Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Taking a warp zone with 1971 Topps


I was sitting at around just 14% with my goal of completing 1971 Topps. But through another blog, I found a guy privately selling (i.e. not on eBay or site like that) a partial set for a very reasonable price. I initially balked at the offer, since this set is more of a backburning, long-term goal rather than an immediate focus for me. But then he came back with an even better offer, and I caved and took him up on it. While it still wasn't cheap, necessarily, it'd be tough to find a better price for what it was. It's a popular set, not just in general, but seems many fellow blogospherians are working on the set or have completed it not too long ago. So with slim pickins getting 71s in trades, I accepted the fact that if I wanted to get anywhere with the set, I'd need to pony up some cash rather than depend too heavily on the kindness of traders. Oh well, I'll just have to chill out on my eBay purchases for a while. The lot included 455 cards of the sprawling 752-card set, with some stars and high numbers, generally in low-to-mid grade condition.


Highlights include a Blyleven rookie, nice McCovey, Hank Aaron with a creased corner, my now-oldest Nolan Ryan card, and that's an Al Hrabosky rookie on the right, there. So with all these additions, I've jumped to within spitting distance of the two-thirds complete mark.

482/752
64.1% complete
as of 8/25/14

Looking pretty good up through about #500, but those high numbers are a bitch. I will never attempt completing 1972 Topps! Just 1971 and 1973, then I'll stick a fork in the decade. If/when I foolishly decide to go after another vintage set, I'll likely go for one from the 60s. Or maybe a low-grade early Bowman set.

Anywho, my updated 1971 Topps wantlist can be found here. Please just let me know if you can help out with any cards and wanna work out a trade. Again, I'm not concerned with condition with this set... any beat-up cards accepted!

The guy I bought the lot from is also selling a 1969 Topps partial set (94% complete) for $375. Let me know if you'd like me to get you in touch with him.

Monday, August 25, 2014

A 12/25 Tony

I collect any card serial numbered 12/25.. "Christmas Cards" as I call them. On the 25th of each month, I like to pull out something from this eclectic minicollection to show off on the blog.

Tony Gwynn has had a renaissance lately, jumping back to the forethought of the baseball world, with renewed appreciation for what an outstanding ballplayer and human being he was. The bad news is it was his untimely death that brought it on. Us Padre fans, especially, still really miss the big guy. But as with most cases of losing someone you care about, it's best to joyously celebrate their life rather than to be down in the dumps mourning their death for too long. When you're dead, wouldn't you want your loved ones to smile about the good times, rather than be bummed out everytime they remember you?


But anyways, here's a cool Tony Gwynn card I bought a while back.


I really love this card. Vintage young Tony in those gorgeously garish brown & yellows. Nice 12/25 serial number emblazoned on the front. Sharp looking wood frame design, making the card look like a tiny plaque. The only knock against it is, obviously, the fact it's a sticker auto instead of on-card. But in this instance, I'm willing to overlook that. Still love it!


Tony was a guy who liked to "go big" when autographing cards, but he was courteous enough to restrain himself when signing stickers, keeping everything tight and within the boundaries. It's that same precision that helped him average just 29 strikeouts per 162 games over his career. He was the best. Love you, Tony!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Cards from Pack War

Shawn from Pack War posted the other day that his trade bait page was freshly updated. I gave it a once-over and found a couple things that caught my eye so I dropped him an email to see if we could work something out. He inquired about a Taijuan Walker parallel I made a refraction action of a couple months back. I loves me them neato wave refractor Bowman cards, and Taijuan seems cool, but after giving it some thought, I was willing to let it go. Shawn definitely made it worth it for me.


Jesse Hahn has pitched some real good games for the Padres in this his rookie year. He looks to be a key component of the team's future. And now I've got his autograph!


Here's a pinstripe relic from good ol' Fred McGriff. Cool card!

So those were the two cards I had asked about, but Shawn went above and beyond by surprising me with a couple bonus Chargers inserts.


This Junior Seau (RIP) has a cool acetate border part.


More see-thru action! Love it. LaDainian Tomlinson sure was fun to watch back then.

Here's another picture that better accentuates the "film strip" area:


Thanks again for the awesome trade, Shawn!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Cards from Bob Walk The Plank

First off, Pull-Tab Awareness Week comes to a close today. Thanks to everyone who helped make this 2nd annual event a success. Got a few nice retweets on Twitter. One or two bloggers mentioned it, too. Hopefully next year we can build off this and reach even more people. We can eradicate tape-encrusted top loaders in our lifetime!

Now onto this trade post about some great cards I just received.

Pirate cards are in hot demand in my house. They might be my 2nd favorite team. Specifically the 1979 We Are Family Pirates. I'm a sucker for a team with a theme song. I've got a pretty decent Bill Madlock collection, and reasonable PCs of Willie Stargell and Dave Parker. Bert Blyleven and Kent Tekulve are a couple more guys I like from that particular team. And going back further, of course you gotta love Roberto Clemente.

So there are a lot of Pirates cards in my collection. And as far as my "for trade" box, I often find myself needing some Buccos to balance the scales from good cards sent to me by Nate at Big 44 Sports Cards. I also wanted to work out a trade with Matt from Bob Walk The Plank, since other bloggers are always talking about how awesome he is to trade with. (Battlin' Bucs is yet another cool Pirates blogger/collector I hope to trade with sometime.) After shooting a couple things to Nate, I went ahead and dumped the remainder of my available Pirates on Matt in a blind trade. And yeah, he definitely lived up to his reputation of being a kick-ass guy to trade with! Nothing but hits of guys I collect.


My first Andrew Cashner auto! On-card and a RC, to boot! Love it. (Photo didn't turn out too well; actually looks a lot better.)


The Cashner cardboard keeps comin' with a piece of jersey from Andrew's college days.


A Greg Maddux relic! Bonus points for being a Padres card.


A Jake Peavy relic! I've gotten to the point where I have a silly number of Peavy relics. But I didn't have this one yet.


Finally, here's a pretty neat looking Dave Winfield bat relic.

Awesome stuff all around. Thanks again, Matt! Hopefully I'll be able to build my tradeable Pirates back up before too long so we can trade again.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Too Many Padres, improving 88 Score, etc (Hot Corner trade)

Pat over at Hot Corner Cards is having an "epic break" blowout of his trade stacks, attempting to turn his unwanted cards from other teams into Detroit Tigers cards (or if not, $5 to cover rehoming costs). I had a reasonably fat stack of Tigers and had been meaning to get an initial trade going with him, so this was the perfect opportunity. I shipped them off on Saturday, and somewhat surprisingly, they had shown up by Monday.

I received a nice package of cards from him a couple days later, and while this could be 2 or 3 separate posts, strap in for a long, rambling post. (Are my posts too long? As a reader, I often like short "here's a card; I like this card" posts, but as a writer, I usually tend to ramble on a bit. I'm very quiet and shy in person, funny enough.)

As I've mentioned before, group breaks like this are tricky for me because I'm not strictly a team collector. I fight with deciding to take teams that, a) would give me the best chance at "good cards" for my collection, b) teams I trade away often and therefore have a shortage of in my trade box, or c) Padres, the sentimental favorite.

Between the huge lot Rod from Padrographs dropped off on me a couple months back, then the big lot from Dennis at TMV, and various other trades and pickups here and there, I've got a pretty big surplus of Padres. I'll usually go through each incoming lot and end up picking out maybe a third that I care to keep in my collection. Team collectors out there might think it's blasphemy, but I really don't need any cards (much less dozens of dupes) of guys like Stan Jefferson, Tim Teufel, and no names who never did much in their handful of games in bigs. And while there are a few other Padres card bloggers/collectors out there, these guys are pretty much in the same boat and already got these cards if they had any interest in having them. So I don't know what to do with my surplus of 1989 Topps Padres commons, for example. I'd hate to toss perfectly acceptable cards. They would cost much more to ship than the cards are worth. I could try giving them away on Craigslist, but I'm not sure anyone would take them. I know it's a dilemma that gets brought up on the blogosphere a lot.

So anyways, my point is I've got hundreds of Padres cards I don't want. I made a comment on Pat's blog along the lines of "I normally take the Padres in situations such as this, but I've been getting burnt out on them lately."

Instead of picking a team, I went with the Goodwin Champions wildcard lot he had available in an attempt to get a sampling from several teams. I don't have much Goodwin Champions, so seemed like a good chance to check that product out. Honestly, the set kind of creeps me out. I've never been big on painted cards (old vintage excluded).. but like Diamond Kings and early UD checklists? Never was much of a fan. But whatever, I figured there must be a few guys I collect in there with cards I need, and the rest could be funneled into my trade box. And that's exactly how it went down.

But I'm getting ahead of myself, Pat was kind enough to dump his Padres on me despite my best efforts to avoid asking for them. LOL. But as expected, there were several cards in there I happily plucked out to make their way into my collection. Here's a scannerbed-full of highlights:


A Bip I think I needed!

I have so many cards of Brian Giles. Only Gwynn and maybe Trevor could outnumber him as far as most Padres cards I have from one player. I like Brian, though, and in addition to being a former Padre great very-good, he's also among the few players in a new mini collection I've been having fun building lately: guys who went to my high school. Expect to see some blog posts on the subject before long.

And check out that Benito at the bottom. I've always thought that 1988 Score was a nice set that could have been vastly improved by simply #1) having a print-run not so goshdamn huge, and #2) getting rid of or having the player's photo in front of that unnecessary white line along the border. Compare that above Benito with this crudely photoshopped example:


Doesn't that look a lot better? Really helps the image pop, whereas everything being behind the white line just flattens it.

But back to the Goodwin Champions lot, yep, these are ugly-ass cards, but there're many dudes in here I collect, therefore I'm happy to be able to add new cards to a few PCs.


Were you able to make it through that scan without shuddering? If so, seek help.

Also included with the Goodwin Champions lot were several non-baseball A&G cards. I'm sort of neutral on these cards, but there are some I kinda like, and honestly, if I were to join a Ginter group break and I had first pick, I'd probably take the non-baseball cards. Some of them are pretty neat. But of course you get some good...


..and some bad..


Ugh! Who besides these two guys themselves and their respective mothers would ever want to own either card? It's gross and makes you curious about the subject selection process over at Topps. Would love to see an in-depth article or documentary that raised the curtain on the behind-the-scenes inner workings. It's weird that baseball card companies, Topps in particular, always seem so clandestine.

I love Topps n' all, historically speaking, but I don't think I'd be that crushed if Panini eventually gets the MLB exclusive license, as some have speculated might happen once Topps' current contract runs out. It'd make things interesting, at least. Regardless of what you think about their products, you gotta admit Panini seems to be trying harder to connect with fans/collectors. Seems these days Topps has most of their customer service focus on Topps Bunt, something I have no interest in. I wonder if Topps would go the logoless route, or perhaps use the Goodwin Champions method of non-uniformed pictures (paintings) of ballplayers (and non-baseball athletes). Perhaps we'll see the day where Ginter is 100% animals, historical figures, actors, inanimate objects, and other non-players.

But anyways, thanks a ton for the cards, Pat! Keep it hot on that corner over there.

I think he's still got some teams available, so if you've got some Tigers to dump, he's your man.

UPDATE: Stop the presses! Just now got this bonus card from Pat in a PWE:


Hot Salmon auto. Thanks again, Pat!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

quick PWE trilogy

This month, I received PWEs from Nachos Grande, Waiting til Next Year, and Johnny's Trading Spot that have heretofore not gotten their moment in the sun on my blog. So let's check 'em out!

Chris from Nachos Grande is a big cheese on the cardosphere, but this was the first time I had the pleasure of exchanging cards with the gent. He's on the hunt for any and all inserts from 2014 A&G. I had a few available from the blaster I bought a while back, so I sent them over. He returned the favor with an addition to my glow-in-the-dark collection plus a few Padres.


Chris is a Barry Larkin supercollector, and had an extra Glow Star from 1993 Upper Deck Fun Pack he could spare. Very nice! This gets me another card closer to completing that one-per-team sticker subset. Here it is in the dark.


(Sorry, no animated gif this time. You might notice I haven't done much photoshop-fun lately. This is mainly due to the computer that has Photoshop on it being in a room that gets hot in the summertime. [Normally I'm on my Macbook or at my work computer.] I'll surely get back into amusingly editing cards as the temperature creeps down over the next few weeks).

Chris threw in a few Pads to boot, highlighted by these couple cards from 2014 A&G I needed.


Thanks, Chris! Best of luck on your quest completing this set and all the inserts.

Next, this wasn't really a trade, per se, but a surprise PWE. P-Town Tom from Waiting til Next Year was placing an order on Sportlots and had some room in his cart to throw in a few 1990 Upper Deck Marquis Grissom cards for me. What a great guy! I'll save myself a minute and snag his picture:


Big thanks again, Tom! I hope to find something to send you back before long (If I've posted any trade bait that caught your eye, just let me know.) I'll have to do an update post on my Marquis Mania project one of these days and see how close I am to my lofty goal of 1000 copies of the card.

Finally, John from Johnny's Trading Spot commented on my recent dimebox dig and said he'd make me a super good deal if I sent him the '73 Kellogg's Ralph Garr and '86 Fleer Paul O'Neill / Kal Daniels rookie. I should have mentioned at the time that yes, the '73 Kellogg's stash is essentially all trade bait (I like 'em and all, but really just threw them on my stack with the intention of beefing up my trade box). The O'Neill, on the other hand, I was a bit reluctant to part with. But who am I to pass up an offer to turn 17.5 cents into a super good deal?! I threw in a few random Braves to get my Forever stamp's worth and awaited his return mail.

Johnny delivered (via the postman) a nice assortment of cards highlighted by a couple fine specimens of vintage cardboard.


Sweet 72 Frank Robinson! And that 64 McLish is in really nice shape, too.

Thanks for the trades, guys! And thanks to you, the reader, for reading.

Don't forget it's Pull-Tab Awareness Week. If you're wondering, these guys didn't use top-loaders, but instead team bags or cut-up binder pages, so pull-tabs are not applicable there. (Good move by these guys; using top-loaders in PWEs is dangerous, as the postal sorting machines often get stuck on them and chew up the envelope.) Most blogosphere traders are pretty good about protecting cards they send out. It's really ignorant eBay (and Listia, etc.) sellers that are the most dangerous with their negligence. It's enough to almost make you want to preemptively send a message right after you win a card, asking for it to be shipped well protected and with pull-tabs for easy removal. But then you'd risk offending a jerky, easily-offended person. It's an unfortunate situation. All you can really do is focus on education. That's why Pull-Tab Awareness Week is so important and I'm calling on you all to help me get the word out.



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Donruss Original Archives Adventure!

Topps Archives is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine each year. But back when Archives was still basically just a reprint product, there was 2002 Donruss Originals, a set where Donruss paid tribute to 4 of their designs from the 80s. Base cards were all current players, but old-timers found their way into the set via inserts. So it really is like Donruss' version of Archives.. before Archives. It apparently didn't sell well enough at the time, so it became a one-and-done release. I wonder if Panini will eventually revive this idea. I know the current Donruss product pays homage by using some design ideas from past sets, but they usually try to form "new" designs, rather than just straight-up reuse old designs. I'm sure if they did, collectors would assume they were ripping off the Archives idea from Topps, but again, Donruss was doing this before Topps morphed (Reprint) Archives with All-Time Fan Favorites and added current players into one set. I suppose they both owe something to the Baseball Card Magazine cutout freebies from the late 80s/early 90s that started the craze of putting current players on cards with classic old designs.

Anyways, 2002 Donruss Originals is a set that intrigued me, but I didn't have any cards from. I'd been wanting to take a trip back in time and rip some packs, but there's not a lot of unopened product still out there, and what is out there is overpriced, as far as what I've seen. But I found this lot of 7 hobby packs on sale for $12.91 with free shipping-- a reasonable $1.85 per pack-- so I pounced on it.

Since I had some fun busting out my old toys from the 80s when I broke my 2014 Archives box, I figured I'd take a dip in that nostalgic pool again for these 7 packs. Any excuse for a grown man to play with toys, right? So here we go!
------
One day Conky and his pal Mac Tonight were playing down by the old quarry when under some brush they discovered multiple strange capsules.

"WTF?!" inquisited Mac.

"C-C-C-crazy, Pee-Wee!" answered Conky.


The two decided to take their discovery home. But first, they couldn't fight their curiosity and ripped open one of the capsules.


"Duh-Duh-Duh-D.J. Drew hot pack," said Conky.

"That's some crazy shit," Mac muttered in a concerned manner. "Let's get this stuff home."

But then they were jumped by ninjas!


"You are a force of the clear, sticky evil, are you not?!" inquisited the tall ninja.

"WTF?! NO!" answered Mac, inquisitively.

"You do not work for his clear demonic sticky power?" asked another ninja.

"Nuh-nuh-nuh-uh," answered Conky. "We were j-j-just playing down at the olllllld quarry, Pee-Wee."

"Well, no one here is named Pee-Wee...[?].. but you must prove yourself true of heart by opening one of your capsules," a yet different ninja chimed in.


"See, check it out!" said Mac, ripping open a pack.

"Here's a G-G-Giambi short print. I live with someone named Jambi," Conky added.

The tall ninja replied, "I see. A Delgado hot pack. Very wise. And what's this? A Clemens insert serial numbered out of 800? I see that you truly are pure and good of heart."

He then went on to explain that the Noid stole all the land's clean top loaders, team bags, and blue painter's tape. The townspeople were all forced by demonic power to use clear scotch tape to defile all top loaders of the kingdom. Making convenient pull-tabs was a crime punishable by being frozen by the Noid.

"Aw, man, that's messed up. Clean top-loaders are important for protecting and displaying the things we hold dear," said Mac. "How can we help?" he inquisited.

The gray ninja led Conky 2000 and Mac Tonight through the forest on their way to find one substance that had been rumored to exist that might help them fight the stickiness: Gummiberry Juice.

Along the way, they came to a pile of dying top loaders. The violent markings of a tape assault were present for all to see. Permanent marker and other assorted sticky residue only added to the nauseating scene.

"[unintelligible horrified robot noises]" said Conky.

"Yeah, that's pretty f'd up," responded Mac. "I'm having trouble keeping my McNuggets down," he said, fighting back vomit.


To help the top loaders die with dignity, the gray ninja suggested they open a capsule. So they did.


"A Rafael Palmeiro hot pack?! Does every pack have two cards of the same guy?" inquisited the gray ninja.

They tearfully buried the brutalized top-loaders in the trash. Eventually, they found the Gummi Bears and inquisited about the Gummiberry Juice.

"No, we kinda stopped using that stuff because it stunk of astringent citrus and lingered forever," explained the pink one. He then suggested they open another pack, so they did.


Wow, a pack without 2 cards of the same guy. That's a first.

Anyways, the Gummi Bears said they knew where the Noid's secret lair was. But he was much too powerful to fight without an army. When pressed, the blue one remembered he knew where they might be able to find an army.


The Army Ants were open to helping out our heroes, but first they needed to be persuaded by being shown some cool baseball cards. So obviously they opened another pack.


"A Carlton Fisk 'What If?' insert (inserted 1:12) and an early Pujols card?! Plus I think that Aramis Ramirez is a short-print. Yeah, you guys are legit, for real," the Army Ant general said. "Ok, we'll help you." Inquisitations followed.

The Gummi Bears led them to the secret lair of the Noid.


"It's on, bitch!" said one of the characters in the story.

The good guys attacked with a pack of goodness.


But no, it wasn't quite good enough to avoid the Noid. The Big Unit is always nice to pull, and the lone Padre of the post is ok, but the Noid was able to just brush off the attack and reach for some cheap clear tape for which to wrap up the good guys.

"Nuh-nuh-not so fast!" stuttered Conky. "There's one more pack left."

He then proceeded to open the last pack of baseball cards.


A powerful dose of Vlad! That guy was a beast in his prime! Throw in future HOFer Chipper Jones and pretty good pitcher Roger Clemens and it was just enough to shake the Noid down from his perch and into the waiting mouth of the vicious moat monster, Anastasia.

"What?! How did you defeat me? Is this really happening?!" shouted the Noid inquisitatively as he fell.

"AHHHHHHH!!!! NOOOOOOOooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!"

The monster ate up the Noid. The kingdom rejoiced and had a big party!


The top-loaders had been saved! No more clear tape to ruin them, only the warm embrace of blue painter's tape, lovingly applied with pull-tabs for easy removal.

And they all lived happily ever after. The end.

------


I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. Pardon my inquisitiveness, but did you like how I worked Pull-Tab Awareness Week into the story?! LOL

Most of these cards are trade bait, though there are a handful I'd like to hang onto. Feel free to get in touch if you want to trade for anything. Seemed to be lots of Red Sox, which is nice since I can send them to Mr. Hoyle (I'll want to hang on to the Fisk, though). The Delgados, Vlad, and Pujols will also likely stay with me. But pretty much everything else is available.

Thanks for reading. Always make pull-tabs, and preferably use blue painter's tape, too.
Or team bags.. Team bags work great, as well.