Thursday, August 27, 2015

Marte Par-tay

Judson over at My Cardboard Habit and I were able to work out another easy deal. The plan was essentially: "Hey Judson I really want that Marte auto..."

And his response was "It's yours, just send whatever and I'll send you Marte."

...pretty sweet deal. I sent Judson just about every Ranger in my collection. Sure enough, he fired back the autograph. Not just the autograph, but also an awesome GQ Jersey Card. 

Judson, thanks so much for the cards. The Stadium Club autograph is easily one of my favorites out of my whole Pirates PC. Although I wasn't a huge fan of Stadium Club overall, I absolutely love the poses and the photography captured in the set. This card is no different.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tabata Time!

Gavin of the well regarded Baseball Card Breakdown has a been a consistent trade partner of mine.  I've probably gone back and forth with Gavin more than any other collector. I was trying to figure out why that is today, and I think it's simply because... Gavin has about 50 different player collections (ranked by high, medium, and low priority). That sure makes for an easy trading partner!

Before I get to the cards I'll present a quick aside:

I NEVER enter web addresses until the URL bar. I google EVERYTHING. So today, when I wanted to get to Gavin's blog, I just googled "baseball card breakdown." Some images popped up, and I got curious. This is what you'll see in google images:

I thought this was pretty cool for any blog. He and Adam do a lot of trading, Matt too. Just another way to navigate some old posts and see some different material, but using images rather than text... nice for us visual people.

Gavin was kind enough to throw in some extra cards, seen above some good-old-fashioned (and very 90's) household Bucco names: Kendall, Garcia, Hermansen, Guillen, and fan favorite Andy Van Slyke.

Gavin also threw in three Auto's. Far left is a nice base auto from prospect Wyatt Mathisen, who I believe resides in Bradenton Florida with the Pirates Single A affiliate. From I've read he shows some promise, but is at an early stage in terms of development.

Next is Brad Lincoln, who is *actually* back with the Pirates down on the farm. He was with the Bucs from 2010-2012 before he was dealt straight up from Travis Snider, who has made an appearance on this blog before.

Lastly, to the far right, a very nice looking card of the Pirates pinch-hitter-of-choice:

 Jose Tabata. That name sound familiar? Can't figure out why? 

Tabby was getting quite a lot of press this weekend after he may or may not have ruined Max Sherzer's perfect game. With two outs and two strikes in the ninth, a breaking ball got away from Maxxy and ran inside. The rest is history. 

Funny timing, but I received the Rookie auto from Gavin just a few days prior. It's a beauty.

Lastly, a COMC purchase- treating myself with some extra store credit. I've been hunting A.J.'s autographed products for a while, and they're hard to come by. He shows up often in base sets but I don't believe he's signed any Topps products in a Pirates Jersey. Could be wrong.

Happy to add my first A.J. Auto.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

2 Blaster Break - 2014 Topps Chrome/2014 Bowman Chrome

Overcome by "the itch" at Target last night. 

Except instead of browsing hanger packs and picking through the .99 cent packs, I was fortunate to come across some discounted blasters.

Boy I love seeing those big orange stickers. I've seen them on other blasters- NASCAR, Press Pass products, but never on anything this recent or collectible.

I cracked into the Chrome first, and was smacked immediately with the reminder of the inevitable "Chrome Warp."

Looks like these puppies have been sitting on the shelf for some time. I'm a huge fan of chrome, always have been- but the bend in the cards is a tragic flaw. I'm surprised that this hasn't been resolved in the hobby, I can't imagine that I'm the only who feels that way. I mean, it's 2015 for Pete's sake!

The blaster promises a 4-card purple chrome pack, and this one delivered. I imagine the Jeter card is somewhat collectible being his final year. I like the Bogaerts as well, a very clean RC.

Some more highlights.

Moving on to the Bowman Platinum with two Pirates. None in the Chrome, so I was happy to see two top prospects make an appearance in the base set. Bell and McGuire are the #4 and #5 prospects in the Pirates farm system, respectively. Welcome to the PC boys.

Two parallels and a (now) household name.

Here are my three inserts, which is very Tanaka-centric. How about that insert on the bottom? Doesn't it look like something's missing there?

Maybe an autograph? 

That was my first thought- the design of this card is very similar to many horizontal autographed cards I've seen (Topps Tribute comes to mind). For whatever reason, Bowman Platinum seems to love this sort of design and tease. If anyone ever hears of Tanaka signing TTM, let me know... this baby is asking for it.

Lastly, Mr. Bogaerts makes another appearance. This card looks fantastic with the Ruby background to match the Sox Jersey. And again, I'll never complain about a rookie.

Overall, solid return. More importantly, I had alot of fun ripping these packs. At full price there may have been some remorse, but I can live with the result after the hefty discount. Anyone else see good $12.99 blasters at Target lately? Not sure if this was a local deal or a company-wide initiative.

Everything here is for trade, so drop a comment if you something piques your interest.

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Autograph Trade Bait Randomness

Browsing my collection on a lazy Sunday and hoping to find some takers on some trade bait that's cluttering my collection. These have been acquired mostly through box breaks. Never been in a accident, one owner (check the carfax).

If you folks see anything that tickles your fancy, please drop a comment or reach me by email and nsbell440 at gmail dot com. Descriptions below (L to R, top to bottom).

***If you're building a set of 2015 Topps Baseball, please let me know. I have lots of singles and will happily send them off compliments of Big 44 Cards.***

Jorge Polanco 2013 Bowman Chrome Auto
Cameron Gallagher 2013 Bowman Chrome Auto
Andre Rienzo 2013 Bowman Chrome Refractor Auto /500
L.J. Hoes 2013 Topps Chrome Auto

Rob Brantly 2013 Topps Chrome Refractor Auto /499
Onelki Garcia 2014 Topps Chrome Refractor Auto /499
Mike Leake 2010 Topps "Peak Performance" Auto

Scottie Pippen 2012-13 Panini Momentum Auto /25
Larry Johnson 2012-13 Panini Elite Auto /199
Dwayne Bowe 2011 Panini Certified Jersey /50
Kyrie Irving 2012-2013 Panini "Swirlorama" RC #161

***If you're building a set of 2015 Topps Baseball, please let me know. I have lots of singles and will happily send them off compliments of Big 44 Cards.***

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Pirates PC Additions

A quick post on this Saturday afternoon to demonstrate that I do, in fact, still collect baseball cards.

One of my goals as a Pirates collectors is to have at least one certified autograph of player on the active roster. It's not always easy- finding certified auto's can be tough, especially with all the roster change in baseball.

This season, I was in luck. The three major acquisitions all certified auto's out there.

I'm a huge fan of Sean Rodriguez, as well as this card. He has a very elegant signature, and I was able to pick this up for a very affordable price (as it should be, he's only a bench guy). 

Another card that I was very happy to acquire. Remember when Upper Deck had an MLB license? This may have been the last year. This card was probably a great pull back when Corey Hart was a complete, 5-tool player for Milwaukee. The story is much different now, as Hart is used only in pinch hitting roles, with a rare start mixed in.

I really enjoy this card. The gold parallel look blends well the jersey color (even though it's Milwaukee). A plain white jersey, with a clean sticker signature... and short printed /99. Solid!

I have yet to find an affordable Cervelli auto. He's having a great year which of course I love, but I can't bring myself to shell out $15 bucks just yet. In all reality, he's very unproven as a professional, so I'm surprised his cards are calling for such a pretty penny. 

So, this A&G bat piece will have to do for now! It fell nicely into my budget. I was happy to see him in a Pirates jersey in 2015 Topps Series 1, and I'm hoping to see some more cards with him in the black and gold this year.

"He Was a Pirate?" Part 4

With the return of my blog, we will also see the return of my personal favorite segment, "He Was a Pirate?"

For those who are laying eyes on this for the first time, it's quite simple. There are a bunch of guys that played for the Pirates, and basically no one knew. Either because they were washed up, they sucked, or got lost in the usual offseason swaps.

This week's edition features a slight above average righty that play primarily for a division rival. Any guesses?

The picture help? No? Here you go...

2008 Topps Heritage

Number of seasons with the Pirates: 16 starts, never a full season

Career stats with the Pirates: 

His legacy: Matt's Pirates career was abysmal. He was acquired through a deadline deal in July of 2007, where the Pirates traded a way a very solid prospect (and a future "He Was a Pirate?" to be named) and assumed Morris' $10+ Million contract from the Giants. 

After his lousy 2007 campaign, there was some hope for a fresh start for the 33 year old. Rather than making another bid for Comeback Player of the Year- an award he won in 2001 for St Louis- Matt completely shat the bed, going 0-4 in 5 starts with a 9.67 ERA. He was then released from the Pirates before the end of April, and he permanently retired from baseball three days later.

I'll remember Matt Morris just like everyone else: A member of any team but the Pirates.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 27, 2015


And the results are in! The Big 44 Reincarnation Contest has concluded with a disappointing number of entries. One person that wont be disappointed is our winner!

A reminder of what we're playing for:

2013 Topps Target Red Ryan Ludwick 
2014 Topps Miguel Montero Wal-Mart Blue Parallel
2013 Bowman Chrome Elvis Andrus Refractor
2013 Topps Chrome Starlin Castro Purple Parallel
2013 Topps Chrome David Ortiz Die Cut
2012 Topps Mark Hamburger "Golden Moments" Auto

And the winner is.....

San Jose Fuji! 

Please join me in congratulating him. Fuji, curious- why Topps 2008?! 

Thank you all for playing and for sharing your stories. Also a special shout to Gavin for pimping my post. Gavin,  you'll be receiving a bonus as well for your generosity! Please shoot me an email with your address (Padres and Chargers, right?)

Fuji, I'll need your address too, of course. I'm at

Thanks for reading!