30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Enter to Win

I'm not sure how long you've been reading this blog, but if you're an old school reader than you might remember the annual contest I used to run.  It spanned a few months and involved an Olympic style medal count that inspired a lot of friendly competition with a variety of prize packages to be won.  I can't speak for the participants... but as the guy running the contest... I had a lot of fun.

The downside?  It was very time consuming.  And so the tradition ended and was eventually forgotten.

Well... I'm bringing it back.  Only this time... it'll be on a much smaller scale.  Trust me.  It's better this way.

How do you play?  It's simple.  Comment on specific posts.

I've recently embarked on a mission to build a bunch of All Autograph Teams (inspired by Kenny's Blog Bat Around).  All you need to do is comment on those posts.  Each time you do, you'll be given one contest entry.

Sorry.  Multiple comments within a single post will not result in multiple entries.

Although the contest will focus around All Autograph Team posts, there will be bonus entries in other posts scattered throughout the month of May.

At the end of the contest, I will count up all of the entries.  For every entry you have, your name will be entered once into random.org.

What's the prize?  Actually there will be six prize packages:  one grand prize winner and five runner-up winners.

All six winners will receive a care package centered around their favorite sports teams and players.  Unfortunately, I can't guarantee that I have autographs and relics for every MLB team out there, but I will try my best to include a minimum of two hits per care package plus hook you up with inserts, parallels, and oddball issues.

In addition to the standard care package, the grand prize winner will also receive a certified, pack pulled autograph of a hall of famer plus five 2018 Topps Series One packs.

And who knows... if enough of you enter the contest... maybe I'll add more prize packages.

What's the fine print?  Well there are a few things:

#1:  Due to shipping costs, this contest is open to collectors living in the United States and Canada.  I will make an exception for loyal readers who comment on a regular basis like Ryan (aka SumoMenkoMan).

#2:  I reserve the right to add rules or make amendments if any problems occur.

#3:  All prize packages will be shipped with tracking in padded envelopes.  However I am not responsible for any lost or stolen packages.

#4:  Although I have not chosen a specific end date, it will be sometime within the first week of June.

#5:  After entering all of the entries into the list randomizer on random.org, I will hit the randomize button five times and take the first six names on the list.

#6:  One prize package per person.  If by chance someone's name appears more than once in the top six names, then I will exclude the duplicate(s) and continue down the list.

Can I help you plug your contest on my blog?  Heck yeah, you can.

If you're willing to plug this contest on your blog, you will receive two bonus entries.  Plus... if you're one of the six contest winners, I will throw in three 2018 Topps Series One packs into your care package.

Please leave a link to your contest plug in the comment section below.

When does the contest begin?  It starts now.  I currently have two All Autograph Team posts up at the moment:

Vol. 1 (My Favorites)

Vol. 2 (Greats of the Game)

If you've already commented on those posts, then you're good to go.  If not, there is still time for you to comment and earn contest entries.  The deadline for these two posts will be Tuesday at 3pm (PST).  If you miss the deadline, it's not the end of the world.  There will be several opportunities throughout the month of May for you to earn more entries.

Well that's it for now.  I'm sure there's one or two details I'm forgetting, so if you have any questions... leave them down in the comment section below.

Okay... let the games begin.

Happy Sunday and sayonara!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

On A Roll...

The Oakland A's are currently one of the hottest teams in baseball.  Lol.  It's hard to even type those words without chuckling... but it's true.  They're 9-2 in their last 11 games and have outscored opponents 64 to 34 over that period of time.

I'm sure it's not going to last, but I wanted to give them some props before they start to free-fall back into oblivion.

While I'm on the subject of my favorite sports franchise, Collecting Cutch sent me a nice care package that included my very first autograph of the Athletics' top prospect:

2017 Bowman Chrome Prime Signatures #BIA-AP

After paying good money for Sonny Gray signatures, I've learned my lesson about investing money in Oakland Athletics prospects.  However that doesn't mean that I can't appreciate this awesome card.  Just look at that sweet "Don't Quit" inscription.

Puk was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery earlier in the month and isn't expected back for at least a year... maybe longer.

Many A's fans were hoping to see whether or not he'd eventually be called up this season.  Oh well... at least we have one pitcher who's been pretty entertaining this season.  Sean Manaea has been on a roll as of late.  He no-hit the Boston Red Sox last weekend... and last night he held the Houston Astros hitless through the first three innings.

Speaking of no-hitters... Collecting Cutch sent me an autographed jersey card of Vida Blue:

2011 Panini Limited Monikers #5

Blue is the only pitcher in franchise history to throw more than one no-hitter while representing the Oakland Athletics.

In addition to these two autographs, he also sent me this Topps online only card of Rickey Henderson:

2018 Topps Throwback Thursday #10

I hadn't heard or seen this card before, but after doing a little homework, I found out that there were only 592 of these produced.  This card honors The Man of Steal for being MLB's all-time stolen base leader... as well as being the all-time leader in runs scored.

Rounded out Collecting Cutch's package was a stack of cards for a variety of collections:

Thank you Brian for this very generous care package!  I'm not sure what I'm suppose to get for the guy who has 99% of the Andrew McCutchen cards in existence.  But don't worry... I'll get some Pirates together.  Worst case scenario, you can share them other Pirates collectors.

Until then...

Go A's, happy Saturday, and sayonara!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

All Autograph Team: Vol. 2 (Greats of the Game)

I'm going old-school with this post.  It's a little long-winded... so I won't be offended if you skim through it and just look at the pictures.  With that being said...

I love collecting autographs.  It's right up there with collecting vintage hall of famers and 80's rookie cards.  So when Kenny kicked off the current Blog Bat Around which asked bloggers to share their All Autograph Team, I was pretty excited.

After reading a bunch of different bloggers' submissions, it didn't take long for me to figure out that I was going to turn this into a series of teams.  On Tuesday, I featured autographs of my favorite players who have taken the field during my lifetime.

Today I'll be showing off some of the nicest and most valuable signatures in my collection as I focus on MLB's all-time greats.

Unfortunately, I don't own autographs of certain legends like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Walter Johnson, or Cy Young.  So if you're wondering why I decided to use Trevor Hoffman, instead of Mariano Rivera as one of my relievers, it's because I don't own an autographed card of Mo... yet.

I've made a few modifications to this team's roster breakdown compared to the team I posted on Tuesday.  This time around, I've included a starter and backup for each of the following positions:  C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, LF, RF, and DH.  Plus I decided to include a power pinch hitter, a contact pinch hitter, a pinch runner, and four utility players too.  I'm going to keep my pitching staff the same with 5 starters and 2 relievers.

As for the cards themselves... here are the guidelines I established for this team:

#1:  All autographs will be on-card or cut signatures.

#2:  All autographs will either be pack-pulled, PSA/DNA, or SGC certified.

Like I mentioned in Vol. 1 (My Favorites), I will only put a player on multiple teams if I have multiple autographs of that player.  In other words, you will never see the same autograph more than once within this series of posts.

Okay.  Now that the ground rules have been established... let's check out my All-Time Greats All Autograph Team:

Starting Catcher: Johnny Bench

2013 Topps Five Star Rainbow Autographs #FSBA-JBE

Some of you might be wondering how I picked Johnny Bench over Yogi Berra.  Well... I'm not exactly a baseball guru.  I typed in "top catchers of all-time" into Google, compared a few rankings (ESPN, Fox Sports, MLB, etc.), and went with the popular vote.  The same can be said for all of the positions on this list.

Bench was ranked #1 on all three lists.

Backup Catcher:  Yogi Berra

1999 UD Century Legends Epic Signatures #YB

Choosing a backup catcher was a little more challenging.  I don't own a Josh Gibson or Roy Campanella autograph, so that narrowed it down to Berra and the two Pudges.  I went with the guy with 13 World Series titles.

Starting First Baseman:  Stan Musial

1999 UD Century Legends Epic Signatures #SM

No Lou Gehrig or Jimmie Foxx autographs.  No problem.  I've got two St. Louis Cardinals who can handle the job.

Musial might have spent more time in the outfield, but he spent more time at first base than any of the specific outfield positions.

Backup First Baseman:  Albert Pujols

2003 Topps Autographs #TA-AP

I'm pretty sure Pujols won't mind taking a back seat to the legendary Stan the Man.  However... if he does, I'll explain to him that I have extra admiration for athletes who were loyal to one franchise.

Starting Second Baseman:  Joe Morgan

2002 UD Diamond Connection Memorable Signatures #JM

There are a lot of legendary second basemen in MLB history: Rogers Hornsby, Eddie Collins, Nap Lajoie, and Jackie Robinson.  Sadly, I don't own any of their signatures.

The honor of being the top second baseman in my autograph collection goes to The Little General.  I realize it's technically not an on-card autograph, but Beckett classifies it as a cut signature which is good enough for me.

Backup Second Baseman:  Rod Carew

2015 Topps Museum Collection Archival Autographs #AS-RCR

The backup second baseman spot came down to Ryne Sandberg and Rod Carew.  I collect Carew, so he made the roster.

Starting Shortstop:  Cal Ripken Jr.

2008 Sweet Spot Signatures #S-CR

Most rankings have Honus Wagner ranked #1.  After that rankings varied, but Cal Ripken Jr. and Derek Jeter popped up in the Top 5 every single time.

I ended up starting Ripken, because he's MLB's Iron Man and Jeter's elder 

Backup Shortstop:  Derek Jeter

1998 Donruss Signature Series Millennium Marks #NNO

I started admiring Ripken early in his career... where as I didn't really recognize Jeter's greatness until he was wrapping things up.  I'm not proud of that.  But better late, than never, right?

Starting Third Baseman:  Brooks Robinson

2015 Leaf 25th Baseball Printing Plate

Robinson vs. Schmidt.  Isn't this one of baseball's greatest debates?  Considering the offensive firepower in this lineup, I'll go ahead and plug in The Human Vacuum Cleaner at the hot corner.

Backup Third Baseman:  
Mike Schmidt

1999 UD Century Legends Epic Signatures #MS

By the way Schmidt wasn't too shabby on defense either.  He won 9 straight Gold Glove Awards from 1976 to 1984.

Starting Left Fielder:  Ted Williams

1985-97 Perez-Steele Great Moments #13 (PSA/DNA Certified)

I've always had a deep admiration for the way The Splendid Splinter played the game.  He was described as being a stubborn, hard working, perfectionist, who wanted to be the best at his job.  Those traits resemble my father who happens to be one of my heroes.

Backup Left Fielder:  Barry Bonds

2000 Skybox Autographics #NNO

Whether you hated him or not, Bonds entertained millions of baseball fans every time he stepped into the batter's box.

Starting Center Fielder:  Willie Mays

1995 Upper Deck Autographs #AC2

There's a lot of debate about who's the greatest center fielder of all-time.  Mays and DiMaggio are right up there with Mickey Mantle, Ty Cobb, and Ken Griffey Jr.

Mays is one of the top three players of all-time, so he was obviously going to be my starter.

Backup Center Fielder:  Joe DiMaggio

1993 Pinnacle DiMaggio Autographs #1

I don't own Mantle or Cobb autographed baseball cards, so that narrowed it down to DiMaggio and Griffey.  I decided to go old school for this position.  Don't worry Griffey fans... he still might make an appearance on this roster.

Starting Right Fielder:  Hank Aaron

2015 Topps Museum Collection Premium Prints #PPHA

Hank Aaron is normally ranked behind The Babe, but it's pretty safe to say that I'll never own one of his autographs.

Backup Right Fielder:  Frank Robinson

1995 Upper Deck Autographs #AC3

As for Robinson, he fell behind Clemente on two different lists.  But like Ruth... I don't own one of his signatures.

Starting Designated Hitter:  Frank Thomas

2000 Skybox Autographics #NNO

This is the only position where I didn't follow the expert's lead.

Backup Designated Hitter:  David Ortiz

2014 Topps Tier One Acclaimed Autographs #AA-DO

Most lists had Edgar Martinez listed as the greatest designated hitter of all-time, but for some reason, it didn't feel right putting him ahead of Frank Thomas and David Ortiz.

Power Pinch Hitter:  Willie McCovey

1998 UD Retro Sign of the Times #WM

Stretch hit 16 home runs as a pinch hitter.  Three of those were grand slams.  Not sure who he'd actually pinch hit for in this lineup, but if he did the manager would be looking for some power.

Contact Pinch Hitter:  Tony Gwynn

2013 Topps Five Star Autographs #FSBA-TG

C'mon.  You knew I was gonna fit this guy on the team somewhere.

Pinch Runner:  Rickey Henderson

2013 Topps Five Star Autographs #FSBA-RH

Rickey was not amused that Williams and Bonds took his spot in left field, so I had to find a spot for him somewhere on this roster.  This seems like the perfect position for The Man of Steal. 

Utility Players:  Ernie Banks, Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., and Carl Yastrzemski

1999 UD Century Legends Epic Signatures #EB

2001 Upper Deck Game Jersey Autograph #H-AR

1999 UD Century Legends Epic Signatures #JR

2001 Topps Team Topps Legends Autographs #NNO

All four of these positional players are guys I wanted to include on the team, but their positions were filled.  I decided to use them as utility players, because all four of these guys are very versatile.  Banks and A-Rod played more than 1,000 games each at two different infield positions.  Yaz spent most of his time in left field, but also played 765 games at first base.

And Griffey might have spent 89.9% of his career in right field, but The Kid could probably play any outfield position and win a Gold Glove Award in his prime.

Starting Pitcher #1:  Sandy Koufax

1998 Donruss Signature Series Significant Signatures #R3

Starting Pitcher #2:  Pedro Martinez

1996 Leaf Signature Series Silver Autograph #NNO

Starting Pitcher #3:  Randy Johnson

2000 Revolution MLB Game Ball Signatures #1

Starting Pitcher #4:  Roger Clemens

1995 Upper Deck Autographs #AC4

Starting Pitcher #5:  Greg Maddux

2000 Revolution MLB Game Ball Signatures #2

My starting rotation features three 300 game winners and four guys who struck out more than 3,000 batters.  Koufax is the only guy not featured in either of these categories, but he retired when he was 30 years old.

Relief Pitcher #1:  Trevor Hoffman

1996 Leaf Signature Series Silver Autograph #NNO

Relief Pitcher #2:  Dennis Eckersley

2013 Topps Five Star Autographs #FSBA-DE

Sorry.  I've got no Mo.  But I figure between Hoffman and Eck, they'll be able to close out any games my starting pitchers can't finish.

Manager:  Tony La Russa

1964 Topps #244

Stengel and McGraw are typically recognized as the two greatest managers of all-time.  Oh well... I'm pretty sure La Russa and his hall of fame coaching staff will be able to handle the talent I've supplied them.

Coaching Staff:  Earl Weaver and Dick Williams

1999 Fleer Sports Illustrated GOTG Autograph #NNO

1999 Fleer Sports Illustrated GOTG Autograph #NNO

Broadcast Team:  Bob Uecker, Jerry Coleman, and Jon Miller

1963 Topps #126

2003 UD Yankees Signature Series Pride of NY Autographs #PN-JC

2012 Panini Cooperstown Signatures #FFA-JON

I'm pretty bummed that I still don't own Bill King or Lon Simmons autographs, because those were the voices I heard growing up.  Another voice from my childhood was Mel Allen.  I have his autograph, but it's not on a baseball card.  I'll be featuring it on a different All Autograph Team, so stay tuned.

Until then... I appreciate all of the people who hung in there and read/skimmed this entire post.  I'll be hosting a contest that will involve this All Autograph Team series.  Details will be provide this weekend, but for now people who comment on this post and on my Tuesday's post will receive entries.

Here are your questions of the day:

#1:  Who least deserves to be on my All-Time Greats All Autograph Team?

#2:  What living baseball player should I add to this All Autograph Team?

Happy Thursday and sayonara!