Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Rookie of the Year Spotlight: Gary Peters

Some of the collections I have been working on over the years are starting to get filled out and my goals are being reached. As a result, I'm starting to slow down a little when it comes to acquiring many cards for some of my mini-collections. Now that the collection is feeling more and more complete, I wanted to start showcasing the cards I have, player by player.
 
One such collection is my Rookie of the Year collection. I love collecting players who have won the award as the top newcomer in each league. This wasn't born of hot rookie hype and the desire to prospect. Rather, I became fascinated thinking about the careers of guys like Eric Karros, Jerome Walton, and Tim Salmon, who experienced varying degrees of success but may not have become superstars. I thought it would be fun to have a collection that chronicles the individual career journeys of rookie stars--whether they burned bright and flamed out quickly, regressed to the mean, or wended their way to Cooperstown.
 
My goal has been to fill a binder page for each player who won the award in my lifetime and to fill a row for older players. I may expand that later as I expand my vintage collection. The ultimate goal of my binder is to show a card from every different uniform the player wore, from fresh-faced rookie to grizzled vet. This series is to commemorate each Rookie of the Year's career and show my collection of their cards. I have a randomized list of winners that I use to determine the order of these posts, but for the second time in a row, I'm going away from that order. Today we highlight

Gary Peters


From 1959-1962, Gary Peters did some stints on the Chicago White Sox roster. He saw very limited action in those seasons, accumulating just 21 innings in 12 appearances. When 1963 rolled around, he was four seasons past his Major League debut, but still maintained rookie status. That first full year, Peters appeared in 41 games, starting 30 of them. He struck out 189 batters and posted a very good 1.04 WHIP. He led the league in FIP, HR/9, ERA+, and, of course, the only of these stats that would have really mattered back then, ERA. He also held his own at the plate; he batted .295 with 3 home runs in 81 at-bats. When the Rookie of the Year voting was settled, Peters received 10 first-place votes to beat out teammate Pete Ward (6 votes) and Jimmie Hall (4).

For most of the next six season, Peters was solid. He paced the AL with 20 wins in 1964, and his 1.98 ERA and 0.98 WHIP were tops in 1966. He earned All-Star nods in 1964 and 1967. He started to slip a little in 1969, when he led the league in a different category: Earned Runs. Following that season, the White Sox sent him (with Don Pavletich) to the Red Sox for Syd O'Brien, Gerry Ganeski, and Billy Farmer. He spent three years in Boston, but his career was winding down. The statistics tell the difference in the pitcher he was early in his career with Chicago compared to later on in Boston. In 11 seasons with the White Sox, Peters registered a 2.92 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 115 ERA+. In his final three years with the Red Sox, those numbers went to 4.23 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, and 89 ERA+.

One month after he pitched his final game of 1972, the Red Sox released him. That was the end of Gary Peters' career. In total, he won 124 games, recorded a solid 3.24 ERA, and struck out 1420. He received MVP votes in three seasons and two total All-Star nods. A career WAR of 28.4 was solid, but definitely not enough for serious Hall of Fame consideration.
 
So why am I breaking by order to highlight Peters today? Because The Diamond King posted this card as one of his Flash Freebies a couple of weeks ago. I needed a Peters card depicting his stint with the Red Sox, so I claimed it. It wasn't until I received the card that I noticed this was a buyback. You have to look closely for the gold stamp in the corner. Thanks to DK, the Gary Peters section of my ROY collection is complete!

I should also take a moment to mention the two newest members of the ROY club (and players I intend to chase): Randy Arozarena and Jonathan India. At the time of their announcement, I owned one card of Arozarena, but it was part of a set build. I have collecting to do for the new guys.

Friday, November 12, 2021

A Wild Mess of a Card Set

Wild Card was a brief blip in card history, debuting in 1991 and lasting for three years. The brand had a couple of trademark features: a border of multi-colored numerals and the "stripe" chase cards. Last week, when I found blasters of a new product called Wild Card Matte, I wondered how much this new incarnation would look like the old one. The logo was the same, at least.


I could tell right away that it wasn't anything approaching a major release. It wasn't even as big-time as Leaf; the manufacturer appeared to be "IPL" (Individual Player Licensing, apparently). The lack of a logo on Trevor Lawrence's helmet told me that there would be no team licensing in the product--pro, college, or otherwise. But when Leaf revived Pro Set this year, it closely mimicked the old set. I was curious. And when I saw the base set had 70 cards and each box contained 40, I figured I could at least build the set while satisfying my curiosity. I picked up three blasters.

This will be a scan-heavy post as I show you all 120 cards I pulled, pack by pack.

 

Box 1, Pack 1


The top photo shows base cards. The bottom photo shows two inserts. There were two inserts per pack, without fail. The base cards are nice. They're glossy and thicker stock, definitely not flimsy. The inserts didn't scan well at all. Greg Rousseau--on the left--is from the Weekend Warriors set and Jaylen Waddle is an X-Plode card.

For each pack, I'm going to list the players and their draft results.

  • Penei Sewell--1st Round, Lions
  • Devonta Smith--1st, Eagles
  • Rondale Moore--2nd, Cardinals
  • Trey Lance--1st, 49ers
  • Jaelan Phillips--1st, Dolphins
  • Sam Ehlinger--6th, Colts
  • Justin Fields--1st, Bears
  • Elijah Moore--2nd, Jets

 

Box 1, Pack 2



A new insert set shown here: Javonte Williams on a Rookie Heat. As I go through the players and their draft results, I find there is already one duplicate here. I won't re-type a player's info if I have already done so. Pay attention to the attrition you see as the duplicates pile up.
  • Jamie Newman--UDFA, Eagles
  • Kyle Trask--2nd, Buccaneers
  • Greg Newsome--1st, Browns
  • Micah Parsons--1st, Cowboys
  • Tylan Wallace--4th, Ravens
  • Travis Etienne--1st, Jaguars
  • Mac Jones--1st, Patriots

 

Box 1, Pack 3



The inserts are Elijah Moore (Rookie Heat) and Davis Mills (Weekend Warriors).
  • Andre Cisco--3rd, Jaguars
  • Jaret Patterson--UDFA, WFT
  • Greg Rousseau--1st, Bills
  • Michael Carter--4th, Jets
  • Tyson Campbell--2nd, Jaguars
  • Trevon Moehrig--2nd, Raiders
  • Kadarius Toney--1st, Giants

 

Box 1, Pack 4


 Inserts of Najee Harris (Weekend Warrior) and Rondale Moore (X-Plode).
  • Caleb Farley--1st, Titans
  • Kylin Hill--7th, Packers

Here we are, the last pack of the first box still, and already six of the eight base cards are repeats. There are still more to come as we move into the other two boxes.

 

Box 2, Pack 1


Inserts of Najee Harris (Rookie Heat) and Kyle Pitts (Rookie Heat). It's hard to see in the scans, but you may notice that the Rookie Heat and X-Plodes come in different color variations.
  • Chazz Surratt--3rd, Vikings
  • Jay Tufele--4th, Jaguars
  • Pat Freiermuth--2nd, Steelers
  • Cade Johnson--UDFA, Seahawks
  • Patrick Surtain II--1st, Broncos
  • Terrace Marshall--2nd, Panthers
  • Jevon Holland--2nd, Dolphins

 

Box 2, Pack 2


Inserts of Jamie Newman (Weekend Warrior) and Travis Etienne (X-Plode).
  • Elijah Mitchell--6th, 49ers
  • Dyami Brown--3rd, WFT
  • Joseph Ossai--3rd, Bengals
  • Jaylen Waddle--1st, Dolphins
  • Sage Surratt--UDFA, Lions
  • Trevor Lawrence--1st, Jaguars
  • Ian Book--4th, Saints
  • Paulson Adebo--3rd, Saints

 

Box 2, Pack 3



Two X-Plode inserts of different colors: Patrick Surtain and Greg Rousseau.
  • Rashod Bateman--1st, Ravens 

Only one new base card in this pack.

 

Box 2, Pack 4


Well, that makes two packs in a row with a yellow (gold?) Rousseau. And a second Rookie Heat Kyle Pitts in this box, though they are two different colors.
  • D'Wayne Eskridge--2nd, Seahawks
  • Joe Tryon--1st, Buccaneers
  • Jaycee Horn--1st, Panthers

Final Box . . .  

 

Box 3, Pack 1

 


The two inserts are Greg Newsome (X-Plode) and another Najee Harris Rookie Heat Blue (See Box 2, Pack 1).
 
Aaaaand, a pack full of duplicate base. So 9 of 10 cards in this pack I have pulled already, including on insert, right down to the color variation.
 

Box 3, Pack 2


Inserts here are Rashod Bateman (Weekend Warrior) and Justin Fields (Rookie Heat). I'd probably be way more excited about the Fields pull if I didn't have such strong feelings about the Bears.
  • Feleipe Franks--UDFA, Falcons
  • Amari Rodgers--3rd, Packers
  • Trey Sermon--3rd, 49ers
  • Brevin Jordan--5th, Texans

 

Box 3, Pack 3


Inserts of Trevon Moehrig (X-Plode) and Kadarius Toney (Weekend Warrior).
  • Zach Wilson!--1st, Jets
  • Javonte Williams-2nd, Broncos
  • Eric Stokes--1st, Packers
  • Dayo Odeyingbo--2nd, Colts
  • Jeremiah Osuwu-Koramoah--2nd, Browns
  • Shaun Wade--5th, Ravens

 

Box 3, Pack 4


The inserts make this a Rashod Bateman hot pack! Here we have a Weekend Warrior (2nd one this box) and a Rookie Heat.
 
For the base, I turned the duplicates over so you could see what the backs look like instead of getting a second or third (or even fourth!) look at the front. The back quality leaves a bit to be desired. Being unable to mention any teams hamstrings the write-up and the little bit the backs do say is riddled with typos. But new base cards in the last box are
  • Kyle Pitts--1st, Falcons
and that's it. Phillips was already pulled before, I just failed to turn the card over.
 
So those are my pulls. After three boxes that gave me 96 base cards, I'm still 16 shy of completing the base set. Not good. Even the inserts were duplicated within the same box. 
 
While I like the look of the cards, I can't say much else for the product. It's super confusing. If you've read Matt's post about his break over at Cards Over Coffee, you may have immediately noticed that his box produced cards with a white background. Apparently there is a Wild Card Matte White and a Wild Card Matte Black. But the base set we were pulling in our blasters differs from the actual checklist. Apparently, the hobby base set is only 22 cards, all serial-numbered. The larger base set is only available in retail blasters. I think. And it appears that stripe parallels do exist, but I don't think they were available in blasters.

I think I may try to complete the set. I averaged 18 new base per box, and I'm missing only 16, so maybe I am crazy enough to try it again. Then again, do I want to spend $90 in blasters for this product? Then again, there are still some available at Wal-Mart. Then again, why are they still available when everything card has been disappearing before I even see it on the shelf? We'll see where I land after this riveting conversation with myself.

And Matt, since you have white and I have black, I would love to swap a Kadarius Toney for your Zach Wilson. Two Toneys, in fact, because I'd love to send the Weekend Warrior Toney your way.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Ain't No Break Like a Nacho Break

Last year, our principal decided to take advantage of the modified school schedule the school board gave us. He took the Wednesdays we suddenly had with no students in the building and instituted "Nacho Wednesday." Every Wednesday, we had Crock Pots full of nacho cheese sauce and bags of tortilla chips in the faculty room. I will never pass up nacho cheese. Seriously, my wife once bought me a #10 can of nacho cheese from Costco as a Valentine's gift. Thanks to Nacho Wednesdays at work, my wife has started to refer to my growing belly as my "nachos." I'm not complaining. I'm also not complaining that this year--though we're back to a normal schedule--the principal decided to keep Nacho Wednesday. So I sit here writing this post after taking a nacho break. Hence, the topic of my post today: Nacho(s Grande) Breaks.

I haven't done many team breaks of late because I've been more focused on different aspects of my collection lately. Well, that and it seems like the Cubs are already taken whenever I see Nacho's posts. But I got in on his recent Chrome break and asked him to send the stack that I had reserved for who knows how long.

There were only four Cubs in that box. Two of them were two different refractor types of Brailyn Marquez. Marquez only has 2/3 inning pitched in the Majors, in which he gave up 3 walks, 2 hits, and 5 earned runs. But, hey, these cards are cool! He was also the 6th youngest player in the NL this season, according to Baseball-Reference, so there is time for some growth and development.


 
At one point, I also bought into a 2020 A&G break from Chris.


I love these non-base cards from that break The Longball Lore set is especially appealing to me. I also picked up the Brewers in this break, so if you are interested in a Christian Yelich Longball card or a couple of Milwaukee minis, I have some for trade.


And I got the Cubs from this year's Heritage, imitating the funky 1972 Topps set. This is the problem with collecting Cubs right now: only three of these players still play their home games at Wrigley Field--and one of these is in a Padres uni on the card. Interestingly, #1 and #2 on the Pitching Leaders card were traded for each other last offseason. And the third won a World Series.
 
A few extra Nacho throw-ins (possibly a Stadium Club break? I can't even remember) brought me these Cubs from yesteryear. A new Kerry Wood is always welcome in my binders.


I feel pretty certain that the only reason I bought into a 2021 Opening Day break was to get one of the last cards I needed for the Outstanding Opening Day insert set. Well, mission accomplished. I have just two more on my wantlist (Giancarlo Stanton and Hank Aaron, if you can help out with that).

Up til now, there hasn't been too much exciting stuff in this haul. Where I really lucked out was the box toppers, where I picked up Javy Baez from both 2020 A&G and 2021 Heritage. That's not too bad! I love this picture, though, with four different sizes of Baez cards. Pretty sweet, I think.

Thanks for the breaks, Chris! Nacho breaks really are the best.




Friday, November 5, 2021

Rookie of the Year Spotlight: Buster Posey

Some of the collections I have been working on over the years are starting to get filled out and my goals are being reached. As a result, I'm starting to slow down a little when it comes to acquiring many cards for some of my mini-collections. Now that the collection is feeling more and more complete, I wanted to start showcasing the cards I have, player by player.

One such collection is my Rookie of the Year collection. I love collecting players who have won the award as the top newcomer in each league. This wasn't born of hot rookie hype and the desire to prospect. Rather, I became fascinated thinking about the careers of guys like Eric Karros, Jerome Walton, and Tim Salmon, who experienced varying degrees of success but may not have become superstars. I thought it would be fun to have a collection that chronicles the individual career journeys of rookie stars--whether they burned bright and flamed out quickly, regressed to the mean, or wended their way to Cooperstown.
 
My goal has been to fill a binder page for each player who won the award in my lifetime and to fill a row for older players. I may expand that later as I expand my vintage collection. The ultimate goal of my binder is to show a card from every different uniform the player wore, from fresh-faced rookie to grizzled vet. This series is to commemorate each Rookie of the Year's career and show my collection of their cards. I have a randomized list of winners that I use to determine the order of these posts, but I'm going off-script today to honor a recently retired former Rookie of the Year.
 

Buster Posey

Gerald Posey got his first cup of coffee in 2009, appearing in seven games and batting .185. The next year, he became the Giants' full-time backstop. In 2010, he led NL rookies with a .305 batting average and finished tied for second in home runs (18, one behind Florida's Gaby Sanchez). He also got to play in  six postseason games as the Giants won the World Series. The postseason success may have played a role in pushing him to the top of the Rookie of the Year voting. He ended up receiving 20 first-place votes over fellow rookie sensation Jason Heyward and his nine. St. Louis pitcher Jaime Garcia finished third, receiving one first-place vote, and Gaby Sanchez finished fourth but received two first-place votes.

2010 was just the beginning for Posey, however. Even though he missed most of the following season, he still managed to change baseball forever. During a play at the plate collision with Florida's Scott Cousins, Posey badly broke his leg. The play contributed to a new rule disallowing catchers to block the plate and runners to initiate contact with the catcher. The rule came to be known as "The Buster Posey Rule." But it wasn't just this unfortunate occurrence that made Posey's career memorable. In 2012, Posey returned and had a career year. He set career highs in average (an MLB-leading .336), home runs (24), RBI (103), and OPS (.957). His 171 OPS+ led the Majors. Posey took home NL MVP and received his second World Series ring. Over the next six seasons, Posey would make five All-Star teams. The one year he didn't get All-Star honors (2014), he still finished sixth in the MVP voting. He failed to make the All-Star team in 2019 and opted out of the 2020 season, but came back strong in 2021. This past year he led the Giants to the best regular season record in baseball and received one last All-Star nod.

Now Posey is hanging them up after 12 MLB seasons. He'll retire with seven All-Star nominations, three World Series rings, a Gold Glove, four Silver Sluggers, and an MVP. His career slash line is .302/.372/.460. Every game he played was in a Giants uniform. During his playing time, he was arguably the best catcher of his generation, going toe-to-toe with Yadier Molina for that honor. Without a doubt, he will find himself in Cooperstown when he is eligible. I'd say the Giants got what they wanted when they selected him 5th overall in the 2008 draft.

I have more Posey cards than this, but these are all I have in my ROY collection. Many of my other Poseys are parts of my set builds. In all, I have 37 Buster Posey cards. I don't need to chase down any other teams for him because he spent his entire career as a Giant. Congrats on the outstanding career, Buster!

Monday, October 18, 2021

Pack War: 2021 Donruss

Folks, I can't believe it, but I've found more 2021 football cards at the local Walmart! This is only the second time since the pandemic hit. I picked up three jumbo packs of Donruss football last week. I don't typically love Donruss base cards, but the inserts are often interesting. These are probably just one-off packs, so I was just hoping to get some good cards to fit my collection. We'll take a look at these three packs in competition.

Each pack came with base, three rookies, three or four SP photo variations, four blue Press Proofs, and an insert or two.

Base Cards

Pack 1

Pack 2

Pack 3

The way I'm scoring this is just rank order. Pack 2 is weak here, with Tiki Barber as the legend and two defenders I don't collect in the top of the most desirable base cards. Pack 1 has Brady and Namath, one of the hottest of today's QBs in Josh Allen, and two members of the 2010s All-Decade team. (Side note: why is the Patriot legend card Brady when he is still active and has a card with a different team? Odd choice.) But legend Brett Favre, three All-Decade performers, a Heisman winner, and one more Packer give Pack 3 the win.

Base Scores: Pack 3=3
                      Pack 1=2
                      Pack 2=1 
 

 Rookies
Pack 1

Pack 2

Pack 3

Nothing great here. The biggest name is obviously Justin Fields, but that doesn't necessarily sway this Packers fan. But looking at the other rookies, there is only one other first rounder (Jamin Davis). He is paired with late-round Packer pick Kylin Hill, but I don't know if the two of them together overcome Fields. Pack 1 features two second-rounders. Here's how I would score it.
 
Rookie Scores: Pack 2=3
                         Pack 3=2
                         Pack 1=1 


SP Photo Variations

Pack 1

Pack 2

Pack 3
 
The SPs are kind of lame. There are 50 in the set, and pretty much all of them are helmetless photos. They're all pretty big names, though. Let's break these down. Pack 1 has three cards for my collection: Manning, Hopkins, and Gronk, with Manning the big one for me. Pack 2 has two cards I'll add to my collection, and Davante Adams is the biggie. Pack 3 has three for my official collections (Moss and Brady), but my favorite card is Brees in a ballcap, so that one is a keeper, too. Final rankings:

SP Scores: Pack 3=3
                  Pack 1=2
                  Pack 2=1

Press Proof Blue

Pack 1

Pack 2

Pack 3

If you like parallels, have I got some pulls for you! Pack 1 is a Jaguar QB bonanza, but that's surprisingly a good thing. Team legend card Mark Brunell teams with #1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence for a strong pack. Pack 2 has superathlete DK Metcalf and a blue parallel of a Brady SP. Pack 3 has another MVS (that's two appearances for him in this pack) and a rookie offensive lineman who is coming on strong the past couple of games, Alijah-Vera Tucker. So, who wins: Trevor Lawrence or Brady SP? I was originally more excited about Brady, but then I saw that this Lawrence card sold for $30 after he picked up his first win yesterday. Theoretically, I could pay for all of these cards and then some if I were to sell it (but it's not for sale). Add in running mate Brunell, who is not someone I collect but someone I have always liked, and I'll give the slight edge to Pack 1

Blue Scores: Pack 1=3
                      Pack 2=2
                      Pack 3=1 


Inserts

Pack 1

Pack 2

Pack 3

Well, the inserts are shiny. That's not a bad way to close out this war. Pack 1 doesn't win this one. A fourth-round rookie doesn't compete with any of the other players. Pack 2 contained only one insert, but it was a solid Legend Series insert of Emmitt Smith. Pack 3 is teaming up Hall of Famer Randy Moss with current Dominator Tyreek Hill. All three cards fit in my collection, but I value Emmitt above both Moss and Hill. So. . . 

Insert Scores: Pack 2=3
                       Pack 3=2
                       Pack 1=1

Let's add them up. Pack 1 scored 9 points. Pack 2 scored 10. And Pack 3--carried by Packers Brett Favre and Kylin Hill, and Drew Brees/Tom Brady SPs--scored 11 for the win. 

I'm keeping all that I specifically mentioned fit my collections. If I didn't say I was keeping it, it's for trade. So if you see something you like, let me know.