Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Refraction Action: McCovey shines bright like a diamond

Here's another recent addition from Tony L. Sure, he's known for his time with the Giants, but Willie Mac's got a place in my heart for being the first Padre enshrined in the Hall of Fame. I'll never come close to rivaling the collections of others such as ARPSmith, but it's always nice to add a new McCovey to my McCollection. Here's what this one looks like in action:

That's a shimmering, shining Stretch!

And hey, speaking of stretches, we're in the home stretch with my 1st Twitter contest. All you gotta do is follow me on Twitter to be entered (retweet for bonus entries). The prize is a 2014 Gypsy Queen auto. More info here. Contest closes at the end of April, so hurry up and get in on it if you haven't yet!

p.s. Sorry about linking that Rihanna song up top. Next time I need a song regarding diamonds, I'll go with Pink Floyd ("shine on you crazy..") or the Beatles ("Lucy in the sky with..") or some other song that isn't terrible, I promise. In fact, in the comments below, please tell me your favorite "diamond" song.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Parallel Universe: Gavin Floyd's feminine side

A recent trade with the awesome Tony L. netted me a loaded PWE with some great additions to my collection, including Gavin Floyd's infamous "lipstick" card from 2013 Heritage.

So what's the deal here? Had he just finished eating a cherry popsicle moments before this photo was taken? Did somebody at Topps make an interesting choice during the "retro filter" coloring process? Or does Floyd simply enjoy making himself pretty by applying tasteful lipstick from time to time? Hey, it's a free country!

Let's enter the Parallel Universe to look at some of the lesser-known variations of this card.

Here's the most common one:

The "upside-down frown" variation is more scare (#'d /199):

But the real hit is this one (#'d /50):

However, the ultimate superdragfractor 1/1 is this beauty:

Ain't she just the belle of the ball? Base-ball, that is! It's a heck of a game.

We'll see you next time.. here in.. the Parallel Universe!

p.s. Obligatory Twitter contest plug

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Trade Round-up.. over the hump with 73 Topps; Mad Dogs n' a Zap

I got some great trade packages late last week. First off, Mark Hoyle continued his dominant MVP performance in helping me work on completing 1973 Topps Baseball.

With this stack, I've officially crossed the halfway point!

51.65% complete
as of 4/27/14

I can now say I own the majority of 1973 Topps. That's pretty cool. Thanks as always for your generosity, Mark! I'll continue funneling my spare Red Sox cards your way. If anybody else has 73s to trade, please check out my needs.

Next, Tony L. delivered some great additions to several PCs of mine.

This Greg Maddux relic is a perfect complement to the auto redemption I got the other day. I love the fact it's a Padres card/jersey. I know I'm in the minority here, but Greg Maddux will always be a Padre to me. I forget he ever even pitched with the Braves or Cubs.. he just looks wrong to me as anything other than a Friar! (yes, I'm being tongue-in-cheek here.. but just a little.)

Tony also sent a couple TTM's from the 80s of the original Mad Dog, Bill Madlock.

The cards are well-loved, and the black ballpoint pen doesn't exactly pop, but I love them! Tony also sent a diamond McCovey and a couple Gavin Floyds (stay tuned for a revealing exposé). Thanks a bunch, man!

Oh, and he's running a contest so I might as well pimp.. His blog Off Hiatus Baseball Cards recently celebrated its 100th post. His is probably my favorite new blog of 2014.. lots of interesting stuff. Plus he's a rare Brewers collector, so now you finally have a place to unload all your unwanted Ryan Braun inserts!

Finally, Zippy Zappy at Cervin' Up Cards is known as one of the most generous traders out there, and now I'm lucky enough to say I've been on the receiving end of a Zap.

He sent a bunch of cards for my Yankee-centric PCs including Reggie, Rickey, Mickey, and Winfield.

Some sweet vintage with character..

Some cool modern stuff..

...Highlighted by a 3D A-gon and shiny, #'d Gyorko (bummer he's off to such a slow start this year).

And of course no package from Zippy would be complete without some neat cards imported from Japan..

Very cool! Thanks again, Kenny!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Twitter contest.. win a Gypsy Queen auto!

After recently starting up a new Twitter account for the blog, I feel the need to resort to bribery to achieve a respectable number of followers.

You know what that means... CONTEST!

The prize is winner's choice of one (1) of these autos first mentioned in my 2014 Gypsy Queen trade bait a few days ago.

Adam Eaton, Diamondbacks
Ricky Nolasco, Dodgers [red border, #'d 14/49]
David Phelps, Yankees

Again, winner picks 1 of the above, and then it'll be mailed to his or her mailbox for free.

To enter, just follow @breakdowncards on Twitter. Boost your chances by retweeting my tweet about the contest (here). Every follower will automatically get 1 entry. Every follower who retweets will get 2 additional entries (so, a max of 3 entries per person possible).

The contest is open until the end of April 2014 (PDT)*. I'll then randomize once to assign numbers to everyone and post these numbers on May 1st. The winning number will be the total number of hits in the Padres vs. Diamondbacks game on May 2nd. For example, if the two teams combine for 12 hits that night, the winner will be the person random.org had assigned #12. (This way of picking winners adds some excitement, plus makes the contest even more random and obviously not fixed.)

*UPDATE: Ok, it's technically 9:30pm on 4/30.. I'm calling it now, so apologies if anyone was taking it down to the wire and hasn't entered yet in these last few hours, but I don't want to wait till the morning to get it all worked out.

So there you go. Follow and re-tweet!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Christmas in April: Holly Jolly Johnson

I collect "Christmas Cards" (any card serial numbered 12/25). On the 25th of each month, I like to pull out something to feature from this mini-collection. Since it's Friday, the Baseball Card Dance Party has been pre-empted this week.. SORRY! Don't worry, it'll be back with a vengeance next Friday.

I'd been wanting to get a Jimmie Johnson auto for a while. I'm not a racing fan at all, really, but he's somewhat of a guy-I-collect because I went to high school with him (he was a senior when I was a freshman), so it's a whole "high school pride" thing for me. Very cool that a guy I went to school with is a NASCAR all-time great. I talked about this a little more and shared some old yearbook photos last year (link) (I should revive that Hometown Hero feature one of these days.)

He doesn't seem to be a prolific signer, so his autos aren't exactly plentiful or cheap. But I've been keeping an eye out for one at a decent price, preferably a Christmas Card. And recently this badboy popped up that fit the bill perfectly:

2013 Press Pass Jimmie Johnson Autograph/Patch 12/25

On-card auto, 12/25 serial number, and even a cool race-used piece of his firesuit. This nifty card is a terrific addition to my Christmas Cards, not to mention the Jimmie Johnson hit I've been wanting to get into my collection.

I've also gotten a couple other JJ cards either from Listia or thrown in with a COMC order which I wanted to scan, but didn't get a chance to dig them up.

I don't plan on putting much effort/money in extending this PC any further, though I'll leave him on my wantlist for now just in case any prospective trade partner has a card of his to throw in.

Thanks for reading and "Happy Holidays!"

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Getting with the times.. Twitter & Sportlots

I kinda hate Twitter, but I gave in and joined (again). I was on there years ago, but not for any trading card purposes.. Just sucked up freetime reading funny barbs from comedians, mostly. This time around, I started a new account just for card stuff.

So if you're a Twitterer, give me a follow and I'll follow you back.


("Baseball Card Breakdown" or any approximation of that is apparently too long for a username.. grrr.)

For the moment, I'll just take it slow and see how it goes. I might do a contest to help build up some followers in the near future, but we'll see.

In other "branching out" / "getting with the times" / "welcome to 2007" news, I placed my first ever order on Sportlots last week. Man, that site is confusing. I still don't know how to search by seller.. as such, shipping doesn't make fiscal sense for me the way it does on COMC or Just Commons. But I found a bunch of 2004 Topps Retired base cards from one seller for good prices, so I picked up several I needed. I should save them for a separate post, but-- spoiler alert!-- after winning the Mike Schmidt on eBay the other day, I'm down to needing just 1 card to finish off the base set: #50 Cal Ripken. I don't suppose anyone has this card to trade? The few copies currently available out there at the moment are more than I'd like to pay, so I'll just have to be patient.

I also ordered several dozen copies of Marquis Grissom 1990 Upper Deck from one seller who happened to have dozens of them cheap.. I cleaned him out! Apparently there's a way to make offers and/or maybe get discounts for buying multiple copies of the same card, but, again, I couldn't figure that out. I had to break my Marquis Mania ground rule by paying over a quarter per card (shipping included), but not by much. Anyways, stay tuned for a future post where I'll do the math and see where I'm at in my quest to collect 792 copies of that card. Or maybe 999 would be a better goal. I haven't really set a number to aim for yet. Who knows. For now, the goal is just to get a shitload of 'em and fill up a binder.

In summary, Sportlots is confusing to me. I might try getting more familiar with it (please feel free to post any tips in the comments), but for the time being, doesn't look like it'll become one of my main sources for picking up cards.

p.s. Here's that Twitter link again @breakdowncards, primed for following!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

1st Redemption Day

Soon after Greg Maddux was elected to the Hall, I was on the hunt for a Mad Dog auto to call my own (Not the best timing on my part). He doesn't have much out there and what is out there they ain't cheap, especially with the HOF hype in full swing. There was a cool one that I mentioned back then, but I lost out on it, sadly. I soon thereafter saw a redemption card pop up at a high-but-not-insane Buy It Now price and impulse-bought it. It was my first redemption card, but figured I'd take a chance on it. I was aware of some horror stories involving redemptions gone wrong, so it was a bit nerve-wracking waiting.

So it was a relief when I finally got email notification that it was sent out. Panini does a kind of annoying thing where they ship via FedEx and require a direct signature. You can't even just sign the slip they left on your door, like you can sometimes get away with. No, somebody's either got to be home, or go out of your way to the FedEx building in the evening and pick it up.

I missed the first delivery attempt (yesterday) because, like many people, I work normal hours, but as luck would have it my fiancée took the morning off work today to do some stuff for school, so it turned out she was around and able to sign for it. Hurray! Let me take a moment to mention my lovely lady not only works full-time at a fancy financial place in a skyscraper downtown, but also goes to grad school at night working on her MBA. Plus she does Crossfit nearly every morning, is active on a Dragonboat team (a rowing-type of sport), and still finds time to care for her fella and our pup. I really am in awe of her. She's a keeper, for sure. Just 8 more weeks till I sign her to a long-term deal.

But back to the card in question, now these 3+ months since redeeming it, here it is:

2013 Panini Americas Pastime
Majestic Marks Gold

I can begrudgingly overlook it being Panini/logo-less, since obviously I knew that going in, but was disappointed to see it was a sticker auto. I thought the whole point of redemptions was to give the guy more time to sign the cards. Bummer. It's serial numbered 6/25 (Yeah, 12/25 would have been so much better.. oh well).

Still though, it's a pretty cool card and I'm very happy to add a Maddux auto to my collection. As a former Padre in the Hall, he's a guy I collect.. and a sub-mini-collecting goal of mine is obtaining a certified auto of all such guys. After checking Maddux off the list, just a couple left to go.

Would I do the whole redemption thing all over again? No, probably not. Especially knowing it was gonna be a sticker. So yeah, I'll continue trying to shy away from redemptions best I can.

I hear Panini has a "points" plan head which will phase out the need for redemptions. Instead of pulling a redemption for a specific card, you'll pull special cards with points you can amass and then exchange for cool cards on their website. Hopefully that takes off and redemption cards soon become a thing of the past. Though, yes, ideally you'd cut out the middleman and pull the cool cards directly from packs. But at least this way you can go after your favorite teams/players, not just be stuck with the luck of the draw.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Scribble Showcase is not impressed

Sometimes I just want to show off some autos from my collection without a specific theme or anything. This is a feature called Scribble Showcase.

This was an impulse buy during a time I wasn't shy about occasionally throwing a few bucks towards a random autos (as are most of these in this post, actually). Greinke is a pretty decent pitcher.. a nice, big on-card auto for a decent price. Came with one of those cool magnetic hardcases, too (not pictured). Note Zack's "McKayla Maroney is not impressed" face.

I've been trying to get a moderate Miguel Cabrera PC going. I picked up this auto, then a while later picked up a different one I liked better. Bottom line, this card is available for trade if you've got a comparable auto to offer of somebody I like.

Hey, here's another one that came with a hardcase.. an uncirculated one, at that.. which just means it has a special hologram sticker on it. Gotta love Phil Niekro. I was happy to add this card to my collection a while back. Not the most exciting card (I hate when cards have a posed shot as the main picture.. then another posed headshot in the corner.. Limit of one posed photo per side, please! At least he's looking in different directions, I suppose.).. but Niekro is one of the greats.. And now I've got his autograph!

This was one of those situations where a seller had a bunch of cool stuff ending around the same time, and so I set a few sniping bids, hoping/expecting to get a few wins and combine shipping. But of course I lost every auction except this one.. so saving on postage became a joke and I ended up with a card I didn't really want that much individually. Because of the unfortunate backstory, this card makes me sad and so is also available for trade for a comparable auto of somebody else I like. (I've already got a nice Tony Oliva auto in my 2004 Topps Retired set I'm working on.)

Check out my Mike Piazza auto! Oh wait-- why does he look different than I remember him? And why does he appear to be making a farting noise with his mouth? Ok, this is Mike's 27 year-old minor leaguer cousin with the same name.. last seen in AA in the Angel's chain last year (did ok, with a 6-2 record and 3.15 ERA). Not sure what 2014 has in store for him. Hopefully he sticks around in the game and gets a card that doesn't depict him making a blowfish impression. Or maybe the guy just has naturally puffy cheeks, in which case, I apologize for making fun of his appearance.

Well, there were some random scribbles. As far as signatures go, these guys all did a decent job. Cabrera and Greinke aren't really legible, but at least you can tell they spent a solid couple seconds on it.. not just essentially an "X" like many of today's players. Again, the Cabrera and Tony Oliva are available if you've got something good that fits in with my wantlist (and I guess the other 3 cards aren't exactly off the table either, though I'm not really looking to trade them).

I got (am about to get) another sweet auto I'll show off in a day or two, but FedEx is making me work for it.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

2014 Gypsy Queen keepers!

Here's what should be the final post in a Gypsy Queen themed trilogy. I recently posted a bunch of NY(x2), LAD, and Arizona trade bait I'm itching to dump (still a ton available). But now this post features the cards I got from the group break that I plan to keep around.

When I found out one of my random teams was the Diamondbacks, my first thought was, "Welp, maybe I'll get a Goldschmidt auto." So I was pretty stoked watching the video stream when Judson pulled this one. I don't really collect him, but he's pretty good and I've been wanting to get a decent card of his into my collection. Done and done.

Jeter and Kershaw: a couple current legends that theretofore weren't well-represented in my collection.

A couple former Padre greats. I feel like a bad Padres fan for passing over buying their slot in the break. Then, when the opportunity to trade random teams presented itself, I balked at trading away the Mets to get San Diego. It was a tough decision, but I figured the Mets were a better bet for hits and trade bait. If a Gwynn printing plate was pulled, or something along those lines, I would have been crestfallen for sure. Turns out, neither the Mets nor the Padres had any real hits in the break, so didn't end up being a big deal.

Here're some cool Yankee minis. The black border Mariano Rivera is #'d 80/199. The lights by his head makes him look like he has Yoda ears. The Tanaka RC is a pretty hot card. Who knows, maybe he'll be the first Japanese pitching import to put together a HOF MLB career.

Here are some cool old-timers, including a Gehrig & variation.

And here are some younger dudes.

I think that's it. Thanks for reading and Happy Easter.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

2014 Gypsy Queen trade bait revisited

I posted about my GQ haul moments after the group break a few days ago. Now that I've got the cards in-hand, let's take a better look at them. (Thanks again to Judson for his top-notch group breakin' skills.)

As I mentioned last time, I bought-in with the Dodgers and Yankees, and randomly got paired up with the Mets and Diamondbacks. I was hoping to pull a Koufax penny or Jeter button or something cool like that, but no such luck. I didn't get any MEGAHIT$, but it also wasn't a total bust for me either. The Dbacks-- the team I had the least hopes for-- turned out to be my best performer in the break, hit-wise.

I'll post my "keepers" soon, but the cards in this post are all up for trades. I might put the couple autos and low #'d cards on eBay to try to make back a little of my money if I don't get any compelling offers for them soon, but other than that, these will definitely not take much to be yours.

So take a look at these cards and let me know if you want any of them. I don't want them! Do you? Take them! Throw me a couple cards that fit into my wantlist and I'll be happy. Team collectors of Yanks, Dodgers, Mets, and Dbacks.. I'm looking at you. Please! Save me from these Gypsy Queens! Lots of dupes.


......auto is #'d 14/49


Blue Whitey #'d 398/499. Sepia Ellsbury mini #'d 13/50. Zappy called dibs on the Phelps auto last time.. deal pending.



Wood Mark Trumbo mini #'d 3/5!

OK, that's it.
Most of these base cards I've got 2-4 copies of, FYI. So just because somebody "called dibs" on a card in the comments, I may still have another one available.

So let's trade!

discovering eBay Bucks

How did I not know about eBay bucks until yesterday? I feel like I've thrown away a couple hundred dollars in these past couple years that I've been buying cards and stuff on there. Seems to me all you do is click a button to sign up, and from then on you earn credit for your wins/purchases that add up to eventual certificates you can then use to pay for stuff on there. The catch is you've gotta earn at least $5 per calendar quarter or you get nothing, but if you're a frequent buyer, that doesn't seem too hard. And it's not like you lose anything if you don't make the threshold. It's basically just a free frequent buyer program.

Damn, I feel like an idiot missing out on this till now. I would see other bloggers mention having eBay bucks to spend, and figure they were just talking about profits they made by selling. Glad I finally looked into it.

In case anybody else out there is a regular eBayer and wasn't familiar with this rewards program, here's the link for more info..

I hate to feel like I'm plugging eBay, but if you're gonna use it, as the majority of us active collectors inevitably do from time to time, might as well spend a few seconds to click a button to potentially get some money back, right?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Baseball Card Dance Party!!

It's Friday! You know what that means!! It's time to dance, Dance, DANCE!!!

Uh! Uh! Work dat groove thang!

Shakin' dat ass! Shakin' dat ass!

Like last time, these soulful cards are from my trade box, so holla if you need/want any and we'll build a little PWE trade or something.

Have a great weekend, everybody! Stay safe and remember to always keep dancing!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Postage Due! Part Deux

So what was in my postage-due envelope that inspired yesterday's drunken rant?

As I suspected, it was a Listia win from a couple weeks ago with a selection of 73 Topps cards. The seller had a few different lots split up by team. The Twins ended up being the only lot I could afford / remembered to bid on in time (Somebody really needs to create a Listia sniping service). I only needed 4 of the 11 cards included in the lot. They're in decent shape and all, but I'm not happy about paying $1.83 for them on top of a chunk of Listia credits.. not to mention a trip standing in line at the post office, which as my last post stressed, I am no fan of.

I messaged the seller about it and hope he's cool enough to Paypal me a couple bucks to help make things right. We'll see. (Though $2 wouldn't come close to erasing the scars of an encounter with the evil that is your typical behind-the-counter postal worker.)

Anyways, here are the cards..

It's pretty silly that a PWE weighing 1.15 oz costs a Forever stamp (49 cents) plus an extra $1.83. So $2.32 total. I could see wanting the extra 20 cents for non-machinable, but that's excessive. If the seller broke the lot into 2 PWEs, I'm pretty sure it would have been fine with a Forever stamp on each, for a total cost of 98 cents. Doesn't make a lot of sense.

Bottom line: Screw the post office.

Lesson to take away: Keep your PWEs from going over one ounce (and 1/4 inch thick), and you should be fine.

Anyways, let's try to move passed that ugliness and continue talking about my 1973 Topps Baseball set completion goal.

Mark Hoyle also came through with a PWE of 73s for me earlier this week.

You can tell I'm getting to the bottom of Mark's '73 barrel, as most of these cards are a bit rough. But hey, I'll check them off the list now and if down the road I'm able to upgrade them, cool.

And the funny thing is these 19 cards arrived fine in a long PWE (though I can't remember for certain how much postage Mark used.. maybe a couple Forevers?), but spread out 3-wide in cut up binder pages.

So let's check the big board...

49.07% complete
as of 4/17/14

Oh... so close to the midpoint!

As always, if you got some spare 73s you could part with, please check my wantlist and feel free to chat me up about a trade. Just 7 more cards would get me over the hump!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Postage Due? Fuuuuuu....

Damn it. I'm 99% sure this attempted delivery was baseball cards. Now I gotta go down to the horrible post office and stand in line for 10-15 minutes for a horrible interaction to the horrible postal workers who man the registers at my local post office and give them a buck eighty-three.

I'm not sure what this is. I don't have any eBay wins I was expecting today. I've got a Listia win I've been waiting on for 11 days or so.. maybe it's that. I've got 2 or 3 trade reciprocations in the pipeline.. maybe it's one of those.

This is the 2nd time I've gotten one of these orange notices since I moved here mid February. Head's up, prospective trade partners, my post office are sticklers for correct postage. Don't just slap a Forever stamp on a bubble mailer and assume it'll be fine. Grrrr. Oh well.

I'm temped to hide a couple bucks in change on my front porch somewhere and put a note in my mailbox for my letter carrier saying, "In case of postage due, check the flower pot" (or whatever).

I remember sometimes in the past at my old place, they'd give me a note that was like, "hey, postage due, buddy" but still deliver the item, and include a mini manila envelope for you to put funds and leave for them to pick up next day. But not these guys. Maybe there's a limit for that.. like, over a buck, you gotta stand in line in the hellhole that is the postoffice.

I hate standing in line at the post office and deal with the soulless pricks who work there. When I mail stuff, I always use the automated kiosk unless I absolutely can't, such as International packages to mail. (Sorry, non-US peeps, but not only is it costly, it's a pain in the ass.)

I've dealt with the postoffice several hundreds of times in my life. Let's pay tribute to the cool postal workers I've interacted with:
  • El Cajon, CA - Jamaican lady who is proud of her hair - She was not overly nice, but still a decent person and did me right.
  • El Cajon, CA - Mannish fat white lady - Reasonable friendly. I remember once she let me slide with sending a box of magazines media rate even though they should have been 2nd class or someshit. She was cool.
  • El Cajon, CA - Chubby Laotian lady - A rarity indeed! A friendly postal worker! She was really sweet.
  • Downtown Portland, OR - Friendly black lady - Another genuinely kind postal worker. Her post office has since closed (PSU post office), I'm not sure where she ended up, but I hope she's doing well.
And there you have it. From the hundreds of postal workers I've dealt with in my time, there are the four I wouldn't wish horrible misfortunes upon.

I should clarify that letter carriers I've interacted with have generally been cool. I'm directed my vitriol on those who deal with customers in the post office. In their defense, I'm sure they deal with a ton of assholes and idiots everyday, and so their souls have been beaten to dust and now they simply don't give a shit about anyone or anything. Power games with the poor saps who have to bow down to them are how they get their kicks.

Thank God for the automated machines.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Many Rated Rookies of Sandy Alomar, Jr

In 1989, Donruss rightfully noted that Sandy Alomar, Jr. was a hot catching prospect for San Diego and marked his card a Rated Rookie.

In 1990, they again gave his card a Rated Rookie logo.

By 1991, they were addicted and just couldn't stop themselves!!!

They were maniacally bent on rating Sandy Alomar's status as rookie!

Now you're just embarrassing yourselves, Donruss!

Oh, for the love of..

Give it up, Donruss!

Ok, ok, all but the first 2 of these are obviously fake, I admit. The fact the 2014 Donruss card has team logos gives it away.