Thursday, November 24, 2022

Thanks for the trades and stuff

My last post was on Halloween, and as November crept along and I didn't get around to posting again, I figured I'd put together a streak of holiday-only posting and plan the next post for Thanksgiving.

I'm going to try to quickly cover a bunch of incoming cards I've gotten in the past few weeks.

I've been appreciating 2005 Finest more lately, particularly refractor parallels, and think I'll try to pick up a few of my PC guys who are included in the checklist. Dig that crazy design looking like a seismic vinyl record/CD/bullseye mashup!

This pair of Reggies were from a 3-card eBay lot, with the not-pictured card being the main one I was interested in, but that'll wait for another day as it's for a project that I'm planning to make into a blog series. But yeah, it was a decent price for the trio and I was happy to add a Finest X-fractor and a bat relic to my longest-running PC.

-  - -o

John Miller sent me over the next batch of cards.


Pair of Gavin Sheets RCs from 2022 Topps Gallery.


And a bunch of sparkly 2011 Topps for that old project. I really need to sort of everything I've got for it, and I'll be sure to end up with tons of dupes. Maybe there'll be demand for them at TCDB.. I've been trying to add more trade bait there lately.

Thanks, John!

-  - -o

Next is a PWE from Matt who goes by various usernames but I know him best as the Sports Card Collectors guy. He's probably the guy I've done the most swaps with over the years. I'd always keep an eye out for interesting NY football Giants for him while at card shows, and though I haven't been to a show since the pre-covid days (really value my lazy weekends these days), the cache hasn't quite been depleted yet.


Nice new-card lot of PC guys of mine here, with the top row all /99 parallels.

Thanks, Matt!

-  - -o


Padrographs Rod recently swung by my house again, this time dropping off a bunch of card storage boxes and 9-pocket pages I happily agreed to give a good home as he continues downsizing his collection. There were also a few cards n' such hiding in the boxes, with my favorites pictured above. A rare solo card of future MVP Kevin Mitchell from his short-term stop in San Diego-- pretty sure this is an upgrade for my completed set of 1987 Bohemian Hearth Bread Padres-- as well as a Mike Clevinger SP photo variation showing off a Tony Hawk skateboard. 

The French ticket is pretty cool, too. Looking up this game, San Diego beat the Expos 12-10. Oh snap! I just confirmed my suspicion that this game featured Tony Gwynn's 3000th career hit! So yeah, not just a random ballgame. Sweet! I should make a display piece with this and a card or two that trumpets that milestone.

Wow! Big thanks again, Rod!

-  - -o

You might have heard Sportlots finally starting offering non-sport cards. It's a little late for Lenny as I had in recent months finished off sets such as 1989 Ghostbusters II and 1991 Brockum Rockcards by overpaying on COMC and/or eBay. But going forward, it's nice to have another option that's often cheaper.


I'm working on a 2nd master set of 1991 MusiCards (and a 3rd set too, kinda). I needed the corrected Madonna and the Lita Ford to complete a 2nd set of these early promos. With room in my shipping cost tier, I threw in the Madonna error card and the Jimi for the site minimum, too.. trade bait, I guess. I was surprised to find the Madonna error (last name spelled wrong on back) so cheap, as it's one of the tougher MusiCards out there. Not pictured, but I also picked up the censored #166 Dread Zeppelin "no nad" variation for the site minimum from another seller.. that's a card that has proved very hard to track down. I had been keeping an eye out for like a year and nobody had it available anywhere except for one big, expensive eBay lot that included it. The gross "nad out" uncensored variation is everywhere, though, tragically. lol

-  - -o

Here's a pair of PWEs from Bo.


Some PC guys and a mini-collection addition.


And a bunch of early 90s black gold. 

Thanks, Bo!

Shortly after this I realized all the various black gold cards just weren't doing it for me anymore, and I've decided to cut bait on most of the insert sets I had been going after, and just be content with the selection I've been able to put together up to this point. Unfortunately I forgot to remove some of them from my TCDB wantlist, and after I added some good trade bait, I ended up getting some junk-heavy trade offers on the site-- not the '72 high-numbers and Topps ATFF refractors I had been hoping to be offered-- so I had to clean that up. That's the trouble of keeping your own wantlists as well as trying to keep some on TCDB too.

I am still very interested in trying to complete a black gold parallel set of 1992 Leaf, though, so that one is still on my wantlist. I had my series 1 all updated into TCDB, but then I got to series 2 and there's a pointless "no period" variation for all of them. What am I supposed to do with that? Put both versions on my wantlist and end up with dupes? No thanks. I gave up and just said forget it, sticking with my own spreadsheet for now. Bummer.

-  - -o

Next is a surprise bubbler from fellow Portland area blogger Kerry of Cards on Cards.


Nice pair of numbered cracked-ice (or whatever they're calling it these days) parallels!


Great lot of Tatis inserts.


Dame in the house. Love that one with 2005 Finest vibes.


After seeing those new "commemorative batting helmet" manirelics on the blogs, I had the hankerin' to get one of my own--  must. touch. helmet. caress its subtle contours --so it was serendipitous to find this thick Xander among the cards in the package. And yes, it was satisfying to touch the helmet.

Thanks, Kerry! I'll have to dig up a good return for you soon.

-  - -o

It's Thanksgiving, so let's sneak in a football card.


Got a slabbed John Elway rookie in a second swap with my 2003 Topps Retired lovin' bud Dan. I've had one of these for years (raw, of course) but there's a distracting "fisheye" printing flaw right between his eyes. Very happy to upgrade to a cleaner copy.

Thanks, Dan!

-  - -o

Time for a little vintage.


GCA continues to be the MVP for my vintage setbuilds in recent years. These 1974 Topps cards take me down to just checklist #273 away from completing a basic, one-of-every-number '74 set. Then maybe someday I'll finish tracking down the dozen or so variations I'm missing for a master set, but I'm really just focused on that checklist now. I'll have to update my Desperate Double Dozen sidebar wantlist here in a minute.


Greg also threw in a couple surprise '68s for my Flagship Topps Binder, with HOFers Joe Morgan and Gaylord Perry bumping out lesser names from my 1968 page.

Thanks, GCA! I've got a return for you in the works to get mailed out soon.

-  - -o

Wrapping up today's post...


Here's some more Gwynn stuff to go out on. The oversized stuff is from earlier Rod giftings that I didn't get around to showing off before. Gotta love a "big bat" photo! 

I like picking up those fun "Kmart greenies" (1990 Topps Active Batting Leaders) cards when I can find a good deal, and was able to land the Tony and also the tougher red counterpart from 1989 as well.

Thanks for reading. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

Monday, October 31, 2022

2004 Chrome black for Halloween

I've been meaning to do a post showing off some of the more-notable recent pickups for my 2004 Topps Chrome  black refractors  parallel setbuild. It's one of my top priority setbuilds, funny enough (meaning I spend time and money on it rather than just put it on my wantlist and wait), and I've crossed off several big names that I haven't gotten around to trumpeting on the blog yet. Believe it or not I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel with this ridiculous idea of a setbuild!

I figured I'd photograph these newcomers with an orange background, and --boom: Halloween themed post for 10/31. Advanced blogger move! Baseball Card Breakdown is back, baby! lol



The Big Hurt! Ghoulishly great looking card.



The big names continue-- literally!-- with Big Papi taking a terrifying cut.



Anybody dressing up as a moose this year? Happy to check Mike Mussina off the list. Quick scary story: I once bought this card on Sportlots a year or two ago.. and it never came! bwah-ha-ha! Sorry for the jump-scare, guys. I've had pretty good luck with Sportlots in recent years, but can't win 'em all. This one came from eBay, a site not without its own horror stories.



CC Sabathia is likely to get some HOF attention when he trick-or-treats in 2025, though it's up in the air whether he'll be rewarded with a full-size candy bar or just get the ol' Hershey Kiss-off. Hall of Stats ranks him between excellent-but-underrated pitchers Dave Stieb and Kevin Appier, but his time in the NYC spotlight might eventually get him over the threshold.



Party time. These days Topps wouldn't try getting away with a guy taking up so little space on his base card, but back in 2004 they could get away with it, as with this horizontal celebration shot for Mike Piazza.


Also got Ichiro earlier this year.

The following pair are in-transit, and so I normally wouldn't show them on the blog yet, but here are the listings' photos for another pair of big names recently secured:


Not too far off from the encouraging 90% mark now. By my count, I'm just over 87% complete. When Bags and Nomo show up, I'll be down to just 60 more cards, most of those commons.

Still have a couple big ones that'll eventually put a hurting on the old wallet: Yadier Molina RC and Albert Pujols. Not a good time to shop for them right now, both having just wrapped up slam-dunk HOF careers, but at some point in the next 5 years I should hopefully be able to snag them for an acceptable price in that lull where they're out of the public eye but before the HOF stuff starts up.

Happy Halloween, everybody!

Friday, October 28, 2022

yet more Retired refractors - World Series edition

Topps Retired refractor autos account for a hefty chunk of my hobby expenditures, falling in love with these snap-cased, scribbled-upon, shiny chrome jewels shortly after returning to the hobby as an adult and these days being fortunate enough to have a job that pays me well enough to occasionally buy expensive baseball cards. I've picked up a few over the past several months, specifically from 2003, as that's what's been popping up on eBay-- including one particular consigner selling for a client who must've busted several cases of the stuff.

Here are a few recent additions, with a focus on the fall classic history as the 2022 World Series gets going.

Bobby Thomson's "shot heard round the world" is one of the more famous hits in the history of the game. That got the Giants to the '51 World Series, though they would ultimately fall to the Yankees.


Bummer for him that he just missed being on that '54 team that won it all.


Lenny Dykstra is pictured here in his early Mets days, though I'm among those who remember him most from his time in Philadelphia. He wasn't afraid to get his uniform dirty, as you can see.


Won in '86 and almost again in '93 if not for Joe Carter. Had some troubles since his playing days.



Slipping in a 2005 Retired refractor but staying in New York, here's Jerry Grote (sounds like "grody" not "groat"). He was the starting catcher for the '69 Miracle Mets.


Jerry was also a backup on the Dodgers teams that lost to the Yanks in '77 and '78. I already had this card, but when the 12/25 serial number popped up cheap, I had to go after it. (Less than 2 months till Christmas, guys!)

Last one for today...


Golly, this sure is a fine looking card! I had the base auto, but it really takes the refractor to light up that big sky like Kirk is out there checking out the Aurora Borealis.


Kirk Gibson won a World Series for both leagues. Good on 'im.


So there ya go: some shiny cards of guys that've also been signed by them too and they all had their moments of October success. I probably won't catch much of the series this year, but let's hope it provides some good, exciting baseball.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Taken for Granite

I'm back home after a few days in Louisville for my cousin's kid's wedding. She's a friendly, outgoing young lady, so it was a big wedding with pretty much my whole family in attendance.. likely the last non-funeral where we'll ever be all together, honestly. Great seeing everybody again, including my Uncle Ed (my only blood-relative uncle) whom I hadn't seen in 20 years. I didn't really end up with much in the way of interesting photographs to share on the blog like how I did for my Chicago trip over the summer, so no "travelogue" blogpost this time.

Uncle Ed sadly lost his wife Karen last year to cancer. My Aunt Karen was pretty great lady and it's a bummer I didn't get to see her more often. My last interaction with her was mailing a little "get well soon" card/letter. I had vaguely remembered she was related to a former NFL player, and asked her about that in the letter. Here's a snippet from her reply email:

It was the 80s when my cousin Karl Swanke played with Green Bay.  I think he played about 11 years.  One of the Chicago games we went to, we got to meet Walter Payton and shake his hand.  

Another cousin, Karls brother, Rob swanke, played with Denver Broncos for a short time.. maybe one season. 

And my nephew, one of my sisters sons, PJ Fleck, played with SF 49ers for a season, maybe 1 game and now he is head football coach at Minnesota university.  He loves it and they seem to like him too.   So yes football has always been our big interest!!!  

That's pretty cool, huh? 


Not a lot of cards available from those guys (the legendary Walter Payton notwithstanding, of course), but Karl Swanke has a few oddballs out there, and I've now picked up a couple.


Neat to have cards of a guy I'm kinda related to in my collection now. I like when I've got a personal connection to players I collect, similar to my Guys From Granite subcollection of players who attended the same high school as me, Granite Hills. The rest of this post will look at some new additions there.



My last post mentioned there was another Padrographs PWE waiting for me at home, and here's that card, a signed Brian Giles. The signature gets a little lost in the dark uniform, but still a sweet addition to the PC. Thanks, Rod!


Brian had graduated a few years before I went to Granite, but during my tenure he often worked there as a security guard ("narc", we kids called them) during the minor league offseason.



This isn't a particularly attractive card, but when it popped up, I jumped at the chance to add a unique entry to my Shane Spencer PC. Finding it on TCDB now, I'm pretty sure this is 2022 Topps Spotlight 70 II by Andy Friedman - CMYK 4-Color Test Prints Black #8 Shane Spencer SN1.


I'll have to pick up the base (in color) version of this at some point, and maybe some of the other parallels if they're cheap. I think this only got on my radar because I have a saved eBay search for Shane Spencer 1/1s because I still need the 1/1 from his 2020 Topps Archives autograph to complete that rainbow.

Shane Spencer is the only guy from my high school to win a World Series. I would have been happy with a 1998 rematch this fall, but unfortunately the Padres and Yanks couldn't grab their respective pennants. Guess I'm rooting for the Phillies. I've got decent PCs of Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins, so might as well root for them.



Here are a couple cards I was super stoked over. I knew Mike Reinbach had a couple modern "legend" cards from Japan, but years went by searching/waiting for them to be available to purchase from the ol' USA. They finally popped up in separate listings from the same Japanese seller at surprisingly low buy-it-now prices. I snagged them both quickly, not even bothering to combine shipping (which was also cheap). The next day I saw I had a refund from eBay and immediately thought the seller mistakenly listed them so cheap and was backing out. But thankfully, no, they were just kindly partially refunding me a little bit in regards to combined shipping. Very nice of them!

To refresh your memory, Mike Reinbach was the very first guy from my high school to break into the majors, getting a cup of coffee with Baltimore in 1974 before heading overseas for a successful stint with the Hanshin Tigers. His retirement was cut short by a fatal car accident just shy of his 40th birthday.


Other than an "All-Time Orioles" oddball from 1991, these are Reinbach's only post-career cards on the market, the left card from 2013 and the other from 2015. I love how the '15 back includes his career stat lines for both Japan and MLB.

Still a ton of his Calbee playing-days cards left for me to track down, but checking these two modern cards off the list feels great.

Now let's change gears and check in with the guys from my high school who are currently active in the minors...

2022 Guys From Granite Update

Trenton Brooks had a solid year with the Guardians' AAA team. Here's hoping the 27-year old can crack the bigs next year.

Andrew Brown, a pitcher in the Phillies org, lost his entire 2022 season to injury. Bummer. Hope he comes back strong in '23.

Dillan Shrum is a slugging first-baseman who knocked 16 taters for the Royals' high-A team. Best of luck to him progressing up the chain.

Honorable mention: Sean Ross, who got cards in 2016 Leaf Perfect Game (see my 2018 update), is still an active amateur, which kinda surprised me. Put up good numbers at Indiana State and in collegiate summer league this year. Would be cool if he went pro next year, but we'll see.


Ok, that'll do it for this post. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Padres cards

hey guys. 


Got this cool Tony Gwynn from a recent (final?) box of Padres from Padrographs Rod. He said between me and Fuji he had pretty much trimmed his collection down to just the Padrographs.


Funny enough, I also have artist Matt Taylor's version of Rickey Henderson's rookie card, the only Project 2020 card I bought. (that's a lie, I eventually picked up a cheap Nolan Ryan that had a huge printrun because it was bundled with that Shore Griffey that sold way too many.)

Very 
Cool, thanks Rod! There was plenty of other good stuff in the box, but I think the cardroom window-replacement disruption displaced them before I took photographic evidence.



Then he recently surprised me with this great Rod Beck auto in a PWE. Yep, a Rod from Rod. Love the green ink!

I think there's another PWE from Rod waiting for me at home, but I'm currently alone in a hotel room in Louisville dealing with stuff you deal with when you're alone in a hotel room at the end of a rough day... the Padres heartbreaking loss today being just the icing on top of a self-loathing shitcake. Oh, and I also lost out on a "whale" card of mine this evening that broke my heart nearly as much as the Padres loss. :(



Here's another cool Tony Gwynn card. I bought this one after seeing the base card on Night Owl Cards. 


Just an unnumbered aqua wave refractor or whatever, so wasn't too much, but I like it a lot. I still have conflicted feelings about this set, but I'm kinda trying to do a "set rainbow" with one card each from some of my bigger PC guys who are included in the massive set. So like, I'm kinda trying to get one of each of the many parallels, basically. (it's a casual goal, though, not hitting it too hard.)



..which brings us to this black & white Winfield. Honestly I would have preferred to see the glorious brown & gold, but I got it for just $2.04 shipped, so I can't beat that (Seller didn't do a good job with the listing title). Trying to "forbid" myself for getting any other versions of this card, per the one-parallel thing I mentioned.. but I  might have to snag one that's in color someday.

Actually, fuck it. I've already seen that photo plenty of times thanks to a custom overlay I made back in 2015 that I've displayed for a while. So yeah, I'm fine I guess.

Here's the custom that I made (original post)...

Thank you for your patronage. 

Saturday, October 22, 2022

continued Topps Retired refracting

Let's do another Topps Retired Triad post where I just show off 3 cards of the Topps Retired refractor autograph variety. Got a trio of Hall of Famers to feature today.


Love this beautiful Jim Rice. But first, gotta mention that the window replacement (stressed out over in a previous post) went well. I'm still putting the cardroom back, but trying to make improvements as I go as far as organization and infrastructure. One thing that kinda sucks though is that the best window for taking good pictures now has a screen on it. That's good for getting better airflow in the room, but it'll negatively impact my photos of cards, as you can see with the lines across the bottom of the above picture. So my options are just having lines in much of my card photos going forward, finding a new go-to spot for card photos, or using this as another motivating factor to sunset this blog and move on. Or maybe I should start using a scanner, though I still haven't gotten around to setting up the new printer I got a couple months ago. [Pretty sure the scanner still works fine on the old one, but I want nothing more to do with that thing. Now it's collecting dust and rat droppings while sitting in the garage because you can't just throw away old printers these days due to environmental reasons. Lame.]


This back picture didn't turn out very well, but there's the back. Always nice when a guy plays his whole career with one team.



Ah, Orlando Cepeda looking good here!


Some very nice seasons in that HOF career.



Monte Irvin closes out today's post. I already had the base version of this auto-- now available for trade, if anyone wants to make me an offer, like for some '72 high numbers or whatever-- but I was excited when this refractor popped up. Not only does it look great in its shiny splendor but...


Christmas Card!

Those career stats listed on the back are in need of updating now that his stint with the Newark Eagles-- disrupted by three years serving his country--  counts towards his MLB stats, bumping Monte's career batting average up to .305. 

Thanks for stopping by.