If I Were To Collect: Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals Edition

[The nineteenth 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?]

Let’s return to the series with a timely post.  The Cubs are starting a road set against the Washington Nationals.  It should be a hard fought “battle” and a nice little test for our first place team.

Supposedly there is talk of expanding MLB and housing another team in Canada again.  I’m sure it’s a ways of to decide on team names, but I think I’d be against Expos.  On one hand, it would be fun to see the return of what is essentially a cult-classic (if such thing can exist in this manner), but it may be better to let the new team forge its own identity.

He’s disappointed his border is green instead of red

For this team, we have our third tie.  It may seem like an unusual choice, but my picks are Delino DeShields and Marquis Grissom.  I’m originally from Rockford and that formerly second biggest city in Illinois used to be the minor league affiliate for the Expos.  Back in my youth, my family would occasionally go to the Expos games and guess who were the big stars in the system in that time?  Yup, it was those two.  Rockford pride.  Cheap Trick and all that stuff.

Shiny X

Current player runner-up:  Ryan Zimmerman

Harper’s too pricey, otherwise he’d be the pick.  He may have attitude at times, but it seems to come from a place of passion for the game.  Werth is fine, but I don’t really care.  R. Zim gets little attention on a good team.  He flies under the radar.

Still waiting…

Retired player runner-upTim Raines

If it weren’t for the Rockford connection, Rock would be#1.  I’m in the camp that says let fewer players into the Hall of Fame, but Raines shouldn’t be excluded.  I don’t understand the argument against him.  Let the guy pick up the phone, am I right?

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 – Randy Johnson
Dodgers – Jackie Robinson
Giants – Kevin Mitchell
Indians – Jim Thome
Mariners
Marlins – Giancarlo Stanton
Mets – (tie) Darryl Strawberry & Dwight Gooden
Nationals/Expos – (tie) Marquis Grissom & Delino DeShields
Orioles – Adam Jones
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

2016 Cubs – The Third 10 Games

We’re now 60 games into the season, so I need to catch up with this little adventure of mine.  This third batch of games is when all the big talk and high hopes went to a whole new level.  I mean, we won 9 of 10 games, after already winning 75% of our first 20.  Clearly the team is unstoppable and should just be granted wins for the rest of the season, right?

All of these are super old scans

Speaking of winning a lot, here’s a young Greg Maddux

No Rick Face here

Side note: My old scanner from about 8 years ago was terrible.  This is not a foil card or anything. This is an actual 1989 Fleer and that should be solid gray.

Sign your name within the lines

Maddux didn’t do anything but win.  Except for when he lost.

It may not look like much, but 1990 score was better than most brands that year

But still, as you surely know, he won 15 games or more 17 years in a row, starting in 1988.

Name on front

I have no idea where I’m going with this, but hey.  The Cubs have been winning a bunch.  He won a bunch.

See, name within the lines

But maybe it’s also worth saying that all streaks end.

All of these cards were from my original collecting run

While I’m enjoying this insane run the Cubs have been going on, I really can’t help but think that it’s just that.

They were scavenged from my parents’ basement

I’m bracing myself for the drop off.  The Pirates and Cardinals are still really good, and we can’t take anything for granted.

Long live junk wax!

So, when people start talking about run differential records or best records in baseball, it’s fun to dream (and watch), but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.  We’re only 30 games in!

My Last Long Trade Package

If I’m going to make this blog work for my schedule and my stupidly obsessive scanning and digital cataloging process, I need to shorten the heck out of them.  Part of my pending burn out was the internal pressure to show a whole trade in one post, no matter how large.  I want to show off every card I get, so get them all out of the way at once, right?

Sounds good in theory, but even with a decent amount of free time a post like this realistically takes 2 or 3 days to put together.  I’d rather have short posts more frequently than long ones that might be too intimidating to read.

So, reader Nick M., who has been regularly featured on this blog lately, will be the last recipient of the massive trade post.  Sit back and enjoy, because the ride is about to start.

Quite the impact

These days, this insert would be its own product.  I think there are 90 cards?  That’s more than 3 impact players per team, which really isn’t all that feasible. I don’t know if there’s always even 1 per team sometimes.

Sweet arm patch proves the picture isn’t old

On one hand, I’m surprised there hasn’t been a team named the Naturals, but then on the other hand, I understand that might be bad karma.

Dot the bat

Do you remember that one time when Frank’s bat got stuck in a giant “O”?  That was golden.

That’s a strange All-Star logo

I’m sort of surprised there aren’t more Spring Training photos on cards.  Do people think they look “cheaper” because it’s not a game that counts?

Look out behind you, FT. There’s a weird “T” creeping in.

It’s appropriate that the Checklist is a swirl pattern.  Collecting a set can be like falling into a rabbit hole, and sometimes you wish you took the other pill.

One more down

StarQuest was kind of the beginning of the end for my first round of collecting (with equal share going to Shaq’s Stadium Club rookie card).  4 levels of parallels, with increasing rarity and a big checklist?  How’s someone going to get all of that?  I still wonder that…just about StarQuest for a player or two.

Not a terrible border, I suppose.

50th Anniversary is kind of a misnomer.  It’s been an on and off type of thing.  Anyone care to count how many of those 50 years were “on” with baseball.

Did not save the best for Omega

I know I’ve talked about how bad this design is, but have I mentioned that they ripped off the Star Trek font?  I’m sure someone has, right?

I think they want to tell us something

Inside Tip: If this were really a pitch around, Frank probably wouldn’t even be starting a swing.

This looks like a fake card.  Someone just took an eraser to the bottom

Sometimes it’s really hard to locate a card on my spreadsheets.  I spent way too much time out of my life finding this both times.  Drove me nuts.  I know you don’t care, but just saying that collecting isn’t a mindless, easy-going task.

Billy Joel reference free.  Oops.

Okay, that swing and ball trajectory is impossible.  Nice try, Fleer.  A 1,000 ft tall baseball player, maybe.  But he didn’t hit that boulder into the sky.

Just a touch of paper loss

I wish I Diamondmay, I wish I Diamondmight understand why card companies feel the need to repeat words on cards so obnoxiously tonight.

It wouldn’t be an Upper Deck insert if there weren’t a massive border

Boy, what an awkward looking body twisting.  You don’t see this part of the follow-through too much.  And now we know why.

Ball placement.

This pose is much more common, but also much more boring in comparison.  Same goes for the card.

Ummm

My return to blogging is hampered at times by cards like this.  What the hell do you say about this thing?  When you can’t even find a sentence or two to write, then….

Only 10 points?  Or is that good?

I mean at least this is one is visually interesting.  It has the colors and the NBA Jam heads and the Space Jam font, and now I want jam.

And the back is centered, too

Hey, I opened a box of this stuff once.  Wanna see the 6 year old review?  Go for it.

Paralleled to crazy town

I can’t say I understand this revamp of Diamond Kings.  The portraits look great, but it’s basically 20% of the card.  That ain’t cool.

Didn’t someone call this the elevator door set?

Okay, it’s not great that he’s listed as a Blue Jay when the picture is A’s all the way(‘s), but do you really need to abbreviate “designated” like that?

Glad it showed up in the scan

I really like the Sweet Spot base cards.  They’re seldom seen, compared to some of the other high-end sets, but this one gets away with a simple embossed stitching.

If only it was as a White Sock

Back in the case breaking days, I’m sure I pulled dozens of these, but they probably all got sold in insert sets or in u-pick auctions.  Glad to have it for myself.  By the way, I have tons of Topps base and inserts left from those days (2010-2012) if you need a shit ton.

Run, mini man, run

We leave the world of Frank with a tiny Gypsy Queen card.  I like the product (especially the framed and the inserts), but it’s just too expensive for what it is.

Gradients

We enter the world of Tony with a tiny sticker back.  Having pictures of other players on the backs of stickers was one of my favorite things about the old albums

SuperStar!

Here’s another one.  I wish this were still possible, but my guess is it’s not due to the legalize they have to throw in.  Stupid laws.

Hair watch, 2016

Has anyone ever determined what card he’s signing?  Also: Ballpoint pen? Rookie move, hopefully kid.

Golden Rainbow

I have a great affinity for this set, but because of the basketball version.  I bought a truck load of the stuff.  More than necessary.

The border is torn just like Tony’s pants!

You know how trends get recycled?  I really hope the “extreme” looks of the mid-90s never find their way back into pop-culture.

Are those eyes of approval?

This is going to be the weirdest puzzle ever.  Can someone find the piece with the Bart Simpson hair to fit the bottom left?

Golden without the rainbow

Embossed was such an interesting set as a kid.  The one per pack gold parallel (seen here) was the icing on the cake. Getting a good player was the ultimate prize.

The border is torn just like someone else’s pants, possibly.

Yeah, yeah. Good game.  That is the least enthusiastic hand shake I’ve seen.

Here comes the hotstepper

I miss the Big Show.  Every once in a while I’ll still watch SportsCenter, and it’s disappointing.  I would watch Keith and Dan nightly, and then the repeat, and the next repeat.  I was a lonely child.

Not a strong cardboard legacy with this.

Ever feel like stamping something in gravel and calling it card?  No? Then you didn’t work for Leaf in the 90s.

I still can’t actually read “StarQuest” on the side

It would have been interesting if the foil icon was how a scorecard single looks instead of a whole diamond.

Wait a minute, this is a Chris Gwynn jersey…

Hey, it’s a Sharpie this time!  Except, I don’t know if the guy is appreciative of the no-look sign.

He hit the ball so hard, it turned back time

Umm, the half sepia/half color might work if there were two different background images or maybe a historical figure in the background.

Better than average

Ugh, stupid multi-card subsets.  Tony Gwynn, being the popular and great player he is, had a bunch.  This one only has two, but there’s also Chrome versions and the related parallels.  I will probably never have all of these.

Not a big fan of this design

The back of this card outlines an interesting piece of trivia that some of you probably know, but I didn’t:  Tony is the only player to have his 3,000th career hit in a different country.  He was facing the Expos when he reached that milestone.  Golden.

Look at that sly guy in black.  I see you, buddy.

This draft has been in the works for a while, so it’s worth reiterating that I have officially stopped collecting Starlin Castro.  This package was sent well before that decision was made.  I don’t think he was even on probation yet.

Thrilled!  Both of them!

I probably won’t be showing Castro cards in too many future posts, unless it’s as a trade bait scenario.  Feel free to check the spreadsheet on my want list page for what’s available.  Everything must go.

Very cool photo

The Dempster collection is still going, and slowly growing.  Older cards like this are a big help, because I don’t have tons of the non-Cub stuff.

Another hair sighting

Boy, these Bowman cards look like a late ’80s corporate training video, don’t they?  Safety in the workplace is very important.  Make sure you always wear the proper protection.

You know he’s Canadian, right?

Someone took a tourist shirt off the shelf of Walgreens and turned it into the background for a baseball card.  Great.

Not as dynamic as the other out of focus catcher shot

Man, the iconic original Upper Deck design loses its luster when tried to make new.  I don’t know what it is, but it feels like a fan created card, or a broder, rather than part of a real release.

Someone’s not too thrilled to be on the Reds

Yet, it’s still better than this.  I don’t understand the grid.  I definitely don’t understand those 4 circles.

Short pit stop in Texas for him, final destination for us in this post

Packages from Nick are always very thorough.  Not only do they normally contain a nice mix of the players I collect, but he also doesn’t automatically assume I have all base cards, which is great.  I’m all about padding my collection, and these kinds of cards are very much needed to get those percentages up.

As always, thank you very much, Nick.

The Most Expensive Carlos Marmol Card In My Collection

I don’t pay much attention to how much I’ve paid for my collection.  That’s not to say that I’ve been throwing money in the wind.  I’m actually quite frugal and pass up a lot of needs because someone asks a few cents more than I’m willing to spend.

What I mean is that I don’t keep track of how much I spend at any given time, or over the course of the years.  If I did that, it would likely depress me more than anything.  Why constantly remind myself of the monetary aspect when I can just look at a card and enjoy the fact that I have it as part of my collection.  So, that’s what I do and it’s been a successful format.

But, every once in a while, it’s interesting to bring price into the conversation.  Most of the time I mention it to say what a good deal I got.  Sometimes it’s just to illustrate how cool/cheap a card show was.  In this case, I feel it’s important to show that no matter who you collect, there are going to be splurge moments.

Who’s that other guy?

This is the most expensive Carlos Marmol card in my collection.  I Paid $25 shipped for it, acting quickly on the BIN.  For those that can’t tell, this is a dual relic #11/50 with a future HOF closer Mariano Rivera.  I’ve known about this card since it came out in 2011 and have maybe seen 3 in the ebay market.  If I remember correctly, the first two went for a higher price.  So, considering the frequency of these and the decent price, I pulled that trigger and took home what will probably always be the most expensive card in my Marmol collection (that also happens to feature a Yankee).

There is a small chance that other cards could be about the same price.  I don’t have any of the 2008 Stadium Club Beam Team Autographs, and there are some tenacious collectors of that set.  I may have some stiff competition for the auto /50, if it ever shows it’s face.  But I’m patient.  I still have roughly 70 other Marmol cards to chase as it is.

For you player collector’s out there, what’s your priciest addition?  In the near future, I’ll share my highest price Kerry Wood card, too.  That one is something special!  Of course, this one is too!

2015 NSCC #7 – Continuing the Series

This weekend I went to a card show for the first time since attending the NSCC.  It’s a monthly show down in Orland Park, which is a bit of a drive for me.  I’ve never made it out to this venue, but I’ve been itching to search some bins and it’s advertised as 70 Tables for $1 admission.  Well, I didn’t get a whole lot.  I’ll save the specifics for another post, but you can get a preview by checking my twitter.

For now, we still have some NSCC cards to show off.  I bought a boat load at the National (wish I could justify the trip out east for this year’s show) and I need to continue this series if I’m going to get through them all at some point.

Aggressive turn

And so that’s the theme of the night:  cardboard mini-series where you have multiple cards of the same player in the insert set.

Tower of

I think it’s a nice touch to show his power by picking a picture with a broken bat.  At least I think it is.  Maybe it’s the angle, but I’m going to assume it’s a broken bat.

Or could have been called Anticipation

He looks prepared to me.  Almost to the point of boredom.

I love that C logo

Leaf had so much fun with the all Thomas insert set in 1993, they decided to do it again in 1995.

Look out behind you!

These are a little gaudier, but get the job done.  One card for each of his seasons thus far.  I’m missing season 2.  It was probably on the show floor, but I probably passed it up.

No need to run when you hit like that

I’m also missing season 6.  I’m not showing 5, because I didn’t get it at the show.  In case you care for some reason.

1998 #13

Pattern #13 – Lily Pads

It’s been a while, but here’s a new entry in the “Name the Pattern” list for Topps Tek.

2014 no pattern number given

There’s nothing to name here.  The card isn’t named, but catalogs do it for us because Topps didn’t number the patterns in the revamp of Tek.  This is the most common Spiral Brick format.  Makes sense.

Gwynn : Panini :: Thomas : Leaf

To finish it off, we have this big insert set thing celebrating Tony Gwynn’s 3000th hit.  I honestly didn’t know about this mini-marathon until after I got home.  I bet I saw a few more of these, but assumed I had them because I grabbed this.  Little did I know it’s a 21 card set (all separately numbered to 3000).  Now I know for next time!

Man, I just came back from a card show and I already want to go to another one.  Someone make that happen.

If I Were To Collect: San Francisco Giants Edition

[The eighteenth 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?]

I recently went to San Francisco for a pseudo-anniversary vacation.  The city is my wife’s home away from home since she lived there (and Oakland) for a few key formative years and has several close friends there.  She usually makes her way back every year or so, but it was my first visit since we drove across country to move her back to Chicago in about 2010 (I think. I’m not great with keeping dates straight.).

San Francisco is a wonderful place to visit and I enjoyed my time walking around, but I personally could never live there (even if it didn’t cost an internal organ a month to rent a 1BR, zero bath studio apartment).  I’m happy walking around there, but taking public transportation is kind of annoying.  And driving, which is my preferred mode, would make me insane with the hills and impossible parking and confusing street set up.  I wouldn’t want to leave my house.

I’m getting off track.  Part of my visit this time was to go to a Giants game.  I’d never been to a non-Wrigley MLB park before!  Honestly, I have no idea how it compares to other ball parks, but it seemed pretty nice.  They had escalators in certain parts.  That’s new to me.  It smelled clean (compared to the normal smell of the city, which is a mix of garbage and marijuana – and occasionally fish if you’re closer to the bay).  We had a nice view in the upper deck, virtually in line with the first base bag looking straight out at the giant wire frame neon Coke bottle and mitt.

It was Willie Mays’ 85th birthday, and every fan got a little poster to commemorate it.  But, for some reason, that wasn’t the big promotion of the night.  We were there for Metallica Night, and we had the special tickets to take home one of these:

metallicastatue

They are surprisingly heavy, sturdy and well made.  This isn’t some cheap plastic toy.  You could hurt somebody with this.  Pretty cool.  We have two and don’t need a double, so if someone’s interested, I could be talked out of it, otherwise, we might sell one on ebay.

So, Metallica guitared the national anthem and God Bless America and did the 7th inning stretch, etc.  That was cool.  But I’m still very confused as to why Willie Mays wasn’t the focus.  I mean, the team had 84 years to prepare for this night.  And he was there!  There was a point where the stadium sung Happy Birthday to him and they showed him up in some VIP club house suite.  Even better is that in between innings, they played video messages on the scoreboard to share their personal Mays memories and well wishes, including ones from Barack Obama and Vin Scully.

The only thing I can think of is that maybe Willie didn’t want to be running around doing all this stuff, and the Giants knew that.  I hope that’s all it was.  Either way, it was a fun night that ended in a Giants win over the Rockies.

No idea how I got this unlicensed broder looking thing

With story time out of the way, let’s dive into my pick for the series.  I’m choosing Kevin Mitchell.  He was a key part of the Mets team that I loved growing up.  He was probably my third favorite behind Doc and Straw.  He also happened to win an MVP with the Giants in 1989.  Aside from that, he would be pretty easy to collect, since there are very few contemporary cards made of the guy and he missed the vast majority of the insert and parallel bloat eras.

Talk about choking up on the bat

Current player runner-up:  Angel Pagan

I liked him as a Cub back in the day, and I’m glad he found a regular role with a team that could get him a ring.  I would have picked Hunter Pence, if only for the fact that he uses Quad City DJ’s “My Boo” as his walk up music, but he has cards in the Moments and Milestones set and that’s tough to take on – even hypothetically.

Into the cove

Retired player runner-up: Willie McCovey

Mays is too expensive.  Bonds is meh.  Those are the only others I might consider.  McCovey has a damn cove named after him.  He was also a ROY and MVP, a 6-time All-Star and first ballot Hall of Famer.  Yet, I don’t think he has enough clout in the collecting community.  That should change.

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 – Randy Johnson
Dodgers – Jackie Robinson
Giants – Kevin Mitchell
Indians – Jim Thome
Mariners
Marlins – Giancarlo Stanton
Mets – (tie) Darryl Strawberry & Dwight Gooden
Nationals/Expos
Orioles – Adam Jones
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

2016 Cubs – The Second 10 Games

I had fun putting together the first of these posts, so why not make it regular feature?  If nothing else, it’s another excuse to show more random cards.

I’m behind due to vacation, and getting caught up with work after vacation and then getting sick after vacation, so I don’t remember everything that happened during these games, but I do know that we continued to do well, winning 7 more games.  This season has been pretty fun.  The record is just a bonus.  I really hope everyone is enjoying their season as well.

Enough talk, let’s pick 7 more random Kerry Wood cards (because I have a ton of them) – one for each win – and celebrate that baseball season is still happening!

I miss Flair

This stretch of ten games saw us lose our first series against the Colorado Rockies.

I don’t miss SP Authentic.  At all.

But, more importantly, we also took two series against division rivals on the road, beating the slow to start Cardinals and the Reds.

May be one of the better contemporary SPx looks

As a side note, I’m really surprised by the Cardinals and Pirates.  I know the Cubs have had a hot start that’s unsustainable, but I have to think that both of them started off on an equally unsustainable bad stretch.  Expect this race to get close as things even out.

I kinda want to open a box of Diamond Connection.  They’re kinda cheap, too.

Some of our wins were really big and lopsided, which was a lot of fun to watch.

2003 was a pretty good Cubs year too, for a while.

However, it fired up the hype machine.  Run differential, run differential.  Will we get the record?  I don’t give a flying W flag.  Let’s just get to the playoffs.

Not an MVP worthy card design

I’m happy that we are able to find ways to win.  It’s nice to have a pretty big buffer in the win column to start the season.

This is much better

Because I’m telling you, no matter how safe that lead seems to be, anything can happen.  Right, 2003 Kerry Wood?

Maddux Overload – 1997 Edition

1997.

The Green Bay Packers claim the Super Bowl title over the New England Patriots, and I’m sure the commercials were better than they would be a decade later.

The Bulls repeat for the second time in their history, by beating the Utah Jazz in the NBA Finals.  Also, the Houston Comets win the first WNBA title, beating the New York Liberty.

Tiger Woods takes the golfing world by storm and dominates in the Masters with a 12 stroke victory.

This time Martina Hingis is one major away from winning the Grand Slam. But her loss comes in the French Open.

The Detroit Red Wings beat the Philadelphia Flyers in 4 straight games to claim their Stanley Cup victory.

The Florida Marlins won their first world series, only a few years into their existence, beating the Indians in 7 games.

And in 1997, card manufacturers released 285 cards of Greg Maddux that I deemed worthy of my collecting efforts.

Thanks to the generosity of reader Jeremy, originally mentioned in our landmark 500th post (and in my 1993 Overload post, and 1994 post, and 1995 post, and 1996 post), I now have three times as many of those cards as I did before.

1997 Before Jeremy – 18/285 cards – 6%

1997 After Jeremy – 55/285 cards (including zero upgrades) – 19%

1997 takes a small step back in the amount of cards to chase.  1996 had about 30 more cards, but just wait until next year.

Since Jeremy’s package, I’ve acquired 11 more 1997 cards, putting me at about 1/4th of the grand total, so there’s plenty of progress yet to be made.  For now, let’s focus on what Jeremy sent.

Purple Nurple

One of the best things about Bowman is that it doesn’t focus on the veterans.  They’re almost an afterthought.  That means all I need for the paper Bowman to complete my Maddux set is the international backdrop.

Not the best I’ve seen

Bowman’s Best, on the other hand, may be the death of me.  This year will be doubly tough thanks to the Mirror Image insert, which not only has refractor and atomics, but also “inverted” versions of all three.  Oh, and Kerry Wood is on there, so I kinda need two of each to cover both binders.

Like a tiny boss in the bottom left corner

Circa is a crappy set that only has any sort of hobby relevance due to the difficult to find Rave cards.  Without those, it would be treated like pure disposable junk wax.

Looking more like a normal Upper Deck set

Sadly, Collector’s Choice got rid of the silver signatures in ’97.  Actually, maybe I shouldn’t be sad about losing parallels.  I wish current card sets would dump a few tiers.

Trapper Keeper not included

Hooray for stickers.  These may not be glow in the dark, but that’s just about the only thing working against them.  Decorate your card binder today!

The Regular-Sized Card

This set is still insert heavy, at least.  And this particular insert has its own parallel with a gaudy foil stamp.  This is the less fancy (?) version.

Might as well be camouflage

I can’t think of a more forgettable flagship set than this 1997 Donruss.  I’m sure I’ve seen this card dozens of times in my binders and elsewhere, but if this post wasn’t all about 1997 cards, and you hid the back from me, I’d have no idea what it is.  Show me tomorrow, and I still won’t.

That’s an okay career ERA, I guess

This checklist subset looks better thanks to the star burst, but I still wouldn’t be able to place it very easily.

Royal purple

So, based on the arrows, it’s safe to say that Greg Maddux is the King of the Hill, but Donruss (which, as a company, pitches right handed) is at the bottom.  Hey, they said it!  It’s their arrow.

From what I’ve seen, this set is not too Limited

On the other side of this card is David Cone.  He was Greg’s “Counterpart” at this time, per Leaf.  I’ll have to take their word.

Looks like an insert, but is actually a subset

This is such a great picture.  That brow gives a look that says “Don’t frame me and treat me like I’m some dead ancient relic.  I still have a decade of ballgames in me.”

I don’t see no signature

So, I know that I said Bowman’s Best might kill me, but this set might break the bank as well.  There are two autographs to chase, one #’d to 400 and the other with only 100 copies.  20 years later, basically none are in circulation and there are quite a lot of people that are actively seeking these, driving the price quite high.  Let’s just say that stuff like this will be saved for last.

Sky high

The future inspiration for 2013 Clear Visions.  I love acetate cards that also have some sort of image or color.  I wish there were so many that I got sick of them.

Could do without the gray fog border

This is a surprisingly bad ass shot.  It just goes to show you how much impact a slight shift in angle or perspective can have.

Tire tread, asphalt or stone?

And this card goes to show you that everyone feel victim to using terrible computer graphics in their designs.  What an awful texture.

Wrestling title belt set

Yeesh.  Why?

Brown diamonds?

This isn’t much better.  Why do Pacific cards look so second rate?

I think this is the same photo session as the Leaf card

Yes, somehow this looks more professional.  I’ve been searching for some cans of cards to open, but haven’t had any luck on the cheap.  People want like $10 each for an unopened case of 24 or 48 cans.  That’s insane.

Just your common checklist

For the X-Press set, I mostly just need the Metal Works trio of actual metal cards.  I’m not sure if I’ve seen one out in the open yet.

Where’s the cool, crazy colored border?

Get ready for a few Score cards.  There are several variations on these, but I don’t fully understand them.  You’ll see soon.

Paper beats one of these

A random subset card means a few more variation cards to chase.

Paper would not beat another one

Like this Hobby Reserve thing.

Gray doesn’t count as a crazy color

Or this very similar, but supposedly different Private Stock thing.

Select Start

Goofy and aloof pictures aside, I actually enjoy this design.  Time will tell if the parallels will hold up in the same way.  There are always parallels….  Sigh….

Super foil and die cut

I have a few of these Marquee Matchups, but all of them are halves.  I don’t have a single complete set.  I’m sure it would be anti-climactic if I did, but these things remind me of older sticker albums.

Super foil and die cut and holograms

Jeremy sent me two of these SPx beauties.  This is the normal version (just in case you’re needing to compare).

See above

And this one is considered the Steel version.  There is a silver that is very similar, but this is not that.  I don’t have the silver to show for Maddux, nor do I have Bronze or Gold.  Hopefully some day.

On the bump, in two ways

The only reason I remember this year of Stadium Club is that the nameplate is raised.  Stack all of those up and you got some lopsided piles.  Otherwise, they are pretty forgettable.

Green borders not working well

1997 was a very light year for Topps cards.  If you don’t count Bowman or Finest, that is.  If you were to buy a box of 1997 Topps cards, you might only find 2 cards.  This is one of those.

Chrome hides it somewhat

The same goes for Chrome, except there was no insert card, just this and the refractor.  And there weren’t multiple levels or colors.  Just the regular one.  How far we’ve gone.  Or fallen?  Fallen.

That’s a lot of stars

Topps Stars was just getting its sea legs, too.  I still need the foiled out parallel and some insert, but I think this is the only year without multiple levels.

Pitcher batting in foil

If found a whole box of this stuff for less than $10 (I think – maybe it was $12?) at the National in 2015.  That would be unfathomable for me as a teen in 1997.  So, I have doubles of this now.

Cool angle, but bad picture

Ultra, compared to Topps, had 13 cards this year.  The toughest will be the Platinum Medallion, which was a new addition.  Can’t wait to see how that guard railing looks.

Batting Donut alert

Greg had two checklists this year, which are both basically inserts.  I’m missing most of the better inserts, still.

I love pictures like this

Since we’re playing this game, Upper Deck only has 12 cards including 5 from the main set.  How crazy is that?

Just how they teach it

This is another one of those 5.  You can make your own jokes, but I’ll take the high road and say the photographer caught him in the middle of an impromptu Chicken Dance.

Ooo, look at those colors pop

Now, to close it all out, we have a full bleed Zenith card.  This is the small version.  These boxes came with a few regular sized cards like this and then two 8×10 cards per pack (one of which was dufex).  I bought a box of 1997 Zenith, but did not land either large Maddux, so for now Jeremy is the only source of these.

As always, thank you very much to Jeremy for the great package of cards.  We’ll see you again in 1998!

If I Were To Collect: Florida/Miami Marlins Edition

[The seventeenth 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?]

I haven’t done one of these in a while, so why not give it a shot.  In previous seasons, I would try to tie the featured team to the Cubs schedule, but there are no previously unfeatured teams for some time.  With that in mind, I probably should have picked an AL team, but this one had all the scans waiting already.

A card as gaudy as their stadium

My pick for the Florida/Miami Marlins is Giancarlo Stanton, and it’s not even close.  He’s one of the only players I actually know on the team, and he can mash some taters.  Being a big time power hitter usually comes with inflated card prices, but he’s on a less than great team, with a much less than great fan base overall, which means he would be pretty easy to collect as well.  Heck, I might even collect that Mike Stanton guy, too.

This looks far too out of focus for a scan

Current player runner-upJose Fernandez

He seems like he’s going to be a pretty good pitcher, but the jury is still out.  That’s largely due to an injury derailment, but most likely Jose will make another team very happy some day after a future trade deadline.

The closest I could find of him as a Marlin

Retired player runner-upCliff Floyd

There really aren’t too many decent retired Marlins to choose from.  Also, there’s bad blood with the 2003 team, so I’m not touching that group.  Cliff was a Cub for one season, and he also spent time as a Marlin prior to that season that shall not be mentioned (even though I did already).  Then there’s the added bonus of him breaking into the MLB as a member of the Montreal Expos, so I would get to collect more Expos cards.

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 – Randy Johnson
Dodgers – Jackie Robinson
Giants
Indians – Jim Thome
Mariners
Marlins – Giancarlo Stanton
Mets – (tie) Darryl Strawberry & Dwight Gooden
Nationals/Expos
Orioles – Adam Jones
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

I’m Not Getting No-Hit

Congratulations to Jake Arrieta on his second career no-hitter!  It’s extremely fun to watch that guy pitch these days.  I don’t know how long this run will last, but it doesn’t look like it will slow down anytime soon.  He is continuing his domination and it’s great to have a virtually guaranteed win every fifth day.  Jake’s been pretty good with his bat this season as well.  A homer in his last game, and 2 hits in this past game.  I love the NL.

So, the Reds may have gone hitless in the trouncing last night, but I’m certainly not.  Maybe the Reds can borrow some of mine?

He’s scratching his head, not pitching

Every once in a while I’ll pick up a large pile of stuff from COMC.  My focus will depend on my mood, but I usually try to get low numbered stuff and inserts.  One of my batches found me grabbing some relics for less than $5 each – usually $3 and under.

Possible sliver of pinstripe at the very top

I’m not sure why some relics are cheaper than others, but my guess is the popularity of the set has something to do with it.  People don’t like Artifacts.  I’m indifferent to it, but I think the hits look fine enough.

Of all the cards in my Collection, this is not the Ultimate

This one I grabbed from ebay last year.  It’s the second one in this post that lists Maddux as a member of the Padres but uses a Cubs picture and jersey.  It would be fun to open a box of Ultimate one day.

I miss Derrek

Back to COMC for the last two.  Kerry cards are usually pretty dang cheap and I think this was only $1.50 or so.  This set had a ton of relics, though so maybe it’s also due to the deluge.  I only need 14 more relic combinations from this set (including another one with just Kerry and D Lee).

It looks like he has super powers

One more for you.  I could do one hit for every hit the Cubs had, but I’ll spare you all that onslaught.  No Kris Bryant grand slams here.  Instead, we end appropriately with Zenith.  This card looks really nice in person with the etched foil.  The crooked pinstripe is a little bothersome, but I’ll allow it nonetheless.

Once again, congratulations Jake!  You’ve done something that neither Kerry nor Greg ever did.  Now rest up, because there’s still a long season ahead of us and we’ll need your arm.

He reads this blog, right?