Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Repack Haiku #36 (Vernon Wells)

A solid hitter
Once he signed that big contract
Went downhill from there

2008 SP Authentic #54 Vernon Wells

Monday, January 29, 2018

6 Degrees Of Mookie (Hall of Fame Edition)

One of my early attempt at blogging was a pointless yet entertaining undertaking called "6 Degrees of Matt Stairs" - where I randomly tried to connect different players to long-time journeyman Matt Stairs. It was fun for awhile, but I eventually got bored and stopped it. Awhile back, I participated in a blog bat-around where Collecting Cutch challenged bloggers to connect a favorite player to the original game's namesake, Kevin Bacon. Doing that got me thinking about revisiting this concept for this blog on occasion. I used Mookie Betts as my player for the Bat-around, so I'll stick with him here. As a further challenge, not only must I connect the players, but I must connect them with cards from the same set. I initially tried to do this without help, but when I get stuck, Baseball Reference has a fun little Oracle tool that does the job for me. To kick things off, I decided to match up our 4 newest Hall of Famers:

Chipper Jones

1. Chipper Jones was teammates in the 2012 Topps set with Craig Kimbrel.

2. Craig Kimbrel was teammates in the 2017 Topps set with Mookie Betts.

Jim Thome

1. Jim Thome was teammates in the 2012 Topps set with Shane Victorino.

2. Shane Victorino was teammates in the 2014 Stadium Club set with Mookie Betts.

Vladimir Guerrero

1. Vladimir Guerrero was teammates in the 2007 Topps set with Mike Napoli.

2. Mike Napoli was teammates in the 2015 Topps set with Mookie Betts.

Trevor Hoffman

1. Trevor Hoffman was teammates in the 2004 Topps set with Jake Peavy.

2. Jake Peavy was teammates in the 2014 Topps Heritage set with Mookie Betts.

Since each of these players' careers ended this past decade, they each had a fairly easy 2 degrees of Mookie. My hope is that once a month or so, I'll randomly choose another player to connect to Mookie.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Payday Pack - Gonna Make You Sweat

Presenting for your Payday Pack enjoyment, pack #3 from the repack box. Today, I'll try to find 3 worthy cards from a pack of 2016 Topps Series 2.

3rd Place

2016 Topps #434 Matt Adams

Maybe it's just me, but Matt Adams looks HUGE in this photo, except for his arms which seem disproportionately tiny...

2nd Place

2016 Topps #465 Jesse Chavez

I wasn't a big fan of the smoke effect Topps used in this set, but it looks fantastic against a black background!

1st Place

2016 Topps #392 Jon Singleton

I've seen Jon Singleton up close. He is a big man. I hope he splashed some water on himself, because if he gets this sweaty, then this is a not a flattering picture. Sadly, his once promising career took another step back this week.

Others Not Appearing On Stage
#634 Jorge Lopez
#572 Marcell Ozuna
#608 Rick Porcello
#412 Mark Lowe
#388 Evan Longoria
#577 Jason Gurka (Rainbow foil parallel)
#FP-1 Tim McGraw (First Pitch insert)
Rediscover Topps Coupon (expired!)
#612 Cincinati Reds
#635 A.J. Pierzynski

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Son Of Spoils Of Victory

My first cards of 2018 come courtesy of TCDB member vrooomed, who started the league 2 years ago and has done an awesome job running it. He was generous enough to send some Red Sox cards my way for wining last year's fantasy league.

You can't go wrong with Red Sox Hall of Famers! I'm looking forward to this year's league, which should be forming soon! If your a member of the TCDB and want in, I think there's still time!

Thanks again for the cards, vrooomed!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Repack Haiku #35 (David Riske)

With game on the line
Do managers shy from guy
With name like Riske?

2006 Topps #116 David Riske

Monday, January 22, 2018

Obligatory Hall Of Fame Voting Post

In a few days, the Hall of Fame will announce which players will be honored as its newest members. Based on the BBHOF Tracker, it looks like 5 players may get elected to join Alan Trammell and Jack Morris in one of the biggest classes in history.

I'm always fascinated by the voting process. I love reading about different writers' ballots, and the methodology they used to determine who is worthy, and why others fell short.

I obviously do not have an official vote, but I too have thought about who is worthy and who would make my unofficial ballot. Before I list my choices, a few clarifications into my voting process:

  • I'm a big Hall type of guy - I believe that the Hall's main purpose is to reflect the history of the game. I'm not going to cross a guy off just because he's not an inner circle type.
  • As far as PED users go, I generally don't have a strong opinion. Again, the Hall should reflect this era of the game. To be honest, I have genuine reservations as to how much PED usage affects a players overall stats. That being said, those guys are placed in the back of the line. I may feel Manny Ramirez should get in, but as long as there are at least 10 other worthy candidates, he won't make my ballot.
I'm going to categorize players into 3 groups - definitely worthy, probably worthy, and maybe worthy. (Real scientific, I know...)

Definitely Worthy

These are the guys I don't have to think hard about. They belong, and that's all there is to it. Obviously, because of the PED issue, not all of these guys will make my final ballot.

Barry Bonds
Roger Clemens
Vlad Guerrero
Chipper Jones
Edgar Martinez
Manny Ramirez
Curt Schilling
Jim Thome

1991 Bowman #68 Jim Thome (RC)

Probably Worthy

These players have strong cases, but not airtight. There are usually some reservations.

Trevor Hoffman - I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to relief pitchers. I think they are over-glorified and the pitching equivalent of a pinch-hitter. I don't think they impact the game as much as most people think. Still, he is the 2nd best all-time for how he was used...

Jeff Kent - Greatest power hitting 2nd baseman of all-time, at least until Cano becomes eligible.

Fred McGriff - He doesn't measure up to the hitters of the "Steroid Era", but I always remembered him as one of the true power hitters of his time. Not everyone has led both leagues in home runs!

Mike Mussina - I get he's got the "numbers", but I never considered him one of the all time best. He never stood out to me.

Gary Sheffield - He may not have been the most likable person, but he was a scary hitter at his peak.

Larry Walker - A perennial .300 hitter, the fact he averaged less than 80% of games played per season bothers me.

1989 Donruss - Bonus MVP's #BC-19 Fred McGriff

Maybe Worthy

I'll be honest, I'm not convinced these guys belong. They have genuine cases though, and I'll have to put more thought into it.

Andruw Jones
Scott Rolen
Omar Vizquel

With all 3 of these players, it seems their cases are tied to their great defensive prowess. I don't trust any attempt to measure defense past maybe the past 5 years. (It's my biggest hang-up with WAR.) Offensively, they didn't do enough.

1997 Collector's Choice #1 Andruw Jones (RCL)

Here's my unofficial 10 player ballot:
  1. Vlad Guerrero 
  2. Trevor Hoffman
  3. Chipper Jones 
  4. Jeff Kent
  5. Edgar Martinez
  6. Fred McGriff 
  7. Mike Mussina
  8. Curt Schilling
  9. Jim Thome
  10. Larry Walker
1991 Score #671 Chipper Jones (RC, FDP)

Bonds, Clemens, Ramirez and Sheffield are end-of-the-line players. As long as there are enough players I feel are at least probably worthy, they won't get on my ballot.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Payday Pack - Don't Make Willie Angry

This edition of Payday Pack continues the repack box I picked up. Today, I'll dive in and pick my 3 favorites from a pack of 2015 Heritage.

3rd Place

2015 Topps Heritage #116 Don Mattingly (MGR)

Don looks like that one uncle everyone has that likes to entertain the kiddies with his "Detachable thumb" trick...

2nd Place

2015 Topps Heritage #45 Mookie Betts

Mookie! Chance are if I pull a Red Sox card in a pack, it'll be one of my favorites.

1st Place

2015 Topps Heritage - Baseball Flashbacks #BF-9 Willie Mays

Whenever I picture Willie Mays, he's smiling. He definitely not giving the above look, like he's ready to disintegrate a baseball into dust

Other Not Appearing On Stage:
#246 Kyle Gibson
#213 Joakim Soria
#109 Didi Gregorius
#174 Neftali Feliz
#67 2015 Mets Rookie Stars (Herrera/Goeddel)
#410 Rajai Davis
#158 Trevor Cahill
#282 Tanner Roark
#TN-9 Sandy Koufax/Davis Price Then and Now
#325 Michael Bourn
#277 Josh Collmenter
#134 Yan Gomes
#30 Brandon Phillips
#56 Kris Medlen
#367 Kyle Hendricks
#54 Lorenzo Cain
#89 Eduardo Escobar

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Repack Haiku #34 (Keith Moreland)

Colorful Score sets
Often clashed with uniforms
Like brown, green, and blue

1989 Score #42 Keith Moreland

Monday, January 15, 2018

Checking Out Some Mighty Fine Rears

There was a post recently on the legendary Night Owl Cards blog discussing Topps' history of card #1. The company obviously puts thought into who gets such a special designation, and it made me wonder if the same held true for the last card of each set. I mean, who doesn't enjoy a good caboose?

Here's who has occupied the last spot in the binder for each Topps base set:

1952 - Eddie Matthews RC
1953 - Milt Bolling RC
1954 - Ted Williams
1955 - Duke Snider
1956 - Mickey McDermott
1957 - Yankees' Power Hitters (Mantle/Berra)
1958 - Herb Score, All-Star
1959 - Billy Pierce, All-Star
1960 - Johnny Antonelli, All-Star
1961 - Warren Spahn, All-Star
1962 - Rookie Parade Outfielders (Luplow/Jimenez/Olivares/Hickman/Goss)
1963 - Johnny Temple
1964 - Bennie Daniels
1965 - Al Downing
1966 - Gaylord Perry
1967 - Tommy John
1968 - Jerry May
1969 - Ron Hunt
1970 - Rick Reichardt
1971 - Dick Drago
1972 - Ron Reed
1973 - Fred Scherman
1974 - Larry Dierker
1975 - Hank Aaron
1976 - Dave Lopes
1977 - Willie Horton
1978 - Wilbur Wood
1979 - Giants Prospects (Greg Johnson/Joe Strain/John Tamargo)
1980 - Steve Yeager
1981 - Rick Monday
1982 - Frank Tanana
1983 - Chris Chambliss
1984 - Bill Russell
1985 - Darrell Evans
1986 - Charles Hudson
1987 - Checklist
1988 - John Tudor
1989 - Rafael Santana
1990 - Gerald Perry
1991 - Mike Greenwell
1992 - Dave Winfield
1993 - Checklist
1994 - Checklist
1995 - Checklist
1996 - Checklist
1997 - Checklist
1998 - Alex Rodriguez
1999 - Checklist
2000 - Alex Rodriguez, Magic Moments
2001 - Carlton Fisk, Golden Moment
2002 - Albert Pujols, ROY
2003 - 2002 World Series Game 7
2004 - Josh Beckett, World Series MVP
2005 - 2004 World Series Game 4
2006 - Angel Arms (Ervin Santana/Francisco Rodriguez)
2007 - Barry Bonds
2008 - Yadier Molina
2009 - Jacoby Ellsbury (Carl Yastrzemski SP)
2010 - Brandon McCarthy
2011 - Ryan Zimmerman (Brooks Robinson SP)
2012 - Bryce Harper
2013 - Hyun-Jin Ryu
2014 - Masahiro Tanaka
2015 - Milwaukee Brewers
2016 - Tyler Flowers
2017 - Ryan Goins

1952 Topps #407 Eddie Mathews (RC)
Wow, Topps' first caboose card turned out to be the rookie card of a Hall of Famer! That's an impressive way to start things off!

Topps doesn't seem to have much rhyme or reason to selecting the last card, outside a few stretches (1958-61 All-Stars, 90's checklists, and a 2003-05 World Series run).
1975 Topps #660 Hank Aaron
Hank Aaron's caboose card showed up in the same year he was the first card in the set! If this had been his last base card, it would have made a fitting tribute.

Other players to have the distinction of being both the first and last card in a base set: Ted Williams, Alex Rodriguez, Carlton Fisk, Barry Bonds, and Bryce Harper. Technically, I could include Yaz here, but he shared both of his appearances as #1 with other players, and his caboose card was a short print alternate.

Alex Rodriguez, who has been the first card more than anyone, has also been the last card more than anyone. Throw in the fact his 2000 card has multiple variations, and I doubt anyone else will come close.

2003 Topps #721 2002 World Series Game 7
Personally, I like the idea of the last card being related to the World Series. A shot of the winning team hoisting the trophy would be the best way to cap off a set, in my humble opinion. What do you think?

Friday, January 12, 2018

Payday Pack - Blast Off!

I live in an area that could be considered a card collector's wasteland. There are no card shops locally, and no card shows within driving distance. My options for new product reside fully within the walls of my local Wal-Mart and Target stores. In these cold winter months, what is left on the shelves is uninspiring - some Topps Series 2, plenty of Topps Update, maybe a stray pack of Gallery if I'm lucky. From what I've read, I'm not alone in this regard. It has gotten to a point where I really don't feel much like buying a payday pack just for the sake of buying one. Rather than continuously writing posts on the same product until the new base set comes out, I figured I would buy one of those repacked boxes with multiple unopened packs and throw some variety into the mix.

We'll start things out with a pack of 2015 Topps Series 1. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I miss borders on cards. 2015 had a great design, and it is sure to go down as one of the more memorable. Here are my 3 favorites:

3rd Place

2015 Topps #280 Miguel Montero
Take off the chest protector, and you would think he was a pitcher - the grip on the ball, the look of determination on his face - I almost feel sorry for the baserunner he's trying to gun down.

2nd Place

2015 Topps #34 Charlie Blackmon
I love it when the border color matches the team colors, and few cards represent that better than the Colorado Rockies' purple borders. If I didn't know better, I'd swear eve his beard had a purple tinge to it!

1st Place

2015 Topps - Baseball History #12A Space Shuttle Columbia Launches
Few things in this world stir the imagination quite like a shuttle launch. This is just an incredible photo!

Other Contestants Not Appearing On Stage:
#139 Gary Brown
#323 Eric Hosmer
#76 Ian Kennedy
#223 Los Angeles Angels (TC)
#50 Yu Darvish
#39 Salvador Perez
#231 Andrew Cashner
#141 Cory Spangenberg (RC)
#282 Alex Presley

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Repack Haiku #33 (Alan Bannister)

Alan Bannister
A former first round draft pick
Killed a man on field

1981 Topps #632 Alan Bannister

Holy cow, the things you discover while researching a player! According to Wikipedia:

"In July 1972, as an amateur, Bannister accidentally killed an opposing player during a game. Bannister was a participant in a Baseball Federation tour of Japan, and while attempting to complete a double play during a game against a Japanese team, he made a throw to first base which struck the head of Akira Toumon advancing from first base to second base. Toumon was knocked unconscious, and he later died at the hospital as a result of cerebral contusion."

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

An Old Pack Of Sox

If you've read my blog recently, you'll know I got a great package of goodies from Chis at Nachos Grande. Among the contents was this Red Sox Fan Pack from Upper Deck:

What a great idea - it's like a team specific repack! I decided to open the pack and show off the contents. All of the cards came from sets released in 2007 and 2008, but there were many different sets included. Rather than show off all 25 cards, I'll highlight a card from each of the 6 sets that were represented.

2007 Upper Deck (Series 1 and 2)

#66 David Ortiz
#69 Dustin Pedroia
#73 Curt Schilling
#74 Jonathan Papelbon
#76 Jon Lester
#573 Josh Beckett
#575 Hideki Okajima (RC)
#582 Jason Varitek
#584 Kevin Youkilis
#585 Coco Crisp

2007 Upper Deck Artifacts

#77 Daisuke Matsuzaka (RC)

2007 SP Legendary Cuts

#7 Cy Young
#9 Wade Boggs
#10 Carlton Fisk
#11 Joe Cronin

2007 UD Future Stars

#12 Manny Ramirez

2007 UD Masterpieces

#5 Carlton Fisk
#25 Carl Yastrzemski
#59 Bobby Doerr
#90 Curt Schilling

2008 Upper Deck (Series 1)

#221 Tim Wakefield
#222 Daisuke Matsuzaka
#223 Julian Tavarez
#228 Mike Lowell
#229 Manny Ramirez

Fantastic cards all around. These came from the time I wasn't actively collecting, so most of them are new to me. The SP Legendary Cuts cards are amazing and definitely my favorite, although the Masterpieces are a close second. This pack showcased why Upper Deck is suck a game-changer in the industry. MLB is doing the card industry a disservice keeping licensing away from them. At least hockey collectors can still benefit. Maybe someday...

Thanks again Chris! You're awesome!

Friday, January 5, 2018

2017 Year In Review

Since 2018 is upon us, I thought I'd take a look at my blog and collection. While other bloggers have written about yearly goals, this post serves as more as a benchmark for me, since this blog is so new.

2017 Highlights

  • Obviously, the biggest thing to happen here on the Diamond Jesters blog in 2017 was the creation of the blog itself! After months of being a lurker on other collecting blogs, I finally took the leap and started up one of my own. It's been a fun and rewarding experience, and I can't wait to see what I come up with during the new year!
  • One of the big pluses to joining the blogging community has been joining an incredible community of people. I'm reminded almost daily how friendly, supportive, and generous my fellow collectors have been, and the wealth of knowledge freely shared is mind boggling. I'm glad to be a small part of this.
  • From a collection standpoint, I've slowly worked my way back in after a long hiatus. As such, this year saw some firsts for me - my first baseball card relic, my first graded card, and my first TTM autograph success! Lots of good stuff!

2017 Diamond Jesters Blog Stats

Number of posts: 140 (Not bad for my first year, especially since I didn't post anything for almost the first 4 months!)
Month with the most posts: 32 posts in May (This is when the 30 Day Challenge was in full swing, and I made a point to post almost every day!)
Top 5 viewed posts: (Oddly, all these posts are from December. I guess it's reflective of my blog becoming more well known..)
  1. Single Elimination Challenge - The Finals! (193 page views)
  2. SEC - Semifinals Match Up #1 (150 page views)
  3. The Best Free Stuff Is The Stuff You Stole (146 page views)
  4. Secret Santa Revealed! (137 page views)
  5. Instantly Iconic (133 page views)
Most commented post: Single Elimination Challenge - The Finals! - 12 comments (I pimped this on the TCDB forums, so I'm happy with the results!)
Most commented post (Non-SEC post): Secret Santa Revealed! - 11 comments (9 if you eliminate my own comments!)
Followers: 28 (Thanks to each and every one of you!)

My Collection

(Stats courtesy of the Trading Card Database)

Total number of cards: 35,428 (Unofficial - still cataloging my collection)
Cards from 2017 sets: 576 (Lower than I expected - a bland base set will do that I guess)
Red Sox cards: 2510 (Almost a thousand more than any other team!)
Autographed cards: 11 (4 new this year: Junior Guerra, Josh Sale, Luis Tiant, Christian Yelich)
Thanks Tyler!

Graded cards: 1 (New: David Wright)
Thanks Paul!

Relic cards: 5 (4 new: Ellis Burks, Dan Uggla, Eric Chavez, John Lckey)
Thanks Brian!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Repack Haiku #32 (Bill Caudill)

He stares intently
Reads the signs from his catcher
Begins his windup

1982 Donruss #426 Bill Caudill