Friday, June 24, 2022

Refractor Friday #2: 2005 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites gold Mike Norris

It seems 2005 is the year that someone at Topps presented Michael Eisner with a memo saying "More parallels = more money?" which he signed off on and the hobby has been swimming in parallels ever since. Sure, parallels had been around for years before that here and there, but seem 2005 is when they said "screw it" and made sure every new product had a full slate of "parallels for the sake of parallels" to chase.

In one such new parallel introduced that year, All-Time Fan Favorites added gold refractors numbered /25. My recent love affair with ATFF refractors caused me to check out some and I ended up pulling the trigger on this example. All the gold goes nicely with the A's colors, and in addition to liking the look of the front, the back numbering sealed the deal...

Christmas Card! By the way, today is my half-birthday. Yep, we're halfway to Christmas already.

I gotta admit I don't know much about Mike Norris. He had that 22-win season in 1980 (AL Cy runner-up), though other than that his career doesn't seem too notable. Well, I'm intrigued by the 1990 comeback. That's not a case of Fan Favorites leaving off stats from another team-- Norris spent his entire MLB career with Oakland. Looks like he had been knocked out of the game due to injuries and drug issues in the mid 80s. Cool that he was able to successfully make his way back to the Bigs and contribute to a club that went on to win the pennant. Wikipedia notes he's the only pitcher to get a win for Oakland in three different decades.

Here's another shot of the front blaring beautifully in the sun.

Thanks for joining me for another round of refraction appreciation!

Bonus PWE contest thing time... 

Nobody guessed last week's winning number. [sad trombone] We were looking for 128. I thought with the hints provided, cardboard detectives would have narrowed it down to about 30-something possible correct answers, and ~30 entrants seemed about the expected turnout for a contest. But you know, I didn't really pimp the contest at all, instead keeping it low-key, and there weren't a whole lot of entrants-- which is fine, but I'll have to adjust. So now..

I'm hoping to get a pair of winners this week to help make up for last week. Those 2 green prizm cards are both /35. So if you want to win 4 cards from the prize pool, just pick a number between 1-35 in the comments below. There are 2 possible winning numbers, and heck between you and me, I'll even tell ya they're both even. Only your first guess counts (sorry guys, no "oops, I meant...") and anonymous guesses need your city included in the comment to authenticate.

Thanks, good luck, and have a great weekend!

Friday, June 17, 2022

Refractor Friday #1: 2004 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites Andre Dawson

Happy Refractor Friday.. here we go!

2004 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites #29 Andre Dawson refractor parallel.

Here's another view of it. It's a nice looking card. 

I really like refractors like these, as with Heritage, where they've got the "vintage" paper feel to the backs (that is, matte instead of glossy). Perhaps anachronistic, to drop a big word, but I like it paired with a refractor front.

A minor pet peeve with Topps All-Time Fan Favorites is how on the back they ignore other teams the guy played with, like how this card doesn't include Dawson's stats with the Cubs and later stops of his career. Just seems like they're trying too hard to be team-centric, such as how that blurb really didn't need "as an Expo" tacked on the end.

But yeah, I've been smitten with ATFF refractors lately, keeping an eye out for low-priced examples, and this Andre is one such score. Funny how even though I don't chase current cards, I always seem to find new old cards to get excited about collecting. (If you have any ATFF refractors available, I'd love a shot at working out a trade.)

Pretty sure Topps has used this same photo on several Andre Dawson cards over the years, and if I had more time I might try digging around to find some more examples. But hey, the goal is to keep these Refractor Fridays posts quick and easy, so I'll simply reiterate that it's a nice card and call it good.

Thanks for admiring that neat refractor with me. I was originally gonna call these posts something like "Refraction Appreciation Society" posts or something like that, but Refractor Friday does the job at half the price.

By the way, have you checked out the new Prize Pool yet? Probably nothing that'll blow you away, but a decent selection of various cards available for lucky winners to choose from. 

This Bobby Jenks Bowman X-fractor leads off the first "page" of refractors available in the pool. 
Let's take a look at the back-- oh no!

Looks like some bad hombre passed out drinking a 40, rudely obscuring the back of card.

There are 172 of this particular Bobby Jenks parallel in existence. Which serial number in the print run do you think this one is? First correct answer in the comments below wins their pick of any 4 cards from the prize pool mailed PWE to the US-based address of their choice. Anonymous comments need to include your city to be eligible-- for example, "My guess is 1, signed Dave in Flagstaff"-- to discourage any funny business. But yeah, just pick a number between 1 and 172. I could EVEN give you another hint to make it easier, but is that even necessary? wink wink, lol. Then check back next week to see if you won and we'll play a new round of guess-the-number.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Nine Years

The company I work for recently got a new CEO. I had only recently started when the prior CEO took over, so it's weird to think I'm entering my 3rd leadership era at the company. I'm also now the longest-tenured member of my manager's team, which is crazy because feels like I was the "new guy" just a little while ago.

As my blog hits 9 years running, it's a similar feeling of looking up and realizing I've been around for a few big changes on the cardblogging scene.. though for the most part, I'm still just doing my thing in the corner, weathering some ups and downs, keepin' on keepin' on the best I can.

But yeah, glad I've been able to reach 9 years as an active blogger. Let's hope I make it another 365 days and hit a full decade on the cardsphere. That'd be cool.

"Yeah, yeah, what about a contest?"

This post here isn't a contest, but I'm happy to announce that we'll be celebrating all summer with a string of little contest/giveaways, aided by a revamped Prize Pool open for business and restocked with potentially interesting cards available to be claimed by lucky winners.

Doubling as an effort to up my frequency of posts during these often overwhelming times for me, I'm starting a weekly series of posts called Refractor Fridays. It'll be a simple post each Friday where I show off a cool refractor and say a little something about it, easy-peasy. And then at the bottom of all (most?) of those posts will be a simple "guess the serial number" contest. The first person to correctly guess the number gets to pick 4 cards from the prize pool for a nice 4-card PWE mailed to the US-based address of their choice. If no one has won by, say, the following Thursday, that contest could end without a winner, but then that following (Refractor) Friday's post would have another contest, and they'd get progressively easier (more hints as to the winning number) to make sure we get plenty of winners, but I will not be doing "closest answer wins" because I refuse to do any math. Only your first guess counts, but again, you can probably play again the next week.

So that's the plan, and hopefully it gets a good response and we can have some fun and I can spread around some cool cards in celebration of 9 years blogging. It might not be as ambitious as recent blog anniversary blowouts by the likes of Dime Boxes or Night Owl Cards where they gave-away big stacks of cards to several lucky winners... but hey, give me credit for at least trying to send out a few free PWEs to brighten my readers' day! Haha. I'm not exactly sure how many of these I'll do, but since it's anniversary #9, I'll aim for (at least) nine weekly contests.

Check back Friday when we kick off the festivities!

p.s. Some of you may want to comment well-wishes on this post-- Thanks in advance for any kind words! I'm very appreciative of you readers, especially the ones who comment sometimes. I know I'm not great about replying to comments, but they sure are appreciated and I wouldn't have stuck with this blog so long without this great community of fine folks who've come and gone over the years. The hobby can get gross and bad sometimes, but stick to the blogs and it's really not too hard to keep having fun. At least that's been my experience!

p.p.s. Oh, here's a question that you might also be kind enough to answer in the comments. If you've taken a look at the current prize pool, please let me know if you have any constructive feedback. Does the variety look ok? What type of cards would you like to see more options of? If you check out the current options and think to yourself "nothing for me here", perhaps give me an idea of the type of realistic PWE-caliber cards I could try to add to the pool to interest you.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Catching up with the Classics: 1989 Pink/Blue

My previous post took a look at a Classic set from 1990, and now I'm going back another year, opening a box from 1989.

Comes in a full board game style box. I scored a good deal on this at just $19.99 shipped. Poor seller went with UPS and probably lost money on shipping, but I won't feel too bad for him because the schmuck also used new USPS Priority Mail padded envelopes to cut up for packing material, which I'm pretty sure constitutes a federal crime. But it arrived safe, so that's good. It was still sealed, though I removed the wrap before snapping the above photo.

Despite their "junky" reputation, I don't think I've already got any of these cards, so there should be plenty of keepers for my collection. Classic releases can be confusing, what with various "travel editions" and whatnot, but as for 1989, it's one 200-card set spread over 3 products. Looking it up now, COMC and Sportlots got it wrong (calling everything "travel edition"), but TCDB has it figured out:

Cards 1-100 were part of the Board Game, cards 101-150 were part of the Travel Game I, and cards 151-200 were part of the Travel Game II.

The 3 chunks of the checklist share a similar design but with different colors...
1-100 "flagship" (pink/blue)
101-150 "update 1" (orange/purple)
151-200 "update 2" (grey/purple)

Opening it up, here's what you get. This board doesn't look as nice as the Classic board from 1991 that I turned into a wall display, but I might end up doing something creative with this one, too. (Nothing in mind yet.)

If you feel like skimming through the rules, here ya go:

As the little note in the spine indicates, the real star of the show here are the baseball cards, wrapped in two packs of 50 cards each.

Cover boys look good this time, without noticeable wear to complain about.

A few random highlights.
Bo has effectively called dibs on that stretch-tastic Luis Salazar. Plenty of other commons up for trade, too, so let me know if you wanna swing a swap for any needs of yours.
Something seems off with that Ron Gant photo/uniform, yeah?

No Griffey within these 100 cards, but a couple HOF rookies in Biggio and Big Unit. (I think the only card from 1989 Classic I already had is the Junior rookie from the orange/purple update portion of the set, scored long ago in a childhood trade. One of these days I should do a post with the few "good Griffeys" that were a crown jewel of my collection back in the early 90s.)

The backs seem to have been inspired by the perennial Donruss backs of the era, but notably with a section for trivia questions. No cartoon on the back, but to provide you a laugh, Classic pulled a funny joke implying that kids would get that card's featured player to sign his name in a little box at the bottom of the card back. Heck, I'll bet it's even actually happened once or twice over the years!

No but seriously, I bet it'd be fun to play a round of the game with a friendly group of likeminded baseball nerds. Find out who really knows their baseball history. Questions regarding all-time/single-season records may be outdated for the most part, but I suppose folks could simply add the phrase "As of 1989" as needed if you'd actually try to play the game today.

Oh, and I love the 1988 stat line for Pete Rose, who took his final MLB hacks on August 17, 1986, and was not long for the dugout by this time.

Alright, that's about all I've got to say about this Classic set, and not sure if I'll be "catching up" with any more after this, but maybe someday. As far as older Classic baseball card sets, the original board game from 1987 (dark green borders) sells for around $100+ these days thanks in part to a cool Bo Jackson card featuring a bat-barrel pose whilst dressed up in his Auburn football duds. Then there was a yellow "travel" update that year, including a Barry Bonds rookie and "outlaw" cards such as the Andre Dawson getting plunked and Joe Niekro getting busted for doctoring the ball. Classic put out more cards in 1988: a couple "travel edition" updates to the main 1987 board game, utilizing that same design, but changing the border color to blue for one update set and red for the other. That explains why the box at the top of the post refers to itself as "New Second Edition".. it's the 5th release of Classic baseball cards, but just the 2nd release of the full-sized game. Then there's 1990 and 1991 that I've already blogged about. By the 90s, Classic (Classic/Best) was getting more into draft picks and minor league cards that didn't bother asking questions on the back, but they still also released versions of the baseball trivia game in '92 and '93.

Sometimes I randomly throw a cute Ruby pic on the end of my posts, and this is another such time.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Catching up with the Classics: 1990 Yellow

Buying current card product to open isn't really my thing anymore but I occasionally get a ripping fix elsewhere. For example back in January 2021 I opened a 1991 Classic box. I recently went back to that well and found a couple more inexpensive Classic offerings that were still sealed. Let's work backwards and hit the one I scored from 1990.

1991 Fleer might be the best known too-much-yellow baseball card set from the junk wax era, but 1990 Classic beat them to the punch. The side dashes also predate 1991 Donruss, though I suppose both owe something to 1988 Fleer. I didn't take any pictures of the non-card stuff in this game box, but yeah, you get two sealed stacks of cards.

Residing on the top of a stack, Junior unfortunately had his upper left corner ravaged, and judging by the photo, he's not happy about it. That's another cool thing about Classic.. they'd occasionally use a semi "controversial" image that the major card manufactures at the time might shy away from. (Andre Dawson getting plunked comes to mind.) But yeah, other than that one dinged corner, the cards were all as mint as expected.

Some more highlights. I really like how Cobra's bat is synced up with the design's dashes. The teenager with Nolan on the "Texas Heat" card is his son, Reid. The Rangers actually did eventually draft him in 1994, fulfilling the prophecy of this card to some degree. He had a solid pro debut, putting up a 2.90 ERA in 83.2 low-A innings that year, but struggled the following season and soon became an executive who's worked with the Rangers and Astros.

Doing some research to wrap my head around the wild west overproduction era.. It gets a little confusing with all the sets that Classic put out around this time, but as far as using this general '90 design, here's what's out there:

1990 Classic Blue (Total Cards: 150) - Being the largest, I suppose the blue one is their "flagship" set?
1990 Classic Yellow (Total Cards: 100) - like their "Series 2"? Released later in the year.
1990 Classic Update [hot pink] (Total Cards: 50) - The year's "Travel Edition", I believe.
1990 Classic Draft Picks [grey marble] (Total Cards: 25) - I bought this little clamshell-cased set as a kid (via mail order?) and think I might still have it somewhere.

I guess maybe someday I'd like to pick up the blue and hot pink versions to round things out for me, but then again, I'm not in it for the complete sets; I'm cherry-picking out PC guys I need and the rest of the cards are up for trade. (Anybody need any yellow '90 Classic commons?)

No doubt these are the "big money" cards in the set.. the ones that you probably wouldn't feel right leaving behind in a dimebox. Frank Thomas already had his draft pick cards cluttering Beckett's Hot List at the time, but Chipper Jones didn't get mainstream cards till 1991, so Classic really got the scoop here, featuring the future HOFer on a couple cards in both this yellow set and the 25-card draft pick set they put out.

I've also got a box of 1989 Classic to bust n' blog 'bout.. but now I think we'll save that one for another post. Next time I'll also show some of the game stuff for those interested. See ya then.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Cards from the Cardsphere

Looks like the blog has been slipping away from me again. I'll try to play catch-up with some incoming cards of the non-purchased variety.

I got zapped for the first time in a while. I had owed Zippy Zappy a return since back before I moved well over a year ago, I'm embarrassed to say, and once I finally sent him something to help balance the scales, he promptly sent me back another great package. Zippy has been trying to lighten his collection for a while, focusing in on his Luis Torrens supercollection and the like, so sometimes I'm the lucky recipient of impressive Yankees cards from him such as a Jeter /199 gold parallel from 2014 Archives and a Posada X-fractor.

Happy to see some early Manny Machado cards in there, including a flagship RC. He's been earning his big paycheck this year, helping keep the Padres in contention.

And some other highlights from the package. Pretty sure that's my first Gavin Sheets RC; I've been collecting him since 2017 when he started getting draft pick cards, so that's nice to see.

Thank you for the great cards, Zippy!


This next package was a crazy one. I had a moment before dinner opening mail, and I cut open this bubble mailer and out falls a stack of loose cards and a green rock. WTF? I thought it might be some sort of mob threat or something nefarious like that, but it was time to eat so I didn't get to look too closely and was just confused for a while.

But turns out it was only a friendly mailing from Bob at Best Bubble. He included several cards, mostly illustrated, for my Women on Cardboard minicollection, plus an unfamiliar Gavin I was glad to see in the stack.

The ladies were nice and all, but it was seeing all the vintage needs that really got me excited (non-sexually, obvs!)

And that green rock turned out to be a terrific addition to my "glow-in-the-dark museum" as I call it. (My basement bathroom has a bunch of glowing stuff on display.)

It glows pretty well! From the note, this was apparently marketed as Superman Kryptonite from 1980. Ostensibly just a rock with a coat of glowing paint, but must've been fun for kids to pretend it's a remnant from the planet Krypton. I did a little curious searching online and from what I can tell these rock toys first appeared in 1977. If you do a search for "Superman kryptonite rock glow" you can check out the packaging they originally came with.

Neat stuff! Thanks, Bob. I hope my return was sufficient!


Also earlier this month, Padrographs Rod stopped by to kindly hand off a bunch of cards. Included was a near-complete set of 1991 MusiCards... very helpful, as I was finishing up a 2nd master set of the stuff, and thanks to Rod I'm now also not too far from completing a 3rd. Sure, why not! I'll likely talk more about all that in a future 1991 MusiCards Blog post.

There was also a brick of country music cards and Stranger Things, but most relevant to this blog was the box of random baseball cards.

Plenty of keepers among them, with a few highlights pictured above.

Always a treat, Rod.. thanks a lot! I'll happily remain on standby for any Photoshop work you need a hand with, and am always up for any cards you're looking to thin out as you tighten up your collection.


Last batch of cards to cover today comes from Dimebox Nick, our first swap in some time. I'm working on a 3rd series of music customs for his dad, so the package was a mix of cards as "payment" from his pops, plus several cards Nick had thoughtfully set aside for me.

Great selection of Gwynns.

Rod Beck and Ken Caminiti both left us early due to substance abuse issues, but hey, still fun to collect their cards. Just gotta remember the good times and take it as a cautionary tale.

More notable Padres. Always love seeing Friar Rickey. Chris Paddack still has a lot of promise despite nagging injuries. If I didn't already own the Bip minor league card, it probably would have been the highlight of the package.. still a sweet dupe to have!

Neat PC stuff here with Hoyt and the stylish Mr. Blackwell. Love the '78 OPC.

Nick gave me what I assume must be at least close to a complete Padres team set of "2021" Topps Big League, my first in-hand look at the tardy product. Nice Trouts there, too, plus his 2022 Opening Day card to complement the flagship version I earlier received from Zippy.

Check out this cache of 2011 Topps parallels! Turns out over half of these were dupes-- including a few that Nick himself had previously sent me already, LOL-- but still brings a smile to my face to see these guys sparkling away in a group of incoming cards. Chances are I never finish this ridiculous parallel setbuild of mine, but hey, "only" 572 cards remaining and I've got the Trout.. so never say never.

Now we're getting into the cards from Nick's dad. Again, he was interested in commissioning another series of music customs from me, and these days the best way to get me to do something for you is to lend a hand with my 1972 Topps needs.

And saving the best for last...

Boom.. Awesome trio of all-time greats! This makes for a big step in my journey towards completing the beast that is 1972 Topps Baseball.

Big thanks to Nick and his pops! I'll finish up those customs and get a solid return to you soon.

A quick "state of the blog"...
Posts will likely continue to be sparse here through the summer. I've been a bit overwhelmed with other stuff and "typing about cards" often ends up getting bumped off of my schedule. Been distracted by a few DIY home improvement projects in the works, for example. But I've got plenty of blog-related ideas kicking around too, so expect me to get back into posting at a better pace again eventually.

Thanks for reading and hope you're all having a pleasant holiday weekend.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Cards! (Is a "1st Refractor" a thing?)

Here are some more cards recently added to my collection that I've been meaning to show off on the blog. 

You know how The Last Dance led to a surge in demand for Michael Jordan cards? Well, on a much smaller scale, Captain Ahab: The Story of Dave Stieb compelled me to get him better represented in my collection (I talked about this more a few posts back with his '04 Retired refractor). This is his 2003 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites Chrome Refractor. I love these things and want to snag a bunch more of my PC guys, but they're numbered out of 299, so availability and price are not always in the buyer's favor.

I also got his base card from the following year's ATFF set, filling up a Sportlots order from a couple weeks ago. And I knew I needed at least one example from his would-be swan-song short-term stop with the White Sox in '93 and thought going with O-Pee-Chee Premier was a cheeky choice.

If you haven't watched the doc yet and/or don't remember much of his career, spoiler alert: Like Jordan, Stieb returned from retirement and incredibly made it back to the top level after an extended stint away. As far as MLB pitchers, only Jim Bouton's 1978 comeback with the Braves makes for much of a comparison. Bouton dusted off his knuckleball for 5 games (all starts) after being out of the league for 7 years, while Stieb normal-pitched 19 games (3 starts) after 4 full seasons away. Sadly, doesn't look like the hobby got any cardboard documentation of his 1998 comeback besides a Syracuse Skychiefs minor league card which I was compelled to overpay for. According to TCDB, it's his last card before resurfacing with post-career cards in 2003: the aforementioned ATFF and an autograph in Topps Retired (He didn't have a base card in that first Retired set, just an auto and its refractor parallel [that I'm still on the hunt for].)

Kind of a tangent, but I predict collectors are one day going to start giving more respect to a player's "first refractor". I'm specifically talking about old-timers whose careers predated the refractor era (1993-present). Like, I could see a future where the earliest refractor card/parallel for a player is considered sort of a "1st Bowman" equivalent, or 1st Prizm card in other sports, or perhaps more like a modern "key card" complement to the player's vintage rookie card.

Or maybe not, but I don't care, I like them and plan to focus on refractors when it comes to building my "fan favorite" level PCs (HOFers are probably too expensive to worry about much.)

Anyways, Stieb's last year getting into mainstream baseball card sets as a player was 1993, and he didn't make it into Finest that year, meaning the card at the top of this post is his 1st Refractor™ (--or at least his 1st non-auto refractor; I couldn't find the release date for 2003 Topps Retired, but 2003 ATFF came out that May.)

Eric Owens is the first PC guy of mine I've singled out to try to collect all of his refractors. There's only 17, and this lot gets me to almost halfway. We've got another 1st Refractor™ here with his 1996 Finest bronze refractor parallel. (I'd like to get a dupe someday to peel off the protective film.)

Full disclosure, I'm not (yet) counting stuff like 1997 Donruss Limited "Limited Exposure" parallels as refractors even though they basically are, but not legally. Like how Panini Prizm doesn't actually have "refractors" but rather "prizms". At least for now, I'm just counting Topps/Bowman refractors. But chances are I'll eventually expand into other refractor-adjacent offerings and even colorful foil cards.

And then you've got sets like Archives Reserve and the first incarnation of Gold Label where all the base cards are actually refractors but they don't get referred to as refractors that often since that's all there is for those sets so it's redundant. But Eric Owens never appeared in either of those products, so it's moot in this instance. He does have a '97 Donruss Limited - Limited Exposure card that refracts, though.

More low-key guys I like to collect. That 1994 Finest isn't just Hendu's 1st Refractor™, it's his Only Refractor®. Seriously, do a search for "Dave Henderson refractor" and see if you can find any besides that one.

Ron Gant has a bunch of refractors out there, and I'll slowly pick up a few, like this one from 2000 Topps Chrome I got for a buck.

The Rod Beck is extra neat for me because my little hometown gets namechecked on the front. And I've now completed the rainbow of this map card-- "International parallel" as they're called:

Here's the foil (standard 1998 Bowman), plus the base parallel and refractor from Bowman Chrome. It was the last time Shooter made the Bowman checklist despite playing through 2004. That foil card is an example of why I clarified my interest in colorful foil cards, because drab, aluminum foil looking cards like this don't excite me much (nor do non-refractor Chrome cards like the middle card above, which just seem incomplete to me without a rainbow sheen to them).

Oh, speaking of refractor vs. foil. I was excited to hear Topps was bringing back their classic Black Gold design from 1993, among my all-time favorite inserts, in 2021 Topps Update. I won a couple lots on eBay, but haven't gotten around to picking up the last 10 or so I need (there are 25 total). Then I found out that they put Black Gold cards in 2021 Topps Chrome Update, too (30 total), and won one lot of those. The Chrome checklist is very similar but swaps out a couple players (and has a few added to the end), leading me to believe the Chrome cards were actually printed before the flagship Update cards based upon buzz of the players involved. Cody Bellinger is in Chrome, but his spot in the checklist goes instead to Jarred Kelenic in flagship Update (Bellinger had an awful 2021 season, so you can see why Topps would swap him out for a hot rookie). Luis Robert (who missed the entire 1st half of the 2021 season with an injury before returning with a great 2nd half) is in Chrome, but is replaced by teammate Andrew Vaughn (a rookie who made the club's opening day roster) in flagship's Update. Chrome cards take longer to make, as is my understanding, so it shouldn't be surprising that they had an earlier production deadline there, but just interesting to note. In the above pic, Chrome Update cards are on top. There are also parallels and autos, but I currently don't have the interest to pony up for them.

Neither version has the same magic for me as the originals (the non-Chrome version have a blotchy shiny layer covering the entire card for some reason; I guess they couldn't match the O.G. gold effect without resorting to shenanigans), but I like them enough to probably try to finish all 3 (base) iterations of this "1993 Black Gold" design eventually (still missing a few of the originals-- specifically Gwynn, Sandberg, Eck, and Big Mac). See also the 2019 Throwback Thursday cards using this design that aren't refractors and don't feature any foil, just straight glossy cardboard.

This post is getting a bit long, so I'll wrap up with some 2004 Topps Chrome black refractors. It's crazy, but somehow this is more or less a "front burner" setbuild for me these days (As is the case for many collectors, some sets just sit on my wantlist waiting for a heroic trader to come along and help me out, but some sets I actively search out cards for). And like with the other set I've been giving priority to lately, 1972 Topps, I recently crossed the 75% complete threshold. The biggest obstacle is looking like the Yadier Molina RC, with a PSA 8, I think it was, recently selling for about twice as much as I've ever spent on a card (and brother, I've spent a lot on a card a couple times), so looks like if I'm ever to complete this parallel set, it'll take a combination of a lot of luck and/or a severely burst hobby bubble. In the meantime, I'll secretly hope for Yadier to fall from grace due to an ugly scandal or something that would help make the card affordable, lol. But if I never fully complete the project, so be it; still fun to work on.

As for these latest additions to the build, the solid action photography looks great within the black rainbows, and you also get some old fashioned patriotism thanks to the American flag behind Eric Chavez plus Carl Everett's "Uncle Sam Wants You" pose. But the biggest name I've picked up recently:

Hall of Famer Roy Halladay.

And it's fitting this post is bookended by Dave Stieb and Roy Halladay, as Roy made his debut at the end of the '98 season just as Dave was saying goodbye (for reals this time). And there's a connection from the final day of the season that the Stieb doc highlights in its opening minutes, linking the pair of standout Blue Jay hurlers in a crazy way. 

That'll do it for now. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Desperate steps with '72 Topps

A recent sportlots order pushed me over 3/4 complete with 1972 Topps. I then decided to crank up the priority on this setbuild and take the plunge of raiding my player-collections to find needs.

Jackson, Clemente, and Wilhelm are "inner circle" names in my collection. It'd be tough for me to rank my PCs subjectively, but these three would surely be in my personal Top 10, perhaps even spending time in the top spot for a while. (Though these days Tony Gwynn is pretty much locked in as my #1.) So subtracting from the PCs is not a step taken lightly, but damn it, I'd really like to finish off '72 Topps soon and these cards aren't easy gets! In a perfect world I'll end up with dupes to replace these '72s in the PCs before long, but if it doesn't happen, I can live with that. Oh wait, just remembered Reggie is actually an upgrade; the lesser-condition card that was in the setbuild can now get bumped to the PC, preserving my complete career run of Reggie's base Topps cards. Not likely I'll ever achieve similar with Roberto and Hoyt thanks to their very expensive rookie cards, so I suppose it stings less to steal from those PCs. (If you missed it, my previous post told the story of acquiring Reggie's rookie).

Some more needs that were technically haves all along, with Clemente making another appearance (still never had his In Action card where he's apparently grimacing over a called third strike.) Turns out I have 2 of the NL HR leaders card; Hank Aaron PC gets the dupe, but Stargell could use one too.

Here's the sportlots haul. Hate paying a few bucks a pop for commons, but when going after '72 high numbers, it's just something you have to accept.

Here's the cream of the crop as far as my current trade bait goes. Perhaps somebody reading has a nice cache of '72 high numbers available and/or some of the big cards in the set I'm needing* and would be interested in working out a deal involving any of these autos.

* such as #49 Willie Mays, 299 Hank Aaron, 300 Hank Aaron IA, 310 Roberto Clemente IA, 550 Brooks Robinson, 559 Pete Rose, 595 Nolan Ryan, 600 Al Kaline, 620 Phil Niekro, 686 Steve Garvey, 695 Rod Carew, 696 Rod Carew IA, 751 Steve Carlton TR, 752 Joe Morgan TR, 754 Frank Robinson TR, 761 Ben Oglivie/Ron Cey RC.

Anyhoo, here's the link to my 1972 Topps needs spreadsheet.. feel free to get in touch regarding a trade.

How about you guys? What are your thoughts about raiding PCs (or team sets or whatever) to get cards for a set you're working on? Do you have steadfast guidelines regarding what gets priority, or do you take it on a case-by-case basis?