Monday, January 22, 2018

My First Blog Bat-Around

This weekend, I planned on doing two card-related activities: first, going to my first card show since rejoining the hobby back in 2021; second, finish scanning in cards that Madding of Cards on Cards sent my way so that I could get them posted.

I accomplished neither.

The bug that seems to be going around made a not-so-friendly visit to my home, so I have been in bed most of the time.

However, I did make a point to read my blogroll. Fuji posted about his would-be Hall of Fame ballot, and noted that "First Ballot Hall of Famers ≠ Other Hall of Famers." This got my wheels turning, and it left me wondering:

How true is this statement?

Here's why I was wondering. If I counted right, there are 52 first-ballot hall-of-famers in Cooperstown. The most recent is the second Texas Ranger in the Hall of Fame, Ivan Rodriguez (the other Ranger was also a first ballot HOFer, Nolan Ryan). 

Now, I believe that Pudge is a hall of famer and I certainly believe that he deserves to be a first ballot HOFer. However, he received - by far - the lowest percentage of votes (76%) of any other first balloter.  Only three other men to make it on a first ballot received less than 80% of votes to make it in: Robin Yount (1999, 77.5%), Lou Brock (1985, 79.8%), and Jackie Robinson (1962, 77.5%). Now, let's remove Jackie from the conversation - though I wasn't alive, I have to believe that racism still held back his vote total. That leaves Yount and Brock. Both wonderful players, but both fall somewhere in the middle of first-ballot guys in terms of talent.  

My question, then, is this: If first-ballot Hall of Famers are in a class to themselves, is there any other way to examine or compare them? Here's what I mean: as much as I love Pudge, he's not The Kid (who should have been a unanimous pick, by the way). The vote percentages would agree with that statement.

However, that vote percentage can be deceiving, especially when comparing players in different classes. For example, Mike Schmidt (96.52%) was an incredible ball player, but he wasn't better than the Mick, who received only 88.22% of the vote. Ernie Banks made the Hall in 1977 with 83.81% of the vote, while Ozzie Smith made it in 2002 with 91.74%. Ernie hit a career .274 with 512 home runs and 1,636 RBIs. Banks also collected two MVP awards, was a Gold Glover once and an All Star 14 times. Smith hit a career .262 with 28 home runs and 793 RBIs. Ozzie never won an MVP award, but won 13 Gold Gloves and was an All Star 15 times.

I share all of this, ultimately, to say that voting percentages are subjective. While I agree with Fuji that first-ballot hall-of-famers are not equivalent to other hall-of-famers, I do believe there is quite a bit of difference among the first-ballot guys. Some stand head and shoulders above the rest (ahem, Junior). Some guys are definitely Hall of Fame players, but maybe didn't deserve it on the first ballot (Pudge, you're my dude, but I'm lookin' your way). Unfortunately, a lot of this depends on the ballot. Some of the guys like Pudge make it in on a first ballot because they have few other players to "steal" ballots away from them. Others, like Junior, are first-ballot regardless of who else is on the ballot (though that gives some writers to reasoning to not vote for them, since they will make it anyway. Stupid logic.).

So here is my blog bat-around question: Are first-ballot Hall-of-Famers truly set apart from the other Hall-of-Famers? Is there a statistic or statistics that we can use to "rank" Hall-of-Famers?Let me know, and I would definitely appreciate it if you would leave a link back to your post in the comment section below so I can be sure to read your response. 

Thanks for playing, everyone, and I hope you have a great week!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Some Sparkly Gold Darvish!

In my post yesterday, I mentioned my love of the 2012 Topps set. That's the year I began buying cards again, so that set will always be one of my favorites. (Though, I have to say that I love 2013 Topps flagship just a tad more)

At one point, I had the gold sparkle parallel of Yu Darvish's rookie card. However, back then I wasn't terribly interested in keeping parallels. Needless to say, I no longer had it in my collection.

Until earlier this week. I found one on eBay for a reasonable price and decided to pull the trigger:

I love it. It just pops. 

I haven't been doing it intentionally, but it seems that the only cards that I have been picking up are of Darvish. 

I know not everyone is a big fan of parallels, but I know some of you are. If you are, what is your favorite parallel and from what year/set? 

If you aren't a fan of parallels, which ones do you especially dislike?

Friday, January 19, 2018

A Gift from Daniel

Last month, Daniel of It's Like Having My Own Card Shop and I made a deal to fill in a few set needs for each other. I was late sending my end of the trade his way, so I wanted to make up for it by including something for one of his collections.

Last week, I received another package from Daniel as a thanks for the card I sent him. I wasn't expecting anything, certainly not anything this awesome!

First up was this purple refractor from the 2012 Topps Chrome set. The 2012 set gets a lot of flack from collectors, but I loved it!

Next up is this Yu Darvish blue parallel from 2013 Topps Museum Collection! My scanner stinks and didn't do a great job of picking up the numbering, but this guy is numbered 1 of 99!

This may have been the biggest shock. Again from 2012, this is the platinum parallel from the Topps Mini set!

And it's numbered 2 of 5! Sweet!

Daniel also included a handful of other cards, but naturally, I put them away before thinking to scan them.

Thanks again, Daniel! I truly appreciate it!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

A Matt Harrison Update

Last week, I posted about three new cards for my Matt Harrison PC. At then end of that post, I teased about another low-numbered Harrison that I won but hadn't yet received.

Well, I've received it:

This comes from 2013 Topps Tribute. I love the image on the card: throwback uniform and Harrison is clearly looking to chase down a popup...which must be very, very shallow (as in, between the pitcher's mound and catcher).

Yup, I'm a fan.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

I Got The Group Break Bug

I'm so far behind that this post is about the release of Bowman Chrome which, at this point, has to be months ago. 

I couldn't sleep one night so I decided to watch some group breaks on YouTube. As I watched, I decided that I needed to get in on a Bowman Chrome break. After checking out prices on eBay, I realized that I couldn't afford the entire Rangers team in a break; rather, I took the player break route and purchased a couple of Ranger players. I selected Jose Trevino and Andy Ibanez. The best part about the break, however, was that the breaker made this a "keepers" break, meaning that you could purchase the same players for the same price for the following two breaks. I was in.

(After reading all of that, it sounds a little confusing, I think. Apologies if I lost anyone).

Anyway, after the breaks were all said and done, I ended up with six autos total. 

I got a redemption for a blue refractor of Andy Ibanez. Not pictured: a redemption for Ibanez's base auto.

Speaking of base autos...

I snagged three base autos of Jose Trevino. I'm pretty stoked to get these. Trevino is the Rangers catcher of the near future, and he's a pretty good defender behind the plate. He has quickly become a fan favorite and was the Rangers' Minor League Player of the Year this year. 

This was the best card I received in the breaks, though:

I believe this is called a "blue mojo" refractor. Whatever it's called, it's a good looking card!

Have you been in any breaks recently? What was your best "hit"?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Another eBay-centric Post

I miss Yu Darvish. I was exhilarated to see him pitch well for the Dodgers leading into the World Series; I was crushed to watch him get crushed. I was furious that Yulieski Gurriel made a racist joke toward Darvish's Asian heritage, and even more pissed that MLB essentially gave him a slap on the wrist for the action.

I'm still holding out hope that he re-signs with the Rangers. 

In the meantime, I've picked up a few Darvish cards via eBay. I have to admit - these were low bids that I didn't expect would stand up...but they did! I'm not complaining. Let's get to it.

This is a gold wave refractor from 2017 Topps Chrome. I've never been one to complain about parallels, but when Topps essentially has two gold refractors, both numbered to 50...well, perhaps we've gone a bit overboard.

I also snagged this no nameplate variation from 2017 Topps Gypsy Queen. Whereas the gold wave was a bit too far, I think these are just lazy. "How can we make a new variation?" "Hmm. Let's just leave the name off the front. It worked for Frank Thomas, right?" Yet, I still purchased it.

Speaking of variations...

This is one of the photo variations from 2017. As you may remember, I complained about the over-abundance of photo variations in 2017 Topps Update a little while back. I'm clearly biased, because for some reason, I don't mind this one (or the other Darvish photo variation featuring him on the mound in a Dodgers uniform). I'm going to give myself a pass.

When I began writing this post, I definitely did not mean for it to become a gripe-fest! I apologize! What are your thoughts about some of the "variations" in the various 2017 sets? 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Some Recent Pickups At My LCS

I haven't really bought a lot of cardboard at my LCS lately. For the most part, he sells hobby boxes and rarely packs anything out. On one hand, I understand. It can be hard to move product one pack at a time. On the other hand, with the prices of baseball cards this year (thanks, Judge), many people - myself included - can't afford an entire box.

However, there were a few times that he did pack out a few products. For instance, I was able to buy a few packs of Bowman Chrome. In one of those packs was this:

A base auto of Mitchell White. Or, as I like to call him, "Mr. Squiggly Line."

Okay, I get it. The number of autographs these prospects are asked to sign is astronomical. That's on us, as collectors, for wanting an autograph in every product. However, there has to be some blame placed on the player, right? I mean, this is absolute garbage. It is ridiculous that cards like this make it into products. I could keep going, but I will digress.

Anyway, I went in earlier this week to grab some top loaders and a ball cube when I noticed that the owner was packing out some Bowman's Best and Topps Chrome from this year, so I bought a few packs of each. In my packs of Bowman's Best was this:

I haven't heard much about Adell, other than he was a first round pick of the Angels. It seems he is a "consensus" five-tool prospect. I think I will hang on to it and see how he does. 

No autographs came from my Topps Chrome packs, but I did pull a pretty decent rookie card:

A prism refractor of Cody Bellinger. This is a beautiful card. I know Bellinger made a splash this year, but I still wonder if he will be a future star in the game. Just in case, I'm holding on to this one, too.

So, not a bad few packs of cards. Has anyone else had a problem with their LCS not selling packs frequently?