eBay Wins #20

Here's another eBay pickup. This time one seller had several lots of 3 identical 2011 Topps insert cards. I figured the spares would be good for trading as I'm hoping to complete the Kimball Champions set.

2011 Topps - Kimball Champions #KC-30 David Wright
I scanned all 3 just to prove to you I really got 3 I guess. I don't know. I won these with a bid of $0.22.

2011 Topps - CMG Reprints #CMGR-23 Rogers Hornsby
I only scanned one of these, but I did get 3 of them for $0.11.

2011 Topps - Kimball Champions #KC-19 Brandon Morrow
Once again, proof I have 3. I picked these up for $0.31.

eBay Bargain Tracker
Total Cards Bought1807
Total Spent$34.00
Per Card1.88 cents


2006 Topps Value Pack #2

After searching 3 Targets in the St. Louis area to only find 1 pack before, would you believe I went all the way to Kansas City for this one? No? OK, so I happened to be in the KC area last weekend, with about 4 hours to kill, and a Target near my hotel. I figured I'd give it a look since bloggers all across the country had posted about the packs. Sure enough, I found just 1 again. Since I can't resist the mystery vintage, I bought it (along with some cookies, and the cookies were delicious).

As I like to do, first I'll show you the past/current/future Cardinals:
2006 Topps #461 Placido Polanco
I think a big reason I like baseball cards is the history they provide on the back. I can look right there and see that we traded Polanco to the Phillies in 2002. As I recall it was part of the deal for Scott Rolen.

2006 Topps #452 Jake Westbrook
Here's Jake Westbrook pre-Cardinals. The stats history doesn't help me too much here, but luckily there is always baseball-reference.com to tell me he showed up at the 2010 trade deadline.

2006 Topps - Trading Places #TP-JP Juan Pierre
This is a good idea for a subset, because if I had all of them I could look at it as a retrospective of the 2005-2006 off-season activity.
1990 Topps #363 Dan Petry
Doesn't ring a bell to me.
1989 Topps #345 Charlie Hough
I have this factory set as I previously posted, so here's one more on the trade pile.

1985 Topps #82 Joe Price
I can't say I've heard of him off the top of my head, but at least 1985's just a bit before the overproduction era; my earliest "vintage" in the last pack was a 1988. All in all the Vintage weren't overwhelming, but it's still a cool little bonus in the pack.

And here's the 2006 base card listing:
344 Doug Davis
354 Grady Sizemore
363 Jermaine Dye
381 Odalis Perez
405 Miguel Tejada
418 Johnny Estrada
422 Aaron Cook
431 Julio Franco
439 Ben Broussard
452 Jake Westbrook
461 Placido Polanco
471 Runelvys Hernandez
557 Chris Burke
579 Javier Vazquez
600 Ned Yost
615 Arizona Diamondbacks
648 "Brothers Orlando" - Orlando Hernandez/Orlando Hudson
Series 2 Checklist 1 of 3


My Place In History

I was one of 3 winners in the first ever contest from JABOs back in December. Obviously, I'm a little behind on posting, or at least I don't my to-post piles prioritized well.

2011 Topps Lineage - Diamond Anniversary #55 Nolan Ryan
I put both my entries in for this shiny Hall Of Famer, and won.

A big thanks to Kyle at Juuust a bit outside for the contest.


eBay Wins #19

I won a big ol' lot of 3 junk wax cards for a mere 6 cents shipped, and another lot of 2 Carters for another 6 cents.
1991 Fleer #395 Lenny Dykstra
Much like Lenny's mullet, this card is business in the front, party in the back. He's listed as Len on the front of the card, but Lenny on the back.

1991 Fleer #9 Dave Henderson
I dig anything A's, they've been my second favorite team forever.

1991 Fleer #609 Gary Gaetti
I remember when we signed Gary to play 3B for the Cardinals. I couldn't like him at first because in my young mind, Todd Zeile should have been our 3B forever. For some reason my most vivid memories of him are from a time he had to pitch. Apparently that was either 97 or 98, and he also pitched in 99 for the Cubs. I bet not many position players have pitched in 3 consecutive years.

1992 O-Pee-Chee Premier #194 Joe Carter

1992 O-Pee-Chee Premier #29 Gary Carter
I don't know if these two cards were lumped together because they're both Carters, both playing on Canadian teams, or what, but I figure, why question it?

eBay Bargain Tracker
Total Cards Bought1798
Total Spent$33.36
Per Card1.86 cents


TitleTown poll

Earlier today I saw a post at Too Many Verlanders asking how successful my hometown teams have been during my lifetime. Not me personally, but anyone reading. Anyway, here's a look at Saint Louis sports in my lifetime (since 1982)


  • World Series Appearances: 6 (1982, 1985, 1987, 2004, 2006, 2011)
  • Championships: 3 (1982, 2006, 2011)


  • Stanley Cup Finals Appearances: 0 (if only I had been born by mid-1968, I'd have 3 here)
  • Championships: 0


  • Superbowls: 2 (2000, 2002)
  • Championships: 1 (2000)
  • While the Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals were in St. Louis, there were no Superbowl appearances
Looking back, it almost feels surreal that there was a 3-4 year period in which the Rams were pretty good. The Cardinals took a long time off between championships but have 2 I'm old enough to remember. All in all, Saint Louis has had 8 Finals appearances and 4 Championships during my lifetime in the 4 "major" sports. Some folks might consider college football another major sport, but SLU is without a team, and the basketball team isn't quite top-tier just yet.

Now here's one quick championship story that's a little funny. In May of 2001, a friend of mine got free tickets to a minor league basketball team called the Saint Louis Swarm who played in a little suburban arena. We knew nothing of the team, but found out when we go there that Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Jr. played for the team. That was kind of neat I guess. Both of us were Michael Jordan fans, but didn't care much about basketball at that time, as Jordan was retired for the second time at the moment. We watched the game, our team was winning, so that made it a little more fun. Then near the end of the game we overheard that, apparently, we were sitting at game 3 of the best-of-3 championship series. Sure enough, they won and had a trophy presentation at the end and everything. To date it's my only championship moment witnessed live in person, and I came to it completely by accident.


2006 Topps Value Pack

By now you've seen some other blogs about the old packs of 2006 Topps showing up at Target for $1.59 each. I went to all 3 of them near my home and work, and came away with a total of 1 pack. Nothing blogworthy, right? Wrong! There are 3 mystery Vintage cards within. I can tell the suspense is killing you.
No, I can't wait to open until after I scan
First up, a base card just to remind you what 2006 looked like:
2006 Topps #511 Dmitri Young

And now the obligatory Gold Parallel, which is actually somewhat rare at 1:6 packs.
2006 Topps - Gold Parallel #564 Yorvit Torrealba #0873/2006
Now, the mystery cards
1988 Topps #271 Ken Gerhart

Ooooh, 1988...

1989 Topps #695 Carlton Fisk
It's a 1989, but at least it's a Hall of Famer

1990 Topps #480 Sid Fernandez
And an uninspiring finish.

Those 3 cards actually showed up in that order. Seeing an '88 common on top I felt sure a '79 to '83 or so would be lurking somewhere beneath. Oh well, I bought the pack without expectations, and at least now I have a few 2006s, since those fell during my lull in collecting.

Here's the full list of 2006 base for completeness
338 Livan Hernandez
383 Russ Ortiz
391 Casey Blake
423 David Ortiz
468 Johan Santana
483 Jose Guillen
495 Adrian Beltre
506 Michael Cuddyer
511 Dmitri Young
527 Jose Vidro
580 Frank Thomas
582 Francisco Rodriguez
584 Jorge Sosa
604 Washington Nationals
630 Ronny Paulino
645 Paul Maholm
653 Prince Fielder/Rickie Weeks
Series Two Checklist 2 of 3

It's nice to get the advertised number in real cards, without cheaper filler couting against the pack total (ahem, 2010 Topps). In total there were 23 pieces of cardboard: the promised 18 2006 cards, 3 vintage cards, plus a checklist and a Topps of the Class ad.


2012 Opening Day

Topps Opening Day, that is. I really like this set for some reason, maybe it's the cheapskate in me. I happened to be at Target and noticed it in the card aisle, since I don't really pay attention to the official release dates. The price caught my eye though

2012 Topps Opening Day
As I recalled, that was higher than last year. Here's a breakdown

Topps Opening Day
7 card pack0.991.09
24 card pack2.993.19
77 card blaster9.9910.49

On some level, I actually appreciate this price increase, when compared to reducing the size of a pack. So many times at the grocery store I see the same old price but new lower size on a box of cereal, jar of peanut butter, or the formerly ubiquitous half gallon of ice cream, which is now 1.75 quarts on most brands, and 1.5 quarts in Edy's/Dreyer's (look at me, being geographically sensitive). Anyway, I'd rather have the same size packs at a slight increase instead of Topps removing a card or two per pack. My first preference would be no increase at all, ever, but that is, of course, a pipe dream.

One more economics rant then on to the cards: Why are the 24 card packs slightly cheaper per card than the 77 card blaster? With most things buying more reduces the unit cost. I noticed this last year too, although the difference is even smaller this year, at about 1/3 of a cent per card. Maybe Topps figures the difference is negligible and likes the prices ending in 9. But still, if they would pull a card or two out of the 24 and make it a 23 or 22 pack, its per-card price would fall right between the 7-pack and 77-box. Oh well, the bargain hunter in me will just keep buying 24 packs. I've got one so far, but I'm sure I'll get a few more and try to build this set again this year.

Now, cards as promised.

2012 Topps Opening Day #64 Dan Haren
This was the closest to a Cardinal I could find in the bunch. We really should have hung on to him. Hindsight is 20/20 though I guess.

2012 Topps Opening Day - Fantasy Squad #FS-2 Miguel Cabrera

2012 Topps Opening Day - Opening Day Edition Parallel #12 Jason Heyward #1867/2012
Here's a nice numbered parallel. This is similar to the 2011 blue parallel except the border is more sparkly.

2012 Topps Opening Day - Mascots #M-15 Kansas City Royals
Note that the card says Kansas City Royals, not Sluggerrr. A post at Night Owl Cards mentioned the same phenomenon on the Chicago White Sox mascot's card. Let's check the back:

It's the same story with this card. The language on the back very awkwardly avoids using his name, even though it would fit perfectly in a few places. I wonder why only some mascots are listed. As you can see in the linked post, the Swinging Friar is named. Does anyone know why?

And here's the full list of base cards, simply for posterity's sake:
17 Pedro Alvarez
21 Matt Moore
37 Josh Beckett
39 Michael Cuddyer
55 Miguel Cabrera
64 Dan Haren
69 Tim Lincecum
90 Derek Jeter
98 Ben Zobrist
120 Matt Garza
121 Mark Teixeira
123 Ryan Roberts
129 Alex Rios
145 CC Sabathia
153 Aramis Ramirez
161 Hunter Pence
173 Michael Pineda
179 Zach Greinke
180 Ted Lilly
182 Seth Smith
195 Ike Davis


Saint Patrick's Day, 2012

In celebration of all things Irish, here's the most Irish sounding name I could find in my collection:
2011 Topps - Topp 60 #T60-17 Dale Murphy
I really don't know whether he's Irish or not, but I figured I can't go wrong with a Murphy today. Happy Saint Patrick's Day everyone.


Congratulations to the Billikens

I just wanted to take a moment to cheer on my Alma Mater, Saint Louis University.
We're not a major player in college basketball most years, but now and then have flashes of brilliance, most recently when Larry Hughes was here for 1 year. Almost everyone was saying Memphis should have been a 5 or 6 seed instead of their 8th, so this was a real challenge and big win for the 9th seeded Bills.

Unfortunately #2 Missouri lost to #15 Norfolk State, so the slim hopes of everyone in St. Louis of a SLU-Mizzou completely disappear for this year.

And now, my favorite Rick Majerus quote of the day, because he's such a Luddite, from a Bernie Miklasz article.
Thursday, when asked if he imposed rules or guidelines on his players for using Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media, Pastner offered a thoughtful and detailed response. 
Majerus offered a combination of confusion, bewilderment and contempt. 
"I've never been on a social network in my life," Majerus said. "I don't even know what Twitter is. Nor do I have a desire to. I can't see this Twitter thing. 'I just went to the beach and the water was wet.' I mean, what is that? I'm just against that stuff. I'm really old school."
Congrats to the Bills, and good luck Sunday


Ides of March, 2012

I don't think any blog I'm following beat me to the punch on the Felix Pie pun, so here's another tangentially relevant card for today, the Ides of March.
2008 Topps Heritage #222 Cesar Izturis
Anybody? Anybody? OK I'm sure some of you got it, but just in case...Ides of March.

Not to be confused with these guys:
or these guys:

There you go, a little history AND literature lesson in one Wikipedia subsection. 


Pi Day 2012

Since I'm writing this Pi day post in advance, I don't know exactly how many pictures of Felix Pie you've seen today, but I'm going to guess a lot if I know my pun-loving blogger compatriots. Here's one more.

2011 Topps #106 Felix Pie
But wait, there's more than just a pun here. One of my other interests is mathematics. Did you know there's a movement among mathematicians with too much time on their hands to replace pi with tau, which is equal to 2 times pi? No? Yes? Why am I pretending I can hear you? We're going to need another Pie.

2011 Topps - Diamond Anniversary Parallel #106 Felix Pie
Here is one of the main starting points to read about it: Pi Is Wrong! Also one of my favorite math-based web comics, Spiked Math, covered the topic Tuesday. Basically, there are all kinds of reasons that a fundamental constant of 2pi makes more sense than pi. It's kind of like if we measured cars' speeds in half-miles per hour, and called them elims, and Interstate speed limits were 130 or 140 elims per hour instead of 65 or 70 miles per hour. All the math would still work, it might just feel a little off compared to other usages of the mile.

Alright, everyone go enjoy some pie.


My Trip to the Cactus League

That's right, while the Cardinals were in Florida, I went to Arizona. The real purpose of the trip was a wedding Friday evening, but flights home were considerably cheaper Sunday afternoon than anytime Saturday, so my lovely wife and I decided to attend a spring training game, since neither of us ever had before. After finding some other things to do on Saturday afternoon, we decided one of the two evening games would be best. The Mariners at Diamondbacks was sold out, which I guess makes sense since the Diamondbacks fans don't have to travel far to get to their team's spring home. The remaining choice was:
I bought the tickets that same day from the hotel. A very nice feature of their online ticketing was that I got to pick my exact seats, not just the section I wanted. I just went with the cheapest section, then took 2 end seats a few rows up from the only other seats sold in that section, figuring that would give us plenty of room, a plan that worked to perfection.
We sat in 102. There were a surprising number of Dodgers fans on the "Chicago" side.

One cool thing I didn't realize about this until we got to the park is that the White Sox and Dodgers share a Spring Training facility, so this was sort of a dual home game, and had lots of fans there. I really didn't do this on purpose, but I wound up wearing my Chris Carpenter jersey t-shirt and Cardinals hat with the 2011 World Series patch to the game. Luckily there were others there decked out in the gear of other teams as well. Very few others were wearing Grapefruit League team gear, though.
Spring Training Facilities are one of the few places to see grass in Phoenix

Overlooking the outfield Lawn on the way to our seats 
This was a Split Squad game for the White Sox, so there were lots of guys wearing numbers in the 80s with no name on the back of the jerseys. At one point I even saw #85-#88 standing in order, I wish I had taken that shot. I did recognize most of the starters though, so I have a feeling the B-team went to the other game that day.
Anonymous #87. Dodgers in their BP/Spring Training Jerseys in the background.

Alexei Ramirez had a decent game
I sort of forgot to keep taking pictures after pregame warmups, getting lost in the game itself. One thing I really wish I had gotten a shot of was a concession that was new to me: Helmet Nachos. I've seen Mini-Helmet Sundaes, but this was a full-size replica helmet full of nachos. It was tempting, but at $10, my wife and I instead split a cheaper sandwich and later some "Chicago Style" kettle corn, whatever that means.
Officially it was a ChiSox home game.
As the game went on we decided to leave a bit early. First, we realized that since we were now 2 hours off our native timezone thanks to Daylight Saving Time weekend and Arizona's lack of observance thereof, we were going to be setting ourselves up for a tough time getting up for work Monday morning if we stayed out late. Also, we dressed for Phoenix's midday heat when we left the hotel, but by 9pm it was getting rather chilly. The small stadium let the wind right in of course, so that didn't help either.

                      1  2  3   4  5  6   7  8  9   R  H  E
                      -  -  -   -  -  -   -  -  -   -  -  -
  LA DODGERS          0  0  1   3  0  1   0  0  5  10 14  0
  CHI WHITE SOX       0  1  3   1  0  0   0  1  0   6 17  1

We left in the middle of the 6th by the time most of the Major Leaguers were back on the bench, so we missed that 5-run 9th, but at least I got to experience my first spring game and get a fair amount of sleep that night. All in all it was a great time, and I'd love to go back for a week of nothing but baseball some year soon.


eBay Wins #18

Another 1 card for 1 cent I couldn't pass up. At least is was a Cardinal this time.
1999 Skybox Thunder #177 Matt Morris
I really enjoyed Matt Morris with the Cardinals, probably at least somewhat because we shared a first name. I was kind of sad to see his career end so badly with the Pirates. For a few years here, he was the best pitcher we had seen in quite some time.

This hasn't changed much of course; 1 card in a pile of nearly 1800 can't change the average too much.

eBay Bargain Tracker
Total Cards Bought1793
Total Spent$33.24
Per Card1.85 cents


Half of a Trade from The Daily Dimwit

Oh no, Matt's not going to do yet another trade multi-post, is he?

No, don't worry.  Not this time at least. Sam over at The Daily Dimwit sent me some cards in exchange for future considerations. I haven't done enough considering yet to send stuff back, thus this is half of a trade so far.

There was a nearly full 200-count box, but you've all seen plenty of 2011 Gypsy Queen base cards, so here are the Cardinals and the SP, just for fun.

2011 Gypsy Queen #39 Johnny Mize

2011 Gypsy Queen #62 Red Schoendienst 

2011 Gypsy Queen #70 Rogers Hornsby
I also got the Cubs card of  Hornsby, but didn't realize it till after I scanned these.

2011 Gypsy Queen #75 Albert Pujols

2011 Gypsy Queen #99 Ozzie Smith

2011 Gypsy Queen #97 Stan Musial

2011 Gypsy Queen #190 Jaime Garcia

2011 Gypsy Queen #340 Miguel Olivo (SP)

Thanks, Sam!