Friday, May 25, 2018

Mega Bowman Boxing Day

I hadn't messed with any '18 Bowman besides a bad experience in a player break (the one that netted me nothing but base cards of Gavin LaValley out of 12 freakin' cases). Saw a lot of Twitter hype about the "mega boxes" that recently popped up on Target shelves. Lots of guys cleaning out their store's/town's inventory in one fell swoop, and other guys getting upset at this dick move. I had planned to sit this one out, but then yesterday I got a text from Kerry giving me a heads-up that the downtown Target by where we both work had some. It was a nice day, and my wife was down to join me for a walk, so we headed over to check it out.

Yep, there they are. Don't believe the sign; they ring up at $14.99. I was gonna grab a couple, then went nuts and grabbed a third. While I was tempted to flip one or two on eBay (where they've been selling for around $40 each), I went ahead and busted all 3 of them over the course of the evening.

The first box got things off to a good start with a Tyler Mahle auto /99. Not a big name, but that pretty much covers the "value" of the box right there, as looks like these go for around $20 on eBay. Was happy to pull Ronald Acuna from a mega pack too.

The boxes had plenty of hot, young talent, as you'd expect from Bowman.

Plenty of PC hits for me among the paper base (there are apparently no parallels in the mega boxes besides those that might be in the 2 mega packs; the regular Bowman packs that are included are only base paper and a base Chrome card or two in each pack), including my first card of Cutch as a Giant. Not much dupes between the boxes other than one "deja vu" pack, but at least it netted me another Rhys Hoskins RC.

Found a couple Dodger prospects Zippy asked me to keep an eye out for.

Pulled a couple /250 purple parallels, including a Padre prospect, so that's cool. Looks like Michel Baez is San Diego's #5 prospect at the moment (source). Despite his inclusion in the "ROY Favorites" insert set, Rhys is ineligible for 2018 ROY as he exceeded rookie limits during 2017 season, but I'm happy to land another card of his regardless.

Just when it looked like I would be shutout in the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes...

...I pulled this guy in my final pack. Just an unnumbered, non-auto insert, but I'll take it. It's my first (real) Ohtani card. Though I haven't gone nuts over him like many baseball fans/collectors, still nice to get some representation in my collection. Pulling a shiny RC is a good way to go.

[begin humorous content]

But no.. guess what else I pulled?!

Ka-Boom!! Ohtani auto! You might remember I pulled the base version of this auto last month, but this megabox parallel is much more grandiose, as you can clearly see. I've done it again!

[/humorous content]

Anyways, I went back today around 11am with the intention of grabbing another box or two, but nope, they had been cleared out. Glad I grabbed some when I had the chance. While I didn't hit anything huge, still fun to get in on the mega mania and score some decent cards for my collection.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Mookie Betts PC

Mookie Betts has been damn good the past few years, and has been even better so far this season, giving Mike Trout legit competition for the title of best player in the game. I figured it was time I sorted out my Mookie PC and get a blog post out of it.

I've just got one card of his from 2013, but it's a nice one. I believe this 2013 Panini Prizm Perennial Draft Picks auto is his first-ever autograph, as he didn't get into Topps/Bowman products until the following year.

2014 pt 1. Nice selection of 1st Bowman cards. There were times I was after a First Bowman Auto on eBay, but came up just short in my attempts. That was a couple years ago and I think I've missed my chance unless I really wanna pony up big dough.

But here's a 2014 auto I did manage to score. Won this Stadium Club RC auto for $15.50 back on 1/3/16. There are 2 currently on eBay at the time I'm writing this: one at $80 with 22 bids, and one at $92 with 20 bids. Not to get hung up on monetary value, but it feels good to occasionally score a sweet deal.

2015 pt 1. I'm hoarding those purple Chrome refractors with two of the 250 print run. I don't have his flagship 2015 Topps card here. But technically I've got it because I've got a sealed factory set sitting in my Black Friday stockpile which I will break up into PCs later this year.

2015 pt 2.

And here are some real nice cards from 2015. The Crystal Ball insert is my lowest-numbered Mookie at 17/30. Bought it for $22 back in October 2015, which is a lot for a non-auto modern insert, but I think these fat case hits are super cool and this split the difference (pricewise) between a common and a Trout/Harper. I tried to get an idea of the current rate, but couldn't find one anywhere on eBay or COMC. The Spring Fever auto was received in a gracious trade with reader Josh Bob a couple years ago. The 2015 Topps "sliding variation" is an SP I scored from the 7-for-$5 bins at the July 2016 card show.

2016 pt 1. Chrome parallels include a fishfractor and a bubble gum.

2016 pt 2. Always funny when you've got a fancy parallel but not the base version.

2016 pt 3

2017 pt 1

2017 pt 2. That outfield wall just makes me think of Neil Young...

2017 pt 3

2018 so far.

And these are the dupes I weeded out, if anyone wants to trade for them.

By my count, I'm at 72 unique cards. Shouldn't be long now till he's in the ol' Hundred Card Club. Feel free to get in touch if you've got any cards I need and want to trade. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Tommy John and Me

Tommy John turned 75 today. Well, I'm trying to whip up this post quickly in the evening of May 22nd, but we'll see if I finish it before bedtime.

My glove is a Tommy John model. Designed for the Professional. It's the same glove I've had since I was a kid. Gotta admit this wasn't a purchase. I found it abandoned on a playground one day and adopted it into my family. This was probably sometime in 1990, not too long after Tommy's final pitch on May 25, 1989.

It got a lot of work over the years at local ballfields, though it's been well over a decade since it's seen any real action. With my wife and I deciding not to have kids (pampering a dog is more our speed), it might not ever smell fresh cut grass again and make the smack of a well-grabbed baseball. But I suppose there's a chance that someday I might end up on a company softball team, or perhaps if I'm eventually an uncle I could have a catch with my theoretical nephew (we're all a little surprised my brother-in-law hasn't had any offspring with his wife yet, as they definitely seem like the type to pop out a brood. I think she's like 32 now.. the clock is ticking!)

But anyways, I'll hang onto this glove till the grave.. just in case the day comes that I need a baseball glove. You never know.

Maybe I cursed myself by ending up with a Tommy John glove. I remember one evening in high school, tossing a football around with my best friend Doug and his pops in their apartment complex directly across the street from El Cajon High School. There was one throw that didn't feel right to me. Just felt like I kinda tweaked my shoulder a little. And these ~25 years later, it never fully healed, still feeling some pain when I raise my right shoulder too high at a certain angle. I always just assumed it was a tiny hairline tear in there. But my sport was sprinting, so it wasn't that big of a deal. No Tommy John surgery for me. But a minor annoyance I have to live with.

Maybe not due to Mr. John, but another ominous moment with this glove came one day a couple years later playing catch with my friend Jeff Martin. The guy had a cannon for an arm and would launch the baseball what seemed like a mile up into the sky. It was always a lot of fun throwing the ball back in forth with him until one day I misjudged the ball in the sun and ended up getting slammed in the nose with a high fly missing my glove. I had a pretty cute little button nose as a kid. But since that day, I've had a bump in my nose that adversely effected my looks. There have been times I've thought about what my life would have been like had I caught that ball with my glove rather than the bridge of my nose. Maybe getting girls wouldn't have been so tough. Maybe making friends would have been easier. Maybe I'd be happier and more confident. Or maybe not, but still, I hate my nose and I blame that one misplayed ball for making my life a little harder. (Also, Jeff later borrowed my Double Dragon III Nintendo game and then moved away to Arizona without returning it and I never heard from him again. Haven't forgiven him for that either!)

On the subject of childhood sports equipment, what about what model baseball bat I had as a kid?! Well, I owned a few bats over my tweens/teens/twenties, but the only one I can remember with a player's name on it was a big heavy wood bat with Joe Carter's pre-printed signature burned into it. That one I actually bought, at a sporting goods store, I believe, or maybe it was Target. But I'm pretty sure I bought it in 1992, maybe early 1993, but before his career-defining World Series walk off tater. So if Tommy John cursed me to have a janky shoulder (and imperfect nose) the rest of my life, then in turn Joe Carter should have blessed me with the ability to come up clutch at the ideal time. It hasn't happened yet, but I'm due. One of these days. It's coming, I just know it. So I've got that going for me. Which is nice.

I got rid of the bat prior to moving out of California in that big purge. The only bat I've still got is an aluminum bat I keep by my bed in case of emergency. Its days of popping fungos are gone and the only time I pick it up now is if there's a strange sound in the night I need to investigate. But again, if the day comes I need to bring a bat to a ballpark, it's ready.

Anyways, back to Tommy.. I've danced around officially adding him to the list of players I collect, but haven't pulled the trigger yet. But I still tend to hang on to any cards of his that come my way, so I suppose I basically collect him, even though the cards are stored in a box labeled "various stuff that doesn't fit in my collection elsewhere" with the other old-timers I kinda-like-but-don't-collect and prospects that have a slim chance of being good someday. And Hunter Pence. I gotta dump my Hunter Pence cards. Why is he still in there?

I recently landed a clear "best card" for my would-be Tommy John PC. You know I've always got an eye out for Topps Retired refractors. This one popped up at a decent price earlier this month and I jumped at it. Love it! (--Chief Wahoo and all. The logo doesn't bother me all that much-- probably just desensitized to it at this point-- but I'm all for the team retiring it soon. Gotta adjust with the times, etc. That native american caricature just doesn't have a place in the 21st century.)

Always love, love, love a wall of tiny stats on the back of a baseball card. Tommy John is objectively worthy of the Hall of Fame per Hall of Stats, which I will defer to on nearly any "does he belong?" argument. His next opportunity is in 2020.. hopefully the Modern Baseball Era Committee does the right thing and inducts him while he's still around to give an acceptance speech. His numbers alone are good enough to get him just over the cusp, and throw on top of that the fact that he's a household name thanks to the revolutionary surgery he was patient-zero for, and you've got a well deserving baseball legend.

Him finally getting enshrined would be nice for me to see. We've got a special bond. He's the guy on my glove.

There's no trade like a Bo trade

As you might know, Bo from Baseball Cards Come to Life recently dropped the "no going after vintage" guideline to how he collects, diving headfirst into old cards now. So that's opened up some trade possibilities with him, and I was able to find a bunch of available vintage to send his way. He hit me back with a nice return package.

Bo's recent influx of vintage included some dupes, including this lovely '68 Phil Niekro I needed for the modest Knucksie PC I've got going.

I needed that '81 Bird too, plus an '87 Fleer Update need taking me down to just 5 more cards to wrap up that update set (I recently caved and bought the Maddux and McGwire rookies during the recent COMC sale).

More Didis for my PC.

Wow, my Kevin Maas PC just doubled!
No wait, make that tripled..

¡Mas Maas! ¡Gracias!

Some good star-power here in this '82 Topps lot. Won't be long till I knock this one off.

And a big lot of 1978 Topps. Very nice. Gotta love that awful Greg Minton card. I think I'm probably past halfway with this set now.

Big thanks for the trade, Bo! I'll round up something to balance the scales soon.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Springtime Christmas (catching up on a big bunch of trades)

Got a lot of good incoming trade packages lately. Let's check 'em out.

First up is a reader named Kermit who was keen to score himself some of the Simpsons cards I whipped up a while back, and though he isn't a sportscard collector, still rounded up a nice trade offer for me.

These minimalist Simpsons ornaments are cute. I'm torn if I should keep them in "new with tag" collectable condition, or take off the tags and throw them on the tree this December. I found a couple Marges on eBay going for around $15 each, but couldn't find Homer on there. (well, there are a ton of Homer tree ornaments, but couldn't find this specific one.)

As I mentioned, the guy didn't collect cards, but he did dig up some baseball pins that caught my eye. A few players I collect in this lot. (Plenty of dupes and guys I don't collect, too, so let me know if you want to trade for any of these.)

When he told me he had a bunch of old comics to offer, I perked up hoping for some vintage Amazing Spider-Man and Superman and stuff like that. ...

Welp, not exactly. But I was still moderately interested in these cartoon comic books from the 70s.

He was nice enough to throw together a nice sampler lot for me.

Definitely well-loved condition, these are "dollar bin" caliber, as he warned me, but should be fun to read through on a rainy day.

Should I maybe do a future post on these few comics? Might be fun to recap the story and show some of the more amusing advertisements. Eh, let me know in the comments if that's something you'd like me to post about.

It wasn't all 70s, though, as he had some modern Futurama comics to throw in, too.

Neat stuff. Thanks again for the trade, Kermit!

- - - ---o

Next up is a little trade/thank-you from Dimebox Nick.

Very happy to land the Sandberg glow star, as that finally completes that '93 UD Fun Pack subset for me. Now I gotta round up all the cards (some are in PCs) and do a glowing-in-action post with them one of these days.
As for the 2011 parallels, already had one, but the other was a need for the frankenset.
Also cool Trout insert and a couple shiny Treas.

And some Padres highlights from the package.

Thanks again, Nick!

-   - - ----o

At the card show last weekend, I bumped into Rod and he was nice enough to give me a box of cards.

While it wouldn't be stretching too much to get a week's worth of posts from the box, I'm lazy / have a lot going on, so I'm just going to call it good with this overview photo with some highlights visible.

I believe that Renfroe is the first Honus Bonus card in my collection. There are also custom autos of Matt Stairs and Glenn Hoffman.

Thanks as always, Rod!

-  - - ---o

Now here's a nice "Christmas in May" mailing from John Miller.

Cammy! HoloGrFX! Love it!

Ha, sorry, but these are kinda like opening a gift on Xmas morning and it's socks. John, I know your heart is in the right place, but Josh Donaldson, Trevor Story, and Wil Myers were knocked off my wantlist a few months ago. You can stop setting them aside for me please. What can I say, I'm a fickle player collector.

Some other cool miscellany.

Thanks, John! I'll round up some cards for you soon.

-   - - ---o

The yuletide celebration comes to a close with an incredible 4-card package from Raz.

12/25 Giancarlo!! With lasers shooting out from his crotch! Awesome card.

And here are a couple diecut 12/25's. I know Raz kinda/sorta is also a Christmas Card collector like myself, so he must keep an eye out for them, and was kind enough to share a few.

Shiny Michael Sam.. very cool. This might be the first minicollection double-whammy that hits both my Christmas Card collection and Pride PC.

Four cards and all 12/25.. wow, thanks, Raz! I know you said you weren't looking for a return, but I'll hit you back with a little sign of appreciation soon. (like it or not! lol)

Thanks again to Kermit, Nick, Rod, John, and Raz!
And thanks to you for reading.