Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Nickening

Looks like I'll have a string of trade recap posts this week. Yesterday was Zippy, today is Dimebox Nick, and waiting in the wings are packages from Angus and Wes that just showed up. With all these great incoming cards, it's easy to ignore the release of 2019 Topps Series One today. I feel like my interest in current flagship couldn't be lower, though I don't hate the design this year and am glad to see the return of full stats on the back.

Here's a nice one to kick off with. McCovey is a big PC guy for me, plus I'm thinking I'd like to make a run for Kellogg's sets at some point in the coming years.

A little deja vu from yesterday's Japanese girlie cards, another one of those boxes with a bunch of swimsuit cards of one particular young lady. Jun Amaki here is quite lovely. Perhaps this was re-traded by way of Zippy? Hey, I'll happily take any unwanted girlie cards (and probably pass off any I don't want to Billy.)

Back to baseball, here are some minis. Always love adding a new Hoyt.

These old Baseball Card Magazine pseudo-customs are fun. I had been debating whether or not to cut the sheet I recently got featuring the Kevin Maas card, but thanks to this already-cut one from Nick, I can leave the other intact.

And more various cards of  guys I collect.

Solid selection of Padres from this decade. Looks like I needed all 3 of those 2011 Topps parallels for my frankenset, so that makes me happy.

Trea Turner is a guy I recently bumped off my wantlist and retired the PC into the Hundred Card Club. That didn't take me long.. feels like he was just recently a rookie, fleeced from San Diego's org. Hopefully Tatis Jr at shortstop takes the sting out of that transaction soon. Anyways, nice lot here.

Nick and I are both Rod Beck collectors, and he's good about throwing his dupes my way.

And of course Mr. Padre. Dig the cartoon fly with backwards hat.

Impressive lot of George Springer cards.

Bunch of Brian Giles.

And little bro, Marcus.

More Pads of the Past. Some nice ones here. Note the minor league Bochy with "C/CH" position. That was his last stand as a player.

The package wraps up with some vintage cards from Nick's dad, buttering me up for another batch of music customs on the horizon.

The '64 Topps needs are much appreciated. Inching toward ¾ complete with this set.

The highlights here are legendary manager Walt Alston and a combo card featuring Yaz. (Not sure how Chuck Schilling squeezed onto this "Sox Sockers" card; the guy hit a total of 23 homers in his entire career.)

Big thanks, Nick! (and Nick's dad!) I don't think I've got much left set aside for you right now, but I'll keep an eye out. And just let me know when your dad wants to get that custom project going.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Zappening

I've gotten plenty of nice cards from Zippy Zappy over the years, but this latest package, sent from Japan no less, might top them all. Let's check out some highlights.

Sweet! Big rookie cards I needed for my McCutchen and Altuve PCs, respectively.

Early cards of a pair of today's best third basemen, Arenado and Castellanos.

More big-name minor league cards.

And notable Bowman RCs up the wazoo.

More Bowman highlights.

Additions for the Arod and Jeter PCs.

One random basketball card, and a nice one at that, with this sparkly, diecut Kyrie Irving.

At first glance, this would seem to be regular ol' 2002 Topps Pudge, but no...

2002 Topps Kanebo Gum Japanese card! HOFer import! Very cool.
And this begins the Japanese-cards portion of the post.

Ohtani! Wowee!

More special Nippon Professional Baseball cards featuring Sadaharu Oh (home run king), Kazuhisa Makita (he's on the Padres now), Tetsuto Yamada (sparkly), and Wladimir Balentien (didn't do much in the majors, but has since had a fine career in Tokyo).

Here are a couple fun ones, including a lenticular card from 1996 and what seems to be a vintage (Calbee?) card on the right, though I couldn't say what's the story with them.

Somewhat "NSFW" picture warning. Proceed with caution.

Oh man! These might have been the most exciting cards of the package for me. I'm an admitted horndog female form enthusiast with a decent "girlie card" collection. I've got cards autographed by lovely ladies, and I've got cards with naked women on them, but I believe these are the first cards in my collection of autographed naked ladies. I try to keep my blog more-or-less "family friendly" so I've covered up the naughty bits. (The back photos are even better!) These are all numbered /200. Cool signatures.. especially the little drawing. Love these!

I think this is called an Icon box or something, right? Features a couple mini boxes of cards. Mariya Nagao here keeps clothed, though scantily clad.

Gonna end this post here rather than stretch it out too long, but man, still plenty of other good stuff in the package.. a bunch more rookie cards, minor league Topps cards, numbered parallels, etc.

Thanks so much, Zippy! This was a zippy zapping to remember. I'll round up a return for you soon.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Triumphant Conclusion of Marquis Mania

Way back on March 21, 2014, I unveiled a new collecting project where I set out to fill a binder with nothing but 1990 Upper Deck #9 Marquis Grissom, a favorite card from my childhood. I later settled on 1000 as the goal number for this project I dubbed Marquis Mania. After a while I modified it to where I was thinking 500 cards in the binder (or maybe 504, to make it divisible by 9), and the rest in a box. (1000 in the binder started to feel like overkill.)

I don't think I've done an update post for this project since March 2015, so I'm overdue. I guess I've just been lazy about counting up all the cards I have (and paging those that haven't been paged yet). There was a time when I'd keep an eye out for cheap bulk lots of the card via eBay or SportLots, though the project has been pushed to the backburner the past couple years, with really the only recent additions being an occasional copy thrown in by a trade partner. I bought a big lot of 400 on eBay in early 2017 and then kinda got burnt out after that.

When I did a rough count the other day, I thought I might be like 20-something cards short of the 1000 goal, but then I counted up the four lots of 100, just to check, and turns out each case had more like 107 cards in it, and it was those bonus cards that put me over the top. I took out any cards over 100 and paged them, so these 4 cases are each 100-cards now.

The original 1990 Upper Deck Marquis Grissom from my childhood collection gets the outer spine spot on the binder, so I can keep that one a little special.

And on the binder's inside cover is an autographed copy of the card, plus a post-it recording my progress on this quest. As you can see, my grand total comes to 1005. That's 67 full pages, the spine card, the auto, and the four plastic cases of 100 cards each.

I did not double-fill the pockets, so the backs get their appreciation as well.


There were literally millions of this card produced, so don't think my hoarding will have any effect on the card's value or scarcity. But the project was never about that; I just wanted to hit a quantity of 4-figures on one card, and chose this one because I've always liked it a bunch. Feels very satisfying to successfully complete this crazy undertaking, nearly 5 years in the making.

And if you're wondering, I am making a hard stop here. While I briefly thought, "hey, maybe keep the project open-ended.. see how many I can collect.. perhaps I'll even hit two thousand someday!" But no, I decided against that. I'm happy with 1005. It would be less satisfying if I kept it going. So this card is officially off my wantlist. Well, I suppose I could use one more copy to put in my Marquis Grissom PC, but after that, any further copies of the card I receive are going straight to the "for trade" box.

Big thanks to the many traders who've sent me this card over the past 5 years helping me to the goaline! It was admittedly a silly project, but a fun one for me. I'll have to remember to flip through the binder once in a blue moon when I just want to "zen out" for a while.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Al Kaline 2005 Topps Retired auto

Today I'm finishing off a trio of one-card posts featuring Topps Retired pickups, this time with the legendary Al Kaline.

This is the first autograph of Mr. Tiger for my collection. Simple headshot with his solid signature.

Heck of a career.

Continuing on yesterday's post noting the hologram sticker on the back. The '03 cards such as that Reggie have better placement, whereas the '05 cards cover up vitals. Not the best design choice there, but what can you do.

Maybe someday I'll complete the run of Topps Retired autos if I keep picking them up here and there over the next couple decades. Here's where I'm at:

2003 Retired: 
35.83% complete
77 cards remaining

2004 Retired:
COMPLETE! (still trying to upgrade 16 base autos to refractor autos)

2005 Retired:
33.91% complete
76 cards remaining

It's funny that I'm over a third of the way done with both '03 and '05 now, yet I still have as many cards to chase from each year as the entire auto checklist was in '04.

But looks like I've narrowly passed 50% complete overall (158/311). Wow.. sweet! Definitely a long-term goal, but I sure enjoy snagging these cards when I see them pop up at decent prices.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Reggie Jackson 2003 Topps Retired auto

Hey, let's do back-to-back posts showing off a 2003 Topps Retired auto pickup. Here's a big one for me in Reggie Jackson. Looks great.

Reggie was my first "top PC guy" when I was a kid, and a charter member of my Hundred Card Club. It's been more of a passive player collection since returning to the hobby as an adult, but still like the guy well enough. This is only my second auto card of his (also have a signed plaque that I got as a Christmas gift as a kid).

Lots of big numbers on the back. Reggie is still the all-time strikeouts leader, though with how the game is today, I would expect someone to surpass him within the next decade or so, perhaps Giancarlo Stanton, or eventually Aaron Judge who already has over 400 strikeouts in only two full seasons.

But of course Reggie's legend really comes from his big World Series moments, bringing home 5 rings in the 70s.

Remember those few years when Topps used to put holograms with ID numbers on the back of their hits? Not always aesthetically pleasing, but sure seemed like a good way to discourage counterfeiting. Not sure why Topps stopped that practice. I guess they don't consider counterfeiting an issue anymore. But take a look on eBay and there's never been more of a glut of unauthorized "reprint that doesn't say it's a reprint" (a.k.a. counterfeit) cards.

Maybe that's one reason I gravitate toward collecting Topps Retired autos, especially refractors. I'm not saying they'd be impossible to copy, but sure would be a tall order for a counterfeiter to crank out passable fake versions of them. Chrome stock (with holofoil[?] indention tracing in the picture), numbered hologram stickers, "uncirculated" cases sealed by a hologram sticker (which is another reason why I prefer these cards to be encased)... and with the refractors, well it's gotta be tougher to make refractors, and then they're serial numbered out of 25, which further complicates faking them in much quantity without raising suspicion. Not saying it couldn't be done, but it would be a huge chore compared to cranking out 2011 Update Trouts, 1952 Mantles, and Babe Ruth cut-signatures.

I probably bellyache about counterfeiting too much on this blog, but it is probably my biggest concern in the hobby today. If eBay/Topps would hire even just one or two employees to police trading card listings and remove listings for fake cards, it could go a long way toward keeping the hobby strong into the future.

Switching gears here, maybe it goes to show how I get the majority of my baseball info from the written word, but I've only now realized that I've been pronouncing the acronym WAR (Wins Above Replacement) wrong (or rather, everyone else has been pronouncing it wrong).

I read it as War rhyming with Tar, which makes perfect sense to me. But apparently most people pronounce it as War as in "wore". But that war is a totally different thing. It's that unfortunate situation when countries fight each other. Why would you call a baseball stat that? Makes no sense!

So it's still WAR (as in jar, far, car, bar, par, or star) to me. Luckily for me, I rarely talk baseball with anyone in person, so I shouldn't get too many funny looks. But I invite everyone to join me in using the superior pronunciation.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend! As for me, my plan is to eat a special brownie and watch The Wizard of Oz. Hey, it's legal here.  I usually stick to booze, but I'm doing another "Dry January" this year; no drinking till February. We got some bummer news today, so it's gonna be a rough weekend at my house with lots of random "FUCK!!" shouts at random intervals (don't worry, not a health-related issue). I've already checked off "do a post while high" from my blogging bucket list last weekend. It was the Angela Lansbury one. I thought that was pretty funny.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Sabes and a postage increase heads up

In my ever vigilant lookout for Topps Retired autos I need, I found this 2003 Bret Saberhagen for a good deal the other day and snatched it up. Don't see this one pop up very often.

Cy Young winner in '85 and '89. World Series MVP in '85. Nagging injuries hampered the second half of his career, but still pretty good lifetime numbers.

So yeah, happy to add a Bret Saberhagen autograph to my collection.

Speaking of BS, the US Postal Service is jacking up their rates again. In case you haven't heard, effective this Sunday, January 27, 2019, cards (and everything else) will become a bit more expensive to ship. And First-Class packages will move to zone-based pricing, meaning it'll cost (even) more to send a bubble mailer across the country or to out in the boonies than it would to send to somebody in a city closer to you. And Forever stamps are going up from 50¢ to 55¢.

So now is a good time to stock up on Forever stamps if you can. And if you have any stacks of cards you've been building up for trader buddies that are about ready to go, it wouldn't be a bad idea to try getting them mailed out no later than Saturday if you'd like to save a little money.

On the subject, it'll be somewhat outdated soon, but check out my Shipping Tips post from last month if you missed it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

some Swell customs

Back in 1990 when I first got into the hobby, I somehow ended up with a handful of 1990 Swell "Baseball Greats" and they were among my first cards of retired legends. And they weren't all Ruthian stars, but also many lesser-known "hall of very good" players of yesteryear. Young Gavin learned a lot about the game's history from those oddballs, and I still have a sentimental soft spot for the design.

So this past weekend while I was working on some customs I owe John Miller, I got distracted and made a few for myself.

I need more Buck O'Neil cards in my collection, and if real card companies won't come through for me, I'll take matters into my own hands. I posted this on Twitter and it got a great response, even retweeted by the official Negro Leagues Museum account, so that was awesome.

I wanted to give the design a whirl with a current player, and Mike Trout was the first guy to pop in my head. Not that there's a shortage of Mike Trout cards out there, but I think this looks pretty good.

And one of my favorite PCs to add to, the late Rod Beck. While I'm partial to his Padres days, I had to go with this Red Sox photo because I love the prominent "Shooter" glove he's rockin'. I added the cloudy sky to spice up a plain, indoors backdrop.

Full backs, reasonably faithful to the originals.

Swell was a chewing gum brand produced by Philadelphia Gum, the latter best known to card collectors for producing NFL cards in the mid 60s. Years later, Swell ventured into the cardboard realm, putting out separate sets of retired baseball and football players in 1988 through 1991. Founded in 1947, Philadelphia Gum went out of business in 2003, with the rights now owned by Tootsie Roll Industries.

I also made a gif card of Sandy Koufax with the design. Not one of my best, but it's something.

Not Swell related, but this Mickey Mantle gif I made a week or two earlier turned out pretty decent.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Another 2008 Bowman Chrome Baseball Hobby Box

I got suckered into another 2008 Bowman Chrome Baseball Hobby Box for the price of a blaster last Black Friday, same as back in 2017. Let's see if I got anything good this time.

Welp, this Alfonso Soriano xfractor was probably the highlight. Shiny.

Some guys I collect.

A couple prospects who actually managed to have decent MLB careers.

And finally, some other semi-notable cards. Yunesky Sanchez (/500 refractor) never made the majors, but is still active in Mexico. Aubrey Huff (/150 blue refractor) cranked 242 dingdongs over his 13-year MLB career. Danny Rams (my one promised auto) topped out at AA. These are available for trade, as is the Soriano.

So yeah, this box wasn't good. Oh well.