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.

 

 

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.

 

No Trick, Just a (Blowout Trade) Treat

I don’t know what the _____ is going on but I’ve been having a a lot of problems with technology recently. Problems retrieving my email (Yahoo), problems with images loading on social media (Twitter, Facebook), my iPad has gone to crap since I downloaded the latest iOs software and WordPress keeps encountering an error when I try to upload photos from my Mac. As a result, I haven’t posted recently and have just now decided to say to hell with it, and use my phone camera instead.

Anyway, enough of my problems… Cards-you visited here to see cards… Today’s featured cards are some I picked up in a trade from a member on the Blowout Forum. Nothing too spooktacular (see what I did there?!), but they knocked quite a few off my wantlist. 

And perhaps those Cubs Cards will be some good juju for the team on the North Side.

Random Acts of Kindness

Larry, a fellow collector and member of a Facebook trading group, sent me a message recently saying he noticed I was looking for some Topps inserts and wondered what I was needing. I decided not to send him my entire list, but rather a list of a few of the inserts from the 2016 set. He replied a short time later, saying he had two cards and offered to send them to me without expecting anything in return.

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I often struggle with accepting the kindness of others, especially when they are strangers. I usually feel as if I have to return the favor. Granted, the cards Larry sent were not ‘big money cards’- not even close- and they came in a pwe, but I still want to send something in return. He had mentioned he collects things that have to do with Cleveland sports, so I’ll have to go digging for some Indians.

Larry, you’ll probably never read this, but I still want to take the opportunity to say ‘Thank You’ for this act of kindness.

 

 

Trade with Red Sox Fan in Nebraska

I recently approached Brad- the Red Sox Fan in Nebraska– about a trade for some cards listed on his trade list. I had quite a few cards from his want list and we quickly struck a deal that both of us were happy with. You can read Brad’s tale of the trade here.

I’m still looking to finish off many of the insert sets from 2016 Topps, so I was very happy to acquire these five from Brad. With Update due in the next few weeks, I feel a little more sense of urgency… I don’t want to fall even further behind on my sets.

First up, the greatest player of his generation… Mr. Ken Griffey, Jr. Or, just call him the Kid.

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I like the MLB Debut set but I really wish it was smaller. I’ve been taking any version (Bronze, Silver, Gold) that I can get my hands on, but I prefer the Bronze. They go much better with the borders, IMO.

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And finally… Ichiro

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Tip of the cap to ya, Brad. Thanks for the trade!

 

 

August Card Show Pickups

It’s not very often that we get card shows in my area, let alone two within a week of one another- but that is exactly what happened the first two weekends of August.

The first show was my re-entry into the card show circuit (as a seller, anyway). It had been probably 16 or 17 years since I had set up at a show, so I was pretty excited leading up to that day. In fact, I had spent a lot of my evenings in June and July purchasing, organizing and pricing cardboard. So how did it go? To put it bluntly, sh****.

In hind sight, I should have looked a little closer at the calendar. The first show took place as one popular rodeo had just ended and another was about to begin. There was also the county fair that just finished and the state fair on the horizon. Let’s see… school about to begin…last minute vacations….you get the picture.

Foot traffic was horrible (and that’s an understatement!)- worst I had ever seen at a show-and the only thing that allowed me to recoup my table fee ($35) was giving someone a great deal on 3 autos (for a total of $25). I had forgot that Boise is a football market, and for someone who had very little football cards… yikes.

But some good came from all that free time I had: I was able to talk shop with a couple of guys I’ve bought from over the years and was also able to trade with them this particular day.

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One of the men had bought a 2016 Topps 2 Hobby Box while there and pulled this Matt Kemp Scouting Report card. Nothing special- but he was needing some singles for the set he was putting together and I was able to fill them for him. This will go with the master set I’m building.

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The Griffey card… I had one at one time but sold it at a show back in 1993. I was preparing to purchase my first house and as a young, single man who didn’t make a whole lot of money I was needing to liquidate some of my cards in order to come up with cash for a down payment. Junior’s iconic Rookie Card was part of a rookie lot that I sold to one buyer. Back then it was in the, what- $150 range? I got this for a little cash and some trade bait.

 

The next weekend (which happened to be National Baseball Card Day) I attended another show. This was a more unique setting, though. There’s a card shop which is actually a co-op and they hosted a show inside their building. One dealer (one of the shop owners) had an 80% table and I was able to pickup the following cards for some of my sets.

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The Brett second-year card is badly miscut but it works well as a filler for my set. And the price was certainly right.

 

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As always, thanks for reading!

Fifteens and Sixteens on Facebook

Although I’ve been a member of a couple of Facebook Collector groups for a year or so, I had never took part in any trades- until recently. I was a little hesitant at first because I did not follow it much (I actually hid them from my feed due to all the people trying to sell- it was dominating my timeline) and really had no idea of who was trustworthy. But I began watching the feeds a couple of months ago and ended up making a couple of purchases and then a couple of sales. The logical next step was to trade and, sure enough, that soon followed.

 

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One recent trade netted me quite a few inserts to go towards the sets I’m building. I was especially thrilled to get the Tony Hawk- not because I’m a fan, but it seems to be one of the tougher First Pitch’s to find. I feel like I’m the first person to actively look for a Bud Selig card. And now I finally have one. (Can you tell I’m excited?)

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I enjoyed the MLB debut sets from the early 90s but I’m fine with an insert set recognizing the debuts of current stars. I prefer the Bronze but will settle for Silver. It was also nice to get a couple cards from my favorite inserts of the past two years: Record Setters (Altuve) and….

 

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…Archetypes.

 

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I’m not crazy about The Babe Ruth Story cards- I prefer The Sultan of Swat- but decided to collect it, nevertheless.

 

Thanks for reading.