Friday, October 25, 2019

Pirates PC Adds, and Two New Trades

Yep, the World Series is going on and I'm just over here talking about Pittsburgh Pirates cards. No Juan Soto cards to show off here, sorry. Just lots of mediocre Pirates.

Lots of new stuff to debut, lets get to it!

Jose Osuna is a guy who's been buried pretty deep in the Pirates system for quite some time. Not for a lack of talent or skill, but more so because of outfield depth in AAA. Osuna for three years, Osuna has been one of the last guys cut from the big league roster in Spring Training, and one of the first guys called up once injuries strike. He has some real pop in his bat, and considering that he's "average athleticism" for a major leaguer, he's pretty versatile defensively - able to plug in at 1B, 3B, and both outfield spots.

In 2019, Osuna enjoyed a new career high in ABs with 261. Seeing him play more often inspired me to check out some of his Rookie cards. He may never be an everyday player, but I love this dude.

Oh! And I got a new scanner, so enjoy some awesome pictures that really pop.

2017 Topps Update Gold Parallel #/2017

2012 Bowman Chrome Prospects Refractor #/500

2017 Topps Heritage High Number Chrome Variations Refractor #/568

Next up, I grabbed a pair of 2014 Bowman Chrome Bubble Refractors #/99:

Our old buddies Cutch and Cole. I'll admit it, I have a strange fondness for these cards. They're super unique looking, and look really great in the scans when they get some light bouncing off them. These additions will join Fransisco Liriano as I build a Pirates team set.

Next up, two awesome cards that I received in a PWE swap with Matt at Sport Card Collectors. I was able to knock some 90's football cards off of his wantlist, and he was generous enough to send back a card that I've had my eye on.

Matt threw in a few other cards, this being one of them: Chris Archer 2019 Topps Heritage Chrome Refractor.

But here's the real prize:

2019 Bowman Sterling Travis Swaggerty Sparkle Parallel #/99.

What a beauty! Swaggerty was the Pirates first round pick in this year's draft. This is not only my first auto of his, but my first Swaggerty card. I couldn't be more pumped. This card is so sweet. One last plug for my new scanner... it certainly made this refractor jump out. Thanks for the trade, Matt!

I also completed my first trade with Trevor of Bump and Run Football Card Blog. Trevor took part in an Optic group break and ended up with the Pirates, so he had a nice stack to send my way:


Aside from the Optic stuff, I also hand-picked two cards off of his trade list:

2017 Topps Update Jose Osuna

2018 Topps Heritage Austin Meadows RC

You probably know this guy by now. Sadly, I didn’t really collect much of Meadows when he was in the Pirates system. He was a little too blue of a blue chip prospect and the price tags on his cards were too high. I can’t imagine they’re about to go down any time soon, so it’s great to pick this up through trade. Thanks for the cards, Trevor!

Lastly I’ll showcase a random eBay pickup from last week:

2019 Donruss "The Rookies" Benny Snell Auto #/299

How sweet is this refractor? 

I haven’t blogged about this yet – it’s a conversation for another day – but over the past three years I’ve become a big University of Kentucky football fan. My fandom hasn’t spilled into collecting yet bu maybe this will open the floodgates. When the Steelers drafted Benny Snell in the fourth round this year I was ecstatic. I had enjoyed watching this guy will Kentucky to several wins over the past two years, so it was a dream-come-true to have him join my NFL team.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 20, 2019

2019 Topps Update: Ripping (4) Hobby Packs

This weekend I was able to slip away to the LCS and suppress my burning desire to grab some Update. They had some hobby packs in stock for $4/pack, so I was happy to walk away with four packs. 

It poses an interesting question: Would you rather buy a blaster, or five hobby packs for the same price?

There's no right answer. I'll typically go the Hobby pack route for a chance at an auto. I also prefer to support local business when possible. 

Here's what I needed up with:

Pack One

Alberto Hanser #30
Lane Thomas RC #227
Alex Colome #76
Braden Bishop RC #125
Miguel Castro #163
Adam Ottavino #236
Ken Griffey Jr. "Est. 1869" Reds Insert #EST-13

A.J. Pollock #70
Brad Boxberger #191
Zack Britton #214
J.T. Realmuto ASG #58
J.D. Hammer RD #27
J.D. Martinez #134
Joe Biagini #292

Pack Two

Cal Quantrill #23
Mike Zunino #239
Cole Tucker RC #197

Adam Jones #242
Walker Buehler ASG/All-Star Rookie #8
Kyle Bird RC #80
Michael Brantley 35th Anniversary #84-46

Wilmer Flores #203
Pedro Avila RC #115
Jose Abreau ASG #160
Matt Chapman #157
Ty France #129
Tommy Kahnle #161
Luis Alvarez RC #247

Pack Three

Nathan Evoldi #282
Michael Chavis RC #170
Marwin Gonzalez # 110
Skye Bolt RC #211
Sergio Romo #164
Kevin Plawecki #225
Hunter Pence #86
Carter Kieboom 35th Anniversary RC #84-14

Gary Sanchez ASG #4
Melky Cabrera #21
Curtis Granderson #187
Carter Kieboom RC #109
Yasiel Puig #106
Josh Donaldson #257

Pack Four

Mitch Keller RC #218

Junior Guerra #64
Tommy Edman RC #84
Avisail Garcia #188
Matt Wotherspoon/Braden Kline Rookie Combos #264
Hyun-Jin Ryu #297
Soaring in the Six #241
Sandy Koufax "Inconic Card Reprints" Insert #ICR-13

Jake Odorizzi #36
Mike Moustakas ASG #49
Mike Trout ASG #146
Xander Bogaerts ASG #144
James McCann ASG #15
Chris Paddack RC #207


Two Pirates rookies! Considering I only purchased four packs, I'll certainly take that. I'm still hunting for Bryan Reynolds. There were some other good rookies in here, with Tommy Edman, Chris Paddock, and Carter Keiboom (2x) showing up. I also gave myself a shot a an autograph, which always adds a layer of fun. 

Aside from the Pirates, everything here is available for trade.

Curious to hear from others: Did you rip any Update yet? Do you have any desire to? 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Holding Oneself Accountable

When I returned to blogging four months ago, I wrote a "back from hiatus post" and laid out several collecting goals. At the time I felt like this would be an important way to hold myself accountable. Like any hobby, collecting cards has to be meaningful and it has to have a purpose. That’s something that we can never lose sight of. We’re all guilty of chasing hits and hoping to rip a pack and pull the card that’s going to net us $1,000 on eBay, but we need to remember the score reasons about why we collect and cling to those principles.

Coming back to the hobby in July was kind of a “reset” for me, and I put my goals down in writing. Let’s revisit those goals and see how I’ve done:

Goal 1: Continue to grow the Pirates PC, specifically certified autographs:

I’ve done pretty well here. I’ve put a focus on collecting the team I cheer for and my Pirates PC has continued to grow. Some highlights are adding two Kevin Newman autos, my first Oneil Cruz SP /50, a Kevin Kramer Gold Wave /50, a Kramer Auto, and Nick Burdi Auto. I’ve also picked up lots of base cards and parallels through trades.

I’d be remiss to not mention the monster trade with Brian over at Collecting Cutch, who sent me a massive haul of Pirates autos and memorabilia cards (small sample below).

Goal 2: Get a Twitter up and running:

Done! Authored my first tweet on 9/11. Follow me @BucsHere.

Goal 3: Post at least once monthly:

Two posts in July, six in August, five in September, and this is my third in October. Maybe I should have shot higher.

Goal 4: Build a set of 2017 Topps Chrome Purple Parallels #/299:

I happened to casually slip in this goal of collecting 200 short printed parallels. Since I wrote that in July, I’ve altered that goal quite a bit. Rather than shooting for the entire set of 200 cards, I decided to pivot and collect only the Rookies which total 44 cards. I’m excited to say that I’m just ONE (very elusive) card away from completing the Rookie set. Hopefully I can run that final card down soon and have post up showcasing my newest completed set. This is one that I’m really excited for. A lot of chasing involved with this set and there are some awesome names in here.

Goal 5: Send some trade packages out:

"I Got My Eleanor" - Trade with Collecting Cutch
"Trade with The Bucs Stop Here" - Trade with Topps Cards That Never Were
"Delivery Time! The Bucs Stop Here!" - Trade with Nachos Grande
The Snake Stops Here - Trade with Sport Card Collectors

Goal 6: Connect with some new collectors:

We’re getting there for sure. The trades with Sport Card Collectors, Topps That Never Were, and Collecting Cutch were all firsts. I imagine my venture into the Twitterverse will open some new doors, although building a following has been slow going so far. I’m hoping to continue to slowly build a following and drop a contest at a certain point. Maybe 100 followers or a similar milestone.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 6, 2019

So It's Time to Dig Into the Gerrit Cole Collection

The things Pirates GM Neal Huntington would do for a time machine. Especially when it comes to Gerrit Cole. I guess that's true of any MLB GM. For the record, I'm a big fan of NH, and I really liked the Cole trade at the time. 

Let's rewind to January 13, 2018. The Pirates are coming off a disappointing season where they won just 75 games. They still have a competitive roster with a good amount of young talent. Andrew McCutchen has been in a steady decline and has been openly shopped in the trade market all off season. The infield positions were looking average, but with outfield of Corey Dickerson/Starling Marte/Gregory Polanco, and a rotation of Cole plus Jameson Taillon, Ivan Nova, Trevor Williams, and Chad Kuhl - things didn't look all too bad.

This put the Pirates in a tough in-between. Enter Gerrit Cole, the Pirates first-round, first overall pick in the 2011 MLB draft. He's coming off what is likely his worst season in the bigs with a 12-12 record and a 4.26 ERA. He's two years removed from his 19-8, 2.60 ERA season where he made his first all-star team. 

Cole is 26 years old and has two years left on his rookie deal. It's a foregone conclusion that when the deal runs out in two years, the Boras-represented Cole will be commanding a hefty price tag. GM Neal Huntington has a tough choice. Does he ride Cole out? Or does he trade a prized starting pitching gem while the price is high? 

Neal selected the latter. The return haul was three major-league ready players and one prospect. 3B Colin Moran, RP Michael Feliz, SP/RP Joe Musgrove, and OF prospect Jason Martin. It's still too early to fully access the trade. Moran has evolved into a serviceable 3B, Musgrove has been inconsistent but is fantastic when he's on. Feliz is looking like a lost cause. Martin is still progressing in AAA. 

So, here we are in 2019. If wasn't for the brilliance of his teammate, Gerrit Cole would probably going to the Cy Young award, which he deserves entirely. He's blossomed into exactly what he was projected to be as a high schooler and a draft prospect. I'll go on record and say that I truly don't believe Cole would have ever been THIS type of pitcher in Pittsburgh. He needed a fresh start and some change.

When Cole WAS a Pirate, I collected him pretty heavily. I still pick up Cole cards when possible, but I imagine the price tags are sky-rocketing or about to. 

Check out some of Cole collection below.

2013 Bowman Chrome Base RC

2013 Topps Chrome Base RC, Refractor and Base

2015 Topps Opening Day Blue Foil

2013 Topps Update Emerald Parallel RC

2013 Topps Chrome Blue Parallel #/199

This card is part of the complete set of 2013 Topps Chrome Blue Parallels #/199 that I finished recently.

 2015 Topps Gypsy Queen 3-Color Jersey Patch #/5 

I acquired this baby through my Epic Trade with Brian from Collecting Cutch

2013 Topps Chrome Blue Autograph #/199.

Best for last. I actually picked this up back in early July for about a third of what it's going for now. Thankful for that likely timing, 'cause this card is a beauty.

Trade with Topps Cards that Never Were

In mid-September, Jeremy from Topps Cards that Never Were shot me an email about sending over some spare Pirates cards. This is the first time Jeremy and I have traded, and I’m really excited about this partnership. Jeremy sent me some great cards, but the best part about the partnership is that Jeremy collects the Rays. I’m excited to have a home for my unwanted Rays cards in the future.

First up is two pink parallels of formers Pirates, both of whom are participating in the Postseason (of course). One could/should win the Cy Young. You’ve probably heard of him by now.

Jose Guillen is one of very very few notable Pirates from the 90’s, so he shows up often in late 90s cardboard. This insert is awesome. He was 21 when he broke into the majors, hence the “Baby Boomers.”

As for Liriano, he’s one of my favorite recent Pirates. And while he was good for the Pirates, he was really nasty on the Twins. Really cool orange chrome parallel from 2010 Topps Chrome.

My favorite card of the lot. 2008 Topps Heritage High Number #/559. I don’t collect much Heritage, but maybe I should. Heritage refractors are so sweet. Maholm was pretty bad, maybe average at best over his 10 year career. He was a serviceable back-of-the-rotation starting pitcher who probably could of benefitted from some run support. Sadly, “run support” was not in the Pirates vocabulary in the mid 2000s.

And yet, this is still a great card. There’s just something different about the shine on Heritage refractors, which I tried my best to capture in the image above.

Thanks for the trade, Jeremy! Cheers to many more.