eBay Wins #60

This round of eBay wins featured 1990 and 1991 Topps. What a difference a few years can make.

1990 Topps
#12 Joe Girardi
#120 John Franco
#222 Kurt Stillwell
#233 Ken Hill
#260 Eric Davis
#350 Bret Saberhagen
I remember Girardi finishing as a Cardinal, but I didn't realize just how little he actually played until I looked it up on baseball-reference.com. Apparently it was a mere 16 games for 26 plate appearances, meaning he likely entered as a double-switch replacement a few times.Even so, he was with the team for the whole year, and provided a veteran presence for the Cardinals. I only remember Ken Hill's second stint with the Cardinals, and not much about it.

1990 Topps
#433 Steve Olin
#493 Jason Grimsley
#608 Eric Anthony
#714 Marquis Grissom
When the Expos left Montreal, I went out and got the hat colored like Marquis Grissom's helmet here. I figured they would be hard to find once the team was gone. Little did I know how big the throwback trend would become. Even so, I'm glad I've got the hat.

1991 Topps
#271 Omar Olivares
#279 Jose Gonzalez
#596 Ronnie Walden
These are the first 1991 Topps cards I've shown on my blog. My most vivid memory of Omar Olivares was opening day, when he showed up wearing 00, and the announcers said it was because they were his initials.

eBay Bargain Tracker
Total Cards Bought2107
Total Spent$39.54
Per Card1.877 cents


2012 Opening Day Rack Pack #11

11 packs at 24 cards each is 264 cards. Each one had 3 inserts, so that's 231 base cards and 33 inserts. That's enough for a full set in theory, of course I've got more than 11 duplicates, so I'll need to update my wantlist soon.
2012 Opening Day #128 Lance Berkman
I pulled yet another Berkman, which now means I've got 3 if anyone needs one.
2012 Opening Day - Opening Day Stars #ODS-4 Adrian Gonzalez
This card doesn't pop quite like the others, except for Mr. Gonzalez's knee. Nothing more exciting than a knee, am I right?
2012 Opening Day - Elite Skills #ES-5 James Shields
I've heard the old fake-to-third, throw-to-first, do-the-hokey-pokey move will be disallowed this year. My guess is that it has no discernible impact on stolen bases.

2012 Opening Day - Superstar Celebrations #SC-11 Jacoby Ellsbury
It's funny how many of these cards mention the futility of the players on the back. Apparently Ellsbury was 0 for 4 on the day until this play.

Here's my final (maybe, who knows) set of base cards.
10 Jose Valverde
12 Jason Heyward
14 Buster Posey
24 Brandon Morrow
32 Anibal Sanchez
47 Nick Swisher
50 Ichiro
53 Alex Rodriguez
75 Justin Upton
79 Hanley Ramirez
89 Drew Pomeranz
106 Josh Johnson
128 Lance Berkman
136 Justin Morneau
150 Jose Bautista
158 Mark Trumbo
189 Mariano Rivera
201 Jose Reyes
214 Alex Avila
217 Ryan Zimmerman
219 Brandon Phillips

Speaking of duplicates, there were 15 between this pack and pack #9, including the Berkman above. Given that these are cut from identical sheets and packed by machine, I'm sure packs are not truly random collections of cards. My guess is that maybe stacks of 3 always come together, and I happened to land 5 of the same stacks, as the Berkman packs all 3 also contained Ichiro and Nick Swisher. That could be total bunk, though, and these packs just randomly lined up closely.


eBay Wins #59

This time I bought a lot of 8 cards. 2 were 1987s, and 6 were 1989s, right in the prime junk wax years. No matter, surely they'll bring me some memories of baseball in my childhood.

1987 Topps
#501 Hal Lanier
#343 Craig Lefferts

1989 Topps
#267 Jeff Robinson
#279 Scott Bradley
#309 Mario Diaz
#595 Teddy Higuera
#597 Terry Taylor
#631 Dave Bergman

I don't recall any of these guys. I've stated many times I started watching baseball in 1992, so that's not completely crazy, but I feel like I have a decent knowledge of baseball history too. Of course, maybe their lack of memorability is why I picked up 8 cards for 8 cents.

eBay Bargain Tracker
Total Cards Bought2094
Total Spent$39.41
Per Card1.882 cents


2012 Opening Day Rack Pack #10

Why do I put so much effort into this set? Maybe it's the bunting in the Opening Day logo.

2012 Topps Opening Day #206 David Freese
Another pack, another Cardinal. This time it's another copy of World Series MVP David Freese.

2012 Opening Day - Macsots #M-9 Rangers Captain
I thought I had this card already, but some deep investigation (i.e., using Blogger's search feature) has revealed that I was thinking of the 2011 Opening day card of Rangers Captain I received in a trade last year.

2012 Opening Day - Fantasy Sqaud #FS-14 Brian McCann
Catchers should always be shown in gear. I approve of this card.

2012 Opening Day - Opening Day Edition #148 Shin-Soo Choo #0074/2012
As much as I wish teams would stick to one home and one road uniform, and maybe even just 1 hat, I like alternates and throwbacks on cards. I feel so conflicted.

Never mix acids with these bases:
15 Jeremy Hellickson
17 Pedro Alvarez
18 David Ortiz
26 Drew Stubbs
27 Chase Utley
34 James McDonald
58 Justin Masterson
90 Derek Jeter
98 Ben Zobrist
102 Jesus Montero
120 Matt Garza
121 Mark Teixeira
122 Neftali Feliz
123 Ryan Roberts
151 Johnny Cueto
161 Hunter Pence
179 Zack Greinke
180 Ted Lilly
188 Paul Goldschmidt
206 David Freese
212 Daniel Hudson


eBay Wins #58

In this edition of eBay Wins, I have not 1, not 2, not 3, not eveen 6, but 7 penny cards. Let's have a look from youngest to oldest.

2001 Fleer Futures #195 Jace Brewer
I know MLB draft picks don't always pan out, but I would think a 5th rounder would have made it to the majors. Jace here appears to have finished with baseball in 2007, never reaching the Rays. That's the downside to sets like Fleer Futures, or modern Bowman. Normally you haven't heard of many of the players when the set is made, and odds are you'll never hear of some of them.

2000 Upper Deck MVP #77 Gerald Williams
If I really wanted to stretch, I could call Williams a former Cardinal. We signed him after his release from the Yankees in 2002, and sold his contract to the Reds about a month later. He never played a game for us (or Cincinnati), so I'll leave him off the list.

1997 Bowman #127 Anthony Sanders

1992 Topps Kids #120 Harold Baines
Topps Kids is one of the sets I'd like to complete, though it's not a priority yet. This card brings me to 1/12 of the set, 11 out of 132.

1991 Bowman #278 Mike Jeffcoat
I think Texas should stick to blue hats. This is just a classic look, and it's what I think of when I remember Nolan Ryan pitching for them.

1982 Fleer #186 Warren Cromartie

1982 Fleer #371 Von Hayes
And now we've jumped all the way back to 1982 with these 2 Fleer cards. The photos really are that fuzzy. For some reason I can remember Von Hayes as a player when I started watching baseball in 1992, despite him playing in the AL. I probably can't say that about many guys in the 1982 set. And apparently Warren Cromartie thinks he can bring MLB back to Montreal, or did as of last August.

eBay Bargain Tracker
Total Cards Bought2086
Total Spent$39.33
Per Card1.885 cents


2012 Opening Day Rack Pack #9

It's time to open another pack of this product that is apparently designed for kids. But it's simple, it's cheap-ish, it's a small set, and I dig it.
2012 Opening Day #128 Lance Berkman
Here's another Berkman, which I also got in the last pack. I'm glad they pictured the ball in his glove instead of a split second earlier, otherwise his panicked face would make him look like he's going to miss the play. I'm pretty sure he's got this one.

2012 Opening Day - Mascots #M-12 Paws
I didn't know the Tigers had a mascot, nor that they reused a Tony the Tiger costume for it.

2012 Opening Day - Opening Day Edition #127 J.P. Arencibia #1280/2012
I like the solid gray look J.P.'s created with his gray catching gear. Although blue might have looked better with this card's blue border.

2012 Opening Day - Fantasy Squad #FS-17 Billy Butler
I guess there's some sort of All-Star Game every-team-gets-a-player rule for the Fantasy Squad set. Billy Butler's a good guy, but I don't think he'd be picked near the top of any fantasy drafts.

All these base cards are belong to me:
6 Bud Norris
7 Mickey Mantle
10 Jose Valverde
12 Jason Heyward
23 Troy Tulowitzki
32 Anibal Sanchez
47 Nick Swisher
50 Ichiro
74 Cameron Maybin
75 Justin Upton
79 Hanley Ramirez
89 Drew Pomeranz
106 Josh Johnson
126 Danny Valencia
128 Lance Berkman
158 Mark Trumbo
189 Mariano Rivera
201 Jose Reyes
214 Alex Avila
218 Clay Buchholz
219 Brandon Phillips


eBay Wins #57

Just like #56, this one is an ugly 1990 set and a relative unknown, at least to me. I give you: Alvaro Espinoza. I guess you can't really be considered unknown if you start for the Yankees for 3 years, but I'd never heard of him.

1990 Topps #791 Álvaro Espinoza
You don't see a lot of guys wearing eyeglasses in the batter's box anymore. I guess guys these days either wear contacts or get laser surgery.

eBay Bargain Tracker
Total Cards Bought2079
Total Spent$39.26
Per Card1.888 cents


2012 Opening Day Rack Pack #8

Yet another Opening Day rack pack. How many could there be? I'll give you a hint: at least enough to try to build the 220 card base set through 1 for 1 trading.

2012 Opening Day #78 Matt Holliday
I liked these late 80s/early 90s throwbacks, so this is a great card. Plus it has both Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman.
2012 Opening Day #128 Lance Berkman
Speaking of Berkman, here's his base card. That's a World Series patch on his hat, for anyone who likes playing Name the Game.

2012 Opening Day #200 Albert Pujols
And here's another 2011 World Series winner, although airbrushed into his new duds for 2012.

2012 Opening Day - Superstar Celebrations #SC-10 J.J. Putz
Funny story, I'm related to a guy named J.J., who is also kind of a putz.

2012 Opening Day - Opening Day Stars #ODS-2 Albert Pujols
Another Albert, in the same post-swing pose.

2012 Opening Day - Elite Skills #ES-3 Prince Fielder
If we had to lose Albert, I"m sure glad Prince Fielder left the NL Central division as well.

I already showed you a quarter of the 24-card pack, but here are the base cards anyway.
1 Ryan Braun
14 Buster Posey
38 Brett Myers
47 Nick Swisher
50 Ichiro
53 Alex Rodriguez
57 Adam Lind
78 Matt Holliday
100 Matt Kemp
118 Miguel Montero
128 Lance Berkman
163 Heath Bell
166 Peter Bourjos
175 Jason Bay
185 Jeff Niemann
186 Martin Prado
190 Stephen Strasburg
199 Felix Hernandez
200 Albert Pujols
204 Cory Luebke
205 Chad Billingsley


eBay Wins #56

Here's another 1 cent common for my 1990 Donruss set quest. And another former Cardinals like my last win from this set.

1990 Donruss #357 Joe Boever
I didn't know Joe was a Cardinal until I looked him up on baseball-reference. He pitched for them in 1985-86, and it appears he was a middle reliever, based on his lack of decisions or saves . He went 0-1 with no saves in 24 games, although he did finish 9 of those games.

eBay Bargain Tracker
Total Cards Bought2078
Total Spent$39.25
Per Card1.889 cents


2012 Opening Day Rack Pack #7

2012 Opening Day #96 Chris Carpenter
The only Cardinal in the pack is one who's been in the sports news lately. I can't believe Carp might be done for good. He's certainly had some injury issues, but he always seemed to come through in big games.

2012 Opening Day - Mascots #M-19 TC
I think the Mascots subset is what really drew me to Opening Day in 2011, but they seem to be more rare in 2012. I hear there are autographs coming in 2013, though that's a little too gimmicky for me to chase, since I know one of the two Fredbird actors.

2012 Opening Day - Fantasy Squad #FS-29 Roy Halladay
One of Carpenter's more memorable recent performances came against Roy Halladay, when we needed it most. He threw a complete game shutout to let the Cardinals win 1-0 in Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS. Halladay allowed a leadoff triple followed by a double in the first, but no more runs the rest of the way.

2012 Opening Day - Opening Day Edition Parallel #211 Ben Revere #0543/2012
With this blue parallel, it becomes apparent there are 2 standard insert configurations for 2012 Opening Day. This is the second pack with one from these 3 subsets, after the first pack I opened. All the others had an Opening Day Stars, Elite Skills, and Superstar Celebrations card. I suppose that's why they're all 1:2 on the 24-card rack packs.

Oh yeah, they all have 21 base cards too:
5 Roy Halladay
10 Jose Valverde
40 Domonic Brown
52 Matt Joyce
55 Miguel Cabrera
59 Alcides Escobar
70 Madison Bumgarner
74 Cameron Maybin
80 Joe Mauer
85 Mike Trout
96 Chris Carpenter
105 Curtis Granderson
106 Josh Johnson
117 Brandon Belt
120 Matt Garza
130 Brett Wallace
137 B.J. Upton
138 Russell Martin
167 Orlando Hudson
174 Brian McCann
219 Brandon Phillips


Superbowl XLVII Projections Recap

Called it! In week 1!

Ok, that's a ridiculous way to look at the projections. Off the top of my head, I picked San Francisco, Seattle, New England, Baltimore, Houston, and Atlanta at various times through the season, as well as Chicago and Tampa Bay to at least make it to the game.  Here's a pretty graph of Baltimore's odds at the end of each week.

Log Scale, because I can

In a 32 team league, everyone starts with a mean 3.125% chance of winning it all, so Baltimore was almost always above average. In week one they were the favorite because they had a big win over the Bengals, 44-13. By their pre-playoff peak of just over 11% in week 6, Baltimore was 5-1, but Houston was too, and with a larger margin of victory and a weaker division, giving Houston a clearer path into the playoffs and therefore better chance to win the AFC and the Superbowl.

The lowest point for the Ravens came as the playoffs started, when I had them with a 1.692% chance of winning. At this point, there were only 12 teams, so the mean would have been 8.333%. Baltimore definitely beat the best to get to the Superbowl, as I had New England and Denver with a combined 83% chance of making it.

Finally, I picked San Francisco about 2 to 1 over Baltimore once the matchup was determined.

All in all, either Bill James' ideas or my implementation hasn't worked out the way we expected for the last 2 years. Of course, I can still maintain that for a large number of Superbowls in parallel universes - maybe some with power outages, some without, some with Beyonce wardrobe malfunctions - that San Francisco would likely win about 2/3 of them. But in ours, we got the less likely outcome. That's probably more fun, though I'd like for it to be more fun and the surprisingly successful team be one I like, such as the Rams, or even the Steelers.


eBay Wins #55

Maybe I should just start calling these Penny Stocks or something. Although if a 1994 Fleer Ultra card isn't demanding more than a penny 19 years later, I don't think it's going much higher, unless I can corner the market like the guys in Trading Places.  Today you get 2 scans, because I couldn't tell the front from the back until I realized that I'm an idiot and the lower numbers are clearly the front. That's ok though, because pictured faintly in the background is former Cardinal Andy Van Slyke.

1994 Fleer Ultra #598 Checklist 402-498 Andy Van Slyke

1994 Fleer Ultra #598 Checklist 402-498 Andy Van Slyke
My per-card average keeps creeping downward with every penny card I buy. I don't normally bid on the checklists I see, but I did this time because this one featured a former Cardinal. Also, this card lets me see that I obviously need to add another card to my Todd Stottlemyre wantlist, #440.

eBay Bargain Tracker
Total Cards Bought2077
Total Spent$39.24
Per Card1.889 cents


2012 Opening Day Rack Pack #6

There were no Cardinals, not even former Cardinals, in pack #6. In protest, this post has no base cards.

2012 Opening Day - Opening Day Stars #ODS-8 Jose Bautista
Joey Bats' bat really pops on this 3D card, something that obviously can't come through in the scan. Oooh, I wonder when we're getting mass-market scanners capable of making 3D images.

2012 Opening Day - Superstar Celebrations #SC-17 Adam Jones
The back of this card is almost sad. This celebration was when the Orioles broke a 21 game losing streak, against the Royals. I've given the Orioles trouble for a long time in good fun because one of my best friends is part Orioles' fan, but I was truly glad to see them make their way into the playoffs for 2012.

2012 Opening Day - Elite Skills #ES-10 R.A. Dickey
I'm alright with this guy leaving the National League. He totally befuddled hitters last year.

I guess I can at least list the base and still maintain my protest.
9 Chris Young
30 Shane Victorino
35 Brennan Boesch
45 Mark Melancon
66 Adam Jones
75 Justin Upton
88 John Axford
98 Ben Zobrist
104 Alexi Ogando
123 Ryan Roberts
142 Tommy Hanson
143 Craig Kimbrel
146 Ian Desmond
147 Corey Hart
149 Adrian Gonzalez
161 Hunter Pence
162 Ricky Romero
179 Zack Greinke
181 Clayton Kershaw
202 Starlin Castro
217 Ryan Zimmerman