Friday, December 19, 2014

My Mattingly Collection - 2001 Topps Archives Reserve, Bat Relic

Not that anybody was really worried or about the lack of posts over here at Ryan's Pitch...but just in case.

The Fall really overwhelmed me with family and work and school I had so much that I wanted to share with you guys in October as an epic baseball season was coming to an end. A season with so many emotional connections to the Ryan's Pitch Collection - but I had to place the blog on the back burner to make sure I could take care of business.

October became Halloween and then Thanksgiving was looming large and then December hit with a fury. But now - now that finals are done and the office has not a creature stirring - now for a few days...I'm all out of business!

I've missed you guys!

(group hug)

And I've missed my hobby time. I have a year left in my MBA program so 2015 may prove to be just as challenging, but as you all know, I am an eternal optimist - so here's hoping! Until then, I'd like to end 2014 on a positive note with a few posts. I'd love to provide one of those "STATE OF THE COLLECTION" posts. My collecting approach has truly evolved over the past year (or so) and I am very excited about tackling some much needed house cleaning in parallel with a renewed vigor for laser-guided collecting focus. And just who wouldn't want to hear about all of THAT?

For now, though, let's check out a slick Mattingly card I recently picked up! I found this bad boy for the price of two modern packs. It wasn't in a shop or at a show (what are those?) and in this case, I didn't even have a picture. This 2001 Topps Archives Reserve fell in my Hobby Ice Age, so I didn't have a clue as to what it might resemble. I am familiar with the Archives series, but what did the "reserve" label indicate?

At $5 though, it was a Mattingly card that I DIDN'T have and a bat card at that, so I scooped it up. And I am sure glad that I did:

I know, I know - another damn version of the Hit Man's '84 Topps rookie card. Isn't it sweet!? It's shiny and refractor-y in all the right, biased ways for me. This one was in great shape, too - for which I am always thankful. The corners are sharp and the surface is pretty clean. The Archives logo is slightly annoying in the top right, but I'm over it. The circular bat relic is kind of a cool contrast with the otherwise well squared-away card.

To the back: 

Pretty much the standard with the exception of the fine-print line at the bottom and the...wait, what's that? A certification hologram?


Houston, that's a serial number! Woo-hoo! God bless these cards from the Hobby Ice Age. I am supposing this an early example of serialization that was utilized as the hobby was figuring out just how they were going to handle this attribute. It's kind of a neat variant, even if it covers up some statistics. Good thing I can easily check the other 30 versions of this card.

Returning some focus to my Mattingly collection is one component of my 2014 Collecting Evolution story-line. It was very easy to dial-in on my modern day PC's:

Craig Kimbrel
Freddie Freeman
Anthony Rizzo
Dellin Betances
David Robertson
Eric Jagielo

Unfortunately, these quests often left Donnie in the dust despite his status as my favorite all-time player. Not to mention, there are SO many cards during the aforementioned Ice Age that I haven't even begun to discover or enjoy and are probably quite affordable.

Hopefully this card is another great step in the right direction for 2015. I say "another" because I was able to scoop up a "Player Lot" of Mattingly cards over the past couple of months that has been a joy to flip through during free moments here and there. Some good, old-fashioned player collecting.

Anyways, it feels great to be back and I hope this doesn't turn out to be a one-hit wonder. I hope you all had a great 2014, find much peace with you and yours for the holidays, and hit the base path in 2015 with tremendous gusto!

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Duke Contest

Contest for a Duke!

Robert of "$30 a Week Habit" is having a contest to win this beautiful '54 Topps card:

A sixty year-old card of a Hall of Famer......what a lovely habit.

Click HERE to enter - good luck and THANKS, Robert!


Sunday, September 14, 2014

My Yankees Collection - 2007 Topps Co-Signers #26 Mike Mussina (Posada) #59/175

We collectors spend a lot of time discussing card designs. What we like and what we don't like. Our favorites and the ones we'd rather not ever see again.....ever. I go back and forth with my own personal preferences. I enjoy simple designs that emphasize the player's photograph. I want to see a team logo and information regarding the player's position as well as a healthy dose of information - statistics, biographical or interesting "factoids".

I checked out of the hobby as the insanely creative card-design engines of the 90's (or "Junk Wax Era") were just heating up. From lasers to rainbows and cartoons to studio portraits, I have seen some beautiful cards from my Hobby Ice Age. I have also seen some complete nightmares that just make me chuckle.

Here is a beautiful card, my friends:

This is a 2007 Topps Co-Signers card of the Moose and his battery-mate, Jorge Posada. I have never seen a card like this before, but I absolutely love it. Mussina and Posada are two Yankee favorites, and a quick glance at their results in '06 tell us why.

Posada boasted a .277 average with 23 long balls and 90+ RBI. You can't ask much more of a catcher than that although Jorge would go on to have his career year in 2007. Mussina recorded a 15-7 record in 2006, nearing 200 IP and close to 175 K's. They truly were a battery, and one that I can fondly recall catching on TV from time to time.

The Yanks would lose to Detroit in the '06 ALDS. Mussina lost a tough Game 2 by the score of 4-3 and actually out-dueled Justin Verlander before the Bombers' bats fell silent in the 5th inning. They would lose the next two games by margins of 5 and 6 runs, seemingly unable to recover.

Here's the back of the card, which is actually a Mussina card:



I couldn't help myself. I had no idea this one was numbered when I bought it. I guess that's pretty cool? It simply adds some luster to a card that I already thought was "tops". Pun intended.

Anyways, I just really dig this dual image - Mussina contemplating the next pitch to be dealt with a sepia-Posada in the background checking for signs from the dugout before lowering the mask and getting back to work. Throw in the facsimile signatures and we're good-to-go!

Despite the burnt-orange trim coloring.....great work, Topps!

A great card for my Yankees Collection.

Thanks for reading!


Friday, September 12, 2014

The Quest for '60: #412 Bob Anderson

One of my most enjoyable collecting moments is when I can cross off a card from a set-building list. I was able to do just that the other day when I scooped up this crispy and magnificently off-centered Bob Anderson from the 1960 Topps set: 

All smiles!

The corners and edges are really sharp on this Anderson card but the printing press gods stepped away from their desks when this one rolled off the assembly line at the Topps factory! No matter, it is another beautiful building block in my quest to complete the 1960 set. The colors on the front of the card are also really sharp.

But who is Bob Anderson?

The bullpen pitcher's lamentation in the cartoon is terrific!

Apparently, Bob Anderson was the professional fencer who played the part of Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy during the light saber scenes......and he was also this Bob Anderson! There's a great chronology of Mr. Anderson's highlights from the '59 season for us to enjoy. I love the use of the term "safeties" to describe the number of hits Bob surrendered to the Dodgers on Independence Day. Apparently Mr. Anderson owned the Dodgers that year, had a personal best against the Braves and was well on his way to the history books against the Cardinals later on in the season.

But I think Topps missed a dandy.....TO THE WIKIPEDIA, BATMAN!

"Bob Anderson was involved in one of baseball history's most unusual plays. It occurred during a game played on June 30, 1959, between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs. Stan Musial was at the plate, with a count of 3-1. Anderson's next pitch was errant, evading catcher Sammy Taylor and rolling all the way to the backstop. Umpire Vic Delmore called ball four, however Anderson and Taylor contended that Musial foul tipped the ball. Because the ball was still in play, and because Delmore was embroiled in an argument with the catcher and pitcher, Musial took it upon himself to try for second base. Seeing that Musial was trying for second, Alvin Dark ran to the backstop to retrieve the ball which had found its way into the hands of field announcer, Pat Pieper.

Pat Pipier

Dark retrieved the ball from Pieper. Absentmindedly, however, Delmore pulled out a new ball and gave it to Taylor. Anderson finally noticed that Musial was trying for second, took the new ball, and threw it to second baseman Tony Taylor. Anderson's throw flew over Tony Taylor's head into the outfield. Dark, at the same time that Anderson threw the new ball, threw the original ball to shortstop Ernie Banks. Musial, though, did not see Dark's throw and only noticed Anderson's ball fly over the second baseman's head, so he tried to go to third base. On his way there, he was tagged out by Banks, and after a delay he was ruled out." 

Is that awesome or what? This story alone makes me want to go digging through the Ryan's Pitch archives for some Musial, Ernie and Alvin Dark cards. I swear I just saw an Alvin the other day. Stay tuned for that! And as for Mr. Pipier - all I can say is, WOW. I was not aware of his story and am so grateful for the research induced by this card that has now brought him to my attention. If you don't know about Pat Pipier and the place he holds in Chicago Cubs history, I highly suggest you check it out!

As usual, I feel compelled to check out the box score on as well:

Top of the 4th, Cardinals Batting, Ahead 2-1, Cubs' Bob Anderson facing 5-6-7
t42-10---OSTLG. CimoliB. Anderson-2%61%Groundout: SS-1B
t42-11---OSTLS. MusialB. Anderson-2%59%Walk; Musial out at 2B/3B-SS
t42-12---STLH. SmithB. Anderson1%60%Single to SS
t42-121--OSTLD. GrayB. Anderson-2%58%Strikeout
0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB. Cardinals 2, Cubs 1.

Ha! Glorious....."Walk; Musial out at 2B/3B-SS" - yeah, I suppose that one would've been a head scratcher for Topps design teams as they debated on what to list on the card. What might have been?

Welcome to the set, Mr. Anderson and thank you for today's great baseball history lesson!

Thanks for reading and have a safe weekend, everybody.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

I've Been 30YOC PWE'd!

We all love them and this one was no different!

I believe a basic "oh, I like that" comment on one of 30YOC's posts resulted in a PWE with this bad boy being speedily sent my way for the Mattingly Collection. Couldn't be more grateful, my friend! Thank you!

Here's a fresh version of the 1989 Topps design:

What do you think? Fort Lauderdale, circa 1988? Actually, I am unsure as to exactly what the name of their stadium was back in those days.....either way, I love it! The pinstripes, the Florida sun, the 'stache, the bat......greatness abounds.

Thank you, B! Welcome home, Donnie.

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Night Owl Made A Pass At My Woman!


Night Owl is a righteous dude with tremendous cardboard and Dodger knowledge surpassed only by his own incredible talent for writing. I just couldn't resist the gratuitous post title inspired by The Lost Collector's recent interview of [99.9%] retired blogger, Napkin Doon. It had me laughing out loud and wishing once more for a "Cleve's" of South Carolina....but alas, no such luck. The interview can be enjoyed here.

NO, it was I that was seduced by this glorious plethora of cardboard from our community's winged friend of the night. Completely unexpected but surely treasured, I must now hatch plans for a counterstrike.

Thank you very much, Night Owl!

Here we go - 

Yankees and Braves dominated this well-crafted package. I had never seen these tri-fold Upper Deck "BAT" cards before.....but I LOVE them. How do I store them?

We sure miss Robbie in New York but it's always a pleasure to see him knock one out of Safeco from time to time. I think I caught an update recently that he left a game with some pain...I hope he's okay. This "blue-sparkle" parallel from 2013 is a beautiful card and I have quickly become a fan of the Opening Day logo. Man, that of the finest swings in baseball right now, folks.

What Mo can I say? Rivera cards will always be accepted around here. A simple baseball card with a winning smile from baseball's greatest closer is fantastic!

PC alert!!!!! A Donnie-Braves sandwich served up with my first look at the A&G insert set, "Across the Years". I can dig. The Braves colors and that OD logo (again) look great on the Freddie and Kimbrel cards. Great additions to my collections!

Here's a look at the back of the BAT card. See what I mean? They are REALLY nice and offer up some great baseball knowledge in an attractive, unique design. How were these cards distributed?

A giant Donruss Righetti!!!!! How giant?

THIS giant! Thank you for the perspective, Chippah (also included).

I'm a bit unsure as to how I'm going to store/display this bad boy....but I'll find a way to let Rags breathe safely in the Card Cave. In the end, a wonderful problem to have, right?

Thanks again, Night Owl and thanks for reading -


Monday, August 11, 2014

A Red Rizzo from The Lost Collector!

My friend AJ (who runs the great blog The  Lost Collector) sent over a splendid card for my Anthony Rizzo Collection! 

Check it out.....

I love Heritage and am still slowly trying to BUILD this year's base set! Honest, I checked for a pulse and it's still there.....barely. I hope I can stick to it. Set-Building is something I do enjoy but view as a challenge for both modern sets and vintage. Vintage is tough because I lack a local shop for access to reasonable selections of commons....modern releases suffer the same handicap but I also don't find the math for packs/boxes of new releases to be very favorable for dinosaurs like me.

Maybe I'm just being a wimp? Sorry. Tangent.....

This Rizzo parallel won't be needed for the set-chase, but it is a WELCOME addition to my Rizzo PC! It's a simple head-shot of my favorite Chicago Cub. The red even works pretty well with the Cubbies uniform and logo. Love it!

I also appreciate The Lost Collector's use of the painter's tape. I try to do the same as much as possible. It gets the job done without leaving a sticky residue on the top-loaders. A win-win. Let's get that tape out of the way for a better view:

Fantastic - and how about those great Heritage backs:


A great description of a "Rizzo Moonshot" is very apropos in light of his power surge this season. I also appreciate the reminder about just how young Anthony really is.

A great card. Thanks, AJ! Now where did I put that spare PWE.......