Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye 2015 and my employment

The whole "new chapter/fresh start" aspect of New Years is very much underscored for me this year, with my job coming to an end on 12/31. As I've mentioned before, the company is packing up and moving to the Atlanta area. I'm just a temp, and there were a few times when I almost parted ways with the company during my time here, but somehow stuck around for nearly 3 years. In that time, I've moved into my first house (renting, but still), got married, and started this blog.

I kinda loved the job, as it was close enough to ride my bike to work, it's chill enough to where I could wear jeans to work, listen to my iPod for a few hours, and have enough downtime to read & write baseball card blog posts. Plus I had relaxed hours where I didn't need to come in until 9, allowing me to sleep in reasonably. That was pretty great. I hope my next job has those same perks, but I know it's a longshot. This really was a golden age for me. Sad to see it pass!

I don't have anything new lined up at the moment. So for the foreseeable future, I'll be hitting the job search hard. Probably aim for a low-hanging data entry job or some entry-level claim analyst thing. Any remote/work-from-home jobs you guys know of? Hook a brother up! (And as always, any card companies willing to hire a remote worker for anything, let me know. Topps/Panini/UD/Leaf-- I'll start at minimum wage! What have you got to lose?!)

I'm going to celebrate tonite by drinking opening my last Xmas/bday hobby box: 2014 Tribute. Stay tuned for that recap post tomorrow, most likely. Follow me on Twitter for more immediate updates, if you simply need to know what I pull ASAP. I'm trying to hit the 200 follower mark by the end of the year (PST) and have a little contest going to advance this goal, so throw me a follow if you want.. I'm just a few short. @breakdowncards

My card room is a freaking mess right now, mostly crap I've taken from work. Don't worry, nothing stolen-- they're just trying to clean the place out, so there's lots of free stuff available to grab.

So many envelopes! I'm set for PWEs in 2016. I'm also planning on stepping up my TTM action this coming year, so these will be handy. I won't need to buy envelopes for a long time. I've got like a couple thousand of them now, probably. Sure, some of them have clear address windows or my work's return address printed on them, but it's not too hard to work around that.

Of all the "free stuff" I got from work, I might be most excited about this professional-grade paper cutter. One area of my hardcopy custom cards I'd like to improve are the rough edges. This should help me out with that. Clean, smooth cuts!

Ok, this wasn't from work, but as long as I'm talking about improving my hardcopy customs, here's the legit new printer my wife got me for my birthday. I'm excited to set this badboy up and start cranking out some neat cards. Should be a nice upgrade over the $38 printer I've been using.

Some more random crap from work. Can always use more shipping tape. Not pictured, but plenty of pens, Sharpies, post-its, etc etc.

You guys know I'm an autograph collector, right? LOL. No, I didn't grab this for the signatures of a bunch of former co-workers. This is actually kinda old, so the majority of these people had already left, several of which before I even started working there. Many of my co-workers aren't on here because they had yet to come on at the point this was made. But I was in the market for a nice frame for a card display project I've got in the works (Stay tuned!), so I was happy to see this find its way into the "free stuff" area for the yoinking. Still though, I'm sentimental enough to where I probably won't trash these signatures. I remember walking past this in the hall many times. Oh dude, I'm totally going to sign it myself! I'm gonna do it! Wait for it...

Snagged three different cork boards from work. Gave one to my wife and the others will likely be used for me to display cards (safely out of direct sunlight, of course).

I can't have a post without featuring at least one card, so here's a random recent pickup: my first Vogelmoster auto!

Finally, here's a photo of my dog Annie obsessing over light reflecting off my laptop as I type up this post. I started the draft at work on my last day and am now finishing it at home. Man, I hope my next job is cool!

Happy New Year, you guys!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

non-sport Gavin cards

Gavin Month is coming to a close here at Baseball Card Breakdown. --Well, the final post might actually appear in early January thanks to a post-Christmas COMC order I'm waiting on. But this here is the penultimate post in the series.

Today we're looking at Gavin cards that don't involve sports.

Here's the first guy named Gavin to really make a name for himself on the global consciousness, Gavin MacLeod, an actor known for his roles on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Love Boat. He's represented in my collection with this Christmas Card stickergraph.

Here's another autoGav, this one from Gavin Hood, a filmmaker from South Africa who directed the films X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Ender's Game. Always neat checking out how other Gavins sign their name.

Here's the only true "gaming" card in my collection. It's like Magic The Gathering, but I think it's actually a World of Warcraft Trading Card Game card. I've never touched the stuff, though a good friend of mine was pretty obsessed with WoW for a while and I remember watching him play the video game. Gavin Haverston seems like an odd name for a medieval warrior-monster looking dude. But whatever! It adds some variety to my Greatest Gavins minicollection. This ally can attack immediately, and when he attacks, defenders deal no combat damage to him. It's like I have a twin!

Here's the only music-related Gavin in my Greatest Gavins. While I consider myself to have vast musical tastes, country music is one genre I've never cared for much with few exceptions (gotta love Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, some Hank Williams). So I'm not familiar with Mike Gavin at all. I think this is a gold parallel of some Branson set.

Other notable Gavins in music include Gavin DeGraw, Gavin Rossdale (of the band Bush), and the band Dance Gavin Dance.

And here's the one Gavin GPK, Thanks Gavin. Silly (and creepy).

Finally, here's a card of a character named Gavin. It's an autograph of actor Daniel Dae Kim, for his recurring role on Angel as Gavin Park. Never watched it. I know him best from his time on Lost, but he's been in a lot of stuff.

So there are the non-sport Gavin cards in my collection. Exciting!

Catch ya next time.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Busting a box of 2015 Bowman Chrome

Here's my 3rd out of 4 gift hobby boxes. (Saving the 2014 Tribute for last, perhaps using it to "celebrate" my job ending [My final day is 12/31]).

If you buy a box of Bowman Chrome from the last couple of years, there are basically 2 possibilities: 1) your box will be a dud, or 2) you'll pull an auto or parallel of Kris Bryant.

Was my box a dud?

Yes. No Kobe Jr. to be found.

But it was a gift, so it doesn't sting quite as bad. And there were a few decent, shiny cards which I'll show off now.

Hey look: my box yielded two colored parallels, both Cubs, yet neither is Kris Bryant, so they are dirt to me. Ha, nah, at least I've got a few trader buddies who are Cubs fans, so these cards will find a good home soon enough. (Tom, Nick, Tony B., CC.. anybody want to claim dibs?) I mean.. I might have to hang onto that orange Justin Steele card justin case, seeing it's a low-numbered parallel (/25) and maybe the best pull of the box, but the purple Travis Wood is definitely not long for my collection.

Got a couple of these diecut things. They're kinda neat. I was very happy about that Mookie Betts, as he's a guy I've started collecting of late, excitedly getting a little PC off the ground. And as for Kevin Plawecki, the baseball card gods are once again trying to get me to collect a guy, as a Plawecki card was the best hit out of my recent 2015 Diamond Kings box, and now I've followed that up by pulling this funky-shaped insert.

Three of those unfortunate jumbo minis (does anybody like these things?) and one /499 refractor were also pulled. Raisel Iglesias is a Cuban signing who made the jump to the majors last year, going 3-7 with a 4.15 ERA for Cincinnati.

 Three of these Top 100 inserts.

And the 2 promised autos. I lucked out a little pulling a refractor auto (/499).. nothing to get too excited about, but numbered and shiny is better than unnumbered base. Neither of these guys is a big name, though, so my mother-in-law wouldn't have hypothetically made her money back on this box, but hey, it was a fun enough break for me, especially since it was a gift.

Arquimedes Gamboa (great name) didn't do much during his 2015 season in rookie league, but he was only 17, so he's still got time to be somebody. Wilmer Difo (terrible name) got into 15 games with the Nationals last season and seems projected to be an adequate backup middle infielder. Neither card is the Kris Bryant I was after, but oh well, I like their signatures. Arqui's is all scrunched over on the left, and Wilmer's is like a cute doodle.

Here are the backs of the numbered cards I pulled. Another /25 card and still no 12/25 personally pulled by me, though my heart did jump for a millisecond as that "17" almost looked like a "12" when I flipped the card over. Alas...

So anyways yeah, those were the highlights from my box. Also plenty of base cards not pictured, mostly guys I've never heard of, as is the nature of Bowman. As far as trading, let me know if you're looking for anybody. As for the cards pictured in this post, most are available for trade, with only the Mookie being off the table, and the Justin Steele orange and Arquimedes refractor auto taking some convincing for me to part with.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Gavin LaValley supercollection

It's another Gavin Month post scheduled to line up with a birthday. 12/28 is Gavin LaValley's big day, turning that grand age of 21 today, so let's celebrate by reviewing the PC as it stands. To recap, LaValley was a 4th round pick by the Reds in the 2014 draft.  I was excited to see a fresh Gavin come along, so I jumped in and supercollected him pretty hard, snatching up just about every card I could find of his. After a slow start in 2015, he went on a hot streak in the second half to end with a respectable .267 batting average for the Daytona Dragons (A ball). Hopefully he can continue swinging a hot bat and advance to AA in 2016.

Putting this post together made me realize I own 2 (of the 5 in existence) mini red refractors. Whoops.

That last one with Will Ferrell isn't really a card.. just a paper print "prototype" of a custom I'm working on.. still need to make the back for it one of these days and put a "real" copy together.

That Dragons card seems to be his only 2015 release. You can see I've also got an in-person signed copy, which was a couple bucks from a seller in Dayton, so it's gotta be legit. Gavin seems to be a good TTM signer, and I'm kinda kicking myself for not trying this year, but probably in 2016 I'll mail some cards his way including some dupe parallels and that Will Ferrell custom.. I think he'd get a kick out of it.

Checklist update time.

Gavin LaValley 2014 Bowman Draft+Mini Checklist
x Base paper
x Base paper NNOF error
o Base paper Topps Vault First Edition blank back 1/1
x Blue paper #/399
x Green paper #/75
x Red paper #/5
o Orange paper 1/1
o Black paper 1/1
x Asia-Exclusive Black
o Black Printing Plate 1/1
x Cyan Printing Plate 1/1
o Magenta Printing Plate 1/1
x Yellow Printing Plate 1/1
x Silver Ice
x Silver Ice NNOF error
x Red Ice #/150
x Purple Ice #/99
x Orange Ice #/25
o White Ice 1/1
x Chrome base
x Chrome Refractor
x Chrome Blue Refractor #/399
x Chrome Green Refractor #/150
x Chrome Black Refractor #/75
x Chrome Gold Refractor #/50
x Chrome Orange Refractor #/25
x Chrome Red Refractor #/5
o Chrome SuperFractor 1/1
o Chrome Black Printing Plate 1/1
o Chrome Cyan Printing Plate 1/1
o Chrome Magenta Printing Plate 1/1
x Chrome Yellow Printing Plate 1/1
x Chrome Black Wave
x Chrome Blue Wave
x Chrome Silver Wave #/25
x Chrome Red Wave #/25
x Chrome Shimmer #/15
x Chrome Mini
x Chrome Mini Refractor
x Chrome Mini Black Shimmer Refractor
x Chrome Mini Gold Refractor #/25
x Chrome Mini Blue Refractor #/20
x Chrome Mini Green Refractor #/15
x Chrome Mini Orange Refractor #/10
x Chrome Mini Red Refractor #/5
x Chrome Mini Indigo Refractor #/3
x Chrome Mini Superfractor 1/1
o Chrome Mini Black Printing Plate 1/1
o Chrome Mini Cyan Printing Plate 1/1
x Chrome Mini Magenta Printing Plate 1/1
x Chrome Mini Yellow Printing Plate 1/1

(list last updated 10/12/16)

With the full-size Bowman Draft, all I'm missing are the 1/1's, but there are a lot of them, so I'm sure that's not ever going to be 100% finished. But that's good for a Non-1/1 Rainbow ("Standard Rainbow"? whatever you wanna call it). However, I'm realistically close to a MASTER RAINBOW if we're just talking about 2014 Bowman Chrome Mini (which technically is a separate product) needing only 4 more cards: the /20 Blue Refractor, the /10 Orange Refractor, and the Black and Blue plates. Once you've got the superfractor and a couple plates, you're in the home stretch, right?

Gavin LaValley 2014 Panini Prizm Perennial Draft Picks Baseball Checklist
x Base
x Prizm (a.k.a. Refractor)
x RWB Puslar Prizm
x Powder Blue Prizm #/199
x Purple Prizm #/149
x Red Prizm #/100
x Blue Mojo Prizm #/75
x Orange Prizm #/60
x Green Prizm #/35
o Gold Prizm #/10
o Black Finite Prizm 1/1
x Prospect Signatures Autograph base Prizm
x Prospect Signatures Autograph Press Proof Prizm #/199
x Prospect Signatures Autograph Purple Prizm #/149
x Prospect Signatures Autograph Red Prizm #/100
x Prospect Signatures Autograph Blue Mojo Prizm #/75
x Prospect Signatures Autograph Orange Prizm #/60
x Prospect Signatures Autograph Green Prizm #/35
x Prospect Signatures Autograph Gold Prizm #/10
x Prospect Signatures Autograph Black Finite Prizm 1/1

With Prizm, I'm down to only needing the six /35-and-under cards. Those low-numbered cards just haven't been popping up much. I've seen Golds on eBay, but too expensive.

And there's where my Gavin LaValley collection stands as we head into 2016.
Happy Birthday, Gavin, and best of luck with your career!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

2015 Diamond Kings box break

Here's the second box I've busted from my Christmas haul. I've seen 2015 Diamond Kings on other blogs with generally favorable reviews, and received 2 or 3 cards in trade packages, and they seemed cool enough, so went ahead and put a box on my wishlist. The "artistic renderings" style helps downplay the lack of logos, and the cards are slightly textured with that canvas-like feel, a bit reminiscent of UD Masterpieces.

Let's jump right in with the hits..

I only pulled one auto, but it's a pretty decent Kevin Plawecki card with a couple jersey pieces thrown in, #'d 32/99 on the back. After a hot start to his major league career with the Mets this past season, Kevin cooled off a bit, but still a name to watch.

And that Yu Darvish / Masahiro Tanaka dual relic #'d 10/25 could turn out to be a sweet pull if they can both stay healthy going forward.

The Deven Marrero relic mini is #'d 8/25 on the back. (Yep, I pulled two /25 cards, but I've still yet to ever personally pull a Christmas Card. *sigh* Someday!)

Here are a couple neat framed cards. Danny Santana is #'d 70/99. Herb Pennock (unnumbered) isn't a guy I was familiar with, but turns out he's a HOFer from the Ruth-era with an interesting career.

Here are some dudes I collect. The multicolored backgrounds look pretty nice together in a page-type setting.

Some more cool guys. Pulling this Kirby made me realize he hasn't been included in any Topps product for a few years, as far as I can recall. Cool to see sleeveless Ted Kluszewski show up in a new set. The Walter Alston at the bottom seems to be a rainbow foil parallel or something and is #'d 1/99 on the back.

Some inserts and minis. The Paul Waner mini came out of the pack with a dinged corner; lame. I love nickname cards, so the Johnny Bench "Little General" card was neat to get.
As was...

Here's a card I was hoping to pull! I think I saw this on Fuji's blog a while back and liked how Panini slyly snuck in a team name with this "Mr. Padre" card.

So there you have it. While it provided me with several PC additions and some decent trade fodder, I feel like this box was maybe one decent hit away from being a "good box" and instead it was just kinda "meh" overall.

One thing that bummed me out was pulling four blank dummy cards. I understand trying to thwart pack-searchers, but it's a kick in the crotch to pull a thick card that turns out to be nothing but a plain white card. At least as someone who occasionally makes sketch cards, I can use them for drawing on.

Thanks for taking a moment to check out the box with me. Still got the 2015 Bowman Chrome box and the big boy: 2014 Topps Tribute.. excited for that! Those are coming up soon, as well as closing out Gavin Month, then some fun stuff lined up to kick off 2016.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

High rolling with big money cards

Hang onto your seats, guys! With this Cal Ripken, I've finished off "Group A" in my quest of completing 2004 Topps Retired autographs.

It's a beauty. I think it was the single most expensive card I've ever bought, but it's a great addition to my top collecting goal. It's also my first Ripken auto. He's definitely an all-time great, so I'm excited to own it. While I was at it, I got another 2004 refractor auto of another Orioles legend from the same seller...

This is an upgrade of the non-refractor Brooks Robinson auto I had. Looking good.

The day after these cards arrived was my birthday, and as luck would have it, one of the gifts from my folks was a birthday check for coincidentally the same amount I paid for these 2 cards (a few bucks more). So I'll call it a wash and essentially count these cards as gifts from mom.

Speaking of parental generosity, so far I've opened one of the hobby boxes I got from my mother-in-law that I posted a picture of yesterday. (I'm trying to stretch the boxes out a little by opening one a day or so rather than just rip through them all at once and crash into those post-Christmas blues.)

I decided to "start small" by busting the 2015 Topps Supreme box. There are only two cards in a box, so it's a quick roll of the dice. This isn't a product I'd give much thought to purchasing myself, but one I'm definitely excited to get as a gift. So on Christmas afternoon, I opened it up, and who should I pull but the birthday boy...

Jesus! Rickey Henderson! That's a solid pull. It's a great looking card and #'d 5/25. In a perfect world, it'd be on-card and #'d 12/25, but this is still pretty sweet! Rickey's a guy I collect (Pads in the Hall!) and this, my second autograph of his, is an incredibly nice addition to the PC.

Hard to tell in pictures, but these are kinda layered cards: the base is the gold part, then the rest is like a diecut top layer affixed on that. It's a cool touch when you've got the card in-hand.

No need to Panik, but..

The other card I got from the Supreme box is this unnumbered Joe Panik auto. Nowhere near as exciting as the Rickey, but still not a bad pull. Panik was pretty hot when he came up in 2014 and helped lead the Giants to a World Series championship. Then last season, he continued to play well and made the All-Star team. So I'll probably hang on to this card for now. This auto is on-card, and again, there's a cool layered effect, with the dark blue part being the base, with the rest of the card being like a diecut card on top of that.

So there was my first and only experience busting Supreme. Fun, but you're better off buying singles on the secondary market, for sure. But again, it made for a wonderful gift, and I thought it was super cool to pull a Rickey Henderson auto on his birthday/Christmas.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the rest of the boxes I'll bust this coming week!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Cards for Christmas

As a kid, I remember getting stuff like a factory set of '90 Score for Christmas, but I had never gotten cards for Christmas since returning to the hobby as an adult. This year, I couldn't think of much to ask for for Christmas (/my birthday, which is right around the same time). So much of the ideas on my wishlist were hobby boxes.

Very excited to rip into these boxes! Stay tuned for posts on them over the next week or so.

I was lucky enough to get some cards in the mail from trade buddies this past week, and I'll show them off now.

First up is a 2-card slam from Matthew from Bob Walk The Plank. It's always nice to get a package of cards in the mail, but when it's Matt, you get extra excited because you know he brings the hits.

Sah-weeeeet! A couple months ago, I took matters into my own hands to create a Padres Dave Winfield auto, but now I've got a legit such card. Thanks, Matt! Awesome card.

And along with the Winfield was another badass San Diego auto, this very nice on-card Gaylord Perry Cooperstown autograph. This is a great addition to the PC. Big thanks again, Matt! I've still got that printing plate with your name on it. It felt wrong to send a plate in a PWE, so I left it out of my recent mailing to you, but I'll send it along soon enough.

Next up is P-Town Tom from Waiting Till Next Year (No, Seriously 2016 Is The Year) who also dropped a heck of a card package on me.

When I first saw this card out of the package, there was some blue tape over the bottom and I thought, "Ah, cool new McCovey card for me.. oh wow, this is thick! Like strangely thick for a regular card." Then I removed the tape to reveal the lovely vintage jersey swatch and was very happy!

Tom kept the Willie love going with this snazzy diecut Stargell #'d /1979. With generous Pirates traders out there such as the aforementioned Matthew Scott sucking up the cardsphere's Buccos, it always feels a little extra special when a Pirate hit finds its way into a package for me. Very appreciated!

Tom rounded out the package with a terrific assortment of 2011 Topps parallels for my frankenset-type-thing. Thanks, Tom!!

And Mark Hoyle got into the holidaytime mailings with a team set of 1979 Burger King Yankees.

A bunch of guys I collect in there. Thanks, Mark!

And here's a late addition that I haven't even had the chance to really rip into yet. Courtesy of.. well, I'm not sure what to call him.. CC, Chaos, Twitch.. one of his blogs is here. Good guy, Cubs fan, artist. Looks like there's a sketch card and a Pete Rose auto.. nice! Look for this package to be featured on the blog at a later date.

Big thanks to Matt, Tom, Mark, and CC for the cards!
Merry Christmas to one and all!