Saturday, March 12, 2016

New Series: WTH?

So yea, the guy who hasn't done a real play at the plate post in a long, long, looooong time, is going to start a new post series.

And yea, he doesn't have a creative bone in his body so he's calling it WTH?  As in what the hell is going on on this card.

Let's see how it goes, shall we?

Every now and then you run across the card that just grabs your attention because of the action or the non-baseball stuff or maybe it's a prop or odd piece of non-baseball garb.  Maybe you're like me and you think WTH?  I'm not really a WTF kind of guy.

So here is the first card in what I'm sure will be a long lasting and well-received series of posts. Probably award winning even.  (Please read the two previous statements with just a hint of sarcasm.)

I was sorting cards last week and ran across this card.  At first glance it didn't hit me, but then I noticed something that made me say WTH?  Eric Karros appears to be getting into position for a possible ground ball.  So why is Tommy Lasorda behind him, preparing to throw the ball?  After doing a double-take, I figured it was just a pre-game warm-up and Tommy was taking a turn at first. I do like seeing him doing something other than sitting in a golf cart or on the bench.  I just wish UD would have given him his own card.

Maybe that's an idea for Topps.  Give Managers their own cards, but show them actually doing something like COACHING.  I'm not asking for action variations either, just a regular old base card where they are hitting fly balls or showing a player HOW to do something.

It's just a thought Topps.  

Friday, March 4, 2016

Worth the effort

I watched for years as other people posted their TTM returns and always thought, I could do that.  I just never did.  

Until last year. 

Due to my lack of posting last year, I didn't post these as I received them so I'm going to give you a recap of my 2015 successes...and failures.  

I'm a positive, optimistic person (haha) so this will just be the successes.  Between February 27th and April 29th of 2015, I mailed out 50 TTM requests to MLB players and managers.  Until I started this recap, I thought my returns were great.  Then I ran the numbers and I realized I had 14 good returns for a 28% success rate.  Honestly, I don't know how that compares to the rates of other people, but I'll take it.  Every time one of those envelopes comes back, it's a real buzz of excitement.  That's saying something for this old guy.

So let's see who was kind enough to send something back signed.

My first successful return was from Alex Gonzalez.  He even personalized it which was nice.

Return time: 10 days

I didn't really have much expectation of getting Adrian Beltre's cards back, but I sure was happy when these came back.

Allen and Ginter cards are great for TTMs because the card stock really takes the Sharpie well and the design, at least on the 2013 cards, works well for the signature.

Return time: 24 days

Colby Lewis has to be a fan favorite now.  He's been a workhorse for the Rangers and I'm very happy he'll be back with the team in 2016.

Return time: 10 days

I was coming back from Florida with the family and it's a long story, but I ended up on a different flight than them.  Four hours different.  Don't ask why, but I had taken some TTM supplies with me just in case I had some down time.  Lo and behold, some of the time at the airport was spent prepping the TTMs and it paid off.  John Gibbons was in a group of manager cards I had pulled.

Return time: 11 days

Terry Collins was in the airport batch as well and it came back the same day as Gibbons.

Return time: 11 days

Nelson Cruz, 50 game suspension aside, was one of my favorites when he was here because he game my kid a ball, then signed it.  Ok, truth be told, he threw the ball to my son, he missed it and it hit him in the stomach.

I don't know if Nelson is a good TTM signer, but he came through for me.

Return time: 31 days

I saw Mark Lowe was with the Mariners in Spring Training and the only card I could find was this 2013 Topps Mini.  Whatever works.

Return time: 33 days

The next two are more airport TTMs.  I know a certain Dodger fan that will love this Matt Williams.

Return time: 19 days

I sent this one because someone told me Buck was a good signer.  Good advice.

Return time: 22 days

Yovani Gallardo signed with the Rangers and I dug out a card to send it.  Little did I realize, I sent out two different cards at separate times.  I got them both back on the same day.

Return time: 77 days

This one really looks nice on the Ginter card.

Return time: 60 days

Neftali is no longer with the team, but he came through with a nice Heritage card.

Return time: 80 days

I was gathering David Murphy cards to send and since I had dupes of this Archives card so I sent two.  He signed each one with a different bible verse.

Ummmm...number two.

Again with the Ginter and it looks great.

Return time: 129 days

The last baseball TTM return of 2015 actually didn't show up until January 29, 2016.  While I still hope some more from last year come in, this is the last one so far.  I know Josh Hamilton is a good signer, but it does take time to get stuff back.

Return time: 276 days

TTM season is well under way for 2016 and I've gotten a couple of returns so far.  

I'll be back with a recap of my other 2015 TTM successes from outside the world of baseball.

If you're TTMing this year, good luck.  If you're not, try it.  It's worth the effort.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Domo Arigato, Mr. Ryan-boto

Let's explore a little hypothetical situation.  That sounds like fun.

Say you decide to move to the other side of the world.  (Over 6,400 miles from me at least.)

Say you decide to move to the other side of the world AND teach.

Say you decide to move to the other side of the world AND teach AND keep blogging AND buying cards for people back on the ORIGINAL side of the world you came from.

Let's say you decide to do all that.

Well, I wouldn't.  I couldn't.  I'm too chickensh.....

Not Ryan.  He's adventurous.  He knows that life is too short to be ordinary.  He knows everyone needs some Japanese baseball cards in their life.

I sure am happy Ryan is that guy that I am not.

Ryan sent me a mess of Yu Darvish cards.  These things are sharp.  So what if I can't read them.

Now Ryan isn't stuck in a rut like me so he doesn't just send Yu Darvish cards.  No, not Ryan.  He sends Kara cards.  Cards of Kara if you will.  And cards of Kara are regular size and Yu Darvish cards are smaller.

Great googly moogly, Japanese plays at the plate!!!!!  Isn't this fun!

That looks painful.  And like someone was decapitated.  Yikes.

What an awful collision!  He soiled himself.  I sure hope he was safe!

Thanks for the amazing cards Ryan!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Subjective and Arbitrary? Highly and Completely!

Brian, of Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary fame, was the contributor of my the second #Supertrader package.  It came last week and was a reminder that I need to get off my ample backside and get my packages mailed out.  

The very nice package included a little gold 2015 Topps Chi Chi and some mighty fine red 2013 USA Baseball Champions Jeremy Martinez.  Don't know him, but he fits right in my Team USA collection.

Unbeknownst to this blogger, Pinnacle chose 1993 to issue a Home Run Club card for all the players who had a home run bounce OFF their head and clear the wall.  Bravo Jose...bravo.

The "topps" from this package, in my humble opinion, were the 1991 Topps Traded USA players. You see ol' Charles Johnson and my favorite, former Ranger Rick Helling.  

Brian (great name by the way), thanks for the package.  You'll be getting a return package soon!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Super what???

My first #Supertrader package showed up last week…or early this week.  I can’t remember, but I do know I was impressed.  Wes of Jaybarkerfan fame started it, so I guess it was only proper for him to kick off the trade packages as well.  I was fortunate enough to get a hit out of the 2013 Topps Museum Box he broke for the group.  It also inspired me to break a box of my own for the group, which you can see here if you missed it. 

I will be working on getting a package or PWE out to everyone in the group by the middle of next week.  I also have some packages for other people too, most notably…well, I’ll surprise you.

Wes sent over a great package of cards in addition to my hit from the box.  It got a little colorful around here with the red, gold, and blue cards.

I really do like those Topps Gold cards.  I say that because I don’t have many of them.

I also got this cool 1982 Fleer Jim Sundberg.  That’s about the most basic chest protector you could get.  No fancy designs or colors.  But it is ribbed for Jim’s pleasure. 

Everyone has their own definition of vintage and for me it’s anything pre-1981 Topps.  That’s when I started collecting and anything prior to that is stuff I didn’t see much of for a while. 

That makes this 1978 Topps Bert Campaneris vintage in my book.

I don’t generally like my cards creased, but apparently that was the way this was designed so it’s ok.  However, I do take issue with the Ticket Stud part.  More like a Ticket Dud.  Not for the numbers he put up, but he was a jackass. 

Finally, the hit from the Museum Box.  I was fortunate for Wes to pull this jumbo relic card of Elvis Andrus, #41/50.  I have a few of these and one of my is really dirty (the swatch, not anything else).  

Thanks for the great package and the whole idea for the #Supertraders group.  

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Fastest return ever

I know you are all waiting with unbridled anticipation to see how many TTM requests I sent out this year.  I did a post on it earlier, but I’ve since added quite a few to the list.

As of yesterday (2/24), I have sent out 56 TTM requests.  48 of those are baseball requests and 8 of them are TEAM USA requests.  I may have a few more baseball to send out, but I know I’ll have many more TEAM USA once I get a little time.  Speaking of time, I’m working on sending out packages/PWEs to the Supertraders group, but that’s another post.

The reason I’m writing this TTM update today is because I got my first envelope back today.  In just 9 days, I got back three signed cards of one of the longest tenured Rangers around:

Tom Grieve played for the Senators (1970) and the Rangers (1972-77).  He also had brief stints with the Mets and Cardinals in 78-79, but he’s best known for being part of the Ranger family.  After retiring as a player in 1979, he joined the Rangers front office and did some work on the TV broadcast in 1980.  He served as the Rangers GM from 1984-94 and has been doing TV color for the Rangers since 1995.  I love hearing Tom on the broadcast.  His voice just says Rangers to me, just like his radio counterpart Eric Nadel’s does when I’m in the car. 

Thanks for making this old Rangers fan’s day Tom.  Keep up the great work!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Move over Pitchers and Catchers...

Pitchers and catchers aren’t the only ones reporting to Spring Training ballparks today.  I mailed out 27 TTM requests, timing them to begin arriving in various parts of Arizona today as well.  I also mailed out 2 TEAM USA requests, but on the same day. 

(This is the aftermath of my first batch.  I need more envelopes.)

I’m in the process of getting together a second batch to mail out.  This will be mostly TEAM USA athletes, but I’ll have a few more baseball requests mixed in. 

I’m working on a 2015 TTM request recap post so I hope you’ll enjoy reading that as much as I enjoyed all the TTMs I got last year. 

Good luck to all those who are sending (or have sent) TTMs this year.