Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Rest of my Commons from Just Commons!

Hey everyone, Drew back here! I can't believe how quickly my second semester of college has gone. Three weeks remain, including finals week, and then I'll be off for my first college summer vacation. I recently started working at Dick's Sporting Goods as a cashier, so hopefully after a few weeks of saving I'll be able to become even more involved with the hobby. It's nice to finally be receiving money rather than solely spending it, and I'm excited for the summer! 

Today, I wanted to wrap up my first order from JustCommons.com. On Wednesday, I shared my seven new Joe Panik PC additions, and along with those, I was able to knock off 




2004 Topps was the first set I was given for Christmas from my parents, and sure enough over the years of elementary and middle school I managed to lose pieces of it. I traded some cards away (why?) and with that I recently decided to put it back together, put the cards in a binder and store them away. I'm not a very big fan of the set, although I've always liked the little outline drawings of the players in the bottom left corner of the cards. After this purchase, I'm down to needing only three cards to complete the set (I can't seem to find which three I'm missing at the moment, but when I do I'll leave them at the end of this post). I added 24 cards, including of players I collect so I can tuck those away with my PC's while still having the cards in the set binder. Perhaps my favorite part of the set are all the Postseason Highlights cards starring the Yankees and Red Sox. Ah, the good ol' days.


I also attacked a few of my other collections, including some I rarely pay attention to anymore. I couldn't pass up an Allen & Ginter Cano card, although I'm still trying to adjust to that Mariners uniform. As for Hensley, well, it sounds like it's going to be yet another uphill battle for the poor guy. Not only was he attacked over the offseason in his hometown and brutally injured, but he also had to have Tommy John Surgery. Ty seems like a really good kid, and he was great signing for me through the mail, and I wish him all the best with his recovery; I know the TJ Surgery news was crushing to him.


Andrew McCutchen was the other player I focused on with this order, because I was missing some pretty key base cards of his from over the years. I don't ever expect to have all the 1/1's and autographs, but I'd like to at least gain most of the players I collect's base cards from their playing days. Cutch isn't off to the greatest start of his career in 2015, but he's a consistent force to be reckoned with that should not be taken lightly. 


Topps Stadium Club is such an awesome product, and as soon as I knew this card of my all time favorite pitcher existed I wanted to add it to my collection. Sure enough, I was able to add this, as well as the following card of Mo's; both of which depicted a very special night in Yankee Stadium: his final game.


This was such a fantastic baseball moment that will most likely be overshadowed forever by the way Derek Jeter went out. I don't think Mariano minds this all that much, though. I wanted to make sure I had something to remember this game by, and this 2014 Topps will certainly do the trick. Topps has done a great job highlighting all the recent Yankee retirements, and I'm excited to see who will be the next player (from this current team or in the future) to make their mark on the franchise half as much as Jeter and Mariano did.

I was very pleased with my first JustCommons.com purchase, and I hope to add more cards from their site in the future. If you haven't given it a chance yet, I highly recommend you do. While Sportlots may provide you cheaper prices, JustCommons has a universal shipping cost that probably will save you money in most cases. And don't worry Check Out My Cards, you're not going anywhere. I'm still loyal, I swear.

See Ya!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Joe Panik PC Pickups from JustCommons!

Hey everyone, Drew back here! About two or three weeks ago, I made my first purchase on JustCommons.com. As many of you may know, I am a big fan of COMC.com, and I even have a store on their site (shameless plug, couldn't help it). However, I've since learned that ordering base cards tends to add up quickly on COMC, and that I could find cheaper base cards on other sites. I have heard a lot of people talk up this site, and decided to give it a shot. For about $15, I was able to acquire cards of all of my PC players, as well as some set needs and much more. The purchase netted me with 7 new Joe Panik cards, which is the subject of today's post.


I finally got a hold of Panik's first Bowman card, from the 2011 Draft Picks & Prospects set. Joe started the season struggling at the plate, but he's been picking up for that over the past week. He is now batting .281 this season with 3 RBI.


From everything I've seen of Joe's past performances, his speciality seems to lie on the defensive side of the ball. He obviously made a fantastic diving stop in the World Series to start what would be a double play after it was reviewed, but he's frequently known to flash the leather and it's impressive to watch! He appears to be a pretty one dimensional threat at the plate, but is a pretty good contact hitter at that. Panik doesn't appear to have much pop in his bat, but as long as he can get hits he'll have a spot in a lineup for years to come.


Panik's 2014 Topps Heritage High Number card is his official rookie card, whereas all of the previous cards are considered prospect editions. It is my favorite card of his that has come out so far, and I would love to get my hands on one of the autographed copies. This will certainly do for now.


Finally, we have his first card of 2015, out of Topps Heritage once again. I can't wait to see his flagship debut that hopefully will be in Series 2, because this card doesn't do much for me. It is nice to have a card of Joe in his home San Francisco uniform rather than in batting practice or minor league jerseys!

With these 7 pickups, I now own 11 unique cards of Joe's in my collection. If you have any cards of his for trade, take a look at my checklist and feel free to email me at yanks1996wsc@gmail.com!

See Ya!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ten for Tuesday - Worth the Price of Admission

Hey guys, Drew back here! A lot has been said over the past few years how baseball has lost some of its magic among the younger crowd. Kids these days seem to gravitate towards quicker paced games such as football and basketball because this generation has been prone to a lack of attention span. However, the game appears to be at its purest since the Golden Eras of the 1950's and 1960's, thanks in part to the collection of excellent prospects debuting practically every year. Prospects such as Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant have generated more interest before their MLB debuts than the best players in the majors at the time such as Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols. The only piece missing to the game is the peaked interest of young kids, which is vitally important towards keeping our beloved game going strong for years to come.

This week's list will be meant as suggestions of players to perhaps show your kids (or, if you are a kid, to check out) that could make them the fan you are in the future! All of the players on this list are below the age of 27, because I felt like the list needed to be capped at some point, so you won't see Clayton Kershaw, Buster Posey, or Andrew McCutchen on this countdown. Also, this list is not based solely upon statistics and talent, but additionally focuses on the likability and excitement factors.

10 Most Exciting Young Players to Watch in 2015

Honorable Mentions - Nolan Arenado, Masahiro Tanaka, Anthony Rizzo, Manny Machado, Billy Hamilton

If you're looking for premium five tool talents, watch out for Manny Machado and Nolan Arenado. They are big power seasons away from debuting on this list, but in the meantime, check out some of the glovework they've displayed recently. And if you're in a need for speed, Billy Hamilton is the best in the business. If he improves at getting on base, he will easily crack the top 10.

10 - Madison Bumgarner, SP, San Francisco Giants (Video)

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There is nothing about this man that appears to be 25 years old, but sure enough, "Mad-Bum" is only a quarter century of age. His long hair and beard adds to his intimidation, and although he isn't a flamethrower he still knows how to overpower his opponents. The 2014 World Series MVP carved his name into baseball lore with his epic postseason performances; practically winning the World Series for the Giants. His performances also landed him "Mad-Bum" underwear, a Jimmy Fallon Late Night appearance, an endorsement with Carhartt, and 2014's Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. And, if that isn't enough; he can crush the ball at the plate when he's called upon to do so.

9 - Mookie Betts, CF, Boston Red Sox (Video)

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Mookie Betts, as painful as it is to say being a Yankees fan, is extremely good. His talent has surplanted everything he was expected to fulfill thus far for the Red Sox, and he keeps getting better. It may look like an overreaction to have him this high on my list after a huge Spring Training and hot start to 2015, but it's more than just the numbers with Betts. He's a human highlight reel in center field, and last week he stole two bases on a single play; a brilliant baseball play most young players don't seem to pick up on. He's no longer rookie eligible, but you can bet he'll be bringing home hardware in the not so distant future.

8 - Chris Sale, SP, Chicago White Sox (Video)

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Chris Sale has been arguably the best pitcher in the American League the past three years when healthy, but health has been the question mark at times. His lanky, side arm delivery is menacing towards opposing batters; reminiscent of Randy Johnson's legendary mechanics. If he is able to sustain that delivery in the future without suffering a serious shoulder or elbow injury, he may continue to be the most fun pitcher to watch in the league.

7 - Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs (Video)

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Number 7 belongs to a player who has been all the talk lately on social media and throughout baseball. Kris Bryant has been a mega prospect ever since he was drafted 2nd overall in the 2013 Draft by the Cubs. This spring, he was in the middle of a difficult financial position by Theo Epstein and Chicago's front office, but this past Friday he was called up to make his MLB debut! I don't believe he will be as advertised in his rookie season, but I still think he'll either win or come close to winning Rookie of the Year. In the future, this mammoth of a bat has the potential to be a Hall of Fame caliber player, although it would be helpful if he could develop a little better on the defensive end. I have all the respect in the world for Bryant for how he handled the demotion after crushing home runs nearly every at bat in Spring Training. It's difficult for any rookie with his potential to immediately fulfill expectations, but he is a must watch player every time he steps into the batter's box.

6 - Jose Fernandez, SP, Miami Marlins (Video)

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The 2013 NL Rookie of the Year had made an impressive splash down in Miami, but unfortunately Tommy John Surgery brought his career to a halt. When Fernandez returns in June/July of this season, baseball fans hope he can retain the talent he showed off before. His absence from the game for over a year has diminished some of what he did before, but his electric stuff should bring him right back to the top of the game, where his personality and skill belongs. Plus, he works his tail off biking and training, and is still in tip-top shape despite having the surgery.

5 - Yasiel Puig, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers (Video)

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The next two players on this list are two of the most electric and exciting players in the sport, held back on this list by inconsistency and injury problems. The first is Yasiel Puig, who, in two full seasons had become one of the most fun players to impersonate and watch. Puig plays the game the way it is meant to be played (let us remember, this is a kid's game after all), with passion and exuberance that is hard to replicate. But sometimes he has a bit too much fun, to the point where he's been arrested for reckless driving and frequently arriving late to the ballpark. At 24 years old, I envision Puig growing up more as he gets older and hopefully making smarter choices. But when he's on the field, and all is going right, he has a larger than life persona that even landed him on the cover of this year's MLB The Show video game.

4 - Bryce Harper, OF, Washington Nationals (Video)

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Bryce Harper always seems to go hand in hand with Yasiel Puig, to me. Both players have the potential to dethrone Mike Trout as the best all around player in the game, but haven't quite gotten there yet. Harper was a prodigy, and has faced more pressure than perhaps any other player in baseball history, and I would say that he's done a superb job of handling it all. With new waves of talent being unleashed in the show today (Kris Bryant), Harper has had some of the weight lifted off of his shoulders, which could mean big things for the remainder of 2015. Thus far, he's been off to a hot start, and he absolutely mashed a ball to center field versus the Phillies this past weekend. I love watching Harper play because he gives 110% effort on every single play. It often results in injury, but I love the reckless demeanor he has towards the game and that he gives his heart and soul towards the team. I don't ever see him becoming someone mentioned among the likes of Mays and Mantle, but I think there are many great years to come from the nation capital's biggest star.

3 - Matt Harvey, SP, New York Mets (Video)

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He's back, and just as good as ever before. Matt Harvey, Gotham's new "Dark Knight", may not be off to the start he became famous for in 2013 before also needing to undergo Tommy John Surgery, but he's going to perform. I watched the E60 documentary on Harvey's return from surgery, and realized just how big of a star he is, especially coming from New York. Harvey is the highest ranked pitcher on this list because of the spotlight he receives, and because he can deliver in high pressure situations. His ego may be aggravating to the Mets front office, but ultimately he just wishes to do his job and do it well. Jacob deGrom has been phenomenal too in a larger sample size, but Harvey is New York's finest star at the time (sorry, A-Rod).

2 - Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels (Video)

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You bet your butt that Mike Trout is not #1 on my list. I feel like everyone likes Trout, but some, myself included, can tend to get bored of his consistent excellence. He seems to have mastered the art of the big leagues, despite having led the AL in strikeouts last season. The strikeout has been the kryptonite to his Superman status (you can tell by the past two paragraphs how excited I am for Batman vs. Superman), but like everything else, watch him defeat that too. However, if you are looking to get into the game, just go to YouTube and search his name. The guy is on his way to becoming the next face of the game and ambassador similar to that of Derek Jeter and Cal Ripken Jr., and he's perhaps the most dynamic player we've seen since the turn of the century. If you want to learn how to play baseball, watch this guy (but watch Victor Martinez for plate discipline).

1 - Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Miami Marlins (Video)

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Everyone loves the long ball, and Giancarlo Stanton is perhaps the most talented young player in that facet of the game. Stanton has a great personality, and has proven his insane skill time and time again. Watching this guy hit in batting practice and launch balls into the goofy display in center field of Marlins Park will make you a baseball fan; almost a 99.9% guarantee. I really hope the Marlins can turn their rough start around so we can see him play meaningful games down the stretch, and here's to hoping he doesn't get the same treatment he got last September, which involved a trip to the hospital and multiple operations. Any of these upper tier players are capable of making people who previously hated or were indifferent towards baseball a fan, but Stanton is the most exciting player to watch even when he's not crushing the ball. Every pitch he watches at the plate has the potential to leave the stadium, and that is must-see TV.

Alright everyone, that is how I would rank the most exciting young players in baseball. There are so many guys who barely missed the cut, and I can see this list being completely rearranged. I know I don't have all the answers, but I like to spark conversation, and with the recent promotion of Kris Bryant, I thought this would be a fitting theme for the week.

Who did I miss? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

See Ya!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

I've Hit a Gold Mine on eBay!

Hey everyone, Drew back here! I can not even begin to explain how busy the past few weeks have been, but it's safe to say I haven't had as much time for blogging as I have in recent months. However, I have been adding some pretty nice stuff to my collection again, as I recently got a job and now I haven't been feeling as uptight with my money. One of my favorite cards I've added recently is something I know several of my readers will be jealous of.


Out of 2013 Topps Five Star, my first autograph of Diamondbacks young superstar Paul Goldschmidt. I had the pleasure of seeing "Goldy" play in person last year when my family went to AT&T Park in San Francisco, and his talent was as advertised. He doubled in his first at bat and was a dangerous bat all day long for the Giants. Goldschmidt was having a great, possible MVP season in 2014 until it was cut short two months early when he broke his hand. However, he is back in business in 2015, and has already shown signs of getting right back to where he was. Playing in Arizona has made him one of the more underrated stars in today's game, and that's really too bad. If he was a Yankee, he would have come home with some nice hardware in his trophy case already, and probably would be much more popular than he has been. Regardless, he will continue to be a five tool talent for a struggling Diamondbacks franchise that hopes to overcome several difficult seasons in 2015 and beyond. 


I picked up this card for about $15 on eBay, which I considered fair since his autograph prices have slightly risen and for the caliber of the card itself. This is my first Five Star autograph in my collection, and simply put, wow. I can see why people love this product. The card is on extremely thick stock, but it almost gives it extra elegance that make it stand out. 

I hope to see a whole lot of Goldschmidt in the highlight reels this year and in the future. At the age of 27, he is entering what is usually a hitter's "prime years", and if he can build off some of his already incredible seasons, that would be quite the accomplishment.

See Ya!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Ten for Tuesday - Best Active MLB Penmanship

Hey guys, Drew back here! This week's edition of my new program, "Ten for Tuesday", features my hand crafted list of who I believe have the 10 nicest signatures in all of Major League Baseball today. The art of the signature has been lost in an era of constant autograph signings and requests, but there are still some players who appear to take pride in how they write their name for fans. We certainly appreciate the extra few seconds players may take to give us a beautiful signature, and with the ten players I am about to reveal, they almost always take that route rather than scribbling something illegible. As you may recall if you have been following this blog for a long time, I ran a "Worst Autograph Bracket" about five years ago, and former pitcher Jason Jennings faced off against running back Vernand Morency in the final round.

So with this list I have excluded every single baseball player who is not currently active, and I veered outside of discussing prospects either because it would only make the list more difficult to compile. I chose players who have had their share of MLB experience, even if they aren't all currently at the top of their game. Elite players did not receive any kind of boost on the list, as this is simply about their penmanship. With all of the qualifications out of the way, let's get started.

10 Best Signatures in MLB Today

Honorable Mentions - David Wright, Shelby Miller, Tom Wilhelmsen, Carlos Beltran, Tucker Barnhart



10 - Miguel Cabrera

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Miggy's autograph is fitting to the way he hits the ball. The constant vertical strokes makes the signature violent, and as we all saw this past weekend; he sure can crush the ball. Cabrera is again one of the most popular players in the game, and he still makes his signature something fun to look at. I love how he writes his C in Cabrera in particular, but the whole thing flows in a somewhat chaotic way.

9 - Torii Hunter

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Torii Hunter is the first of Harmon Killebrew's proteges to make this list. If you've never read about Killebrew's influence on young Twins players to sign their autograph with pride, I highly suggest you do. Hunter has resulted with a fun autograph that fits his personality very well. I really like the pizzazz in the signature, and that you can almost picture a smiley face at the end of Torii (respect to Tug McGraw). Maybe he could pass down the lesson he learned to Twins top prospects Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton.

8 - David Robertson


While researching for this post, I came across a great article written around this time last year from the New York Times in which Robertson credits his grandmother for his signature being his full name in comparison to "DRob". Robby has had an underrated career thus far, and I had the pleasure of meeting him a few years ago while he was arguably the best set up man in baseball. I will take any autograph that features every single letter, and the way he signs his "D" in David is pretty unique to me.

7 - Jackie Bradley Jr.

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Jackie Bradley Jr. gets a lot of credit for the way he signs his cards, however, he gets a bit of a kick in these rankings because he signs most baseballs simply "JBJ". The difference between he and the following 6 players is the difference in signatures when signing different items, and frankly, the baseball signatures would be nowhere close to this list. Justin Upton was another player who signs cards and flats beautifully but has relatively bland signed baseballs, and he was kept completely off this list in result. Bradley is currently in Triple-A for the Red Sox due to their overcrowded outfield, and I hope he gets traded so we can see if he'll ever reach his full potential.

6 - Victor Martinez


It almost feels like people overlook Victor Martinez in autograph discussions, and I'm really not sure why that is. V-Mart sports a fancy, full signature that ranks among the very best in baseball today. He enjoyed a career year in 2014 and looks to repeat this year, although he isn't getting any younger. I traded a Hakeem Nicks autograph to my friend for the card above a few years ago and it turned out to be so worth it.

5 - Jose Bautista


Jose Bautista seems like an awesome guy. One of my biggest blog regrets was starting a one and done blog feature a few years ago called "Juice, Fluke, or Truth", in which I questioned the legitimacy of his 54 home run 2010 campaign. It is now 2015, and "Joey Bats" has not failed a drug test or been proven guilty of any banned substances. While the power in Toronto has been suspicious in recent years, I'm now implementing the innocent until proven guilty mentality with him and several others. He is now one of my favorite all around players in baseball, and he follows both my regular Twitter and blog Twitter, which I find completely awesome! As for his ink, Jose provides fans with every single letter, slanted and angled with a grace that does not line up with the way he hits the ball. He is one of the most dangerous sluggers in baseball, and he has a beautiful autograph. Well done, Jose; well done.

4 - Pat Neshek


This guy may have been the first to come to mind when you all saw the post title, and rightfully so. Pat has been one of the best guys and signers in baseball history, ranking among the likes of Bob Feller and Bobby Doerr as far as TTM'ing is concerned. Neshek's autograph is the most unique in the game today, as he places baseball seams inside the "P" in Pat. Otherwise, the rest of the autograph flows well, and he tops every autograph off with his number 17. If you wish to try out through the mail autograph requests, I highly recommend sending to him with your first request. And before I move forward, I'd like to point out that this guy has become one of the best middle relievers in baseball recently, which is something few actually mention. Way to go Pat; the entire hobby is rooting for your success!

3 - Felix Hernandez


Taking the bronze medal is the King. Felix Hernandez is primed for a huge 2015, although he struggled on Sunday and had to leave the game early with quadriceps tightness. He wears his heart on his sleeve for the Mariners, and the fans are in love with him. And on top of it all, his autograph embodies the royalty in his nickname. The circular outline of his name makes this the most elegant autograph on this list, and the best autograph to get of any superstar player in the game.

2 - Julio Teheran

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Even when I hardly knew any prospects in baseball, I knew who Julio Teheran was. Why, you may ask? Come on, just look at that signature on the Triple Threads card pictured above. I began to always subconsciously think of him as "the prospect with amazing penmanship", and when he came up with the Braves I naturally started rooting for him. Teheran went into 2015 with two tremendous full seasons under his belt, and he's a great candidate to continue that trend in the future. When a player is worth rooting for just because of the way he signs his name, you know he deserves to be ranked highly on this list.

1 - Michael Cuddyer


Until Cuddyer walks away from the game, he's got the top spot on this list just about locked up. He may not be the player that Harmon Killebrew was, but he has carried on a tradition of excellent penmanship from the face behind the MLB logo. Perhaps players like Miguel Cabrera, Felix Hernandez, and Victor Martinez have flair in their signatures that may look more enjoyable to collect, but Cuddyer's is far classier.

There you have it; my top 10 favorite autographs in baseball today. I could think of about 30 total autographs capable of holding a spot on this list, but chose a select 10 that I either am proud to own or desperately wish to one day possess. I actually have autographs of 8 of the 10 players on this list, two of which I haven't gotten to share with you all yet.

The point of this post is to show you all that the "there aren't any good autographs anymore" argument is not true. While the players of yesteryear were more likely to provide their fans with gorgeous signatures, there are still guys today who try to appeal to those of us in the hobby who enjoy collecting ink. There are probably five or six bad autographs in baseball today for every average/better one, but with thousands of professional players out there, there are plenty of guys to collect.

Whose signature(s) in the game today do you enjoy most? Are there any names you think should have been included, and why? 

See Ya!