Sunday, May 28, 2017

My Top 10 Tony Gwynn autos

I wanted to get this post out under the wire for eligibility in Collecting Cutch's "show off the top 10 cards you've got of your favorite player" contest. I feel a little greedy even entering after just recently winning one of his other contests, but dang it, he's offering up some high quality shit for prizes! Gotta take a shot.

I'm going to make it a little easier on myself by making this list AUTO ONLY rather than grapple with the dilemma of whether I like the look of a base card enough for it to compete against hits. (And relics are in limbo somewhere between since I don't really have any sick patch cards or anything too fancy.) I intend to do a Top 10 for my non-auto Tonys later on after I've finished my big Gwynn PC sorting project.

Ok, here we go.


Sorry, I had to cheat here. I only own 9 autographed cards of Mr. Padre, so I had to turn to his offspring to fill a list of (technically speaking) ten Gwynn autos. I believe it's my only Tony Gwynn Jr card, but it's a nice one, numbered 1/25 on the back. I hear he's been putting in some time as a color commentator on Padres telecasts this season and getting good reviews, though I haven't been lucky enough to catch him on there yet.


I feel bad ranking this one so low. It's a fine looking card.. and a Christmas Card, to boot! But it loses points for being a stickergraph, and the stat part at the bottom seems to clutter up the design; should have left that for the back, not the front.


Few cards in my collection have more sentimental value to me than this '89 Score. My best friend Doug got this card back in middle school (circa '91), probably as a birthday gift, if I recall, bought by his dad at the LCS, PB's Baseball Cards. Our little group of friends was very envious of it! Eventually, Doug got out of collecting and somewhere along the line (high school), we worked out a deal where he swapped the card to me. I think I lent him some money or something and he ended up giving me this card to square us.


Let's put the 2004 Topps Retired card here (shown at the top of this post). It's a great card, but somewhat redundant in my collection now due to another card coming up later in the countdown.


Here's another uncertifed auto. The signature is pretty faded, but I still love this one, being a sucker for any SDSU cards of Tony.


This was my first certified Gwynn auto. Funny enough, it's the only one I've got featuring a photo from the latter half of his career. Won it on eBay for the price of a blaster a couple months before he passed away.


I love this card! It features my all-time favorite uniform, plus it's a Christmas Card.. similar to card #9 on this list in these respects, but the design's wood border and gold foil make it look like a cool little plaque. If only the signature was on-card, this might have contended for the top spot on the list.


Bringing out the big guns here. Photos from Tony's basketball days at SDSU, plus a gorgeous gold ink signature.. can't go wrong.


And here's a similar card, but with silver ink. I gotta rank this one a little higher due to the funky "Old School" vibe. Plus it's #'d 24/75, and 24 was Tony's jersey number on the hardwood.


The top spot has to go to the 2004 Topps Retired refractor auto. These are among my favorite cards ever, so add to that my favorite player ever, and this is likely my favorite card in my collection, if I had to narrow it down just one.

The only way I could love this card more would be if it was #'d 12/25. Well, I'll keep an eye out for that one and who knows, maybe one day I'll "upgrade" to the Christmas Card. But really though, I'm very happy with # 09/25.

Love you, Tony! Great player, great man, great cards.

Thanks for reading!

Portlanders giving cards, not stabbings

Did you hear about the incident in Portland on Friday where the crazy guy was harassing a couple Muslim women on the train, and when a couple guys tried to get him to chill out, the fucker pulled out a knife and fatally stabbed the guys who were trying to help? (A third heroic person was injured but survived the attack.) It's a tragic story. And close to home for me, as it happened right at the stop where I get off to go home. I usually take that train but a little later. My wife gets off work earlier than me and perhaps would have been on that very train on a normal day, but drove Friday.

And the Friday before that, there was a stabbing at the next stop before on my route home. Just some creepy guy hitting on a woman, then stabbing her when she turned him down.

Yikes! Why is Portland getting so stabby lately? And on my route home, no less!

Well, I don't know a good way to segue that into showing off baseball cards, but let's wrap up the remaining highlights from the big lot fellow Portland resident Padrographs Rod kindly gave me a month ago.

There was a nice lot of 2016 Bowman/Bowman Chrome, with plenty of shiny. I probably could have gotten a full post out of these, but I'll keep things moving along since I've got a lot to post about at the moment.

These are pretty cool.. Here's about half of the Topps' Rookie of the Week insert set from a while back, with reimagined rookie cards of legendary players (most of whom I collect).

Who's still working on 2016 Stadium Club? Hit me up. Nice stack here with some keepers for me including a Bryce insert and popcorn Donaldson.

Minor league team sets are fun.

A few basketball cards, heavy on Lakers, including a few Jerry West cards (it happens to be his birthday today) which I'll likely end up sending over to Matt Scott (WVU content). And how have I never heard of a guy named Smush? I love fun names like that.

Look at this big lot of minor league team logo cards. Pretty cool, if somewhat strange.

And there were 2 copies of the Topps Now holiday bonus card. I haven't bought a Topps Now card directly from Topps, so I never got one of these. Cool to get two of them! One's definitely going toward the Kris Bryant PC, while the second one will likely go to the Ichiro PC (with him getting the slight nod over Big Papi since I've already got 100+ cards of Ortiz.)

And just some more various cool cards. Love seeing Jesse Orosco as a Friar. There were also several TTM autos in the lot (Padrograph doubles, no doubt). Nice framed Eddie Murray card. And howbout that John Kruk card from back when he was a relatively slim minor leaguer?!

Food oddballs! Most of these are from Carl's Jr. Don't recall seeing them before, but I like 'em!

A bunch of non-sports, heavy on US presidents. These don't really fit my collection.. anybody interesting in trading for them? (There were also many Beach Boys cards, but I'm holding off on going though them until I bust the box I bought.)

And a bunch of Olympic cards, also available. Not often you see a sportscard with a guy aiming a gun at you. At least he's not stabbing anybody!

Again, huge thanks for the cards, Rod!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Coming up Cutch

It's been a very lucky past two or three months for me for winning contests on the cardsphere. First I won a Cardboard Hogs contest by default. Then I won 2x3 Heroes blogoversary contest by figuring out his cryptic clues. More recently, I got into jaybarkerfan's Big Fun Game thanks to the randomizer (and then John Miller's similar game). Then I came in 2nd place in a Summer of '74 contest, but 1st place winner Tony L. graciously deferred his prize to me. And the other day I found out my suggestion was selected as the winner for Collecting Cutch's "name my new segment" contest. Nice! (I'll be balancing out the karma with a couple big contest of my own coming up shortly.)

Here's the grand prize from the Collecting Cutch contest, a great looking relic #'d 18/27. This is an awesome addition to my McCutchen PC. "Cutch 22" works on a couple levels, as it's a pun on "catch 22" and 22 is his jersey number.

Brian didn't just stop there, though, including a bunch of sweet bonus cards for me...

If you've ever checked out the Collecting Cutch blog, you know Brian's got an insane Andrew McCutchen collection. I collect him too, but on a much more modest level, and here's a nice lot for my PC. Cutch has been struggling the past couple years, apparently falling victim to the Samson complex, as it seems his mojo was in his dreads. But he's a good guy and I still collect him. Hopefully he can turn things around.

You don't see too many oddballs these days, thanks in large part to legal bullshit, so it was cool to be surprised with these police cards.

I like these motivational sayings on the back.. a step up from the old "Stay in school" and "Say no to drugs" you get on similar cards back in the day.

Love this sparkly Conforto RC!

Some more dudes I collect.

Xander in the house!

A few cards for the Mike Trout PC.

A couple reprint/ads of HOF RCs.

Ooh.. A Padre prospect auto. Michael Kelly is still in the San Diego organization, currently putting up solid numbers in AA.

And let's wrap things up with an auto of the Cobra himself, Dave Parker!

Awesome stuff! Thanks again, man!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Underachieving Archives

The checklist for 2017 Archives has been released. I already pre-ordered a couple boxes a few months ago for the third year. I've got a love/hate relationship with the product. I credit Topps Archives for pulling me back into collecting in 2012. I remember I was taking a curious look on eBay to see what was up with the hobby. The modern designs didn't really interest me at all, but then there was this "throwback" set with comfortingly familiar designs and plenty of retired stars of yesteryear, and it really spoke to me. I dipped my toe in the water ripping a blaster or two.. didn't pull anything all that notable, but got enough of a thrill to hop back into the collecting pool.

Since then, I bust a box or two annually. But my enthusiasm for the product has been waning, gotta admit. Last year was a big success for me because I pulled (a redemption for) a Ken Griffey, Jr "Father & Son" 1/1 auto black parallel. So that was cool as hell. But besides that one card, the boxes pretty much sucked. The base cards were virtually identical in both boxes. A couple weeks later I took a chance on a blaster hoping for some variety, and again, just more of the same cards! Three rips resulted in a ton of triples, with pretty much only the parallels and inserts being different. It's a decent sized set, too. I remember Fuji was trying to finish the set and had an ample wantlist. I emailed him, confident I could knock off several numbers for him. But no, I ended up looking like a fool. Fuji must've busted nearly identical boxes to me, because I couldn't even muster up a single need for him in my entire tall stack of 2016 Archives. No reason to have such horrible collation. It's nothing new for Topps in recent years, but still.

But let's move the bitching to 2017 Archives. As Night Owl mentioned recently, one of the designs this year is 1982 Topps, a design Archives just used back in 2013! So many great designs they haven't used in the product, yet they're already beating dead horse designs, like they did with 1980 Topps (bringing it back in 2014 after just using it in 2012). It upsets me more than it should. It's just so lazy. I've talked about how it'd be a dream job for me to work at Topps working on cards, and specifically I'd love to be project manager of Archives and get it back on track. It could be a great set if they'd just put in a little more effort.

I haven't looked too hard at the checklist yet (and will likely avoid blog posts with early reviews), trying to save some surprise for when I bust my boxes, but I did take a look at the Fan Favorites Autographs checklist. Some expected big names (that I'm sure will be very short-printed) such as Aaron, Koufax, and newcomer to Topps autos, Derek Jeter. In a change from recent years, there's no 80s film tie-in this time out. However, there are a lot of non-player baseball guys this year, such as sportscasters and fans. I was disappointed not to see Vin Scully on the checklist (auto or otherwise). I know Topps signed him to a contract a few months ago.. Put him in sets! If he's not in 2017 Ginter, I'm gonna be pissed. The worst "Fan Favorite" inclusion is Skip Bayless, the idiotic asshole sportswriter/TV personality that everybody hates. If I pull that card, I will burn it.

As for positive surprises on the auto checklist, I was happy to see MLB's Ambassador for Inclusion, Billy Bean get his first certified auto. And it's a Padres card at that! (The only Padre auto in the set, however.. boo.) But yeah, I'll have to score one of those autos for my Pride PC at some point. Members of the cardsphere are also happy to see the likes of Tim Wallach and John Smiley get some certified-auto love. Rusty Kuntz is another fun one.

So anyways, yeah, I hope my boxes treat me well this year. Until then, here are some older Archives cards I've picked up recently.

1986 Topps is a set I'm not all that crazy about.. but mess with the border colors and you've got me! This Moises Alou blue parallel looks awesome, even if the shade of blue is just a bit off from the EXPOS text and position circle.

I was getting addicted to these blue border 86s and ended up with Teddy Higuera, too. This one doesn't look as good as the Alou thanks to the tan BREWERS, but is still kinda cool.

I wouldn't mind adding more colored parallels in the 1986 design in the future (there are also red and purple, I believe), though these 2 satiated my fixation good enough for the time being.

This isn't exactly the same as today's Archives, rather from back when it was a chiefly a reprint product. I'm still kinda trying to complete the Archives Reserve Future Rookie Reprints set. Never been a big fan of these reimaged multi-player rookies with only the one main guy, but Cal was a big name to check off my list.

And Barry Bonds is another one. I don't care much about them being graded, but this one popped up significantly cheaper than I tend to see raw copies priced for, so I pounced on it. Not sure why PSA mentions a "gold border" as I'm pretty sure all copies of this card are like this.. basically a Chrome-style reprint.

And the backs, in case you were interested.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend, everybody!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Rooting for the little guy

I'm not super short, but on the low end of average male height. Perhaps because of this, I often (unfortunately) find myself rooting for the underdog (who lose 9 times out of 10) and I have an affinity for vertically-challenged pro athletes (jockeys not included). Here are some recent pickups.

I bought a Jose Altuve auto a while back. 2016 Archives Super /50. It's pretty cool. Nice highlight for my little Altuve PC.

I also recently picked up certified autos of a couple short basketball stars that I remember getting a kick out of during their playing days.

Spud Webb! 💯 /299.

Muggsy Bogues! What a terrific looking card!

Spud Webb and Muggsy Bogues.. great names. No way either of these guys could have a boring name like Rob Davis or Jack Richardson. I could have saved a couple bucks with stickergraphs, but had to do it right with on-card.

Love these cards, but after these and the Mutombo auto, (and another snazzy b-ball card I haven't posted about yet), I've put a moratorium on buying basketball cards for the rest of the year (or really any non-baseball cards). I just splurged a bit too much there for a while and need to focus up.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Is this a sweet lot of 2017 Topps? Judge for yourself

The handicap of now being a one-vehicle household is hitting me for the first time this weekend. My wife needs the car for an appointment Saturday on the other side of town that can't really be changed and it also happens to be the day of the monthly card show. So unless I want to mess with hauling cards around on public transportation, looks like I'll be sitting this one out. And really, it's probably for the best if I miss this show. I still need to sort the cards I brought home at the last couple card shows, not to mention all the incoming trades and such from the past couple months.

Plus, thanks to the big lot that Padrographs Rod gave me at the last show, I feel like I got enough new cards at the April show to carry me through May, too. Let's check out more from that fantastic lot now. Today, it's highlights from the ample selection of 2017 Topps Series 1.

Wow, the hottest base card of the year, and I ended up with two of them falling in my lap! That's pretty lucky. Aaron Judge has been running away with AL ROY so far this season-- hell, even making a strong case for MVP-- with Yankees fans hoping he can keep up his impressive performance for the long term.

Andrew Benintendi is another hyped rookie in the AL East.

A bunch of inserts, heavy on Wil Myers. I love Bob Odenkirk, though I haven't watched Better Call Saul yet.

Take a trip back to 1987 with the nice selection of retro inserts.

These Award Winners inserts are ok.

Some PC additions.

More dudes I collect, plus cameos on team cards, which I sometimes throw into PCs if the guy is featured prominently enough (The Orioles card could slip into my Adam Jones PC, but not my Manny Machado PC, for example). This design doesn't work very well with horizontal cards, as it takes up way too much space on the bottom.

Here are some buybacks. Rod undoubtedly got in a group break or two, explaining why they're all Padres. Some of these probably came out of 2017 Heritage, but I don't think there's a way to differentiate. I wish Topps would cool it on the buybacks. I kinda collect Kruk, so I'll hang onto that one, but the rest will likely make their way to buds who care about buybacks more than I. The Eric Show cards look like dupes at first, but one is silver foil and the other gold, despite how they look in the photo (the top row are all bronze). Assuming Topps uses the Olympic system, gold must be the most scare of these 3 stamp colors, though I'm sure only the most chronically obsessed collectors give even a tiny shit about buyback stamp colors.

Again from group break hauls, there were several of each Padre base card, most of which I've already received through trades already, so not too exciting for me. Anybody working on this set, let me know and I'd love to thin some out on you (Padres and otherwise).

Finally, perhaps the biggest thrill of the entire lot for me. Here we have a partial rainbow of Derek Norris cards, with a base, gold, and camo. I don't really have strong feelings either way about Derek, and the parallels this year are very underwhelming. But..

The camo parallel is a Christmas Card! And I'm pretty sure Rod didn't go out of his way to score this card for me, rather it was much more likely just serendipitously among his Padres group break haul. So that's pretty cool.

Thanks again, Rod! Very appreciated!