Sunday, February 22, 2015

Cards from across the Pond

I know I've been rather remiss in posting up some of the wonderful packages I've received from fellow bloggers, so this specific post will address that situation plus provide a belated congratulations to one of my favorite bloggers.
For starters, there was this really great package from new father Marcus over at All the Way to the Backstop. In case you've been away from the card blogging world the past few weeks, Marcus Pond, a Texas schoolteacher and his wife, recently celebrated the birth of their newborn son, Maxwell Coleman Pond. And yes, the middle name is in honor of the late San Diego Padres sportscaster Jerry Coleman.
I wonder if maybe Marcus was passing out sports cards instead of cigars celebrating his son's birth, as this package came completely out of the blue and, yes, it contained a healthy gathering of brown and gold (and blue) Padres goodies.
For starters, he included a few newer San Diego Padres cards, to include some Jedd Gyorko cards - a 2013 Topps Wal Mart Blue Border, 2013 Topps Chrome RC, and a 2013 Bowman Platinum Sapphire. Also, a 1993 Donruss Dave Staton, 2005 Donruss Greats John Kruk, 2013 Bowman Top 100 Prospects Max Fried, 2009 Topps 50th Anniversary All Rookie Team Khalil Greene, and a 2014 Topps Update Seth Smith.

One of my favorite Padres, Trevor Hoffman, was well represented in this package, as evidenced by his 1997 Pacific, 2000 SPx, 1997 Score Premium Stock, 2006 Flair Showcase, 2002 Upper Deck Vintage, 2001 SP Authentic, 2009 Topps Heritage, and a 1994 Stadium Club.

I think Marcus knows I always like finding Padres players minor league cards and these cards truly fit the bill. Here's some 2012 Pacific Coast League Top Prospects Multi-Ad Blake Tekotte and James Darnell, 2011 Lake Elsinore Storm Coke Phil Plantier, 2012 Topps Pro Debut Jonathan Galvez, 2008 TRISTAR PROjections Kyle Burke, Danny Payne and Jonathan Galvez, and a 2013 Topps Pro Debut Max Fried.

And of course, there's some old-school San Diego Padres cards, at least as old school as a franchise originating in 1969 can boast of. Here's a 1970 Topps Al Ferrara and Chris Cannizzaro, 1975 Topps Chris Cannizzaro, 1975 Topps Jerry Turner RC (also with Benny Ayala, Nyls Nyman, and Tommy Smith), and 1969 Topps Alan Foster RC and Willie Davis.

I have a natural affinity to the late '70's Padres cards, especially since that's when I was living in "America's Finest City." So these are great cards of the 1978 Topps Jerry Turner, Gene Tenace and Gene Richards, 1976 Topps Bob Davis RC, 1981 Topps Dave Cash and Mike Ivie RC (with Darcy Fast and Derrel Thomas).

And finally, here's a hand-signed 2010 Topps National Chicle Will Venable, 2013 Bowman Chrome Prospects Refractor Zach Eflin, 2013 Bowman Chrome Draft Top Prospects Refractor Max Fried, 1979 Kellogg's Gaylord Perry (1973-315 hits), 1989 Panini Stickers Marvell Wynn, 2012 Topps Stickers and 2014 Topps Sticker Swinging Friar. You have to admit the Swinging Friar is a great mascot, especially when compared to other teams' fishes, birds and other assorted animals.

Once again, thank you Marcus and belated congratulations on the birth of your newest son.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Zen and the art of Zistle

Recently, I discovered the joys of Zistle, which bills itself as "The easiest way to organize and trade your cards online." Basically, it's a free card trading website, created by "collectors for collectors," which allows you to inventory cards you want to trade and helps find trade partners to get the cards you want. You can also pay to add Zistle Gold, their premium service, but they also provide a seven-day free trial of Zistle Gold.

Once I registered, it took a little to figure out how to post up cards. However, once I got the hang of it, I started listing several basketball and football cards. In reality, I could care less about basketball, but I've managed to accumulate a good-sized stack of it through picking up various and sundry sports card collections. So I posted a few of them, along with other cards I'm looking to trade away, and quickly logged in about 1,080 cards - 55 baseball, 516 football, 207 basketball, and 302 hockey - generating 4,078 points.

It wasn't long before I received my first trade proposal from member bdlehman18. He was interested in a couple of my football cards - a 2011 Panini Rookies and Stars Longevity Danny Coale and a 2001 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia Antonio Freeman. I already had the Tony Gwynn cards he offered, so after some negotiation, he sent a pair of Tony Gwynns, one a 1993 Fun Pack and the other, a 1999 Upper Deck MVP Swing Time.

I promptly mailed my cards, he promptly mailed his, and the next thing I knew, I had a PWE sitting in my mailbox and the deal was painlessly completed.

My second Zistle trade, this one with BucCollector, was a little more involved. I sent him a mix of basketball and hockey cards, which included a 2010 Topps Allen and Ginter Mini Akinori Iwamura, 1973-74 Topps Dave Bing, 2000-01 Topps Heritage Jason Collier RC, 1993-94 Hoops East Team Photo, 2013-14 Upper Deck Artifacts Evgeni Malkin, and then 2007-08 Upper Deck Artifacts Sidney Crosby, Evegeni Malkin, Jordan Staal and Marc-Andre Fleury, 2010-11 Upper Deck Artifacts Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal, 2002-03 Atomic Johan Hedberg and Alexei Morozov.
From BucCollector, I received a trio of 1974 Topps cards, both of the Washington and San Diego Padres variety. While the Willie McCovey card has the San Diego Padres listed, as it should, the Johnny Grubb and Dave Hilton cards feature the Washington "Nat'l Lea." It was assumed to be pretty much a done deal for the Padres to be purchased by a Washington, D.C. group, but it fell through. It was then that Ray Kroc, of McDonald's fame saved the San Diego franchise (and not Bud Selig), keeping the team in San Diego.
I also received three Tony Gwynn cards, including a 1988 Fleer Baseball's Best, 1990 Donruss All-Star Error, 1988 Topps Tony Gwynn/Benito Santiago, as well as a 1987 Fleer Limited Edition Steve Garvey

You do have to be careful when you post feedback, however. You can give a range of 1 star, for a bad trade and up to 10 stars for a great trade. Unfortunately, when I went to post feedback, I had intended to give BucCollector a 10 and thought I clicked on all 10 of the stars, but accidentally hit 9 of the stars instead. Easily enough corrected, I found out - you just post up a message to one of the moderators and they'll help you fix it.

And then I had yet another trade offer, this one from halos17, a Martin St. Louis hockey fan. We agreed on the trade and I sent my cards out into the U.S. Postal system. Due to other obligations and issues, halos17 had a delay in getting his cards into the mail.
When he did get my package in the mail, he included these 2009 OPC Black Back cards of Jake Peavy and Adrian Gonzalez, as we agreed, while I sent a couple of Martin St. Louis Artifact hockey cards.
But, talk about being a very conscientious collector!
Beside the cards we agreed to, he also included these Tony Gwynn cards with the above note.

Overall, I'm sort of taking a shining to trading on Zistle. Once you figure out how it works, it's a fairly easy and effective trading tool to get rid of, and to find needed sports cards.

Friday, February 13, 2015

San Diego State to retire Tony Gwynn's #19

Tony Gwynn will never be forgotten on Montezuma Mesa, the campus of San Diego State University, where he played college baseball and basketball and later coached the school’s baseball team.
Two Tony Gwynn San Diego State Aztec cards -- 2012-13 Fleer Retro 97-98 Z-Force Rave and a 2013 Upper Deck National Convention.
A two-time All-American as an outfielder, he led San Diego State in hitting his final two seasons. In 1980, he posted a .423 batting average with six home runs and 29 RBI, garnering third-team All-America accolades from the Baseball News. As a four-year point guard for the basketball team, he was twice-named to the all-Western Athletic Conference team and is the only athlete in WAC history to be honored as an all-conference performer in two sports. He still holds the Aztec game, season and career records for assists.

As a 12-year Aztec baseball coach, Gwynn posted a 363-363 record at SDSU, guiding the Aztecs to three Mountain West Championships and a .500 or better record in five of the past seven seasons.

Associate head coach Mark Martinez took over the day-to-day coaching duties for the majority of the 2014 season, as Gwynn’s health deteriorated in his battle against cancer. “Mr. Padre” passed away June 16, 2014 at the age of 54.

The Aztec baseball team will honor the memory of alumni and former head coach Tony Gwynn during their season-opening weekend, Feb. 13-15, when they play host to the Valparaiso Crusaders. Gwynn's No. 19 SDSU jersey will be retired, there will be an Aztecs vs. Cancer event and other activities are planned to memorialize Gwynn.

And just as the San Diego Padres wore a Gwynn “19” commemorative patch on their uniforms during the 2014 season, the Aztec baseball team, as well as several other Mountain West teams, will wear commemorative Tony Gwynn “TG” patches on their uniforms throughout the 2015 season.

Everyone is aware of Gwynn’s 20–year career with the Padres, but how much do you know of his 12-year San Diego State coaching career? He became only the fourth head coach in SDSU baseball history, after being hired Sept. 21. 2001. However, he served as a volunteer assistant coach under Jim Dietz, who was his coach during Gwynn’s collegiate days, before assuming head coaching duties at the end of the 2002 season, when Dietz retired.

Gwynn was named Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year after leading the Aztecs to the league's regular-season title in 2004. In 2009 his Aztecs sported a 43-21 record and its first trip to the NCAA Regionals since 1991. In 2013, thanks to a pair of wins over 13th-ranked New Mexico, they again earned the MWC Tournament title and another berth to the NCAA Regionals.

San Diego State’s tribute to Gwynn began on Feb. 11, when the baseball team received their 2014 Mountain West Championship rings during halftime of the men’s basketball game. Gwynn’s family members will led the Aztecs’ traditional “I Believe” chant before the game, and then accepted his championship ring at halftime. Gwynn’s daughter, Anisha, sang the national anthem.

The Aztecs also gave commemorative T-shirts featuring Gwynn’s basketball number 24 to the first 2,500 fans at the game.

On Friday, Feb. 13, the Aztecs will host a VIP reception, open to SDSU baseball letterwinners who played under Gwynn, as well as his former teammates and invited dignitaries, at Tony Gwynn Stadium prior to the baseball game. Commemorative Tony Gwynn pins will be distributed to the first 1,500 fans attending the game.

On Valentine’s Day, the baseball team will sponsor an Aztecs vs. Cancer event in Gwynn’s honor. Prior to the game several players will shave their heads in support of Gwynn’s fight against cancer, as well as someone in their lives who has been struck by the disease.

On the final day of the series, Feb. 15, the Aztecs will host the West Covina Little League, an organization that held a special place for Gwynn. San Diego State players and coaches will hold a clinic for the little leaguers following the game.

Gwynn was last with his San Diego State team on March 25, 2014, just before he began his leave of absence. His Aztecs rallied around a Gwynn bobblehead doll they would set near the bat rack during games, enroute to winning the Mountain West Conference tournament and advancing to the NCAA regionals. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

2015 San Diego Padres Game Giveaways

The San Diego Padres have announced their 2015 promotions schedule and Friars fans can once again look forward to such Padres traditions as Taco Tuesdays, College Nights, Friday Night Parties, and Military Sundays, featuring the U.S. Marine Corps.

Some may feel, compared to last year’s freebies, there doesn’t appear to be as many goodies available to the Padres faithful this season. However, I think the baseball team the Front Office is finally fielding at Petco Park this season, which includes the recent addition of pitcher James Shields, more than makes up for any perceived shortcomings in the promotional department.

As for promotions, “Baseball Night in San Diego” returns, while retro Padres brown makes a triumphant return this season as the team debuts five evenings featuring “Way Back Wednesdays,” with players wearing home brown pinstripe uniforms from 1985 to 1990. Last season, San Diego celebrated the 30-year anniversary of their 1984 NLCS championship versus the Chicago Cubs by both wearing, and giving away a replica 1984 brown and yellow jersey during their May homestand against the Cubbies.
After opening the 2015 season on the road at Los Angeles, the Padres celebrate their regular season home opener on Thursday, April 9 against the San Francisco Giants, with the return of the Padres Fedora, presented by Sycuan Casino, as well as a 2015 schedule cling.

When it comes to Padres clothing, San Diego has you covered. There are four opportunities to get these Friars freebies – On Saturday, May 30 (Pirates), you can get a Padres Replica Camouflage Jersey presented by Petco;  As part of its Armed Forces Day celebration, there’s a Padres Hoodie, presented by Toyota,  Saturday, May 16 (Nationals); You can get a Throwback Replica pin-stripe jersey, presented by FOX Sports San Diego, Saturday. Aug. 8 (Phillies); and finally, fans can receive a Padres Dir-Fit T-Shirt, presented by Mission Federal Credit Union, Saturday, Aug. 22 (Cardinals).

Perhaps the most intriguing giveaway this year is the Petco Park Replica, presented by Fanatics Authentic, on Saturday, July 18 (Rockies).  I’m curious as to the size and scale of the mini-Petco, as well as how detailed this replica will actually be.
And just like last year, fans can once again get a free beach towel, presented by National University, Saturday, June 27 (Diamondbacks); Knockaround Sunglasses, Wednesday, July 22 (Giants) and another bag –a MLB Network reusable bag, given away Saturday, May 2 (Rockies) before the post-game fireworks.

Other freebies include a 2015 calendar, courtesy of Cox, Saturday, April 25 (Dodgers); a Grab Bag Giveaway, Saturday, Sept. 5 (Dodgers); and a Padres Team Photo, presented by the Mighty 1090, on Saturday, Sept. 26 (Diamondbacks).
While all these giveaways are nice, once again I applaud the Padres Front Office for actually making and effort to put a competitive team on the field. After years of watching San Diego's Front Office Follies, I almost feel as I'm watching the Bizarro-Padres.
Suffice it to say, I'm definitely looking forward to Baseball's Opening Day!