We all have our reasons for our week long blogging hiatuses. My reasons are no different than any you've heard or written about- work, school, significant other, other hobbies- etc. Therefore I will not bore you with monotonous details of my unexciting life.
Although I haven't been writing, I've been actively reading and pursuing upgrades to my Pirates PC. As I've mentioned in previous posts, one of my unwritten goals for the year is to acquire a certified autograph of every Pirates player, however realistic that may be. I've made some awesome progress in the past few weeks:
First up is Gaby Sanchez from 2012 Topps GQ. I've mentioned before that I'm a big fan of Gypsy Queen auto's, mostly based on design. The blue ink on card and the fading area for the auto looks really smooth. I got this bad boy for under $5 shipped.
Gaby is currently the only true first baseman on the Pirates roster with a major league contract. He's a guy who mashes lefties (.333 in 102 AB in '13) but can't see the ball against righties (.204 in 162 AB), which evens out to a subpar .254 last year. He saw his playing time against lefties, and as a defensive replacement. Hopefully he can come around this year, as it looks like the position lies in his hand for now.
Next up is Clint Barmes from 2006 Upper Deck Artifacts, numbered to 800. Although this card is a sticker, it actually works quite well. The sticker itself is transparent and doesn't look entirely miserable on the card. It's also numbered which is always a bonus for me. This was right around $5 bucks shipped.
Clint's known as an excellent defensive shortstop with a below-average bat. He, much like Sanchez, is often inserted into the lineup in the 7th inning or later as defensive replacement. He's known as a great guy around the locker room and a true "veteran presence." If I reacll correctly, manager Clint Hurdle brought him to Pittsburgh after being impressed with Clint's character in Colorado.
Here's Russell Martin, 2007 Bowman's Best. A simple card for sure, but I don't ever mind that. I have some beef with those silver auto stickers, but it was the only affordable option for Russ. The sticker honestly doesn't look that bad because most of the card is silver anyhow. I grabbed this card for $10 shipped.
Russ is much more of a household name than the other guys, so I'll save my comments regarding his offensive ability. What I love about him most is his ability to throw out base runners. More importantly, the threat of his cannon prevents opposing teams from running on him in the first place. According to the 2013 Fielding Bible, Martin saved the Pirates 16 total runs last year. He was also runner up for the Gold Glove Award for his position. Not too shabby.
Lastly, a redemption came through from Topps- Gerrit Cole 2013 Bowman Platinum, Jersey and Auto /199. I actually bought this redemption back in the fall, and it came through in only four months, which I am NOT complaining about. I picked up the redemption card for around $30 dollars, which seemed like a good deal at the time- and I have no regrets.
As for the card itself, it's nothing amazing. The jersey swatch is a simple plain white, and the auto is a sticker (boooo). I love the fact that it's a blue parallel numbered to 199, giving it some rarity. I also like how Cole is wearing number 75, which was his minor league number. He's been wearing 45 in the majors and most likely will continue to do so for the remainder of his career. Overall, a nice card.
Thanks for reading!