Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Trip To Card Store

While heading to my LCS (which is coincidentally a 40-minute drive) it was a trip that had been a few months overdue. I hadn't been there since earlier in the year, probably in February or March I'd guess. It's a fairly small store owned by a guy named Tom. Over the past year I've been going to his store every few months to see what new things he gets. He usually gives me a pretty decent deal on cards.

Since it's a 40-minute journey to a town I've had no need to be in other than when I played baseball games there, I try to make it worth the trip. I've mostly bought cards from him; he has a couple boxes/binders filled with a ton of cards, and each time I visit I get the feeling nobody buys much. He said he'd be sorting through some boxes he had at home, and the collector in me curiously wondered, "Boxes?" I pretty much cleaned out all his Smoltz cards, as well as his Chipper Jones. I've gotten a few Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine cards from him as well, but not too many....yet.



As you can see it's nothing "over the top" but still some nice pickups for me. I got some more Smoltz RC's, Chipper RC's, and a couple Glavine cards. Next time I go back (hopefully within the next few weeks) I can look into getting some more Tom Glavine cards (he still has a bunch) as well as some Greg Maddux.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Midseason Report: 2014 Atlanta Braves

It's now July 14th, just a day before the 2014 All Star Game set to take place in Minnesota. While players are off participating in the All Star Game and/or hanging out at the Homerun Derby, the break gives us time to reflect on what the Braves have done up to this point. First, here's how the Braves fared following the end of the 2013 regular season and up until July 14th of this year:

2013 Atlanta Braves statistics:

Hitting:

.249 average (tied with the Reds and White Sox for 18th best)
.321 on-base percentage (13th best)
656 rbi (13th best)
1,354 hits (21st best)
247 doubles (tied with Yankees for 25th best)
181 home runs (5th best)
688 runs (13th best)
542 walks (6th best)
1,384 strikeouts (3rd most)
64 stolen bases (24th most)

Pitching:

.244 opponent average (tied with Cubs for 6th lowest)
.301 opponent on-base percentage (3rd lowest)
512 earned runs (lowest in MLB)
1,326 hits allowed (5th lowest)
127 home runs allowed (tied with Dodgers for 4th lowest)
548 runs allowed (lowest in MLB)
409 walks allowed (2nd lowest)
1,232 strikeouts (15th best)
3.18 earned run average (lowest in MLB)
53 saves (3rd most)


2014 Atlanta Braves statistics (as of July 14th)

Hitting:

.247 average (21st best)
.309 on-base percentage (tied with Reds and Astros for 22nd best)
343 rbi (29th best)
802 hits (19th best)
143 doubles (26th best)
81 home runs (tied with Reds and Yankees for 15th best)
362 runs (28th best)
279 walks (14th best)
807 strikeouts (5th most)
55 stolen bases (tied with White Sox for 14th most)

Pitching:

.249 opponent average (18th lowest)
.310 opponent on-base percentage (tied with Rays for 11th lowest)
320 earned runs (6th lowest)
804 hits allowed (20th lowest)
72 home runs allowed (5th lowest)
350 runs allowed (tied with Giants for 7th lowest)
272 walks allowed (tied with Marlins for 14th lowest)
780 strikeouts (7th most)
3.36 earned run average (6th lowest)
36 saves (most in MLB)


It's no surprise the Braves' pitching is their strength. The only decent thing about their hitting is their home run total (tied for 15th best) and walk total which is 14th best in the league, barely in the upper half. Something worth noting is that most of these categories are decided only by a few numerical values (keep in mind the ones tied with another team). As the season continues we'll see some teams pull away further, and some teams start to drop off in statistical rankings. I'm sure they'll be at least one team that starts clicking on all cylinders and starts raking the rest of the year. There could also be a few trades that help teams looking for a playoff spot. Who knows? So although a few of these rankings may be somewhat surprising (or startling, depending on how you look at it) there's still plenty of season left to be played.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Willie McCovey Discovery

About two weeks ago I went to my great grandmother's house to help my grandpa and uncle move a bunch of stuff out (she passed away at the end of last year and they just took care of the paperwork for the house). Since my grandpa lives in Florida, he had to fly up here to New York and sign some paperwork. To my understanding she left the house for her children so that when she died they could sell the house and divide the money. I usually only see my grandpa maybe twice a year, so I welcome every opportunity I get to spend time with him. They needed help moving some things so that my uncle could move everything from his house to her house, so he could move in and sell his current house. I'm sure a few of you may be wondering how this applies to baseball. Am I right?

While going through some boxes in the basement (holiday decorations, old newspapers, silverware) my grandpa stumbled across something that further proves that even in the most random places you never know what you will find....

1965 Topps #176 Willie McCovey




When I went to help out I never expected to find anything pertaining to baseball. My guess is that this card belonged to one of the three brothers (either one of my two uncles or my grandpa) when they were younger. There's a small crease at the top, and I'm sure that even hookers have seen better corners than these. But other than a few marks (and being off-centered), the card is in decent shape. As far as I know it's been in the basement for all these years. Come to think of it, my grandpa was born in '42, so if he were to have had this card back then, he would've been 23 which is 3 years older than I am now. Interesting. If it belonged to one of my uncles (they're not too far off in age) they would've probably been between the ages of 17-21, which is a fair estimate. I haven't checked yet, but with this card being from 1965, I believe it is now the oldest card I have.

As far as a value on this card I'm not entirely sure. Just going by eBay, I've seen listings that are anywhere between $5 up to $40. There are some higher than $70 but those are mostly ones that have been graded. By looking at the pictures you can tell the card I have isn't in the best quality for someone to want to buy it and get it graded, anyways. But it does come with a rather interesting story on how it was found, as well as a memory of that day. That's what makes it the most valuable.