Promises, Promises

Aaaaand, I’m back….?

Have you been watching this space, like I asked?  If you have, I greatly appreciate it and I’m sorry.  I’ve done this a couple times before already in this blog’s history, but let me explain.

Just about this entire absence has been due to my job.  Right at the time Andy and I started opening the cases of 2014 Series 1 Topps, my work schedule exploded, and hasn’t let up.  And when I say right at the time, I mean it.  I requested three days off to work on the case breaking and ended up only being able to take 1.5 of them because we got suddenly swamped.

My job is somewhat unique.  I work from home for my high school friend.  He started a company that assists medical professionals with their government mandated quality reporting.  My job is to work with the doctors to make sure everything is running smoothly.  Well, demand increased rapidly for our service, virtually overnight, and the supply of people that we had to handle it didn’t.  Worse yet, it couldn’t due to various reasons beyond our control.  So, I (along with the few other people in my level of the company) had to do the work of 2+ people.  That resulted in going from a relatively normal work schedule, and usually not even a full 8 hours of duties most times, to working a minimum of 12 hours, and usually 16 hours every single weekday — with extra time needed on the weekends.

That lasted for about an entire year, and I wish I was kidding.

Now, the strings have loosened some.  Staffing is increasing, and life is slowly getting closer to normal.  I still have plenty of 12 hour work days, but I also have more regular 8 hour days.  The company has increased the amount of organizations we assist by 5X, and the organization that I manage is tripling in participation size this year, so things are always subject to change.

On top of that, I’ve had other issues to deal with periodically, mostly concerning my house, that were keeping me away.  It basically meant that when I did have any sort of free time, the last thing I wanted to do was spend it in front of a computer.  So, I would throw the laptop(s) aside and turn on video games instead.

There have been plenty of times where I’ve considered quitting the blog, but the desire to continue connecting with other collectors is too strong.  Instead, I’ll just say that I’m back for the time being and since I’m not completely out of the woods, work-wise, I’ll try to post as often as I can but there may be some bigger gaps.  It’s about trying to treat this more as a hobby or leisure thing rather than another job that requires a daily post.

I’m also not sure if I will be able to trade all that much yet either.  We’ll have to see how it goes.  I’m hoping that will change in the near term too, but work dictates all.

With all this said, I have been doing some card stuff here and there.  Mostly it’s been buying boxes, a couple of COMC adventures, and a few singles here and there.  I have a ton that I want to get rid off but I just need to get my act together.

So…stay tuned?  Again?


Watch This Space…And Our Other Spaces!

Keep a close eye on this blog, because thanks to the fine folks over at Atlanta Sports Cards


we are back in the case breaking game.  Wednesday should see the delivery of 5 Jumbo cases of 2014 Topps Series 1!

We’ll have a video break of one of the boxes (fingers crossed), plenty of scans and our twitter account will likely be going crazy.  You can find all the good stuff on there first and then we’re hitting ebay hard!

Cards Upon Cards From Cards On Cards

I moved into my house about 8 months ago.  At that time, there were a few people looking to send packages my way, but I wanted to wait until I got things semi-unpacked and I settled down.

Then I learned there was no such thing and let a couple know they could send away.

Madding from Cards on Cards was one of those people lying in wait.  He has this crazy habit of sending me things every once in a while and trading with me frequently.  This is one of those kind of random packages.  That’s why you’ll notice that all the Cardinals in my trade bait posts are already claimed.  I need something to send back his way.

Shiny goes in the middle when possible.

We begin our latest adventure with a smattering of basketball. A nice selection of current and former Bulls and a side order of Blake and Grant. Madding knows I won’t turn down cards of those non-Chicago players.  I think the Noah Production Line is a retail only parallel.  We got a review box from Panini and that didn’t have any cracked ice or whatever it’s called in there.

Don’t worry, you’ll see the rest of the Frank later

Here’s another cool Gamefly spokesman card, a couple of ragged filler Sutters, and some stickers that I needed for my album.  None of these completed a page, but I’m getting closer to finishing 2013 now.

background: Derek Lee – Former Star

Okay, on to the player collection stuff.  This here is one of the Starlin Castro Gypsy Queen Future Stars cards.  He has one in two consecutive sets. To find out which one this is, you either need to look at the back or just be familiar with the design for a particular year.  I have to do the former, but I’m not tellin’!


I think I said previously that I wasn’t going to show these puzzle pieces until it was finished.


But I lied.


I’m still missing one more piece.  Once I have that, I’ll flip ’em all over and scan the whole page so you can see this same picture in its segmented glory.

Kerry Wood is greater greater than Pitcher

If I were to name this set, it would be the “Looking at porn through AOL on Windows ’95” set. Those pictures took so long to load. Yes, kids. The pictures took a long time to load.

All I can focus on is the “game chain”

You’re going to see some of these cards a few times throughout this post.  But, you know, with different players on them.  Players I collect.  Maybe by then, I’ll have something more to say.

Paint that corner

Yup, that seems about right.  Kerry Wood’s Legacy is one of looking disturbed and pissed off on his baseball cards. Fits perfectly.

Green Leaf. There’s a joke there?

I know it’s really hard to tell, but if you look closely at the Leaf foil stamp, yo might be able to make out the green coloring.  That means it’s a parallel.  Luckily, that green foil pops in person, so I had no problems recognizing it. Or appreciating it.

Woo! D.

Opening Day! It’s well documented that I usually prefer it to the flagship design.  Time will tell if 2014 continues that trend, but 10 years ago, it was true.

sweet horizontal card

This is actually one of two Kerry Wood cards in the Upper Deck set.  The other features him as a member of the Indians.  Wood signed a 2-year deal with Cleveland after the Cubs stated they wouldn’t resign him.  Too many injuries at that point.

On to the new Hall of Famers!  I don’t know who made the numbering choices for this playing card set, but a 4?  Only a 4? Someone wasn’t playing with a full deck.

Okay, this is a little better

I remember playing with an MLB card deck as a kid. I don’t know if it was this specific one, but it might have been.  By the way, Frank has one more card in the deck, a 7 of clubs. No respect.

batting glove underneath the fielding glove?

This is an interesting one.  I had to add this promo/broder card to my spreadsheet.  It’s a pretty nice looking broder, actually.  On the back, it advertises the 1993 National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago. I did not attend.

3 pictures, but not a triple crown winner

The award in question here is Frank’s first AL MVP.  The back compares him to a couple Hall of Famers…and Lenny Dykstra….

First base coach Frank approves.

“Yeah, I’d say Frank Thomas is the Team Leader.”  That’s all I would write on the back if I were a card back writer.  And that’s why I’m not one of those.

Swing through the pain

My love for Fleer Ultra is well documented.  When you love something, you have to take the good with the bad.  And this is bad.  Really, really bad.

Still need to find a place to keep this

Madding’s package contained more than a few pleasant surprises.  This oversized beauty is one of them.  I don’t know much of anything about SuperSlam, but I now have one of their promo “cards.” I would be surprised if it actually became an actual product, but they tried.

Psst. Your bat’s upside down

From big to little. Here’s a tiny sticker. One that won’t be going into any album.  Partly because I don’t have the corresponding album, but mostly because even if I did, I wouldn’t be attempting to complete such an older set.  I’m still focused on my 2013 sticker set, thank you very much.

Don’t forget to “diamond” your T

I don’t know if this truly is Bowman’s “Best.” I’m not a big fan of the yellow. It’s a bit obnoxious.  Good on them for trying something different, but just not my style.

Oh, good. It’s certified. No need to worry.

This is better.  Bland, but better.

Certify that!

Imagine how much better this card would be if the box in the background made way for an acetate window.

I will NOT peel off

Why didn’t the Select Certified have protective covers?  I guess Pinnacle just has that extra step of certification.

he’s depressed you called him “common”

I know virtually nothing about this year of Score cards, but it shouldn’t be so hard on itself.  This isn’t just a “common” checklist. It has a Hall of Fame player on it. Star checklist. Star.

Still ain’t peeling

Speaking of “common” cards, this is one of those years where Finest came in Bronze, Silver, and Gold with varying degrees of difficulty.  I’m glad they stopped that practice. Clearly this is a bronze, but Frank has a silver and gold (along with the even tougher parallels).

He wasn’t so Smiley after that

I opened a box of this stuff, but I guess I didn’t find Thomas in my 36 packs. I’m dreading having to find the Tony Gwynn from this set, because he’s one of the 5 super short printed cards needed to win the $1 Million prize.  Hmmm, I wonder if the print run was announced on those. If it’s less than 50, I won’t have to worry about it anymore….

the ball could use some etching on the outline

What’s better than Stadium Club? Stadium Club Chrome, of course. Even a blah design like this is made instantly better.

There’s the etching

What’s better than Bowman? Bowman Chrome, of course.  Well, also just about anything else, too. This 2001 design is pretty good one, though. It’s actually distinguishable and incorporates some color.

striking fear in…someone…?

Evidently Frank Thomas’ game face is a very, very tired one. One that asks, “Am I really happy in life?”

It’s closing in on me

Again, an acetate background would be killer.  Also less border. Much less border.

Still have some Maggs relics for trade

I think some card company is due to make some team leaders cards again. Honestly, I just want to see more subsets in general again.

Really Big Hurt

I believe this was part of some hobby store promotion. I could be wrong. I also don’t know how the promotion worked. Since the set is Flashback Fridays, I guess they had cards or packs on Fridays that most shops kept for themselves and sold on the internet.

Two that matter reach 500 home runs

Here’s another big surprise. Cabinet card big. I don’t know how to store this guy yet either. One of these days I’m going to have to buy some supplies for these oversized (and mini) cards.

Got the Jordan tongue move working

See, it’s a special edition, because the pitcher is batting.  And it kind of looks like he got a hold of one! The professor did hit 5 career home runs, but none as a Brave until 1999.

I bet the parallels look great

Pitcher faces are so ugly sometimes.

look out behind you

I’m getting a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde vibe from this card. Either that or a Steve Urkel/Stephon Urkell vibe.

I vote blue border in 2015

Along with subsets, I’d like to see another colored border from the flagship set again.  I think we’re about due. The last one was 2008, right?

I wasn’t allowed to wear my uniform for MY senior photo…

Greg’s game face is also known as “The Friendly Neighbor.”

8weeP Sigs

Yup, that is one sweet sig.  Wait. Where’s the sig?  I don’t even see a cig.  Not sweet. Not sweet at all!

It’s supposed to look cut down the middle

Okay, I want another one of these some day.  I’m afraid to mess with this flapper card, but I want to.  There’s some sort of folding, puzzly type thing going on here and I want to make some origami.

Now, That’s not the entire package from Madding, either.  He also sent along nearly 50 new Tony Gwynn cards, which equates to about 1/7th of my collection, all in one big chunk.  I feel like that deserves a separate post.  So, that’s what I’ll do.  Sometime.  I also hope I can make it up to Madding in future return packages, because this is amazing stuff.

Weekly Trade Bait #12 – Birthday Boxes Week 4 of 11

I’m back with what I hope will be a regular series.  Did you miss the other installments?  Well, you can either scroll down a couple posts or check out the “Trade Bait” link at the top of the blog.  There’s a 1/1, some other low numbered parallels and a few good autos among others in there. Dale Murphy relic, anyone? Also, stickers!

I’m not even going to pretend like this can remain a weekly thing, but I just don’t have the heart to rename the sucker.  If you missed it last time, there were a lot of hits in week 3.  I don’t think the odds are with us to have it happen two times in a row, but let’s find out.

Studio 7

Josh Beckett
Ambiorix Concepcion
Lance Berkman
Joe Mauer – Studio Stars – CLAIMED
Roy Halladay
Bret Boone

The things you miss when you stop following baseball closely for several years.  Ambiorix?  I think I’ve been prescribed that before.

Studio 8

Grady Sizemore
Edgar Renteria
Ervin Santana
Yorman Bazardo – Studio Proof #/100
Jeff Niemann
Brian Giles

Hey, that studio proof is pretty cool.  Too bad there aren’t too many Bazardo/Marlins collectors around, so I don’t expect to see it leave my house soon.  You never know.

UD Piece of History 7

Daisuke Matsuzaka
Jose Reyes
CC Sabathia
Brandon Jones – Sticker Auto #/499
Heath Phillips
Joe DiMaggio – Yankee Stadium Legacy – Game 1317
Cotton Gin
Human Genome Project

Hey, another hit!  This is the one per box auto.  Could be better, but maybe a Braves fan wants it.

Pinnacle 7

Ichiro – TRADED
Jason Kipnis
Eric Hosmer
Kirk Nieuwenhuis – Sticker Auto
Shelby Miller – Team 2020 – CLAIMED
Felix Hernandez
Avisail Garcia
Mike Olt – CLAIMED

Back to back!  I don’t know much about Kirk other than his last name is tough to spell.  I wish the Team 2020 looked more like the Team 2000 from 1992 Pinnacle.  Gold foil is lacking from the set overall, which actually is better in my opinion, but this insert would have been the perfect throwback opportunity to use it.

Pinnacle 8

Troy Tulowitzki
Rickey Henderson – CLAIMED
Adam Wainwright – CLAIMED
Yadier Molina – CLAIMED
Randy Johnson – Awaiting the Call
Ryan Howard
Pablo Sandoval
Jose Fernandez

I’m sure that Rickey picture has been used many times before, but it looks great. It really stands out from the rest of the group.  That and Randy Johnson’s “head-through-the-broken-door-like-in-The-Shining” picture.

Pinnacle 9

Jesus Montero
Craig Kimbrel
Justin Morneau
Jered Weaver – Aces
Prince Fielder – Swing For the Fences
Josh Reddick
Tyler Skaggs
Denis Phipps

Yeah, 3 packs of Pinnacle this time. To space things out evenly across the weeks, most of them will feature 3 of either Pinnacle or Studio.  I don’t want to run out early.

Those inserts look great. I love the etching on the Aces and the wood grain printed on the acetate is cool, too.

Hometown 4-1

Ben McDonald
Andy Van Slyke
Roberto Alomar
Jim Rice
Tony Pena
Elvis Andrus – CLAIMED
Dan Gladden
Hunter Pence

Not much to say about this grouping. Let’s act like Danny Gladden’s hair and flow right to the next third.

Hometown 4-2

Ron Gant
Bernie Williams
Shawon Dunston
Kevin Mitchell
Alan Trammell
Tom Seaver
Carlos Gonzalez
Alex Rodriguez

Interesting choice to put Seaver with the White Sox here. It makes for a cooler uniform, though.

Hometown 4-3

Kevin Youkilis
Lance Berkman
Andy Pettitte
Goose Gossage
Todd Helton
Brandon Phillips – Sportdiscs
Nolan Ryan – Nicknames – CLAIMED
Justin Verlander – Curtain Call

I switched the order of the cards around a bit to accommodate the lenticular disc, but not like you care. I don’t know if I’m sold on the Curtain Call insert. The other inserts, I like.  There are supposed to be 4 discs total in the box. If the checklist wasn’t so large, it might be worth collecting.  Instead, I’ll let you guys have at it.

For the Greater Wood – Part 2

Alright, I’m back with the second installment of my giant trade with Fred.  If you missed the first part, check out that post here.  There’s some pretty fascinating stuff in there.  Of course, there’s some fascinating stuff down here too.

The first round was mostly 1997 & 1998 cards with a couple ’99s sprinkled in.  All of these will be ’99s and it’s not even all of them.  Not even close.  I told you this trade was huge.  And amazing.

Enough talk, let’s dig right back in.

Fleer Fingerprints

Those Brilliants cards don’t scan so…brilliantly.

Haha!  Yes! Starting off strong with the jokes.

pitching in the clouds

The blue versions scan a little better, but the true glory comes in seeing it in person.  I can’t wait to see the gold version.

could be a little brighter

Illuminators?  I prefer the Illusionators.

better than the existing RC logo

I really don’t understand the Fleer Tradition label.  The name suggests they should be Heritage-like, but I don’t recognize this design from their history. Although it’s better than a rehash of 1991.

Topps Five Star? Pssh. Try Fleer Ten Star

Here’s a “Vintage ’61” version of the same card.  I guess this is the Tradition part, but enh. An insert does not a brand make.

in the future, all text will be vertical

Franchise Future?  We hoped.  It looked that way for a while, but it didn’t exactly turn out the way we hoped.  Still, he’s a fan favorite and that’s just as good if not better.

Gee, if only there were a card to highlight his 20K game

Hey fellow 1999 guys.  Remember last year when Kerry Wood was a rookie?  Let’s flashback to that time.

Pre-cursor to the Cheerio’s rap commercial

I know it’s a little hard to see, but yes, that’s a hip-hop fly.  And no, I don’t get it either. I’m pretty sure the John Leguizamo “House of Buggin‘” fad was long-over by then.

Erry W with the Icago Ubs

I love the Metal Universe cards.  The only drawback I see is the super thin and super floppy card stock.  Something with this much etching and pizzazz needs a Flair-like heft to it.

you’re under arrest for driving with tinted foil on your cards

Okay, I know you can’t really see anything, but I promise there’s a card there.  This is from the subset called MLPD.  I have absolutely no idea what that’s supposed to stand for.  I checked the back of the card, but that gave me no clues either.  “Metal League Police Department” was the closest I can come up with.  What’s your guess?

coincidence that there’s a hypnotic pattern?

Again, you likely can’t read it, but the insert is called Neophytes.  I know that baseball is a religion to some people, but I’d still call that a stretch.  Maybe the “cool” new pope can convince me otherwise.

The “P” stands for Pacific. Probably.

Moving away from Fleer and on to Pacific.  What a drastically different approach to card making these companies had.  On the whole, I like Fleer more.

By the way, smile count in this post is still zero

I like some of the stuff that Pacific did, but in general their product lines feel cheap.  It could be the card stock. It could be something about the printing press.  All I know is that there’s a certain polish that’s missing and it’s like I’m looking at elaborate broders most of the time.

You spelled “Invisible” wrong on your see-through card.

Even with cool cards like this, where we have this acetate (?) circle and foil and whatnot going on, there’s this strange quality about it that tells my brain “unprofessional” instead of “fully-licensed, legitimate baseball card.”  I wish I could put it into words.

Pacific Appropriate Name

Prism is still cool.  Hell, most of these cards are still cool.  By the way, this is Prism before it got into the crazy pattern variations that are completely indistinguishable without a guide.  All I have to worry about here are several colored variations.

Pacific 20th Century Fox

That nameplate makes me want to play some Rainbow Road on Mario Kart.

Sci-fi hologram Wood selected

And this one makes me want to play some scrabble.  This rack is primed for a double-word score.

Get our your magnets

Card companies loved their metal tie-ins back then.  Metal Universe.  Molten Metal. Precious Metal Gems. Stars N Steel.  This is a poorly scanned example of the second.


Some of those metal cards are actually metal.  Like this promotional sample of the Xplosion parallel set. I love getting sample cards like this.  It reminds me of my younger collecting days.  Promo cards like this always felt more special, probably because of my perceived rarity.

What Wheaties font rip-off?

Well, for a postcard-themed subset, I guess they chose the best picture they could.  It almost looks like he’s waving.  Almost.

Since when did thunder = yearbook backdrop

Skybox bringing the thunder.  That is the loud noise that actually in and of itself does no damage and can’t possibly hurt you.  An omen void of much substance.  Skybox was fond of thunder. They had a cool double-sided basketball insert revolving around thunder and lightning, too.

No, seriously, what Wheaties rip-off?

Guh?  I wonder if the Barry Bonds card (if there is one) also says “All Natural.”  It’s a nice touch putting the vital stats in the front like that, but why is this happening?  Why “Unleashed” instead of, oh I don’t know, “Unboxed.”

Dirt color. That’ll draw them in.

We’ve seen this set not too long ago.  Except there was some dude’s writing all over it.  I think it looks better with a little penmanship. Otherwise, it’s just

Just a rounded box

When you have a set married with a sports magazine brand, I expect something better than this.  I expect something closer to original Stadium Club in photo quality. I expect a little bit of eye-catching in my design. I don’t expect this.

A sample rounded box

Kerry Wood was a popular choice for promotional samples back then.  Remember, he was basically THE rookie in the NL.  Or at least I assume he was.  I could be wrong. I’m a little biased.

Obligatory highlight card

Yikes.  I guess those dots are supposed to be lights from a marquee or something, but boy is it hideous.  And again, not becoming of a professional magazine brand in my opinion.

Ball punch!

Here’s the other THE rookie paired with Kerry Wood.  Neither had remarkable careers.  I honestly don’t know what became of Grieve.  Hell, he may still be playing and I wouldn’t know it if he’s in the AL.  All I can say for certain is that he’s not a household name.

OoooOOOooo, Spoooky headliiines

It’s a nice touch to include a related article in the background.  Related in that it appears to be about the Cubs, but likely not about Wood.  I see Michael Jordan’s name in there and the rest may be related to Sosa and McGwire’s HR battle.  Eh. Still Chicago.

Would be better if the foil guy was pitching to match

Man, SPx cards look nice.  Not every year, mind you, but when they get it right, they really get it right.  Some of the best stuff that Upper Deck puts out.  We’ll see more SPx in the near future from other trades, but this is a good example of a fancy foiled up card.

I’m not too familiar, but I enjoy

Here’s the last of the bunch.  30 was a nice round number and it just seemed like a natural idea to stop right before the major Topps & Upper Deck barrage.

Oh, by the way, the smile count for this entire post was zero.  Better luck next time?  There’s still plenty left to turn things around.  Stay tuned!

State of Affairs

Quite a bit has happened since my last blog post, and a lot will likely happen in the next couple weeks, so I thought it best to give a quick rundown.

Since my last post, work has kicked my ass.  It’s a finicky position where I don’t fully know when I will be extremely busy and when I will be merely very busy.  Lately, it has been the latter, leaving the smallest of margins for anything card related.

Then, this past weekend, rain fell down on top of the 8-10 inches of snow that resided on my flat roof and found a hole big enough to seep into my house.  Luckily, nothing important got ruined. No personal possessions of any kind were affected, but the water did make its way down past the third floor to leak and drip on the second floor.  Water ran down inside the walls, and got in between the levels and soaked an isolated spot of our bedroom carpet from underneath. It could have been worse, and hopefully our insurance will cover most everything, but there’s a lot that still needs to be done to fix things.

Thankfully, this occurred at a time when work is slowing down.  Hope it stays that way for the near future.

Oh, and two of my player collection guys were elected into the Hall of Fame.  Yup, my collecting habit just got a little bit more expensive.  I knew this time would come.  Luckily, I have a good head start.  With over 1,000 unique Greg Maddux cards and close to 500 unique Frank Thomas cards, I’m in good shape.  Still a long way to go, and I hope to boost those numbers even higher in 2014.

Okay, so that’s where I’ve been (mostly at my desk working, partly scrambling to put buckets and pails on floors, some quiet celebrating to myself).  Where am I going?

Well, first, I hope to complete more trades. I’ve been tough to get a hold of lately. I can’t guarantee I’ll be around regularly, but I can make a better effort.  I also have more trades in my possession to show off.  A lot of big trades.  I have part 2 of my “Greater Wood” just about ready, but there are several other scan heavy exchanges to come.  I’m really excited about a lot of these cards.

I’m going to get back to the trade bait posts.  I’m done opening the packs, and you don’t want to miss some of the great finds in those birthday boxes.

I also have my Christmas cards to unwrap.  My wife gave me $100 to do as I pleased. I made my first COMC purchase with it and got..well, you’ll see.  It’s still at the post office, so I’ll see soon too.

But the biggest news is that Andy and I are going to getting back into case breaking!  Yes, after a year hiatus, we think we can actually devote the time to rip a few products.  The even better news is that we’ve dissolved the corporation and it’s all out of our real pockets, so we’ll have more leeway than before.

First stop in the case train is 5 Jumbo Cases of 2014 Topps Series 1.  Go big or go to your crappy, water damaged home. That’s what we always say!

Be sure to stay tuned here, and on twitter. We’ll be talking about the break and posting links to our ebay auctions (still hoping to make a profit, after all).  I’m excited!

Weekly Trade Bait #11 – Birthday Boxes Week 3 of 11

I’m back with what I hope will be a regular series.  Did you miss the other installments?  Well, you can either scroll down a couple posts or check out the “Trade Bait” link at the top of the blog.  There’s a 1/1, some other low numbered parallels and a few good autos among others in there. Also, stickers!

I’m late again with this supposedly weekly post, but I’m still here.  What can I say other than my work has been all sorts of time-consuming lately.  The good news is we’re hiring help, but it may take some time before things really get back to a normal (read only 8-10 hr/day instead of my current 10-16) schedule.

Anyway, here’s week 3 of my pack busting adventures. As always, all Cardinals are going to Madding and all Rangers to Play at the Plate unless they tell me otherwise, because I am deeply in dept to both of them.

Studio 5

Adam LaRoche
Danny Graves
Miguel Tejada
Maury Wills – Portraits – Zenith Blue #/55
Adrian Gonzalez – CLAIMED
Khalil Greene

My first thought is that I just found our best Portrait card so far.  That blue border makes it that much better.  I don’t think I’ll be able to keep this for long.  Second thought: Adrian Gonzalez was a Ranger?

Studio 6

Hee Seop Choi
Craig Monroe
Jeff Bagwell
Yuniesky Betancourt
Albert Pujols – CLAIMED
Jimmy Rollins
Dale Murphy – Studio Heritage relic #/250

Not only did I get an extra card, but it’s a sweet numbered relic of a maybe should be Hall of Famer.  By the way, I’d put Bagwell in that category too.

UD Piece of History 5

Vernon Wells
Grady Sizemore
Hunter Pence
Ian Kennedy
Bill Murphy
Boston Tea Party
USS Enterprise
Mark Buehrle/Johan Santana – Cut From the Same Cloth #/799
Kerry Wood – Stadium Scenes Jersey Red – NOT FOR TRADE

Second pack with an extra card and the second pack with a relic.  You can see that I’m showing the back this time once again because it’s going into my personal collection.  How often do you pull a hit of a guy you collect?  I’ve done it a couple times, but I gotta say it never gets old.

UD Piece of History 6

Magglio Ordonez
Joe Blanton
Scott Rolen
Jose Morales
Colt Morton
The World’s Fair
Wright Brothers
Vernon Wells – Franchise History #/699
Lance Berkman – Franchise History Jersey Gold #/99

Wow! This is turning out to be hit week!  With 8 weeks to go, it’s a little sad we couldn’t spread it out a bit more.  Still, that’s a really nice Berkman relic no matter when it shows up.

Pinnacle 5

Matt Wieters
Jeff Samardzija
Carl Crawford
Clayton Kershaw
Miguel Cabrera – Position Powers
Brandon Phillips
Austin Jackson
Jake Odorizzi

I wish the Cubs would just trade Samardzija already.  I don’t trust his ability to be an ace for the club, but a lot of GMs may think he has that potential.  Let’s milk that.

Also, anyone know the reason Wieters has no Topps cards?

Pinnacle 6

Billy Butler
Kevin Youkilis
Lucas Duda
Adrian Gonzalez
Alex Rios – Position Powers
Johan Santana
Jose Altuve
Gerrit Cole

An Alex Rios insert?  Yeesh.  Did I really read that Youk is heading to Japan?  Say hi to Matt Murton for me.

Hometown 3-1

Yadier Molina – CLAIMED
Jack Morris
Kerry Wood – NOT FOR TRADE
Fred Lynn
Mike Scott
Andre Dawson
Jim Palmer
Jody Davis
Josh Reddick

Hey Hey! Another Wood for me!  A lot of Chicago in the first third. Not a bad thing.

Hometown 3-2

Ellis Burks
Pedro Martinez
Gerrit Cole
Skip Schumaker – CLAIMED
Andres Galarraga
Ken Griffey Jr. – CLAIMED
Jordan Zimmermann

Another Cole rookie, too.  He’s going to still be good next year, right?

Hometown 3-3

Buddy Bell – Hometown Signatures – CLAIMED
Dave Parker – Nicknames Gold
Dave Parker – Nicknames Black
Miguel Cabrera
Garrett Jones
Jake Peavy
Tom Browning
Clayton Kershaw

Hit week ends with a bang! The first of three autos will be heading to Play at the Plate and it’s a neat looking signature to boot.

Each insert has a gold and black bordered version, with the black being the rarer of the two types.  Odd to find both for the Cobra, but at least the colors seem appropriate for a Pirates guy.

I Went To Baseball Games!

Yup.  I went to several Cubs games this year.  I actually personally bought tickets for the first time ever this past year.

Normally I only go to games when other people offer up an extra ticket, which is fine by me.  But, when the Cubs give out exclusive baseball cards and they offer up a 6-game packet that would net you the full set over 4 of those games, then why not?

Well, because you never know what life will throw your way is why not.  Out of the 6, I went to 3.1 of them and only 1.1 of those netted me cards.  For one of the giveaway days, I decided to take an extended 4th of July weekend and visit my brother. For another, I tragically had to deal with my new puppy’s hospitalization and passing.

That .1 game was a game I meant to go to and took the day off of work to attend, but the people indirectly pay my salary scheduled a very important client call that I needed to be on without a sea of drunk fans in the background.  Soo…I went to the stadium, met Andy for lunch at Wrigley after getting our cards at the door (very happy Connie’s pizza is no more at Wrigley, by the way), and then had to leave to get back on the bus and back home before my call.  I didn’t see the first pitch, but I got the last set of 20 cards.

All in all, we have the second half of the giveaway set.  This actually differs from the set that the season ticket holders get, because those have a foil stamp on them.  These do not.  Still, this version is limited to 10,000.

Abra los ojos

Here’s one of them.  Only 3 out of the 40 fit into my player collections, so this will be short.  If I were to show this card without any explanation, you would likely believe I was merely showing a Topps Heritage card since the photo is so similar.  Observe:


See?  Pretty close to the same.  I definitely like the other giveaway version more.

Bound for the Hall

So, the name of the set is Cubs Topps Archives.  I bet you can guess what the overall theme of the set is.  The card backs all mimic the same design, but the fronts are like another iteration of CYMTO, Archives, Heritage, and the like.

pfft, Braves. That’s not the Cubs

Compare to the Heritage version and the match isn’t nearly as close.  I still prefer the 2013 card.  I even think it’s better than this Topps Gallery card below.

pfft. Drawings. That’s not even real people.

And more than this Fleer knock off below

Not their tradition

Yup.  The Cubs one is the best out of the group.

“Do you see the colors, too?  Trippy”

Lastly we have the 1972 design.  Greg didn’t have a mini version in this year’s set, so I can’t compare it to anything in my collection so far.  Except…

The “Bronze” parallel?

Okay, it’s not really a comparison as much as it is a picture of the same card.  Each card has a ticket counterpart.  I’m not planning on collecting these stubs.  I just happened upon this one from another game I went to this year.  It’s not from one of the giveaway games (I can’t afford such good seats and my tickets didn’t have pictures), but rather a different game offered to me by a former co-worker.  My old boss had season tickets.  And yes, I asked about his set. And no, I ain’t getting it.

The hunt continues for those as well as the cards from the first half of the giveaway set.

Weekly Trade Bait #10 – Birthday Boxes Week 2 of 11

I’m back with what I hope will be a regular series.  Did you miss the other installments?  Well, you can either scroll down a couple posts or check out the “Trade Bait” link at the top of the blog.  There’s a 1/1, some other low numbered parallels and a few good autos among others in there. Also, stickers!

A day late, but not a pack short.  Let’s get right into the good stuff.  Here’s week 2 of my pack busting adventures. As always, all Cardinals are going to Madding and all Rangers to Play at the Plate unless they tell me otherwise, because I am deeply in dept to both of them.

Studio 3

Zack Greinke
Preston Wilson
Gustavo Chacin
Mark Prior – Portraits – Zenith Sepia  B&W #/40 – CLAIMED (Miriam)
Cristian Guzman
J.J. Putz

3 packs, 3 portraits.  I know this won’t keep up, but I wish it would. Oh, and by the way, Preston Wilson wants YOU to claim some of these cards and trade me some of yours.

Studio 4

Tony Pena
Scott Podsednik
Rafael Furcal
Vinny Castilla
Alfonso Soriano – CLAIMED
David Ortiz – Masterstrokes Die Cut #/150

Hasn’t been a bad couple weeks for the Red Sox.  I’m pretty sure there are non-die cut versions of this insert, too.

UD Piece of History 3

Phil Hughes
Matt Holliday – RESERVED (Madding)
Josh Hamilton – CLAIMED
Justin Morneau
Bill White – CLAIMED
Rob Johnson
Gettysburg Address – CLAIMED (PATP)
Justin Upton – Stadium Scenes Red #149

I think my favorite aspect of this box is the numbered card in virtually every pack.

UD Piece of History 4

Jonathan Papelbon
Alex Gordon
Mark Teixeira
Rich Harden
Joe Koshansky
Bronson Sardinha
Battle of the Alamo  – CLAIMED (PATP)
Chase Utley – Box Score Memories Red #149

Hey, look at that! Two more rookies I’ve never heard of!  The Utley helps ease the pain of that a little bit.

Pinnacle 3

Shane Victorino
James Shields
Matt Harvey
Elvis Andrus – CLAIMED
Albert Pujols/Frank Thomas – Team Pinnacle – NOT FOR TRADE
Adam Jones
Henry M. Rodriguez
Jaye Chapman

Alright! I finally got a card for my collection.  Sure it looks like a Pujols card, but it’s actually double-sided.  The reverse is a non-foil picture of Frank.  There are two versions of each of these.  The other will have Frank in foil. TBD if I find that in the box.

Pinnacle 4

C.J. Wilson
Dayan Viciedo
Ricky Nolasco
Yoenis Cespedes
Derek Jeter/Cal Ripken Jr. – Team Pinnacle
Zack Greinke
Mike Zunino
Kyuji Fujikawa

Two Cubs rookies in two packs.  I hope Fujikawa comes back strong next year. If so, it will be like signing a free agent in the off-season.  You know, one that we’re paying out the ass for already.

Hometown 2-1

Willie Horton
Ryne Sandberg
Curt Schilling
Kent Hrbek
Cole Hamels
John Kruk
Ian Kinsler – CLAIMED
Pat Burrell

Phillie heavy first third.  By the way, is Schilling really a Hall of Fame caliber guy? I don’t get that impression thinking back on his career at all.

Hometown 2-2

Frank Thomas – NOT FOR TRADE
Roy Halladay
Shawn Green
Pablo Sandoval
Alex Gordon
Stephen Strasburg
Mike Schmidt
Dan Petry

Boy, Philly is still coming through big time in this pack.  I also got another Frank.  I’m showing the back, because I’ll showcase all my personal collection finds individually in a separate post when I’m all done.

Hometown 2-3

Mike Greenwell
Ian Kinsler – State Parallel – CLAIMED
Ken Griffey Jr. – Defining Moments – CLAIMED (Nick M.)
Jose Bautista
Willie McGee – CLAIMED
Bryce Harper
Ben Zobrist
Bo Jackson

Only 2 inserts/parallels in this pack.  I looked to see if I got an SP as a third non-base, but it doesn’t appear to be so.  Interesting that I found both Kinslers in the same stretch.  I’m hoping Brian enjoys that bit of luck.

Alright, Bo knows we have 9 more weeks of pack busting fun still ahead of us.  Until then, claim away and I’ll be back with another post at some point in my life!

For The Greater Wood – Part 1

Second post in a row with a preamble.  You may have noticed that there’s no blogroll on the side anymore.  We did some wordpress updating and moved our hosting and it didn’t port over.  I’m slowly working to find a good plugin to create a new blogroll, and hope to have it back up shortly.

And now our feature presentation.

I mentioned back in September that this blog was about to see a flood of Kerry Wood cards.  Well it turns out the flood is so large I can’t wade through it all at once.

Reader Fred contacted me about a trade a few months back.  He said he had a bunch of doubles he could send my way for nothing and would I trade for some others as well?  Of course I would.

In fact, in order to complete the trade, I did something I haven’t done since I was a kid.  I traded cards without having extras.  I took cards out of my binders and off my have list to send to Fred.  There may be some older posts with missing pictures now because I deleted those as well now that the cards are gone.

That was the only way to do it in the early days.  I would go to my neighbor’s house with my binders and we would take out the cards we wanted and then work out a swap and then re-binder everything.  It’s refreshing in a way.  Especially when you get a lot more than you give up.

Sure, I’ll give up a few unique (to me) cards for the greater good.  Or greater “Wood” in this case.

By the way, any Kerry Wood collectors that want to trade with Fred, let me know and I’ll make that connection.

Let’s dig in to part 1 of this madness.

The storm clouds are brewing behind him – get ready for the storm

We start off with the current second oldest card Kerry Wood card in my collection.  It’s a sort-of generic minor league-type issue.  And also possibly one of the last to showcase him smiling.

Why is there a monopoly hotel on my baseball card?

Woah.  Wood’s sporting Maddux numbers.  Can’t wear that in the bigs, son.

Horizontal lightning bolt – part of the storm.

Talk N’ Sports: combining phone cards with cards cards since…I don’t know when.  Also putting apostrophes in awkward places.  Or is it omitting them?  Technically there should be one on the other side to take the place of the “I.”

1 in 50 pack pull

Hmmm…an acetate card that’s not see-through.  What gives?  Well, it turns out that Kerry Wood was the Puig/Strasburg/Harper of 1998.  Fleer shoehorned a redemption card into packs to take advantage of the fever.  You send this bad boy in and receive…

The real deal

this bad boy.  Or, shiny clear card of a man.  Seeing the redemption card was a nice surprise, especially since I didn’t know it existed.  Getting the before and after is even better.

Again, the non-close-up close-up version

We’ve seen these cards before.  Well, not these cards, but versions of these cards.  Redder versions.  These are the regs and I’m afraid I don’t have much else to say about them.

big honkin’

Yep. I got nothing.






The Plus stands for more foil.

Hooray for shiny rookie cards!  I promise that’s what it says.

Someone went crazy with the glitter gun

Hooray for much, much shinier cards.

Even the rivets are on fire!

So, the name of this insert is “Major League Icons.”  But what I see is a pitcher burning in flames, so I would probably use that little feature.  Hot Stove.  Spittin’ Fire.  Burning Alive.  Something like that.

Watch yo self

Future Watch?  Is that like that google phone watch thing?  Can I make calls on this card?  oOOOOOOooo, is this a Talk N’ Sports card?

Very shiny AAA card

Upper Deck minor league cards.  SP Top Prospects looks a lot better than Bowman.

Small town hero, big time spotlight

This is an insert card.  It would be nice if there were more separation in style from the rest of the set.

Should have taken this about an hour earlier

Especially when you have a subset card like this that looks nearly identical.

Different foil colors means it’s different.

You all remember this card.  Within a very short period of time, I got 4 versions of the Topps Stars card after never seeing it previously.  This here’s the silver version.  There are still 4 more versions to track down.  My guess is I won’t see them for a long time.

I have Droopy in the crosshairs

We’ve seen these recently, too.  I don’t understand UD3, but I do know that there are 3 regular versions of this card and this is more silvery.  The versions don’t have specific names, which drives me nuts.

Goose! Maverick! Take the shot!

I mean, the colors are different, and it’s a different “main” picture, but it’s still tough to label these suckers.  All I need now are the die cut versions of the three and I can put the set behind me. Oh, except for when it comes to Maddux, Thomas, and Gwynn.

Drink Slurm

If Upper Deck wanted to really make this card the right way, it would be Kerry’s head in a jar.  Of course, they’d have to wait a year for the cartoon show to start airing, but c’mon!  They’re supposed to be innovators!

No, it’s Iowa

Woah.  Is it just me, or does this card give you a whole “other side” feel.  There’s the tunnel of light, the aura surrounding him, the ghost in the sky, the look of awe and wonder and the bright light shining on him.

Like a serial killer’s wall collage

And then we’re sent straight to hell, like Kenny in the South Park Movie.

Let the second year card barrage begin

I come into Black Diamond cards semi-regularly and they always look nice.  I’m not sure if they were meant to be more high-end back then or what.  They could be.  They’re better than Sweet Spot base cards.

Better than Best

Bowman chrome!  I hate what the brand has become, but I always feel like I’m getting something special when one shows up in my mailbox.

Exhibit A

Bowman’s Best aren’t as special to me, but I still appreciate anything chrome-like.  I’m just not too keen on the design is all.  It’s like looking at a package of 1950’s butter.

Exhibit B

Boy, I had to do a few double takes to make sure it wasn’t the same picture.  My verdict is they are different, but it shouldn’t have been this close.  Damn lazy Topps and their monopoly back in 1999.

Circle gets the square…er…ROY trophy

You know, after looking at these three cards, I’ve decided that this is actually Bowman for Kids.  Why else would it be covered in blinding primary colors and have basic shapes in the background?  You can use them for flashcards for your toddlers.

Not pictured: the flames

I cannot tell the difference between the Crown Royale years.  That should be a test for anyone wanting to work at Check Out My Cards.  Put these Crown Royale cards in chronological order WITHOUT looking at the back.  You have 30 seconds. Go!

To Peel and protect

This card is fine.  I don’t know if I would call it “Finest.”  Sorry, that’s all I got.

Nice touch on the jersey number. Subtle.

Love the pitcher’s batting stuff.  Love it.  But that in the foreground, Flair!  Showcase that!

Why can’t my yearbook photo be this cool?

I don’t know how this showcases power.  It showcases disinterest from what I can see.

Sort of like the disinterest I can feel glaring through the computer screen, so I’m cutting this off here for now.  Oh, but Fred and his monster trade will be back.  This isn’t even a third of what was sent my way.  Not even a third!  We’ve got plenty of greater Woods still to come.