If I Were To Collect: Los Angeles Dodgers Edition

[The fourteenth in a series:  I’m picking one player that I associate with a team (whether they spent the majority of their career there or not) that I would strongly consider adding to my official want lists.  They may not always be superstars, or the most popular, and honestly they may not always be my favorite player from the team, but that’s what will make this fun, no?]

It’s fun watching baseball games that matter heading into September.  It’s been a few years since that’s happened, so I’m milking it.  The Cubs are working their way through a 3-game series with the Dodgers, which could have pretty interesting playoff implications.  LA doesn’t have a stranglehold on the NL West just yet, and the Cubs certainly are not a lock for that wild card spot.  Taking the series will give both teams a tiny bit of extra breathing room.  I’m not sure what to expect, but I’m glad we’re missing Greinke this weekend (sadly still had to face a dominant Kershaw).

Retired throughout the league

Jackie Robinson is an absolute no-brainer in this category and a very good candidate to be the first to jump from hypothetical to real collection (if I ever make significantly more money than I do now).  I’ve always been fascinated by Jackie’s story.  I had a few different kids books about him (which were some of the only books I read), and even though I was never a big history guy, I made an exception when it came to #42.  It’s pretty un-explainable really.  I don’t know how a middle class white kid growing up in the ’80s can develop a connection with a person who had to struggle and face racism and oppression.  Yet, here we are.

The refractors look really nice with this design

Current player runner-upAdrian Gonzalez

It’s odd how tough this choice was.  There are a lot of “star” players on the Dodgers.  I don’t dare touch Kershaw, because the competition would be fierce and his prices are going to rise.  I don’t care to go after younger guys like Joc or Puig, because I usually wait a few years before considering a player.  Some of the other veterans just don’t strike me.  That leaves Adrian.  He’d be pretty cheap. I liked his style of play back in the Padres days (and hated when he played the Cubs), and he’s remained pretty solid, I think.  A good under the radar selection.

There should put the position in that baseball

Retired player runner-up: Orel Hershiser

Another kind of tough one.  Dodgers have a long, storied history, but aside from Jackie I don’t really have a ton of interest in collecting players from before I was born.  Orel had a pretty good career, and a really good scoreless innings stretch (which I think is still a record today?)  Plus, he has a fun name. Mouth Chocolate it is!

The Series So Far
Angels – (tie) Jim Abbott & Vladimir Guerrero
Astros
Athletics
Blue Jays
Braves – Steve Avery
Brewers – Bob Eucker
Cardinals – Jim Edmonds
Cubs
Diamondbacks
Dodgers – Jackie Robinson
Giants
Indians – Jim Thome
Mariners
Marlins
Mets – (tie) Darryl Strawberry & Dwight Gooden
Nationals/Expos
Orioles
Padres
Phillies – Mike Schmidt
Pirates –  Andrew McCutchen
Rangers – Nolan Ryan
Rays/Devil Rays
Red Sox
Reds – Eric Davis
Rockies – Carlos Gonzalez
Royals
Tigers – Alan Trammell
Twins
White Sox – Paul Konerko
Yankees

2015 NSCC #5 – Terrible Short-Term Memory

The mind is a funny thing.  I love my mind and take pride in my level of competence and ability to learn quickly.

However, the mind is also a disappointing thing, and an unreliable thing.  I’ve quickly learned that I can’t rely on the short-term memory side of my brain.

That’s why I prepared for the NSCC by uploading my checklists to my phone for quick and easy reference.  I also made some paper checklists on a notebook for easier reference of certain sets.  Yet, with all this at my disposal, I still decided to only trust my brain in some instances and ended up purchasing quite a few cards that I already had.

The good news is that it’s a pretty small percentage of the overall haul.

Let’s start by looking at some cards I already obtained through generous trades.

Pink and Brown – Yup, it’s an ’80s card.

A 1984 Topps Gwynn?  There’s no way I had that.  Well, I did, thanks to a really old trade with Hiflew.  And, it’s the only card out of this group that I posted.  Still, there are certainly worse cards to have dupes of.

Sadly, it only looks textured.  It’s not…

Here’s one from a more recent trade with reader Nick M. The trade hasn’t been posted yet (hopefully soon), so I’m going to use that as an excuse for not remembering I had the rest of these.

Not squared, but rectangled.

This card also came from Nick in that same trade package.  I got it in my head that maybe I had some of the regular X cards, but to have level 2 of the insert card?  Nah.  That’s too fancy for me.

Got it, Got it, Don’t Need it

Here’s one I got from The Angels, In Order in 2011.  It’s been in my binder a long time, but again, never reached the blog.  That’s a shame, because it’s a great card.  Well, it finally made it!  What an honor.

A prelude to E-Motion

Here’s one from The Diamond King.  I actually knew I had it, but my checklist said all the Thomas inserts from 1993 Leaf were either not part of my collection or could use an upgrade.  So, I bought ones I could find and wound up with this guy.

Someone’s about to juggle

This card came from reader Jeremy, the man responsible for my Overload series.  When a guy sends you over 1,000 cards, there will likely be a few that I don’t remember seeing.  So, now I have this duplicate – along with many other duplicates from that lot.

If I could find a NNOF for $1, I’d buy it every single time.

Now we come to the cards I had from older boxes and packs I opened at some point.  I honestly didn’t remember that I had a Thomas rookie, or if I did, I assumed it was going to be kind of beat up.  This one was in good condition.  Turns out, so was the other one I had.  Again, not a bad dupe to have, but I don’t need two.

It’s really not safe to play in the middle of the road, kids

When I looked through bins, I would create two piles. Ones I knew I needed and ones I wanted to check.  I remembered getting a Road Warriors card in my box, but I thought it was Tony Gwynn, so into the “need” pile it went.

Is it natural to waste half the card?

This card is numbered /2499.  I now have two of them, because I forgot I bought it from COMC.  My brain said, “oh, it’s numbered. I must need it.”

I bought it twice and neither was in great condition on further inspection

These last few are really painful.  It’s not that I had them and just forgot, or didn’t bother to check.  No, I already bought these cards at the National.

Blinded by the light

I’m almost positive I bought this twice from the same booth.  That’s how terrible my memory can be.

I did not dominate my memory

In this case, the the duplicate is actually peeled.  So, does it count? I could add a line to my wantlists for peeled and unpeeled….

Blinded by the white

I’ll forgive myself a little more on this one.  I saw /250 on the back and made a quick judgment call to pull the trigger.  Still, it’s disappointing I couldn’t remember buying it from someone else already.

Relegated to the corner, and the extras pile

It was really easy for my mind to look at a foil stamped number on the back and put it in the “don’t check” pile.  This one is /1250.  With a bland card like this, I also may have fallen victim to thinking that I saw it in a bin or two, but maybe passed it by.

Who needs it?

I probably checked my want lists twice with this – one for each purchase. I’m so confused by the Leaf Certified Cuts stuff, that even a card as low numbered as 599 could already be mine.  The problem is I didn’t update my lists each night.

Don’t look at me like that. Not like you threw a perfect game

Lastly, we have this Bowman refractor.  It’s usually easy for me to visualize the non-Cub/non-Brave stuff I have, and I know I don’t have many refractors overall.  Apparently I went through that thought process twice.

So, the moral of the story is that nobody’s perfect, but I really messed up.  Still, we can still turn this into a positive, because that means that everything you see here is also now trade bait.

Hooray?

Give Me A Moment

You know, I can’t really explain it, but I have a little obsession with Moments & Milestones.  The same goes for most of those stupid gimmicky sets that the majority of collectors seem to hate.  From a player collector standpoint, they are certainly annoying, but I can’t help but enjoy the extra mini-quest of it.

Also, when buying a box of this, or Tek, or Documentary, not only am I nearly guaranteed to get something I need, but I can help out a lot of my fellow player and team collecting brethren with their equally futile efforts.

I’ve personally opened nearly a case  worth of boxes if we’re combining 2007 and 2008, so I figured I’d take a “Moment” to show off some of the goods from those boxes.  Also, a long time ago, I bought a very large lot of Maddux M&Ms on ebay for super cheap.  There are way too many of those to add to this particular post, so maybe I’ll take another, larger, moment a different time.

For now, let’s play our usual game and summarize the particulars of each card’s event.

Only 37 more to go

1994 Home Run #22
June 10, 1994 – White Sox at Twins

Sitting scoreless in the top of the third inning, Scott Erickson threw a 1-2 pitch with 2 outs and nobody on.  It was a low-risk situation, but Frank made him pay as Chicago AL took the 1-0 lead on the 126th homer of his career.

No idea what to write here

Career Home Run #156
June 19, 1995 – White Sox vs. Mariners

Frank’s second home run in as many days couldn’t have come at a better time.  Tied at 5 in the bottom of the 8th, Frank blasted Bill Risley’s pitch into the stands, scoring himself and Rock Raines.

At least they change teams to fit the number

Career Home Run #472
August 6, 2006 – Athletics at Mariners

Thomas was continuing to prove his worth into August after being send to Oakland in 2006. His 24th homer of the year came in the top of the third inning, with the A’s down 2 runs to the Mariners.  Gil Meche tossed an 0-2 pitch that ended up scoring Jason Kendall and Mark Kotsay to take the first lead of the game.

199 cards? He’s as surprised as we were

Strikeout #65
June 10, 1992 – Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals

The 3rd and final strikeout of the day came in the bottom of the fourth inning.  It took 6 pitches to get Bernard Gilkey to stand looking at strike three. That started a quick 1-2-3 inning to preserve the 1-0 lead and eventually a Cubs win.

People try to sell these things for about $1 each…or more

Strikeout #170
September 11, 1992 – Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals

Again facing the Cardinals, Maddux and the Cubs worked their way to a big 8-1 lead in the 8th inning.  The first two batters singled, but Greg would strikeout pinch hitter Bien Figueroa swinging to keep the runners at first and second.

I will not be paying that much unless it’s the last 5 or 10 I need overall

Strikeout #104
July 7, 1993 – Atlanta Braves at St. Louis Cardinals

The last of 7 strikeouts on the day came against Gerald Perry in the Bottom of the 7th.  The Cardinals had a runner on second after a single and stolen base, but Perry’s swinging strike was followed by a line drive double play to avoid more runs.  The Braves would still lose, despite a complete game effort from Professor Greg.

25 out of a curious 29

Now we come to our first break in the action.  I’m not logging the parallels in the same way as my hope is that it would eventually be duplicitous.  I’m not actively seeking out the black versions, but if they come out of my pack, like this one did, then I’ll be keeping it.

so much potential for chipping

Oh, hey! Another one!  I guess I should mention that I’m open to trading the black (and blues) if someone wants them. They don’t fit into my collecting goals, so if I can turn them around for some stuff on my want list, I wouldn’t be opposed.

Back to our main event.

This will fall about halfway in the series

Win #155
May 17, 1996 – Atlanta Braves at Cincinnati Reds

Maddux earned his 5th win of the short year with 7 innings of 2 run ball.  Only throwing 101 pitches, 77 for strikes, and tallying 7 more strikeouts, it’s a little surprising he didn’t go deeper into the game.  However, the Braves were already up 7-2 by that point, with Maddux scoring a run after drawing a walk, you might as well let someone else get some work in.  The win improved the Braves’ record to 26-15, but still left them in 2nd place for the division at the time.

It’ll be really cool to see all of these bindered up

Win #188
May 6, 1998 – Atlanta Braves vs Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers suffered a 7-0 loss at the hands of Maddux and the relief staff.  Greg only allowed 5 hits, no walks, and no runs over 7 innings of “work.”  Acting as his typically efficient self, he threw 80 pitches to get 21 outs before calling it a day.  The outing lowered his ERA to 2.14, which would only get even lower throughout the next couple months.

I may even devote a small 1 inch binder to them all

Win #199
August 6, 1998 – Atlanta Braves vs Cincinnati Reds

Only one win away from a milestone, this matchup was a doozy.  The Professor dazzled the home crowd with his fourth shutout of the year.  Earning his 15th (of 18th) decision of the season seemed too easy.  3 hits, no walks, and 6 strikeouts over only 92 pitches.  I believe these types of outings are now called a “Maddux.”

Or maybe larger. Between the two years, it’ll be 500+ cards

Win #265
July 7, 2002 – Atlanta Braves vs Chicago Cubs

We skip ahead to a duel between his former (and future) team.  The Braves were able to shut out the visiting lovable losers with Maddux grabbing the win, his 8th of the year, and John Smoltz earning an astounding 31st save in early July.  Possibly more astounding is that Maddux pitched on only 3 days rest and went into the 7th inning for the second straight game.

I already need 2 binders for my existing collection of Maddux and soon will need a 3rd

Win #287
September 6, 2003 – Atlanta Braves vs Pittsburgh Pirates

It took some effort, but the Bulldog finally got himself into a sub-4.00 ERA for the first time of the season.  He was able to end the year 4 starts later with a 3.96.  This was win number 14 and of course he also made it over the 15 win mark.  It’s like he wills it to happen, and it does.  And if that weren’t enough, he also got  a hit and scored one of the 9 team runs over 4 plate appearances.

Hair not included

And we end things with two more parallels.  As you can see, I lucked out with my Gregs more than my Franks.  I actually got a few duplicates of Thomas cards that I previously got in trades or earlier boxes that I showed off in my old Home Run Derby post back in 2011, which seems impossible but true.

Thanks for making it to the end

New to 2008 were the blue parallels, which look really nice.  Again, they’re not part of my focus.  I would go completely insane if I were to try for the blue and black sets, too.  Since I’m already half-way insane, I’m trying to avoid doing anything that will prematurely overflow that cup.  Things like buying more M&M boxes….  Nah, that’s not insane.  Totally rational people buy and open boxes of this stuff too, right?

Right?

It’s a COMC X-Mas (2013, Part 4 of 5)

Welcome to the second to last part of my initial Check Out My Cards purchase.  If you’re just joining us, you can find the other parts of the countdown here, here, and here.

I bought a total of 85 serially numbered cards as a Christmas present to myself in 2013, which will be split into 5 parts for sanity reasons.  It’s not exactly intended to be a “worst to best” list.  Instead, I’ve sorted them all from cheapest to most expensive and then highest numbered to lowest.

We’re now exploring the virtual “over $1.00 box” but hopefully it’ll be worth the extra scratch.

#34

$1.05 – #/499 – 2008 Upper Deck Heroes Emerald – To start, we find our first, and only Greg Maddux card of the whole batch.  Sadly, this too is not in an ideal condition, and I hope to find a replacement someday.  Disappointing that the scans don’t always tell the whole story on a site that relies so heavily on them to make sales.

#33

$1.05 – #/200 – 2002 Fleer Tiffany – I’m showing the back of this card because there’s no difference to be seen through scans on the front.  They’ve added a little bit of gloss to pay homage to the older Tiffany sets of yore.  I’m still missing the non-gloss version (and the gold back)

#32

$1.08 – #/299 – 2000 Pacific Invincible Holographic Purple – I think this is one of my favorites of the bunch.  There’s really not a huge variance between the regular Invincible card, but that purple pops perfectly.  Also, acetate.

#31

$1.20 – #/750 – 2005 Donruss Elite Face 2 Face Red – I’m really glad there wasn’t a Face 2 Face 2 Face insert on top of this (or would it be Face 3 Face?).  I said that the black version looked good, but the red looks better.  I’m surprised card companies don’t use red foil more often.

#30

$1.24 – #/150 – 2004 Absolute Memorabilia Tools of the Trade Green – Home – Last time I told you that you’d see a similar card to this soon.  Ta da!  We have another situation where Home and Away variations exist.  They do have different card numbers, but that still doesn’t really rationalize it from my standpoint.

#29

$1.24 – #/115 – 2006 Topps Co-Signers Changing Faces Gold – Here’s another one of those Co-Signers cards featuring Kerry Wood in a supporting role.  Sets like this are going to be the death of me.  I’m really hoping I can knock a bunch of these out cheaply through a card show or card shop.  National, here I come (Editor’s Note: no luck this year…)

#28

$1.24 – #/100 – 2003 Absolute Memorabilia Tools of the Trade Spectrum – This isn’t a specifically blue parallel, but the blueprint look gives it the appropriate hue to pair with the Cubs uniforms.  Plus it’s super shiny, so how can you not like it?

#27

$1.24 – #/100 – 2004 Leaf Limited Bronze Spotlight – You may remember the drably scanned base version of this card from earlier in the countdown.  I found the rarer parallel for not much more money and the foil board makes it show up on the computer a little better.  All I’m missing now is the Silver Spotlight #/50

#26

$1.24 – #/100 – 2005 Diamond Kings Bronze – Yikes.  That painting is kind of scary.  Those piercing eyes follow you everywhere.  They’re hypnotizing me. Asking me to collect all the impossible to distinguish parallels.  Yes. Master.

#25

$1.25 – #/599 – 2012 Topps Gypsy Queen Framed Blue – I forget if the framed blues are hobby only, or retail only, or both.  I don’t ultimately care, but I do know that I really like them.  The thicker card stock. The slight shimmer in the border (reminiscent of UD Masterpieces parallels).  The raised border.  Great stuff all around.

#24

$1.25 – #/480 – 2000 Pacific Prism Holographic Gold – Some of these Prism parallels are really hard to tell apart, and you need a visual internet guide, but this was pretty easy to identify (even if COMC didn’t do it for me).

#23

$1.25 – #/350 – 2005 Playoff Prestige Prestigious Pros Green – Oh, you thought you saw the last of these, did you?  Well, that was just a trick.  I got a small jump start on my Tony Gwynn set with this green.  Tony’s smiling. He appreciates it.

#22

$1.25 – #/250 – 2005 Absolute Memorabilia Tools of the Trade Red – More Tools of the Trade.  They’re inescapable, and they always come with multiple versions.  No flashy foil this time, just a different color of ink and a pitcher relegated to the sidelines.

#21

$1.25 – #/250 – 2005 Absolute Memorabilia Tools of the Trade Red – And a batter/runner relegated to the sidelines.

#20

$1.25 – #/100 – 2003 Donruss Signature Century Proofs – Donruss Signature presumably is a product built around autographs which are (also presumably) difficult to obtain.  For instance, the Kerry Wood/Mark Prior/Ernie Banks triple autograph #/50.  Perhaps I’m just going to have to settle for this instead.

#19

$1.25 – #/100 – 2004 Leaf Limited Team Trademarks – So, before when I said all I needed for the Limted set was the silver spotlight, I wasn’t counting the inserts & hits.  If you add those in, I need 5 more cards, including a dual relic that pairs Kerry with Nolan Ryan. Looking forward to adding that some day. I already have a dual patch card of those two.

#18

$1.25 – #/100 – 2004 Prime Cuts Century – We’re getting dangerously close to the end now.  By the way, the reason there are so many Kerry Wood cards in there is because they fell into my price range most frequently.  People overvalue Starlin Castro on that site.  People probably accurately value Maddux, Thomas and Gwynn, but I’m not willing to spend that much per card most of the time.  People don’t have many Dempster or Marmol cards, and again tend to overvalue parallels/inserts.  For Kerry Wood, he has tons of cards due to his bursts of greatness, but low prices due to his injuries and lack of a chance at the HOF.  The result is a plethora of cheaper cards to pad my collection.

We’ll see even more in our last installment. Join me, won’t you?

2015 NSCC #4 – We Are Good

We Are Good.

It’s such a simple statement.  Yet, it’s an accurate one.  I’m not sure which Cubs player started using it, but I think it’s overtaken the “Let’s Go” motto that the marketing companies got paid a pile of cash to create as the victory cry this year.  And we’re crying a lot.

As of August 23rd, the Cubs were 20 games over .500.  I’m not going to do deep research on this, but the last time we ended a season that far up was 2008.  We haven’t had a winning season since 2009.  We’re currently two wins away from our total from all of last year, with a little over a month left to play.

It’s exciting to watch this team.  We assumed that these days were on their way, but it’s happening faster than I personally expected.  I’ve touched on it on a previous post, and I’m still not fully convinced that we’ll make the playoffs, but the odds are inching closer to our favor, and that’s just…fun!

What’s more exhilarating to me is the thought of what will happen in the future.  The prospects we’ve brought up this year are producing pretty well.  It’s very rare to have this level of success from highly touted young players.  To think what the team can be if you have a fully developed squad of Rizzo, Bryant, Soler, Schwarber, and Russell — well, it’s going to be a good few years.

To celebrate this 20 win cushion, let’s look at some cards I got at the NSCC from the year twenty-oh-oh (hey, I’m trying to think of “creative” ways to present all these cards – give me a little break).  I really hoped I had 20 of them to round it all out, but I fell a few short.

This refractor will look badass

Considering we are not very far removed from being a 100+ loss team (2012), and considering we’re playing with a half-rookie lineup, it’s easy to say this year certainly has been a meteoric rise.

Not quite king of the castle…yet

I don’t think we’ll be crowned division winners this year, but fingers crossed for next year.

Lift with your knees.

Our techniques still need work (I know it’s tough to read, but trust me, it says technique).  A lot of our hitters are hovering around .250, and Castro needs a big boost to get back to the .280 to .300 hitter he should be.  Still, when the development takes hold, you better watch out.

Ultimate Victory? A little premature for that

This picture is how my mind feels about this season.  Not starstruck, but it feels like I’m in an alternate dimension with all kinds of cool things happening all around me.

I don’t know what these numbers mean

I’m pretty sure people still play this game and make new cards.  I wonder what the new rookies’ stats would be

Tony’s walk range is lower than expected

I’d love to see someone try to put together a contemporary baseball collectible card game again.  Attax doesn’t count.

Love these die cuts

Okay, no one on the team is close to 3,000 hits, but Rizzo might get home run #100 this year.

So many versions I still need

And, I don’t think that we’ll have anyone winning a batting title this year.  Rizzo’s the closest and he’s at 18th with a .291 avg.

Not as shiny as you might think

Diamond Mine.  Good way to describe the Cubs farm system.  Just hope there’re still more gems to be found.

One of my favorite gold medallion parallels

Gold Medallion.  What the scouting and drafting personnel deserve for forming the Diamond Mine.

That overlap doesn’t work, but acetate is nice.

Yeah…they certainly aren’t swing kings, but it’s great to have a couple players on the team that can threaten for future HR crowns.

I think they scanned a high school text book and put a baseball player on top.

The Hit Brigade has been out in full force lately.  We’ve had a lot of high scoring games (even in the two losses to the Tigers).  Stay hot, boys.  Stay hot.

I dare someone to try these in their computer

Don’t worry, we’re almost done with this exercise.  Power through it.

Looks like a slide show’s a comin’

I don’t know about the Statitude, but there is a palpable chemistry with this team.  They have a great attitude and use that to come back, or at least close big deficits.

What a great moment that must have been to watch

I don’t recall any specific curtain calls during games this year, and maybe that’s a good thing.  We go about our business and let the next guy have his own moment.  Of course, there have been a lot of close games and walk-offs, so maybe all the curtain call worthy moments came at the end anyway.

Hate to show a Cardinal in this Cubs love fest

As I’ve said, I don’t necessarily think this year is the year.  I’ll be thrilled if I’m wrong.  Regardless, this team has me excited about the future and I’m hopeful that a decade from now, we’ll be reflecting on a great period in Cubs history.

A Quick Trade Post Diversion

Before my involuntary hiatus, I made quite a few trades.  I’m still not sure if I’m fully ready to start up the trading again, even though I’d love to, so for now I’ll have to make due with posting these older trades from over a year ago.  Take this trade with Red Sox Fan in Nebraska.  I don’t know what I sent over to him, but I’ll assume it was Red Sox related.  Seems like a pretty safe guess.

Anyway, what’s more important are the cards I got in return, and I got some pretty good ones.

Buh-Bam!

I love this fist pump shot.  It’s easily one of my favorite Marmol pictures.  It’s becoming increasingly tough to get new Carlos cards.  That’s what happens when you have over 50% of them and people care so little about the player to even search their common boxes.  So, stuff like this is much appreciated.

It’s okay, the ball won’t hurt you

You can’t tell me this was the best World Series picture they could find.  Look at that face.  I will say that the blurred background and the lack of depth of field is a nice touch.

Champion Fielder?  Are we sure that’s the label we want?

Wait! Stop!  Don’t slide into second base until I have the ball!  What’s that? It got past me?  Can we have a do-over?  Castro’s had a rough time, but I’m glad he wasn’t traded (so far).  He has the potential to be a .300 hitter again, and maybe the move to second will help his defense a little bit since he won’t have to rush his throws as often.  I can dream, right?

Rivet-ing. Yes, I’ve used it before, and I’ll use it again!

Why do Pacific cards look so tacky?  It’s such an unexplainable thing.  There are quality design elements here – the jewel inset, the foil flames and the font for the name, and the picture selection are sold.  But put together as a cohesive whole and it looks like a knock-off brand.  Pacific is the Apple Jills cereal of baseball cards.

Going crazy with the shading and shadow effects

Not that this is much better.  Fleer Tradition has a tradition of making boring horizontal inserts with a lot of unused empty space.  Showing a landscape of a foggy mini golf course isn’t enough to hold my interest.

Forever tied together in baseball history

I see the Baseball Heroes set as a stealthy threat. It’s a ninja.  You forget about it.  Your nostalgia causes you to let your guard down. But it will punish your want lists.  It’s easy to take notice of a set like Moments & Milestones, or the crazy inserts from 2005 like Studio Portraits, Sportscasters, and Polo Grounds.  Then I scroll down and see that for Tony Gwynn there are a total of 26 cards that fit my want lists.  8 of those are relics.  So many parallels.

Congrabyoolashuns!

Here’s a card that I could have sworn I had.  Back in the case breaking days, I’m sure we had dozens of these.  But those codes sold for good money, and I imagine we shipped them off to avoid typing in a bunch of codes or having the buyer claim something to reverse the charges.  Anyway, I have it now.  And I have the card pictured within the card, too.

Boy does that logo look off center

Here’s a pretty faithful reprint of the 1985 Topps card from the 2012 Archives set.  As with most reprints, the big difference is in the fonts.  There’s also a little less yellow peeking out on the left side.  Oh, and it’s glossy and the back is bright as balls.

I really like the big jersey number in the background

Absolute Memorabilia sets scare me.  They are so complex and all so similar.  If it weren’t for the fact that they have the year printed in foil on the front, I would not be able to figure out what’s what.

Shinier than pictured

This may be the “star” of the package.  Here we see the Ultra Rare version of the StarQuest insert.  I don’t know how rare that actually is, but it sounds tough.  In fact, there are 4 versions that are more common than this.  I look forward to that quest.

Thanks a lot again to Red Sox Fan in Nebraska for the great and varied trade.  Perhaps we’ll get to do it again in the future.

Back In The Good Days

This blog used to be cooler, and more interesting.  We would have various different ideas for blog posts to hopefully keep the readers engaged.  Or at least I thought we did.  We also used to be a we.  I think it’s safe to say that Andy is retired from the blog.  But that’s not what this is about.

No, instead I’m trying to reminisce about the days when I had time to run group breaks.  I tried to do a couple bigger ones a year, if possible.  It was all really an excuse for me to open some boxes (which is one of my favorite things about this hobby) while not being stuck with all of the leftovers I don’t collect.

I do still have plenty of leftovers because I never had enough clout to fully sell out, so if I ever get enough time to organize myself and feel confident in trading on a regular basis, I’ll try to offer some of those up to the group again.

We also used to hit some pretty big time cards, in my opinion.  Still, the cards I most cared about were those that could go in my collection, such as these from my long forgotten Upper Deck multi-box break of yore.

Not a terrible design – I like the name along the side

**By the way, I was wrong about the captions.  They look wrong in draft mode, but post the same as always once live. Captions will be back!**

We’ll start our journey back in time with their answer to Topps Total.  40-Man was a 1,000+ card set that not only included everyone from each roster…

Not a great design – needs some color in those bars

…but also subsets such as this studio shot to help pad out the set.  If that weren’t enough, there’s also a one-per-pack parallel.  Needless to say, my needs are still plentiful.

Never been more ready to bat

I bought the Retro because it had players I collect and also because the packs came in a collectible tin lunchbox, which was unique and an extra fun surprise.  You can tell Greg is thrilled.

A Guaranteed hit indeed

There were several different inserts, as to be expected in the product.

More products should use jersey numbers

But, as to be expected, I didn’t hit any from my guys.  I rarely did.  Still came away with three cards I needed from the box.

I used to cut off some of my scans on the side.

Powerdeck was one of the cheapest boxes, but also one of the most fun.

It’s okay, but can you put it in a computer?

Sure, you have the normal, traditional, boring cards such as these.

I guess you could, but nothing would happen, except some creases.

I mean there’s really nothing special here, is there?

Now this can be put into a computer

The big draw was with these card-sized CD-ROMs.

Probably safer to do so in a slide out tray, mind you

They came in these little mini sleeves, which was a great touch.

Still technically possible.

Has anyone tried to play these in their computer yet?  Let me know how it went, if so.

Per the grass stains, this is at least second pitch

This budget product, Collector’s Choice-esque if you will, provided a lot of inserts for others, but sadly only one card for my binders.

That looks like a face of someone who was Hit By Pitch

Another super cheap box break was Upper Deck Victory.  I’d say this was the most fun of them all.

And, I guess the face of Clutch.

There are a bunch of color parallels, and a pseudo card-game look to it.  Again, I came out somewhat surprisingly empty-handed.

A player so big, he has to crouch to fit on a card

Last, but not least was Sweet Spot.  I always wanted to open a box of that and pull one of those signed baseball suckers.  Sure, I got a less-than great signature for that hit, but it was still a blast and it’s fun to hold one in person.

Those were great memories.  I really hope I can build some more with all of you sometime soon.

2015 NSCC #3 – National, Not Regional

The experience of going to the National will really prepare and inform future expectations of the show.  Before going in, I had this weird mind set that basically anything would be available for the picking if you just looked in the right spot.

I had high hopes that I would make some really good progress on my Ryan Dempster and Carlos Marmol collections.  I’ve bought a lot of the bigger/lower numbered cards off of ebay at this point, and the majority of what’s left are base cards and high quantity parallels where I can’t rationalize paying for shipping.  That’s where I thought the National would come in.

I figured there would be plenty of vendors with team separated cheapies ready for plucking.  There were some team-based sections, but the super cheap was absent, and the less popular players were also largely absent.  That’s when it hit me.

It doesn’t make sense for a card seller to bring a bunch of cards of non-semi-stars to a show where the objective is to move inventory and make as much profit as possible.  There can’t be that many Ryan Dempster collectors out there, and there certainly can’t be many collecting Marmol – even if we are talking about a “local” show.  To add to this, many of these people will have inventory tailored to their hometown, so it again makes sense that not too many have Chicago stock in droves.

It was surprising at the time, because even a player like Kerry Wood was tough to come by.  I did well on the last day on finding stuff for him, but he’s a popular, still sought after player in this area, and very few booths carried anything of his in the bargain section.  Unless it was all scooped up before I arrived, but I doubt it.

What this all means is that I walked away from the show with only three new Dempster cards and only three new Marmol cards.  But they’re nice ones that fit my goal.

Before NSCC Dempster – 156 of 502 (31.08%)

After NSCC Dempster – 159 of 502 (31.67%)

On a side note, I’m going to stop doing the captions on the pictures.  Wordpress updated and it looks really dumb now and I can’t change it back to the way it used to be.

Yay! We start with a refractor of the 2004 variety.  To finish the chrome rainbow for this year, I only need the Gold (which was more common/unnumbered 11 years ago), and  the Red X-fractor (with a print run of 61 but also not numbered on card).  I should be able to make that happen one of these days.

Card #2 is another chrome.  In this case, I already had the refractor of this (although I’m still missing the regular Topps Chrome refractor).   Now to complete 2010 Heritage, I’m missing the black refractor, which pops up on ebay from time to time with a high starting price ($20 or so) and the advertising panel(s).

Oh wow, I’m really close to being done with all 2011 Bowman cards.  After picking up this green paper for a tiny bit of green paper, I only need the Chrome and Chrome Refractor.  Very attainable.  I bet some of you have it in your houses right now.  If so, let me know.  Maybe I should set up a most wanted list.

Unfortunately, that’s it for Dempster.  On to Marmol, where 3 cards accounts for a better percentage jump.

Before NSCC Marmol – 82 of 161 (50.93%)

After NSCC Marmol – 85 of 161 (52.80%)

See, parallels like this are much needed.  As proof, for 2011 Topps base set, I still need 5 more parallels, which accounts for a whopping 3.1% of my needs list.  I will say it’s great to see this collection get securely over the 50% mark.

From 2011 to 2012 we go.  I only need 3 more parallels for this year: the Wal-Mart, the Target, and the black border.  I’m surprised I don’t have the black version. Normally I scoop those up pretty quick.

Lastly, we have the 2013 edition of this game.  Still need 7 parallels for this set.  Yeesh! This wrapper redemption card looks really nice.  I’ve been wanting it for some time, actually, and I’m glad I got to hand pick it.

So, even though I didn’t make monumental progress with these player collections, I still made progress.  How can you be mad at that?  I guess the next step is to hit some more local shows and shops to really make serious dents.

If I Were To Collect: Atlanta Braves Edition

[The thirteenth in a series:  I’m picking one player that I associate with a team (whether they spent the majority of their career there or not) that I would strongly consider adding to my official want lists.  They may not always be superstars, or the most popular, and honestly they may not always be my favorite player from the team, but that’s what will make this fun, no?]

Growing up in the ’90s meant that baseball = Atlanta Braves.  They were absolutely dominant for a good long time, but only managed to win the World Series once in that stretch.  Still, it made for entertaining television, and they became the team I would root for in the postseason.  Not anymore, of course.  On either front.

What a rotation that was

A very large reason for the dominance was the explosive starting pitching.  Not only did they have Greg Maddux, but they also had Tom Glavine and John Smoltz (all three Hall of Famers).  I could have also picked some of their sluggers of the era, but instead I’m going with the “what could have been” choice.  Steve Avery had an incredible amount of potential, but injuries derailed him to the point of no return.  In reality, the reason I’m picking Steve is for personal reasons.  Our family collected his cards and I’d probably just keep that tradition going.

Proof positive

Current player runner-upFreddie Freeman

Basically he’s the only player I know that’s still on the team. He is still on the team, right?

Am I a snitch? Because I got stitches.

Retired player runner-upDale Murphy

Murphy didn’t get a whole lot of Hall of Fame love from voters, but the fans still appreciate his career.  I certainly remember him as one of the greats.  I also sometimes confuse him with Paul Molitor, but that’s a separate issue.  Either way, I think he’d be more fun to collect than some of the other hitters in Braves days past.

The Series So Far
Angels – (tie) Jim Abbott & Vladimir Guerrero
Astros
Athletics
Blue Jays
Braves – Steve Avery
Brewers – Bob Eucker
Cardinals – Jim Edmonds
Cubs
Diamondbacks
Dodgers
Giants
Indians – Jim Thome
Mariners
Marlins
Mets – (tie) Darryl Strawberry & Dwight Gooden
Nationals/Expos
Orioles
Padres
Phillies – Mike Schmidt
Pirates –  Andrew McCutchen
Rangers – Nolan Ryan
Rays/Devil Rays
Red Sox
Reds – Eric Davis
Rockies – Carlos Gonzalez
Royals
Tigers – Alan Trammell
Twins
White Sox – Paul Konerko
Yankees

Ginter? I barely knower!

Hey, remember how I still have a bunch of 18 month old trades to post?  I do.  The great Nachos Grande sent me some stuff a long time ago in exchange for some of the Topps online die cut thingies.  The dude loves to trade, and he’s a great trade partner.  You should all help him out with his want lists as soon as possible. Want to see what I got?  I do.

I’ve never seen someone so confused that he’s sliding

The main thread of the trade was Allen & Ginter.  Back when I could follow blogs on even a semi-regular basis, I remember Chris would buy a case each year.  That is bound to produce some trade bait.  I’m just glad there were a few pieces left for me.

Should have one card for each day of the year

I didn’t buy and 2013 Ginter (that I can recall – maybe there was a blaster?), so I missed this insert.  The back gives Castro’s birthday (3/24) and a random fact, along with a list of other celebrities born that same day.  He shares his b-day with Houdini, Steve McQueen, and Peyton Manning.  Pretty interesting.  I share a birthday with Hillary Clinton and Cary Elwes (Princess Bride).

Ceee-raack

It wasn’t all Ginter, all the time.  This is a badass Ultra insert.  What more can you say?  Frank Thomas is a god among men storming his homerun power down on the peasants below.  Plus it’s shiny.

They did not win the WS in 2008

This is one of the short prints in the 2008 UD Timeline set.  That set was pretty much all shortprints, really.  I think they advertised that you would get 2 SPs per pack?  It was kind of their Archives, because they stole some of their best past designs and made new cards out of them all.  This is the Timeless Teams look, I believe.

Not the best border

Gypsy Queen is kind of like Ginter.  They’re both based on tobacco-era sets and both have mini cards.  The biggest difference is that GQ is more confusing and convoluted.  I’m pretty sure this set was mostly straightforward.

I can’t keep these designs straight anymore

I never noticed how similar the borders for 2013 GQ and 2013 Ginter were.  Put some weird green/blue background on this and they’d be near identical.

Also, they didn’t need that “TM” back in 1990

I did a little research, and this Archives card is pretty close to the actual 1990 card.  The picture is completely different, but the rest of the elements are okay.  Major differences are that the solid corners should be on the opposite ends (and the dark blue at the bottom) and the Topps logo was black.  The fading dots also were not this defined.  They looked more like old comic book ink spots rather than this precise thing.

Boggs as a Ray still “bogg”les my mind

This is my second favorite card of the package.  I could be wrong, but I think this was a retail exclusive insert.  These are 4 tiny stickers for your locker or trapper keeper.  There’s a lot of talent on this sucker.  I really only need the upper left quadrant, but I’m not parting with the rest.

It’s like a card within a card — that’s not a rip card

And this is my favorite card of the group.  Here’s a Tony Gwynn N43 boxtopper.  It’s slightly oversized, so I’ll need to find some special protection for it, but I’m happy to take on that challenge.  I’ve always enjoyed the boxtoppers from Ginter. Both these and the cabinet cards feel like oddball sets packaged in with a real one, and I love the oddball stuff.

Thanks again very much for the quick and easy trade, Chris!  Hope we get to do it again sometime.