Tuesday, June 30, 2015

buttload of trade bait

Sorry, but I thought that'd be a catchier title than "Lotsa trade bait from the card show." Well, actually most of these are trade bait, but not all. I should have sorted better, sorry.

99% sure I've already got that Goldschmidt RC. I'm keeping the McCutchen xfractor.. nice looking card. The crazy Luis Gonzalez card is #'d /100 and set aside for Daniel since he's the only D-backs collector I ever trade with. Turns out the Josh Reddick is a photo variation SP.. took a chance putting that in my stack and I'm glad I did because it's worth a few bucks.

99% sure I've got that Clemente already. This is my first of those original wooden Firebrand inserts.. kinda cool. I figured one of you Cubs fans might want that Ken Hubbs sticker. Still has the original back with peeling instructions. I didn't know anything about it, but turns out it's from 1963 Topps Peel Offs.. easily my oldest pickup of the day.

These Nat-centric cards are for me. Harper is really good. Strasburg is a SDSU guy. And Scherzer has been outstanding (and I love those emerald parallels).

Vintage basketball cards! I'm not well-versed when it comes to old school hoops, but I love to pick up names that ring a bell (though maybe I was thinking of a different Larry Miller.. like the comedian). I'll probably hang onto these, too. (Sorry I was too lazy to remove the price stickers before taking the photo.) I like how the Elvin Hayes photo and Willis Reed photo seem like they might be from moments apart.

Here are some certified autos of guys who made it. I'm willing to trade any of these, though hey, 3 of the 4 were Padres at one point, so I'd be fine hanging onto them too if nobody wants 'em.

More certified autos.. a few Dodgers, a Pirate, and a Cub. Unlike at previous cardshows, I actually passed up several autos of no-names on teams I don't get much trade action on.. focusing on dudes I've heard of and/or teams I could use more of in my trade box.

A couple funky shaped cards of guys with interesting stories.

A couple cards made out of metal and a card with a translucent area. It's probably not wise to buy metal cards as trade fodder because they're heavier and therefore more expensive to mail. Oh well, I thought they were cool.

I found it amusing that they airbrushed the jersey lettering on the back of the acetate card rather than have a true backwards mirror image. Apparently that would be too confusing for collectors.. but misrepresenting Johnny Damon as a switch-hitter is fine. lol

A few more autos, including a couple of Ben Grieve and one of Ruben Mateo. Full disclosure: some of the cards in this post were actually bought at the previous cardshow, but I never got around to making a trade bait post from that show's haul so I've doubled up a little here.

Lastly, here's a selection of serial numbered cards. Philip Humber 168/199. Wilin Rosario 190/564. Omar Vizquel 196/245. Yadier Molina 90/99. And an unidentified 2003 White Sox player 42/46.

Not pictured are cards of Yankees, Braves, Brewers, Kerry Wood, BoSox, and Pirates to be sent out shortly.

Again, I'd like to hang onto the Cutch xfractor, cards in the Nats-centric photo, and the basketball cards. Otherwise these are all available. So yeah, let me know if you want to trade! I'm hoping to take advantage of the holiday weekend to get a few trade packages together. My wantlist is here. Thanks.

Monday, June 29, 2015

dimebox dreaming on such a summer's day

Hot card show this week. My first purchase was 65 cards for $5. Here are some highlights.

I don't think I've ever owned any version of that infamous Billy Ripken card, believe it or not. Now I do, though the black box version is the most common, hence it costing me just a few cents (it's also a bit miscut, sort of angled). Thurman Munson is a neat vintage pickup, with a rough top edge the reason for it being banished to the dimebox. The Larry Walker is one of those cards made out of metal!.. I think my first such card. I also picked up some others as trade bait.. stay tuned for a trade bait post soon.

These cards are all winners in my book. Tom Seaver looks like he's straight out of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? mixing the real world with cartoons.

Reggies! Finally upgraded my Sock Card.

Here are some active guys.

Vince Coleman trying to pinpoint where it all went wrong.

I'll pretty much always grab any dimebox Clementes.

Padres pitchers.

Padres hitters. (and a Giant yo mama threw out.)

1993 Topps Black Gold. I've said it before and I'll say it again: This may be my all-time favorite insert set. Topps should revive it as an insert in Archives. It's a 44-card set. I picked up 20 at the show. Still need over a dozen, but at least I'm over the hump now. One of these days I'll finish it.

That's it for this post. Some not-pictured cards include some that are set aside for trader buddies or will be posted soon in a trade bait post.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The rest of a 2015 Stadium Club blaster

For reasons I can't quite put my finger on, I'm not typically a big Stadium Club guy, but this year's set looked real good around the blogs. I like the design and I'm glad they didn't go quite as nuts with the photo filters as they did last year. So I had planned on picking up a blaster at the grocery store one of these weeks. But a dealer at the card show had some for cheaper, so I went ahead and bought one from him. I showed the results of the first pack yesterday, but now let's take a look at the rest.

Kennys Vargas seems to be a gold parallel?

Nice to see Fred McGriff in the set. Would love to see him included as a Padre in a modern product sometime, but I'm not holding my breath.

As for the Miguel Cabrera True Colors insert, it's fine. Really it just gets this song stuck in my head..

Gwynn! Happy to pull that card. Not sure why Albert Belle is getting included in sets these days.. does anybody out there get excited to pull an Albert Belle card anymore? The guy was a notorious prick. The Joey Votto insert isn't very interesting. Great photo on that Elvis card.

The Dallas Keuchel is another gold parallel, I believe. It's not numbered or anything.

Cool to pull the Rusney, though he hasn't done much yet this year. The James McCann seems to be a parallel of some sort, as the foil is black, I guess.. not the usual silver. It's not numbered so it's dirt to me.

Looking good. I think this was my only pack that was 100% base cards, no inserts or parallels.

Final pack has a nice Zack Wheeler diecut. It was super cool that the last card of the blaster was Bip! You know I love the heck out of Bip Roberts and was very happy to see him included in the set, with a fun yet headscratching photo choice.

There you have it. Much of these cards are available for trade, so let me know if you wanna work out a deal for anything. Thanks.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

brief card show recap

Home from the card show. It was pretty solid for me, though a little smaller than usual, likely due to the 100° forecast scaring off a few dealers and customers.

Here's an overview of my day.. 3 purchases from 3 dealers.

A couple blasters: a clearance 2013 Archives and a 2015 Stadium Club. Both together for $27.

Spent some quality time digging through a dimebox. Found some good stuff. Ended up with 65 cards. The guy let me have them all for $5. Sweet!

Finally, I picked up 40 cards for $20 from the discount bins of my go-to dealer. Lots of prospect autos, some vintage basketball, and other neat stuff. I'll probably cover most of this stuff in a future post or two.

Let's rip open one of the Stadium Club packs so I can get in on the love...

Not a bad pack. The Mays diecut has to be the highlight, though the Utley is a great looking card as well.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you're all staying cool.

Friday, June 26, 2015

First ever TTM success!

I always love checking out other bloggers' through-the-mail autograph successes, but never got around to attempting it myself. That changed recently when-- spurred on a little by Zippy Zappy-- I decided to make use of the Johnny Omahen dupe I mistakenly bought last month. I was so excited to drop it in the mail that I immediately prepared a second TTM request to go out with it, this one to Brian Humphries.

I figured these guys were both low-hanging fruit, since they're not big names and probably don't get a ton of requests. Regular readers of this blog might have an inkling of why I'd be after these somewhat obscure guys... Yep, they both went to my high school. They're the only 2 active such guys at the moment, though another guy (Jordan Verdon) was just drafted by the Mets in the 24th round.. I'm not sure if he will/did sign or decide to go to college (SDSU commit).

But back to my TTM attempts, I didn't have autos of either Omahen or Humphries, so they'd be great additions to my Guys From Granite minicollection. I put both envelopes in the mail Sunday afternoon, so I guess technically they were mailed Monday, 6/15.

Fast forward to Thursday, 6/25, after a rough day that included the slapstick misadventure of getting a tomato cage stuck in my bicycle gears on the ride home (this seriously happened), the cloud of negativity engulfing me immediately cleared away when I saw my own SASE returned in my mailbox.

Glorious! I joyously tore it open and was greeted by a beautifully signed card.

I happened to have a dupe of Brian's 2012 Bowman refractor, so that was the card I chose to send. And man, I'm glad I did, because it looks terrific.

Since I'm a TTM newbie, I read some tips online, but still kinda felt like I was winging it. I read you're supposed to "rub down" glossy cards a little otherwise the sharpe may smudge. So I did lightly rub it with an eraser, but wasn't sure if that accomplished anything. I also included a couple notecard-like pieces too, both to ask if they could be signed (in case the card came out smudged, at least I'd still have an acceptable notecard auto) as well as added protection for the card. I put them together in a "card saver" and hoped for the best. Typically, I'd send a PWE with more protection than that, but I figure for TTMs you're better off keeping it simple. As I should have expected, the Card Saver wasn't quite up to the challenge of interstate travel and got twisted around a little. The card did arrive with a slightly bent corner, but luckily no crease, so it straightens out fine in a rigid case. One of the notecards took a little more noticeable damage, but not a big deal.

Blue and gold.. school colors! The silver pen really pops on the yellow, especially.
Now that I have his autograph, I'm feeling like a respectable Brian Humphries supercollector. I've already got his only superfractor (2012 Bowman Chrome is the lone mainstream set he's been included in). I just ordered another minor league card I needed of his. After that, as far as cards I know about, I'm only missing one minor league card from 2011 and the Bowman printing plates.

I sent the TTM card to the independent Sioux Falls Canaries, with whom Brian is having a solid season. It's going to be an uphill battle for him to get back on track to have a shot at making the majors, but I'm definitely rooting for him.

Thanks again, Mr. Humphries! I love the heck out of this card and genuinely would put it right up there in my eyes along with my Nolan Ryan autos, Willie Mays auto, and other hotshit cards in my collection.

Hopefully the Johnny Omahen return is imminent as well, but I know this stuff isn't a sure-thing. But yeah, it's a wonderful feeling when a return shows up, and as I mentioned on Twitter, I can see how some guys like Zippy go nuts with TTMs. I've already got plans to do at least one more soon.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Hot Scoop! Summertime is Quite Warm

Not a real post today (I wanted to post/retire my Frank Thomas PC, but after several recounts, I'm still just a few cards shy of 100, unfortunately.) just some rambling and an excuse to keep my streak of posting a Christmas Card on the 25th of every month. I think I posted this before but it's an Oscar Gamble "Boys of Summer" auto.

It's been a mild summer so far in Portland (and yeah, I know technically it just became summer this week, but I don't go by the government's BS seasonal starting dates like some damn communist. Nah, everyone knows that Mar-Apr-May is Spring, Jun-Jul-Aug is Summer, Sept-Oct-Nov is Autumn (aka Fall), and Dec-Jan-Feb is Winter. Deal with it! The constitution really should be amended to reflect this. #thanksobama).
But we've finally got some triple-digit days on the horizon and I'm dreading it. Heat that bad really sucks. We don't have AC in the house. We usually hang out in the furnished basement in the summer since it's typically a good 10-15° cooler down there. But even the basement gets toasty on >90° days.

At least work is nice and cold. Remember in my previous post I mentioned a co-worker left the company earlier this week? Apart from having to take on more workload, I'm happy to see her go. She was kind of the "thermostat nazi" of the office, usually keeping it around 74-76° in our work area, even though everyone else would have preferred in a bit cooler, muttering to themselves how hot it was. But now the #$%&^ is gone (normally I'd curse here, but hey, this is work-related; gotta keep it professional), and a new era of pleasantness in the office has dawned, with the temperature more in the 72-73° range. And I sit right next to the thermostat so, to force a Simpsons reference, I'm the Pope of Chilly Town.

Stay frosty, everybody. We're halfway to Christmas.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

All work and no baseball cards makes Gavin a dull boy

The company I work for is moving to Georgia later this year. As such, my co-workers have been jumping ship to other jobs (sellouts!) and those of us sticking around just have to take up the slack for the next 2 or 3 months until operations move over there and things slow down here, eventually drying up around the end of the year. A key person in our department abruptly left this week, and I'll be the go-to guy for picking up her duties. So that means it'll be a busy summer for me. Fun. :(

But hey, more work means more money to buy baseball cards! Whee!!

You probably don't remember, but back in March I busted a box of 1998 Bowman Series 2 and after I showed off the highlights I said, "Next up is a box of 1999 Bowman Series 1 from the same seller. Stay tuned!," or words to that effect. Now, I'm usually a ripping fiend, and unopened packs of baseball cards in my house don't stay unopened for long. But I also have a tendency to get cranky on days when I don't get any new baseball cards.

So recently I've adopted the idea of having a hobby box (or the like) on hand at all times so that I can bust a single pack of cards on days when I otherwise haven't gotten any new cards. It's really a nice little pick-me-up, even if it's only cheap stuff and nothing of note is pulled. Just a nice little fixx for a pack addict.

The inaugural box for this new plan was the aforementioned 1999 Bowman Series 1. Took me 2 or 3 months, but I recently got through it, one otherwise cardless day at a time. Let's check out the highlights.

These psychedelic cards provide a welcome break from the drab Bowman base cards. I suppose Pettitte and Thome are both decent names to pull. Thome is a guy I've thought about PCing, but haven't really pulled the trigger yet. Maybe if/when he gets The Call.

As with the Late Bloomers inserts, these Scouts' Choice cards are also 2 per box. Adrian Beltre is obviously the bigger hit here, still working on a fine career. Russell Branyan managed to stick around in the Bigs for parts of 14 seasons, so he wasn't exactly a bust either.

Here are the PC guys I pulled, highlighted by a Griffey base and the foil home state parallel (That's the liberty bell in the background).

And here are a few other tentative keepers for me.

I wasn't familiar with Chip Ambers, but this card definitely stood out thanks to the spectacular photo, a rarity in Bowman sets. Yeah, it's staged, I'm sure.. but still a great shot.

So there you have it. Was that $20 worth of cards? Even with the not-pictured stack of other cards from the box, probably not, but the thrill/fun of the rip is really where it's at. The prospect of having a back-up stash of packs helps me from tearing my mailbox off the wall in a rage when I come home after a hard day's work and find it empty.

I definitely plan to try to keep packs around to cheer me up when I need it, and make "cardless day breaks" a regular thing. I can wake up in the morning and know that regardless of what else happens, at the end of the day, there will be fresh baseball cards waiting for me. Isn't that beautiful? Even on Sundays and holidays. It takes some restraint for me not to just bust a box in one sitting (which I still do sometimes, like with my recent Archives boxes), but I think it's worth it.  (I'll admit that last Saturday night, I broke down and ripped my Sunday pack at a quarter past midnight.. hey, it counts, technically! Otherwise, I've been good and not cheated.)

Of course it's more financially responsible to use junk wax for this purpose, but I'd rather not accumulate more '91 Donruss, '88 Topps, and the like, so I'll at least try to find cheap boxes for sets I don't have much from in my collection, like with this late 90s Bowman. That way, I can at least pick up a few cards for my various PCs and maybe have a shot at a chase card of some sort to up the thrill. (I pulled an auto from my '98 Bowman box, but wasn't as lucky this time.)

I'm currently working on a box of 2014 Prizm Draft (ordered along with the Archives boxes to push me past the free-shipping threshold), which I'll show off after I eventually rip through it.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Finding some contest winners TONITE!

The entries are in! My big anniversary contest is ready for a winner! Here are all the entrants in alphabetical order:

Al Kawamoto
Bo (pimp bonus)
Captain Canuck
Corky (pimp bonus)
Daniel Wilson
Greg Zakwin
Jafronius (mystery song bonus #1)
Jafronius (mystery song bonus #2)
Jeff Jones
John Hazen
Jupiterhill (pimp bonus)
Mark Hoyle
Matthew Scott
Need More Cardboard
night owl
night owl (pimp bonus)
Play at the Plate
Play at the Plate (pimp bonus)
P-town Tom
Red Cardboard
Richard Nebe Jr.
Richard Nebe Jr. (pimp bonus)
Stealing Home
The Angels In Order
The Dutch Card Guy
The Junior Junkie
The Lost Collector
The Lost Collector (pimp bonus)
The Prowling Cat
Tim B.
Tony L.
Tony L. (pimp bonus)
Wilson (pimp bonus)

That's 48 total entries. Regular readers may recall I like to use the stats from an upcoming baseball game to help ensure complete randomness with no funny business and add some extra excitement and fun. Let's not waste any more time and sort things out tonight (6/21). Since there's only one evening game, ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball it is: Giants at Dodgers.

The deal is I randomize all entries to assign numbers to them. Winning numbers will be as follows:
Grand Prize = The combined hit total of both teams in the game.
Bonus prize / 2nd place = Total at-bats the Dodgers have in the game
Bonus prize / 3rd place = Total number of strikeouts Giants pitchers throw in the game.

Any repeat number/winner will skip to the next number. As for zero (ie, the Giants don't get a strikeout), then #1 would be that winner. Any number over 48, we'll go back to the top (ie, #1 is also good for 49, 2 is also 50, etc). Hope this isn't too confusing.

Ok, let's randomize:

There you have it. Good luck, all!

Oh, and big thanks to everyone who entered. I know I was fishing for compliments, but it was still heartwarming to read all the sweet comments. Even Alex Markle popped out of retirement not to enter but just to say hi. How nice! So yeah, all the kind words from everybody are very appreciated and you great folks really help make blogging about baseball cards a lot of fun. Thanks again!


Congrats to our winners:

Grand Prize = The combined hit total of both teams in the game.
Captain Canuck

Bonus prize / 2nd place = Total at-bats the Dodgers have in the game
Need More Cardboard

Bonus prize / 3rd place = Total number of strikeouts Giants pitchers throw in the game.
The Lost Collector

Please get in touch with your addresses and I'll gather up some cards for you guys!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Inundated with Nolan Ryan refractor autos!

Today was one of my biggest card maildays ever, thanks in part to a couple big eBay purchases arriving at the same time.

A year ago, I bought myself a 2005 Retired Nolan Ryan auto as a "wedding gift" to myself. This year, I treated myself to a "1st anniversary gift" by upgrading to the /25 refractor parallel of that same card.

Perhaps the fact that it's "been claimed for another set" according to the slab helped confuse people keep the price reasonable. It was just a blaster more than I paid for the non-refractor auto. My plan is to sell the old one, maybe even make a profit on the deal, with luck. As I've said before, while I'm a fan of all autos from the Retired line of cards, the refractors look especially great. So I couldn't resist putting in a respectable bid for this one, and ended up winning with exactly my highest bid (much less than $250, btw).. so you know it came down to the wire.

And check this out! That wasn't the only Topps Retired Signature Edition Nolan Ryan refractor auto I received today!

Yep, I got the 2004 Retired version, too! That's a big score for my 2004 Retired Refractors project. I had been kicking myself for passing up a "countered best offer" a few months ago for one of these. But now I'm glad I had restraint back then, because I was able to land this one for significantly less. (Still not cheap, don't get me wrong.) I think the 8.5 grade (a low grade by modern card standards) helped keep the price down. But truth is, I don't want any of my 2004 Retired's to be graded (I like them all in the "uncirculated" cases), so I plan to jailbreak it anyways (and slyly slip it back into an uncirculated case next time I find one with a loose sticker). This seller also had a few other big cards I need for my 2004 Retired project, namely refractors of Hank Aaron and Brooks Robinson, but they both ended up out of my range. Oh well. Patience is key.

And a third eBay package that showed up today was a thousand penny sleeves. I'm a sleeves guy, not a binder guy, so I go through a lot of them. What was especially cool about this purchase is I made it just yesterday afternoon. The seller happened to be in the next town over (Vancouver, WA), and was prompt about getting it out the door, so I got next-day delivery. Hard to beat that.

It's funny because the 2004 Retired Nolan actually came from close by, too: Portland suburb Lake Oswego. But I guess the seller wasn't quite as on his game as the sleeves guy, as it ended up taking 4 days to show up.

One more card delivery arrived today, this a trade package from my pal Nate at Big 44 Sport Cards.

Nice David Wells swatch /175 as a Padre! A Giancarlo Bowman RC! A gold Pat Neshek! And a Rod Carew #'d /1000. Thanks, Nate! Great stuff!

That's it for today. I'm gonna officially cut off the entry period for my big anniversary contest.. right.. NOW! However, one last chance: the first person to identify the bonus 80s song tease at the end of this MP3 cover of "Under the Milky Way" and post the artist/title of the song in the comments of this post will get 2 bonus entries. It's a recording I did with my "band" (actually it's just me on all instruments, plus my bud Karie helping out with vocals). I think it turned out really well! I'm putting up a new song every Friday of 2015 (follow us on Twitter!), and June is "80s Month", partially inspired by the release of Archives. Last week was a cover of "Safety Dance". Haven't recorded the song for this coming week, but hopefully I get something worked out in time.

Tomorrow I'll get all the contest entries sorted out in a randomized order and work toward finding some winners.
Thanks for swinging by!