Thursday, January 31, 2013

WSC Birth Years: Pedro Hernandez

Card #119 - Pedro Hernandez

Born: April 12, 1989

Chris Sale, Jake Peavy and Jose Quintana all needed an extra day of rest, so the White Sox reached into their minor leagues and plucked out the ninth rookie pitcher to take the mound in 2012 for the Pale Hose on July 18th. Paul Konerko provided Pedro with the lead, when he singled home Alejandro De Aza in the top of the first. Call it butterflies. Call it inexperience. Call it whatever you will. Hernandez took the mound in the bottom of the first and tied the game.

The Red Sox at Fenway Park are usually tough. Throw in a twenty-three year old pitcher making his MLB debut and things can go south quickly. After settling down in the second inning, Hernandez gave up four runs in the third and four runs in the fourth, before giving way to Hector Santiago after two batters in the fifth inning. Pedro ended up with an ERA of 18.00 after one outing. After the game, Hernandez was optioned back to AAA Charlotte. Ten days later, Pedro was traded, along with infielder Eduardo Escobar, to the Minnesota Twins for Fransico Liriano. It would mark the first time in twenty-six years that the two teams traded players.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The First White Sox Card Of 2013 Is...

 One of the most anticipated days of the year is finally here. The first release attributed to the new year; Topps Series One. The flagship series of the only major card company to be fully licensed. I'm still at odds with that aspect of the hobby, but it is nice to have a breather from being barraged by endless releases by multiple companies. Still, I'm waiting for Topps to become complacent, being essentially the only game in town. I'm not willing to stand for complacency by any company in the hobby.

It's nice to see a decent design on the flagship cards. Not great. Not memorable. Not horrible either.

I planned my outing for the early afternoon, right after my quiz for psychology class. I would end up at two different places to get a sampling of the product.

My first stop was Target. I searched for the blaster box, but was unable to find it right away. Then I noticed something peculiar. The boxes were there, but my eyes passed them by because they packaging is smaller. I always wondered why card companies wasted so much space in the blasters. Now, I needn't wonder about that again. A quick look at the rest of the product on the shelf confirms that the newer blasters are all smaller. It's a nice thing to see.

I picked up a blaster and two loose packs from Target. There were no opened boxes on the shelf, but there were plenty of loose packs in a hanging bin. I grabbed two and went to the movie section. I found a nice bargain on a Hunger Games blu-ray, so I grabbed that as well.

As luck would have it, the first White Sox card came from the blaster. It was an Emerald Foil parallel. It was one of my favorite players that I don't have a player collection for. It was...

 A.J. Pierzynski!

My first White Sox card is of a player no longer on the White Sox. A.J. isn't even on my 2013 White Sox calendar. Tyler Flowers looks like he's about to throw a runner out or toss the ball back to the pitcher with too much annoyance on his face, adorning my wall for January. In fact, in a White Sox calendar first, every player featured on a month is still with the team.

It might be because green is my favorite color, but I absolutely adore this parallel! The chances were one in six that I get an Emerald Foil parallel and this was the only one I got in the blaster. It turns out that this would be the lone White Sox card from Target.

I was off to the hobby shop, Baseball Card King #2, right in the heart of my hometown. My task was simple. I was to browse around and then pick up two jumbo packs. I was able to find a 2011 Topps Target Throwback card of Edwin Jackson for fifty cents, so I picked that up. It makes me sad that I never bring a list because I wasn't sure about it, but lo and behold, I needed it.

Out of two jumbo packs, containing fifty cards each, I would up with one White Sox card.
Addison Reed strikes again. At least Topps graced the card with a slightly different picture than the 2012 Topps Heritage disaster of four rookie cards for the Sox closer.

As I look through the packs, I can spot one of the "Out of Bounds" variations of Rajai Davis. Since I received one, they mustn't be too difficult to obtain.

A pleasant experience, to say the least. I sampled the new release and I came away with a good feeling. How many days before pitchers and catchers report?

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Traveling Box: Pass Two

Here's what you've been waiting for. The Traveling Box of Sports Cards has made its way through my hometown with three cards swapped out. While I can't tell you what I put in the box, I can tell you what I took out.

A fistful of Frank.

I swiped the 1990 Leaf card of Frank Thomas. It has been a card that has eluded me for almost twenty-three years. I have coveted this card since Series Two started trickling out during the summer of 1990. I never pulled the trigger on the card because of the enormously inflated price tag. Always outbid on eBay and always astronomically priced in the Chicago area, I thought this card might be a white whale for me. Albeit an extremely easy white whale, marred only by a moral sense of value. The obtaining of this card concludes the 1990 Leaf White Sox team set, and for that, I am thrilled.

The other two cards I took because of a "why not" factor. Did I need them? Not really. Could I pass them up? Probably, but something told me to take a chance.

I normally do not collect graded cards. They have their place in the hobby, I guess, but there's something alien about them that makes me back away slowly before turning around and bolting through the nearest exit. Then I thought to myself, "Self, when are you going to get another chance to get a graded Frank Thomas rookie? And a rookie card that isn't one of the typically thought ones?". The opportunity presented itself and I took it. Do I feel shameful? No, not really. This graded 1990 Score Rookie/Traded card of Frank Thomas helps balance out the other graded card I own. A 1990 Upper Deck Sammy Sosa. It balances it out a lot!

The final card is a 2005 Bazooka Moments Game-Worn Uniform card of Frank Thomas. Did I need it? Nope. But I didn't have the card either. It's cute. It's different. It's mine.

The box has only been through a handful of participants and already I see things listed that aren't in the box and things in the box that aren't listed. There was at least one listed card that I had my eye on that I could not find anywhere inside the box. I think we need to be a little more diligent on marking what's entering and exiting the box. I hope that it doesn't become too much of a problem.

I did find it interesting and funny that a card that I had made ended up in the box without my knowledge. Future possessors of the traveling box, who have been reading the various blogs for quite awhile, should recognize it when they see it. That was probably the biggest surprise I came across, at least to me. I should also note that I am very happy to see that the box has grown in size since the first pass.

As always, I think I left the box a little better than I found it. The box should be arriving at its next destination as this posts.
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