Sunday, December 28, 2014

Another COMC Christmas treat

With the Christmas holidays and an extra week of time off, I had plenty of time to hit up the COMC website. As usual, I completed more than a few COMC Challenges, so I was able to give myself a rather nice Christmas present - a stack of great, free cards, satisfying my Padres, Packers and hockey passions.

It's a simple formula, actually. You help out COMC inventory their cards - my favorite is completing the "Full Card Number" challenge. For every 50 card numbers you complete, you earn 100 points. For every 1,000 points, you get $1, free and clear, to use toward the purchase of COMC cards. What's even better, these challenges even cover the $3 shipping and handling charges.

So what did I get in my COMC Christmas stocking? 

I'll start out with my newest San Diego Padres cards, including these Tony Gwynn additions. According to Beckett's, Gwyn has a total of 9,504 cards. While I currently have more than 700 of those cards, and it's more than likely I'll ever be able to collect most of them, I was more than happy to add these four - a 1993 Fun  Pack, 1997 Pinnacle Certified, 2006 Upper Deck Ovation Curtain Calls and a 2014 Panini Prizm Prizms Camo.

As the Padres have only fielded a MLB team since 1969, it's rather hard to find Friars' "vintage." However, two of these three cards, a 1973 Topps Ed Acosta and a 1971 Topps Tom Dukes,  somewhat fits the bill. The Ed Whitson card in the middle, while not exactly vintage, is a nice card to own, especially being a 1991 Topps Desert Shield card. By the way, according to the Acosta card back, "Ed's nickname is 'The Jolly Green Giant.'" I kind of miss those old trivia posts on the back of sports cards. 

To complete my Padres purchases, here's a 2014 Bowman Silver Ice Chase Headley, 2014 Panini Prizm Prizms Camo Jedd Gyorko, 2008 Topps Co-Signers Silver Blue Jake Peavy (w/Chris Young), S/N 217/250, 2013 Bowman Hometown Casey Kelly and a 2013 Topps Gypsy Queen Mini Green Chase Headley, S/N 72/99.

For those inquiring minds who are curious about the other cards I picked up over the Christmas holiday....
When it comes to football, I'm an old-school Packer fan, first and foremost. PERIOD.
Of course, having lived in San Diego at one time, I do consider the Chargers my "AFC Team," so I just had to pick up this 2000 Donruss All-Time Gridiron King Dan Fouts, S/N 207/2500. My wife is a huge Fouts fan. According to her, he reminds her of me back when I had my beard.
When it comes to the Green and Gold, it was a no-brainer to add two of my favorites - Bart Star and Vince Lombardi. The Starr, a 2011 Topps Super Bowl Legends and the Lombardi, a 2011 TRISTAR Obak T212 Mini, are sandwiched around a 1959 Topps Dan Currie RC.
As for hockey cards, I loaded up on a bunch of rookie cards, including these three 2013-14 Upper Deck Young Guns of Justin Fontaine, Tom Wilson and J.T. Miller. a pair of 2013-14 Panini Norris Contenders Victor Hedman, S/N 453/499 and Seth Jones, S/N 264/499, and a 2013-14 SPx Scott Laughton RC.

According to COMC statistics, I've amassed a total of 177,295 points to date (or roughly $177 in free cards). As it is, I already have another 19 cards I've already purchased through Challenges and the great news, is I'm only limited by the amount of challenges I complete. So, here's to many, many more COMC cards in the upcoming New Year (and timely posts to go with them).

Monday, December 1, 2014

Brother, can you spare some coin? - 1987 & 1990 Topps Coins

I had an interesting bid board win the other week, as I took home 74 coins from the 1987 and 1990 Topps Coin sets. I'm not really into these, but it seems as if you see them everywhere and I figured someone may be able to use them. In any case, I figured, "Heck, why not," especially for the few coins I paid for them.

The 1987 aluminum coins measure 1-1/2 inches in diameter and have a full-color photo on the front with the player's name, team, and position in a white band at the bottom. The rims were either gold (American League) or silver (National League). The silver backs provide the coin number, player name, and a personal blurb. They were sold with three coins per pack. Made of aluminum. Size: 1-1/2 inch in diameter.
Unfortunately, the coins don't scan very well.

1987 Coins (48-coin set) 40 coins
Gold -- 3 George Bell (2); 7 Joe Carter (2); 14 Pete Incaviglia (4); 24 Cory Snyder (2); 25 Danny Tartabull (2); 30 Mickey Tettleton; 31 Glenn Davis (3); 38 Dave Parker (4); 42 Steve Sax (2).

Silver -- 9 Alvin Davis (2); 10 Rob Deer; 13 Kent Hrbek (2); 16 Wally Joyner; 21 Jim Rice (3); 22 Dave Righetti; 27 Hubie Brooks (2); 30 Eric Davis; 39 Tony Pena; 44 Mike Scott (4).

The 1990 aluminum coins are much like the 1987 ones. There's a full-color photo with the player's name and team on the front, fitted inside an outline of a baseball infield. The backs again have  personal info and a short blurb. The coins could, again, be bought within a three-coin pack, or or as a factory set.

1990 Coins (60-coin set)   44 coins
Blue Coins -- 33 Kevin Mitchell; 34 Mark Davis (2); 35 Jerome Walton (2)

Red Coins -- 2 Bret Saberhagen; 3 Gregg Olson (3)

Gold -- 7 Jerry Browne; 8 Ellis Burks (2); 10 Tom Candiotti (2); 11 Alvin Davis (5); 12 Chili Davis; 18 Kent Hrbek; 20 Carlos Martinez; 28 Ruben Sierra; 30 Mickey Tettleton; 32 Lou Whitaker;

Silver -- 38 Tim Belcher; 41 Bobby Bonilla (2); 42 Joe Carter (2); 45 Glenn Davis; Sid Fernandez; 47 Pedro Guerreo; 48 Von Hayes; 50 Howard Johnson; 52 Joe Magrane;  55 Willie Randolph (2); 57 Dwight Smith (3); 58 Lonnie Smith; 59 Robby Thompson; 60 Tim Wallach.

Advertised with the 1990 set was a black plastic, tri-fold case that could hold all 60 coins, complete with a three-hole punch for storage in a three-ring binder. All you needed was five Topps Baseball Coins wrappers and $1 (plus 75 cents postage and handling).

As I stated earlier, if someone's interested in these, please let me know - you're more than welcome to have them.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

November Card Show Part 2

As noted in my previous post, this past weekend was the monthly Urbandale American Legion Card Show. As always, I almost always find some really nice Padres cards.

For starters, here's a 1998 Skybox Dugout Access Dishwashers Kevin Brown, 1992 Ultra All-Stars Gary Sheffield, 1993 Topps Gold Jose Melendez, 1996 Bowman Ken Caminiti, 1996 Select Ken Caminiti, 1995 Ultra Second Year Standouts Joey Hamilton.
You have to love the back of that Select Caminiti card and the fact Pinnacle included this particular picture on the card. You have to wonder, though,  whose hand that is...
November's show also provided me the opportunity to load up on 2014 San Diego Padres cards.
Here's 2014 Bowman Chrome cards of Austin Hedges, Huston Street, Andrew Cashner, Ian Kennedy and Everth Cabrera. I know San Diego gave up Street to the Angels clear back in July, but all the same, it's a bit weird seeing Street in this team set, wearing Padres colors;

I've always enjoyed the Bowman Platinum product, and here's four cards from the 2014 set, including Austin Hedges, Max Fried, Nelson Liriano, and Hunter Renfroe.

2014 Donruss Everth Cabrera, Ian Kennedy, Tommy Medica RC,  Jedd Gyorko, Andrew Cashner and Chase Headley.

2014 Topps Rene Rivera, Joaquin Benoit, Troy Patton, Jeff Francoeur, Seth Smith and Alexei Amarista. Francoueur and Rivera, who I've always liked behind the plate, we saw play in Des Moines when the Chihuahua's were in town. Patton, a left-handed reliever the Padres picked up from Baltimore in the Nick Hundley trade, was recently suspended 80 games for amphetamines. He was also suspended for the first 25 games of the 2014 season after taking Adderall just four days before the end of the 2013 season. In September, San Diego outrighted him to Triple-A El Paso. and Patton refused the assignment becoming a free agent. Lots of luck with that, Troy.
And finally, how about a 2014 Panini Prizm Reymond Fuentes RC, 2014 Bowman Chrome Fire Diecut Refractors Austin Hedges and a 2014 Topps Chrome Tommy Medica RC. I really like those Bowman Chrome fire diecuts.

There will be yet another card show December 21 and I hope to be there yet again. Hopefully, there'll be a full complement of dealers in attendance that close to Christmas.

Friday, November 21, 2014

November Urbandale Monthly Show Part 1

Being it was about the second weekend of the month, this past weekend was the monthly Urbandale American Legion Card Show. I always enjoy hitting this one-day show. Not only do I find some really nice Padres cards, but I always track down a few good hockey cards and some pretty awesome trade bait.
Unfortunately, a few inches of snow fell across the state the night before (I know, snow in Iowa in November? Who'd have thought...), so several of the regular sellers were missing on this Sunday. Among those missing in action were a couple of my favorite sellers, including one who has some really nice hockey and baseball nickel boxes.
As I've stated before, I've been there often enough, that I've even gotten to know several of the dealers. Just last month, dealer Myron had a bunch of the 1974 San Diego Padres/Washington, Nat'l League cards. He said he'd gotten them in a box at an estate sale and was willing to let me have them for $1 each. To me this was a fantastic find. He also mentioned he'd start sticking Padres aside for me whenever he came across them.
Myron didn't disappoint, as he had the following Padres "oldies but goodies" for me.
1973 Topps Fred Norman, Clay Kirby, Mike Caldwell, Fred Kendall, and Leron Lee. 1974 Topps Leron Lee and Dave Roberts. 1972 ToppsTom Phoebus and Johnny Jeter. He also had some hard-to-find Tony Gwynn Tek cards, as well.
There were still a couple of dealers at the show with the inevitable 5 cent and 10 cent boxes. So, I took the opportunity to load up on these 2011 Topps Heritage Minors  cards. Featured from the Lake Elsinore set are 3B Edinson Rincon, P Jerry Sullivan, P Matt Lollis, OF Reymond Fuentes, 3B Jedd Gyorko, SS Jeudy Valdez, and C Jason Hagerty.
There were still plenty of 2011 Topps Heritage Minors card for San Diego's affiliates, including Fort Wayne Tincaps cards of P Kevyvis Sampson and P Adys Portillo, San Antonio Missions cards of P Casey Kelly and OF Blake Tekotte, and a Tucson Padres card of P Simon Castro.

The last cards I'll feature in this post are the 2013 Bowman Draft Draft Picks Silver Ice Hunter Renfroe and Dustin Peterson and a 2014 Pacific Coast League Prospects Burch Smith.

While there may be a love/hate relationship with minor league cards, I've always liked them. For many players, it may be the only cardboard of their professional baseball career. Just imagine your grandkids finding your minor league cards in the attic one day, realizing that you DID actually play professional baseball. It's especially cool when that player goes on to more than just a cup of coffee in MLB. It's fun to see their young, impressionable expressions, especially since they have their entire career ahead of them.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Gwynn and other goodies from COMC

As most of you are aware, I hit up the COMC website on occasion and earn a few free cards through their COMC Challenges. I do them a favor by helping inventory their cards, and they repay my efforts by rewarding me with $1 towards cards for every 1,000 points I accumulate.  
While it's been a while since I've ordered cards from them, I've earned enough points/dollars that I was able to find 15 that I just felt I had to have for my personal collection.
Being the die-hard San Diego Padres fan that I am (this is "Bleedin' Brown and Gold" after all), I'll start out with the 10 Friars cards I picked up.
While rumors abound that Andrew Cashner is quite possibly on the Padres trading block, I thought he did a heck of job with San Diego. So, I picked up his 2013 Topps Tier One On the Rise Autographs S/N 340/399 and 2014 Bowman Blue S/N 14/500. I also found a card featuring the best mascot in MLB, San Diego's Swinging Friar, ala his 2007 Topps Opening Day Gold S/N 1761/2007.
At the September Urbandale American Legion card show, I had a dealer give me a great deal on Topps' 1974 "Washington Nat'l League" Padres cards. That year Topps included 15 cards with the yellow San Diego padres uniforms and caps, but with "Washington," in the top left corner and "Nat'l Lea." in the bottom right since it appeared that San Diego was going to be sold and moved. They also released those same cards with the regular San Diego title.
I was able to add the Fred Kendall and Dave Hilton Washington cards, as well as a Vicente Romo San Diego card.
Of course, any Padres baseball card collection is just a pile of cardboard, without the inclusion of "Mr. Padre," the late Tony Gwynn. Here's his 1994 Fleer All-Stars, 2013 Upper Deck National Convention and a 1999 Upper Deck PowerDeck Auxiliary. I thought it was rather nice (albeit belated) that MLB recognized Gwynn during the 2014 World Series.

My last Padres purchase was this 2008 Topps Heritage Black Back Trevor Hoffman. While I don't normally collect football, I've been a Packers fan since I was a wee lad and only pick up cards for players from the Lombardi era, so getting this 2001 Topps Gallery Bart Starr was a no-brainer.
Hockey is my only other card collecting vice. And yes, I am a hockey geek - we have season tickets for the Iowa Wild, help out as goal judge or statistician at Iowa State Club hockey games and I still occasionally play roller hockey. The first card, the 1993 Classic Pro Hockey Prospects Autograph Dmitri Kvartalnov S/N 3387/4000 combines my love for San Diego with my passion for hockey. We used to watch the Mariners play in the old World Hockey Association (WHA) at the San Diego Sports Arena, but have yet to catch a Gulls game. Once a semi-pro team, the Gulls are now a junior hockey team playing at the Ice Plex in Escondido.
My other hockey cards include a 2011-12 Panini Contenders Jonathan Toews, 2010-11 Zenith Crease is the Word Corey Crawford, and a 1996 Zenith Champion Salute Joe Sakic. I started collecting the Zenith cards about six months ago and already have half the set, including the hard-to-find Mario Lemieux card.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

From deep in the heart of Texas

I like the recent trend of cutting down nine-card sleeve holders and using a folded, single row, three-card sleeve holder as padding in bubble-wrap packages.

I received just such a package in the mail awhile ago from one of my favorite bloggers, Marcus, over at All the Way to the Backstop.

In a July blog entry, Marcus posted about how he was torn about Chase Headley, "because I'm not sure what he is. I went to Spring Training in 2012 and 2013, and Headley was the only Padre who signed autographs for us both times. And he was easily there longer than any other Padre, signing and taking pictures. Really down to earth, humble, personable guy."

This was posted after Headley was traded to the New York Yankees for IF Yangervis Solarte and P Jose De Paula. Solarte saw considerable time at 3B for the Padres, while De Paula was released by both the Padres and the Giants last year.

In any case, Marcus has been amassing a rainbow collection of Headley cards and decided to pass along some purple, blue, red, gold and sparkly Headley cards to yours truly.

Chase Headley's 2008 Topps Heritage, 2013 Topps Chrome Purple Refractors, 2013 Bowman Chrome Blue Refractors S/N 227/250, 2013 Bowman Gold, 2013 Topps Target Red Border and a 2012 Topps Gold Sparkle.

While this made for a very nice addition to my Chase collection, Marcus didn't stop there. Also stuck within that three-card holder were these goodies (this package was more like a clown car of Padres cards).

2007 Bowman Chrome Prospects Autograph Will Venable, 2014 Bowman Prospects Jordan Paroubeck, 2010 San Antonio Missions Grandstand Nathan Culp, 2012 Topps Gold Sparkle Carlos Quentin, and a 2012 Topps Gold Sparkle Cameron Maybin. By the way, the Paroubeck card is the first I've seen of him. As for Culp, always love me some minor league ball.

While I've been remiss in sending out any cards myself in recent months, I really appreciate these goodies that Marcus, deep in the heart of Texas, sent along my way.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Autographed I-Cub baseballs

The minor league baseball season has finally wound down and we were happy to say we were able to make it to about eight Iowa Cubs  games this year. While they didn't make the playoffs, we had the opportunity to see several up-and-coming Cubbies like Kris Bryant and Javier Baez. The team even finished 74-70, their first winning season since 2010.

While I'm not a huge Cub fan, it's a chance to watch professional baseball, see some decent AAA baseball talent and have an opportunity to watch San Diego's AAA affiliate play here every-other-year.

Traditionally, Iowa gives away autographed baseballs at their next-to-last home game of the season, and this year was no different. This year, however, the balls were sponsored by Hupy and Abraham, the personal injury lawyers whom William Shatner shills for.

Last year, fans were handed  a plain brown paper bag with an autographed ball inside once you passed the turnstiles. This year, you had to go through the mezzanine, all the way by the outfield on the first base side, where your ticket and hand were marked. You were then handed a plastic bag with the ball, complete with Hupy and Abraham advertising (but no William Shatner).

This year, we received autographed balls from RHP Blake Parker and pitching coach Bruce Walton.

Drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 16th round of the 2006 draft, Parker was a pitcher with the University of Arkansas. Chicago granted him Free Agency in Nov. 3, 2012, but resigned him four days later. He made his major league debut with the Cubs on May 17, 20212, 

While he's been up and down between Iowa and Chicago several times this year, Chicago recalled him from Iowa on Sept. 1, where he's been serving as a middle reliever. He last pitched Sept. 18 against the Dodgers, giving up one hit in an inning of relief. He currently sports a 4.38 ERA while pitching 12.1 innings for the Cubbies, with 16 strikeouts and two walks.

Walton pitched in the majors from 1991-94 for Oakland, Montreal and Colorado. He compiled a 2-0 record over that time, with an 8.21 ERA, 18 strikeouts and a 1.76 WHIP.

He began his coaching career as Toronto's pitching coach from Oct. 2009 to Nov. 2012 and has served as Iowa's pitching coach since Dec. 18, 2013.

During last year's give-away, we received baseballs autographed by Brad Nelson (now a member of AAA Rochester -Twins), Ty Wright (Somerset, independent Atlantic League) and J.C. Boscan (Los Angeles Dodgers - September call-up).

Another nice thing, they also provide a Certificate of Authenticity with each of the balls. It's a really nice inclusion - 1) You have autograph authenticity for your autograph and ball, and 2) It's nice to see who actually signed your ball, rather than having to guess who's scribble you have.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

1999 Keebler Cookies San Diego Padres

During a recent raid on E-Bay, I came across yet another unique San Diego Padres card food issue set. This time, it was a complete, 28-card, 2000 Keebler San Diego Padres set.
I don’t know why I enjoy food sets so much. Maybe it’s because they’re so unique and/or regional, much like the Randy Jones discs. Maybe it's because, originally at least, you could only get them through food purchases, such as Post or Kellogg’s cereal, Hostess Twinkie boxes, or even bottles or cans of Coca-Cola. In any case, I really enjoy researching and then going out and finding these oddball sets. 

But first, a little background on this most recent addition.

On Aug. 1, 1999, Keebler Cookies sponsored a kids’ trading card day at San Diego’s Jack Murphy Stadium. Every fan, 14 and under, received a 28-card envelope of San Diego Padres cards.
What made this set so interesting is, of the 28-cards, seven were duplicates of the same player. Fans were expected to trade those copies among themselves in order to complete the set.

In fact, those instructions are actually printed on the envelope. “Each trading card pack starts with 20 DIFFERENT players cards plus 8 cards ALL ALIKE of an additional player. You must trade 7 of your duplicates away and get the 7 other cards needed to complete your full set. Have fun and help each other. Good luck.”

What a concept, eh? Trade your copies to other collectors to make a complete set. Fortunately, I was able to get this complete set without having to trade seven duplicates. I w onder if they came out with packs with seven Tony Gwynn copies?

Each of these 2-1/2 x 3-1/2 cards had a borderless player photo, with the player name inside a blue bar, complete with San Diego's Fat Friar logo (Gotta love that chubby, little Padre).

The first six cards of the set include manager Bruce Bochy, OF Tony Gwynn, 1B Wally Joyner, P Sterling Hitchcock, C Jim Leyritz and P Trevor Hoffman.
The next six are 2B Quilvio Veras, 1B/3B Dave Magadan, P Andy Ashby, IF Damian Jackson, P Dan Miceli, and OF Reggie Sanders.

SS Chris Gomez, OF Ruben Rivera, C Greg Myers, P Ed Vosberg, OF John Vander Wal and P Donne Wall.

OF/IF Eric Owens, P Brian Boehringer, P Woody Williams, P Matt Clement, P Carlos Reyes and P Stan Spencer.

And finally there's 3B George Arias, P Carlos Almanzar and C/IF Phil Nevin. The 28th card posted then-current Padres coaches Greg Booker, Tim Flannery, Davey Lopes, Rob Picciolo, Marv Rettenmund and Dave Smith on the front inside an orange bar and included the entire 28-card checklist on the back.

As the Tony Gwynn card demonstrates, the backs of these cards included the Keebler Elf logo, San Diego's 30th Anniversary logo, as well as the player's name and a bit of personal info.

Los Angeles and San Francisco also issued their own Keebler 28-card team sets that year.

I can't wait to find what comes across my oddball radar next.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Finding the 'Holy Grail' at the Urbandale Card Show

Sunday was the monthly card show at the Urbandale American Legion Hall. Naturally, I was stoked, since I wasn't able to attend the show last month, nor will I be able to attend next month due to National Guard drill weekend. I also figured it'd help kick start my blog once again after a rather chaotic month.

So after church and a quick lunch. it was off to Urbandale.

I have to admit I was a wee bit disappointed when I first arrived. There were only five or six dealers present, instead of the usual 10 or so.

I've gotten to know most of the dealers, especially since I always wear my "lucky green" Padres hat I picked up a few years ago at the Iowa Cubs shop at the stadium. I figure it never hurts to let people know who you're rooting for when it comes to card shops or card shows. Or anyone else, for that matter.

While thumbing through a few boxes of nickel cards, I struck up a conversation with another collector about the Padres. Myron, one of the vendors, came over and asked if I was interested in a Tony Gwyn jersey card. I told him, "Sure," as I'm always looking to add to my Gwynn collection.

He couldn't find the Gwynn jersey card and the Gwynn cards he did find, I already had. He then said he'd go through some of his other boxes and see what he had for Padres. I told him I'd stop by after I was done.

Boy, am I ever glad he went looking. When I finally completed my nickel box dig, I walked over to his table, where he had six of the 1974 San Diego Padres/Washington, Nat'l League cards. He said he'd gotten them in a box at an estate sale and was willing to let me have them for $1 each.

In 1973, it appeared that Joseph Danzansky was going to buy the San Diego Padres from C. Arnholt Smith. In fact, a May 1973 story in the Washington Post reported “Baseball’s Back! San Diego Padres Play Here in ’74.” Fortunately, Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald's, then stepped in an bought the club, keeping the team in San Diego.

In it's 1974 baseball card release, Topps included 15 cards with players with the yellow San Diego padres uniforms and caps, but with "Washington," in the top left corner and "Nat'l Lea." in the bottom right. The cards included Padres players Johnny Grubb (32B), Fred Kendall (53B), Rich Troedson (77B), Bill Greif (102B), Nate Colbert (125B), Dave Hilton (148B), Randy Jones (173B), Vicente Romo (197B), a team card (226B), Glenn Beckert (241B), Willie McCovey (250B), Dave Roberts (309B), Cito Gaston (364B), Rich Morales (387B), and a 1974 Rookie Pitchers card with Greg Shanahan (599C).

I've always felt those 1974 cards are more or less the "Holy Grail" of San Diego Padres card collecting. I  check for them every so often on E-Bay, but they seemed rather expensive (if you can find them at all). I know of other collector's who've had success in putting together the entire Padres set, but I've just never had any luck in getting them.

Now, I can say I have a very good start on completing this set.
Myron also found these Padres cards to add my collection for about a buck each - A 2011 Topps Heritage Minors Clubhouse Collection Relics Rymer Liriano, a 2011 Topps Heritage Minor League Edition Blue Tint Reymond Fuentes, and a 1998 SP Top Prospects Auto Gary Matthews, Jr. 
Myron told me that any time he comes across any Padres cards now, he's going to put them aside for me. All I have to do is look him up at the next card show, and he'll have them set aside for me.
Of course, I found plenty of other cards to temporarily sate my never-ending Padres addiction, but I'll save those for another day.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A mess of Marcus cards from a messy room

Slowly, but surely, I'm wading through the mess that makes up my "collectibles" room in the house. Yes, there's still boxes and cards everywhere - hockey, baseball and the little bit of basketball and football that remains - but it's kind of like an Easter egg hunt, I never know what I'm going to find. Or where, for that matter.
For example, these cards were part of a package sent to me a while ago by Marcus Pond, scribe of the cool blog, "All the Way to the Backstop." Marcus, a teacher in the Texas school system, is a fellow Padres collector who still makes annual trips to America's Finest City to visit family and friends. (Hopefully, Jan and I will be able to head that way next year, as Ocean Beach is calling...).
Anyway, I knew these cards were back there somewhere (I also have packages from another collector or two that I have yet to come across again). I finally found them the other day and one thing you have to admit, when you swap cards with a collector who enjoys the same team and players as you, any new package of cardboard goodies is a great treat.  
And, as usual, Marcus is not one to disappoint.
I'll start with the certified cards, like the 2009 Donruss Elite Extra Edition auto Brad Boxberger S/N 442/500, 2003 Leaf Clubhouse Signatures Bronze Brian Lawrence, 2013 Topps Tier One On the Rise Autographs Yasmani Grandal S/N 330/399, 2003 Upper Deck National Pride Memorabilia Carlos Quentin, 2001 SP Game Bat Edition Piece of the Game Phil Nevin and 1998 Best Autographs Signature Series Buddy Carlyle

Topps Tifany has always been a rather cool set. I've only had one other opportunity to get a Topps Tiffany card I had bid on and won, but it looked nothing like these. So, let's continue with a fine batch of 1986 Topps Tiffany, including Roy Lee Jackson, LaMarr Hoyt, Terry Kennedy, Dave Dravecky, Kurt Bevacqua and a 1984 Topps Tiffany Andy Hawkins. Marcus also included a 1986 Topps Tiffany Bruce Bochy. These are the first true "Tiffany" cards I've seen and I can now proudly claim I own some rather nice Tiffany cards, courtesy of Marcus!
Cookies, anyone? Here's some 1993 Padres Mother's Cookies cards of Kerry Taylor, Jeff Gardner, Dan Walters, Frank Seminara, Darrell Sherman, Greg Harris, Dave Eiland, Gary Sheffield, and Manager Jim Riggleman. I can't help but like the Mother's Cookies baseball cards - the rounded corners and sharp photography are what makes them so cool. I have the complete Padres 1985 set, but these '93 cards are a step in the right direction towards building another complete set. Ok, it's now official - Mother's Cookies Padres team sets are now on my list of things to look for. But then, it was only a matter of time, anyway.
And finally, you always have to enjoy what I call, hand-jammed (in-person) autographs of athletes. It's always fun to think of that player actually taking the time to look you in the eye and give his autograph while you're standing there next ot him, to say nothing of what it took you to get into that position. I really appreciate this batch of autos, which inlcude a 1989 Score Rookie/Traded Mike Pagliarulo, 1989 Topps Traded Bruce Hurst, 1989 Fleer Update Mark Parent RC, 1988 Topps Eric Nolte, and a 1990 Score Phil Stephenson. The final card, a 1994 Signature rookies Draft Picks Signatures Dustin Hermanson is actually a "certified" signature, of 7,750.

Marcus, sorry for taking so long to post, but I can't thank you enough for the Padres kindness you have once again shown.

Who knows what else I might come across in the mess that makes up my collecitbles room.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Hey, A.J., how about briinging back the brown and gold!

I'm probably a hopeless romantic, but when my wife and I first moved to San Diego, it began our long-standing love affair with the Padres baseball team. At that time, the Friars shared a cozy, intimate, little stadium with the San Diego Chargers, called “Jack Murphy.” Players, such as Brent Strom, Bob Owchinko, Dave Winfield, Willie McCovey and Willie Davis graced the Padres roster, while Randy Jones was putting together a Cy Young award-winning season.

But perhaps what we remember the most, is the fact the Padres unveiled brand new baseball uniforms that year -- Brown, with mustard-colored sleeves, numbers and team-name.

Just in case you haven’t caught on yet, I loved those brown and yellow, and later, brown and orange uniforms. I mean, my blog is entitled “Bleedin’ Brown and Gold” for goodness sake. My very first Padres jersey was a Tony Gwynn brown and gold Cooperstown Collection.

I'm probably in the majority when I feel the Padres are facing an identity crisis with today’s blue uniforms, After all, the Toronto Blue Jays wear blue. The Seattle Mariners wear blue. Oh, and by the way, so do the Kansas City Royals and gasp!, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

I’m also not the only one who feels that way about those great, old brown uniforms. Sports Illustrated writer Lee Jenkins (a San Diegan, don’t you know) recently wrote a great piece entitled, "A San Diego Padre by any other uniform color just isn't as sweet." You can read it at

According to Jenkins, "The Padres have changed their ­primary uniforms 12 times since the franchise was founded in 1969. They’ve worn brown and yellow, brown and orange, brown and yellow and orange, blue and orange, blue and white, blue and tan. They’ve experimented with two colors of pinstripes, several shades of camouflage and a beige earth tone called sand. Their sartorial crisis started early: They tweaked their look in ’72, ’74, ’76, ’78, ’79 and ’80. Sometimes the alterations were subtle (adjusting script, adding buttons, erasing the SAN DIEGO over the PADRES), and sometimes they were as severe as gold pants. When the Pads won the ’84 National League Champion­ship Series, they could not celebrate simply with a commemorative T‑shirt. They overhauled their wardrobe again. “They are the all-time champion,” says preeminent baseball uniform historian Bill Henderson, “of changing everything."

Jenkins even quoted one “rabble rouser from Poway by way of San Diego State: “How many teams have blue? How many have red? But none of ’em have brown. ...I just thought there was something neat about that. I just thought it looked beautiful. More than just beautiful, I liked the sentiment behind it of, ‘This is who we are.’” That firebrand was Tony Gwynn, two years ago, to former Padres beat writer Tom Krasovic.”

MoreWhen questioned clear back in May, Padres team chairman Ron Fowler had stated San Diego would not bring back the brown uniforms anytime soon, citing research from fans who wanted the team to stick with the blue and white. However when pressed, Fowler said he wasn't able to divulge any of the teams’ "research," since it was still an on-going process.

“Baseball people, and that includes myself,
are slow to change and accept new ideas.
I remember that it took years to persuade them
to put numbers on uniforms” -- Branch Rickey

 "Who in their infinite wisdom decreed that Little League uniforms be white?
Certainly not a mother -- Erma Bombeck.
There may even be a plot afoot. As part of its “Baseball Night in San Diego,” the Padres actually gave fans a brown and orange 1984 Padres Replica Retro Jersey on May 24 vs. the Cubs. The jerseys, presented by Fox Sports San Diego, were part of San Diego’s 1984 National League Champions celebration and considered by many as one of the team’s best giveaways of the year.

So, hope springs eternal. Especially since the Friars have finally hired a new general manager to replace Josh Byrnes. One can only hope that A.J. Preller will be more receptive to fan desires. What better way to reward fan loyalty and enthusiasm than by tapping into San Diego’s own unique, tried and tested, brown color scheme?

There's even a facebook page dedicated to bringing back the brown uniforms, entitled, "The San Diego Padres belong in BROWN uniforms.” If you’re interested in signing this petition for the Friars to bring back brown for their uniforms, got to

In any case, the Padres need to reassert their own unique personality. Let's hope it's not too long before the Brown and Gold is back!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My San Diego Padres ouroboros collection

Like most team collectors, I've come to the realization that the best I can ever hope to achieve with my Padres card collection, despite my best efforts, is to attempt to gather the largest group of ex-Padres I can find.

I think it's the nature of the beast.

I guess it's kind of like being a head coach - you're literally hired so you can be fired.

Over the past couple of weeks, San Diego has made some trades, generating a trio of former Padres to add to my burgeoning ex-Friar collection.

For starters (or in this case, closer), Huston Street, along with fellow right-hander Trevor Gott were traded July 19 to Anaheim for 2B Taylor Lindsey, RHP R.J. Alvarez, SS Jose Rondon and RHP Elliot Morris.

Less than a week later, the Padres traded away another player, this one an eight-year San Diego veteran. You can say I was ever so happy to see Chase Headley go to New York. After all, the 30-year-old Headley was only batting .229 with seven home runs and 32 RBIs so far this season. A classic San Diego under-achiever, I feel he should have been traded a couple of years ago when his perceived value was much higher.
You wonder why Headley's smiling? Becoming a member of the New York Yankees may have something to do with it. Chase's 2013 Topps Archive Day Glow and 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter SP.

While the Yankees also received $1 million in cool cash, San Diego got 3B Yangervis Solarte and RHP Rafael De Paula. In his five games as a Padre, Solarte has gone seven for 21 (.333), with a RBI in each of his first five games.

A case of addition through subtraction? Perhaps, but however you look at it, there's another three Padres that have now become ex-Padres. By the same token, I now have another six players who are new members of the Padres family.

I'll now have to start collecting cards of them in San Diego Padres uniforms, enter them into my massive Padres card database, and then write up a new tab with their name, for one of my 5,000-count boxes, where he'll join the rest of my Padres, as they make their way up the Friars' talent pipeline.

Or, you can always consider it another way. I now have another six players that will eventually be bound for the ex-San Diego Padres part of my collection.

It's a vicious circle.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Dog days in Des Moines, EP drops 3 of 4 to Iowa

Last month, my wife and I were able to catch the complete four-game series when the Paso Chihuahuas came to town to play the Iowa Cubs. Besides being great seats - three rows above the El Paso dugout -- my wife was able to get the tickets free for all four games from a friend at work.

San Diego's top affiliate's annual trip to Des Moines is alway highlighted on our calendar, as it's our only time we can see the baby Friars in person. While we normally cheer for the hometown Cubbies for the rest of the Iowa games we attend, this is the one occassion a year where we're dressed to the T's in our Padres gear.

We also had a great bunch of Cub fans sitting around us, giving us a good-natured hard time as we rooted for the visiting team. That's what helps make the games so much fun is that friendly bantering.

Unfortunately, we got what we paid for this season. Despite getting to see Odrisamer Despaigne pitch before he was called up to San Diego, the Chihuahuas dropped three of four games against Iowa. I think the AA San Antonio Missions have all the Padres' talent this year, while the cupboards of the AAA team are pretty bare.

Game 1 (June 17) -- El Paso 8, Iowa Cubs 5. Padres win! Padres win! RF Jeff Francoeur goes 3-5, with a double and a RBI. 3B Jonathan Galvez posts three RBIs, 2B Brooks Conrad addrf a pair, and CF Alex Castellanos and PH Travis Buck each posted another. Matt Wisler, in picking up the win, retires 12 Cubbies in a row after giving up runs in the firt two innings. Sad to say, this game proved to be El Paso's best showing of the series.

Personal observations -- The game was supposed to start at 7:05 p.m., but as we walked up to the turnstyle at 6:30, the Padres team bus and equipment truck was just pulling up. For whatever reason, their plane was delayed coming out of Round Rock, Texas, their last away stand, so the game was delayed for a half hour. I have to admit I thought the Chihuahua's red jersey's looked pretty sharp, with the Chihuahua holding a bone behind his back. However, it would have been nice to see that vicious little Chihuahua logo on the cap rather than the tame, two-tier "EP." Casatellanos had a great game in center field, making a total of eight outs, many of them pretty impressive.

1B Cody Decker completes a double play after taking the throw from
2B Brooks Conrad.

Game 2 (June 18) -- El Paso 1, Iowa Cubs 3. Despaigne goes five innings, allowing three earned runs while striking out seven and walking two. The only Chihuahuas to get a hit were RF Alex Castellanos, 2B Brooks Conrad, C Adam Moore and Francouer, pinch-hitting in the ninth. The Chihuahuas threaten in the ninth, on two-out, Jake Lemmerman and Francoeur singles and a Castellanos walk. However, Galvez flies out to right with the bases loaded for the final out.

Personal Observations -- For the most part, tonight's black jerseys weren't too bad looking, other than having "Chihuahuas" (with a large first "C" and last "S") over the chest. They're still wearing the black EP hats. Despaigne looks like the real thing, with a wide variety of pitches. Too bad the Chihuahuas couldn't have given him a little more timely hitting and run support. I thought it'd only be a matter of time before he was called up to San Diego. Oh by the way, he threw a total of 98 pitches tonight, with 63 of them going for strikes.

Wore my Chihuahua T-shirt my boss gave me earlier this year and got a few compliments on that, as well. The funniest thing is when the Cubs fan in our section starts calling El Paso the "CHEE-hooah-hooahs." Gotta love it.

Game 3 (June 19) -- El Paso 2, Iowa Cubs 6. Tsuyoshi Wada six-hits the Padres, with C Adam Moore and P Nathan Lane getting the only Chihuahua RBIs. Not too much to say about this game. For Cub fans, getting to see Kris Bryant play (as well as rumors of Manny Ramirez making an appearance) was well worth it.

Personal Observations -- Tonight's game marked the first appearance of Cubs wunderkind Kris Bryant, who takes over as the I-Cubs third baseman. How'd he do? He hit a two-run homer in his fourth at-bat (he struck out and flew to RF in his first three). Trivia question -- Who was the pitcher Bryant got his first AAA homer off of? El Paso's Branch Kloess.

Wore my brown and orange Tony Gwynn jersey to the game and got a lot of compliments on it, as well as comments and sympathy for Gwynn's death and the fact there will never be another MLB player like him.

Iowa Cub 3B Kris Bryant
Game 4 (June 20) -- El Paso 3, Iowa Cubs 8. El Paso ran into a buzz-saw  in Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks. Kendricks retired the first 15 hitters on six ground balls, four flyballs and five strikeouts before surrendering a broken bat infield hit to Jonathan Galvez to leadoff the sixth. On the flip side, El Paso pitcher Donn Roach was his usual ineffective self, allowing six runs on eight hits and two walks in five innings. El Paso finally scored a run in the seventh and two more in the ninth, with the game well out of range. CF Castellanos continued hitting well, batting two for four with a pair of doubles and a RBI. SS Tyler Greene was also 2-4, with a pair of RBIs. 3B Jonathan Galvez and 1B Chris Nelson also added a hit.

Personal Observations -- How many road uniforms does El Paso have? Tonight they sported grey uniforms with "El Paso" across the chest. For my birthday, earlier this month, my wife got me a Padres Sunday Marine Corps camouflage jersey, with "McDuff" on the back of it. It's a close call as to which jersey I like better, the camo or the Gwynn brown and orange, but I think it's the Gwynn jersey, hands-down.
Keyvius Sampson comes on in relief of Donn Roach.
Sampson gives up two earned runs in two innings,
including a home run to 1B Logan Watkins.

The only great thing about this game, was the fireworks display, which the I-Cubs put on for every Friday home game.

What can you say about a series like this? The I-Cubs outscored El Paso 22-14 (only outhitting them 35-33), but powered five home runs to El Paso's solo dinger. While the Chihuahuas headed out of town with their tail between their legs, I've said it before and I'll say it again, I think most of the Padres' minor league talent is located deep in Texas at San Antonio.

It may just be a long season for the AAA affiliate.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fuji cards

During my recent AWOL period from the internet and my many military trips, I found a huge pile of envelopes sitting on my desk in the basement. I'm only now finding the time to wade through all them all. The thing that truly amazes me, however, is the warmth and generosity of my blogging brethern.
And with that, I'll begin with the package I received from Fuji, the delightful author of Chronicles of Fuji.
2010 Bowman Draft USA Jerseys Chris Okey, 2002 Bowman's Best Gold Greg Sain Bat, 2013 Hometown Heroes SP Steve Garvey, 1974 Topps Randy Jones. Okey was a high school catcher selected in the 31st-round by the Padres in the 2013 draft. Okey instead opted to play for the Clemson Tigers. He has also made four appearances with Team USA baseball, his latest, with the Collegiate National Team. Sain, a 1B, 3B and C,  played six years in the Padres minor league system, rising to the AAA level, before trundling off to the New York Yankees and Milwaukee Brewers. He last played with the Florida State Tampa League Yankees in 2006.

And then there's the three different flavors of the 2013 Bowman Platinum Chase Headley - a Ruby, Saphire and Gold, sandwiched around a 1988 Topps UK Tony Gwynn card.
And of course, Fuji included a wonderful note, "Hey Duff, Thanks for those Padres cards. Here are a few of your PC. Take care. Fuji"
Thank you Fuji, for a wonderful addition to my collection.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Raiding the COMC site again

I recently had the opportunity to raid the COMC website once more, thanks to the COMC Challenge. I did have to add a little of my own money this time, however, to help cover shipping and handling.  I also have another bunch of cards I've purchased through the site, but I'm going to wait until there's another challenge to build up my COMC war chest again.
I'm not sure why working on cards makes me hungry at times. But then again, perhaps it has something to do with cards such as these food issues - a 1994 Church's Hometown Stars Phil Plantier, 1982 Drake's Terry Kennedy, 1992 Topps McDonald's Benito Santiago. Also pictured is a 2011 Topps Update Gold Aaron Harang S/N 865/2011, 2013 Bowman Chrome Prospects Blue Wave Refractors Jeremy Baltz, and a 2003 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Cory Stewart S/N 163/900.
I believe I've state earlier how I enjoy the Gaylord Perry era, as well as watching Randy Jones pitch for my beloved Friars. With that in mind, it's a no-brainer I'd pick up these 2004 Leaf Certified Cuts K-Force Gaylord Perry S/N 390/500, 1999 Sports Illustrated Greats of the Game Cover Collection and 1976 Kellogg's Randy Jones, as well as a pair of Peavys - a 2007 Exquisite Collection Rookie Signatures S/N 93/99 and a 2008 Upper Deck Piece of History Franchise History S/N 62/699.
Next up is a 2011 Topps Heritage Minors Jedd Gyorko, a pair of 1996 Crash the Game Ken Caminitis - one Gold and the other an Exchange, a pair of Dave Winfields - a 2002 Topps 206 and 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen Framed Paper S/N 691/999, and a 2013 Bowman Chrome Cream of the Crop Mini Jedd Gyorko. I can never have enough Caminiti or Winfield cards in my collection, so these definitely helped. And of course, being older Padres players, it was definitely a bonus to pick up those cards.
What's a COMC purchase without a few cards of varying colors? 2012 Bowman Prospects Purple Jonathan Galvez, 2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects Purple Refractor S/N 416/999, 2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects Purple Refractor Zach Cates S/N 589/799, 2013 Bowman Draft Picks Orange Hunter Renfroe S/N 31.250, 2014 Topps Yellow Yonder Alonso, and a 2013 Bowman Chrome Green Refractor Casey Kelly.

I'm just waiting for COMC to open up its challenges again so I can build up my COMC bucks and get my hands on a few more Padres cards. After all, how can you beat free money?