Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Blake Snell PC

Exciting times to be a Padre fan! I've learned not to get my hopes up too high, but hey, looks like San Diego will be fielding a competitive team for at least the next couple years. Should be fun.

Blake Snell is a guy I've been collecting a bit for the past few years, so it's cool for me to welcome him to my hometown team. Here are the cards I've got in my player collection as of his trade to the Padres.

This 2011 1st Bowman Chrome refractor is a good one to lead off with.

Also have the base version and rookies from Bowman and Bowman Platinum.

Sweet assortment of Topps/Chrome RCs.

More Topps flagship designs.

Other Topps stuff, including a yellow Triple Threads RC #/99.

Ginter, Archives, Heritage, etc.

A few Panini cards. Some of these you can pretend are in Padres uniforms before they brought back the brown.

Closing out with the hits. I pulled the Bowman Inception auto myself back in 2016 (it's signed on-card, though it might not look like it at first glance). Then there's a nice fat jersey swatch, and a dual-relic stickergraph #'d /199 on the back.. solid card.

I'd be happy to receive any Blake Snell cards not pictured here in trade. Looking forward to adding some cards depicting him in brown & gold during the coming year, and fingers crossed for another Cy-caliber season from him.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Phil Niekro PC

We lost yet another baseball great this year with the passing of Phil Niekro last night. :(

Figured I'd pay tribute by documenting my Knucksie PC on the blog today.

There was a time not too long ago when I'd ask for high-end baseball card boxes for Christmas/ my birthday (oh, and thanks for all the birthday/holiday well-wishes in the comments of my previous post, btw!). I pulled this auto from a box of Tribute a couple years ago.

These Rookie Stars cards aren't technically in the player collection, but I've got them in my 1964 (in-progress) and 1965 (completed) Topps sets, so let's show them off here. Ha, did Topps really just reverse the negative for Phil's picture to make it seem different? Hadn't noticed that before. I guess you can do that when the logo on the cap looks the same backwards.

Here's a nice assortment of vintage from the 60s and 70s.

80s Topps (and an OPC).

Modern Topps.

Some playing-days cards from Donruss/Leaf.

And some more modern stuff. I snagged that stickergraph for a good price a while ago (and the similar jersey card came with it) thanks to the numbering on the back...

Christmas Card!

Upper Deck getting into the mix.

Wrapping things up with Fleer and the rest.

Love the '88 Score, his one true sunset card with complete career stats on the back.

So that's what I've got. Only a little over halfway to my standard "100 unique cards" goal, and I wouldn't mind adding to the PC, but I'm pretty much satisfied with how it stands. I've got what are the big bullet points in my eyes:

  • rookie card
  • memorabilia card
  • autograph card
  • christmas card
  • sunset card

The one thing that'd be on top of my Phil Niekro wantlist would be a card from his short-term stop in Toronto (just 3 games near the end of his long career), but I think 1988 Classic Update Red Travel Edition #199 might be the only option there, and update: I just snagged one on Sportlots for a buck, so hopefully that'll be showing up in a week or so.

Another update: nearly forgot about the 2003 Retired auto.

Thanks for reading.

RIP Knucksie

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Happy Holidays from your friends at Baseball Card Breakdown

Happy Holidays, everybody. 2020 is almost over and odds are 2021 will be at least a tiny bit better.

Among the toughest parts of 2020 for me was losing several baseball legends, such as Tom Seaver. I guess we all gotta go sometime, but still sucks. They'll live on in our collections, like this recent pickup for my Archives Reserve Master Set. A beauty!

Hey, a new autoGav! Gavin Stone is the latest Gavin-ograph added to my collection. The Central Arkansas right-hander was drafted 159th overall in the 2020 draft by the Dodgers, joining Gavin Lux as a dynamic duo of LA Gavins.

Numbered 12/25! Ho ho ho!

Following that up with another 12/25 Gavin I picked up earlier this year.

I also ended up with a pair of 1/1 autos, for what that's worth. Gavin Casas decided to withdraw his name from the 2020 draft and instead honor his commitment to Vanderbilt. Can't blame him. Wishing him a great collegiate career, and hopefully we see him as a high draft pick a little ways down the line. 

One more card to share today. Former Dodgers/Rays prospect Jose DeLeon. He got into 5 games for the Reds this past season, though he didn't have great results. But he seems like a good dude on social media. Hopefully he rebounds next year. Most interesting thing about this card for me....

Numbered 12/24! Christmas Eve Cards aren't too common, but it's nice to snag one cheap from time to time. It's my birthday, after all.

Ruby says Merry Christmas, too.

This has been a rough year for me, as for most folks. Haven't had the energy to be a very good trading partner (lagging on sending out cards) or blogger (post count way down this year, no contests/giveaways)-- between trying to figure out working from home during a pandemic and raising an exhausting pupper, I've been stretched a little thin. This coming year should be better, though.

Thanks for reading and wishing you all the happiest of holidays.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

cardboard cardings

Just squeezing in a quick late-nite post with a few recent additions to my collection because I haven't posted in a few days. (On my to-do list for the weekend is a big Sentimental Sundays post about my long-lost little comic book collection, which I've recently found but not opened yet.) 

1990 Kmart Batting Leaders-- one of the very few "junk era" Topps offerings that still goes for decent money today. I'm not expecting to ever complete the set, but hey-- there are only 22 cards and life is long, so never say never. I already had Rickey and Julio Franco, so only 19 more to go. The red '89 version is a little scarer, but I think the green '90 cards are more appealing.

A solid pickup for the Kirby PC.

Check it out, an elite starting pitcher for San Diego! Haven't seen that since Jake Peavy's prime. Wait, just Topps having some fun with an SP variation, but I'll take it. I discovered these "Nat'l Lea." cards in 2020 Archives earlier in the month and ended up grabbing one with Max Scherzer here.

Topps didn't bother making the stats on the back easy to read. He's only got 175 career wins, but still pretty much locked in for Cooperstown with 3 Cy Young awards. I've got a decent Scherzer PC, but am still in the market for an auto.

Last card I needed to complete the Jose Canseco page in my Vagabond Binder was one with him on the Yankees, which I snagged on Sportlots with a cheap 2000 Pacific Omega card. And I could get 3 more cards from the seller without increasing the postage, so I went with these guys from the same set for the 18¢@ minimum. McGriffey Henderson.

I don't have much Pacific in my PCs, so always a safe bet when I can add cheap cards of guys I collect.
(BTW.. Currently working on my first Sportlots box order, which I'll post about once that's all in-hand.)

Last thing for today: Cool Papa Bell auto! Picked up this index card autograph over the summer. My custom cardmaking operation has been on ice for a couple months (thanks to the move and issues with my computer/printer), but one of these days I'm gonna get back on track with making cards and plan to whip up something fun out of this boring index card.

Did you hear Negro Leagues stats count as major league stats now? I love Satchel Paige and Buck O'Neil, and have deep respect for other big names like Josh Gibson and Cool Papa Bell, but my knowledge of that part of baseball pretty much falls off a cliff after that. But yeah, I'm all for righting wrongs and removing racism. It'll be interesting to see how the statistical history of the game shakes out with all this.

That's all I've got for today. Have a great weekend.

Monday, December 14, 2020


It's been a while since I've secured a new 2004 Retired refractor. Whenever it happens, I slam my hand down on a nearby red button that sounds an alarm ringing throughout my block and I yell "WE GOT ONE!!" at the top of my lungs, as my wife and dog excitedly dash into the room and we jump up and down for an ecstatic moment before falling into a joyous dogpile. Or at least that's what happens in my mind. In reality I just click a couple buttons quickly with a furrowed brow and then raise a satisfied smile once the transaction is confirmed.

Back in May, I got lucky with a double dose thanks to Hammer and the Duke.. but all was quiet on the western front since then. I consider this my #1 collecting goal and these rare occasions that I get closer to completing the '04 refractor set are probably the biggest kick I get from the hobby.

Dave Parker here takes me into the home stretch, bringing my countdown into single digits. Just 9 more of these beauties left to track down. Plus Cobra is a guy I like/collect, so that makes it an even better pickup for me. Put him in the hall, I say!

Thanks for reading.

Friday, December 11, 2020


Yep, I'm following up a Jose Canseco post with a Mark McGwire post. I kinda collect the Bash Bros, but honestly it's mostly thanks to them appearing on The Simpsons: Jose in the classic "Homer at the Bat" softball ringer episode, and Mark showing up near the end of a later episode socking dingers and hiding sensitive documents under his hat.

I recently decided to get around to finally adding a McGwire auto to my collection, and here it is.

Looks pretty good! I probably should have taken it out of the penny sleeve before taking the photo, but with my luck, I would have instantly dropped it on the floor and done some bashing of my own to a corner. Taking it out of the top-loader was risky enough!

I had some patience waiting till a good one popped up that I'd be happy with. Definitely wanted it to feature an on-card signature. While I wouldn't have necessarily been against a bulked-up Cardinals era photo, I think I prefer him in an A's uniform. Pretty sure this is the first Diamond Icons card in my collection.. just another high-end Topps product line that means nothing to me, but whatever. It'll do fine. Not my first choice at a McGwire auto, but still very respectable.

And longtime readers know I'm crazy for cards numbered 12/25.. so if I'm gonna pony up for an auto of a guy whose cards aren't cheap, might as well try for a Christmas Card even if that means I might pay a little more than one with a higher print-run.

Bonus holiday unsubstantiated fact: Mark stole just twelve bases over the span of his 16-year career. The consensus is that he could have stolen many more, but he held back because he wanted his final total to stand at 12 to pair with his jersey number of 25. Yep, that's right, it was all in the name of representing 12/25! Now that's some serious commitment to yuletide cheer! Happy Holidays, Mr. McGwire!

Have a great weekend, everybody! Stay safe and careful.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Vagabond Binder: Jose Canseco

My Vagabond Binder is a project I've slowly been building featuring players who bounced around a lot during their careers. A player is "inducted" when I fill a page featuring 9 different cards from 9 different teams. Following Rickey Henderson and Benito Santiago, here's the third completed page so far: Jose Canseco.

If you look at his stats, Canseco only played for 7 MLB teams. But thanks to a pair of zero-year cards, I was able to fill 9 slots. Let's take a closer look at these cards and trace his journey.

Jose is one of those guys that baseball fans love to hate and hate to love, though these days it seems even Canseco supercollectors have given up trying to defend him. But he's a legend in the hobby thanks to being among the most exciting players in the game during the cardboard boom of the late 80s and early 90s. His "40/40" season was a big deal in 1988, and he followed that up the next year by leading Oakland to a championship. No special significance for this '92 Upper Deck subset card, I just happened to have a duplicate of it, so it got the call to the binder to represent his glory days on the A's.

August 31, 1992: The Bash Brothers era officially came to a close when Jose was traded by Oakland to the Texas Rangers for Jeff Russell, Ruben Sierra, Bobby Witt and cash. His stint in Arlington quickly took the shine off his budding legacy thanks to bouncing a home run off his head in the outfield and getting injured while pitching mop-up.

The Rangers traded Jose to the Red Sox for Otis Nixon and Luis Ortiz before the '95 season. While his two years in Boston aren't all that well remembered today, it was arguably his most productive bang-for-your-buck stop, with both his .298 batting average and 141 OPS+ being the best marks he put up for any org during his career.

I figured I'd show the backs of this pair, too.. giving you a chance to see Jose taking a couple big cuts, with a quote from fellow slugger and former teammate Reggie Jackson.

Canseco reunited with Oakland for 1997 (not pictured since I've already got an A's card of him in the mix) before signing as a free agent with Toronto for a season. His 46 taters with the Blue Jays in '98 would stand as his career high.

The turn of the millennium saw Jose playing close to home with Tampa Bay. 1999 was his final trip to the All-Star game. Man, those old chrome Gold Label cards sure look great.. not like the crappy foilboard reboot Topps recycles every year these days.

After the Devil Rays put Jose on waivers in August of 2000, the Yankees took a chance on him and he finished out the year in the Bronx. He went to spring training with the Angels in '01, but they cut him loose before the season started. 

Instead, Canseco began 2001 suiting up with the independent Newark Bears for a couple months. After showing he could still play, the White Sox purchased his contract and he'd go on to hit the last few of his 462 career home runs while with Chicago.

The Expos had him in camp prior to the 2002 season, but he didn't make the squad. The White Sox gave him another shot on a minor league deal, but ended up releasing him after batting .172 in AAA. In the ensuing years, he'd play for several more independent clubs, sometimes with sincerity, sometimes as a gimmick to bring in fans. Then there was a tell-all book, and a wrestling thing, I think, and reality show appearances, a firearms mishap, and unhinged social media rantings. You didn't hear it from me, but there are rumors that he even used steroids during his career. But yeah, he sure could punish the ball in his prime!

So there you go.. 9 cards for 9 teams for Jose Canseco.

Next up for the Vagabond Binder will likely be a journeyman pitcher.. top candidates being Goose or Hoyt, if I can swing it without pilfering from the respective PCs too hard.
Thanks for reading.