It’s a COMC X-Mas (2013, Part 3 of 5)

Welcome to the third part of my initial Check Out My Cards purchase.  If you’re just joining us, you can find the first parts of the countdown 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 about to cross the halfway mark. The prices are getting higher, although they won’t go over $1.00 in this round, and the numbers are getting lower (then temporarily higher, but then lower again).

#51

$0.99 – #/200 – 2005 Playoff Prestige Prestigious Pros Purple – Each post has seen one of these so far.  Today will be the last time you see one for a while.

#50

$0.99 – #/150 – 2005 Absolute Memorabilia Team Tandems Spectrum – Remember when I was complaining about the lack of flash on these team tandems?  Well, here it is at the exact same price point.  Not bad!

#49

$1.00 – #/949 – 2004 Prime Cuts – Transitioning to the exactly one dollar group, Prime Cuts rears it’s relic window-based head again.  Not much more to say about this ornate sucker.

#48

$1.00 – #/749 – 2004 Leaf Limited – Limited is a product where I think all cards are serially numbered.  This is the normal set card – hence the limited nature.  I would also assume that a box of this stuff probably only gets you 20 cards or less.  Again, happy to be picking up someone else’s scraps.

#47

$1.00 – #/675 – 2006 Upper Deck Epic Events – Card companies milked the 20 strikeout game for all it was worth, even 8 years later.

#46

$1.00 – #/599 – 2004 Leaf Certified Cuts Stars – For all my bitching and complaining about player placement on cards, I should probably hate this card.  After all, the reason that big Cubs logo is on the right is so they can throw a jersey swatch into only 35 produced cards.  Still, I like the font and the starburst effect and the 1920’s red border.  You win this time, Leaf.

#45

$1.00 – #/525 – 2009 Topps Triple Threads Sepia – Oh, hey! It’s another Gwynn sepia Triple Threads card.  I actually bought this separately through a flea market purchase…for half the price.  So…trade bait!

#44

$1.00 – #/500 – 2005 Donruss Elite Face 2 Face Black – For those that may not remember, Kerry Wood “faces” off against two different players in this multi-tiered insert.  Berkman will be tougher to acquire than the Shawn Green ones.  The black version looks good, but I’m more interested to see how the relic versions shake out.

#43

$1.00 – #/500 – 2005 Playoff Prestige Prestigious Pros Orange – Here’s the last of these…for now.  As I mentioned before, there are still four more color versions I still need for Kerry Wood alone.  Then I also have 8 more to chase for Tony Gwynn, Frank Thomas and Greg Maddux.  Oh, and the relic versions, too, in some cases.

#42

$1.00 – #/499 – 2002 Finest Refractors – Who knew that as late as 2002 the regular Refractors were so scarce (and were numbered).  That’s pretty cool in a way.  I wish this were still true.  Instead, I opened a box of Finest recently that resulted in more refractors than base cards.  Not exaggerating.

#41

$1.00 – #/201 – 2002 Donruss Stat Line Career – Here’s another one of the stat line based numbered cards.  I love how fancy these are.  Not only do you have the foil background, but the logo is a shinier version and they added those pin stripes.  Much better than tossing a stamp in a corner and calling it different.

#40

$1.00 – #/200 – 2005 Absolute Memorabilia Team Trios – Look, it’s Dempster’s confused look again.  He’s wondering why the Trios card has Juan Pierre and Cliff Floyd when his two Tandems cards feature Cliff Floyd and Charles Johnson.  That sneaky Pierre was so fast, he jumped in front of Johnson and stole his spot at the last second.

#39

$1.00 – #/199 – 2005 Finest Refractors Green – Another Finest refractor.  This shows that three years later, the deluge has begun.  Regular refractors are no longer numbered and the colored parallels have their own variants.  I still need the Green X-fractor.

#38

$1.00 – #/150 – 2004 Absolute Memorabilia Tools of the Trade Green – Away – I know it doesn’t look green, but that’s what it’s called. I don’t make the rules, I just enforce them.  Actually, I don’t even do that.  I just collect them.  Expect to see a very similar card next time.

#37

$1.00 – #/150 – 2004 Skybox Autographics Insignia – I think of all the cards I bought, this is one of the biggest disappointments.  Go back and look at the Donruss stat line parallel and then come back and tell me if you think this is worthy of being numbered to 150.  So damn lazy for a 2004 set.

#36

$1.00 – #/100 – 2004 Leaf Certified Cuts Marble Red – Now this is a parallel.  Look at the shine!  Look at the deep red color!  I don’t see no marbles, but who cares.  It makes pretty colors go into my eyeballs.

#35

$1.00 – #/99 – 2004 Fleer Sweet Sigs Gold – Last up for today is another lazy card.  Toss a tiny bit of nearly indistinguishable gold on it and call it a day.  Like I said, this isn’t a worst to best list. On the positive side, this is the first card we’ve seen that’s numbered lower than 100.

Next time, we’ll start with the cards priced over $1.00 and never look back.  Boy, this is starting to get expensive….

Sticker Set Calling

I’m going to make this pretty short and very sweet (for me, at least).  Many of my catch up trade posts have been long (and many of the trades left to post are also very large).  The packages I received were filled to the brim and I now have the propensity/gumption to show every card that hadn’t previously been seen in this space.  Back in the day, I would pick and choose which ones to show off, but since my goal is to scan and comment on every card in my collection, it’s best to hit them all at once.

What makes this trade different, aside from the fact that I’m showing two separate trades, is that it’s largely set-based.  That makes sense when you’re talking about a trade with Base Set Calling.  The only baseball sets that I still collect are the sticker sets.  In the past, I would show all the before and after images of the completed pages.  I’m deciding against that going forward.  It’s more effort than meets the eye and really doesn’t result in compelling content.

Look at all of those former needs

So, instead of showing 16 images, I’ll just show this one of a sprawling stack of stickers that completed 8 pages of my 2013 album.

That’s now how sunglasses work

Also included in the stack were a couple of “duplicates” that will remain unstuck.  I needed, and now have, an extra Castro to put in my normal binder

Awkward knee bend

The other was a little sticker of Big Hurt.  This is a nice picture and I like the faded out backgrounds.

I see a sneaky sliding mascot in there

The other package I got in short order was from a reader named Phil B.  His envelope came through after my trade with Brian, and so it may not have been as dense, but it still completed an impressive 6 pages in my book.

I really appreciate the quick and easy trades from both of you fine chaps.  If I get my act together, perhaps we can do it again for the 2015 album.  I just need to actually buy an album and stickers this year.  Oh, and for those that are curious, I still have some 2014 needs if you want to help out.  I’ll post an official want list one of these days soon.

Allen Hunter and Ginter Gatherer

I don’t know if this happens to anyone else, but every once in a while I get a bunch of cards from the same set or brand within a short period of time.  Sometimes it’s because of an ebay binge.  Sometimes, it’s a new set that gets released and trades come through.  Sometimes…well, sometimes I don’t know.

I think the phenomenon is even stranger if you don’t actually buy any packs or cards yourself.  No matter the reason, occasionally I wind up with these little mini hordes.  And occasionally I have the wherewithal to collect them in a blog post and write about them.

Don’t really plan on opening any 2015 Ginter, personally, but in honor of the new set’s release, let’s look at some of the other cards from the 9 year history.

Heh. Wood.

I know this was a long time ago now, but we opened a case of 2012 Ginter.  The bigger scans you see will be from that.  The minis likely are not.  Horizontal cards in A&G are weird.  It forces the subject to be too far away.  Of course that’ll happen when there are essentially 3 borders on this thing (two white and one ornate form of copy protection that should be reserved for currency).

Heh. mini wood.

Oddly enough, I sometimes find that the regular mini cards are the toughest to get.  I’ll assume that it’s because the regular trading population doesn’t come across them and I’m not actively buying them due to the overpriced nature of one card plus shipping.

Also comes in gold, which I have

Hey look, it’s a black bordered mini.  If you thought the thing that was missing from this card was more lines, then I hope this scratches that itch for you. It certainly could if those lines were raised.

Now I need something like this, but without the 275

Lastly for Kerry Wood, 2012 Edition, we have the A&G back.  What that means is I only need the NNO mini to complete this particular year’s set.  For one player. That’s almost an accomplishment!

Athletics card, right?

This fancy little mini card came from this massive lot of cards I bought about 4.5 years ago and never fully posted on this site.  I have a ton of 2008 Ginter if anyone has some set or mini needs.

Wrong

Another mini from the same lot.  The Old Planter repping the A&G back.  Interesting that it says Blue Jays on the back when the picture is the same as the regular mini seen above with the A’s uniform.

I don’t have it in front of me to check, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dodgers on the back.

I did not luck out on the mini front for Greg Maddux. So, only the biggin’ for me here.

Rocking the mustard

So, after a brief detour to 2008, we’re back to 2012.  I really like this picture and those wonderful colors.  Uniforms are actually pretty boring these days.

What’s in a Name?  Letters, usually.

Evidently, what’s in the name is “Sr.” and evidently Gwynn Jr. is younger than me and an 8 year veteran in the majors.  Also, evidently there are different looking “cards” created just for the left side of this card. Evidence.

The red matches his anger

See, aren’t these vertical cards better in a set like this? It’s also helpful when you eliminate the live backgrounds.  Should I mention that this is a short print?  Does that make it more impressive?  Probably not.

What’s in a number?

This is slightly more impressive.  It’s that whole no number variation I mentioned before, just of a different player.  A great thing about collecting a less popular player is that you can pick off some of these low print run items for a pittance.

You thought 3 borders were a lot?

This is the same picture as the red background one, but the simple color difference changes the mood of the picture, doesn’t it?  I guess he’s just excited about the pin stripe in the window.

I shall make a tiny quilt

No pinstripe on this one, but that’s quite alright.  We are back to the red background again.  I’m telling you, Dempster looks menacing with that ominous cloud.

Eyes on the ball, Starlin

Even though this is a vertically oriented card, it’s proof that not all of them are going to be super-exciting or dynamic.  That’s one of the drawbacks of player collecting. Occasionally you’ll be on the hunt for a boring rainbow.

Wake up, Starlin

Although, I guess this image is actually worse.  Bought well before my embargo on new Castro purchases, this is the extended mini found only inside rip cards.  It may look it at the top, but it’s not damaged. That top part is the tape on the toploader.  I never bothered to take it out to scan the card.

There were a lot of Ginter cards left on my want lists before, but since I’ve been out of collecting for a while, there are a bunch more added.  Luckily, most of my guys are missing from 2015 Ginter.  If I abandon Castro, then I’ll be able to skip this year completely, I think.  Or at least until I replace him with another current Cub player.

National Sports Card Convention Goals

I’ve been to many a card show in my youth, and a small spattering in my adult hood, but never in my 6 years back into the collecting fold have I been to the National Sports Card Convention.

It’s a shame, because it’s held in Chicago (where I live, for those that don’t know) every other year.  There have been various reasons why it wasn’t feasible to go to the biggest show in the nation, but it’s been a dream of mine to finally make it out to one.  Well, this year is the year.  I, as a Cubs fan, may even be so inclined to say “Next year is here.”  I’ve requested this Thursday and Friday off of work, and unless some major project comes up out of nowhere that demands my immediate attention, I intend to be there for at least part of those 4 days.

Now, with a show that large, I’m sure I’ll be overwhelmed and prone to overspending, so I’m going to try to set a few goals.  Let’s review the battle plan:

Fun and/or cheap boxes.  While singles will be a major focus, I love box breaking.  I’m hoping I can find up to 10 interesting and cheap older boxes to rip.  I have a short list that I’ll be “eagle-eye”-ing, but I also have a feeling some of the newer Panini stuff will make it into the backpack.  — Budget: no more than $100 on any one box, most likely, but hoping to avoid going over $50 in most instances.

Oversize and odd-shaped cards.  I’m very weary of having oddball and oversized cards shipped through ebay, and honestly, a lot are overpriced because of their size.  So, I’m going to bring some 8×11 toploaders and hope I can fill a few with boxtoppers and the like that may not be easy transports otherwise. — Budget: varies

Autographs.  I currently technically collect 7 different players.  I’m hoping I can score at least one auto for almost all of them.  It all depends on how much dealers try to gouge the local Cubs contingent.  The trickier spots will be Ryan Dempster and Carlos Marmol.  Dempster didn’t sign many cards at all, and I have a lot of the Marmol ones already.  If I only get the other 4 active collections, it’ll be a success.  I’m also hoping to get a solid Maddux auto with a Cub uniform.  — Budget: Maddux – $100; Frank Thomas – $40; Tony Gwynn – $25; Starlin Castro – still suspended (maybe abandoned, if traded); Kerry Wood – $5 (unless paired with a bigger name); Ryan Dempster & Carlos Marmol – $3 each

Relics. Simply put, there are a butt-load of relics out there and most have lost a lot of value due to the over-saturation of the market.  Considering I’d usually pay $1-2 bucks plus shipping for them, I’m going to try to score a mess of them for $5 or under.

Marathon Sets.  So, I’ve opened a case (actually 15 boxes) of UD Documentary, and I’ve opened several Moments & Milestones boxes in the past, but with the crazy scope of those products, I have a long way to go.  I have special lists at the ready to help me quickly identify what I need.  I’ll be really hunting for these multi-parallel, uber-chase sets:  1998 Pacific Prism, All Topps Tek, All Moments & Milestones, 2008 UD Documentary, all those 2005 DLP sets like Sportscasters, Studio Portraits, etc, Topps Co-signers.  Really hoping to make some good progress on these, since online sellers have things like Tek priced at $3 per card.  No way in hell.

Basketball Inserts.  Yup, you heard me right.  When I was a teenager, I set a goal to collect all 1995-96 Series 1 inserts, and I’ve gotten really far.  I’ll have another post detailing that more later (probably).  They may be tough to find, but I’m hoping to plug a few holes in the remaining sets.

Singles. No real focus here. I just want to hit the dime-to-dollar boxes hard and pad my binders like nobodies business. –Budget: Whatever’s left!

We’ll see how well things go, but hopefully I’ll have a comprehensive report on the blog in the days or weeks after the convention.

If I Were To Collect: Philadelphia Phillies Edition

[The tenth 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?]

Welllllll…..shiiiiiiiit.  The Cubs hadn’t been on the wrong side of a no-hitter since 1965, until yesterday when Cole Hamels came two walks away from a perfect game.  I was able to watch the whole thing on TV, and maybe this is hindsight talking, but there was a different atmosphere in the game.  I’d say as early as the 4th inning, the Cubs announcers were talking about the no-hitter and started to play it up as a real possibility.  Even though we lost, it was still pretty exciting and there were only a couple close calls.  I thought David Ross’ 8th inning shot was going to drop or go out.  I’m not sure Bryant’s final out would have ruined the no-hitter.  If it fell to the ground, there’s a good chance it would be called an error due to the slip before the great grab.

Needless to say, it was an incredible streak, and hopefully we can start to build that back up slowly.

Sepia Schmidt

Mike Schmidt gets the hypothetical call for the Phillies.  In the 80s and 90s when I followed the game, he was the Phillies.  One of the best third basemen of all time, and flies a tiny bit under the radar in the hobby.  I know his older cards command a good premium, but when comparing some of the newer releases, I think he’d be a somewhat manageable collection.

I really like seeing the full box score in these

Current player runner-up: Chase Utley

With the current players, I don’t have much connection or affection for the players.  I do appreciate that so many have had longevity.  I’m going with Utley.  He’s still playing, right?  If not, close enough.

This guy didn’t issue walks

Retired player runner-upRoy Halladay

My other choice is the other guy that threw a no-hitter.  Oh, and a perfect game.  It’s weird to me that Halladay is retired already, but I guess time is moving faster than I thought.  Either that, or the fact that he played with the Blue Jays, but I only know him as a Philly means he had a longer career than I recognize.  Anyway, dude was good.

The Series So Far
Angels – (tie) Jim Abbott & Vladimir Guerrero
Astros
Athletics
Blue Jays
Braves
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
Royals
Tigers
Twins
White Sox – Paul Konerko
Yankees

Next Year(‘s Cards) Is Here

There is a lot of hype surrounding the Cubs.  Even though in 2014 we finished last in the NL Central, somehow Vegas stared the year projecting us as one of the favorites to win the World Series.  Granted, this team has been quite a bit better, but I think it’s possibly a tiny bit too early to start calling us a favorite.  I’m a little more optimistic about 2016.  Let’s give the young guys some experience and fill in a few more holes first, right?

What do I know?  Anything can happen.  Back to the Future II, etc.

Tha Fee-yoo-cha!

Tom from Waiting ’til Next Year sent me these cards representing the future .  The crazy thing is that there are a lot more highly touted prospects where this came from.  We could field an entire team with prospects and we’d still probably be in the middle of the pack on the Vegas odds board.  This is good, because I’ll probably need to find a new Cub to collect in the near future.  Collecting only one active player feels weird.

Tha Pa-ast

Of course, those prospects/future Hall of Famers were a much appreciated bonus on top of an already fantastic trade that contained a current Hall of Famer cards, such as this blue wonder.

SADKFVZL4, indeed!

Anyone else getting flashes of an NBA Jam cheat code?  Heeee’s Powering Up!

8-time star haver

Really struggling to come up with anything to say, so…how about them Cubbies!?!?  Looking forward to watching this rotation.  Hopefully Arrietta and Hendricks can keep up the pace.  It’s also good to see Lester turning things around.

You forgot how to throw that, didn’t you?

Yes, I do still collect Carlos Marmol.  It’s now tougher to find cards I need without paying more than I want to, so getting anything in trades I need is really exciting.

Fist pump!

There really should have been more of these moments, but something happened and Marmol kept getting exponentially worse.  I can’t explain it.  The guy goes from setting a record for Ks/9 innings in a season to being completely incapable of getting an out.

Mini fist pump!

Here’s the mini version of the above card.  Mini’s are always appreciated as those account for a high percentage of my missing Marmols at this moment.

Non-Venezuelan version

Now that Carlos is out of the majors, I have an actual end goal of 161 cards and this completes my 2013 Topps Heritage needs.

It gets better

2006 Heritage is one of my least favorite years.  The design is extremely weak and I absolutely hate the pre-faded look.  There’s a specific reason why photos look faded and, while I don’t have any real experience with the 1957 set, I have a hard time imagining the colors are so drab across the board unless they were purposefully left out in the sun for a few weeks/months before pack out.

Out of the bullpen, into the fire

For some reason, Dempster has two different base cards in the 2009 Upper Deck set.  This one is #578. He also has a horizontally oriented card #73.  I can’t say I understand it, but at least they’re not super rare.

Uh oh, I can see half-logo

Then we transition to 2010 Upper Deck.  There might be another variation of this card.  2010 has some super short prints that were never announced by the company.  I think they at least listed the players (Dempster not included), but never told you what tiny difference to look for.

I hope one year, they show him winking and pointing

Of the post-2008 Dempster cards I need, minis have to account for a large percentage of those. Again, it’s usually not worth it for me to pick them off one-by-one on ebay, etc, so trades like this are a huge help.

Glitter pitch!

The same goes for the more common parallels. I hope that when I go to the national this year, I can put a big dent on some of these types of cards.

Love this picture. Surprised there aren’t more with the rosin bag

I guess you could call this a “three-team trade”, because this particular card is via Zippy Zappy.  I’m really happy to add this Japanese language card to my collection.  I wish I knew more about the game element, and I really wish it was brought to the states. – The back is in Japanese, but a translation was provided.  It said that all info is as of 2012.  “A 35 year veteran [I’m assuming years old] who’s been successful as both a starter and as a closer. Has a unique slider and a unique throwing form.  In 2011 he was made the opening day starter for the first time in 9 years and played his 500th career game and threw his 2000th career pitch. He’s visited Japan in the past.

I want to learn Japanese.

Leap frog!

So, this post has been in the works for many, many months.  Around this time, wordpress changed their settings and makes me manually change the size of the photos instead of pick a percentage zoom. There goes uniformity.  I know it’s not incredibly noticeable (or, hope it’s not), but it bugs the hell out of me and it’s actually a longer process.

Yay, insert parallels straight to my door.

I know it looks blue, but it’s purple.  This is one of the surprisingly tough to get purple insert parallels.  They were only available through Toys ‘R Us packs, which are significantly more expensive for no other perceivable benefit.  Want to bring cards back to the kids?  How about we not charge a premium on the same product just because they’re in the walls of a toy store?

Golden boy

Bowman is great for non-prospect collectors.  While those hoarders soak up the pre-rookies, all the veteran junk is thrown out in the garbage to be picked off by folks like me and Tom (who will then proceed to send them to me).  Actually, I don’t know. Maybe Tom bought some packs.  Either way, consider the benefits reaped.

Is that a Darwin sighting?

I opened a lot of Topps Archives – two cases worth at this point (one for other people, and one for a cheaper rip & flip), but still didn’t walk away with a copy of this cloth sticker for myself.  That’s where Tom comes in once again.

Shiny!  Glad they didn’t make variations of the chrome stuff

Heritage was one of the reasons I got back into the hobby, but these past few years really haven’t intrigued me very much.  The SPs ruined it for me quickly, and I don’t consider myself a set collector.  I know it’s still pretty popular with many people, so again, I’m happy to take advantage.

Get that foil out of here

How about that Opening Day?  I should probably talk about what happened in the game, but I’ll likely forget to modify the draft before posting.  If you’re reading this, you know what happened and how old this is.

You’ll see an even shinier version of this card soon

I think they’re discontinuing the Platinum line in 2015. That’s kind of too bad. It obviously didn’t hold much after market value, but the cards are interesting, and there are some cool looking inserts and parallels.

The pink bat makes it extra Christmasy

Holy crap, we’ve entered the matrix!  Forget Kris Bryant, this is proof that Starlin Castro is The One.

mini-Neo

You can tell from the reduced image size that this is the mini card.  Why have these sets been so unpopular?  Wasn’t the first release coveted to some degree? I think boxes are more expensive than they were at release, but other years tanked despite roughly the same production numbers.

I wonder how much different the Chrome Refractor looks

As we transition to our final player of the day, it’s worth mentioning that Tom also sent me a much appreciated, upgraded Kerry Wood 2003 Fleer Tradition relic. Now, pay close attention to this card, and don’t get distracted by the bright background.

Hmmm, it’s not a reverse negative…what could it be?

Now let’s apply what we learned.  Can you spot the “error” on this insert card?  Hint: This is pretty easy to figure out, just look one card above.

Record Breaking his arm, am I right?

Don’t let the Grand Slam fool you, the record that was broken is the exact one that you would expect.  It’s the strikeout thing.  He threw 20 strikeouts in a game, in case you didn’t know that already.

Who’s going to photoshop the toilet?

I’m taking bets.  Is this from a practice session or a live game? The lack of interest or focus in his face tells me practice, but either way I don’t care, because it’s a unique picture in the card world.

Monet? More like Nowey

I’m sure I’ve commented on this before, but it’s worth mentioning again how terrible this photo effect is.  How did that filter make it through the approval process?

Here’s a better art card

Smile alert, but it doesn’t count since it’s a drawing.  We need to catch it in the wild.

Not unlimited

I’m going to party like it’s serially numbered to 1999.  Finite is another one of those boxes I would love to open at some point. Nearly every card is numbered, and while that can be something of a gimmick, I think it could also be something of an adventure.

Kerry Wood & synonym for leather

I suppose this is meant to reflect what a mix of leather and lumber would look like textually. Or someone looked down at their scratched up office floor and thought, “Yeah, that would be good on a card.”

Javier’s glove is 3 years obsolete

Oh, these were the days. Two Cubs at the top of the strikeout ladder, and the other was a player for a team located in Canada.

So bland. So very, very bland.

Is this a baseball card or a post card?  How did Fleer Tradition last so long?

Another Expos sighting

And we close things off with another relic upgrade.  Complete with possibly authentic jersey and definitely fake ticket stub.  It’s a really cool relic set up in my opinion, and I dig the ripped edge at the bottom as well.

Thank you very much to Tom from Wait ’til Next Year for the great trade!  I’m sorry you had to wait longer than a year to see it show up here.  More importantly, hopefully we won’t have to wait much longer for the Cubs to put it all together!  The future is now.

It’s a COMC X-Mas (2013, Part 2 of 5)

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

Let’s continue the Kerry Wood heavy countdown below and see all the shiny goods.

#68

$0.75 – #/100 – 2005 Absolute Memorabilia Spectrum Silver – In 2005, everyone was making cards, even vitamin companies.  Who can forget Spectrum Silver’s high end Absolute Memorabilia series.  All jokes aside, this is one of the cards that had more damage than anticipated (those scanned images are helpful, but still ambiguous), so at some point I’ll try to track down one of the other 99 copies.

#67

$0.88 – #/250 – 2011 Bowman Orange – Oh, Bowman orange…the precursor to the inevitable Bowman burnt sienna.  All the crayons must be represented.  ALL THE CRAYONS.

#66

$0.91 – #/499 – 2004 SP Authentic – I don’t have a non-parallel to compare, but I have a feeling the only real difference is that there’s a stamped number there.

#65

$0.95 – #/3000 – 1999 Bowman’s Best Franchise Best Mach I – Everyone was making cards in 1999, even razor companies.  Who can forget Mach I’s famous “razor-sharp” Franchise Best die cut inserts.

#64

$0.95 – #/500 – 2005 Donruss Elite Career Best Gold – Elite is full of cards that are made for relics.  And there are a lot of relics that were indeed made.  In fact, there are three versions of this very card that contain relics of some kind.

#63

$0.95 – #/299 – 2005 Finest Refractors Blue – I’m really trying to find a way to avoid complaining about endless parallels the entire time.  Here’s an optimistic spin then: I am 1/4th done with my 2005 Finest Kerry Wood collection.

#62

$0.97 – #/299 – 2011 Topps Marquee Blue – I’m 2/5th done with the Marquee Tony Gwynn stuff now too.  Happily for me, there is only 1 hit that I need to chase – the Titanic Threads jumbo swatch thing.

#61

$0.99 – #/1000 – 2004 Throwback Threads – One penny less than $1 for the rest of this grouping.  The higher the price point, the lower I expect the numbering to be.  That’s why I start off at #/1000.  I’m not completely sure, but I think this is a serially numbered short print from the main set.  If true, that means it’s more scarce than one of the inserts from this same set.

#60

$0.99 – #/916 – 2000 Pacific Prism Drops Silver – I really want to open a box of this stuff one day.  There are so many crazy parallels and I think it would be fun to discover them in packs and get some great trade bait for bloggers in the process.

#59

$0.99 – #/700 – 2005 Playoff Prestige Prestigious Pros Red – In the last installment, we saw the first parallel.  Here’s number 2 of 4 acquired in this batch.  I know it’s tough to see, but it’s the Red version.

#58

$0.99 – #/699 – 2004 Prime Cuts II – Will someone help me understand the difference between Prime Cuts and Prime Cuts II?  Were they two separate products? Two series?  All in one, but with stupid labeling?  No idea here. I just collect the scraps.

#57

$0.99 – #/625 – 2012 Topps Triple Threads Sepia – Here we see Tony Gwynn doing his world famous Popeye impression. Can’t wait to see the spinach green version.

#56

$0.99 – #/480 – 2001 Fleer Focus Green – Here’s some green.  I believe this is a parallel where each player has a different stat-based serial number.  What this is saying is that Kerry’s ERA was 4.80.  It has nothing do to with batting average. Fleer just didn’t want to change the printing process.

#55

$0.99 – #/418 – 2004 Leaf Limited Lumberjacks – You know what everyone’s favorite part of a card design is?  Crowding the player as far off of the face of it as possible. I mean, you have to show that sweet fake wood grain, right?

#54

$0.99 – #/250 – 2004 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Turn of the Century – We’ve gone too long since seeing a die cut in this post.  You’re welcome.  Such arbitrary cuts, but I don’t care. It’s still cool.

#53

$0.99 – #/250 – 2005 Absolute Memorabilia Team Tandems – I know it’s stupid, but I also usually expect that my more expensive cards be shinier.  We’re bucking that trend with these next two cards.  There is no flash to be found on this sucker. Just a low number.

#52

$0.99 – #/250 – 2005 Absolute Memorabilia Team Tandems – I probably bought this from the same seller.  Pre-Cubs Dempster cards is a very weak spot in my collection so far.  I’m slowly making progress and these cheaper Absolute Memorabilia cards are a big help.

We’ll see a couple more of these next time as we get into the “Top” 50 and finally break into dollar bill territory.

Maddux Overload – 1995 Edition

1995.

The San Francisco 49ers trounced the San Diego Chargers to win the San-per Bowl.

The Houston Rockets swept Shaq’s Orlando Magic to win the Jordan-less NBA Championship.

Greg Norman was the PGA money leader, but continued to fall short when it counted, as he won no major events.

Stefi Graff nearly wins the entire Grand Slam in tennis, only losing in the Australian Open.

The Atlanta Braves beat the Cleveland Indians to win their only World Series in an otherwise dominant decade. Tom Glavine won the WS MVP instead of the guy featured below.

And in 1995, card manufacturers released 160 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), I now have over 40% of those 160 cards.

1995 Before Jeremy – 31/160 cards – 19%

1995 After Jeremy – 65/160 cards (including 5 upgrades) – 41%

1995 is where inserts and parallels start to get a little out of hand.  Most of what’s left would be these parallels and inserts and parallels of inserts.  Oh, and a surprising amount of Pacific and Pinnacle cards are absent.

Since Jeremy’s package, I’ve only acquired 3 more 1995 cards, so there’s plenty of progress yet to be made.  For now, let’s focus on what I do have.  That’s more fun anyway.

Don’t get me started on the backs

Our journey begins with what appears to be a surprisingly complex “kids” card.  Throwing all of those acronyms at children without explanation, even if they are similar, is an odd choice.  I’m probably the only one, but the four rows remind me of a pinball machine, and Maddux threw it down the Right Handed Starting Pitcher slot.  With a little bumper luck, he’ll trigger multi-ball.

How and why and how?

Holy cow is this ugly.  It’s so ugly that I blocked it out of my memory and audibly said “yikes” when I came across it again in my scans.  How the hell did Bowman survive this grotesque mirror image debacle?  Well, I guess when you compare it to Fleer from this year, it looks tame.

Bowman’s Dust

This is actually much, much better.  The only potential drawback I see to the Bowman’s Best design here is that the bottom looks like a card that got caught in the packing machine, but I’m okay with that.  Can’t wait to get the refractor version of this.

Remember this doofy picture

Collector’s Choice was my jam back in the day.  I bought more of those sets (basketball, not baseball) than any other.  I’m sure part of that was the price point, but I also enjoyed the simplicity of the design.  It’s a kids product without the kid feeling most of the time.

someone wasn’t ready for his inset pic to be taken

Collector’s Choice also had a bunch of subsets, so there was variety in your packs.  If I could choose to have a product make a comeback, it would be this one…in a non-high end reboot, thank you very much.

Silver Alan

You also got a silver signature parallel per pack.  I see too may ebay sellers pawn these off as real autos in their auction titles.  Side note:  That’s kind of a lot of hash marks in-between each year.  You don’t need one for each quarter.

Yeah, I think he’d be a good addition to a fantasy team

I don’t recall this Special Edition set being release in basketball.  When I first encountered them, I thought it was a separate parallel set with a stamp and a blue border.

I know it was a strike shortened season, but wow! 1.56 ERA

I mean it clearly wasn’t unheard of to have multiple parallels in a certain year. And with the subsets, some stars had 3 or 4 cards in a set, so it could be true.

Fantasy team card forcing me back to reality

Then my confusion got even worse when I saw the silver signature parallel of what I thought was a parallel.  That’s when I forced myself to do some research and found that this apparently is a separate set entirely.

Pitch it right through the circle

If you’re keeping track at home, this is 3 silver signature parallels. The gold version falls 1 per box.  Oh, and my scanner cut off the right side of the picture, it’s not off-center.

Same doofy face, different uniform

I don’t remember seeing so many cards in one year that were obsessed with indicating more than just “P” for pitcher.  Although to be fair, I never really researched the issue before — and don’t plan to ever do so.

Should be all AL or all NL

I promise this is a Greg Maddux card.  No, I will not be following the orders to remove the protective film to prove it.  I’m firmly against the “Free the Finest” type campaign where collectors peel the coating. I prefer my cards to be in the same condition as they were when the pack was opened. Manufacturer’s intention be damned.

The arrow lets you know where the pitcher is on the card

Yeah, this is much worse than Bowman.  What makes ’95 Fleer even horrendous-er is that there are 4 dissimilar, yet equally vomitous designs.  Who was asking for a poor man’s Predator heat vision effect on their baseball cards?  No one, and they wouldn’t want to either.

He deserves the front

This is better.  Still a little loud on the eyeballs, but not entirely obnoxious.  Jimmy Key is on the other side of this AL/NL All-Star card, which is something I miss.  There should be more All-Star inserts and some of those should be double-sided.

Fake shiny next to foil

Well, clearly not every card is going to be in pristine condition.  Or dynamically interesting.  Yup.  Some non-diamond gem like shape with some…let’s call them..olive branches sticking out.

I love the Spo section

The Fleer Times: another victim of the transition to digital media.  Well, not like there were too many fans of it.  Look at how this guy tore up the pages.

Someone went crazy with the eraser on the upper right

Now we come to the first of three checklists on the docket for today.  That’s another thing that’s missing too often in contemporary sets.  Topps flagship still does it, but I can’t think of too many others that do.  Throw a player picture on the thing and let us have it available in hand instead of making us look it up.

The “L” stands for “Love”

Here we have a shiny card back when shiny cards came at a premium.  It still looks pretty cool, what with the cursive text and the rays of light flying up his ass and whatnot.

Big and bold and beautiful

According to that little logo in the middle of the left hand side, this is a National Packtime card.  I don’t really know what that means other than it’s a variant or promotion of some kind that was apparently affiliated with Leaf.  No clue how one might have obtained them.  I got mine for free.

Doofy face volume three

Oh Pacific.  How low rent you always appear.  That crown logo isn’t fooling anybody.

Evidently only his legs were first ballot Hall of Golders

Little known fact: Once the Atlanta Braves had a Broadway Night and in the middle of the inning a dancing fight broke out between the Sharks and the Jets.

Pitching faces aren’t pretty

1995 was the year that Select tried to be the Ultra of the Score world.  They even went so far as to take the marble slant thing.  It still works.  In fact, the way the picture inset was handled is really nice.  I just wish the main photo was a little less neanderthally.

Certifiably shiny

How many of you baseball card folks know of early Skybox cards?  In all of those, they had some digital effects and put an orange halo around the basketball.  This is kinda like that, but it needs some cheesy computer graphics.

boring picture, exciting card

Oh man, some of these cards really feel special to me.  I remember how incredibly expensive a pack of SP baseball cards were.  I remember how few cards were in a pack.  I would try to buy 1 or 2 packs of what was then “high-end.”  So, to have a silver parallel of a high-end product is extra special, because I know how impossible it would have been back before the internet made everything worthless.

I miss these

What are the odds that Sportflix will come back in some form?  I know Topps has made some similar looking cards, but really nothing fully lenticular.  I think it would make for a good insert.  Maybe with a “Then and Now” or “old team/new team” theme or one of those current player vs legends things or even a league leader card with three players.

Haymaker. Maybe. I don’t know boxing

It’s a little disappointing to see the gold foil logo coin used in both Score Summit and Select in the same year.  It looks so nice, I can’t stay mad at it, Kevin Nealon.

Your letter’s been ripped by the processing machine.

Hmm.  How odd that the logo added “A Pinnacle Brand” to some cards, but not others.  That’s a lot of branding.  I do like that stamp stamp, though.  Score did a good job with their foil.  Would be nice if there was more to the mail theme.

This letter, too, was ripped

If you thought this was a Topps gold parallel, I wouldn’t blame you, but you’re wrong. 1995 saw the Cyberstats partial parallel instead, which look absolutely terrible.  Not that these look much better.

I think we’ve both been hypnotized by the gold vortex

Now, THIS is a gold parallel.  From the higher end Embossed set. The regular ones are silver and I think these fell one per pack.

I wasted all my good references in the paragraph below

As a kid, I tried several times to make games out of my baseball cards. Well, here’s a playable baseball card for you.  Motorhead’s favorite pitcher – Greg Maddux – coming through in spades.

Still looking for the gold medallions

Here’s another effective foil logo.  The red is an interesting divergent choice. I would say this is probably one of the last good designs that Ultra had for a while.

Don’t look to your right

I’m okay with the split-screen, but I don’t understand the color choice.  Mustard yellow does not a good card make.

Not the Cy Young award. No, this is much more prestigious

Another strange choice on this insert.  Why would they feel the need to stretch the background image.

Awesome

1995 Upper Deck.  This has to be one of the most beloved Upper Deck designs of all time, right?  1989, 1993 and this? From what we’ve seen on other cards in this post, could part of the reason be that it acted as an antithesis to the rest of the cardboard world?  They were all so consumed with throwing borders and unusual quirks at us, and then Upper Deck goes full bleed with a little vignette touch at the bottom with simple elegance in the name and team.

Triumph.

And then after all of that explanation, here’s a glitzed-up checklist, of all things.

Don’t you mean “NL Pitcher of the Year” winner?

I know the picture looks identical, but it’s actually a different card.  It’s an odd choice to make checklists an insert, and an even odder one to feature the same player on two of them.  There were plenty of stars that could be used.

Uh, that’s an electric home plate, sir.

Lastly, we have a parallel of this great set.  There are also gold versions of this electric diamond thing.  All that really means is that my 1995 quest is not finished.

The good news is that thanks to Jeremy’s unbelievable kindness I’m over 2/5ths done.

Forgot to Set My Watch, Man

Look, I ain’t no Harper Lee, but it sure feels like I’ve been making Cards on Cards wait a long time for the sequel to our trade post.  For a refresher, here’s the first section with the oh so clever title. That post covered my other player collections.  This one will be all Gwynn all the time.  As I mentioned at the end of the previous post, Madding accounted for 1/7th of my Gwynn collection through this single package. Surely you want me to “harp” on that a little bit, right?

Starters Only jacket

How many of you knew that Donruss also had a set called Opening Day once upon a time?  I know I didn’t, but here it stands.  Interesting that it too is basically just a parallel as Topps sets are.

Objects may be bigger or smaller than they appear in the scan

Hey, over there!  Check it out, it’s a mini Fleer.  What’s that? I don’t need to shout because I’m wearing a mic?  Oh. Okay.  Back to you in the studio.

That font makes me want to watch Saturday Morning Cartoons.

This Heroes of Baseball set is like a mix between Topps Leaders and 1987 Fleer.

Companies loved that segmented side border

I’m assuming that this is actually a licensed card.  I’m also assuming that it was created by pausing the VHS and taking the Kodak roll to Walgreens.

Speaking of Kodak

I know that Stadium Club was and is revered, but this isn’t usually one of the supporting examples.  Look at that full bleed, though!  You can see all the way to the edge of this close-up portrait.

More dust than in Interstellar

Yikes.  Sorry about the scan.  Still, if you don’t know how awesome holograms are by now then allow me to welcome you to 90s card collecting.  May I suggest you pick one up.

It starts with one

Although if you’re new to the world of collecting, let me also explain that the 1990s were also responsible for the deluge of parallels we have today.  It’s not a product unless there are 17 different increasingly rare, arbitrarily colored variants.  It was cool at the time, I promise.

Look at that coat of arms. So cool.

Flair gets forgotten a lot when talking about cardboard history.  I’m guilty of it myself, but cards like this remind me of how great and simple the set was.  I worry about what would happen if the product was resurrected, but I’m willing to find out.

When foil was still pretty rare

How can you hate a good dugout picture?  I guess some people don’t like off-the-field photos, but I’m a fan of anything outside of the ordinary.  Baseball is a fun game, and Tony Gwynn was a fun-loving guy. It’s great to see that reflected.

I do not prefer that border

See, this is one of those more boring on-the-field photographs.  Which would you rather have?

Blinded by the lightning

Pacific made some wonderfully gaudy cards.  They were the company that tried to hold on tight to as much of the 1990s as humanly possible.  This is what passed for a “Prism” card back in the day.  The team colors in the background are a nice touch.

The wood grain has no special attributes

The best part of these cards is the texture.  That black and white photo on the left is slightly raised and bumpy and is not only visually interesting but also physically.

I could make a chair now

Card #2 in a row with some wood.  Select made some decent cards, didn’t they?  I don’t know if the whole set is horizontal, but this particular card works well. Either way, I love trades like this because it helps catch me up on products I missed.

Better make that a table

You’d think I was showing off 1987 cards with all the wood borders instead of 1996.  Like the dugout shot above, this is from SP, which was a more expensive pack.  I bought a small handful of the basketball version of this year, but the best player I found there was Karl Malone I think.

I will not peel off

I’m a sucker for the cards with the protective coating.  I know that in reality they aren’t all that fancy, but at one time they were.  Certified cards are actually still pretty fancy in comparison, even if they are a bit more boring design-wise these days.  Just wait until you see some colored parallels.  I need to own them first, though.

Like an Iron Man chest power core thing

I would love to open a box of the Pinnacle Mint cards one day.  I don’t really care which year, I just think the idea and gimmick behind the product is really cool.  I’ve slowly acquired a few of the coins which can be inserted into a different version of this card, where that big honkin’ circle shows up.

The hot new club, Studio 97

Studio started out well back in 1992 and 1993.  Then it got dumb.  I need more high school portraits and less posed baseball players.

Minty fresh

This could be one of the biggest surprises of the trade package.  I’m not sure Madding even knew this was a parallel, but what you see is the Always Mint version of a 1997 Topps Stars card.  I had to do my research to figure that out.

Gold standard.  Actually a gold parallel

Who’s got Pennant Fever?  I do now!  Let’s hope the Cubs will too one day soon.

Can’t wait to get the shiny ones

Has this set been given a nickname yet?  If not, can we call it the “baseball eyeball” set?  No matter where you are, the baseball eye follows you.

You call that a bat?  THIS is a bat

Why don’t baseball cards do things like this much anymore?  I will say that 2014 Stadium Club and 2015 Topps photos seem to be heading in the right direction, but it may be tough if no company has on-staff photographers anymore.

Whelp, I’m going to need another copy of this card

I’m the type of guy who expects the theme/design to match the title.  So, why is this more like a high school yearbook page instead of a chart?

I didn’t subscribe to this

This is better.  You say the word “cover” and it sorta looks like a magazine cover.  Not sure I would have gone with the same color scheme or font, but okay.

Sorry, Tony, but they need to widen out that base a bit more for you

Oh, man. I love these mini bobbing head cards.  I want another one to put together.  Look at that face!  If I had to guess, I would say that’s a running face and not a post-swing face scrunch.

Keep them legs spread

How can you not look at this and think that he’s being forced to straddle this pointy, glowing logo?  One false move could be very painful.  Hit list indeed.

Where’d the Time go?  Oh, there it is.

That was a pretty unforgettable moment when Tony Gwynn fell into the “Ozzie Smith memorial temporal vortex” and met Bill and Ted.  I’m glad they had a camera on it.

50th anniversary with a pretty significant baseball gap in there.

Another pointy logo under Tony’s crotch.  Donruss/Leaf is a masochistic bunch.

Oh, man. How boring. I’m bored now.

I didn’t know Tony Gwynn was foreign.  How else do you explain the accent underneath the “O?”

Is that the Star Trek font?

Omega’s an interesting looking set.  The foil on the right is a tad tacky, but adds some pop at the same time.  I like the idea of using the ball to split the card into thirds.

I should know this, but is that Wrigley?

Maybe I’m crazy, but I could easily see this being a Fleer Ultra set design.  Maybe the foil is more complex than what you’d typically see, but it’s not too terribly far off.  What I’m trying to say is that I like it.

Prime Seven?

I’m not a big fan of inserts where you have multiple cards of the same player.  Let’s go ahead an multiply the disdain when the insert is called “Prime Nine” but the players only have seven cards.  Only six more to go, I guess?

More like Foil Diamond

How many of you have gone skiing?  Personally, I have no intention of ever trying skiing. I value my bones and don’t plan to volunteer them for breaking. Black Diamond is supposed to be the hardest slope, right?  I’ll stick with the card version.  It’s also much warmer this way.

Stop asking me to remove the coating. Ain’t happening.

The second unpeeled card of the day.  I’ve opened a few boxes of Finest at this point, and they’re always incredibly enjoyable.  1999 is one of those years I haven’t ripped yet.  Might have to rectify that pretty soon.

Field’s out that way!

Invincible is a box I don’t plan to open.  Not only are they pretty prevalent, but they’re also pretty hideous.  It’s a shame there are two versions of each card.

Aggro Crag

Yup, two versions of this, too.

If Costco gave out sample cards instead of food, I’d go more often

I love getting promo/sample cards.  I don’t know how they got distributed, but I know it’s not usually through packs, so it’s fun to imagine the journey.

I think he got it?

Raise your hand if you still write in cursive aside from signing your own name.  I can’t see if you’re actually doing it, but I’m going to assume that no one raised their hand.  I personally stopped as soon as school stopped forcing me to do so.  My non-cursive letters all run together as it is, so it’s sort of like a form of cursive.

I don’t even have the non-sample one yet

Hey, alright! It’s another sample card.  Don’t you dare try to pass this off as being part of the regular set.  You’re not going to get that sucker past the discerning set builder’s eye.

“And you think it’s okay to rip off a Topps design and claim it’s part of your tradition?”

Appropriating other company’s work aside, I think it’s interesting that both pictures have their eye on the same ball.  Very appropriate for Tony.

Let’s squeeze the picture with more white borders next time, guys. I think you’re slipping.

Foul ball or pop-up?  He’s not running, so I’ll guess foul. I have a feeling Gwynn didn’t hit a ton of either of those in any given year, so this may be something of a rare shot.

What is that book?  I think I want it.

As previously mentioned, I love non-action photos.  Pictures of players signing for fans have to be near the top of that list.  Tony signed a lot of actual baseball cards, and he’s seen signing here following the tradition of 1991 Upper Deck Final Edition and 1994 Collector’s Choice cards previously featured on this blog.  I wonder who has the most signing picture cards.

UD Legend, indeed

I know I tend to ignore card backs on this blog (as most of us do).  Part of the reason is convenience and time (easier and quicker to just scan and show the fronts).  The other part is that most backs are pretty dang boring.  Just look at this flavor text pasted on the front here.  It’s so clunky and awkward, you’d think that I wrote it.

Never actually won an MVP. Take solace Mike Trout supporters.

Oh, we’re switching it up with a horizontal card.  Interesting.  The horizontal part, not the actual card.

Telling you that he’s an OUTFIELDER is the most important thing, I see

What was Upper Deck’s obsession with obnoxious white borders?  I think they also went a little etch-a-sketch crazy with their foil designs

You again

Okay, so this vintage design is less of a blatant rip off, but I still can’t say that I understand the need to do this in the first place.  That fake painting effect is grotesque.

His JERSEY NUMBER is 19.  You needed to know that.

As the years went on, the SP and SPx sets became less and less fancy.  Back when the brands started, they had a high-end feel to them.  Now they’re a throw away in almost every sense.

Before print media started dying

We end the post (yes, really) with a fake newspaper insert from 2001 Upper Deck.  It commemorates Gwynn’s 3,000th career hit (from 1999).  Interesting that it gives credit to the card writer.  Overall, I like the design and concept a lot.  It’s cohesive and carries the theme throughout, unlike others we’ve seen today.

Once again, I have to give a big thanks to Madding from Cards on Cards for the amazing trade.  I’m sure you can tell why I needed to separate this out into a couple posts.  I just wish it wouldn’t have taken this long to finish it up.  Here’s hoping the next one will go quicker.

If I Were To Collect: Cincinnati Reds Edition

[The ninth 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?]

The All-Star Weekend is upon us.  I guess it’s not really a weekend, is it?  How long have they been playing this game on a weekday?

This year’s host city is Cincinnati.  Don’t really have much to say about that.  I will say that if Wrigley hosts the game again at some point, and if I’m still living in Chicago, I’d have to strongly consider trying to attend some of the festivities.  How many of my readers A) still exist; and B) have been to an All-Star thingy.

The Reds have fallen in the standings the past couple years.  Part of that is from injuries, and part is that they’re running up against a very difficult NL Central division.  I’m pretty shocked the Cubs have done as well as we’ve had, and looking at the names on the Reds roster, it’s surprising they are as low as they are.

In my Franchise Three

Eric Davis may be a little bit of an unusual pick, considering the depth of this team’s history.  Still, he was my favorite player from the late ’80s team I grew up knowing.  I like the fast guys.  Fast guys with power are even better.

Realllly old scan

Current player runner-up: Jay Bruce

Honestly, if you ask me in a couple months or a year, I’d probably say Todd Frazier – especially after that home run derby performance.  Right now it’s Bruce, because he’s been pretty good.  He’s not much for batting average, but the power is prolific.  And he has this cool auto.  This was the first autograph I pulled out of a pack upon returning to collecting in 2009.  It came from an A&G blaster, and that specific hit gives Jay Bruce an edge in my collecting mind.

There are no lenses in those goggles

Retired player runner-up: Chris Sabo

I would never pick Pete Rose, but that’s a conversation for another time.  Suffice to say, I don’t believe he deserves to be reinstated.

The reason I picked Sabo, over someone like Barry Larkin is two-fold.  One, I wouldn’t want to compete against Nachos Grande for Larkin cards.  Two, and more importantly, those safety goggles haunted my early collecting days.  It seemed like Sabo was in every dang dern pack I opened as a kid.  At some point, you have to concede that the universe is sending you a sign.

The Series So Far
Angels – (tie) Jim Abbott & Vladimir Guerrero
Astros
Athletics
Blue Jays
Braves
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
Pirates –  Andrew McCutchen
Rangers – Nolan Ryan
Rays/Devil Rays
Red Sox
Reds – Eric Davis
Rockies
Royals
Tigers
Twins
White Sox – Paul Konerko
Yankees