Thursday, May 13, 2021

Shiny cards in various sizes

More highlights from my big COMCOVID shipment.

After getting shut out for comments in my previous post, I'd better bring out the big guns.

Well, a big card and a tiny card. One shiny, one shiny and also sparkly. Two greats of the game.

At $14.99, the SuperVlad refractor was my priciest pickup of the order. I don't consider it an addition to my card collection as much as an addition to my fine art collection.

It's going up on the wall where it will serve as a motivational poster. "Fully extend for your dreams."

Here's a closer look at the sparkly micro Kirby along with his proud papa. 

The oversized bat further confounds the image and is really messing with my sense of scale! Somehow tiny Kirby is even tinier and regular Kirby is ginormous.

A few different micro cards of stars were created as prism parallels and included as a bonus with the 1993 micro factory set. At least that's my understanding of the proto-Atomic Refractor/Cracked Ice little fella's origins. Does that make it the very first sparkly parallel? I know there were sparkly baseball stickers in the late 80s; not sure if they count. But anyways, yeah, I found out about these cool things and had to pick up one for myself. Cost me a buck.

I picked up a few needs from my foolish quest of a black refractor parallel set of 2004 Topps Chrome. Three commons for around a buck each, and then splurged on Mad Dog for $10.25. Nice to cross another big'un off my wants-- 223 cards left to go-- plus he's a PC guy for me, so I can appreciate it on that level too.

Mr. Elroy Face was the lone pickup in this shipment for my ARMS (Archives Reserve Master Set). A gracious man when it comes to his signature, this card cost me what shipping alone would have cost me on eBay. Man, I sure hope COMC eventually returns to being a convenient place to purchase-and-then-soon-receive cards for decent prices. Anyways, just 136 cards left to go until I have a full master set of Topps Archives Reserve cards.

See ya next time

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Johnny's Trade Post

John Miller surprised me with some cool cards recently.

Card Twitter was buzzing today at the revelation that 2021 Topps Update is slated to feature inserts in the classic '93 Black Gold design. Let's just hope Topps goes all-in with actual gold foil like the originals, not the shine-less TBT versions from 2019. But yeah, if those Update cards are done right, I might have to chase the set, or at least go after my PC guys. I'm still working on the originals, but this lot from John helps.

Here are highlights from the many San Diego cards in the package. The 2017 Gypsy Queen Wil Myers throwback variation seems to be a pretty tough pull. Looks like John broke a few small sets like Donruss Opening Day and Fleer Update, passing the Padres onto me. I never had much from those near-oddballs so I get a thrill out of them with their less-familiar alternate designs. And always love adding cards to PCs of guys like Bip and Templeton.

John seems to dig up a few Gavin Floyds to include every time he sends me cards. While I already have most of Floyd's mainstream cards, there were a couple needs and an upgrade here.

Saving the best for last with this pair. Might seem unassuming at first, but...

A glossy parallel of Gavin Sheets and a 12/25 press proof of Matt Clement. Sheets is the frontrunner to be the next guy named Gavin to crack the big leagues, off to a good start in AAA this season. Clement is a guy I remember rooting for during his days in San Diego.

Great stuff.. thanks, John! I sent you a little return the other day, hope you like.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Non-sport pickups plus Wallet Card and Ruby at the coast

More cards from my recent big order, this time some stuff outside of sports.. well, the big four sports, anyways. I found out Goodwin Champions is a good source for cheap on-card autographs. First off is a trio of TV dudes.

Craig Kilborn was entertaining back in his ESPN days, and I enjoyed him as the first host of The Daily Show, but it was his tenure as hosting the Late Late Show on CBS that really endeared him to me. That was a fun show. But he left to try his hand at becoming a big hollywood actor and was never heard from again. Happy to snatch this auto for just $1.53.

Another show I like is the sitcom Fresh off the Boat, based on the memoir of Eddie Huang. Figured I'd pick up an auto of his, even if it appears he attended the Wil Myers school of lazy wave signatures.

Aries Spears was pretty funny on MADtv back in the day. I haven't heard much of him since, but hey, I pulled the trigger on this inexpensive auto.

Here are four Goodwin Champions who happen to be attractive women, each card scored for just a buck-something. Heck yes! I wasn't familiar with any of these people, but jumped at adding a few more on-card autos to this part of my card collection for cheap.
Alexandra O'Laughlin is a golf and travel correspondent with the Golf Channel and NBC.
Shelina Zadorsky is a soccer player who plays in the English FA Women's Super League, as well as on the Canada women's national soccer team.
Lindsey Weaver is a golfer who's had some success on the LPGA Tour.
Quincy Davis is a professional surfer from Montauk, New York.

Another pretty lady's autograph, though a sad one as Lisa Spoonauer passed away the same year these 2017 Skybox Clerks cards came out. Great flick. Tempted to go after more cards from this set, but for now, this one will do.

I also picked up some additions to my Howard Hughes PC.

I should mention that COMC started including a little barcode slip thing with every card. I know they used to do that sometimes in the past, like with encased cards, but now I think every single card in the shipment included one. Makes sense for inventory reasons, I suppose, but kind of a pain to have to remove the receipt from every sleeve. Though sometimes, like with obscure oddballs such as these, I think I'll go ahead and leave the slip with them to help with identification down the line.

Another oversized Hughes, a Pee-Wee, and a bizarre bloodied Sgt. Slaughter.

Not to brag, but I scored very well on the Howard Hughes quiz.. but then again I did just research him last year for the 9-card custom set I made.

After completing the master set of 1988 Topps Pee-Wee's Playhouse cards (that I have been meaning to post about one of these days), I figured I'd try to pick up the other cards of him out there.

Sgt. Slaughter is a dude I collect because of his GI Joe connection (I was a huge GI Joe fan as a kid).

Alright, that's all from that shipment for now. Still lots of baseball left from it for future posts.

- - -----o

After missing last year due to the pandemic, my wife and I and her immediate family returned to the house at the Oregon coast we've rented for a weekend each spring for several years now. It's often the most action my wallet card gets each year.

I always like to dip in my wallet card when there's a body of water around, so had to snap this pic in the ocean. 90D Gwynn here, my wallet card for 2021, will possibly have the rare distinction of touching both the Pacific and Atlantic, as we'll be traveling for a wedding in New England later this year.

While walking Ruby around the neighborhood, I came across this boat named "Slabhunter" and had to take a wallet card photo. Seems it's a fishing term, not a reference to searching for graded cards, but still. haha

The house has seen some changes/improvements since last time we stayed there. One new thing that caught my eye was this cool Lego VW bus with opening doors n' stuff. All 6 of us humans in our group had been fully vaccinated, so it was nice to be able to hang out together like normal again and not worry about masks unless heading into town. Really the biggest difference with the whole trip is it was the first time staying at the house without Annie, our beloved rottie-mix who passed in late 2019. She was an awesome dog and it was kind of weird and sad without her there. 
Instead we had to deal with this jerk..

Ruby, on the verge of turning one year old, was a dang terror all weekend, thanks I suppose to being overstimulated with special friends who spoil her (my in-laws) and a new place to explore. She pissed all over the house (and pooped in it once), stole a big cut of pork tenderloin off the counter during dinner, whined a lot at bedtime, and just generally forgot all her behavioral training. (She was back to being better once we came home.) But damn it, she's a cutie so it's easier for her to get away with it. She sure did have a blast, especially down on the beach...

That's it for this post. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 4, 2021


 Time to show off the vintage from my big COMCOVID shipment.

I miss finding pre-Topps beaters for cheap at the card show. This well-loved pair of 1950 Bowman cards each ran me a buck-something. Love the artwork on these!

Bob Scheffing and Willie "Puddin' Head" Jones. Sure, in a perfect world I'd love to have these in EX/NM or whatever, but I don't mind wear on really old cards. Adds to the character. These cards lived. Kids in the 50s shoved these pieces of cardboard into their pockets, played with them down by the schoolyard, and at least in the case of the Jones, apparently ran them through the wash.

These non-sport tobacco minis were each under a dollar.
1968 Brooke Bond History of the Motor Car #48 -1967 Ferrari P4, 4 Litres
1925 Wills Life in the Tree Tops #28 Young Kestrels

I wanna say I saw some of these History of the Motor Car cards on somebody's blog, and went out to find one for myself. This was a year ago, before I started doing my Vintage Frankenset, so that didn't play a factor, but serendipitously I had an opening at #48, so this Ferrari will be pulling into a parking spot there.

Sadly the same can't be said for the Young Kestrels or above 1950 Bowman cards, as their numbers are already filled, but I suppose you can never have enough old-ass cards, right? Pulled the trigger on the 1925 Kestrels back in September 2019 for 75¢ from COMC seller MashingDingers, who I recognize as a Twitter acquaintance of mine (who has expressed an interest in writing a guest post, so who knows, might be a Baseball Card Breakdown collaborator at some point), but I don't think I bought it because it was from him, but probably just trying to find the oldest/cheapest card available that caught my eye.

I wanted to pick up some more Pumpsie Green cards and did just that by grabbing his '61 and '62 Topps. I remember reading his SABR bio while waiting at the vet during the final days my previous pup Annie's life, so there's an additional emotional component towards getting a little PC going for him, the first black player for the Red Sox.

Here's an unassuming 1969 Topps card that I heard about and had to score myself a copy. The highlight of this Mel Queen card is the back..

Both pitching and batting stats! Seems like Topps is usually too lazy to make a special back like this for 2-way players, so the extra effort is appreciated.

Lastly for this post, I picked up a couple cards for vintage sets I'm building. Bob Purkey is a nice semi-high number I found a good deal on for my '64 Topps set that's just over ¾ of the way complete, but one of the cards in this shipment I was most excited about is this particular Gene Baker for my '57 Topps set that's also inching towards 80% complete.

According to TCDB, 1957 Topps #176 Gene Baker is the only card in the set with error and corrected variations listed. As for which variation this one is..? Welp, it's actually a "missing link" between the two! Check it out:

The variation involves a printing flaw with the player name on back. Apparently some of the pressings had a bit too much red ink or something, flooding the last letter of text in the player's first and last name. "EUGENE W. BAKER" became "EUGENF W. BAKEP". I found a curious copy on COMC where the troublesome letters in question are not at their full errored state, but also not quite their fully formed correct versions either. The last E in Eugene has a shorter bottom compared to the top, and the R in Baker has a noticeably thinner tail.

The corrected variation is common and typically sells for under 5 bucks in average condition. I paid $1.25 for mine last fall. In researching around for this post, all recent completed listings on eBay show the error selling for comfortably in triple digits... except for one that sold for "just" $57, but in my opinion it's a fake. Take a look:

Really looks like some dipshit used a red pen to obscure the R in an attempt to increase the value of his 1957 Topps common. You can tell the coloring seems just a little off right there. And notice how the last E in Eugene is conspicuously full. If it was an authentic error variation, both the R and that E should have been affected (Correct me if I'm wrong, but they sure seem to go hand-in-hand). Yep, pretty sure this particular "error" card was faked. Lame. I feel bad for whoever bought it.

Anyways, I don't intend to drop $100+ on the error card-- no offence to Gene Baker who was an All-Star in '55 with the Cubs and got a ring as a bench guy on the 1960 Pirates-- but I'm glad to score what might be an even scarcer variation. What do you guys think, should mine be added to TCDB as a 3rd variation for the card, or would that just piss people off and I should continue to appreciate it as a printing-flaw oddity, not a true variation?

Thanks for swinging by and going down this Baker street with me.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Christmas Comes Late

I finally got my big COMC shipment in: a total of 189 cards for $381.60 amassed from 8/21/2019 thru 11/7/2020 when I requested shipment. Pre-covid, that would have been ample time to receive the cards by Christmas, but the current hobby boom caught COMC unprepared and they've struggled to catch up ever since. So now after nearly half a year waiting for them to arrive, I've finally got my cards in-hand.

As an aside, for my job I physically mail out several hundred packages of data archives every month. It wasn't easy, but even at the height of lockdown, I never fell behind schedule. I stepped up my game and found a way to make it work despite the additional challenges. So I don't have a lot of sympathy for COMC at this point. I haven't purchased any cards on the site since this shipment, and don't plan to until/if they get their shit together.

I figure there's a few posts-worth of cards to feature on the blog from this lot, and I'll start with the Christmas Cards. Sometimes I think I should cool off on hunting for cards serial-numbered 12/25. With the crazy number of parallels being put out these days, the novelty has kinda worn off. But dang it, I still love them, and once in a while I would get bored and bumble around the site looking for them, either cheap (usually prospects who never made it) or less-cheap (guys I collect or otherwise eye-catching cards).

Here's one of the latter. Dropped a Hamilton on this Joey Votto with a neat piece of jersey. I believe this was one that I originally saw pop up via COMC on eBay, then hopped over to the site to purchase it for a little cheaper. Ended up with 6 Vottos in the order. His numbers may be slipping as he gets older, but still a cool dude and fun to build a little PC of.

Unfortunately, you can't just search for "12/25" on COMC and get a bunch of Christmas Card results. I pretty much have to find a line of parallels that are /25 and then check them for any that are 12th in the production run. I figured out Bowman Chrome typically has orange refractors each year with 25 copies in the run, and hey, I like refractors and the color orange, so I spent some time searching the site for them.

Edwin Jackson established the major league record for most teams played for (14), nearly as much as the rest of the guys in this post combined.
Michael Sullivan never made it out of A-ball.
Kevin McKague seems to be a West Point graduate who pitched 5 games in rookie ball and that's it.
Juan Ciriaco played nearly 400 games in Triple-A yet never got the call.
Mark (Marc) Kaiser also topped out at AAA.
Rowdy Tellez has had some success with the Blue Jays in recent years, though got sent down the other day to make room on the roster. Gotta root for guys with fun names.

Numbering is on the backs with these, so here you are. Oh hey, just noticed Kevin McKague is a fellow Xmas Eve baby. That's twice the yuletide cheer with this card.

But wait, there's more...

Cory Hall didn't make it out of A ball.
Gregory Infante had a cup of coffee with the White Sox in 2010, bounced around organizations in the minors for several years, then returned to the South Siders to become one of their best arms out of the pen in 2017.
Alex Rios had a sold 12-year career in the AL, getting All-Star nods in '06 and '07 with Toronto.
David Robertson also enjoyed a 12-year career, with his best season being 2011, putting up an impressive 1.08 ERA over 70 games with the Yankees.
Dillon Overton got into a few big league games in '16 and '17, including a single start for my Padres.
Cameron Varga never made it past A ball.

And here's the last of the baseball Christmas Cards from the order.
Nick Travieso made it as high as AA and was spotted pitching in the Puerto Rico Winter League last season.
Michael Zimmerman is another guy who didn't make it past A ball.
Yeison Asencio is a former Padres prospect I was really rooting for but he didn't pan out. I have a couple other parallels of this 2013 Bowman Chrome card including a gold refractor auto. He seems to still be active south of the border. 
I always say I don't need more Wil Myers cards, but eh, caved to pick up this blue-bordered Archives card.
The Mark Trumbo auto is cool if you squint your eyes and pretend it's Mike Trout. He had a few good years and hit 218 taters, but seems to be finished now.

I also picked up 4 football cards with my favorite serial number. Always love green ink autos (Ykili Ross here), and the refractor looks cool, too (Demetric Vance). Trenton Thompson has played some in the CFL. Brandon Doughty was starting quarterback for Western Kentucky from 2013 to 2015. I've got a grampa-in-law who taught there for many years, so that's kinda cool.

We close out the post with a pair of Rakeem Christmas Christmas Cards. Love doubling up the Christmas like this. He didn't stick in the NBA very long, but is still active overseas. Fun fact: Rakeem made Michael Jordan a grandfather in 2019, siring a son with Jasmine Jordan, Michael's daughter. That kid's got some good basketball-playing genes!

So there are the 12/25 cards from my big COMCOVID order. Still plenty of more fun stuff to show off in upcoming posts.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Gettin' crafty: Repurposed Classic gameboard display

Earlier in the year, I posted about a 1991 Classic baseball trivia board game I bought for the cards and mentioned I had intentions to turn the gameboard into a wall display. Well, I finally got around to that and it turned out pretty good!

Here ya go. As you can see, it's built to field a 9-card team. I've currently got the Springfield Nine out there. Matching players to positions makes the most sense with this layout, but hell, you could throw 9 random Reggie Jackson cards in there or whatever. If the baseball gods smile upon me and San Diego finally wins the World Series someday, I'd likely put the Padres' championship starting lineup in there.

Cards are held in place by magnet stickers-- cheap on eBay or Amazon-- each with one on the board and one on the toploader, making them super easy to remove and swap out cards, yet they stick well enough to where I wasn't able to just shake them off, even with a pretty good jolt. I had considered using velcro, but am happy with the sleeker, quieter choice of magnets.

Here's a look at the board sans cards before I put it up.

Drilled a hole in centerfield (welp, still the infield, but working with the space allowed) and screwed it into the wall. Thought about putting another screw at catcher, but instead just a piece of blue tape underneath was sufficient to anchor the bottom and keep it level.

Encased cards are no problem either. Just throw a magnet into the protective sleeve. I should mention that magnets can differ in strength, so if you try this at home, obviously test how strong the magnets you're using are before trying it out with good cards. Weak magnets could present a problem.

Adding a horizontal card into the mix works too, but requires a different toploader with the magnet rotated 90° so that the magnetic poles line up with the board or whatever. Score a point for velcro in this instance. Thick cards would need thick top-loaders, too. But with enough toploaders and magnets, you could have pretty much any combination of cards in your display. If you're low on supplies, you could try just jamming the magnet behind the card in the top-loader instead of sticking it to the back, but I'd be wary of damaging the card that way. Another method would be like with the above graded card and just put the toploader in a team bag with a magnet in it.

It's a nice touch to my little cardroom that I've been working on since moving into our new house a few months ago. Between shelves and stuff Tetris'd in there, this was one of the few bare spots on the walls in the room. The area doesn't get direct sunlight, so I shouldn't have to worry about cards fading, though I probably still wouldn't put out high-dollar cards for too long, same as with any display. 

You could add a 10th spot in the dugout for a DH or manager if you wanted, though I'm content with this layout for now. If I wanted this to be a team-centric display, I might stick a round '89 Upper Deck hologram sticker or maybe old Fleer sticker over the opposing league's on-deck circle-- so like if I was doing a Padres board, I'd slap a Padres sticker over the AL logo.

But yeah, it's a fun, "living" display that barely cost anything to put together since I already had the board. I'm looking forward to trying it with different combinations of cards. If it starts to feel stale, just swap in some fresh cards.

What do you think, sirs?