Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Not letting my ARMS atrophy (Archives Reserve Master Set additions)

It's not a great time for fans of modern baseball. Oakland is getting their team snatched away. Wander has a wandering eye for little girls. Ohtani looks to be in for a second Tommy John surgery. Mike Trout still can't stay healthy anymore. Advertising on jerseys. Tinkering with the rules. And then looking at the current card manufacturer landscape, one giant company is taking control of everything, aiming to get more out of customers while giving them less, focusing in on high-rolling investors/breakers without thinking much about the majority of collectors.

But thankfully this hobby has been around a long time and you can spend every second of your time and money on old cards and still not scratch the surface.

With that intro rant out of the way, I'm still trying to get every single Archives Reserve card that Topps put out back in the early days of the millennium. I guess I'm just a sucker for refractor reprints of vintage cards. With zero parallels or numbered cards released, an Archives Reserve Master Set is not out of the realm of possibility. All I have left now are hits. I still have several big name autographs on my wantlist, and whether I truly ever get close to finishing this ARMS race might depend on how dramatically the sports card bubble bursts in the next few years.

But even if the "inner circle" guys are too pricey for me to target at the moment, I've been going after the lower-hanging fruit, hunting for "less than a blaster" autos I still need. 

Ready to check out some shiny hits in classic Topps designs?

Gaylord Perry is the only card in this post that cost more than the old school definition of "price of a blaster" (but works under the current definition), so I'll give him top billing. I remember when I first returned to the hobby as an adult, I decided Perry would be a top PC guy of mine (former Padres great in the HOF; played a long time, lots of cards out there; and pretty much a "household name" yet not much collector competition, relatively speaking). He hasn't exactly remained a primary focus for me since, but I've got a solid PC and he reminds me of those early days getting back into collecting.

Happy to cross this 2002 auto off my Archives Reserve needs. The rest of the cards in this post are rookie reprints from 2001, but for '02 they picked the "best year" for each player as the card design to use, choosing '72 Topps for Perry. And they do the odd but thoughtful practice of adding 1972 stats on the back so you can get an idea why that year was big for him.

Don Larsen is another notable figure in baseball history whose autographed cards won't set you back too much. He's got a rookie card in '54 Bowman, but his first Topps card was '55.

So weird to flip over a Don Larsen card and not read about his perfect game in the World Series. But you get a depiction of Satan, I guess?

Mickey Lolich put together a fine career highlighted by 3 complete game victories in the 1968 World Series and 25 wins in '71.

I prefer 1964 Topps reprints that show you the cartoon rather than the blank space. Obviously Topps doesn't actually re-print old sheets from the dusty archives but rather their graphic designers put together recreations, and sometimes it's kinda dumb when they tell you to rub a nickel on your card.

Dick Groat was NL MVP in 1960, winning the batting title for the eventual champs. Picked up another ring with the Cardinals in '64.

Groat was one of those guys who never played in the minors. There were some nice tributes to him after he passed away last April.

Sneaking in a football card, Terry Metcalf is probably the cheapest of the Archives Reserve football autos. Finally pulled the trigger on one, but somewhere the devil must have yelled "JINX!" at me as I finalized the transaction...

Unfortunately this card got folded longwise while in the mail, creasing it up something fierce. And it was in a freakin' top loader, so the USPS either ignored the "non-machinable" label and it had a dustup with the sorting machines, or maybe just some asshole mail handler "going postal" on a random envelope to blow off steam or something. At least it was only a few bucks so I won't bother making a fuss, but wouldn't mind upgrading someday. But when you consider I've got some huge NFL names to pick up still (like Montana and Namath, just to name a couple joes), I probably won't ever finish the football portion of this collecting goal unless I really stick with it for the long haul. So yeah, no rush, lol.

I haven't been hitting the relics very hard yet, but scored this Johnny Mize bat chip card for a good price.

Funny that you get hair and eye color on the back of '52 Topps. Mize was in '51 Topps, but they usually ignore that set when it comes to putting out rookie ("first Topps card") reprints. 

A couple more autographs to show off quickly. Nice looking Frank Howard here.

Fun comic.

Tommy John wraps up the post. Multiplayer rookies always look weird when reimagined as solo cards, but what are you gonna do?

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Artificial "Blogger National" haul

I didn't attend The National (Sports Card Convention), and it's a little late for the blog-around, but here are some cards I've bought over the past several weeks that I haven't gotten around to posting about yet.

Back in May 2020, I thought it'd be fun to go after a run of vintage Kellogg's baseball cards. But it was too late by then, and the project is more or less paused waiting for the hobby bubble burst once guys realize everything is pointless. But since it was a '74 Kellogg's Reggie Jackson from my youth that was my driving force there, I figured hey, maybe I'll just go for a run of Reggie's Kellogg's cards and call it good. I had some purchased COMC store credit left to spend before I requested shipping on my last package from them, and ended up nabbing his '70 and '73. 

COMC has become my best source for scoring new Mike Reinbach cards. Still a lot of foreign cards for me to track down of this lesser-known PC guy (went to my high school). I already have that Navegantes sticker in better condition, but this creased one was too cheap to pass up.

Some interesting 90s stuff from COMC I missed out on at the time but recently discovered. I forget what the '98 Finest Power Zone gimmick is, but I think I had a reason for buying that Piazza for $2.39? As it stands, I regret the purchase. (Update: "Each of these 20 Series One inserts is printed with 'flop ink,' which changes color from purple to blue when viewed at a different angle." [source]) The Bagwell (1999 Topps Finest - Leading Indicators) I also regretted at first because I forgot why I bought it, but turns out it is heat sensitive, and you can see where I purposefully put a thumbprint top-center. I want to peel the protective film so it won't look like such shit, but I can't seem to get it started and don't want to damage the card digging into a corner trying to get the film up. Oh well. Cool card in theory, I guess. And the Marquis Grissom is a neat looking Matrix parallel from '97 Stadium Club I wasn't familiar with until seeing one on social media.

Blue head-on and purple at an angle?

Got another Joe Musgrove printing plate.
(Some of this stuff probably could have gotten their own post but I'm lazy. I do want to try posting more-frequent-but-shorter posts, rather than dumps like this.)

2013 Topps Wrapper Redemption Blue Slate parallels are damn nice looking cards. Crazy that was a decade ago already. When looking who was available "cheapest first", I was able to find a couple notable former Padres to justify buying. If I ever complete my 2011 Topps parallel frankenset, I could totally see myself going after a similar set of 2013 Topps parallels (but of course I'll never finish 2011 so it's moot.. Perhaps one 9-pocket page of Blue Slates [and a page or two of Emerald Foil] would be a more sensible collecting goal).

Funky foil on the Nelson Cruz.

My Howard Hughes PC picked up a couple additions recently thanks to these celebrity guessing game cards from 1987. Had been meaning to snag these for a while, finally finding them at a decent price. I think really all I'm jonesing for now is his 1936 Heinz Famous Aviators card before I can effectively consider the PC finished. But I still haven't seen that for sale-- at a decent price or otherwise-- so I shouldn't hold my breath there.

John Miller surprised me with another PWE, this one filled with Beanie Babies stickers. These made me happier than I should admit because I don't want to come off as too dorky, but oh well, lol. Glow in the dark cards are treated like Mantles and Trouts in this house. There are 30 stickers in the set, and between this lot and what I already had, I'm about halfway. Thanks, John! 

Here are three highlights from the latest series of printed customs from Gio at WTHB. Fun stuff as always.

Michael Lorenzen tossed a no-hitter earlier this month, which made me happy because I've got a sleeper PC of his cards. These above highlights aren't recent additions, but were mostly acquired in a previous COMC order.

GCA surprised me with a 2-card PWE of cards he scored among his National haul. Dig the faceless MiLB Hoyt and happy to reclaim a Reggie for my 1974 Topps set that gremlins made off with. Thanks, Greg!

Last for this post, in the wake of Paul Reubens' passing, I posted about my Pee-Wee cards and fellow fan in mourning David (aka DavisMcDavis) was kind enough to send me a couple of the cards on my wantlist for free. Thanks, pal! :)

See ya next time.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Soaking up the Summer Sun

Ok, here's the card I got with the eBay cash I recently won from A Penny Sleeve For Your Thoughts. I'd been after this "King of Junk Wax" for a while.

I think we're alone now; there doesn't seem to be anyone around, so I'll show you the back where it's easier to see it's the tiffany version. Pretty sweet. 

I should have picked up one of these a few years ago for less money probably, but better late than never. And Jon and I kinda hobby-bonded over Bo Jackson, specifically a '91 Fleer mod earlier this year, and so I thought it'd be fitting that I turn my winnings from him into a nice Bo card, giving it a little extra oomph. Took me a week or so to make it happen, but was able to score this one for a best-offer that factored in the shipping to use the code to cover it to the cent.

Thanks again, Jon!

Hey, on the topic of my 1991 Fleer mods (and Bo Jackson), I've got some "new variations" I'd been meaning to feature on the blog.

Getting fancy with the '91 Fleer bleaching.. New gradient fade style mixing the old and new. Nicknamed the swirl (banana/vanilla).

I also figured I'd modify the ProVisions inserts that are the highlight of the '91 Fleer set. The lines and text below the artwork are typically bold yellow, matching the base cards. So I figured.. why not? ..made a homemade variation with lightened text. It's something. Maybe it enhances the image to be freed from the distracting yellow? Granted, that was kinda boring, but then I got a fun idea...

Alternating colors kicks things up, yeah? Unfortunately I already used up both my Bo's by then, so only Big Mac and Donnie Baseball made it into this style, but I think I'll do more of these as I get ahold of more ProVisions. But this summer at my house, '91 Fleer has been taking a backseat to another set I've been messing with in the sun. Yes, this post is a hint! "Woodgrain variations" in the works, lol. Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Crocodile booty

One of the best things about the ol' cardsphere is the generosity, with plenty of contests and giveaways always popping up. Kinda embarrassed to admit it but I've found in recent years that "cards up for grabs; first come, first served" type of giveaways rile up my anxiety, so I generally stay away from those now. But I recently threw my name in the hat for a couple randomized drawings and caught a couple lucky breaks. The first one was for a random lot of 100 cards from Crocodile Sports Cards.

I was able to dig out a nice stack of keepers for my collection from this lot as well as some good trade fodder. Let's take a quick look at a few highlights.

Happy to see some vintage in the box, I think as old as '65 Topps, with the sharp '75 Don Baylor being an upgrade to the beater previously in my ongoing setbuild there.

More neat stuff here with a Bo Jackson oddball, gold Dan Walters, platinum Jeff Blauser, and a shiny Alejandro Kirk auto.

I don't do much with football cards these days, but still like adding cards of big name NFL stars to my humble pigskin collection.

And I don't have much vintage football cards, so these are cool to get. A couple of these will end up in my (non-Topps flagship baseball) vintage frankenset. .. oh yeah, need to do my annual post on that project one of these days.

Thanks for the contest, Crocodile! I really enjoyed thumbing through that box of cards.

The other contest I won in short succession was for an eBay gift card from Jon at A Penny Sleeve for your Thoughts, and the card I bought with code is on the way, so stay tuned for that soon.

But one more instance of where a simple comment I left on a post resulted in free cards...

When Fuji ended up with a lot of Tony Gwynn 1990 Leaf cards he didn't have much use for, I mentioned they'd make good canvases for the border art I've been messing with lately, and next thing I knew, they showed up in my mail. Thank you, Fuji! I hope to creatively deface these cards in your honor soon.

That's all for today. Thanks for swinging by.