Off the Marc

Ok, let’s kick the ol’ tires here and see if we can’t get this kitten purring again. I’ve been busy – trading, playing sandlot, raising a pair of little ones with seemingly boundless energy, adjusting to the new job, the start of a new school year, etc. I know y’all probably don’t expect too much, but I would really like to get up to a consistent two posts a week.

Today’s post features a trio of TCDB swaps that arrived this week from some not-quite-Marcs.

Up first is a batch from Mark (allofthis30 at TCDB), and we’re going to start off with the heavy-hitting HOFers in the bunch. The Ripken comes from the 1987 M&M’s set, a food issue near and dear to my heart which I remember well from my childhood. The other non-Astro in the bunch was this rad Fred McGriff Diamond Destiny insert from 1996 Upper Deck. The inset portrait is on a clear acetate, and I’ve been slowly piecing the set together because they’re just too cool. Mark also sent two new Bagwell cards my way, both from 2004.

Ok, now for some former Astros, mostly of the lesser-known variety. Hector Gimenez was a hot catching prospect, appearing in several sets, getting some sticker autos, and all that despite appearing in just two games for Houston in 2006. He would not appear in the majors again until 2011 with the Dodgers. This is a refractor from 2007 Finest – Houston released him at the end of that season. Next up we have Stanford Stud Mark Appel, on an insert from 2013 Panini Select. I’m really happy to see this guy not only return to baseball, but also to make it to the bigs finally. In the three-hole we have a Plum Frame parallel of Abraham Toro from 2019 Diamond Kings. I liked Toro, but he couldn’t hit consistently and I think a lack of consistent playing time really did him in on that front. He’ll always be remembered for catching the final out of Verlander’s no-hitter, though, and doubly so because he drove the winning run in early in the game. Finally, we’ve got a supremely shiny Carlos Correa card, a “Reactive Blue” parallel from 2021 Panini Mosaic. This thing sings.

Mark’s package ends with a quartet of current stars – a rad red, white & blue parallel from 2019 Prizm of Alex Bregman, a supremely boring Stadium Club insert of Kyle Tucker, a much cooler silver portrait parallel of Tucker from last year’s Ginter, and a super-shiny Alvarez insert from 2021 Chrome. Thanks Mark!

Package two comes from a Marcus (Bsiga at TCDB). This was a loaded PWE swap, and I’m actually going to start off with the spares from his envelope. Marcus couldn’t locate a nice Altuve I’d requested, and instead of subbing “any Astros card from my want list” as I had messaged, he loaded me up with a handful of sweet ‘Stros from 2022 Panini Prizm. Those two in the middle are White Wave parallels, and the Meyers on the far right is a Silver Prizm parallel of his Rookie Class insert – the base version was in the envelope as well.

Getting back to our regularly scheduled programming, there were some other excellent Astros in this swap as well. Here’s a 2022, er, 2021 Chrome Platinum Anniversary card for the Biggio binder. C’mon Topps, you can blame it on ‘supply chain issues’ all you want, but that’s a 2022 set. Just like the 2022 version is a 2023 set. Get your house in order. There was also a pair of scintillatingly shiny Altuves – a Revolution from 2021 Chronicles and an x-fractor from 2022 Chrome. Those things always pop in the scanner! Also from 2022 Chrome, we’ve got a nice Yordan sepia parallel to boot!.

The last batch for today’s post comes from another Mark (cynicalbuddha over at TCDB), and was a classic “throw a big offer out and see if we can land the 15 cards I really want” type of deal. In my case, I got back a few sweet Astros pulls and a dozen Olympic/Winter Olympic cards from 2012/2014. I didn’t scan those, but some were just fun to have (Michael Phelps, Hope Solo, etc.) while some will be put toward TTM requests (Shani Davis, Nathan Adrian, Hillary Knight, Ted Ligety, etc.)

What did I get in exchange for a fat pile of Brewers and Allen & Ginter cards for Mark to put toward some set builds? Like I said, SWEET ASTROS PULLS. From the mid-aughts we have a very fun Lance Berkman relic from the 2004 Topps Cracker Jack set. This is actually deceptively large here, in reality it’s the size of a modern mini – which makes it even more fun! The shiny red card shown with it is from 2005 Leaf Certified Materials, of the aptly named Jared Gothreaux. For those of you not familiar with cajun pronunciation, that would be “Jared Go Throw” – and he’s a pitcher. This Mirror Red parallel was numbered 71/100.

Moving into the dark ages, we have a Jordan Lyles relic from the relaunch of Donruss in 2014. Yes, that same Jordan Lyles who is still plugging away and managed to somehow hold Houston to two hits in five scoreless innings as they fell to the Royals last Saturday. Not a nice way to treat the club that drafted you, in my opinion! We also have a big ol’ gray swatch jumbo relic of David “Two Pops” Paulino from 2017 Panini Immaculate. It’s numbered a very nice 69/99, but Paulino’s promise was deflated by a couple of PED suspensions. I had high hopes for the kid, especially with how he looked coming back from the first suspension. It was like a sneaky pitching prospect had arrived out of nowhere. Alas.

The final hit in this Herculean package was a phenomenal piece of ink from one of the best Astro sluggers of my childhood, Glenn Davis. This perfect pull comes from 2013 Panini Hometown Heroes – a set which I think we can all agree had the blogosphere a-titter with “JUST IMAGINE WHAT THEY COULD DO IF THEY GOT A LICENSE!” chatter. Alas, that didn’t happen either, but 2013 Hometown Heroes is still a hell of a set. There are four Astros autos in the Hometown Signatures series: Davis, Mike Scott, Dickie Thon, and Jose Cruz. I just need that Cruz!

Like I said, I know this place is in perpetual disrepair – but I’m going to make an effort to get back to my stated goal of two posts per week. I’m not going to go insane trying to fill my unposted quota from the year, but if I can get into a regular schedule like that, I’ll be plenty happy. That should allow me enough space to stay active and post about the coolest pickups that drift my way.

3 Replies to “Off the Marc”

  1. Love Hometown Heroes circa 2013, this is what’s wrong with the world that Panini couldn’t repeat that set even once.

    I just found out 2 weeks ago that Jordan Lyles was the same one on Astros cards a few years ago. Mind blown … I think 2 posts a week is ambitious for someone with two rugrats, but I’m rooting for more to read!

    1. Yeah it’s kinda bizarre that Panini hasn’t even circled back around to it at least once in the past decade. It showed so much promise.

      I’m not promising high quality content, but I certainly have enough fodder to whip up two posts a week. We’ll see if I can manage it.

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