Sunday, February 25, 2024

Who's the face of the team-National League Central

Up next for the face of the team, the National League Central. 

Just for a quick refresher, my definition of the face of the team revolves around who is the one player that first comes to mind when a team is mentioned. I decided that I'd do my all-time face of the team, as well as the current face of the team. 

This has turned out to be a little harder than expected. It has become quite obvious to me that I'm an American League guy. Yes, my Rangers are in the American League, so yes, that tends to be my focus. That being said, I've always considered myself a baseball fan first. The old school guys are the easy ones, its the current players that I'm having a harder time with. 

I'm going to have to start paying a little more attention to some of the National League teams. 

NL CENTRAL

Chicago Cubs

This was an easy one for me when it comes to the All-Time face of the team. No question, it's Ernie Banks. From his quote, "It's a beautiful day for ballgame; Let's play two!" to being from my hometown of Dallas, TX, Ernie Banks has been one of my favorite players of all time. Makes it really easy to choose him as the face of the Cubs. As for the current team, I had a hard time deciding. No one really stood out to me. I could have gone with Cody Bellinger, but he's a free agent and I don't think he re-signs with them. I went with Dansby Swanson. He's 30 years old, still in his prime, and '23 All-Star. The Cubbies have some really good young talent, but I gotta stick with Swanson.

     

My favorite Ernie Banks card is his '54 rookie card. I love the youthful look with the great smile. You can just see him saying "It's a beautiful day, let's play two!" I like the action shot of Swanson on the '23 Topps card.

Cincinnati Reds

When I think of the Cincinnati Reds, I think of the Big Red Machine. When I think of the Big Red Machine, I think of Johnny Bench. Cincinnati has had a lot of great players, but none equal Johnny Bench. Many will argue that he is the greatest catcher of all-time. I'm not one of those (Pudge Rodriguez!), but he is definitely the greatest Cincinnati Red of all-time. I could have gone with Pete Rose, who I loved the way he played the game, but honestly, Bench always comes to mind first. As for the current face of the team? It's got to be the hot-shot rookie Elly DeLa Cruz. 

     

I love the '69 Bench card. I like it so much better than his shared rookie card. Very old school. From old school to new school, the '24 DeLa Cruz. What an electric player. It should be fun to watch what he can do.

Milwaukee Brewers

Robin Yount has got to be the all-time face of the Milwaukee Brewers. When I think of the Brewers, I think of two players...Robin Yount and Paul Molitor. I go with Yount because he played his whole career with the  Brewers. The current face of the team was difficult for me. The Brewers have some pretty good young talent coming up like Jackson Chourio, but I went with Christian Yelich. I haven't been the biggest fan of Yelich, but he always seems to be the guy I think of when talking about the Brewers.

     

Robin Yount's '75 rookie card is one of the few stars that I still need for my '75 set. I've had the opportunity to get one several times, but I've been a little picky on the condition, centering and price and just haven't found the right one. The '19 Yelich is a short print. Topps hasn't been too creative when comes to his cards. There's like 3 poses that get repeated. 

Pittsburgh Pirates

My first recollection of the Pirates was the '79 World Series and "We are family" Pirates. Willie Stargell was my favorite. I loved the black and gold and funky hats (not so much anymore). Then I became a little more of a baseball history buff and started reading about Roberto Clemente. I remember when his plane went down in 1972, but I really didn't know that much about him at the time. Needless to say, Clemente is my choice for all-time face of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Like the Brewers, the Pirates have some really good young talent like ONeil Cruz who will one day be the face of the team, but for me its still Andrew McCutchen.

     

The '57 is my favorite Clemente card. There's no specific reason other than I really like the '57 set. This card is on my bucket list of cards. I had a chance at one, but walked away from it at a show and when I came back it was gone. 2012 Topps McCutchen card is just one of my favorites of him.

St. Louis Cardinals

This one was more difficult for me to come up with. There are several great players that come to mind when I think about the Cards. Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith and Bob Gibson to name a few. Every time though it comes back to Stan "The Man" Musial. What a class act and what a ballplayer. Once again, he was one of those I didn't know too much about when I was younger, but the more I learned about the history of the game, the higher Musial climbed on my list. The current face of the team came down to two players for me, Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado. I went with Goldschmidt because, honestly, I forget Arenado is a Cardinal. I really like both players, but I had to choose, so its Goldschmidt.

     

I have become a fan of the '58 All-Star cards. This Musial is another one of the cards on my bucket list. As for the Goldschmidt card, how can you go wrong with a defensive action card where you can see the ball traveling to the player?

That wraps up the National League Central face of the teams. Let me know what you think of my choices in the comments. 

Peace, 

Michael

Isaiah 40:31


Saturday, February 17, 2024

Who's the face of the team-National League East

 I was watching some YouTube videos and ran across one that was talking about the face of the team for each MLB team. They did the all-time face of the team and the current face of the team. 

How do you determine who is the face of the team? Is it the guy who shows up in all the advertising? The star player, probably a Hall of Famer, or just the fan favorite player? My thought on who is considered the face of a team is the one player who first comes to mind when talking about a specific team. 

Some of those players that first pop in your mind when talking about a team seem to be pretty obvious for most people, while others may not be so apparent. While listening to the guys on YouTube, a few of players that they came up with were no-brainers, while others made me shake my head and wonder what were they thinking. I decided at that point I'd do my own list and post my favorite card of each player. 

One other thing, I'm sure there will be quite a few of you who disagree with my choices. Just like I disagreed with the guys on the YouTube video. If you have another player that comes to mind when you hear of a team, tell me who it is in the comments. 

NL EAST

Atlanta Braves

When it comes to the Braves, my first thought is Hank Aaron. I used to listen to Braves games with my granddad sitting under the carport in Rome, Ga. My second thought always seems to go to Greg Maddux, but he doesn't pass Hammerin' Hank. The new face of the team is hands down Ronald Acuna Jr. What a fun guy to watch play.

     

I am a huge fan of '57 Topps and this is my favorite Hank Aaron card. I have Acuna's rookie card but I don't have this short print. 

Miami Marlins

This one was kind of hard for me simply because I don't know much about the Marlins other than their World Series wins in 1997 and 2003. The Marlins haven't been around long enough to have a deep history of great players, but they've had some really good teams. The one guy that comes to mind for me is Jeff Conine. There have been several big name guys who went through the Marlins during their careers, but none seem to connect to the team for me more than Conine. The current face of the team for me is Luis Arraez. 

     

I'm not a huge fan of the '97 Topps but I do like this pic. Only Arraez card I could find in a Marlins uniform. 

New York Mets

When someone mentions the Mets to me there are two players that come to mind, first is Tom Seaver. Second is Mike Piazza. Given those two choices I have to go with Tom Terrific. The current face of the team has to be Pete Alonso. I could have gone with David Wright, but he retired and to me, he can't quite replace Tom and since he's no longer a part of the team...

     

The more I look at the '69 cards, the more I like them. This card of Seaver is just how I picture him with the Mets. I just really like the picture of Alonso in the '23 Topps. 

Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies have a storied history that has so many great players. Roberts, Ashburn, Allen, and Carlton to name a few. For me, the first player that comes to mind when talking about the Phillies is Mike Schmidt. Widely remembered for his home runs, but was a 10 time gold glove winner too. His '73 rookie card was the first "big" card I ever got. Is it even a question who the current face of the team is? It's got to be Bryce Harper.

     

The Schmidt '76 Topps is one of my favorites because of the action shot. Most of his cards are posed head shots. The '20 Topps is absolutely my favorite Bryce Harper card because it shows his competitive personality. 

Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals is another hard one for me. Actually, the all-time face of the team was pretty easy for me. Every time I do the Immaculate grid and there's a hitting question for the Nats, my first instinct is Ryan Zimmerman. I know I could have put some other players there, but Zimmerman always seems to be my first thought. I'll be honest, I actually had to look up and see who was currently playing for the Nationals. Not being on the East coast and not really following them, I went with CJ Abrams. I figure this will definitely be one of the players that I get challenged on.

     

As I was working on completing my 2015 Topps set and was putting it in a binder, I became a fan of all of the colors in the set. This Zimmerman is one of my favorite cards of the set. I like the action shot and that you can see the ball as it leaves his hand. What a cool pic. I went with CJ Abrams '22 Topps update rookie card. Once again, I'm a sucker for the action shot. I like it that you can see his eyes tracking the ball. 

Well, that's it for National League East. Those are the guys that I first think of when someone brings up those teams to me. I did gain something from all of this. I'm going to start paying a little more attention to the Marlins and Nationals. Especially, those new faces of the teams and see how they pan out. 

Let me know in the comments what you think about my choices. I'm open to other opinions. 

Peace,
Michael
Isaiah 40:31






Tuesday, February 13, 2024

The Hill

I started to include this in my last post, but felt like it needed it's own. So, this is my first mid-week post. I doubt seriously that this becomes a thing, but you never know.  

If you haven't seen the movie "The Hill" you need to watch it. 


This is a true story of Rickey Hill and his journey to professional baseball. This is a great movie about faith and passion that just happens to be about baseball too. I was blessed to meet Rickey a couple of weeks ago and got his autograph on a card. The movie tells the story, but listening to him talk about other details that the movie didn't show is remarkable. Definitely, a miracle. 


I have been around baseball since I was 5 years old when I was the batboy for a 6 year old team that I was too young to play on. That same year, I saw my first minor league game at Turnpike Stadium in Arlington, TX with the Dallas-Ft. Worth Spurs. I played baseball until I was 19 years old. I started umpiring when I was 16 and called games for 36 years. When my oldest son turned 5, I started coaching. I coached little league for 20 years. 5 years ago, I volunteered to help coach the baseball team at the high school where I teach and have been on the coaching staff ever since. None of that even includes baseball card collecting. 

In case you couldn't tell, I love baseball. I have loved baseball since that first practice I attended when I was 5. As much as I am passionate about baseball, I'm no where near the passion that Rickey Hill had to play the game. He was told his whole life he couldn't do it and he did. I wish that I could bottle his passion for the game and share it with my players. 

I hope that if you haven't watched the movie, you'll find the time to see it. It's on Netflix and can be rented or purchased on Prime. 

Peace, 

Michael

Isaiah 40:31



Saturday, February 10, 2024

Thoughts on TCDB

It's been about 10 months since I really started using TCDB with my collection and I thought I'd give some thoughts about it. 

Listing/Inventory

I started listing complete sets and then my player collections because I figured it was the easiest way to figure it out. It was. Then came the monumental task of entering in all of the years that I was working on and the duplicate cards that I had. I started with the older ones first, because I didn't have as many of them. It was going pretty smooth until I got to about to 1987 Topps and it began to slow down. 

I kind of jumped around at that point and listed some sets from the 2000s. It's kind of like my collecting history. I started strong in the beginning, hit a downturn and then started back. That hole that is the middle of my collection is the same hole in my inventory on TCDB. It's not like I don't have any cards from that time, I just haven't bothered to put them in. You'd think those would have been the easiest and most important ones to do, but I just haven't. If the haves and the want lists were there, I probably could have started acquiring those missing cards through trades. 

I've still got a long way to go to get all of the Topps sets listed and their duplicates. Plus, I have a ton of Fleer, Donruss and Upper Deck to list too. I think listing all of my cards is going to be one of those never-ending projects. 

I have run into one little snag with inventorying my cards. If I make a trade, TCDB does it for me. If I pick cards up at a show, the card store, or bust open some packs, some of the time I forget to put the cards in TCDB before or after I put them up. I've really got to figure out a system or I'm going to have to back track and recheck everything. 

Trades

I recently completed my 50th trade. 


Nothing great in the trade except in got me a little closer to completing a couple of sets. 10 months and 50 trades isn't much considering all of the trades that I see posted in other blogs, but I'm pretty happy with it. I do hope to increase that number in 2024. It would help if I had more cards in they system. I need to get busy! 

In those 50 trades, I accumulated almost 1000 cards and traded away a little over 600. I had a few bumps in the road on those 50 trades. Got taken on a couple(my fault, not theirs), had a couple of trades get lost in the mail and received some very generous trades from people.

I've also received some cards that weren't in the condition that was stated or implied. So far, everyone has been great when I send a message back about the condition of the card. I don't know about you, but I try really hard to make sure that the cards I am sending are as stated. I will be honest, I didn't inspect each card as I was listing them. When I pull one out and its dinged on a corner, has a crease or is mis-cut enough, I let the person know so that they can decide if they want to continue the trade or not. 

Shipping on trades is a whole other topic. My post office basically, limits me to sending 4, maybe 5 cards in a PWE. One time I was able to send 8 cards, but the rest of the time it's a no. So, any trade I make over 4 or 5 cards costs me a BMWT. Still trying to figure out the best way to ship cards. 

Has anyone used paypal.shipstation.com? Heard about it somewhere, but haven't checked it out yet. Let me know if you have it or have any other suggestions.

I have received all kinds of envelopes/packages in my trades. Most have been in #10 white envelopes with inexpensive 9-pocket sheet protectors. Most have a thin piece of cardboard on the front and the back. Some don't have anything. Some have common cards surrounding the ones in a trade(my favorite, because I get bonus cards!). The worst one I got was a 2 card trade and sender surrounded the 2 cards with common cards taped together with masking tape. I tried really hard to take the tape off and not mess up the cards, but couldn't do it. 

As of today, I've only initiated 3 trade proposals. To be honest, it's taken me this long to actually figure out the easiest way to do it. Yeah, I know, makes sound like an idiot, because its really easy to do. I think my problem was the first time I tried it, the system was slow or not working and it messed me up. I think I got it now.

Overall, my experience with TCDB has been positive one. I will definitely keep adding my collection in, making trades and meeting new collectors. If you're not using TCDB for your collection, you should check it out. 

Peace, 

Michael

Isaiah 40:31


Saturday, February 3, 2024

How do you collect?

 There are so many different ways to collect baseball cards. 

When I first got into collecting, the main focus was on complete sets. Opening packs, sorting, and seeking out the cards that were missing. As I got back into collecting again, I assumed everything was still the same. Yeah, not even close.

The absolute first thing I noticed was that there's not much love for base cards. I don't know about you, but I still love base cards. I still love opening packs, sorting the cards and looking for those I'm missing. I love the chase. Right now, the chase is '23 Topps Heritage. Next month it will still be '23 Topps Heritage and '24 Topps flagship. I got a feeling the chase for Heritage is going to take awhile. The chase and that feeling of satisfaction when you finally find that last card is awesome. 

I think the biggest change in collecting from when I started until now has to be the inserts. The only inserts when I started was gum, then stickers and puzzle pieces. Now, the inserts are as numerous as the base cards. Some of the inserts are really great looking cards. I have become a fan of some of those inserts. I tried really hard to stay away from collecting the insert sets, but I ended up with several of the '23 Topps All Aces and the Father's Day patch cards and now I'm hooked into those subsets. 


I'm not really close on completing either of them, but I enjoy looking for them and being pretty picky on what I'm willing to pay for them. So far, I've not been very successful trading for them. 

If you're a fan of the game, you have your favorite team and your favorite players. Team and player collecting has become the main stream when it comes to collecting. I'm not sure why the switch, unless collectors began questioning why do I want a card of a player who never plays and for a team I don't like? Maybe it's about space, I don't know. My first thought was it was about not as many cards, but with all of the inserts and parallels, its still a ton of cards to collect. 

Speaking of parallels, a lot of collectors collect color runs. A year ago, when 2023 Topps came out I'd never even thought of doing a color run. Hadn't even looked at it really. I saw somewhere, either on YouTube, in a blog, or at a card show someone's color run. I don't even remember who the player was. I got to looking at what I had and decided that I'd give it try. Knowing that the different colors can get expensive I had to pick a player that I liked and wouldn't get crazy expensive like Ohtani or some other superstar would. I went with Marcus Semien. I mean let's be real, it's not like he's some scrub, he's just not high up on the card collector's list. Here's what I got so far.




So, I'm not the brightest light bulb in the pack, I really wasn't paying attention to the card numbers as much as I was the picture on the front. I knew that Topps Chrome was numbered different, but that didn't stop me from focusing on the picture. I make the really quick decision to switch it up a bit and try to put together as many of the same picture as I can. Let's be real, just between Topps, Topps chrome and Topps Holiday,  there are nine different 1 of 1s and 3 different 1 of 5s. I'm not even putting those on the list as possibilities. As best as I can tell, if I take those out I've got 37 more cards to get. 

For me, my team is the World Series Champion Texas Rangers (had to get it in!). I started putting together team sets from 1972 to present. I'm not getting the team sets Topps puts out, just the cards that come in the base set. I've got a long way to go on this, but it's fun. 

I have a handful of current players that I say I collect: Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Clayton Kershaw, Bobby Witt Jr, Adolis Garcia, Josh Jung and now Evan Carter. Pretty sure that I will add Wyatt Langford to the list when he debuts, hopefully, in 2024. Mostly what I collect are Topps and Topps inserts, but I do have several Bowman, Topps Chrome, and some Panini of my guys.

I don't limit my player collection to just those guys. I also do player runs. I have a fluid list of about 30 players that I am working on collecting their Topps card from all of their playing years. Every now and then, I'll come across a card or hear story about someone and I'll start that player run.   

This post when way off from where I originally planned. Originally, it as a way to show my Marcus Semien color run, but what the heck, I got to share some of my collection. 

I'd love to hear what and how you collect. Drop me a comment!

Peace,

Michael 

Isaiah 40:31


The Seventies-My favorites Round 1

The Seventies were my youth. The movies "Jaws" and "Star Wars" came out. Disco was king. The A's and Reds dominated ...