A place where Colorado Rockies baseball card collectors (all 3 of us) can waste some time reading about our favorite sport. The Rockies and their cards will be the primary focus, but I like to go off on tangents as well so anything and everything baseball related may be covered here.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Sunday PWE Trade Bait #8

Here we are in the midst of the second week of March Madness.  And I am sure that there are enough ripped up brackets right now to fully supply several ticker tape parades.  This year's Big Dance seems to be one of the great "non-chalk" years where underdogs are not playing like underdogs.  I don't like to brag, but as of this moment I have correctly picked 4 out of 5 Elite Eight teams and I have a decent chance to go 6 out of 8 with all 4 of my Final Four picks still alive.  It's one of those years that I REALLY wish I gambled for real money.  I haven't been perfect by any means.  My two Elite Eight picks that are Tennessee which lost its first game and Kansas which got beat by somewhere around 1,000 points to USC.  But I still think I have done better than most.

For me, this is kind of usual though.  With the tourney brackets I either do really well or really bad.  There is almost no in between.  If there are 30 competitors, I am in the top 3 or the bottom 3.  It is really the only part of life where is true for me though.  I have never been an ultra competitive person, so getting to #1 at all costs has never been a priority for me.  I have never understood why someone wouldn't be completely satisfied with being 10th best at anything.  If I my life ends with me having the 10th best Colorado Rockies collection in the world, I won't be spinning in the grave wishing I could have been higher.  

But I have usually have enough perseverance and brain power to not be at the bottom either.  I have always that the middle third is usually the best place to be.  You are good enough to not be forgotten, but you don't have the expectations that are extremely difficult to live up to.  I have come to terms with that being the ideal situation.  I just wish I could have had that wisdom when I was younger.  

I guess my hour on the shrink's couch is now up, so let's get back to baseball cards.  This is the 8th week of the Sunday PWE trade bait and it has been very successful thus far.  I plan on shipping out several envelopes tomorrow, but they are not packed yet, so if you spot anything today there is a good chance that you could get it by the end of the week. 

As always, I will trade for Rockies, Topps rookie cup cards, 86 Topps homages, the few remaining 2011 Topps Opening Day blues that I need for my master set, 2005 Topps Rookie Cup rainbows that I need, 2020 Donruss rainbows that I need, or the various insert sets I am currently putting together.  The links are working for 6 of those 7, and the other will be done shortly, but for now you can simply ask if I need it.

If you just simply don't have anything I need, don't worry about it.  We can still trade.  I will happily accept serial numbered cards from teams I am in short supply of at the moment.  All I ask is that you include an extra 1 or 2 just to take care of the stamp I will need to trade them later.  

 These are current teams I am comparatively low on trade stuff.

St. Louis, Baltimore, San Francisco, LA Angels, Cleveland

Previous Sunday PWE Trade Baits

Week #1    Week #2   Week #3   Week #4   Week #5   Week #6   Week #7   W


Claim away.

2001 Donruss Elite Series Roger Clemens /2500 - 2017 Topps Gold Brad Brach /2017 - 2016 Panini/EEE Aspirations Purple Andrew Velazquez /200


2018 Bowman/Prospects Chrome Refractor T.J. Zeuch /499 - 2018 Panini/Donruss Optic Prizms Blue Chris Sale /149


2015 Panini/Donruss Stat Line Career Joe Mauer DK /319 - 2018 Bowman/Prospects Chrome Purple Shimmer Refractors Kyle Funkhouser /655 - 2019 Topps Evolution of Stadiums Gold KC Royals /50


2016 Panini/Donruss Optic Prizms Blue Tyler Naquin /149 - 2008 Topps/Triple Threads Sepia Rich Harden /525


2016 Panini/Donruss Optic Prizms Orange Carlos Correa /199 - 2017 Bowman Silver Yu Darvish /499 - 2015 Panini/EEE Status Blue Ketel Marte /100


2006 Bowman/Prospects Blue Kyle Kendrick /500 - 2005 Donruss/Champions Impressions Red Mike Cameron /250 - 2018 Bowman/Prospects Chrome Purple Shimmer Refractors Monte Harrison /655


2020 Panini/Donruss Dominators Max Scherzer /999 - 2016 Topps Gold Addison Russell /2016


2014 Panini/Prizm PDP Draft Class Prizms Powder Blue Jacob Gatewood /199 - 2015 Bowman/Prospects Blue Jose Queliz /150 - 2015 Panini/Donruss Press Proof Silver Everth Cabrera /199


2020 Bowman/Platinum Top Prospects Pink Alexander Canario /199 - 2015 Topps/Update Gold Justin Turner /2015


2010 Bowman Blue Todd Helton /520 - 2010 Topps/National Chicle Chrome Ian Stewart /999 - 2006 Topps Gold Jamey Carroll /2006

Cards with new homes.

2017 Panini/Donruss Elite Series Silver Todd Frazier /349 - 2012 Topps/Opening Day Blue Erick Aybar /2012 - 2005 Donruss/Team Heroes Showdown Bronze Dave Parker /100 - 2020 Topps Mother's Day Pink Harrison Bader /50 - 2015 Panini/Donruss '81 Press Proof Bronze Billy Hamilton /299 - 2020 Panini/Donruss American Pride Garrett Mitchell (with Mike Trout) /999 - 2012 Topps/Heritage Chrome Dan Uggla /1963 -


As always, place a claim on any card that you'd like in the comments section or you can email me directly at hiflew AT yahoo DOT com and we can talk trade.


Thanx for reading.


Friday, March 26, 2021

Rating the Rookie Cups 2.0 - 1997


This week we an interesting team to check out, the 1996 Topps Rookie All Star Team.  This team has  something in common with the upcoming 2021 team that has yet to be determined.  The 1996 team was the first team that played a full 162 game season in 3 years following the strike that chopped off the end of the 1994 season and beginning of the 1995 season.  It was supposed to be an everything is back to normal set.  For me, it was completely irrelevant because that strike turned me off of baseball until the summer of 1998 McGwire/Sosa home run rivalry (that has since turned a new generation off of baseball) brought me back.  So this team falls into my years of just not caring.  It really is a shame because there was some good baseball played then.

This is the first team since I have re-started that featured a career leader at a position.  However, this team features 2 different players that are the career leaders at their position on my scale.  It is one of two teams that features 2 different players that lead their respective position.  The other is also from the 1990s, but I am going to leave it a mystery until we get to it. 

I have always thought of the 1997 Topps set at the Christmas set.  I'm sure I am not the first, nor the last, to have that idea.  The concept is that American League teams have a red inner border while the National League teams have a green one.  The player names also have an outlined font for the first name and a filled in font for the last name.  That is pretty much it with this set.  It is a very minimalist set otherwise.  Honestly, I have never really been a big fan of it, although there are some memorable photos in the set.

Let's take a look at the 1996 Topps Rookie All Star Team.

Jason Kendall - C - Pirates- Season Rank (13 of 61) - Career Rank (8 of 61)

Tony Clark - 1B - Tigers - Season Rank (48 of 61) - Career Rank (30 of 61)

Tony Batista - 2B - Athletics - Season Rank (46 of 61) - Career Rank (27 of 61)


Joe Randa - 3B - Royals - Season Rank (36 of 61) - Career Rank (14 of 61)
Derek Jeter - SS - Yankees - Season Rank (5 of 61) - Career Rank (1 of 60)

Jermaine Dye - OF - Braves - Season Rank (177 of 184) - Career Rank (50 of 184)

F.P. Santangelo - OF - Expos - Season Rank (91 of 184) - Career Rank (147 of 184)

Todd Hollandsworth - OF - Dodgers - Season Rank (65 of 184) - Career Rank (111 of 184)


Alan Benes - RHP - Cardinals - Season Rank (49 of 50) - Career Rank (45 of 50)

Billy Wagner - LHP (RP) - Astros - Season Rank (24 of 34) - Career Rank (1 of 34)


Here are the players I feel should have made the team.  This is based solely on rookie years stats and is a straight up "battle of the stats" with my opinion not factoring into the decision.  I give a chance to all rookies from that season that either played in 100 games, started 15 games, or had at least 10 saves.  If there happen to be less than 2 rookies that meet those qualifications at a position, then I will just compare the top two that don't meet parameters.  In this case, and all cases before 2011, I am retroactively adding a relief pitcher spot to the team which as I mentioned above means moving Billy Wagner to the reliever category and adding a LH starter to the team. 

Catcher - Jason Kendall - Pirates

One of the things I strive for in this section is competition.  But in 1996, there was virtually no competition for Jason Kendall.  The only other "rookie" catcher that played in even more that 50 games was Jesse Levis of the Brewers.  I used quotation marks because Levis was a rookie by technicality since 1996 was actually his 5th year in the majors, but he had not accrued 150 plate appearances in his first 4 years.  Nevertheless, Kendall easily defeated him and secured the spot on the team.

First Base - Tony Clark - Tigers

This was one of 4 relatively weak positions in 1996.  There were three candidates for this spot: Tony Clark of the Tigers, Ron Coomer of the Twins, and Mark Sweeney of the Cardinals.  Clark played the most and had a lot of homers, but his underlying stats were fairly mediocre.  Coomer and Sweeney were mostly bench players, but had decent numbers in part time duty.  In a surprisingly close battle, Clark barely hung on to his spot. 

Second Base - Tony Batista - Athletics

This was the second of 4 relatively weak positions in 1996.  There was only one candidate that met the 100 game criteria, so I lowered the bar to 70 games.  I ended up with 4 contenders: Tony Batista of the Athletics, Andy Fox of the Yankees, Tomas Perez of the Blue Jays, and Mark Loretta of the Brewers.  Despite only appearing in 73 games, Tony Batista managed to hold off his challengers with Perez coming in a close runner up.

Third Base - Joe Randa - Royals

Here is the third of relative weak positions in 1996.  If you are paying attention, that means the rookie infield thus far is pretty weak.  I had to not only lower the bar to 70 games again, but I also had to include two players from second base that also qualified at third.  It left me with 4 candidates: Joe Randa of the Royals, George Arias of the Angels, Andy Fox of the Yankees, and Mark Loretta of the Brewers.  Randa's decent rookie season proved to be dominating over the rest and he held his spot.

Shortstop - Derek Jeter - Yankees

This is by far the strongest position in 1996.  There were four solid contenders for the shortstop spot: Derek Jeter of the Yankees, Edgar Renteria of the Marlins, Rich Aurelia of the Giants, and Rey Ordonez of the Mets.  Renteria and Ordonez could have easily occupied two other infield spots had they qualified at other positions, but they were only shortstops.  And in 1996, no shortstop was beating AL ROY Derek Jeter.  He steamrolled his challengers to secure his spot. 

Outfield - Todd Hollandsworth - Dodgers, F.P. Santangelo - Expos, Ernie Young - Athletics

The outfield spots in this section is usually a matter of two guys standing out and the third spot being up for grabs.  In this case, that was not true.  There was only one that truly stood out, and that was NL ROY Todd Hollandsworth.  So that left the final two spots up for grabs among 9 challengers including Ricky Otero of the Phillies, Quinton McCracken of the Rockies, and Curtis Pride of the Tigers.  When all was said and done, it came down to 3 guys: F.P. Santangelo of the Expos, Ernie Young of the Athletics, and Marvin Benard of the Giants with Benard ending up just shy of the other two.  More significantly is that Topps's third choice, Jermaine Dye of the Braves, ended up in 8th place out of 10 on my scale.  I just don't understand how they chose him over the rest.

RH Starter - James Baldwin - White Sox

The right handed starter is usually filled with challengers and this year was no exception.  There were a lot of rookie starters in 1996, but none of them really had much staying power.  But I am not looking at careers here, just the season.  Challengers that were not really in contention included Rocky Coppinger of the Orioles, Cuban defector Osvaldo Fernandez of the Giants, and former overall #1 pick Paul Wilson of the Mets.  In the end, James Baldwin of the White Sox won a close three way battle over Topps's choice Alan Benes of the Cardinals and future relief ace Ugueth Urbina of the Expos.

LH Starter - Jose Rosado - Royals

This was the fourth of 4 relatively weak positions in 1996.  It was made even weaker by moving Billy Wagner to the relief pitcher spot.  In fact, as I was going through the rookie starters games started looking for challengers I found 16 right handed starters before I ever found the first left hander.  I ended up having to lower the bar to 11 starts just so I could get 5 challengers for the spot.  The contenders included Jose Rosado of the Royals, Shawn Estes of the Giants, Huck Flener of the Blue Jays, Justin Thompson of the Tigers, and Steve Wojciechowski of the Athletics.  In the end, Rosado pulled away from the rest and probably should have gotten the spot even over Billy Wagner. 
Relief Pitcher - Antonio Osuna - Dodgers

1996 was an extremely strong year for relievers.  Not necessarily just closers though.  There were only 2 relievers that met the 10 save parameter, so I amended the requirements for inclusion here to 10 saves and/or 65 games pitched.  Billy Wagner of the Astros did not actually meet either of those two criteria, but since he was Topps's pick I included him as well.  Some of those involved included T.J. Mathews of the Cardinals, Billy Taylor of the Athletics, Antonio Osuna of the Dodgers, Francisco Cordova of the Pirates, and Mike Myers of the Tigers.  Osuna shockingly pulled off the upset and took the spot.     Wagner had the sexy numbers, but his walk numbers were horrid and he just didn't pitch as much as the rest. 


100% - Perfect, 80-90% - Great, 60-70% - Good, 40-50% - Poor, < 40% - Utter Failure


Topps seems to have settled into a 7 out of 10 groove.  Granted the teams are being presented in a random order, but this is the fourth week in a row that Topps got the same score.  Of the three "incorrect" choices, by far the most egregious was Jermaine Dye as there were 5 guys that deserved the spot over him.  The lefty spot was clearly a strange one since a reliever got it, but I believe Jose Rosado was the best rookie pitcher regardless of hand.  The right handed was a toss up, but Benes had the most wins so at the time he looked better than he does today.  Not Topps's best choices, but not horrible either.

Final Thoughts on the Team

Strongest Team Members (rookie) - Derek Jeter, Jason Kendall, Todd Hollandsworth
Strongest Team Members (career) - Derek Jeter, Billy Wagner, Jason Kendall
Weakest Team Members (rookie) - Alan Benes, Jermaine Dye, Tony Clark
Weakest Team Members (career) - Alan Benes, F.P. Santangelo, Todd Hollandsworth
Rockies on the team (Present and future) -1 (Hollandsworth) (Arguably 2 because Dye was a Rockie on paper for one day but never played a game for the team)
Best Card (IMHO) - Jason Kendall (some really good photos here, but I have to go with the nearly lost art of the play at the plate)
Worst Card (IMHO) -Tony Batista (tough call here because none of them are "bad" but Batista shows him playing SS or 3B instead of his identified position of 2B...that has always bugged me)

This team is excellent.  There is not one, but two of the best careers by position on this team.  Jeter is already in the Hall and Wagner has a decent chance to someday join him.  But aside from them, there are some very underrated careers in Jason Kendall, Joe Randa, and Jermaine Dye.  For the season, the team was a bit weaker, although Jeter once again stands out as truly great.  The rest were not really bad, but not excellent either.  For season, I would probably put this team in the middle of the pack somewhere between 25-40.  For career, I would definitely bump it up to top 20.  Just a very good team in general.


The 2015 team pictured on 2016 Topps cards.

Thanx for reading.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Monday's Mailbag #5

Greeting all.  I swear guys, eventually I am going to get one of these Monday Mailbags actually posted on a Monday.  It's almost comical at this point that I keep missing the day it named for.  Perhaps I should just steer into the skid and never post Monday's Mailbag on a Monday.  It would be the perfect metaphor for my lack of time management and scheduling.  But I think I will continue trying to aim for a Monday post with these.  

This post is actually 8 days late, not 1 day late, but I have talked about how busy life is WAY too much recently, so let's just dive in and check out some new cards in my home.


First up we have an eBay gamble lot.  This was a lot of 14 2020 Bowman/Platinum Chartreuse parallels.  Of the 14, I could only see 5 of them in the photo.  Usually when this happens sellers tend to not show the less marketable players and since my team is full of less marketable players, I thought I would give it a shot.  It didn't work, but I did get some Sportlots (or trade) inventory for a relatively cheap cost.  I got 7 vets and 7 prospects.  Of the vets, I got some fairly big names including the Acuna above along former MVPs Bellinger and Bryant.  With the prospects, I let you know in 3 years whether I got any good ones.

Next up we have another eBay lot.  This was for a lot of 1986 inserts that I am collecting.  I go a lot of 8 for a really cheap price, so it didn't really even bother me that I only needed 5 of the 8 for my set.  The first card is of the late great Hank Aaron.  For my money, he is the greatest player of all time, so I was happy to get this card in a cheap lot.  Usually the cheap lots are filled with Twins or Marlins or A's or some other teams that just don't sell well.  Except Rockies for some reason.  Oh well.  Andrew McCutchen has been on several teams in his career, especially recently, but he really looks strange in anything but a Pirates uniform.  That being said, that card looks like it would seamlessly fit in the real 1986 set.

Next up we have a visit from everyone's favorite nocturnal bird of prey, the Night Owl.  Greg sent me a PWE in exchange for a pair of Dodgers and a pair of Braves he needed for a separate deal.  I highly encourage any of you to use my Sunday PWE trade posts as sort of a middle man like Greg did.  I like getting cards to where they belong, even if I am not the last stop on the way.  The Christian Yelich is a good addition to my set.  I hadn't seen it before Greg pack pulled it and showed it off.  I think it is one of the better 86 cards I have seen thus far.  The Todd Helton is a red foil parallel from 2019 Stadium Club that I was sure I needed, but I didn't.  It was the Trevor Story red foil and the Todd Helton black foil that I was missing.  But no problem, because now I can be the middle man to move that Helton to where it needs to go.  In fact, the next man up might even need it for his "Tatooine" collection.

That man of course is Jim (aka gcrl) from Cards as I See Them.  Jim has quickly become one of my regular trade partners on my Sunday PWE trade bait posts.  I know we traded a little, but I don't think we traded that much in my first go around the blogosphere.  But luckily we are making up for it now.  Up first is the 2005 Topps/Rookie Cup Red Reggie Sanders.  Both in hand and online the red /499 and orange /399 parallels are difficult to tell apart unless you see them side by side.  It doesn't help that they are the two most common parallels either.  Seller have made that mistake before.  In this case though, Jim got it right and now I am 1 card closer to my goal.  The card on the right is a different kind of red parallel.  It is one of the Target retail exclusives from 2020 Topps/Update.  2020 Update is a conundrum with me.  It is one my least favorite modern sets, bit also has several Rockies that don't get put on cardboard often, like Drew Butera.  I guess it is just going to end up being a set that I love to hate from now on.

Jim also sent a couple of additional Rockies needs.  Both of them could also fall into the cards I love to hate category for different reasons.  Up first is the 2018 Topps Independence Day manupatch relic Charlie Blackmon.  It hits two categories of things I love to hate, manurelics and jingoism.  Don't get me wrong, I love my country, but I cannot stand the jingoism that tries to sell patriotism for a profit.  But it is a Rockies card, so I am happy with it.  It seems, my love for my Rockies collection is stronger than my core beliefs apparently.  The other card is from 2008 Topps/Moments and Milestones.  That particular Matt Holliday has 216 different versions each representing one of his 216 hits in the 2007 season.  Each of those cards is #'d out of 150 which makes it incredibly difficult to track them down.  This card is actually a black parallel which has the same 216 versions except they are #'d to just 25.  25 is my cut off number to add cards to my Rockies checklists. so in order to be happy I need to track down a total of 432 copies of basically the same card.  Thank you Jim for knocking 1 off that list. 

Next up we have yet another eBay gamble lot.  This was a lot of 115 cards from various sets that I picked up for less than a dime per card including shipping.  In a normal case, you really couldn't have a really bad buy at that cost.  But in this case, it was a very good buy.  Not a home run, but a solid double...maybe even a triple . The only thing really bad about it is that I didn't get any new Rockies.  But what I did get was some nice cards.  The top row was some of the many good rookies that will pay for this lot and then some.  I actually got 4 Gavin Lux cards, 2 Fire and 2 flagships.  When he inevitably gets hot this season, those cards will probably sell for $10 each.  But it's not all about profit here.  

Strangely, I got a nice group of 1998 Bowman International cards included with all the 2020 cards.  I say strangely just because the 10 cards I got were the only card not from the 2018-2020 range.  Maybe, not strange, but definitely random.  The group I got were decent names too including the Pudge Rodriguez above.  The card that made me buy this lot in the first place was the Eddie Rosario Baby Shark parallel above.  I am slowly building the baby shark set, but I am only about 20% of the way there.  The final card though got me to 100% complete for one of my 9 sets for my 2020 Donruss rainbow project.  The Aaron Judge regular base card was the last of the 300 (including variations) that I needed to complete my base set.  The reason it took so long to get the complete set is that when I was purchasing lots, I wasn't buying lots of base cards, I was buying lots of blues or yellows or whatever.  Or on Sportlots purchases I was getting the parallels first.  When attempting a project like this, you don't want to focus on the easily acquired cards first because you can always find them later.  It applies to vintage sets too.  If you are trying to build a 1960s set, it is usually better to find the Mickey Mantle before you start picking up the bench players from the Indians and Pirates.  It usually helps the wallet and really helps motivate you to complete your project.  Just my handy dandy little tip of the day.

Thanx for reading.