Monday, August 22, 2016

a blaster of 2016 Topps Chrome (+ a public service announcement for traders)

As mentioned in my latest card show recap, among my haul this past weekend was a blaster of 2016 Topps Chrome.
Let's check out what it had in store for me.

Shiny inserts! Some good ones here, with only one dud. Henry Owens has really been shoved down collectors throats this year by Topps, but not even Boston fans like the guy. Here's a random sampling of tweets..

Ha! Oh well, the Harper and Ichiro Perspectives are cool, as is the faux stained-glass Correa.

I was a little bummed not to score any fancy/numbered parallels, but got a few refractors. The Yelich is a "Prism refractor" which Topps should have said fuck-it and called it a Paninifractor just to be dicks. Personally I call it a "new xfractor" (since they do these now instead of xfractors) or maybe a reptile-fractor since it looks scaly like a snake or lizard. Fishfractor! Whatever, it looks cool dancing in the light. I was happy to get the Joey Gallo, though the chances of him becoming a top-tier major leaguer are starting to feel fleeting at this point. The other 2 are available for trade.

As for base cards, here are a couple good pulls.

More keepers for my collection.

The pack of bonus sepia refractors sadly didn't really have anything for me. I guess I'll hang onto the Snell. Everytime I see his name I think "schnell! schnell!" in a German accept and it makes me smile. I guess it means "quickly" and it's a pop culture reference or something. But yeah, the rest of these are available.

And here's the rest, all available for trade. Ol' Henry Owens stinks up the joint yet again. Don't even get me started on my intense rage at Topps for bestowing the "Future Stars" label on a 29-year-old who's been in the league since 2009. I hope someone was fired over that pathetic gaff given a strong talking to by their department manager. A Future Star is a promising young player with no more than a year or two of service time in the majors. Simple as that. There is no further discussion here. How has Topps been screwing that up so bad these past couple years? Carlos Correa and Addison Russell? Yes. Carlos Carrasco? No.

So there you go! A few keepers for my collection and some trade fodder. Not the best use of $15, but better than $19.99, and still a fun break. Just let me know if you want to trade for any available cards.

And speaking of trading, now's a good week to ship out cards because the cost is going up soon. On 8/28/16, postage rates go up on First-Class Mail Parcels weighing 1-3 ounces, which is a typical bubble mailer with a nice bundle of cards. (I don't know, maybe like 25 or less cards?)

Current rate: $2.45
New rate: $2.62

Boo inflation. So yeah, just a heads up to all you traders out there about the upcoming postage hike on a parcel type that's commonly used for sending cards. If you've been meaning to swap cards with anyone, you might save yourself a few cents by getting them in the mail by the end of the week. Rates for other parcel weights are unchanged at this time, as far as I know.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

2011 Topps Parallel Frankenset is finally a Go!

It was way back in November 2014 when I first opined, "I'd love to put together a parallel frankenset someday of 2011 Topps that's a combination of the diamond and cognac and/or xfractors and/or whatever other parallels that set had."

Well, it took nearly two years, but I've finally taken this flight of fancy into an official collecting goal and created a checklist spreadsheet.

This monster of a 2011 Topps frankenset will consist of Series 1, Series 2, Update (including the Legend Variations from those 3 sets), plus Chrome, making for a whopping 1284 cards. Yikes. While ideally this would be a shiny frankenset, using only sparkly / refractory parallels, I'm making it a bit easier on myself (and trader buddies) by opening it up to all parallels.. so stuff like the gold #/2011 parallels and black background Walmart parallels are welcomed. It might even be fun to add a printing plate or two into the mix. Anything besides base cards.

Thanks to traders and dimebox pickups, I've amassed a pretty big stack of qualifying cards to get started with. Looks like I'm at 13.24% of the way to my goal, with 170 of 1284 cards. So yep, still a long way to go. But no rush. This is definitely a passive, long-term collecting goal. I'd love to get sent needs in trades, but I'm not going to spend much time/money hunting them down. At least not until I get to spitting distance of completion.

It goes without saying, but if you've got any 2011 Topps parallels available and want to trade, check out my list and get in touch.. thanks!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

* * *** **** Card Show! * * *** **** Card Show!

The Portland summer had been mild this year, but with 3 consecutive days ~100° I had to give in and lug the window AC up from the basement storage. Ugh! I braved the heat to trek out to the card show this morning. Despite the heat, it was actually a pretty big, packed show.

I've got kind of a big weekend going on, so I'll try to keep this post brief and the photos might not be very good, so sorry about that.

This first purchase was 14 cards for $10.

Here's some trade bait. Twitch, want that Bowman Cub or Starlin purple refractor? ARPS, want that Giants failed prospect auto? Any Sox fan want the 63 Fleer or the Jim Rice #'d /35.

Jaybarkerfan still collects AZ Cardinals, right? If so, that Jake Plummer is for him. I seem to recall there are a couple Neon Deion collectors on the cardsphere.. who's gonna call dibs on this one? Brady Quinn was mainly grabbed for the uncirculated case with this sticker up. The card inside is available.

Here are some cards for me. It didn't photo well, but that Pujols StarQuest is the shiny "Super Rare" parallel.

Big names from 1975. If I already have that MVP card in my Clemente PC, then to the Frank Robinson PC it will go.

Now we're into a quarterbox purchase, 12 cards for $3. More trade bait above. I always pick up interesting Sox that might go to Mr. Hoyle or maybe Shane or another Boston fan.

These ones are for me.

Those above 2 purchases were from "my usual guy" Bill, but then I walked around some more.

Next was an old guy selling vintage. I wish I had gotten around to updating my printed out needs lists for the vintage sets I'm working on (64, 65, 71), but alas (and I don't have a smartphone, so I couldn't just hop on the net to check). Maybe for next show. Anyways, I got 10 cards out of the 50¢ box.

Don't worry: the color splotches here are on the pennysleeves, not the cards. I'm slowly starting to ramp up my 1957 Topps setbuild but I'm still in the early stages, so I knew I didn't have these guys. It's gonna be a "condition insensitive" setbuild, so I was totally fine with the shape of these well-loved, off-center cards.

I took a shot with 3 cards from 1964 that I thought I might need. (Gavin goes and checks his list) Yes! I needed all 3! Up to 28% complete there. Also grabbed a JR Richard RC and a Pepitone (which I already have, so it's available if anyone's interested).

I wanted to grab something to rip. I had an eye out for 2016 Donruss Optic, but couldn't find any, so I settled on a blaster of 2016 Topps Chrome for $15. I'll bust this in an upcoming post.

Next was a nice nicklebox dig! The guy let me have 27 cards for a buck. Here we see some Fan Favorites and more. Numbered Brewer for Tony L.

More cards. Action Packed Graig.

Snagged a bunch of 2008 Topps Chrome refractors, some for me, some to throw into trade packages. At less than 4¢ a card, hard to go wrong. I think the brown ones are /599.

Plus a few more cards either already set aside for traders or not interesting enough to blog about.

I feel good about this haul. Picked up a bunch of decent cards and didn't spend much cash. Hopefully the 2016 Chrome blaster has something good for me.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you'd like to trade for any of the available cards.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Served up my first piece of Trout

Been a slow couple weeks for trades, but maybe I'll pick up some enticing tradebait at the card show this weekend. The one trade package I've received recently was a good one, though. Andy over at the new blog Ain't Nobody Got Time For Cardboard! won a prize in a contest of mine a while back, but this was our first time trading. He was mainly interested in having some custom cards created for his li'l tyke who's just begun his amateur baseball career. Here's what I scored in return..

A pair of Trout hits! I've got a decent little Mike Trout PC going (highlighted by an auto), but this is my first relic of baseball's best player. The card on the right claims to be a commemorative pin, though I'm not sure that description would hold up in court. It's cool, though. Calls back to the 2010 All-Star Futures Game, though the card is actually from 2016 Topps Series 2.

For a change of pace, here's a Mike Trout card without anything embedded in it. Also nice cards of Roberto Clemente, Jose Abreu, and Andrew McCutchen.

And we close out with this colorful trio. The Strasburg purple is #'d 161/250. The Chris Sale DK is my first 2016 Donruss Optic card, which if you're not familiar is a new Panini offering which is basically Donruss Chrome. The breaks I've seen on the cardsphere have been intriguing and I'm tempted to bust some of that.

Great stuff! Big thanks, Andy. Hope you're equally happy with the cards I sent.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Big name Braves knocked off my 1965 set needs

Here are a couple recent key pickups for my Strive For 65 (copyright infringement), coincidentally Milwaukee Braves teammates.

This Hank Aaron is just how I like my A-lister vintage: soft corners to bring the price down a bit and maybe slightly off-center, but otherwise a terrific looking card. Always great to add an old Hammerin' Hank to the collection, set need or not.

Young Phil Niekro amusingly seems to be giving the side-eye to smiling Clay Carroll. While Knucksie is the star of the show here, Carroll was no slouch himself, a two-time All-Star and member of the World Champion 1975 Reds.

I was happy to score this HOF RC for single digits. Here too, the corners and centering aren't perfect, but otherwise it's in amazing shape, with a back so clean and bright I had to put it in a stack of other 65s just to be reasonably confident it wasn't counterfeit (It checks out).

So yep, a couple big ones checked off my 65 Topps wantlist.
Thanks for reading and stay cool out there.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Custom TTM Success: Kelsie Whitmore and Stacy Piagno

Earlier this summer, Kelsie Whitmore and Stacy Piagno made history by becoming the first female teammates on an otherwise all-male professional baseball team. I thought that was cool, and made a couple customs for them as my own little tribute.

I sent separate through-the-mail requests to them via their team the Sonoma Stompers. Ms. Whitmore kindly sent back my request with just 8 days turnaround, tying the record for quickest TTM return I've gotten.

Looks great!

The back includes a nice little bio that was mostly copy & pasted from the Stompers' site. Cool that Kelsie is from the San Diego area, like myself.

I sent 3 copies of this custom along with a short fan note. I asked her to please sign and return one for me, and accept the extra 2 as my gift if she'd like (which she did).

Kelsie even took the time to write me a little thank you note. So awesome! Not that I ever expect it, but it's very appreciated those rare instances that the person I'm asking for an autograph goes the extra mile by taking a moment to write back.

So yeah, that one arrived Saturday, then Stacy Piagno's return showed up Monday...

Nice! As you can see, I've again paid tribute to the classic 1983 Topps design. And again, I made 3 copies, and Stacy accepted the other 2 offered her.

Bio on the back.

Another sweet thank-you note! Getting this return was the highlight of my Monday by far.

There's a relevant article at USA Today about women in baseball gaining acceptance that you might want to give a read.

I would love to see a woman baseball player make the major leagues one day. Women in independent ball is definitely a step in the right direction and I hope the sport continues to expand, welcoming anyone who can play, regardless of society's perceived limitations. That's one thing that makes baseball so great: anybody can potentially excel at it. All races and backgrounds, fat/skinny, young/old, tall/short, men/women, straight/gay (You might remember last year, my first-ever custom TTM success was Sean Conroy, the first openly gay player in pro ball, also with the Stompers). Heck, you could have been born with only one hand and still throw a no-hitter if you work hard enough. Don't tell me what I can't do. Ok, I'm rambling now.

Again, huge thanks to Kelsie Whitmore and Stacy Piagno for the autographs and thoughtful notes! They'll be cherished parts of my collection for always. Best of luck with your baseball careers!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Custom TTM Failure: Pee-Wee Herman

I've always been a big Pee-Wee Herman fan. I loved watching Pee-Wee's Playhouse as a kid, and Pee-Wee's Big Adventure has been one of my all-time favorite movies as long as I can remember. (Thankfully I had kinda grown out of him just before the whole scandal that crippled his career for a while.) Even today I watch the Playhouse on Netflix and enjoyed the recent direct-to-Netflix film, Pee-Wee's Big Holiday.

I read a while back that Paul Reubens is a decent signer (though some say most are "sec" autographs; not really him signing it), so I gave it a shot. I ended up with 3 different customs I liked, all in the 1996 Leaf Signature style, so I sent a strip of all 3, and in my little fan letter asked him to sign the one he liked most (...though, sure, I was kinda hopeful he'd be generous and sign all 3).

Well, several months have gone by with no return (sent back in January), so I'm writing this one off as a failure. Bummer! Maybe I'll give it another try one of these days. Or maybe he'll finally get around to returning it sometime in the future. Fingers crossed.

Here are the cards I had whipped up:

I think the swinging on a vine one is my favorite, but like 'em all.

Somebody emailed me the other day asking for a template I use for the these customs. There's not much to it. You just need a square-ish photo, feather the edges, then add the text. The font I use is Ebrima bold, but I bet Arial would look fine too. Black for the top, grey for the bottom, all caps with extra spacing between letters. That's it.

Anyways, too bad I haven't been able to get these signed. I believe I sent via his agency, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment. If anyone has a better address to try for his autograph, please let me know. Thanks!