Sunday, December 25, 2022

Christmasy Cards pt. 2

Merry Christmas, all!

Here are the cards I sent out for my "holiday surprise" mailing blast this year; 1991 Fleer mods complete with festive doodle overlays.

As fast and loose as I was with the artwork, these were a lot of work and honestly this might be the final holiday surprise undertaking like this that I ever do. But I probably said that after the previous times too, so who knows! lol. But yeah, I tried to go out with a bang and leave folks with something that would stick in their collection.

I hope you're all having a wonderful Christmastime!

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Christmasy Cards pt. 1

Just about Christmas. Here are some festive cards.

I likely I have more red/green card siblings, but this couple pairs jumped to mind.

While the refraction on this 2021 Chrome Anniversary parallel was a bit of a letdown in hand-- barely more shine than a foilboard card-- I was still very happy to pick up a Hoyt Wilhelm Christmas Card earlier this year.

Ho Ho Hoyt!

Bruce Sutter sadly passed away earlier this year. When this card popped up on eBay in the wake of his death, I overpaid some for it, but not because he just died but because it was numbered 12/25 and so I would have overpaid for it anytime.

RIP, Mr. Sutter.

The rough and tough Charlie Hough!

Numbered 12/25 as well!

Last Topps Retired card for this post is a very merry Maz. Woo, that's a lovely card!

12/25 to boot!

My buddy Wes sent me a Christmas Card with a card for christmas inside.

Thanks Wes (and Amy)!

Bo hooked me up with some '92 Leaf black gold needs from a recent haul of his. Thanks, Bo!

Here's Ruby enjoying some of our recent inclimate weather. 

K, guys, I know Baseball Card Breakdown had a down year-- not even nominated in the "Favorite Blogs to Read" category this year at Nachos awards, ouch!-- but I'm tryin to get on anti-anxiety meds that should hopefully help me get my shit together. Plus I may be "back to the office" in 2023, and honestly that would be good for the blog because the heyday of this blog was written during downtime at work, pre-covid. So we'll see.

Christmasy post part 2 is coming in a few hours with all the "holiday surprise" '91 Fleer doodles.

See ya soon, and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2022

A New Look for 1991 Fleer

Longtime readers of Baseball Card Breakdown know I'm no stranger to getting weird with cardboard. My latest quirky venture is modifying 1991 Fleer base cards.

Yep, real 1991 Fleer cards but without the bold yellow! Utilizing a lengthy, solar-powered process, I've developed a method to modify '91 Fleer borders into a creamy color that's easier on the eyes. I think they look great! The yellow borders have a tendency to overpower the cards, but with a more neutral border, the design and photo take center stage. I call them "white border mods" for simplicity, but it's really more of an off-white tone where they end up, looking similar to the light border Pro-Vision cards from the factory set of '91 Fleer (and the basketball Pro-Visions that year).

I think of it like a fresh remix of an old classic, providing a new perspective on cards that are often regarded as just about as "junky" as junk wax gets. I ripped my share of Fleer packs as a young collector back in 1991, so the set's got some sentimental value for me. I know most collectors stick up their nose at '91 Fleer, but I'm hoping these mods might help folks find a new appreciation for the cards.

I made a bunch this year and brewed up a plan to do a "holiday surprise" mailing blast in time for Christmas. In past years, I've sent out special customs, or tree ornaments made from cards (LaMarr "Ho Ho" Hoyt one year, Benito "Santa"iago another), and one year was homemade rip cards with a mini magnet custom hiding within.

It wasn't easy, but I made it to my goal of finishing twenty-five '91 Fleer mods to mail out to hobby buds of mine, all with festive doodle overlays to kick them up for the holiday season. I hope people like them, but we'll see what kind of response they get. I'm sure the concept is not for everybody, but again, I think they're pretty cool.

I took photos of all 25 decked-out cards before mailing them, and plan to share those pix on the blog in a special Christmas Day post.

Sadly even with so many of them, I wasn't able to hit all my hobby buds. My apologies to those I left out. No Braves or Astros finished in time, nor Barry Larkin, Dan Gladden, Dave Winfield, or Mark McGwire... all which were earmarked for trader buddies but as luck would have it, those cards didn't complete the process in time. (It's often a crapshoot with these things.) Those will likely be done around springtime.

Here are a few more finished mods to check out:

And there you have it: 1991 Fleer white border mods!

I have a few extras I've now added to a section on my Trade Bait page, and should have more to add once some of the few that are currently in production eventually wrap up.

Thanks for reading and Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Completing sets and shining up PCs with COMC

I requested shipment on my COMC stuff near the end of the Black Friday sale to take advantage of free shipping. Originally estimated for an end of the year arrival, in a minor Christmas miracle, it was delivered yesterday, the 17th. God bless us, everyone!

Having checklist 265-396 in-hand, I can now claim to have completed a basic one-of-every-number set of 1974 Topps. Hey, that's something for the year-end hobby report card. Still need a dozen variations-- dang "Washington" errors. I also found Jesus in the package, with the corrected Alou card complementing the "no position listed on front" error I already had. I still can't quite boast a "complete set without variations" because of the #599 rookie pitchers card that I have the Washington variation of but neither of the San Diego variations (differing font size). I'll hope to eventually add that stuff, but I feel like that's really just "extra credit" and am happy to have more-or-less completed another vintage Topps set.

This "Shaq" was the last card I needed to complete the Sport Ball inserts from 2019 Upper Deck Marvel Deadpool. If you wanna see all of this quirky set that reimagines Deadpool starring on several notable UD/Fleer cards, the blog Nothing If Not Random recently showed them off.

Besides that pair of set killers, most of my COMC order was refractors, my collecting focus these days leaning heavy on the glory days of refractors (mid 90s through mid 00s, IMHO). About half the cards in the order were Topps All-Time Fan Favorites refractors that I won't bother showing in this post because I'm planning a fun new blog series for 2023 that's gonna feature them.

Love these refractors of retired greats in 2005 Topps Pristine. I haven't decided to try completing either these inserts-- The Legendary Years ("1965") and The College Years ("1982"), but will snap them up if the price is right.

As I look for an excuse to add more refractors to my collection, I often check what I can find cheap from some of my lesser PCs that don't have a lot of competition. Quintin Berry and Mike Jacobs are a couple San Diego guys who both went to the same junior college as me-- which is not a minicollection I hit as hard as my same-high-school dudes, but still like to get them decent representation in my collection. Nice to add some more rainbow shine to that pair of PCs.

In a post last month I mentioned going on a bit of a 2005 Finest kick recently. Guess that big circle in the center has got me hypnotized! Love the look of these. But yeah, again just seeing who caught my eye down around the cheapest available refractors and trying to get some parallel variety.

A few more miscellaneous refractors that jumped into my cart, including a couple Beers. My shtick of being a "Pre-covid Card Collector" held true with this order for the most part, with only 1 card from the current decade.. I had to score myself a logofractor to check out.

Finally, a couple glowing cards-- that's the Little Dipper in the middle-- (I already had both, but will sometimes grab dupes of glowing cards if cheap) and a Satchel Paige mini close it out. Love that Brooks Kieschnick card, the only baseball card I'm aware of where the card itself glows (not just glowing ink printed on it, but rather it's printed on glowing paper stock).

Thanks for stopping by, and best wishes to you all this holiday season!

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Trades and heads up on my new Trade Bait page

Time to catch up on some incoming cards. 

Let's kick off with my first trade with Hal, whom I became familiar with via Twitter a couple years ago. At the time, he lived pretty close to me, but by the time we finally got around to swapping cards, he had moved out of state.. bummer! Could have been nice to meet in person and save some postage. But better late than never, right?

These '72 Topps needs helped me reach the 80% complete milestone with the set. My goal from earlier in the year to finish it during its 50th anniversary is going to come up well short, but I'll keep on plugging away, and who knows, maybe this time next year I'll be wrapping it up..?

Thanks, Hal! Once I get more cards logged into TCDB you might need, I hope we can trade some more.

-  - -o

Speaking of TCDB, here's a little trade I was able to hammer out on there with a user who goes by DyeHardFan.

I was targeting that Dave Stieb ATFF refractor (if you have any ATFF refractors available for trade, I'm your guy), and got some cognac on the side.

Thanks, Ian!

-  - -o

Next up is a package from Bob at Best Bubble.

Wow, that's a big lot of 1992 Leaf black gold! I mentioned recently that I was shelving much of my "early 90s black gold" pursuits in favor of focusing on this parallel setbuild. Still love the look of these. I figured this was a blind bulk lot sure to have several dupes for me, but no, turned out to be all needs! Very nice of Bob to go through my wantlist for this set.

It wasn't all '92 Leaf, though, as Bob also sent along a black refractor and some ladies.

I'd been wanting one of these Batman Returns glowing stickers since I found out about them while putting together my big list of glowing trading cards, so I was thrilled to see Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman here.

I still haven't hit Bob back from his previous package, so I'm deeper in his debt now. I'll have to start planning a 2023 edition of the Bubble Gum Baseball custom set I did earlier this year.

Thanks, Bob!

-  - -o

Now on the topic of trading and not knowing what to send back...

Seeing as I haven't gone to a card show or ripped unopened product since pre-covid times, it has become harder and harder for me to find cards to make fitting returns for people who kindly send me stuff. Logging more of my available cards into TCDB is one thing I've been trying to do lately. And another is putting together a place on the blog to feature interesting trade bait. To that end... Presenting

The Baseball Card Breakdown Trade Bait Page

Lots of autograph cards up so far, and some customs and other stuff. I'm hoping to add more soon, though December is always crazy, so who knows. But yeah, check it out and maybe we can work out a trade. 

Friday, December 9, 2022

A couple cool connected Kirbys

I stumbled upon a neat looking Kirby Puckett card that I pulled the trigger on way back on September 21, 2017.

I generally love "official customs"-- you know, when a card company puts out cards-that-never-were-but-belatedly-now-are.

When you consider Donruss was ahead of the curve by releasing a Fred McGriff Rated Rookie in 1986-- with Topps and Fleer not giving a card to him till their '87 update sets-- it's not that far fetched that they'd scoop the competition on Kirby Puckett a couple years earlier.

So yeah, I really like the card and soon decided to go after the complete run of 2002 Donruss Originals "What If" inserts which are in 3 groups: "1978 Donruss", "1980 Donruss", and "What If Rookies".

I've been stuck on 2 remaining "Rookie" cards for several months until finally scoring the companion Kirby that just arrived today...

It's the first time I'd seen it for sale in the 5+ years I've been keeping an eye out. Man, I smashed that buy-it-now button super fast!

I'm now down to just the Don Mattingly retrofitted Rated Rookie to close the books on this collecting pursuit. I've seen the Mattingly for sale 2 or 3 times, but it's always been slabbed and that's helped push it out of my price range.. dang crazy Mattingly collectors! lol. But hopefully a reasonably-priced raw copy pops up one of these days that I'm able to score. For now, it's bumped up my mental list of whales I'm scouring the cardboard oceans for.

While I've got an okay Mattingly PC and like him fine, Kirby is one of my favorite guys to collect-- such a fun player to watch and root for, even if he turned out to have a dark side off the field-- so even if I die before tracking down the Don, it's still very satisfying to finally secure that Kirby I've been after for quite a while. There's another Kirby I've spent a lot of time searching for, one of my top whales, though I've accepted in this past year or two that the card was never actually released and no one has even ever seen a picture of the card much less own one.

But hey, Kirby's "1984 The Rookies" card from 2002 exists and I've finally got it! Feels great to complete the pairing of '84 Donruss Kirbies that never were. I'm fortunate enough to own his real 1984 Fleer Update card, as well as a Topps "1984" card that never was from last year's Update (oh yeah, I also completed that insert set recently but haven't gotten around to blogging about it). He had no minor league cards released in '84 (just one in 1983, which I don't own) nor any other oddballs I'm aware of, so that completes a run of Kirby Puckett "1984" cards for me. Nice!

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Fred McGriff, HOFer!

I'm very happy Fred McGriff finally got the Call to the Hall! I figured I'd celebrate by taking a look at a few highlights of my Crime Dog PC.

'Murica. McGriff.

This is an oversized proof of his 1995 Topps Stadium Club Ring Leader insert. What an audacious card! I was making this gif while listening to the HOF announcement live. Kind of a bummer that we didn't get more new HOFers along for the ride, but really just happy one of my favorite players ever made it.

Back to the card, I really appreciate getting the full artwork of blank-backed proof. I should frame this badboy. For comparison, here's the standard cut version:

Looking at the rings and stars in the corners makes it clear this is a tighter crop.

Thumbing through my McGriff PC.. Nice, didn't realize I had so many rookies! That's the first slabbed card I ever bought shortly after returning to the hobby. Lol, gem mint 10!

As a young Padres fan in the early 90s, I loved having Fred in San Diego and was bummed he didn't stick around longer. He doesn't seem to have a lot of certified autos picturing him on the Padres, but this buyback works. I also have a couple McGriff autos in my Christmas Card collection (one Braves, one Devil Rays, pretty sure).

This Cubs relic with a pinstripe completes the trifecta.

Cool, shiny die-cut that caught my eye among lots of "junk" era stuff that I need to sort, perhaps when I get around to moving the PC from my "retired" PC boxes and into my "HOF" PC boxes.

I've got 2 of this card.. one in the parallel setbuild and another for the PC. Love these 2004 Chrome black refractors, even if it's sometimes tough to get a good photo of them, as they form mini blackholes which create a vacuum of light. Once I complete the set-- if I ever do-- planet Earth may implode upon itself.

My Fred McGriff collection is Elite thanks to this card.

And let's close out on a minor league card. This is another one I got shortly after returning to the hobby as an adult back around 2012. Got it off Lista thanks to a friendly seller working out a deal with me. Turned out the seller was a cardblogger (The Great Sports Name Hall of Fame), and hey, that pleasant experience might've helped nudge me into starting a blog myself.

Oh happy day! Congrats to Fred McGriff and my fellow Crime Dog collectors!

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Thanks for the trades and stuff

My last post was on Halloween, and as November crept along and I didn't get around to posting again, I figured I'd put together a streak of holiday-only posting and plan the next post for Thanksgiving.

I'm going to try to quickly cover a bunch of incoming cards I've gotten in the past few weeks.

I've been appreciating 2005 Finest more lately, particularly refractor parallels, and think I'll try to pick up a few of my PC guys who are included in the checklist. Dig that crazy design looking like a seismic vinyl record/CD/bullseye mashup!

This pair of Reggies were from a 3-card eBay lot, with the not-pictured card being the main one I was interested in, but that'll wait for another day as it's for a project that I'm planning to make into a blog series. But yeah, it was a decent price for the trio and I was happy to add a Finest X-fractor and a bat relic to my longest-running PC.

-  - -o

John Miller sent me over the next batch of cards.

Pair of Gavin Sheets RCs from 2022 Topps Gallery.

And a bunch of sparkly 2011 Topps for that old project. I really need to sort of everything I've got for it, and I'll be sure to end up with tons of dupes. Maybe there'll be demand for them at TCDB.. I've been trying to add more trade bait there lately.

Thanks, John!

-  - -o

Next is a PWE from Matt who goes by various usernames but I know him best as the Sports Card Collectors guy. He's probably the guy I've done the most swaps with over the years. I'd always keep an eye out for interesting NY football Giants for him while at card shows, and though I haven't been to a show since the pre-covid days (really value my lazy weekends these days), the cache hasn't quite been depleted yet.

Nice new-card lot of PC guys of mine here, with the top row all /99 parallels.

Thanks, Matt!

-  - -o

Padrographs Rod recently swung by my house again, this time dropping off a bunch of card storage boxes and 9-pocket pages I happily agreed to give a good home as he continues downsizing his collection. There were also a few cards n' such hiding in the boxes, with my favorites pictured above. A rare solo card of future MVP Kevin Mitchell from his short-term stop in San Diego-- pretty sure this is an upgrade for my completed set of 1987 Bohemian Hearth Bread Padres-- as well as a Mike Clevinger SP photo variation showing off a Tony Hawk skateboard. 

The French ticket is pretty cool, too. Looking up this game, San Diego beat the Expos 12-10. Oh snap! I just confirmed my suspicion that this game featured Tony Gwynn's 3000th career hit! So yeah, not just a random ballgame. Sweet! I should make a display piece with this and a card or two that trumpets that milestone.

Wow! Big thanks again, Rod!

-  - -o

You might have heard Sportlots finally starting offering non-sport cards. It's a little late for Lenny as I had in recent months finished off sets such as 1989 Ghostbusters II and 1991 Brockum Rockcards by overpaying on COMC and/or eBay. But going forward, it's nice to have another option that's often cheaper.

I'm working on a 2nd master set of 1991 MusiCards (and a 3rd set too, kinda). I needed the corrected Madonna and the Lita Ford to complete a 2nd set of these early promos. With room in my shipping cost tier, I threw in the Madonna error card and the Jimi for the site minimum, too.. trade bait, I guess. I was surprised to find the Madonna error (last name spelled wrong on back) so cheap, as it's one of the tougher MusiCards out there. Not pictured, but I also picked up the censored #166 Dread Zeppelin "no nad" variation for the site minimum from another seller.. that's a card that has proved very hard to track down. I had been keeping an eye out for like a year and nobody had it available anywhere except for one big, expensive eBay lot that included it. The gross "nad out" uncensored variation is everywhere, though, tragically. lol

-  - -o

Here's a pair of PWEs from Bo.

Some PC guys and a mini-collection addition.

And a bunch of early 90s black gold. 

Thanks, Bo!

Shortly after this I realized all the various black gold cards just weren't doing it for me anymore, and I've decided to cut bait on most of the insert sets I had been going after, and just be content with the selection I've been able to put together up to this point. Unfortunately I forgot to remove some of them from my TCDB wantlist, and after I added some good trade bait, I ended up getting some junk-heavy trade offers on the site-- not the '72 high-numbers and Topps ATFF refractors I had been hoping to be offered-- so I had to clean that up. That's the trouble of keeping your own wantlists as well as trying to keep some on TCDB too.

I am still very interested in trying to complete a black gold parallel set of 1992 Leaf, though, so that one is still on my wantlist. I had my series 1 all updated into TCDB, but then I got to series 2 and there's a pointless "no period" variation for all of them. What am I supposed to do with that? Put both versions on my wantlist and end up with dupes? No thanks. I gave up and just said forget it, sticking with my own spreadsheet for now. Bummer.

-  - -o

Next is a surprise bubbler from fellow Portland area blogger Kerry of Cards on Cards.

Nice pair of numbered cracked-ice (or whatever they're calling it these days) parallels!

Great lot of Tatis inserts.

Dame in the house. Love that one with 2005 Finest vibes.

After seeing those new "commemorative batting helmet" manirelics on the blogs, I had the hankerin' to get one of my own--  must. touch. helmet. caress its subtle contours --so it was serendipitous to find this thick Xander among the cards in the package. And yes, it was satisfying to touch the helmet.

Thanks, Kerry! I'll have to dig up a good return for you soon.

-  - -o

It's Thanksgiving, so let's sneak in a football card.

Got a slabbed John Elway rookie in a second swap with my 2003 Topps Retired lovin' bud Dan. I've had one of these for years (raw, of course) but there's a distracting "fisheye" printing flaw right between his eyes. Very happy to upgrade to a cleaner copy.

Thanks, Dan!

-  - -o

Time for a little vintage.

GCA continues to be the MVP for my vintage setbuilds in recent years. These 1974 Topps cards take me down to just checklist #273 away from completing a basic, one-of-every-number '74 set. Then maybe someday I'll finish tracking down the dozen or so variations I'm missing for a master set, but I'm really just focused on that checklist now. I'll have to update my Desperate Double Dozen sidebar wantlist here in a minute.

Greg also threw in a couple surprise '68s for my Flagship Topps Binder, with HOFers Joe Morgan and Gaylord Perry bumping out lesser names from my 1968 page.

Thanks, GCA! I've got a return for you in the works to get mailed out soon.

-  - -o

Wrapping up today's post...

Here's some more Gwynn stuff to go out on. The oversized stuff is from earlier Rod giftings that I didn't get around to showing off before. Gotta love a "big bat" photo! 

I like picking up those fun "Kmart greenies" (1990 Topps Active Batting Leaders) cards when I can find a good deal, and was able to land the Tony and also the tougher red counterpart from 1989 as well.

Thanks for reading. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!