Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Collecting The Detroit Tigers: Joakim Soria

On July 23rd, 2014 the Detroit Tigers and the Texas Rangers would find themseleves trade partners once again. Last season the Tigers' bullpen was pretty awful and they were looking to add some help to strength the bullpen for down the stretch. The Tigers would send minor league prospects, Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel to the Texas Rangers for Joakim Soria.

When the trade first went down I will admit I wasn't really thrilled. Knebel did see some major league action, but was really rushed to the majors due to the lack of quality in the bullpen for the Tigers and Thompson was a top starting pitching prospect for the Tigers. I would have given up one or the other for Soria. I tend to believe reliever are hit and miss. You might strike gold with them or they might be a big flop. The way Soria started for the Tigers I was starting to think I was right. He went on the DL and ended up only pitching a handful of innings for the Tigers last season.

Well he has proven me wrong so far this season. Soria came out of spring training being the setup guy for Joe Nathan, who was extremely shaky last year for the Tigers. After the first game against the Twins with Nathan getting the save he would find himself on the DL and eventually headed for another Tommy John surgery. Soria stepped up and took the closer role. So far this season he is 14 out of 15 save opportunities with a 1.33 ERA and a 309 ERA+. Now this is only through the first 47 games of the year. Small sample size, but compared to what the Tigers' closers have done in recent years this is like a miracle.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Mail Day!

Last week I made a trade on Twitter with a really good guy. His handle is @cpujesse. He is a Dodger fan and I was able to flip my Jose De Leon to him for a couple of cool cards that I would like to add to my collection. I actually got theses cards in the mail on Saturday and just now getting around to posting them.

Both these guys where involved in the blockbuster trade for the Tigers and the Rangers before the 2013 season. Prince Fielder had one really good year for the Tigers before having a down 2012 season, but still a cool card to have in my collection. I was really happy to add the Ian Kinsler orange parallel. I love having Kinsler on the Tigers with his great defense and solid bat.

Thanks again @cpujesse for the great trade!

Monday, May 18, 2015

#MyCardMonday: Congrats Miggy

Saturday afternoon I was able to witness a pretty cool feat in one of the greatest hitters that I have ever been able to watch. Miguel Cabrera step into the batters in the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals, Tyler Lyons and launch his 400th career home run over the centerfield wall.

I thought the Upper Deck Sweet Spot Signature would be a fitting card to use for Miggy's 400th home run post. As a Tigers fan it is truly awesome to be able to watch someone this talented play everyday. Every time he steps to the plate its like he will going to do something great. The thing I love most about the Miggy is how much fun he has playing the game. Always has a smile on his face and joking around. After the game he was quoted saying he wishes he could stay 32 years old, because he enjoys playing the game so much.

Here is the clip from his home run on Saturday

Friday, May 15, 2015

Player Spotlight: Ian Kinsler

Back in 2013 when I first started collecting baseball cards I didn't know anyone outside of my brother-in-law who collected cards. I knew he knew a bunch of other collectors from collecting for so many years. When making trades online I am somewhat skeptical of being ripped off. One of the first trades I made was for an Ian Kinsler quad relic card.

I don't remember what I traded for this card or who I even traded with. The deal was smooth and easy. I have been lucky and not have had any problems with the short period I have collected cards.

Now this Ian Kinsler card I traded for was before he was with the Detroit Tigers. I always like Kinsler as a player good glove, bat, and decent speed. When the Tigers traded for him it was a move that looked really good for the Tigers. They were getting a second basemen who could stop the rotating door at second for them, plus trading Prince Fielder and cash would allow Miggy to move back to first and the Tigers could bring up young third base top prospect Nick Castellanos.

Kinsler had a really nice first year in Detroit. He was an All-Star and a Gold Glove runner up. He hit .275/.307/.420 with 17 home runs, 92 RBIs and 15 stolen bases. He is off to another good start in his second season with the Tigers as well. The one thing that really impressed me with Kinsler this year is he has taken on more leadership in the clubhouse. He saw last year that Torii Hunter was the guy that would speak to the media after games no matter if it was a winner or a lose. He felt that someone needed to let the media and the fans know how the team was feeling. After the Tigers decided to part ways to Hunter, Kinsler decided to step up and take on that role for the team. He has been a great player on the field and now it is showing in the clubhouse as well.

Here is a nice double play with Kinsler and his double play partner, Jose Iglesias from yesterday's game.

Monday, May 11, 2015


I should have done this post a week or so ago, but I am just not getting around to it. This year for the Detroit Tigers we are seeing some new familiar faces broadcasting the games with Mario Impemba. Former Detroit Tigers greats, Jack Morris and Kirk Gibson are splitting time with Rod Allen to broadcast the games. A week or so ago we found that unfortunately Kirk Gibson has been diagnosed with Parkinson.

Gibby was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 1978 and played his first 9 seasons for the Tigers and then his final 3 years in the majors, including the 1984 World Series team. He is Michigan native from Pontiac. He was a solid outfielder who never made an All-Star team during his career, but he is best remembered for his walk-off home run in the 1988 World Series where he was a pinch hitter who could barely walk to the plate. He did win the MVP that season while playing for the Dodgers.

This is my favorite moment from Gibby's career. This was before I was born, but watching the highlights from the 1984 team this was great. Goose Gossage thought he could strike-out Gibby and you had Sparky yelling from the bench "He don't wanna walk you!"

I wish Kirk Gibson the best fighting Parkinson disease.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Bowman Chrome Hits

My other box that I had waiting for me when I got home from work on Saturday was Bowman Chrome. With Bowman Chrome you are guaranteed three autograph cards in the box. The series focuses on more younger players with their rookie cards. It is a good set to get familiar with young guys who are still in the minors. Out of the three autograph cards I pulled, I only had heard of one of the three.

Joes De Leon is a right handed pitcher in the Dodgers organization. He was drafted in the 24th round in 2013. He is ranked number 7 in the Dodgers organization in top prospects according to He is a strikeout pitcher who broke Clayton Kershaw's Great Lakes single game strikeout record with 14.

Alex Reyes is a top 3 prospect in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system. He is another strikeout pitcher with a fastball that can reach mid 90s and even touch triple digits. He even made baseball's top 100 prospect list. The card is #/499.

Brandon Finnegan was the one player that I knew. I did pretty well with pulling Royals cards this weekend (the other being Venture in Gypsy Queen). I heard of Finnegan last year when he was drafted 17th overall to the Royals and then made his major league debut later on that year. He would earn a win in the 2014 ALDS and throw perfect 10th and 11th innings in the AL Wild Card game also.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Well worth the wait

Saturday I came home from work with the goal to finish up some yard work before going out for the night with friends. Well when I came home from work I ran into a little bit of a delay with the yard work. Sitting on my front porch was a package from Big D's Cards. I pre-ordered Bowman and Gypsy Queen boxes. Jimmy asked me if I wanted to wait for both to come in so they could ship together and I had no problem with that. Let's start with what I pulled from Gypsy Queen box today.

In the Gypsy Queen set they include a set of mini cards. I am not really into collecting the mini cards mostly, because they are hard to figure out how to store in my opinion. It is cool that they have parallels with the minis. I pulled a Cody Allen and a Nick Markakis both out of /199.

I only pulled on parallel and the regular size cards and I was pretty happy with the pull. Albert Pujols is on track to be a future hall of famer so it is always nice to add one of a potential hall of fame player. Gypsy Queen has problem on of the coolest parallels that I like to add. It is their framed bordered cards and the pictures are indented.

I really excited when I pulled a printing plate. I'm not a Cubs fan, but this was a first one that I had ever pulled. Being a relatively new collector (only the past 3 years) it was a cool card to pull. It is a 1/1 pull, but it was shot down when I was reading The Snorting Bull blog this morning and he said there is one per box about. Anyways I was still happy with the pull.

My first autograph I pulled was a Michael Taylor rookie autograph. A top prospect for the Nationals who saw a little bit of action so far this year in the majors and put together a decent call up for the Nationals. I believe he was called up while Denard Span was on the DL.

Being a Detroit Tigers fan I was actually happy to pull a Yorando Venture autograph. A young power throwing pitcher that has shown signs of being a good ball player. This year he is somewhat of a headcase between the incident with Mike Trout and the Chicago White Sox. I guess he really take offense to batters hitting up the middle.

Now as a Tigers' fan this is a great pull for me. David Price shut down the Royals Saturday night in a complete game. He is looking good outside of one start for the year for the Tigers. I would like to see them resign his to a long term deal, but time will tell.

Now this is the coolest card that I pulled. It was actually in the first pack that I ripped into  also. I'm not a Yankee fan, but Derek Jeter was the face of baseball for a ton of years and is all around great ball player. He will eventually be a first ballot hall of famer. I really like that this relic has a pin stripe also. Makes the card that much cooler to me. This is actually the second Jeter relic that I pulled since I started collecting again.


Over the past couple years it seems that if you are a young pitcher with a lot of promise you there is a high probability that you could have Tommy John surgery and be out of commission for a year. Well, the Arizona Diamondbacks' young rookie pitcher, Archie Bradley last week went on the disable list with a different injury. In a scary incident he took a line drive off of the face from the Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. He suffered a right sinus fracture and was placed on the 15 day DL and is hoping to be able to get back to throwing this week.

I somewhat have followed Bradley the past few seasons after getting this card. I was hoping he would have made the majors last year, but again to an injury his season was cut short. He did make the team this year and looked really good early on in the young season. For #mycardmonday I thought I would wish Bradley a quick recovery and I hope he has good long career!