A Partial Look At My Tino Martinez Collection

 

Today, The Yankees honored a player who was instrumental in winning 4 world championships in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000 with a plaque out in the famed Monument Park. That player is Tino Martinez, who also just happens to be my favorite Yankee.

 

My earliest memories of Tino Martinez was watching him kill the Yankees as a member of the Mariners during the 1995 American League Division Series, batting .409 with a homer and 5 RBI’s. When I heard Don Mattingly was taking a year off to decide his future, I wondered if the Yankees could get their hands on the guy from Seattle. Sure enough, the Yankees traded Sterling Hitchcock and Russ Davis for Jim Mecir, Jeff Nelson and Contantino Martinez. Highway robbery if it ever was. Jeff Nelson was a huge part of the championship teams as well as Tino was.

 

Over the years, I got to watch Tino launch home runs over the right field wall at the old Yankee Stadium and make some beautiful plays over at first base. I always felt Tino was robbed of a Gold Glove or two, but because the AL also had JT Snow, Rafael Palmero and John Olerud, Tino never won a Gold Glove and I think that’s a shame. He was a tremendous fielding first baseman.

 

Tino’s best season was in 1997, when he hit 44 home runs and had 141 RBI’s. He finished second in the voting for Most Valuable Player, losing out to Ken Griffey Jr. He also participated and won the Home Run Derby during that season’s All Star Game festivities, which was a joy for me.

 

My two most memorable Tino moments were in 1996 and 1998 respectively. First, during the early part of the 1996 season, Tino had started off slow and was being booed by Yankee fans. The Yankees were in Baltimore and one of the games wen late into extra innings. Tino belted a game winning home run and was cheered loudly when the team came back to NY. The second, was obviously during Game 1 of the 1998 World Series when he hit a grand slam into the upper deck off Mark Langston giving the Yankees a 4 run lead. I will always remember seeing a shower of beer pop up in the air after the ball landed into the upper deck.

 

Like I mentioned previously, I started collecting Tino Martinez cards back in 2002. Because I have other player collections, my Tino collection may not be as large as others, but I am proud of it. Here are my favorite Tino cards, starting with the base and inserts:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are my favorite Game Used cards. Mind you, these were taken before I got a scanner and I never got around to scanning them. The scanner is now broken.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also have this printing plate

 

 

And probably my favorite Tino piece

 

 

This was a gift from a friend who used to sell cards. He accidentally sent an order late for a secret santa I was participating in. Knowing that Tino is my favorite, he sent this to me as a gift to make up for the lateness of the order. I never met Tino and I hope to at some point.

 

There are other cards I need to pick up. I also have eyes on some other Tino items like bobbleheads, his Starting Lineup figures, a Danbury Mint statue and some programs with him on the cover. My ultimate would be a Tino game used bat and jersey. Maybe when I win lotto.

 

Congratulations, Tino.  You had a great career and you were a wonderful Yankee. I think the plaque in Monument Park is rightfully deserved. You sit with the greats now.

I Love To Get My Balls Signed…Baseballs, That Is.

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One of my hobby goals for 2014 is to get more autographed baseballs in my Yankees collection. In fact, I have made an ambitious goal for myself and that is to get as close to 100 signed baseballs from Yankee players, former and present, for the collection. I say it’s pretty ambitious because I’m not what you would call an autograph hound. I don’t go chasing players or wait at their hotels or hang out the ballparks before players arrive. Of course that’s because I don’t know where the player hotels are and it’s difficult to graph at Yankee Stadium.

So, how do I add signed baseballs to my collection? Player appearances is one way. That’s how I was able to get players like Hideki Matsui, Darryl Strawberry, Bucky Dent and David Cone to sign baseballs for me. Another way is card shows. The card show I go to usually will have 1 free player and if that person is what I deem “ball worthy”, I will get them to sign or I will pay for the player if he’s not too expensive. Some of the players I have gotten this way is Ruben Sierra, Bobby Richardson and Gaylord Perry. Then there is the TTM route. To be honest, I have lost more baseballs than gotten back, but a couple of the players I have gotten back were Mike Mussina and Jimmy Key.

So, here is the signed baseball collection right now:

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I have them on a shelf right over my bobblehead collection. I kind of think I’m running out of room. I probably have just that row to finish and that would be it. Another row might be pushing it.

 

So, which players do I want to add to the collection? Well, I have more than a few players in mind.

 

The Core Four

 

Derek Jeter

Mariano Rivera

Andy Pettitte

Jorge Posada

 

The Champions

 

Paul O’Neill

Tino Martinez

Scott Brosius

Orlando Hernandez

Ron Guidry

Sparky Lyle

Cecil Fielder

A.J. Burnett

Mike Stanton

Brett Gardner

Willie Randolph

Tim Raines

Bernie Williams

 

The Hall Of Fame Players

 

Dave Winfield

Rickey Henderson

Joe Torre

Reggie Jackson

Rich Gossage

Phil Niekro

Phil Rizzuto (I know he’s passed on, but his autograph are still out there)

 

The Managers

 

Lou Pinellia

Buck Showalter

Ralph Houk (See Phil Rizzuto)

 

There are other players I want as well like Aaron Boone, Dave Righetti and Bobby Murcer. Players who may not have had hall of fame careers or won a championship here, but still made a difference in Pinstripes.

 

So, as you can see, I have some players to chase around if I want to get to my goal of 100 signed baseballs by the end of 2014. Right now, I’m at 42 baseballs, so if I’m going to get to 100, I better get my butt in gear. I consider myself rather fortunate that I am lucky enough to have the autographs that I do own. Hopefully by the end of the year, I will be wondering where am I going to display all the autographs. Then I will know that I reached my goal and can set my next goal. 200, here I come.

In Celebration Of El Capitan

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I’ve been a Yankees fan since 1976. I was 5 years old when I first saw Chris Chambliss hit an ALCS winning walk off home run that sent the Yankees to the World Series that season. I’ve seen players put on the pinstripes that would eventually be Hall Of Famers. Jackson, Hunter, Gossage, Winfield, Henderson were all Yankees at one point or another. I also saw players that might not be Hall Of Fame players, but personified what being a Yankee is all about. Players like Mattingly, Murcer, Randolph, O’Neill, Williams, Tino, Pettitte, Mussina, Cone all fit this description to a T. Then you have Mariano who is the greatest closer in the history of the game. An argument can be made that the Yankees may not have won all those World Series without number 42.

Then, there’s Jeter.

From the moment I saw him play on Opening Day against the Indians back in 1996, I knew this guy was something special.  He hit a home run and made a nice over the shoulder catch in that first game, so how could I not be excited? Especially when all I heard coming out of spring training that year was he was a work in progress. He was going to make his share of errors and if he hit .270, the Yankees would be happy. He finished at .310 with 10 home runs and 78 RBI’s and had 183 hits that season. Oh yeah, he was going to be special all right.

With this being his final year, I decided I was going to create a binder for just his cards. That is a tremendous task for me as I am still in the process of organizing my thousands of Yankees cards. I am pulling all his cards and putting them in 9 pocket pages so I can see just what I have, Derek Jeter-wise. As I’m going along, I am seeing cards that I forgot I had. It’s like Christmas all over again for me.

So, over the course of this final season, I will post pictures of some of my favorite Jeter pieces. Cards, figures, bobbleheads, whatever I have of Derek Sanderson Jeter, I will post. Being that I am not a Jeter collector per say, I still have some very nice Jeter pieces in my Yankees collection.

 

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I’ll start with my very first Jeter autograph that I picked up. I admitedly do not have a lot of Jeter autographs, just 3 in my Yankees collection. This 2003 Fleer Showcase Sweet Sigs autograph is the only one I paid for, the other two were incredibly lucky pulls in group breaks.

I remember going to the Westchester Sports Card  show, like I always do. This particular year, I think it was 2005, I had gotten a pretty nice tax return that year and I went into the show  telling myself I wasn’t walking out without a Derek Jeter autograph. I really wanted a signed baseball, but the prices were too high, as they remain to this day. Plus the few I could afford had sketchy autographs, so I turned to certified autographed cards.  I saw some nice cards that day, but decided on the Sweet Sigs because I had wanted an autograph on a ball and this was the closest I would come to since it was signed on a piece of rawhide. I would have picked up a signed UD Sweet Spot, but this card was about 50.00 cheaper.  The picture doesn’t do the card justice. The auto is actually pretty sharp to this day.

Being that Derek Jeter is one of the most popular Yankees of all time, his stuff can be pretty pricey. I did want to add a few more things this up coming season to my Yankee collection, but I may hold out since everyone is grabbing as much Jeter stuff, driving the prices up. A signed ball is still my holy grail, but I dn’t see myself paying the asking price for one.

Being that he is The Captain, there will always be items for us collectors to pick up and add to our collections. The card companies will always print up Jeter cards, McFarlane will probably make a few more Jeter figures. Plus, thanks to eBay, there will always be a plethora of Jeter goodies to get our grubby mitts on. As a Yankee collector, that is fine by me. Too much is never enough.

 

 

Finally Added An Autograph I’ve Been After..

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For the past couple of seasons, I’ve been trying to pick up an Ivan Nova autograph to add to my Yankees collection. One of my goals is to add as many autographs of players who donned the pinstripes at anytime in their career. Be it for an inning or 20 years, if they played for the Yankees, I want their autograph.

I am working on my Yankees autographed baseball collection, but not every player is ball worthy, in my opinion. Baseballs are a lot of money these days, so I will either try to hunt down a signed 8×10 or a certified autograph on a  baseball card that was released by Topps, Panini, Upper Deck, Fleer or Donruss, depending on when the player played in New York. The player also has to be pictured in a Yankees uniform as well.  I would like to get a list done of which players I already have so I have a number of what I have. That will be my next project, after I finish organizing my thousands of Yankees baseball cards. A daunting task in it’s self.

Since Nova’s debut in 2010, I have been trying to pick up an autograph of his. It hasn’t come easy. I usually get outbid on autographs on eBay or there are cards that have been ridiculously expensive. Nova’s career stats are 40-21 with a 4.04 ERA, but he has been very inconstant. He has yet to put together a full season where he doesn’t struggle for a few months at a time and now he is lost for the rest of 2014 due to Tommy John surgery. He was thought to be a big part of the rotation this year, but started out slow and got shelved.

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I finally won a eBay auction for a Nova autograph and it’s a beaut. I won this 2012 Topps Museum Collection dual jersey autograph for less than $5.00. I’m guessing that Nova’s current status as an injured player had something to do with why I got this card for so low a price. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. Nothing I love more than winning a Yankee autograph for next to nothing.

The card is numbered to #99 made. It has two swatches from his home uniform. I say uniform because it doesn’t say they are jersey pieces. Heck, the back of the card even goes as far as to say that they are not from any specific game, season or event. That means they may not even be game used. I guess ignorance will have to be bliss in my case, not that I bid on the card because I cared about the game used pieces, although the pinstripe piece pleases me.

I can cross Nova off my list and move on to other players I need autographs of. Off the top of my head, David Justice, Chuck Knoblauch and Scott Brosius are three players from the championship years I really need in my collection. Maybe I can add them in the next few weeks. Either way, I won’t stop hunting them until I do.

Package From Tromp Sports Cards

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For the past 6 years, I have been a part of a group called the Team Collectors. We met on the old Beckett boards and formed a group that would send cards to each other. It’s a great group as not only has our team collections have grown, but there is a friendship among us all. We look out for each other, listen to each other when we have problems and have been there for each other. It’s a group I cherish being a part of and I hope we continue to be together for a long time.

One of the members, Mike, has an online card store. Here is the link in case you want to check it out: www.TrompsSportsCards.com  It’s a nice online shop. I recommend it.

So I finally placed an order, since he had some cards I needed for my various collections and not too long after, I received my package. Here are some of my favorites.

I am a huge Mark Teixeira fan. I have been since his days as a Texas Ranger. Once he became a Yankee, I decided to collect his cards and the store had a few I needed for my Teixeira collection.

 

 

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I also got to pick up this Topps Heritage Certified autograph of former Yankees pitcher Bob Kuzava.

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I already got his autograph through the mail, but I thought this card looked very cool and at the price I paid it was too good to pass up.

There were other cards I picked up, but those were non Yankee cards and this is a blog about nothing but the New York Yankees, so onward we go.

Mike also threw in some extra cards for my Yankees collection.

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I love these cards of Ruth and Mantle. Mickey is one of my all time favorite Yankees and anytime I can add a card of his to my Yankees collection, I am a happy guy. I would love to add some Mantle vintage to my collection one day. Maybe when I hit the lottery I can.

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I just started a Derek Jeter PC, so these will go great into that collection. Over the past couple of weeks I have been hunting through my Yankees cards and pulling all Jeter cards and putting them into 9 pocket pages. I just need to buy a binder for them all.

There were other cards inside the package, but these were my absolute favorites. I want to thank my buddy Mike for the sale and his generosity on the extras. I cannot recommend his online store enough, so check it out and tell him that I sent you.

Bobbleheads Come in All Sizes

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I am always looking to add new bobbleheads to my collection. Especially Yankees bobbleheads. I haven’t really picked up any new bobbleheads for the collection lately, so I am pretty behind on additions. Unfortunately, work is slow right now, so I have to watch what I spend my money on. Until things pick up, my bobblehead additions will be few.

But things can sometimes go in my favor. Case in point, this past Saturday I was hanging out with my friend at a flea market in Fishkill, NY. I had been there before looking stuff to pick up. The Yankee items I see in various booths are either in poor condition, something I already own or too pricey, so I usually pass on what the dealers are peddling.

I visited this one table that I had purchased items from before. This dealer usually has a wide variety of goodies for sale. From sports items to pop culture items, this dealer has some pretty nice stuff. Problem is all his good stuff is pretty expensive. I did see this one small Yankees item that I became very interested in, especially since I never seen it before. The price was a whopping $2.00.  Easy decision. It came home with me.

 
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What I had bought was a Baseline Bopper. It was made in the late 1990’s by a toy company called ERTL.  I had seen these before, except made as cars. I had never seen them in an airplane before, which is why I snatched it up quickly.

Here is an example of the the cars look like

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I have been looking for the car at a decent price for a while and instead, I find the airplane.

Here are some shots of this tiny beauty:

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The propeller actually work.

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I love finding pieces like this to add to my Yankees collection. It’s something like this that makes the hunt so exciting and gratifying when you come across unique items. Yeah, I know it’s not much, but anytime I can diversify my collection with different items, all relating to the Yankees, then I’m a happy man.

Off the subject, you may have noticed the title of this blog has changed. I felt that the new title reflects what I want to accomplish with this blog and that is sharing my Yankees collection with the community. And not just the pieces I pick up, but the hunt and chase for the item as well. I feel the title change fits the blog perfectly. I hope you think so as well.

Start Of A New Collection

As many cards I have. As many bobble heads I own. As many autographs I possess. I am always looking for something else to collect to show my love of the Yankees. Sure I have figures and jerseys and t shirts and magazines and other stuff that would make most people back away slowly. I figured what I collect next shouldn’t take too much room or I might end up on that T.V. series, “Hoarders”. 

So, I decided I would start 2 new Yankees collections. These are collections I have always wanted to start and have always been doing in someway. I just decided to be more serious about collecting and taking care of them as I would my other Yankees treasures. One I will discuss here and the other will have a entry of it’s own. Today, I want to show off the beginnings of my Yankees pin collection.

Now, As I mentioned before, I have a few pins already (finding them would be a good thing).  After looking at other fans pins collections, I decided to start my own. Picking up pins is pretty cheap, so I hope to have a pretty good collection of different Yankee pins by the end of the year. 

I was out and about this past Saturday and decided to pop into the Yankees Clubhouse store on 42nd St, by 8th Ave. As I was looking at a few t shirts, jerseys and jackets I plan to pick up for the new season, I stopped by the register to inquire about a Yankees phone cover for my brand new Samsung Galaxy Note 2. They only had Iphone covers at the moment, but I will keep looking as I cannot find a Yankees cover for this phone to save my life. While I was there, I noticed a spin rack of different Yankee pins. After looking over what they had, I picked 3 from the rack and bought them. 

Here are the three pins I picked up:

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Grabbed this one of the interlocking NY. I’m more of a fan of the baseball logo, but they didn’t have that one at the time. I will grab it when I see it.

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Picked up this one of the new Yankee Stadium. Anything that has Yankee Stadium in any of it’s incarnations, I will grab for my collection.

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Of course no Yankees collection is complete without the trophy that no other team as won more of. This was the first pin I saw off the rack and grabbed it without thinking twice.

Admittedly, I do not know much about collecting pins. I do know I have to find a binder of some sort where I can store them. I have seen Disney pin collectors carry their pins around in these binders and I believe I can pick one up at the next sports card show I attend in a couple of weeks, 

I also know that the more desirable pins to collect are the press pins. These are pins that are given out to members of the media for special events such as the All Star Game and World Series, I have seen a few of these pins on eBay and they command a nice chunk of change. Maybe when I have more funds I will pick up a few press pins. 

I’m pretty excited to start this part of my Yankees collection. I’m sure as this collection grows with pins I pick up at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees Clubhouse Store, eBay or anywhere else, I will cherish them as I do with every other part of my collection. I already can’t wait to add more pins.

New Cards For The Yankees Collection And Some More 2013 Topps

I have been a part of a group of guys who share the same passion as I do. Collect as many cards, autographs, game used, figurines, bobble heads, magazines and whatever else we can get our hands on of our favorite teams. We call ourselves The Team Collectors. (Catchy name, ain’t it?). We came together about 7 years ago over on the old Beckett boards. Thankfully  I was the first one who responded and claimed the Yankees and we were off and running.

The premise of the group, originally, was pretty simple. We would send all the other collectors cards of their teams. In return, they would send back cards of the team you collected. Very basic stuff. But, over time, we all have become very close. We not only send each other cards, we are there for each other. We have been through divorces, deaths, marriages, births and everything else life has thrown at us. This group of guys has become a second family to me and I am proud to be a part of this group.

Today, one of our members, Chris who is our resident A’s collector, sent me a nice 2 team bag package of Yankees cards. Here are some of my favorites:

Some Ichiro for the collection:

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I’m really hoping that he maintains the .300 average he put up after he was traded to New York. I was glad the Yankees resigned him. He has always been one of my favorite players.

Some 2013 Topps Yankees cards

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I love those Chasing History inserts. Inserts are some of my favorite cards to collect and Topps always has some cool inserts.

A-Rod’s chase to 3,000 hits will be so ho-hum. It’s pretty sad. This should be a celebrated feat, but because of the scandals Rodriguez has been linked to, I’m afraid he won’t get the adulation 3,000 hits warrents.

Some Mark Teixeira cards for my Teixeira collection that I needed:

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And an Adam Warren Bowman Platinum autograph

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Thanks so much Chris. I will be getting a package out to you as well. By the way, Chris has started an A’s blog. I urge you all to go check it out at http://chavyfan.mlblogs.com/. It’s brand new, so lets all follow it and encourage Chris to blog more and grow it to be a great A’s blog.

I also took another dip into the 2013 Topps waters and bought a jumbo pack of cards. I usually have great luck with Topps Baseball Jumbo packs. I have pulled a 1/1 Dan Uggla Letter patch card which I flipped for a Lou Brock auto and a Barack Obama cut autograph on a baseball. That I sold and used the money to pay off some bills. Yes, I wish I held on to it a little longer. I sold the card before he became president and probably cost myself an extra thousand. But, I’m fine with the sale and don’t regret it.

This pack did not yield anything special:

 

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I did manage to pull one Yankees card and it’s a beauty, if I do say so myself

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Pretty sweet die cut insert. Not sure if these are hard to pull. I didn’t see any in the blaster I opened before. I’m going to have to do some research on it. Either way, it’s a pretty sweet addition to my Yankees PC. I do have a small Jeter PC going. I say small as I don’t actively collect Jeter since he is pretty expensive. But, thanks to the Team Collectors, I have a nice Jeter collection.

Looking forward to the first televised Spring Training game on YES Network this Sunday against the on paper improved Toronto Blue Jays. The game starts at 1 pm  I love watching the very first televised Spring Training game. It reminds me that Spring is not too far off and Opening Day will be here soon enough. I can officially start counting the days to April 1st.

New Yankee Autograph-Art Ditmar

I love collecting Yankees memorabilia. Whenever I pick up something Yankees or am given a Yankees gift I feel like I am a part of the team. I know that sounds pretty corny, but it’s always how I always felt. From getting my first Yankees cap, to my first Yankees baseball card, to my first jersey, and so on and so forth.

One of my absolute favorite things to add to my Yankees collection is autographs. I am trying to get at least 1 autograph of as many players who wore the Yankee pinstripes. An impossible task, I know, but I am having a blast trying.

I get them anyway I can. Certified autos from the card companies, ebay, in person appearances. Any way I can get them. I get a lot through the mail or TTM as us autograph hounds call it. I’ve had some pretty good success sending requests to players and asking them to sign a card or photo. I usually try and ask a former player who doesn’t have any certified autographs. Makes it more fun to chase and your collection more unique.

Recently, Former Yankees pitcher Art Ditmar signed a photo and a Yankee Stadium custom card I sent to him.

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Ditmar pitched 5 seasons for the Yankees, winning a career high 15 games in 1960. Ditmar was a part of the 1958 World Championship team and started Game 1 and Game 5 of the 1960 World Series losing both. He also had 2 stints with the A’s in Philadelphia and Kansas City.

I am very pleased I could add Ditmar to my Yankees autograph collection. Ditmar might not have been a major star, but I will always want the autographs of any player who played with the Yankees. Be it 1o years or 1/3rd of an inning. Once a player puts on the Yankee pinstripes, he is a part of the team’s history and I will always have a spot in my colelction for those players.

Finally….2013 Topps Blaster Is In My Hands!

It’s funny how things sometimes happen. On Wednesday, I was on my way to an autograph session at Mid Town Comics Downtown to meet Spider-Man writer Dan Slott. At first, I wasn’t going to go, having read and disliking what he did to Peter Parker, but I figured if I didn’t try and meet one of the better writers in comics today I would eventually regret it.

After my workout, I jumped on someone else’s train (The Cure representin’, yo) and headed to Fulton St. Once I got to the comic book store, I saw a line that went outside. With only an hour to go, I figured that I would not get to meet Slott so I left to go home. I passed a Modell’s Sporting Good Store, looked in the window and there it was. A blaster of 2013 Topps Baseball. I immediately went inside, grabbed the box with my greedy mitts and bought the blaster.

Once I got home, I tore into that sucker and started opening packs. Now, I’m not much of a reviewer. I leave that to other bloggers who actually know what they are talking about. But, I always love the design of Topps Baseball. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I look forward to my first baseball product of the year or maybe because I have been busting this product since 1978 and have become extremely biased. Regardless, I love the simple designs Topps uses for this product.

As I opened packs, I made sure to look for Yankee cards. Midway through my 3rd pack I finally pulled a Yankee:

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A C.C. Sabathia Calling Card insert. Nice card. Kind of looks like an Allan & Ginter card.

I resumed opening packs, looking for more Yankees for my collection. After striking out more times than the Gas-House Gorillas, I finally pulled another Yankee in my final pack. Unfortunately, it was a Yankee who is no longer with the team.. or the country for that matter.

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Still, 2 Yankees i this blaster is ok with me. Better than no Yankees and I turn into someone worse than those people trying to return video games in that Game Fly commercial. Here is the “hits” I pulled from the blaster.

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I also pulled 2 Million Dollar Chase code cards. I think that part of the Topps Website won’t be up until April, so hold on to those cards.

Last year, I pulled a Roger Maris fake patch card. This year, I get a Padre. I hope it makes the Padre collector in my group very happy. I do dig the mini 1972 inserts. I look forward to getting all the Yankees in that little set.

Overall, I like the product and I’m very happy with the purchase. Would have liked more Yankees for my collection, but what are you going to do? I will pick up a few more blasters and pick up the Yankees base team set while I hunt for the inserts and any game used or autographs this set has of the Yankees.

Maybe the next time I go hunting for Topps Baseball I will run into Dan Slott instead.

 

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