Well, I keep telling myself I’m going to it down and just pound out a bunch of these posts. The problem has been that by the time I’ve gotten around to having time to decompress and construct some posts my brain has decided it just rather would not. There’s just been a lot going on – interviews, applications, housekeeping, some weird scheduling stuff, etc. I received two more “sorry, we picked someone else” notifications this week for jobs which I felt I’d really interviewed well and in both cases I was actually a finalist. As I’ve alluded on Twitter, being a finalist is great until you don’t actually win gold. I do have some more on the horizon, but I’m really tired of this endless job hunt. It’s so very tiring. So, in my downtime this week I elected to try and watch some baseball and ensure that I got the incoming packages scanned and filed instead of finding words to talk about some cards that came here.
But, these cards have been here over a year! Gosh, that’s neglectful, but it’s far from the worst offense in the scan folders, either. So, let’s talk about them so I can feel a little better about clearing some from the queue.
This first small batch came in courtesy of our pal Gavin at Baseball Card Breakdown. I sent some Dads his way – probably some Gwynns I’d chanced across and who knows what else at this point. In August of 2019, he shipped these my way and they brightened up my collection. Good gravy, just look at the laser eyes on Cory Doyne! That was an uncirculated gold refractor that I had to gently free from his taped plastic prison for a scan. I put him back afterward. He’s numbered to 250, if I recall properly. The autograph is from Chase Davidson, a 6’5″ tower whom the Astros drafted out of high school in the 3rd round in 2008. Chase didn’t sign, though, and so the Astros drafted him again in 2011 – in the 41st round. Oops. Chase never made it out of A ball, and only played in 9 and 11 games in 2012 and 2013, respectively. It appears that he may not have even played defense in his final two seasons. That Carlos Lee relic is a sneaky Astros card that I probably shouldn’t count in my Astros relics, as it is certainly not cloth from an Astros uniform, but hey – we go by what’s on the card here, and so it’s an Astros card. Finally, that Colts manu-patch card with the now-retired Hunter Pence is just swell. The best two uniforms in club history were the earliest version of the shooting star uniforms that arrived in 1965 and those Colt .45 uniforms. Thanks Gavin, and sorry I let these sit around for so long – they were much appreciated!
These hits were courtesy of Seth (CardsInTheBasement). I can’t find any details in our transaction about the Altuve card, which is a Jackie Robinson manu-patch*, and so that may have even been a throw-in. Or maybe we were talking on Twitter and it came up that way. I honestly have no idea. I do know it was a fun pickup, but that the star of our little September 2019 swap was this Framber Valdez framed mini autograph from 2019 Allen & Ginter. It is suh-weet looking, much like watching Framber excel throughout this monstrosity of a baseball season has been. He definitely stepped up his game, and the word from him and the club has been that he’s preparing better and feels more in control of the game, rather than letting the game control him. He’s been excellent.
* These should not be called patches; they aren’t fabric.
These shiny Panini beauties landed courtesy of Jon at Community Gum at the end of last August. Jon, if you’re still out there I’ve got some stickers for you once again. The Biggio/Altuve combo card/Sears portrait is a blue parallel from 2019 Optic, and it’s numbered 43/149. I actually just got the base version in another trade this week. That Golden Donut parallel of Mr. Smooth Michael Brantley just sings in hand, and is numbered 141/150. I’ve got at least four more versions of this one, and it’s really making me consider how I binder parallels in the team binder. My bindering system is to page by year and then alpha by brand, with any parallels or inserts from that release kept following the base cards. For parallels, I keep them in their respective runs, but here I’m kind of tempted to start paging them by player after the base set. Hmm. Things to ponder when I’ve got more time for pondering, I suppose. Thanks for the cards, Jon!
Finally, speaking of parallels here’s a trade from the beginning of August – 2019, that is. Yep, all of these cards are from 13 months ago. Oof. These came from Brannon (BLWinborn40), who has become a regular trading pal over at the database, and these babies are all shiny – Dominguez and Fiers are rainbow foil cards, and the Springer is too, in a way, although technically speaking he is a blue Opening Day parallel. By the way, between the short season and the ALDS, Houston and Oakland played 14 times this year – and Mike Fiers didn’t throw a single pitch, not even in the stretch where they played 5 times in 4 days.
Our swap was full of parallels, including a couple of horizontal beauties. Carlos Gomez will go down as a bust, and was the other half of that trade that brought Mike Fiers to town, but when he was hitting he was a delight to watch. The gold parallel of Yuli making a play on his 2017 Topps rookie card, though – that’s one I really love. He has quietly turned into one of the best defensive first basemen in the game, and he actually got some love for it on the broadcast the other day. La Piña is certainly underrated by most baseball fans.
It wasn’t just parallels* in our swap, there were some inserts in there as well. There was even an insert parallel** in the mix. I was a big fan of Frankie Tuesday coming up – he and Framber were the prospect pair to watch and he always seemed to have things just a bit more put together. He’s been popped on a couple of suspensions now, however, and Valdez has certainly righted his ship. I’m not even certain if Martes is still in the Astros system. The Bregman is a rookie from the big Salute insert sets, and the McCullers is the blue parallel from the bloated Legends in the Making inserts, although Lance spinning 24 straight curveballs to shut down the Yankees in the 2017 ALCS will forever be legendary around here.
* I’m sure there were probably some base cards in there too, but I’m not about to scan everything that comes my way – I’d never have any time.
** Sigh. Topps, you’re killing me.
Finally, there was one non-Astro card I picked up about which I was particularly excited, and that was Carrie Brownstein’s First Pitch insert from 2016 Topps. You’re probably most familiar with Carrie from her starring role alongside Fred Armisen in Portlandia, but if you’re into indie rock/punk you might well know her from the excellent Sleater-Kinney. When I was still shooting shows they were on hiatus, and Carrie had formed a rather great indie-rock group called Wild Flag, whom I did get to shoot. Click through to their Bandcamp, Romance and Future Crimes are my favorite tracks off the album. I’d like to try and get this one autographed, but I’d also want to whip up a custom or two from my concert photos. I suppose I need to get in gear and make some Pro Set customs, something which the aforementioned Gavin has done.
Well, that’ll wrap this one up, it’s far more than I anticipated saying in this post by now. I know we squeaked into the playoffs, but it’s really nice to see the Astros bats finally come alive and hit like we know they can, and I’m much happier to see the Rays in the ALCS than the Yankees. Heck, I don’t think I’d even mind losing to them that much. I do hope we’ll win, though – it would be incredible for Houston to play the first World Series game in the Rangers new ballpark. 😛
Oh, let’s do the thing where you close a post with a music video! Wild Flag had one for their song Electric Band which features a baseball game in which the band and friends play The Bears. It’s fun. Have a good one.