Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Orioles Victory Card (1987 Season Edition): Opening the season with a win!

Baltimore Orioles Victory Number 1: 2-1 over the Texas Rangers

2006 Topps Opening Day Opening Day Insert Set (talk about repetitive)

With the sporting world on hold due to the novel coronavirus shutting down the world for a few months we here at The Hopeful Chase are going to our rain delay programming. For the last two seasons we've posted a baseball card following every Baltimore Orioles victory (I know, talk about the minimum commitment required). It's fun and keeps us writing about baseball and collecting. Rather than sit back and stare forlornly at the outside world we've decided to continue the series with a season from the past.  The season of choice - 1987. Please enjoy.

After a decidedly topsy-turvey spring training that seemed to raise more questions then it answered it's nice to see the Orioles start things off with a win. Not only a win, but an old-fashioned pitching and defense win. New skipper Cal Ripken, Sr. has to be happy with the three double plays and Eddie Murray backing up a relay throw that missed the intended cut-off man. Murray was able to gather up the bad throw and still make the relay to home to cut down Bob Brower at the plate.

Not only were they fine in the field, they took advantage of miscues by the Rangers to score both runs. First it was Fred Lynn scampering home after the ball got past catcher Don Slaught on a Ray Knight strike-out. Those things happen when a knuckleballer like Charlie Hough is on the mound. The game-winning run came on a sac fly by Larry Sheets. Rene Gonzales was on third because he was able to go from first to third following an errant pick-off throw from reliever Greg Harris.

Ripken Sr. has steadily preached fundamentals throughout the spring, something that the Orioles got away from last season. It wasn't the only reason they finished in last place in 1986,but it was a major reason. The bats weren't exactly on fire to start the season as they only managed five hits against Hough and Harris, but the home squad did take advantage of the few chances they had and won the game.

Even more encouraging was the performance of Mike Boddicker. Coming off a second-half of a season where he was beleaguered with injuries the Orioles ace looked like his old Cy Young self as he worked 7 2/3 innings. His only run allowed came off of a Oddibie McDowell first-inning home run. After that auspicious start, the crowd of 51,650 watched Boddicker keep the Rangers off balance with his usual array of breaking stuff and sneaky quick fastball.

The new guys may not have delivered much offense but Rick Burleson and Ray Knight were solid in the field which, to be honest, is why they're on the club. Knight, the reigning World Series MVP, should solidify a third base spot that saw the Orioles churn through ten different players and commit more than 35 errors last season. Burleson, a stop gap veteran signed to buy time until youngsters Billy Ripken and Pete Stanicek are ready for the big leagues, handled all seven chances that came his way and started two of the three double plays.

So, the new skipper was elated with the result right? Well, that would mean the hard-nosed baseball lifer was capable of elation, which seems to be a question at this point. He told the Washington Post,

"Listen, we played a good game," he said. "We talked all spring about executing and doing the little things, and we did them today. But we could have done them and lost. That other team didn't play badly. The point I'm making is that this is a 162-game schedule, and you can't get too high or too low. Everything worked fine today, but everything is not always going to be that way." 

For at least one day the Orioles practiced what their new manager was preaching. In a wide open American League fundamentals may just be enough to catapult this squad into contention. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Trade Post.... One deal and three sets are completed

I primarily consider  myself a set collector. The only problem with that - I'm horrible at actually finishing off sets. My attention is usually diverted by something else roughly 85% of the way through any given set. One of my goals this year is to clean some sets up and finish them off, especially any set that I'm at least 90% of the way through.

With that in mind I made an offer on TCDB to user mfeik for a 2003 Topps Ichiro Award Winner card which was the last one I needed to complete that wonderfully blue-bordered set. While building the trade I noticed he also had the one last 1990 Donruss card (it's always been one more card with that damn set).  I had some random Tigers cards he needed so we worked out a deal.

Yesterday they showed up in the mail.

I appreciate any Ichiro card that I can add to my collection. He may not have been the best baseball player I've ever watched live, but he is definitely the most graceful. Everything he did had a casual elegant smoothness to it. He never seemed hurried or our of sorts. God damn, he was fun to watch.

A card I didn't even know I didn't have until I started paging up The Red Menace. That was not a great collecting day. There are over 2500 1990 Donruss cards under my roof right now and not one of them was of the first (only?) man to strike out 5,000 major league hitters. It's quite satisfying to finally put that set to rest.

Wait...the title said three sets were completed? Which one was the third?

Well, mfeik was gracious enough to throw in a few extras. Along with three 2006 Topps cards I needed he knocked off the last three 1988 Topps cards I needed. Yup, that one only took 32 years to finish/ Along with Julio Franco (#683) and Jim Acker (#678) came this card:

The Bash Brothers in their prime bashing years. Twelve-year-old Justin would have been stoked to pull this card out off a pack. 

Thank you mfeik for helping out. According to TCDB I have 17 more sets that are over 90% complete.  Hopefully I can focus on them for a bit and knock that list down a bit more.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Trade Post...and a return to a more active site?

Well now. It seems it's been a month of Sundays* since I last posted. Time just kind of gets away from folks from time to time I guess. The good news is, as a member of the hospitality trade, I'm gearing up for a bunch of free time. That's bad for my bank account, but good for those of you who enjoy rambling trade posts and other random things.

We'll get back into the swing of things with a nice basic trade post. Things have been going well in that department as I'm shuffling cards around on a consistent basis. I usually have two or three trades in the works at a time which makes checking the mail a fun event. It's also helping with that goal of getting 2,020 cards out of the door.

Let's check in with the card-o-meter:


That's 443 more cards out than in so far in 2,020. It seems like a good number, right? Unfortunately at the beginning of the month it was at -870. Then Heritage was released (had to get a box of that, right?). And along with that box, Dave and Adam's had a really good deal on 2002 Upper Deck Vintage - the original 1971 throwback set. So had to buy a box of that.

It's a process. 

On to the trade!

A few weeks ago I sent a blind trade request to user 3bCollection at the Trading Card Database. He saw some additional Braves inserts that weren't on my trade list. Being that I had no need for them, we reswizzeled things a bit and came to an agreement. The inserts and a pile of 2001 Topps dupes went to Georgia and in return came these cards:

1982 Orioles Team Leaders

Yup, another Eddie Murray card for the personal collection. That makes for 284 different Murray cards or 6.8% of the listed cards on TCDB. 10% or bust!

The best part of the card was the back. I love it when checklist cards were actually used for checking off cards in the collection. I'm also in the middle of adding my regular 1982 collection to the database and noticed all the checklist cards I had marked up back when I was a little kid.  Ahhhh memories.

1985 Baltimore Orioles Topps

The 1985 design has really grown on me lately. I'm not sure I'm going to start building it, but I'll at least finish off the Orioles that I need. Lowenstein's combination of sunglasses and mustache is peak level 1980's baseball while Cruz magnificent quaff of hair should never have had to have been contained by a hat or helmet.  


2019 Bowman Prospect Hall and Mountcastle

We don't know when baseball will start in 2020, but when it does, it'll be that much closer to the next generation of Orioles taking the field. Mountcastle and Hall are hopefully a big part of that. 


2019 Topps

I'm never going to finish this set. TCDB tells me I'm 99.4% complete. I don't believe it. Every time I get a card, the set size will increase by one card. I know that's what is happening.

Thanks 3bCollection!


Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The First Post of the Year. Some goals, some cards.

Ahhh, the first of the year. When bloggers from across the card trading world post about goals and ambitions and the like. Wait, it's the end of January and not the beginning? How did that happen? Whelp. I guess there's no need for a long detailed post about what I plan on doing with my cards this year since I'm already a month behind.

Might as well just wait till March and a return to the Orioles Victory Card series. Already have 15 cards scanned, that should get me into early June. Oh god, it's going to be such a long summer. The good news is that, if plans hold, I'll be at opening day (my first ever) to hopefully see a valiant effort against the dastardly New York Yankees. I'm also holding out hope that I'll be able to see Pearl Jam at nearby Royal Farms Arena (haven't been there since the original Baltimore Blast were in town).  Based on how ticket sales went last week, that's highly unlikely, but you never know.

As far as collecting, I do actually have some plans for 2020. As I've tried to do every year since I've had to start lugging this collection around (from Florida to Chicago to Pittsburgh to Salt Lake City) I plan on reducing the amount of cards I own. 

Now a couple of times I've said, "I want to get rid of 1,000 cards this year" or something to that effect, and I've done it. The problem, I've also taken in more than a 1,000 cards that year. So, in the end, I still ended up with more cards than I started with, which is a problem. 

This year, I've refined the goal. My plan is to get rid of 2,020 more cards than I take in. Thus eliminating roughly one shoe box worth of cards from the closet. You're welcome, whatever moving company moves us next.

So far I'm off to a decent start with a -674 card count as of today. Granted 550 of those cards went out in one transaction, but who's counting (technically I guess I am). Also, I haven't bought any boxes of new product yet either. That leads into goal number two.

Limit the buying of boxes. I love ripping packs. It's one of the top things about this hobby that keeps me interested. Whether it's a single box/pack of SP Game Used or 20 some packs of Topps Big League, the joy of not knowing what's going to pop up in the next pack is so much fun. 

My plan for Series One is to just buy a collated set. Those tend to not be too expensive on eBay and will keep the extraneous cards to a minimum.  That will severely hamper the chances of me flipping any inserts or variations for Series One, but that's ok. God knows I have enough from the last few years that I haven't posted or tried to sell yet so I should be able to keep at least some money flowing into the Buy More Cards fund. 

I will most likely buy a few boxes of Heritage or Allen & Ginter when they roll out later in the year. That will give me some time to eliminate more cards and I do love the 1971 design for Heritage this year. I'm sure I'm not alone in that which means box prices should remain nice and high (being smarter was never going to be a goal this year).

Other goals include continuing to build the Personal Collection (currently consisting of Tampa Bay Lightning cards, Vincent Lecavalier cards and Eddie Murray cards). I did manage to get 99.9% of my Lightning cards loaded into TCDB which allowed me to post a Want List for the ones I don't have. That makes trading a little easier. 

I also plan on having my entire collection entered into TCDB by the end of the year, if not sooner. I'm roughly 40% of the way there and it gives me something to do while mindlessly watching TV. Entering cards has shown me that I have plenty of duplicates (thanks junk wax era) and surprisingly, there are people out there that are looking for those cards. I've ripped off a bunch of trades already this year and offers keep coming in every time I finish loading a set. 

My goal in regards to trading is to make sure I send out more than I receive in at least 95% of the trades I make. That will help chip away at that 2,020 fewer cards thing. I've never been huge on getting equal value out of trades, especially since it's mostly base card duplicates that I'm sending out, so throwing in an extra four or five cards a trade isn't going to kill me. 

Woe to those that list any late-80s, early 90s cards on their want lists. If I see you need 1989 Topps cards, you're getting some, no you're getting a lot. I have 2,170 duplicate 1989 Topps cards. that's too many by about 2,000. So beware of your want lists. I will ambush you with extra cardboard.

I do want to finish off a few sets. Last year's base set is still incomplete as is the 2016 base set (that one feels like it will never end). I've completed 46.2% of the 1976 Topps base set so I doubt I'll finish that off, but if I end up close to 75% I'll be happy. There are a couple of older sets that I'm almost done with that I'd like to finish off as well (1991 Upper Deck 88.1%, 1989 Fleer 87.7%), but they're not exactly a focus.

As for singles, I will still be buying PC cards, but also want to pick up some cards of classic players, or classic cards. I picked up a few last year (Griffey Upper Deck rookie, 1971  Thurman Munson, 1985 McGwire that may be a fake, etc). This year I'm looking for cards of the old players like Sandy Koufax and Roberto Clemente. Throw in some of the Robinson boys and Boog Powell as well and I'll be a happy camper. 

Other than that, I just want to have fun. I try not to get wrapped up in drama in this hobby, because, after all, it's just a hobby for me. I'm not in it for the money, just the memories.

In keeping with my goals here are a few cards I picked up recently.

1964 Topps Sandy Koufax World Series #136

I went online with the intention of buying a Koufax card from his playing days. Found this one that was not only affordable, but I really liked the photo of Koufax at full stride, probably right before he made yet another hitter look foolish. 

1976 Topps Dennis Eckersly

The "biggest" rookie card I needed for the 1976 set, Eck came at a reasonable price due to some soft corners. Still, it's pretty well centered and will look good on the page. Now it's just a matter of finding the other 300+ cards I need to finish off the set.

 A trio of Vinny Cards

These three cards put me up to 285 different Vincent Lecavalier cards. That's roughly 7.4% of the available cards he has out there. I'm currently ranked third among collectors on TCDB who have Lecavalier cards. I think with a little work I can get to second (310 cards), but first (374 cards) may have to wait until next year.

Monday, December 23, 2019

This is how I flip cards

There are people that flip cards for profit, I flip them for personal collection cards. That's why I'm not always worried about making the most money on sales or on how much of a cut eBay or PayPal take. Let them have theirs if I can use my profits to procure a few cards that I really want.

Last year I bought a pack of 2018-19 SP Game Used and pulled absolutely zero Lightning cards. Not a big surprise since there were only something like five cards in it. One of the cards I did pick up was a Mats Zuccarello Game Net card from the Winter Classic.

A really nice card. I enjoyed owning it for a little while, but as neither a Rangers fan or a Zuccarello fan I decided to put it up on eBay and see what worth it had on the open market. The answer:  $13.50. Should it have gone for a little more? Possibly, but hey that's the fun of auctions. Someone got a good deal (hopefully I'll get one next year when the Global Series net cords are released).

With the funds safely in my PayPal account I headed over to Check Out My Cards to spend it on some Lightning cards. I figured I'd pick up a couple of rookie cards and maybe an autograph or two. Instead, I found that the pricing on Lightning cards is still a little below where it should be. The glories of a small market hockey team. Instead of three or four cards, I picked up eight. All of them from Upper Deck SP Game Used.

First up (and this was actually an eBay purchase, but it was less than $2.00). Joseph is struggling a bit this season (just had a stint in the AHL) but he still has time to figure it out. So why not pick up a serial numbered rookie card? Technically this is the "rainbow" parallel, but is more readily available than the "base"card which is serial numbered to only 7 (his jersey number).

Added some All Star Skills  Fabrics. All four players who represented the Lightning in Tampa were available for mere pocket change. Seriously, no Kucherov relic card should be available for under $3.00.

Starting the Anthony Cirelli Rookie Rainbow collection. Really hope he doesn't end up in Seattle in the next expansion. Of all the players on the Lightning, he is the one that is probably overshadowed the most by the bigger names. Cirelli is really, really good.

The most perplexing purchase - a 2016-17  Brayden Point Rookie Sweaters #d to 499. It set me back a whopping $1.19. Yes, it's a bland white swatch, but still it's a rookie card of maybe the second best player on the team. That's a travesty.

Grand total spent - $11.41. Not bad in exchange for a card I really didn't want.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Another trade in the books

We're back with another trade post from the Trading Card Database. This one involved a few 2009 Legends of the Game inserts heading out to Wisconsin in exchange for an Oriole card and a couple of needs off of the ol' want list. 

With the completion of this exchange of cardboard, I'm up to 95 on TCDB with one more pending. It'll be close, but I'll probably fall just shy of cracking the century mark by the end of the year. Still, it's been a rather productive last couple of months as I've turned a lot of dupes into cards that I actually want or need. For some reason there are a lot of folks looking for 2009 cards out there and I've freed up a lot of space in that box.

So, what did user FiresNBeers send back in exchange:

1995 Upper Deck Collector's Choice Brady Anderson

Brady Anderson is an Orioles hall of famer and possessor of the second best set of sideburns in the 1990s. He played in over 1750 games during his 14 season career in Baltimore and racked up 1614 hits and 209 home runs. Despite a .257 average he did get on base at a .364 clip making him an odd leadoff man that also hit for power.

2019 Topps Stadium Club Roberto Alomar

Alomar, pictured in a more familiar to many Blue Jays uniform, was teammate with Brady Anderson for three years in the late 1990s, which coincided with a brief run of competitiveness for the ball club. I always thought he was there for a bit longer, but it was just the one three-year contract from 1996 to 1998. That was a three year stretch that saw the Orioles win 265 games and make it to the ALCS twice.  In exchange for about $17 million the Orioles got a secondbaseman who slashed .312/.382/.480, won two Gold Gloves and had posted 12.5 WAR. That seems like a fair trade.

2016 Topps Ricky Nolasco

Nolasco has no real ties to the Orioles other than facing them five times. The Birds hit .308 off of him with 6 home runs in 35 innings. The former Cubs draft pick was traded to the Marlins as part of a package for Juan Pierre in 2005. Pierre had been previously acquired by Miami from Colorado in 2002 for a package of players including Charles Johnson. Johnson played for the Orioles in 1999 and 2000 where he was teammates with....Brady Anderson! See, it all connects.

This was, as most of my small trades are, a plain white envelope trade. Since we were exchanging base cards of negligible value there was no need to get crazy with padded envelopes and extra shipping. One thing I love about #TeamPWE is the different types of cardboard folks use to secure the cards. It ranges anything from cut-up cereal boxes to cut-up hobby boxes to beer cartons. Which leads us to today's packing material:

Everyone's favorite college/cheap beer - The Beast. I have, in my day, consumed a decent quantity of this affordable beer. Most of it at college parties (although for our non-party college drinking we were partial to Brigade Premium, which if I recall was under $8.00 for a case, including tax). 

I do reuse these cardboard sleeves, so if you have an upcoming trade, be on the lookout for a visit from Milwaukee's Best.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Trade Post! Upping the Lecavalier Collection

It's been a busy couple of weeks of trading as I try to get to my half-hearted goal of 100 trades on Trading Card Database by the end of the year. Some swapping of junk wax has netted me about 70 1991 Upper Deck cards, truly an underrated set, and a handful of other base needs.

In between baseball trades I did slide in a hockey trade with user SportsCardHunter in Ontario. In exchange for some duplicate Lightning cards I had listed he sent me a couple of Vincent Lecavalier cards.

According to TCDB they were the 272nd and 273rd unique Lecavalier cards that I have acquired. That's good enough for third among collectors at the site, but there is a bit of a gap between myself and the second place gentleman. According to their stats it also means I've acquired exactly 7.1% of the available Lecavalier cards they have listed. It may take awhile to get them all.

Here's the haul:

1999-2000 O-Pee-Chee

Look at him in all his rookie-year glory. The old-school uniform, the all-star patch, and most importantly the number 9 on his sweater. In his rookie year the now familiar number four was already occupied by Cory Cross. The defenseman would be traded after Lecavalier's first year and freed up the number and he went on to do great things with it.

The card itself is a direct parallel of the Topps base card from the year with the only difference being the logo on the top right corner on the front and on the bottom of the back of the card. 

2002-03 Upper Deck Vintage Green Back #88/199

Welcome to Parallel City! Honestly, I didn't even know this existed until I searched through SportsCardHunter's cards available for trade (his original offer was a generous supply of Lightning cards, but I wanted some Vinny!). I don't have the base, but I'm assuming the only differences are the serial number stamped on the front and well....the green back...hence the name.

As you can see Vinny is now wearing the four that would be retired in his honor and also has an "A" on his sweater. That's not unusual for a young player who was drafted to be the franchise's savior, but what is a bit odd is that Lecavalier had already worn the "C"  prior to this season. In March of 2000 he was named captain of the Lightning. At the time he was the youngest captain ever in NHL history (since then he's been surpassed by Sidney Crosby, Gabriel Landeskog, and Connor McDavid).

Due to a contract hold out, some public and private confrontations with head coach John Tortorella, the acquisition of Dave Andreychuk, and the realization that it was too much pressure, too early in his career Lecavalier had the "C" removed from his jersey. It wouldn't be until 2008 and the departures of Andreychuk and Tim Taylor, that the "C" would return. He would wear it until his contract was bought out in 2013.

Thanks for the trade, SportsCardHunter!