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Just in time for Opening Day (part 2)

crawford cards

Also in the mail today was a package from Phillies fan @Crawdad79. He sent a slew of 2018 Topps that I’ll be able to use for TTMs and trades, but also helped finish off my Reds non-SP team set with Billy Hamilton

Hamilton

He also sent some Bowman Platinum cards, including a couple of guys who will hopefully shine for Cincinnati for many years to come, Nick Senzel and a very sparkly Taylor Trammell

Senzel

Trammell

Scott, I’ll be digging through some boxes for Phillies cards to send you this weekend. Thanks for the Reds!

Still waiting for the Reds to make that late-inning comeback and start the season right!

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Just in time for Opening Day (part 1)

Mr Red

Happy Reds Opening Day! As I type this, my Redlegs trail the Washington Nationals 1-0 while waiting to bat against Brandon Kintzler, who replaces future Hall of Famer Max Scherzer in the bottom of the 7th. The Reds still have nine outs to cross the plate a couple of times and pull out a victory in their first official game of 2018. Fingers crossed!

cjbosu2000

For the second time in less than a month, @cjbosu2000 hits a home run with a package full of Reds cards. Inside were Hall of Famers Johnny Bench and Ken Griffey Jr...

Bench

Griffey

Prospects Tyler Stephenson and Jesse Winker (who got the start today)…

Stephenson

Winker

Speedster Billy Hamilton

AG Hamilton

1987 Hamilton

And my first 2018 Gypsy Queen cards, Scooter Gennett and Adam Duvall

Scooter

Duvall

Again, thank you for the cards Chuck! Good luck to the Tribe this year…maybe we will see a World Series featuring two Ohio teams this year!

I don’t like the Cardinals, but they have some cool fans

A few weeks ago, I sent Levi (@levi_vm some Cardinals cards that were cluttering up my house, and he sent some Reds cards back. I was sick when they arrived, wasn’t Tweeting much, so this is the first mention I have made of them. Sorry it took so long.

This package, while small, was a heavy hitter. Starting with a couple of retired Reds, including Hall of Famer Johnny Bench

Bench

…and Reds Hall of Famer Jose Rijo.

Rijo

This is now my second autographed Rijo card. I still want to get his signature on a 1990 World Series baseball that I have had on my shelf since 1990. But I’m not willing to spend a fortune on an autograph, so it will probably remain unsigned forever.

Moving to the current Reds roster, Levi sent over a 2016 Optic Billy Hamilton black (I think) parallel. It looks black in-hand, but when scanned looks more purply.

Hamilton

Two Jose Peraza cards also fell out of the package, both from 2016. First is the Optic Rated Rookie.

Peraza

Next is an Immaculate jersey relic. I love this card.

Peraza

Finally, the package was rounded out with a 2017 Finest Cody Reed autograph.

I don’t know a whole lot about Reed, but I know the Reds need good pitching. I hope he is up to the challenge. The offense looks great, but the pitching staff is highly questionable. I still think the team could have competed this year if they had signed one of those free agent starters, but as usual, they went the cheap route and let them all slip away. Rebuilding is just an excuse to avoid spending money.

Thanks for the cards, Levi! A definite surprise that brought a smile to my face last week when received, even though I didn’t acknowledge them right away!

Flu, flu, go away

Hamilton

I intended to post these cards last week. They have been in my possession for ten days, thanks to Twitter trader and Yankee fan @Molorange . But last week the flu hit me, and it hit me hard. I didn’t want to look at a baseball card or do much on the computer. I have finally turned the corner, and I’m ready to show off a few highlights.

In addition to the stack of Billy Hamilton above, Joe hit me with some ugly ’90s cards. I don’t understand the love for Bowman’s Best. Neither does Pokey Reese.

Pokey

Nor do I get the love for Leaf cards. These cards are just awful. Don’t believe me? Just ask Pete Schourek.

Schourek

Well, not all Leaf cards are awful. Leaf Preferred cards look pretty cool. Reggie Sanders always looks cool.

Reggie

Thankfully, we left much of the hideousness of the 1990s behind when we entered the 21st century. Check out these sweet cards of Hall of Famer Tony Perez.

Gypsy Queen Perez

Cooperstown Perez

I miss Johnny Cueto. Can you imagine how much of a threat the Reds could be if they still had the starting pitchers of a few years ago?

Cueto

Thank you for the Reds cards, Joe. Sorry it took so long to post them.

I Remember You…or do I?

Does anyone remember the old “Memory” game? We love to reminisce about days gone by, recalling the good old days while looking at childhood photos…what year was that taken? Memory plays a big part in music as well. Metallica, “The Memory Remains.” The Ramones, “Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?” Aerosmith, “Remember (Walking in the Sand).” And one of my all-time favorites: Skid Row, “I Remember You.”

When it comes to wantlists, how reliable is a 42-year old brain? I was in Pigeon Forge last week and stopped by The Dugout. Lots of graded cards (of no interest to me), overpriced wax boxes ($20 for 1988 Donruss? No thanks!), and new product in packs (didn’t even look at the prices because I really don’t care). I asked if he had any dime or quarter boxes…nope. He offered a few Reds boxes to look through, $1 and up a card or 6 for $5. I looked, and hesitantly picked out six cards. Did I need them? Let’s find out!

We’ll start with the newest first, because that is freshest in my mind.

2017 Stadium Club Billy Hamilton

Hamilton

Awesome photo, action shot, but do I need it? This card was all over the blogs and Twitter last year, so I know I’ve seen it before. But have I ever seen it in person? Is it already in one of my binders? Survey says: NEEDED IT! 1-for-1 so far…

2016 Topps Update Jay Bruce All-Star

Bruuuuuuuuuuce

I miss Jay Bruce. He was fun to watch and willing to do whatever the team needed to win games. A three-time All-Star for the Reds, and hopefully he will make a few more Midsummer Classics as a Mets outfielder. I like the guy. But do I need this card? YUP. 2-for-2. Awesome.

2013 Topps Allen & Ginter Johnny Cueto Across the Years

Cueto

Another former Reds player, another guy I hope has grand success in San Francisco (just not against the Reds). One of five Cincinnati hurlers to finish second in Cy Young Award voting. We’re getting into fuzzy memory territory here, but I don’t remember these “Across the Years” cards at all. Checking the wantlist…and I don’t have any of the six “Across the Years” cards featuring Reds players. So we’re now 3/3.

1989 Swell Joe Adcock

Adcock

I debated putting this card back, or informing the shop owner that I didn’t think he was wearing a Reds uniform. You see, the Cleveland Indians also utilized the wishbone “C” in their logo for a few years. More than a few years, actually. According to Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Indians page, that wishbone was a part of the Indians’ identity from 1933-1941, and again from 1954-1972. Adcock played for the Tribe in 1963, and that small bit of the jersey logo looks to me like the tip of Chief Wahoo’s feather. But he played for the Reds from 1950-1952, and Cincinnati used blue in their color scheme during those years. I’m leaning toward Indians here, as this card isn’t even on my wantlists in the first place.

I don’t care. I’m counting it. 4/4. Not bad, but there are two more cards to go…

1966 Topps Dom Zanni

Zammi

I love this guy’s name, and I know I have a card or two of his. But do I have this one? Checking the wantlist…already had it. 4/5.

1965 Topps Jimmie Coker

Coker

The last of the six cards from the card shop, and I’m pretty sure I had this card, but I wasn’t positive, so I went for it. Checking my wantlist, and I’m so glad I didn’t trust my memory on this one…NEEDED IT. This is only my third 1965 Reds card, joining Jim O’Toole and Steve Boros. So the trip to The Dugout was a success, picking up five needs and only one double. Sweet!

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!

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.

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