47-Card Knockout

No, it’s not some new card game- it’s a feature on one of my more recent purchases…

I’ve never spent the day after Thanksgiving shopping in retail stores. I don’t like crowds (translate: most people), I don’t like the cold weather and I don’t enjoy driving around in circles looking for a place to park, only to have to park and walk in said cold weather. I do, however, like saving money and have thus spent a few ‘Black Fridays’ shopping online for cardboard deals. In previous years it’s been shopping sprees on COMC; this year, it was a shopping spree on Sportlots.

To really make shopping on Sportlots worthwhile, one must shop for shipping charges and not just card prices. This can be time consuming, but the site does have filters that makes the job much easier. I happened to find one seller who had a large number of cards I needed to go towards my 2015 and 2016 Topps sets. I did some comparisons to what a similar purchase on COMC would run with free shipping and I still came out ahead.

The largest of my purchases included a 47-card behemoth, which helped me knock out a considerable amount of my 2015 and 2016 want lists. With the 2017 release date approaching quickly, I’m beginning to feel a sense of urgency on completing both sets.

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When details were first released for the 2015 set, I was pretty pessimistic about an insert set that incorporated historical events- after all, isn’t that one of the great parts about Heritage? But my mind changed after getting my first couple of cards from the set

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And of course, there were the Perspectives, 100 Years of Wrigley Field, First Pitch and Walk-Off Wins.

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500 HR Futures Club- another fun retail set. I like the standard, red bordered cards; the silver and gold-parallels do nothing for me.

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I even picked up a number of the 2014 Super Veteran cards from an insert set that paid homage to one of the subsets of yesteryear.

Fire… a little different, but not bad. If I had to do it all over again, I’d probably skip this set.

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What better way to close out this post than featuring the best closer of all-time, Mo Rivera and a dude whose last name ends in ‘Z’.

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Quite the Steal

All of us have that one card (perhaps more) that we regret parting ways with. Sometimes our regret comes in the form of sentimentalism. Others have a hard time finding a replacement due to the card’s scarcity, while the rest of us are faced with not wanting to fork out the cold hard cash that is needed for replacing a card.

One such card for me is the 1980 Topps Rickey Henderson Rookie Card. I had this iconic card during my childhood but eventually gave it to my younger cousin (along with every other piece of cardboard I owned) once I hit those teenage years. Since then- or at least since re-entering the hobby in 1991- I have found myself wanting to buy another Rickey Rookie, but have always balked because of the higher prices.

The good news, of course, is that many of the key cards from the pre-junk/junk wax area have seen their prices drop in recent years, making them far more affordable for those of us on a tight card budget. And that was welcome news as I took on took on the task of putting together a set of 1980 Topps baseball.

After purchasing a starter lot, I’ve been slowing piecing together this personal favorite. At one point this summer, I thought I might have a chance to work a trade for a Henderson. It didn’t pan out and I put the idea on the back burner for a while. A recent email changed that, however, and a click of the mouse sent me to the store link of  DJ’s Sportcards in Renton, Washington.

I had visited DJ’s while in Seattle for a Van Halen concert a few years ago. My buddy was still working when my flight arrived, so I picked up my rental car, searched for some LCS on Google, and headed over to Renton. The shop itself had a nice selection of new and old, autos, as well as other stuff. While there, I signed up for their email list, which is sent out each Friday and usually features some of their most recent acquisitions. Don- the owner- has adopted quite a few kids from other countries and the newsletter will occasionally have updates on the latest news with (or addition to) their family. Anyway, the most recent newsletter featured an ’80 Topps Henderson in EX condition for $19 shipped. I decided to click the link while not getting my hopes up. To my surprise, the card was still available and I decided this was the time to buy. Not only was the price right, but I really wanted to give this man my business. I’m an advocate of adoption and if this man’s family is willing to open up their home and their lives to children who are in need of love and a chance at a better life… then I’m happy to spend my money there and help them in meeting the needs of these children.

I *might* have been able to pick one of these up for a little cheaper on eBay, but all things considered, I think I got quite a deal for this card of the Man of Steal.

Setting the Record Straight

One of my favorite parts of the card sets of my youth (’70s,’80s) were the Record Breakers subsets that often graced the beginning of the set or the low to mid-200s. I guess the interest was two-fold: first, it put the previous baseball season in an historical context and, second, at that point in my young life, I thought of Record Breakers as being the really big names in the sport (Reggie, Ruth, Seaver)- not the Greg Minton‘s of the world. And that they celebrated obscure records like the most stolen bases by a catcher in a season. Are you kidding me? I found it fascinating.

And just as records are meant to be broken (I know, cliche), so it is that the inclusion of subsets such as Record Breakers in the base set would one day come to an end. The first exclusion of RB was a temporal one- the 1984 Topps set- before its return from ’85-’92.

Another hiatus took place from ’93 until the 1999 set featured card #220, with its 70 different versions of Mark McGwire’s Home Run record. That year also brought with it Record Numbers, a ten-card insert set that was randomly inserted one every eight packs. Unlike some of the earlier sets that featured unknowns, this one featured some of the sport’s biggest stars: McGwire, the Kid, Clemens, Ripken.

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The design of the 1999 Record Numbers set looks like it would have been more at home in the 1995 set, with its serrated edge. The fireworks in the card background are very much ’90’s-ish.

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I won’t go through the history following the ’99 set, but I do want to feature a few recent additions to my collection from this year’s Record Setters insert set.

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As cool as the cards are, the insert name is really a misnomer: some of the subjects didn’t set any records- at least none that are recognized on the card. Take Adrian Gonzalez, for instance. The AGonz card back says the following: “With a two-run homer in the fifth inning of an 8-0 whitewash of Atlanta on May 26, 2015, Gonzalez became the 12th active player to reach the 1,000-RBI plateau for a career. He finished with 90, making him one of four active players with at least that many in nine consecutive campaigns.” Am I missing something?

Regardless, I do like the design of the cards and am now down to needing only two for the insert set: RS7 Dallas Keuchel and RS14 Josh Donaldson.

 

 

Box Break: 2016 Topps Update

It’s been a strange year for this Topps collector. I was severely disappointed when the design for 2016 Topps baseball was unveiled- so much so that my initial reaction was to just forego collecting the base set this year. I relented, and went ahead and pre-ordered a couple of boxes of Series 1. After all, I had decided I was no longer a team set collector and was going to go work on a complete run of sets dating back to 1976, the first year I began collecting. A funny thing happened on the road to Series 2: I found the design growing on me and I ordered four boxes (I would have ordered fewer, if not for a show I was going to be doing shortly thereafter, as well as to sell on my Sportlots account).

I pre-ordered two boxes of Update, thinking I might fall short of a set from one box. And while I didn’t pull any big-time autos like I did in Series 1, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised at the collation in each box. The last time I purchased boxes of an Update product was 2010, and the collation was so bad it turned me off from buying any more boxes- at least until this year.

 

**Well, my month-long internet problems resulted in our modem crapping out on us a couple of days ago. The good news is that after a number of calls in the last couple of weeks, I was able to finally convince the Century Link tech that I’m having REAL problems and needed a new modem. They charged me for shipping (I paid $22 to have it sent Next Day Air; $15 for regular ground. You do the math) for a *free* modem. Now…viola! I can upload photos.

My favorite base cards from the set:

I was thrilled to see Edwin Diaz’s rookie card included in the Update set. Kid did an impressive job as closer after spending almost his entire professional career as a starter. As far as the other two cards, need I say more?

Box 1

  • Cards towards completing set: 299/300
  • Doubles: 21
  • First Pitch: 6
  • Fire: 5
  • Franklin: 5
  • Ichiro- Chasing 3000: 4
  • 3000 Hits Club: 6
  • Negative: 1 (Rickie Weeks)
  • Gold Parallel: 6
  • Rainbow Foilboard: 3
  • Black Foil: 1
  • 500 HR Club Stamp: 1 (Mark McGwire)

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Box 2

    • Cards towards complete set: 300/300
    • Doubles: 20
    • First Pitch: 6
    • Fire: 5
    • Franklin: 5
    • Ichiro Chasing 3000: 4
    • 3000 Hits Club: 6
    • Gold Parallel: 6
    • Rainbow Foilboard: 4
    • Black Foil: 1
    • All-Star Relic: 1 (Max Scherzer)

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As of right now I’m undecided on whether or not I’ll try to finish the Franklin set but I think the others will be ones I work towards completing. I have quite a few base singles, if anyone is in need of some of completing their set(s). Let me know your needs!

Food-issue Friday: Stuffed

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving, filled with plenty of family, friends and food. And if you braved the crowds this Black Friday,  I hope you survived.

One common practice for many of us this time of year is to count all the blessings for which we are thankful. It’s easy to take things for granted when we have so much- and I often find myself feeling entitled,  forgetting that I am owed nothing.

In the cardboard realm, I’ll use the odd-ball issues that were once common place in the Hobby as an example. The 80s and 90s were a haven for odd-ball collectors, but then, all of a sudden, they began drying up and were no longer as ubiquitous as they once were. This is especially true of Food-Issues, those tasty cards that were found in seemingly every box of cereal, frozen food and snack at the supermarket.We went from being stuffed to hungering for a new appetizer.

It was at this point I realized how thankful I was for these cardboard treats. Years later, we finally had a new food-issue to feast on this year with the release of Topps’ Marketside Pizza cards found exclusively in Walmart with their Marketside Pizza and breadstick products.


Today’s cards were some of the last wave of foodies before the drought hit, and were issued by Topps and distributed in boxes of Post Cereal.

I picked these cards up on Sportlots recently and am now down to needing 13 cards to complete the set. Cards needed: 10,11,13,14,18,22,23,24,26,27,28,29.

Park Pedaler

The more cynical collectors will see this and ask themselves why did he buy that?! It’s bad enough that it’s the 2016 smoke design, they will say, but what’s worse is that it is one of those gimmicky cards.

Yes, I know all about your hatred for the 2016 design and to each his own. I’ve mentioned it before, but the design did grow on me over the baseball season. Had this been one of the ‘Topps Now’ designs, I would not have bought it. As it is, I picked it up because it seems like one of those oddballs that were an extension of the base set (regionals, for instance) that I’ve chased over the years. Plus, throw in the fact that Zobrist is a pretty class act and that all proceeds from the sale of this card will be going to charity, and I was more than happy to spend ten bucks.

It was funny, this package. I’ve complained before about how Topps’ fulfillment company used very little protection in the shipment of their Now cards. Well, this baby made me wonder if Ben’s bike was inside. It was shipped in a large bubble mailer. Inside of that was the above envelope, wrapped in more bubble wrap. And inside of this?

A plastic case holding the card- which was sandwiched in between two pieces of foam, making the entire package kind of like a Russian doll.

 

The Outcasts

Trading through the blogosphere can be difficult for many collectors. Of the 30 MLB teams, there are maybe 10 that collectors even care about. The other 20? Meh. Is it any wonder you have boxes upon boxes of singles (featuring commons and stars) sitting in your hobby room closet? But for set builders like myself, internet trades can be a wonderful opportunity to pick up those much needed singles and inserts while bringing much relief to the party on the other end of the deal.

So instead of vying for those precious Dodgers or Cubs cards with numerous other collectors, I’ll settle for your Twins and your Padres; your Marlins, Mariners and Mets. Yes even those Rays and Rockies!! They are the outcasts of the hobby and I will accept them (and even a Dodger, Yankee or BoSox player) with open arms.

Yes, I’m fully aware that the HanRam card shown above is upside down. But after all my problems uploading the past two weeks and having to scan these with my cell phone, I have no more sh*ts to give.

Every card you see in this post comes from the Night Owl. I had contacted Greg a short time back to see if he was in need of certain *ahem* Dodger cards and made him earn them by drudging through my wantlists.

It was the trade that almost wasn’t, as Greg seemed to have had problems with his hard drive (memory). Now, in his defense, it sounds like the man does have an impressive collection- and with bajillions of Dodger cards created each year, one can see how he might lose track which ones he has and which ones he doesn’t have. If you’re a metal fan and are familiar with VH1’s That Metal Show, then you know what I’m talking about when I say I felt as if I had “Stumped the Trunk.”

A couple things: I loved those Baseball History cards from 2015, as well as this year’s birth-year rookie cards found exclusively in Target and Walmart. Three of the Bambino were a surprise and it’s a good day anytime I can get a card of King Felix and Arod in a Mariner’s uniform.

Not only did the Owl include all those forgotten inserts, but he also sent a few cards I was needing for the 2014 Topps Update base set. And why am I chasing down all those Chasing History cards?

I suppose it’s because someone has to be an advocate for those who are marginalized. Even if it is only cardboard. Thanks again, Greg, for the great trade!