Sunday, July 31, 2016

Matt Kemp PC

Me being a player collector much more so than a team collector, I'm often spared from heartbreak when a favorite player gets traded. But it's been hard for me as a Padres fan lately, with many favorites from my hometown team getting sent packing (while the Padres continue to pay much of their contracts *grumble grumble*). First there was Jedd Gyroko, (Craig Kimbrel I didn't get too attached to), then James Shields, Andrew Cashner, some young pitchers I had just starting taking an interest in, Drew Pomeranz and Colin Rea. And now Matt Kemp.

I had started casually collecting his cards when he came over from the Dodgers. After he became the first Padre to ever hit for the cycle (finally!!), he won a lasting place in my heart. Sure, he's overpaid and not much on defense these days, but he's a cool dude and seems to have been the heart of the team these past couple years. So yeah, I'm gonna miss him.

Let's pay our respects and check out my Kemp PC as it stands. 

2012 part 1

2012 part 2, featuring my only Kemp auto plus a sweet "Beast Mode" relic.

The Ginter is the 1/1 blank back. Whoops-- looks like a dupe Prizm snuck in the photo.

There are probably a couple/few more hiding out in one of my "cards that need to be sorted" boxes, but that's pretty much it. Looks like I'm a handful away from my goal of 100 different cards. If you've got any available that I'm missing, feel free to throw them in next time you send me cards.

UPDATE 8/10/16: Here are some more:

That should help me over the 100 mark.

Good luck in Atlanta, Mr. Kemp!

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Skinny-dipping in the Topps Vault

Man, Topps may have sent me a cease & desist a while back, but there's no hard feelings between me and the only game in town as far as officially licensed baseball cards in this day and age.

I recently snagged 4 discounted items from the Vault on eBay in a combined shipping order. Let's check them out:

Klesko may be a That 70s Show caliber name these days (no, wait, that's Kelso), but I have fond memories of Ryan being in the heart of the lineup for those Padres teams from a decade or so ago. I figured my Ryno PC could use a "1 of 1" to give it a little legitimacy in the eyes of the cardboard elite, and this 2016 Archives blank back fits the bill (even if it is a bit of a ploy as it was never packed-out but rather created specifically to be eBayed). I consider this to be a "finishing touch" to that PC which I'll probably post about one of these days.

And here's another one. Colin Rea is a guy the Padres are really counting on blooming if they're going to contend have a shot at being over .500 in the next few years. I too am banking on him flourishing as a top of the rotation guy, and this is the 2nd 1/1 blank back I've picked up of the guy, though I don't think I've shown off the 1st one yet. One of these days.
(UPDATE: And now he's traded to the Marlins. *sad trombone*)

Ok, now here's a quirky item for my Greatest Gavins minicollection. A back-up catcher for the Twins, 92-94, Derek GAVIN Parks doesn't seem to have any official certified auto cards out there, but I was able to add a certified auto in the form of this Topps contract! He didn't sign his full middle name, but did include the G at least! I'll take it! It's the first legal document in my little collection of Gavin and Gavin-related cards and card-related items. March 1st is my longtime friend Chris' birthday, so I'll give it some bonus points for the date. By the way, if you're interested in a similar Topps contract signed [or stamped or autopened] by Mr. Sy Berger, I've still got a few I'm looking to unload, trade or sale. I bought some up a while back thinking I'd flip them for a profit but it didn't turn out that way for me, unfortunately. This one up here isn't a Sy, but rather Philip Carter, who also seems to be pretty prolific at signing ballplayers to card contracts/extensions. [...] A quick google reveals Mr. Carter is currently "Director of Sports/Licensing at The Topps Company, Inc" (via LinkedIn).. Cool. Good to know he's been able to stick around among all the changes and employee turnover Topps has seen since then. I doubt there are many others still there who've been with the company since at least the early 90s.

We close with another "blank back 1/1", this of Braves prospect Touki Toussaint. He's not doing great this year in A ball (3-7 4.32), but still has a shot at being a solid major league pitcher in 2 or 3 years. I think of this as an investment to probably eventually send one of my Barve-collecting buddies when I find myself in the need to hit them back with a quality card sometime in the future.

- - - ----o

[now some rambling which you can skip past]
Matt, your 800th Post prize package has officially been dropped in the mail. Mr. Hoyle also has a package enroute. Shane, your runner-up prize package is packed up and ready to go but didn't make it out today. See, I went to the post office today after work but the damned automated machine is still on the fritz. Anticipating this, I brought a bunch of stamps, which is how I was able to get Matt and Mark's stuff out. But unfortunately I didn't have a good combination of stamps to fit on your small (but powerful!) package. But I think I'll be able to mail it out tomorrow. I have to go to the post office for work (I basically just burn and ship dvds as my job; I work at a big data archiving company.. it's not bad), so I'll try to mail it then. ON THE CLOCK! Lol, no, I'm salaried now (hallelujah!!) so whatev's. I use for my work packages, but not for my own stuff. (Shipped out a bunch of international packages recently.. damn, that shit's expensive these days!) But yeah, as for me.. Gotta stand in line for that. And no automated machine at the downtown post office. But again, I'm working, so I don't really care if it takes me a few extra minutes. Hey, I don't always take a full hour for my lunch, so it's cool. I try to workout in the building's gym a couple times a week when I can, but haven't had time this week. I gotta get my monthly DVDs out by the end of the month, so this week is a bit stressful for me, but I think I'm gonna make it. I'm rambling a bit now. I'll usually ride on the stationary bike for 22 minutes while I watch an episode of The Simpsons or The Onion Sportsdome (RIP.. this was a fricking hilarious sports show! Sad it only lasted one season. Sports and comedy are hard to pair just right for the masses, I guess), and then do some weight/machine work for a few minutes, usually arms and abs (my legs and glutes are good as is, not to brag, lol). Really would like to get my beer belly under control. I'm not "fat" but after a meal it looks like I'm smuggling a basketball in my shirt. My least favorite part about the gym is the occasional guys who linger in the locker room. It's like, dude, do you get off on catching glimpses of flaccid wieners? Don't just hang out in a locker room. Not cool. Oh, and one time the combination on my lock jammed after I had taken a shower.. I'm standing there for like 10 minutes in nothing but a towel desperately trying to unlock my locker and get to my shit. It was an ordeal, let me tell you, but finally I finagled the combo just right and it opened, thank the Lord. I also am a member of a local gym now, thanks to my wife who uses it more than me but Work reimburses us so why not add me to it too. They have a pool, which I'm excited about, although I'm more or a "splashing in the water" guy, not a "swimming laps" guy. We tried to go last weekend, and I had suited up and taken my pre-swim courtesy-shower and everything, but then we found out it had closed early that day for a swim meet. That sucked. It was my first time at the new gym (it's actually and old gym, kinda like a YMCA, but my first time there.) At least I spent a couple minutes punching a heavybag to get a tiny workout in and take out some frustration with the situation. Maybe we'll try again this coming weekend. Swimming is pretty great. Ok, I'm done rambling.

That's it for this time.. thank for reading!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Ken Griffey Jr PC

Getting in on the Griffey lovefest today, his HOF induction day. So here's a big unsorted (lazy) post of all my Griffey cards. It's not entirely up-to-date (I'm overdue for a big sort of my incoming cards from the past few months), but good for the most part. Also, the (theoretical) best card in the PC is still waiting for Topps to be redeemed. That'll be a game-changer for the PC once/if it finally arrives.

BTW, I posted my Mike Piazza PC last year. Big ups to him today as well.

Here we go!

The current crowning trio of cards in the PC for me.. the iconic UD89 RC, a spiffy auto, and a Christmas Card.

The Collector's Choice mini is actually a box cut.

A couple Baseball Card Magazine oddballs here
custom cards. 
custom magnets
White Sox card alert.

I think these are all Broders or whatever they're called.
These binder cards are (mostly) from my original childhood collection.

The "good cards" from my childhood collection. Since found out the minor league card isn't legit, sadly.

 Closing with 3 of my favorites.
I didn't count them all up, but I'm pretty sure I've passed my goal of 100 different cards in this PC. I like where the collection is at for me, with no real glaring holes in my eyes (maybe a relic card would be nice someday. Could use a Fleer RC UPDATE: I've since got them!), though I'm sure I'll casually add more cards from time to time. You trader buddies of mine out there, feel free to send me any I'm missing.

Thanks for checking out the cards with me. Have a great week, guys. Congrats again to Junior on his terrific career.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Not sure what to think of this card show haul

Maybe I've just gotten spoiled, but I was kinda disappointed with my card show haul this weekend. Just one purchase, from the bins of my regular guy, $50 for 70 cards. Nothing super awesome, but some nice additions to my collection and some cards to pass along to trader buddies. Here are the highlights.

The disc is from McDonald's dated 1974.. yep, a Dave Winfield oddball rookie! Pretty cool. Seems to eBay for around $15, probably my best deal of the day.

As for the Clemente, if I didn't already have this '68 Topps all-star card, I'd be more excited at this score for under a buck, even if the card is a bit beat up.

More off-condition vintage. I think these are probably all available for trade if any of them catch your eye.

I feel bad that I picked up some Pirates for me, but nothing really for the big winner of my latest contest, Matthew Scott. But I've got a decent cache of Buccos ready, so I should still be able to hit him with a solid prize package. And, not pictured, but I picked up a handful of Red Sox for bonus winner Shane at Shoebox Legends.

When I come across a magnetic one-touch case in the (sub)dollar bins, I usually snatch it up. If it contains a cool card, all the better! Basketball cards here include rookies (?) of Tracy McGrady, Steve Nash, and Shaq.
And, oh crap, I didn't realize until typing this that the Mookie Betts is a photo variation.. seems to be worth about $15. Nice! And a PC guy for me, at that!

My God, what have I done? I'm a frickin prospector now? Oh well, hope this Alex Bregman kid becomes a star.

Certified autographs are hard to pass up for less than a buck each, though I did pass on a few unfamiliar names. But had to grab the Weiss (like Fuji, I love that set!) and Burroughs (former can't-miss Padres prospect), and Angel Pena (any Dodgers collectors want it?).

I still love these Gallery of Greats inserts from last year and wouldn't mind finishing the set someday. Turns out I already have these 2, though. Whoops. Anybody want to trade me for either?

Still a sucker for serial numbered cards. These are some big names and all #'d /100 or less.

More cards.

Edgar Martinez minor league card and a 10-card Griffey set still sealed and #'d 22,592 of 25,000.

Closing out with this pair. The Charlie Sheen card from last year's Archives (er, 2014, I mean) still fetches a few bucks.
The Hank Aaron is one of those "Future Stars that Never Were" ..kinda weird concept, but sorta neat, I guess.

So there you go. While I may have felt a little underwhelmed with my purchases as I was driving home from the show-- and there were a few cards (some not pictured) that if I could go back in time, I wouldn't buy-- but now reflecting on it a bit-- and realizing that Mookie Betts was an SP variation-- I'm feeling a lot better about my haul.

Friday, July 22, 2016

800th post contest entrants

Entrants for my 800th post contest are as follows:

Tony L.
Tony Burbs
Josh D.
Richard Nebe Jr.
B Man
Nachos Grande
Tim B.
Jason T. Carter
KO Rob
The Angels In Order
Jeff Jones
Billy Kingsley
night owl
Play at the Plate
Greg Zakwin
Matt Stupienski
Mark Hoyle
P-town Tom
Matthew Scott
The Dutch Card Guy
Adam Kaningher
Al Kawamoto
The Lost Collector
John Hazen
Daniel Wilson
Brett Ballantini
Sport Card Collectors
gcrl (Ron Francis bonus entry)
JediJeff (Derek Norris bonus entry)
gcrl (blog name suggestion bonus entry)

Big thanks to all who entered! While I didn't really want to give a second bonus entry to gcrl, his new blog name suggestion of Calling All Cards barely edged out Matt Scott's Cardboard Contemplation as my favorite. (Thinking of starting a card blog but can't think of a name? There you go!)

Now a random order (not picking a winner here!!!):

Winning number is total number of hits in tonight's (7/22/16) Rays v. A's game which just started a moment ago (no hits yet as I post this). Sorry, I'm trying to get this posted ASAP so it can be decided before tomorrow (card show! and I could possibly pick up cards for the winner there).

Let's also do a bonus winner for the total number of hits+runs+errors for both teams in this game.

Good luck, all! And have a great weekend regardless!


Looks like Matthew Scott is the winner, with shoeboxlegends picking up the bonus winner spot. Congrats, guys! I'll be sending out some nice Pirates and Red Sox respectively to you both very soon. Since Matt has commented on my blog and runs a blog of his own, he also gets both bonus prizes! Nice!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Custom TTM success! + Topps vault score! (+ another prize bonus!)

A couple neat additions to the ol' Guys From Granite minicollection I wanted to show off. (And I know these posts aren't all that exciting to most of you, so I'm enticing you with revealing another prize bonus for my latest contest at the end.)

A year ago, Brian Humphries sent back what was my first-ever successful TTM, signing a Bowman refractor for me. I figured I'd try again this year, and this time, I utilized my card-making skills to whip up a card featuring his time as a Granite Hills Eagle. I think it came out pretty good (Sorry for borrowing the 1983 design, Topps; I swear I'm not selling any of these!) I sent 3 copies to Brian. In my letter I thanked him for signing for me last year, explained we went to the same high school hence the homemade H.S. card, and offered the extra two copies for him to keep. He was kind enough to sign two copies for me and keep the third for himself.

Thanks again to Mr. Humphries! Wishing him continued success with the RedHawks this season.

While I'm at it, I should mention a guy recently offered me a bunch of money for my Brian Humphries superfractor. The guy is trying to collect all the superfractors he can from that year of Bowman, and had his sights set on mine. I paid a pretty penny for it a year or two ago, and this guy offered me double.. perhaps even more if I squeezed him on it. But man, that superfractor is a jewel of this minicollection for me, so I had to decline.

Anyways, I would love to add more Granite customs to my Guys From Granite PCs, and in fact also have one currently out to John Omahen, though he got promoted to AAA right around the time I sent it to him via his AA team, so that might create an issue/delay getting it back.

Oh, and I should also mention that pro ball recently welcomed a couple new dudes who went to my high school: 2016 draftees Andrew Brown (Phillies) and Trenton Brooks (Indians). Hopefully they pop up with cards in prospect/draft-type products soon so I can add them to my collection. I wanted to get around to making customs for them and try sending to their rookie league teams to get autographed, though I haven't had the time.

Now lets switch gears from the newest Guys From Granite to the oldest, Mike Reinbach. I've posted about him several times, but for the uninitiated, he got a cup of coffee with the Orioles in 1974 but was unable to stick on a crowded roster despite impressive numbers on the farm. He later played in Japan with great success. Though an obscure name, he's definitely among my favorite players to collect.

I was pretty excited when this pair of slides from the Topps Vault popped up on eBay (separately, but at the same time). I already have a similar one of these...

shown here with the brightness cranked up
But now I've got a nice trio of photos from that lovely spring day in Florida.

Here are what the pictures look like when properly processed (courtesy of the eBay listings). Bummer Topps never got around to putting him on a card.. at least on a 4-player rookie card in 1974 or 1975 would have been great, but no dice. But back to these items at hand... In general, I kinda hate these color negatives from Topps Vault. I've picked up a few in the past (in addition to these Reinbachs, also have a Willie Stargell [on Braves!] and a Bill Madlock), but it's always a bit anticlimactic when they arrive. They look good in the auction page, but then when you get them, they don't "display" well since they're so dark. And if you want to scan it yourself, well, Topps distributes them in a magnetic case with a special Topps sticker sealing it. So if you wanted to take it out of the case, you'd have to break the seal, therefore hurting the collector value of the thing. So basically you're stuck just grabbing the jpg from the auction page, but that's got a big Topps logo watermark on it. Sure would be nice if Topps could include a non-watermarked printout with these when you won them! Maybe they could even just email a non-watermarked jpg to the winner of these auctions. But anyways, yeah, it makes these slides frustrating to a collector such as myself.

Oh, but I shouldn't be too hard on the fellas handling the Topps Vault, because along with the two negatives I won, they also surprised me with what appears to be the original file envelope the the images were kept in all these years:

I think this is super cool! One of the best surprise bonuses from an auction I've ever gotten. It seems to be a cut-in-half envelope ("bulk mail postage paid" thing on the reverse), and it identifies the player, team, year (73), and a grid for the types of photos the photographer took. Now this gives me some questions here. Head, No Hat, Action, Action (again?). Well, the "no hat" one is obvious in the above photos, though I wouldn't count any of the three as "action".. definitely not in-game action, anyway. Yet there were 3 action shots? I'm guessing that says "3?" but it almost looks like "37". I'm just trying to figure out what else I'm missing, if anything, from this shoot. It's my guess that there was a close up (similar to the "no hat" one but with hat) which would be "head", and perhaps one more shot of Mike holding the bat (and that would assume the 2 photos of him holding the bat that I have count as "action"). So looks to me like maybe there are a couple more negatives from this spring training photoshoot in existence. Perhaps they were sold before I started keeping a watchful eye on eBay for them. Or maybe they're still in the vault, to be sold at a later time. Or maybe there were only these 3. The photographer did pencil in "3?" after all. Who knows. But still a cool item. And I'll still keep an eye out for more Mike Reinbach cards (and card-like things) to add to my collection.

In fact, here's one now..

Another card from Japan. He's got a ton of Calbee cards like this, and I'm always happy to go after them when one I need pops up. It's funny that I was so desperate for even just one for so long, and now several have popped up within the past year or so. I feel like a bad supercollector with so many cards of the guy "out there" that I need, but it's obviously tricky when the cards are from another country, not easily available to English speaking folk like myself.

-  -- ---o

Last call for my big 800th Post contest! I'll likely close the entry window sometime around late Friday or early Saturday so we can shake out a winner or two this weekend hopefully. So go enter if you haven't yet!

Here's another conditional bonus prize. If the winner of the contest runs an active card blog, included in the grand prize will be a complete 9-card set of 2015 Cardsphere Heroes. It was the first custom set I put together and I still have a 2 or 3 sets sitting around. This particular set potentially available is the "black ink glowstar 1/1" variant. For more info on this set, check out this post.
The small print for being eligible for this bonus prize is just that you've got to have a blog with at least one post by you in 2016 that shows at least one picture of a trading card. Even if you don't meet this requirement right now, I'll allow you to squeak in under the wire if you get it done before I name a winner. So if you've got a dormant blog, post something! If you've been thinking of starting a card blog, do it! Our little community of card-nuts is a better place when more people are active members, so I love when I can do my part to motivate people to post.

Now for a chance at a bonus entry into the contest, post a comment on this post suggesting a good name for a new card blog (by sharing it, you are giving your blessing for somebody to maybe actually use it). I'll award a bonus entry to the person who comes up with what seems to be the best suggestion or most clever or whatever.. I don't know, maybe I'll randomize if judging is too hard.. but someone will get the extra entry. Have fun with it.

Ok, that's it.. Thanks for reading!