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.