NCIS Doubleheader: Duryea, PA [2014 Topps Update]

The new Topps 2014 Update set just came out, and of the dozen Twins cards in the set two are nice NCIS-worthy horizontal action shots. Let’s see if we can use the clues in the photos to nail down the exact plays they captured…

2014 Topps Update #US-230 Kurt Suzuki

So, what do we have here? Well:

  • Looks like a day game
  • Runner looks safe
  • That’s obviously not Tom Nieto scoring; looks like Adrián Nieto of the White Sox

The usual gang at WGOM made the observation that all the players pictured are wearing long sleeves, indicating a good chance that the game was played early in the season; this also makes sense given Topps’ timeframe for the set release. Knowing that, there really is only one game he has a sniff of home plate against the Twins before the end of July.

On April 2nd in the second game of the season, in the 9th inning while Glen Perkins is in the process of blowing a save, Nieto comes in as a PR for pinch hitter Paul Konerko. He takes second on a single, and then scores on a single to left fielder Jason Kubel. Sox go on to win 7-6 on a 11th inning walkoff BB/WP. Easy peasy.

2014 Topps Update #US-125 Jason Bartlett

What can we tell about this photo?

  • Another day game
  • Bartlett scores on the play

I’m afraid this one’s going to also be an easy one — Jason Bartlett played in three games during the 2014 season (why Topps has to include him in the set, I don’t know). Based on the catcher’s uniform, it’s got to be Yan Gomes of the Indians waiting on the ball. Well, Bartlett only played in one game against the Indians this season.

On April 6th, in the top of the 6th in his third AB in the game, he is HBP to load the bases. Chris Colabello, the next batter, hits a deep fly to the LF gap to clear the bases, Bartlett scoring all the way from first. The Twins would go on to win the game 10-7, and that at bat would be the last of Jason Bartlett’s career.

Ocean City Redux

Apparently we behaved ourselves last year when we were invited to stay with Mo’s brother’s family at their beachfront rental in Ocean City, NJ, because they invited us back again this year. Who are we to say no?

Atlantic sunrise

This year K got to go as well, taking vacation from her new job to do so. It was nice that she could see her NJ cousins’ extended family after so many years.

We played it cool this year, relaxing on the beach and/or in the house, with wonderful ocean breezes drifting through the windows. We took advantage of a budding bartender in our midst to sample a few different drinks while we were there. My Almond Joey favorite didn’t go over all the well with others, but Mo found a new favorite in the Jolly Rancher.

afternoon drinks
the bar is open

The weather was cool and beautiful, with the wind picking up the last day and a half we were there. Fewer windsurfers were visible than last time; we instead saw more dolphins in the distance passing by.

afternoon waves
afternoon surf, with Atlantic City in the background

Yep, this bit of vacation was much needed and well spent — a good time was had by all.


It’s Not Easy Being Green

In the process of picking up other cards off eBay, I (barely) snagged a beautiful Harmon Killebrew AU card — my second. As it was a bit more than I normally spend, I thanked my wife for the early birthday present ;). Here it is in all its splendor:

2005 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes Emerald #34 Harmon Killebrew [11/99] (auto)

Also, with the release of this year’s Finest and Bowman Platinum, I’ve increased the number of unique Twins players AU certified cards to 178 by picking up Josmil Pinto, Lewis Thorpe, Sean Gilmartin, and an older Jack Morris card:
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Right Good Luck

Some more eBay wins to show (and very few trades — really people, there’s a lot of good stuff here that I’d be happy to trade!), including a Sano AU that I won by a penny! Finally snagged my first Adam Walker II AU and at a reasonable price, and another Mauer AU as well:

right good luck1
clockwise, from top left: 2014 Bowman Inception Prospects #PA-AW Adam Walker II (auto); 2014 Bowman Inception Prospects #PA-MS Miguel Sano (auto); 2004 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Sweet Threads #ST-JM Joe Mauer (jersey); 2013 Topps Heritage Minors Real One #ROA-MK Max Kepler (auto); 2013 Topps Making the Mark #MMA-AH Aaron Hicks (auto); 2014 Topps Trajectory Relic #TR-AH Aaron Hicks (jersey); 2013 Bowman Platinum Prospects Blue #BPAP-TM Trevor May [165/199] (auto); 2004 Upper Deck Etchings Etched in Time Blue #ET-MA Joe Mauer [213/250] (auto)

In addition, my 55th unique Glen Perkins AU was s#/10, my 39th and 40th unique Lew Ford AU card, and if you’re looking for someone continuing to try pick up moderately priced manu-patch letter cards, “I AM IT“:
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A Man Of Letters

I have to admit, I haven’t been actively pursuing any of the manu-patch sets which spell out player names or team names — you know the ones, made by Upper Deck (SP Authentic By The Letter or Icons Lettermen), or Topps (Finest) — some with autos, and some without. I only had a few in my inventory, but that changed with a small cache of former and current Twins closers letter cards picked up on eBay. It’s not often that these are priced within my low ceiling, so I ended up doubling my previous holdings.

Here are all the Twins letter sets that I know of, although I’m uncertain what each spells in some cases. Cards I have are in black:

2006 SP Authentic By The Letter #BL-FL FRANCISCO LIRIANO
2006 SP Authentic By The Letter #BL-JN JOE NATHAN
2006 SP Authentic By The Letter #BL-MO JUSTIN MORNEAU
2007 SP Authentic By The Letter Rookie Signatures #121 GLEN PERKINS?
2007 SP Authentic By The Letter Rookie Signatures #138 ALEXI CASILLA
2007 SP Authentic By The Letter Signatures #BL-13 MINNESOTA TWINS (Bonser)
2007 SP Authentic By The Letter Signatures #BL-40 ?? (Mauer)
2007 SP Authentic By The Letter Signatures #BL-50 ?? (Hunter)
2007 SP Authentic By The Letter Signatures #BL-52 ?? (Morneau)
2008 SP Authentic By The Letter #BL-JN ?? (Nathan)
2008 SP Authentic By The Letter #BL-SB SCOTT BAKER
2008 SP Authentic By The Letter #BL-SB MINNESOTA TWINS (Baker)
2009 Icons Immortal Letterman #IL-KH KENT HRBEK
2009 Icons Immortal Letterman #IL-PM ?? (Molitor)
2009 Icons Lettermen #IL-JN JOE NATHAN
2009 SP Authentic By the Letter Signatures #BTL-GP GLEN PERKINS
2009 SP Authentic By the Letter Signatures #BTL-JN JOE NATHAN
2009 SP Authentic By the Letter Signatures #BTL-NA MINNESOTA TWINS (Nathan)

clockwise, from top left: 2009 Upper Deck SP Authentic By the Letter Signatures ["N"] #BTL-GP Glen Perkins [31/35] (manu-patch auto); 2009 Upper Deck SP Authentic By the Letter Signatures ["R"] #BTL-GP Glen Perkins [18/35] (manu-patch auto); 2009 Upper Deck Icons Lettermen #IL-JN ["O"] Joe Nathan [11/45] (manu-patch); 2009 Upper Deck SP Authentic By the Letter Signatures ["E"] #BTL-NA Joe Nathan [08/36] (manu-patch auto); 2009 Upper Deck SP Authentic By the Letter Signatures ["H"] #BTL-NA Joe Nathan [10/36] (manu-patch auto); 2009 Upper Deck SP Authentic By the Letter Signatures ["T"] #BTL-NA Joe Nathan [06/36] (manu-patch auto); 2009 Upper Deck SP Authentic By the Letter Signatures ["W"] #BTL-JN Joe Nathan [24/25] (manu-patch auto); 2009 Upper Deck SP Authentic By the Letter Signatures ["K"] #BTL-GP Glen Perkins [29/35] (manu-patch auto)

Here are a few other fairly recent acquisitions:

clockwise, from top left: 2004 Donruss Classics Significant Signatures Green #184 Jason Kubel [012/100] (auto); 2004 Donruss Classics Significant Signatures Red #184 Jason Kubel [081/250] (auto); 2008 Upper Deck UD Premier Rookie Signatures Gold #226 Jose Morales [44/58] (auto); 2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects Refractor #BCP158 David Bromberg [018/500] (auto); 2005 Topps Crack Jack Take Me Out to the Ball Game #TO-JJ Jacque Jones (bat); 2004 Topps Cracker Jack Take Me Out to the Ball Game #TB-TKH Torii Hunter (jersey); 2011 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks & Prospects #BCAP-TH Travis Harrison (auto); 2008 Upper Deck UD Premier Rookie Signatures #226 Jose Morales [009/299] (auto)

Four Letters And A Mystery

First, the mystery: I was browsing eBay and I stumbled across the Bowman autographed card below. If you look closely, you’ll see that it does not look like the signature says “David Bromberg” — in fact, with a little research I found that it is in fact Red’s prospect Robert Stephenson’s signature. Well, errors happen all the time (don’t they, Topps?), but the mystery comes in when I look at checklists for the autograph cards in 2011 Bowman Sterling Prospects (or Bowman Sterling MLB Future Stars, which ever name you choose) and this card is not listed. In addition, I’ve never seen another one listed for auction or sold on eBay, whether refractor or not. This card does not exist anywhere else that I’ve seen.

2011 Bowman Sterling Prospects Refractor #BSP-DB David Bromberg [154/199] (auto ERR)

And now the four letters…which are of course, G, C, R, and L, and that spells GCRL, proprietor of Garvey Cey Russell Lopes. A package arrived with a nice minor league GU of Kyle Gibson, half of Donruss’ 1965 WS tribute Twins set, and a few other Topps and Bowman singles that I needed. All in exchange for Dodgers cards, which never really feel at home here on my desk and are always looking for a place to go…

clockwise, from top left: 2012 Topps Pro Debut Minor League Materials #MLM-KG Kyle Gibson (jersey); 2012 Topps Gold #111 Kevin Slowey [0188/2012]; 2005 Donruss 1965 Twins #16 Jim “Mudcat” Grant; 2013 Topps Chrome Update #MB-38 Kyle Gibson; 2013 Topps Pro Debut #175 Jose Berrios; 2005 Donruss 1965 Twins #26 Billy Martin

Thanks once more, GCRL!

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First off, congrats to Brett Graves for being drafted by the A’s in the 3rd round of the MLB Amateur Draft! They’re not the Twins, but they’re a quality organization.

Within the process of trading on The Bench and “Gixen-ing” off of eBay, I’ve managed to pick up several nice (or “n-i-i-i-i-ice”) Twins cards.

I found a couple Twins collectors to trade with that netted each of us a healthy stack of cards we needed and just as importantly, enabled us to reduce our supply of duplicates that have built up. There are still a lot of cards left on the trade page, though.

On the eBay front, I added first AU cards for Kohl Stewart, AJ Pierzynski, second AU cards for Bert Blyleven, Joe Mauer, Gary Gaetti, Harmon Killebrew, and a couple serial #’d 1/5 AU cards.

clockwise, from top left: 2013 Bowman Sterling Prospects #BSAP-KS Kohl Stewart (auto); 2006 Topps Co-Signers #CS-42 Joe Mauer / Francisco Liriano (dual auto); 2004 Upper Deck Etchings Etched in Time Silver #ET-BB Bert Blyleven [045/375] (auto); 2013 Topps Heritage Minors Clubhouse Collection Black #CCR-AM Alex Meyer [38/50] (jersey); 1999 Upper Deck SP Signature Edition #AP A.J. Pierzynski (auto); 2005 Bowman Sterling #BS-TH Torii Hunter (bat); 2013 Topps Archives Fan Favorites Autographs #FFA-GG Gary Gaetti (auto); 1999 Hillshire Farms Home Run Heroes Harmon Killebrew (auto)

Also, some Perkins, Sloweys, and Kubels, Stewarts, Jones, and a couple 1-of-5, Santanas, Nathans, and Cracker Jacks, National Pastime, Leaf Certified Mirror Red, and Spectrum