The Hall of Fame Class of 2014 – The All 90′s Team

After an underwhelming year for the HOF, I am thrilled to see three of the greatest players of the 1990′s inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine hold a special place in my heart. Not only are they among the greatest pitchers of all-time, but they starred every week on Braves baseball on TBS Superstation. It was the only baseball team I got to watch regularly as a kid, despite being in New England. As a member of the Cubs minor league system, Greg Maddux played in my hometown of Pittsfield in the late 80′s.

Frank Thomas is another favorite of mine. Frank’s entry to the HOF is monumental for more than one reason. In addition to the fact that he is one of the great power hitters of all-time and one of the nicest guys in the game, he is also a power hitter during the steroid era…one who made his mark not by abusing PED’s, but with good, old-fashioned “country strong” baseball playing.

Anyway, here are some of my cards! I know none of you come here to read my opinions.

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You can’t have a favorite player if you have a favorite team, it seems.

Its tough being a loyal baseball fan.

I am a Red Sox fan. A big one. Not the kind that spends every once of my energy hating the Yankees…but a big fan nonetheless. I am also a baseball fan, generally speaking. I’ll watch any major league game, any day.

It seems like it is a danger to be a fan of any player if you are loyal to a team. Why? Because players rarely stay through more than one contract with a single team.

Take Jarrod Saltalamacchia for example. Probably won’t ever break .300. Maybe will make an all-star team some day as a catcher, but that will be about his peak. Nevertheless, he was a favorite player of mine (and I guess he still is). He was a team player, played hard every day, and was a model citizen on and off the field. He’s the kind of player a parent would want to show their kid who aspired to be a baseball player.

He got traded. Was it because he tried to price himself too high? No. Was it because he didn’t like Boston? No. Its because the organization was wary of giving him a multi-year deal. And thats whats sad about being a baseball fan right now. All Jarrod wanted was a little job security…something he earned.

If you plan to buy a Red Sox player jersey this year, better make sure he has a nice long contract. In fact, make sure its David Ortiz or Dustin Pedroia. Anyone else won’t stick around long.

The TRUTH is out about Ryan Braun

Today is a sad day for Brewers fans…especially those who held onto a shred of hope that Ryan Braun’s story was true about the reasoning for failing a drug test. Braun negotiated a suspension as punishment for his involvement with the Biogenesis PED scandal.

The truth is not an easy one to swallow for fans. Most, save the most dedicated Brewers followers, resigned themselves to the fact that Braun was a cheater when he got out of a failed drug test on a technicality…but until that happened, Braun had a squeaky clean image as a good ol’ American baseball player.

I feel for Brewers fans. It sucks to see your favorite player outed as a liar. Had Braun told the truth (and not made outrageous denial statements) it might be easier to forgive him. I hope Brewers fans can find someone new to pick up the slack as fan favorite.

Aaron Hernandez and Autograph Collectors – Cashing in?

So, if you are following sports news and collecting news, you have probably heard about Aaron Hernandez autographed jerseys skyrocketing in price on forums like eBay following his arrest on murder charges.

Yahoo recently broke a story about an eBay “Vigilante” supposedly jacking up these prices and then refusing to pay. According to the article:

“I don’t think that I will be getting paid,” the seller wrote to Yahoo! Sports. “The person emailed me stating I should ‘burn the jersey and stop seeking money for that morons (sic) actions’. Looks like the person has some kind of social agenda.”

Somewhat comical that someone would think that shill bidding on eBay would counteract the spike in value for Aaron Hernandez memorabilia.

Whether or not Hernandez autographed gear goes up in value remains to be seen. My guess is that the value of Hernandez gear will go up in spikes, and level out somewhere slightly above where it was before the arrest. Obviously it is not set in stone that he will be convicted (after all, if Casey Anthony can go free you never know), but the evidence is leaning toward Hernandez spending the rest of his life behind bars, and likely becoming one of the most famous celebs-turned-murderers in history.

2011 ITG Baseball Hits “Low Numbers” Box Break

I had considered getting a box of ITG Hits for a while but never got around to it. Today a hobby box showed up at my local Wal-Mart. I bit.

Here is the break:

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First up is a dual GU of HOFer Robbie Alomar and Elvis Sanchez. There are so few stats on Elvis Sanchez I can’t really tell you what his claim to fame is, apart from having a GU on the same card as Robbie Alomar.

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Peterson is hitting over .300 this year in A+.

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This dude is 19-27 career in the minors. His career era is 4.69… over 7 so far this year. Forgive me for not being optimistic.

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Zach Wheeler just made his big league debut this month.

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Teheran is starting to establish himself in the bigs.

Decent break. Unfortunately ITG’s non-licensed cards don’t do so great in terms of value but some cool ones nonetheless.

2004 Upper Deck Update Hobby Box Break

I found this box at Target. It is a hobby box of 2004 Upper Deck Update.

Each box includes 2 Game Used Cards (Minimum) as well as a 50 card update set of either SP Game Used Patch, Play Ball, Reflections, or UD Vintage. Some of the 50 card update sets include additional game used cards.

Here is a quick rundown of the break.

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First, a few of the “Famous Quotes” inserts.

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Here is a “National Pride” Game Used of Brian Bruney. Bruney won a World Series in 2009 as a Yankee.

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My second GU is a nice serial numbered A-Rod. I can’t stand A-Rod but a cool pull nonetheless.

I was hoping to pull something cool in my update set. Fingers crossed for game used patch…

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And we are in luck! An $80 Vlad patch numbered to 20. Not bad for a $40 box.

A Couple Big Fenway 100th Additions

Here are two new additions to my Fenway 100th collection. One of the first posthumous ones as well. Its becoming very clear that this project may be incredibly difficult to complete. But I try anyway.

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The first is a Dennis Eckersley AU/GU. Eck is one of my all time faves.

Second is the late Johnny Pesky. People are hot and cold about the stamp autos…I dig em.

Another 2012 Topps Archives Hobby Box Break

One of my favorite products from 2012 was Topps Archives so I figured it wouldn’t be a bad hobby box to break in the first week of MLB this year.

Each box yields two “fan favorites” autographs. There are also other goodies inserted randomly, including jersey cards, etc.

Here’s some of what I got.

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Here are some of the parallels, inserts. The ones with the gold “Topps Archives” stamps are reprints.

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Here are some more inserts and parallels, and one of the jersey cards…this one is Tim Lincecum. I’ve found jersey cards in about half of the boxes I’ve broken of this product.

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Here are my two autos! Bud Harrelson was on the World Series Amazin’ Mets team, and Steve Balboni found success in the 80′s and 90′s and was known as “Bye Bye” Balboni for his tendency to hit home runs.

Opening Day! Astros and Rangers PC Picks

Now that opening day is upon us its time for me to start posting again! Tonight’s theme is going to highlight some of my favorite PC items representing the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers.

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Starting things off is a nice Mitch Moreland AU. Mitch has become a stalwart of the Texas Rangers during their recent success.

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Astro great Jim Wynn comes to us via 2012 Topps Archives. He was a three time All-Star during his tenure in Houston.

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Rangers opening day starter Matt Harrison will try to pick up some of the slack in the rotation. He’s not QUITE an ace but I wouldn’t rule it out going forward.

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Carlos Lee had some serious power…but he was one of those guys who sometimes seemed almost like a liability to have on an NL roster due to his crap fielding.

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Rusty Greer is one of the great fan favorites in Rangers history. He never made an All-Star team but hit .305 for his career.

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Finishing things up is Luis Gonzalez. Though he was best known for his time as a D-Back Luis did make an All-Star appearance in an Astros uniform.

TTM Return: Jack McDowell

When sending out TTM autograph requests there is always a good chance that card will never come back. Usually after a year or so one can assume it isn’t coming back. Every once in a while, however, a card gets returned many years later.

This one, which I received today, is a great example. I can’t even remember how long ago it was I sent this card out…according to my records (or lack thereof) it must be at least a year, maybe two. Either way its always a nice surprise.