. Can anyone dispute that he needs to work on his eye, and perhaps practice bunting more? He can turn a single or a walk into a double almost every time; he has a league-leading 54 stolen bases this year, and has only been caught seven times. With a WAR of only 0.8 though, one has to wonder how long Cincinnati fans will put up with his lack of performance in other areas.

I have slowed down posting a lot lately, and I apologize to my readers. I still have books to review, and “fun cards” to post, and Ultimate Mixtape tracklists to share, but there is a lot going on in other areas that are of greater importance to me right now. I do not intend to abandon this blog, and I apologize for neglecting it so much lately, but it has dropped a bit on my list of priorities. I hope you understand and continue reading, and commenting, and e-mailing me.

There are some great things on the horizon, including a review of Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs!: My Adventures in The Alice Cooper Group by Dennis Dunaway, a review of The Hawk of New York comic book and soundtrack, and some other cool offerings from Genterine Records. Please be patient and stay tuned for these reviews and more.

Here’s a sneak peek at the 2015 TWJ baseball card design!

Opening Day is almost upon us, and I have yet to show you the design for the 2015 TWJ baseball card set. TWJ cards are only available digitally, and you can only see them all by visiting TWJ cards on tumblr. We are wrapping up the “pre-season” set, and that design will be retired on April 5 with no new cards created. So if you want to see your all-time favorite baseball player on a card design like this…

Jose Cruz

…then you need to send me a message via e-mail, or on tumblr, or on Twitter, or leave a comment here.

The new 2015 TWJ set will consist only of current players, with a few very special exceptions.

And here, ladies and gentlemen, is the 2015 TWJ baseball card design, as modeled by speedy Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton

Read the rest of this entry

2015 Reds, 1990 Score style: Billy Hamilton (Young Superstars)

010 Billy Hamilton YOUNG SUPERSTARa

Arguably the most exciting player to watch on the basepaths in the majors, Billy Hamilton is the Young Superstar in center field for the Cincinnati Reds. The early favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award in 2014, Hamilton faded after the All-Star break and Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom overtook him, but the speedster stole the hearts of a lot of fans in the Queen City.

010 Billy Hamilton YOUNG SUPERSTARb

The glossy “Young Superstars” set from Score, if I recall correctly, was offered to baseball card collectors through the mail. I decided to create a front and back for this card so I could show off that sweet All-Star Game patch on Hamilton’s sleeve on the back. The midsummer classic is coming to Cincinnati for the first time since 1988.

I doubt I will go because of finances, but you better believe I’ll be entering nearly every contest hosted by local businesses for tickets. I’d love to see the game, but would settle for at least the Home Run Derby. I attended the Home Run Derby in 1988, but it was rained out. If I still had the ticket stub, I would try to exchange it for this year’s event.

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