Saturday, August 29, 2020

cards from WES

World Education Services (WES) is a nonprofit organization that provides credential evaluations for international students and immigrants planning to study or work in the U.S. and Canada.

But on the cardsphere, Wes is a nonprofit trader who provides incredible envelopes and packages for trading card collectors attempting to grow their collections.

Wes recently sought my help on a custom card project, and shipped me a nice Priority mailer of cards to say thanks.

Normally I'd save the best for last, but come on, having this lovely young lady in the preview photo for this post in blogrolls will be good for a few extra clicks, right? lol. I have a li'l Liv Morgan PC because I think she's pretty. Wes surprised me with a new "best card" for the PC with this beautiful 2017 auto.

And low numbered too!

A few more women on cardboard. Very nice!

There were plenty of men on cardboard, too. Some parallels and manurelics of guys I collect.

More top stars of today.

Hall of Famers. These are all serial-numbered besides the Lorde card.

Hey, how's about this? Some more numbered cards and an autographed '80 Topps Mad Hungarian. Neat!

Major League materials embedded as far as the eye can see!

Hell, I could've/should've done a whole separate post just on the incredible basketball cards in the package. The Dirk rookie in the middle was technically from a separate PWE, but I'm lumping them together. Awesome!

Winding down here with some odds and ends. Star Wars representing with an auto and an art card #'d 19/99.

The football guy Kendall Hunter saw some action with the 49ers but battled injury issues. It's a welcomed new addition to my collection of Christmas Cards.

And then a couple weird history relic cards. Ha, sure! One's got a couple pieces of old newspaper and a Susan B. Anthony stamp. Ooh, a 1/1! The other one says it has an actual relic from Barack Obama. I guess it's part of a letter he sent out or something? I was a little confused by these in the package at first, but I guess my wantlist does say I'm interested in out-of-the-ordinary relics, so give Wes props for diving deep into my ol' list o' wants.

And I was confused by the football cards at first too, but then I was like, oh yeah, black gold! Wes took note that I generally dig black cards with gold foil and hooked me up with these. Thick n' sharp!

And a sweet looking black gold auto plus a numbered Fridge to wrap things up.

Big thanks, Wes! Great bunch of cards.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Return of the Black Refractor

Did you hear there's going to be a separate "Topps Chrome Black" product coming out this year? I'm generally a fan of black refractors, so I took a curious look..

2020 Topps Chrome Black is due out Oct 7.. pre-selling at $350 for a hobby box of just 4 cards (1 auto, 1 refractor parallel, and 2 base cards).

That's gonna be a hard pass from me.

So when it comes to black Chrome cards, I'll stay in the past.. 2004, to be specific. 2004 Topps Retired refractor autos are my main focus, but that's spilled over to the similar looking 2004 Topps Chrome black refractors. I'm crazy enough to be building the entire parallel set. And I've got a notable milestone to trumpet about today: I've just passed the halfway point!

Here are the latest additions that took me over the hump.

I was happy to land the Griffey for just under the price of a blaster. (Seems to be a 3-figure card if graded.. and not even necessarily graded 10.) Nice action shot of Junior robbing a home run from some poor schmuck.

And a sorta similar photo of fellow HOFer Craig Biggio.

As a Padres fan, I especially dig this Trevor Hoffman.

Adrian Beltre is another solid name to check off my wantlist.

A card so nice I bought it twice! Yeah, I got it for a few bucks on eBay.. then discovered it cheaper on Sportlots and decided to grab that one too.. So now I've got a dupe for the Beltre PC.

And some other Sportlots pickups. I just love the look of these cards! Highlights here include fellow Xmas Eve baby Kevin Millwood and 4-time All-Star Troy Glaus.

I've got a few more either on the way or sitting in my COMC inventory, but as far as what's in-hand, here's where I'm at:

50.92% complete
239 cards left to go

Feel free to take a look at my 2004 Chrome black wantlist and let me know if you've got any I need available for trade.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Pull-Tab Awareness Week 2020 Has Been Cancelled

Sorry guys, but in yet another blow due to the pandemic, Pull-Tab Awareness Week 2020 has been cancelled. There's just too much going on in 2020 as it is. I don't know if America could process the magnitude of a Pull-Tab Awareness Week with everything else that's already going on. But feel free to revisit Blue tape and pull tab awareness week 2019. Hopefully we'll be back in full force next year.

In other news, my buddy who moved up from San Diego to Portland recently is doing great up here. He works in construction, a bustling field in Oregon, and has already been all over the state on jobs. It's been long hours, but I suppose if you're recently separated, working a lot is good to keep you occupied, not to mention making that $$.

Anyway, he's coming over this afternoon to hang out. My wife and I just got a Nintendo Switch, so we'll play some video games and maybe watch a movie. I plan to give him this Tatis to try luring him into card collecting again. We collected when we were kids, and I think he still has a handful of cards but isn't really an active collector. But hey, our team the Padres are on a winning streak and Tatis might be the hottest name in the game at the moment, so perhaps the stars are aligned for my pal to re-enter the hobby with a little nudge. I've got several copies of this 2017 Bowman, so I don't mind letting one go as a gift to an old friend.

Speaking of cards featuring a five-tool player motoring on the basepaths, here's another card to show off. It's yet another of those 2019 Topps Transcendent VIP Party "Through The Years" Mike Trout cards. I already have a 1990 Record Breaker and a 2011 pseudo rookie variation, but wanted one more to get to the magic number of 3. I've always liked the 1982 Topps In Action design (use it often for card gifs I make) and so this was a good option to throw a bid on.

As with the rest of these, they did a nice job recreating the back design, but then phoned it in when it came to the text. But yeah, a sweet addition to the Trout PC.

Thanks for stopping by and remember to use blue tape and make pull tabs!

Friday, August 21, 2020

Progress with Kellogg's + starting yet another vintage setbuild

Three quick trades to show off today.

Fuji is a friendly guy and he doesn't like using the word "trade" very often.. He just sometimes sends out cards and/or gets cards sent to him. I was on the receiving end of some of his Kellogg's dupes that he found from my wantlists. Much appreciated, Fuji! Highlights here include Rollie and Munson.

-   -   -  --o

Geez, all these Kellogg's are making me hungry for Frosted Flakes. lol

Reader John Patrick got in touch about some available Kellogg's cards he had, and I was able to round up some 1980 Topps needs of his to achieve a deal. Lots of big names here, and in nice uncracked condition for the most part. I'm just 4 cards away from the '80K set now, with only Nolan, Yaz, Garvey, and Jack Clark standing in the way of my first completed Kellogg's set.

Thanks, John!

-   -  -  - --o

Next is a second trade with reader Michael Y. following up our initial swap back in June. He sent me a solid selection of upgrades and needs for various old sets I'm working on (I absentmindedly put them away before taking photos, sorry.) But the real gem of the package was a starter lot of 1959 Topps. It's a set that's long been in the back of my mind as a set I'd like to probably build someday, but was waiting till I finished off some of the other many sets I'm currently working on, or at least stumble into a starter lot to help get me off the ground.

And here we go! I think '59s look best with a bunch of them together, which is why I plan to build this set in a binder (I'm typically a box guy).

The biggest name in the lot is Hall of Fame hurler Robin Roberts, with both a base card plus a subset pairing with Billy Pierce.

This lot from Michael more or less doubles the amount of 1959 Topps cards I have, so I figure it's finally time to put together a spreadsheet, thereby officially kicking off the setbuild:

1959 Topps Needs <--- Link

Here's where I'm starting at:

10.49% complete
512 cards left to go

Woo! I was hoping I would be in double-digits complete for this first weigh-in. Just made it at 10½% of the way to the finish line.

This is going to be a low-priority, back-burning setbuild which I won't be finishing any time soon, if ever, but at least I've got my needs up now. I pride myself on having a huge wantlist, after all. Perhaps someday once I finish the likes of '57, '64, '70, and '72, I'll then focus more on '59. I have none of the big cards.. not even a Mantle I can loan out from the PC like I do with my other vintage sets. I plan to give myself a break by not going after any of the variations.. just 1 of each card number will do. If I end up with any variations, I plan to stash them at the end of the binder.

So yeah, if you happen to have any '59s available, I'd love to try working out a trade.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Shane Spencer PC

2020 Topps Archives is out today (the regular "set" product, not the "Signature Series" buyback autograph product[s]).

The Fan Favorite autographs are good for an occasionally lesser-celebrated player who doesn't have many/any pack-certified autographs on the market. A few years ago I got really excited when Bip Roberts was included and I rainbowed that card pretty hard.

I scanned the checklist for 2020 Archives today and found another name that rung a bell in my collection: Shane Spencer. The only player with a World Series ring who went to my high school. Surprisingly, he has no prior certified auto cards on the market other than the dumb cut-signature type.

(not mine; pic from ebay)
So I may end up trying to rainbow this card. Other than Yankees collectors who focus on the turn-of-the-millenium dynasty, I doubt there are a whole lot of folks out there as excited about Shane's inclusion as I am. So hopefully this project doesn't get too expensive.

I originally did a post on my Shane Spencer PC back in 2015, but I've added several cards to it over the past 5+ years, so I figured an update wouldn't hurt. This next part of the post is from when I did my Guys From Granite countdown of players who went to my high school.

This next guy was actually born in Key West, FL and seems to have lived in Florida during his playing days, but he found himself on the opposite end of the country in sunny East County San Diego when he was a teen. He was drafted out of high school in the 28th round, and after leaving Granite Hills, went on play on the biggest stage in baseball and become the first and so far only GHHS Eagle to ever be part of a team that won the World Series.
Shane Spencer put together a decent 7-year major league career as a "4th outfielder" type of player. His best year was his first in the league, 1998. Despite only playing in 27 regular-season games, he was a powerful secret weapon for the Yankees down the stretch, putting up an incredible slash line of .373/.411/.910 with 10 home runs, endearing himself to the Bronx faithful and earning the nickname Shane Spencer, the Home Run Dispenser. He was especially on fire in September, dispensing 3 grand slams in 42 plate appearances. He kept it going in the ALDS, hitting 2 key home runs for New York. In the World Series against San Diego, he played in 1 game, getting a hit in 3 at-bats as the Yankees swept the Padres.
He stuck around New York as a part-time player for a few more years, though he couldn't replicate that rookie magic, averaging .263 over his 5 years in pinstripes, picking up a couple more rings along the way. Toward the end of his career, he played a few games with the Indians, Rangers, and Mets, ending his MLB career after the 2004 season. After a couple years in Japan with the Hanshin Tigers (coincidentally the same team fellow Granite Hills alum Mike Reinbach played for in the late 70s), he hung up his cleats after 2006 and these days he's coaching in the minors.
In summation, the '98 baseball season may have ended in heartbreak for me (being a Padres fan), but in a silver lining, at least Granite Hills had a presence on a World Series Champion. So that's something for me and other Eagles to be proud of. You done good, Shane! Though I missed going to school with him by a couple years, it's cool that someone from my high school won the World Series, even if it was sadly at the expense of our hometown Padres.

Here's what I got of his cards.

Minor league cards.

Rookies. (including a signed one with a COA behind it)

Later Yankees cards.


Rangers and Mets to close out his playing days.

Minor league coaching.

Finally, a couple neat items including a locker nameplate and one of those dumb cut-signatures I was talking about. Glad that I'll be able to add some better autographed cards to the PC soon.

There are still plenty of Shane Spencer cards out there I need, so give me a shout if you have any and want to trade. Thanks!

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Buck O'Neil PC

I saw Twitter's been celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Negro Leagues today. #NegroLeagues100

Figured I'd get on board in my own small way by showing off my Buck O'Neil PC. Any baseball fan who's watched Ken Burns' Baseball no doubt holds Buck close to their heart. One of my all-time favorite guys to collect, though sadly not a ton of cardboard out there for him. But I've dug up a decent little collection, heavy on autographs.

2004 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites - Autographs #FFA-BON Buck O'Neil
This might be my favorite. The colorized photo looks great on the 1962 Topps design. I still need the unsigned base version, but love this certified autograph.

2001 Fleer Tradition - Stitches in Time Autographs #NNO Buck O'Neil
This is my most-recent pickup of his. Pretty cool.

1999 Sports Illustrated Greats of the Game - Autographs #NNO Buck O'Neil
I believe this one-- featuring a photo from his time on the Cubs coaching staff, not to mention the infectious smile he was known for-- was his first certified auto card on the market.

2001 Fleer Greats of the Game represented here by both plain and signed variety. I mistakenly thought the signed one was the certified autograph when I bought it on eBay years back, but the logo at the bottom should have tipped me off that this is simply a base card that had been signed at some point after coming out of the pack. Oh well, still cool. Someday I'd like to track down the packed-out autograph version.

Picked up this signed index card earlier in the year with the intention of making it into a custom card one of these days. Another project on my long to-do list.

The card from the 1994 Ted Williams set is probably his most plentiful card out there. That's a fun set.

The Swell card is a custom I made last year that I'm really happy with.

And that's gonna do it! As far as I'm concerned, Buck O'Neil is unquestionably a Hall of Famer for his contributions to the game both on and off the field, regardless what a certain museum in Cooperstown may lead you to believe. If you have any Buck O'Neil cards not pictured here available for trade, I'd love to work out a deal.
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Joining the Elite

I never lucked into pulling an Elite from a pack though I ripped a lot of early 90s Donruss back in the day. But I recently turned to eBay to rectify that.

Fred McGriff won me over during his brief time in San Diego and I've been a big fan ever since. Not a big enough name to break the bank, so he was an easy choice to target. Looks great.

I ended up complementing the Crime Dog pick-up with HOFer Robbie Alomar. He went to Toronto in the blockbuster deal that sent McGriff to the Padres, as you probably already know. I like the look of this one a lot, too. Shipping cost was more than the winning bid.

They don't bother numbering cards out of this many any more, but back in the go-go baseball card days of the time, they were tough pulls out of the millions of base cards that got cranked out.

A nice pairing together. These were from 1993 Donruss. I'd love to expand my collection into snagging an Elite or two from 1991 and 1992 sometime.

Tried capturing a little "refraction action" to give a feel of the card in-hand, dancing in the light. It was kind of a big deal as one of the first "shiny cards" on the market. There might plenty of dazzling parallels out there these days, but still hard to beat a classic insert like this.

Monday, August 10, 2020

2021 Topps redux

For some reason Topps thinks it's a good idea to unveil their upcoming flagship design in early August. But any hype it generates is gone by the time the thing actually comes out the following year.

Their prototype for 2021 was met with mixed reviews. Some like it, others don't. (I don't. Too busy and feels like Bowman.)

There's a blog bat-around for us creative-type bloggers to make an improved version without straying too far from the original spirit of the design, and I went ahead and gave it a shot.

Yeah, I just kept it simple, stupid. Sure, it looks like it's from 1994, but I don't care.. I like it better than this...

Ugh! Why all the razor blades and jagged edges? And this card has apparently been run over by a truck at some point! I get that the past few months on Earth have been rough, but why must our baseball cards reflect that pain??

The "70" logo just makes me think of Bowman inserts and buybacks from 2017 that used a very similar logo. And that tiny name is going to be a real pain in the ass to read when you're busting a box after the sun's gone down.

Here's my horizontal mock-up. I figure a team logo can go on the cards without a RC logo. (see old-school Rated Rookies that were either/or.. Looks better than cluttering the card with too many logos) Had to shrink the name down a bit because Tatis has a long one, but it's still way more readable than the real thing.

How about seeing how these look as Chrome refractors?.........

Oh man, I'd probably have to pre-order me up a hobby box of this!.. if only it were real.

Thanks for coming to my ted talk.

3 Trades

Time for another quick trade roundup.

This first one is from reader Jack S. He got in touch saying he was narrowing down his collection and had some cards he thought I could use. He didn't even really need anything in return-- always a sweet deal if you can get it!-- though I did get him to pass along a wantlist and was able to dig up a few cards for him, at least.

Kicking off with some vintage. Love getting Kellogg's in the mail! The Tony Oliva is a nice one from the first year of the cereal set, and the Ruth is my first from the '72 All-Time Greats subset. The '74 Topps Traded cards are nice upgrades for my setbuild.

Big lot of PC guys. Good stuff.

A pair of oversized cards of guys I collect.

I was a little confused by these cards at first, as I don't collect presidents. But then I remembered these guys are all mentioned in "We Didn't Start The Fire" (yet another project of mine), so yeah, might be able to use them!

A few Padres prospects and other modern dudes. I dig those Clear Vision acetate cards.

And a few solid basketball cards rounding out the package.

Thanks, Jack! Much appreciated.

-   -  - ---o

Here's a PWE from a guy on Twitter named Roy, answering my call to send me vintage needs in exchange for a Joan Jett custom pair. I needed the Fergie for my '74 setbuild, and it'll make a fine placeholder but I'll definitely hope to upgrade eventually. Didn't need the Jack Clark. A couple notable rookies from '88 Fleer fill out the envelope. Thanks, Roy. Enjoy the Jetts.

-   -  - ---o

Jay from Card Hemorrhage shot a few cards over my way recently too.

A dab of vintage here with a '79 upgrade plus a needed '74 League Leader featuring a double dose of HOF hurlers, along with a bunch of PC additions. Can't recall seeing that goofy Canseco w/ shovel card before.

And a nice grouping of big names from the past. Good stuff here, highlighted by Yount with his cycle (his 2nd such appearance in this post!), a shiny Schoendienst, and the "Nolan Knows Bo" card I was just toying with a while ago.

Thanks, Jay! I'll round up a return for you very soon.

That's it for now (also got some more great cards from Wes, but there are a bunch, so that'll be a separate post). Thanks for stopping by.