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My 10 Favorite Card Purchases of 2011: Number 1

January 2, 2012 1 comment


Card #1 on my list is a card that I’ve always wanted to add to my collection. When you think of iconic players in the history of baseball, who is more iconic than Babe Ruth? There’s plenty of stuff to choose from in the game used market from Ruth, but the first place I always think to look is Topps Triple Threads. The card here is his 2011 Topps Triple Threads Game Used Bat Unity Relic. I joined a group break on Blowout Cards earlier in the year and was lucky enough to get this from one of my slots.

We can debate all day long whether or not the piece of bat in this card was actually held and used by Babe Ruth. Topps certainly adds fuel to that fire with their “This piece of memorabilia is not from any particular game, event or season” message on the backs of their cards. My gut feeling is that it’s just another piece of wood, but a small piece of me hopes that’s not the case. I would really hope it’s not the case in a product that costs $180 per box. Especially when that box only has two packs and twelve total cards.

At any rate, I love adding this card to my collection and will always hold out hope that the tiny piece of wood in this card was from a bat that Babe Ruth used to crush one of his 714 career home runs.

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My 10 Favorite Card Purchases of 2011: Number 2

January 2, 2012 Leave a comment


Card #2 on my list should have been part of my 2011 collecting priorities, but I really was focused on vintage cards when I made that list. When you talk about iconic cards from the modern era, this card and the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookie have to be near the top of every list. The card I’m talking about here is the 1993 Upper Deck SP Derek Jeter rookie card. I’ve always wanted this card and I’m thrilled to have such a nice mint copy in my collection now.

When you talk about condition sensitive cards from the modern era, nothing is tougher than a foil rookie from Upper Deck SP. That is why mint copies of this card command such a premium. Gem mint copies are incredibly rare and way out of the price range for most collectors. I’m quite happy with a mint copy and will never chase a gem mint copy of this card.

Jeter had already accomplished enough to be a sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer, but added the cherry on top in 2011 with his 3,000th hit. He will go down as arguably the best shortstop of all time and one of the most clutch post-season players of all time. All this under the microscope of being a New York Yankee. He’s a special player that doesn’t come along often.

2010 Topps Red Hot Rookie Redemption #10 is Brett Wallace

September 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Well, how’s that for timing? Just last night I posted about this redemption and today it was announced. I swear that I didn’t have any inside information. If I did, I wouldn’t have purchased two additional #10 redemption cards the day before if I had known it was going to be Brett Wallace.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Brett Wallace is going to to be a solid big league player. I lived in Phoenix, AZ for a couple years and saw Wallace play for Arizona State. I liked him then and I still do. He’s had just over 100 at-bats with the Astros this year, hitting just .215 in that time.

The strange thing about Wallace is his path to the big leagues. He was drafted by the Cardinals 13th overall in the 2008 draft. He rose quickly through the ranks in the minors, by July 2009 he was already in AAA. This is just about the time the Cardinals decided they needed a bat for a playoff run and traded Wallace to the A’s on July 24, 2009 as the key part of their package for Matt Holliday. He lasted just under five months in the A’s organization before was traded to Toronto for prospect Michael Taylor. Strange enough yet? Wait, there’s more. Just over one year after joining the Toronto organization, he was traded to Houston for prospect Anthony Gose. Wallace was assigned to AAA for one day and then was immediately called up to the Astros after Lance Berkman was traded to the Yankees.

Whew, back to the redemption cards. I have three #10 redemptions. Only 10% of the cards redeemed are going to be autographed. I’m hoping that at least one of my three will turn up autographed. I’m going to redeem a full set tonight so I’ll report back with my results.

Update – 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates TTM Project

Date sent: 4/27/09
Date returned: 5/14/09

This is my ninth return out of twelve in my quest to get autographed 1960 Topps cards from all twenty surviving members of the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates team.

Gino Cimoli came over to the Pirates in 1960 from the St. Louis Cardinals. In fact, you can see he’s in his Cardinals uniform on his 1960 Topps card. Gino is probably most famous for his lead-off single in the bottom of the 8th inning in game seven of the 1960 World Series. The Pirates trailed the Yankees 7-4 entering the bottom of the eight and lead 9-7 after the 8th. Cimoli’s hit started the rally and he later scored on Dick Groat’s single.

I just received a few more cards in the mail this week from eBay purchases so I’ll be sending those out to be signed by the weekend.

Update – 1960 Pirates TTM Project

Date sent: 4/27/2009
Date returned: 5/4/2009

This is my fourth return out of twelve sent in my quest to get a signed 1960 Topps card of every living member of the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates.

Bill Virdon was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1956-1965 and 1968. He was known as a premier defensive center fielder, winning a gold glove in 1962.

Virdon was also a manager in the major leagues from 1972-1984, amassing a 995-921 record. Virdon managed four different teams (Pirates, Yankees, Astros and Expos) in his managerial career. He managed those teams to the NLCS three times, losing all three times.

This was a very quick return and another key addition to my collection. I hope to report some more returns soon.

1960 Pittsburgh Pirates TTM Project

April 26, 2009 Leave a comment

My father grew up in Western Pennsylvania and rooted for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He raised me to be a Pirates fan even though we lived in Northern Virginia, within one hour of Baltimore, MD. It’s been tough being a Pirates fan over the last sixteen losing seasons but it will make their resurgence that much sweeter whenever that day comes.

My father always told me stories about the 1960 Pirates team when I was growing up. Most of the stories were about Roberto Clemente but the best stories were about the 1960 World Series and the Pirates’ improbable victory over the New York Yankees.

The name Bill Mazeroski always brought a smile to my father’s face. About 10 years ago I dragged my father to a baseball card show with me, not telling him that Mazeroski was there signing autographs. He wondered what we were standing in line so long for but understood once he could see who was sitting at the table at the end of the line. I think it’s the only time in my life that I saw my father in awe of something or someone. We both got baseballs autographed and my father traded a couple of stories with Mazeroski. Mazeroski couldn’t have been nicer. It was a really special moment to share with my father.

I’ve been sending autograph requests through the mail for a couple months now and I was running out of ideas for new requests. Last weekend it hit me. I’m going to try and get every living member of the 1960 Pirates team on their 1960 Topps cards. I checked success rates on sportscollectors.net and it seems like this is a realistic project. There are only four players with low success rates, the rest are 80% or above. There are three players that didn’t have a 1960 Topps card so I’ll have to find another card for them.

I’m still trying to think of ways to display this but gathering all the cards and sending out the requests is my main focus right now. Once completed, I’ll give this to my father as a gift. His birthday is in June so I’m really hustling to get all the cards and get them in the mail.

I will update my successes as they come in. If anyone has any cool ideas on how to display the cards I’d love to hear them. Leave them in the comments.

Don Larsen TTM Success

April 10, 2009 Leave a comment

Date sent: 3/11/09
Date returned: 4/2/09

This is another example of a request I sent off where the player charges a fee for his autograph. So, as with the Johnny Bench request, I sent Don Larsen his rookie card, a 1954 Bowman. As I said before, I feel that it’s safer to send more valuable items when a player charges for his autograph. Don Larsen only charges $7 to sign a card.

I was thinking it would be nice to have the famous photo of Larsen and Berra after the ’56 World Series perfect game signed too. I will purchase one of those on eBay soon and send that off. My first priority is always to get a rookie card signed, when possible and affordable.

It’s amazing how cheap you can pick up some great vintage rookie cards on eBay if you’re not too concerned about condition. I think I only paid about $7 before shipping for this Larsen. It has a crease but I don’t really care about that if I’m only getting it for an autograph.