Still Undeserved

A little over a month ago, I posted the first part of a very large trade package I received from reader Nick M.  It’s taken a while to find the drive to finish this post as work is picking up again, my house is still experiencing issues that need attention, and holiday stuff is starting to happen, but it’s finally here.  You’ll only see two players in this whole thing, but you’ll see tons of cards.  I love having tons of cards.

Braves Braves

We’ll start with a quick attention to detail test.  Did you notice that this is the Silver Signature version?  I did.  Did you know that Maddux changed his signature to look like the Braves logo?  I did not.

Foil is not connecting to my scanner

I like All-Star inserts.  I wish that were more common.  I think it would be more fun to have a non-base, kind of easy insert set to chase that has the full rosters from both sides.

Trade dominance

This is a crazy, happy addition.  Black Diamond cards aren’t too uncommon, but it’s not everyday you get an insert #/1500 sent out of the blue.

Not exactly the same as the old skybox orange glow

I bet you didn’t know that Maddux’ other, other nickname was “The Flash.”  He zooms to the mound and then throws a high-80s fastball.

Non-signature edition

Oddly enough, in a product named Signature Series, there are no Maddux autographs to chase for this year.  Good.

Not insanely exciting, but cool because it’s acetate

We need more non-cardboard cards.  I love these plastic suckers.

I have no idea what’s supposed to be going on

How would one become part of this so called “Fan Club?”  Do we get to pick the designs if we’re a member?

Dirty balls

Very odd choice to separate the jersey number like that.  How did they handle single digits?

Top 40 rotation?  That’s like every damn starting pitcher!

40-Man is such a daunting set.  I would hate to be a team collector with stuff like this and the tough to get foil parallels.  It’s bad enough looking for cards for 5 people.

Orange is an odd choice

Does anyone else remember Tangrams?  Here are some random geometric shapes and you get to make a random, nondescript design.

Red is an odd choice

I’m really surprised that it’s taken me this long to see the picture window as a big “H.”  Not that it means anything, but I don’t think it can be unseen.

A little more than half way to the win total

Win #162
August 23, 1996 – Atlanta Braves vs. Chicago Cubs

Maddux earned his 12th win of the year over Steve Trachsel with 7 strikeouts over 7 innings.  He wasn’t as sharp as he usually is, giving up 2 homers, but the Braves provided just enough run support as Chipper Jones hit 2 of his own.  Greg also batted for a single, one of Atlanta’s 10 hits in the 4-3 victory.

Game 9 in my little adventure

For those that don’t remember or didn’t see this previously, I’ll remind you that for 08 Documentary, I’m compiling the record for all the cards featuring my player collections.  Follow along by clicking the set-based tag at the bottom of the post.

You’ll also likely remember that the game has nothing to do with the player on the card.  No matter who pitched, the Padres still lost big, which puts them in a big hole in this exercise.
Padres card record:  2-7

Same picture, same result

Double-dipping into this game, and it’s virtually another rout.  The Cubs knock in 9 and put the Padres in a bad position in their quest to have a winning record on cards featuring Maddux.
Padres card record:  2-8

Don’t leave home without it

Is anyone else a little surprised that baseball players haven’t been featured on real credit cards?  I mean they were on phone cards, after all.

Mad Magazine artists make baseball cards sometimes

This caricature is a Diamond king #/10000 – back when that still kind of meant something, but sorta stopped meaning things at the same time. – The first 500 of them are the “canvas” parallel, so this version ONLY has 9500 copies.


I’m not sure what the Generations label is about.  He’s not paired with anyone.  He isn’t part of a family that played the game.  Looks like just another excuse to make another Frank Thomas card.

That’s a nice Yoda-Foil parallel

Are you guys excited about the new StarQuest movie?  I’m personally trying to stay spoiler-free, but the internet makes it really tough.

Double the foil

Nick snuck in some real nice gems.  Gems like this Black Diamond card #/3000.  Get it. Gems. Diamond.  You get it.

Topps for a new millennium

That’s not to say that cards like this aren’t appreciated, too, because they certainly are.

Font by Print Shop for C64

It’s just that some cards happen to carry a little extra prestige or “oomph” when they’re revealed.  This card is needed, but gives off the wrong kind of “oomph.”

That’s focus if I ever saw it

And some are just a little boring.  Early 2000s Fleer had a lot of drab, filler sets.

Check Swing

I think I prefer the newer Piece of History sets.  This one’s fine, but the Quantum Leap timeline is a little busy.

The Futures are now

If you ever wanted a flashy version of Baseball Heroes, then this is the set for you.  But I don’t know why you would want that.

Spirograph in action

What is this “club” you speak of, and how would one go about joining?  Is that one of those, spend 50k/year and you’re in type of things?

Boy does that look like a terrible photoshop job.

2007 and 2008 Topps are still confusing to me.  I know that there are parallels and that they look very similar to the originals, so it’s hard to make myself care enough to hunt for them.  I imagine most people feel the same about sparkles from a year or more ago.

Probably not photoshopped

Don’t even get me started about how confusing Bowman is.  How many of you can actually identify a Bowman set without flipping it over and looking at the year?

Is that Slenderman in the bottom right corner?

Inserts that don’t look any different than the regular set do not make for a good product, especially when the product looks like this to begin with.

I’m stretching, I’m stretching.

Who needs spring training?  Just let me out on the field and I’ll hit a couple dozen taters.  You know the drill.

An X of an A

The only good thing to come from Upper Deck X were these inserts.  A die cut version of these would have been pretty nice, too.

See, doesn’t this look better than the other Piece of History card?

I don’t know how many As cards I had before, but this package significantly increased the percentage owned.

Not a bad combo at all.

It also certainly boosted by more modern Thomas collection.  Plenty of good late 2000s cards.

Frank is sad, reminiscing over his lost jersey

You know I had to save the hit for last, right?  This is actually the second Ultra Hitting Machines jersey card I own, but both are from different years, and the other doesn’t have a pinstripe.  This was a really nice surprise.

Thanks very much again to Nick for the great trade, but can you believe this still isn’t everything?  After two very long posts, there was yet another package that needs to be shown.  And show it I eventually should.  I hope.

Card-ography #3 – Ryan Dempster

Who’s ready for a reboot of a feature that hasn’t appeared on this blog in over 4 years?

Even after having a hand in the case-breaking world, Autographed cards still fascinate me.  Allow me to explain with this series introduction from the early days of the blog.  To see the other parts of the series, click on the “Card-ography” tag at the bottom.

Now that I’m back into collecting, one of the biggest surprises greeting me at the door was that signatures on cardboard (or on stickers placed on cardboard) are now a regular part of the hobby.  In fact, it’s basically expected at this point.  I know there are plenty of people who feel that if their box doesn’t have an auto – or even the RIGHT auto – then it’s a waste of money.  Hell, I’m still not completely jaded by relics, so I can’t understand this theory.
I know that most of the autos aren’t all that valuable, but seeing that blue, red, and sometimes black ink on a card in your hands still holds significance to me.  It still makes for some of the most enjoyable moments in collecting.
That’s why I’m starting a series that will analyze the signatures we see.  It’s common to see people lump them into “good” and “bad” categories, but I want to take it farther than that.  This player took the time to sign your card (although some of them don’t take tons of time).  I’m going to take the time to inspect it.

Look at that young buck

This is my very first Ryan Dempster autograph in my collection.  He really doesn’t sign much at all.

Still a minor league card

And this is my second and last (so far) autographed card.  Or maybe this was the first and the other was the second.  It doesn’t matter.  The point is I have two.  I don’t think there was a single MLB licensed card signed by him after he joined the Cubs.  I know of a couple Skybox Autographics from his Marlins days, but there really are few of them.  So, let’s analyze what we have.

If you didn’t know his name, what would you think this said?  “Ry D backwards C”

Style points:
I really enjoy his signature.  It’s playful, like he is known to be.  It seems very simple, but yet the big sweeping loops add an extra level of personality.  You can see that both of these are slightly different, but hold the same characteristics overall.

Space Usage:
Sure, you could try to confine this to a sticker, but you can tell that this is an autograph that thrives with more leg room.  Dempster makes good use of that extra space on these cards.

He may miss a few letters in his first and last names, but I wouldn’t really call that lazy.  It appears to be a very conscious choice and it works well.

You know, it took a while for me to realize that I was missing a Ryan Dempster autograph from my collection.  It wasn’t until I started thinking about listing out how many autos/relics/serial #’d cards for each collection, did I notice it.  That really speaks to the unnecessary nature of autographs in my personal opinion.  I know a lot of collectors want to focus solely on that.  Regardless, I’m happy to have these and they were easy minimum bids on ebay.  I’m looking forward to tracking down a cheap Major League licensed auto in the future.

Honestly, I really enjoy his signature.  It’s as simple as that.  It’s almost a shame there aren’t more of them out there, but at the same time, I can’t be too upset about not having a ton of random autos and parallels to chase.  I’ll have enough of that with Maddux, Thomas, Gwynn, Wood, and (possibly) Castro.  But that’s a discussion for another episode in this newly reborn series.

A Short History of the World Series on My Birthday

There are a few good things about having a birthday in late October.

As a kid, you get presents and then a bag full of candy a few days later, which is basically like presents from strangers.  The weather is cooler (although sometimes too cool or wet).  And the baseball postseason is in full swing.

When I was younger, I always rooted for the World Series to end on my birthday.  It didn’t matter who was playing, I just wanted it to happen on my day.  Unfortunately, it never really happened when I followed baseball regularly.

From what I can tell in my limited searching, it’s happened a few times:
1996 – The Yankees beat the Braves in game 6
1997 – The Florida Marlins win their first World Series in game 7
2000 – The Yankees win their 3rd straight in game 5 over the Mets
2005 – The Chicago White Sox won their first championship since 1917 in game 4.  In fact, they won two games on my birthday, because game 3 went so long, it didn’t technically end until after midnight.

The scan doesn’t show it much, but this is the 8X10 version

The 2005 is the only one I vividly remember.  I actually watched that one.  It was great to see a Chicago baseball team win the whole thing, and yes I did root for them.  While Frank Thomas didn’t get to play, he still did get a ring from that team.

The parallels on this set look nice

A lot can change in 10 years, and I’m not just talking about players changing teams.

Call answered

And I’m not talking about how licenses turn into exclusives and card companies close.

There’s a dufex Pujols on the other side

I’m talking about how 10 years after the 2005 World Series, the games don’t even start until after my birthday.  That means there would be absolutely no chance for the Cubs (or any team) to win on my birthday.  I don’t know if there will be another opportunity with the expanded playoff structure.

This set is great…and cheap

Well, if 2005 was the last one, then at least it was a good and exciting one.  All I know is that even if a winning baseball game can’t happen on my birthday, I can always buy myself cards.

The rarest card I nabbed in the lot (of Frank, at least)

All of these cards came from baseball boxes that I bought for my 33rd birthday two years ago.  I may not have found any earth-shattering cards of the Big Hurt, but they’re still considered wins in my book.

Congratulations to the Chicago Cubs

This won’t take up too much of your time, but I wanted to at least acknowledge the end of the Chicago Cubs’ 2015 season.

Simply put, we had a great run!  I know that some people at the start of the season expected really big things out of the Cubs, and Vegas even had them at 1:15 odds to win the World Series (one of the best odds offered).

Personally, I thought that was a big stretch.  We have a lot of young players.  We were going to rely on rookies and budget role players, and historically young players do not all pan out.  Optimistically, my projection was to be third in the NL Central, although we would have to battle the Reds for that honor.  Then, maybe in 2016 we could shoot for a playoff spot.

What happened to this team was pretty remarkable.  Just about every rookie we brought up actually contributed to the team and proved that they should be major leaguers.  These are not people that are good role players, but guys like Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Jorge Soler (although injured for most of the season), and Addison Russell truly have the ability to be regular All-Stars.  Of course, time will tell because there’s no question that MLB pitching tends to adapt and figure out the better rookies, but right now it’s encouraging.

And yes, we did make third in the NL as predicted, but there’s no way I would have predicted a 90+ win season, or a spot in the NL Wild Card game.  Honestly, I’m happy with a winning record.  I’m absolutely thrilled with a postseason appearance.  Then to take out the Pirates (sorry, Pittsburgh – this could have been your year otherwise), and to take out the Cardinals right after (definitely not sorry for that.  That team was superhuman for no good reason), was a dream come true by itself.

I pulled this from a birthday box a couple years back

I do wish the series with the Mets would have gone differently.  I was hoping we could win a couple games at least, but we once again got swept in a postseason series.  What can you say?  The biggest positive to take from it is that we didn’t let any games slip away.  We never had a lead.  The Mets straight up beat us.

The last time we win the playoffs before this was 2008.  We were swept in 2007 by the Diamondbacks.  Then the following year, we had a magical regular season, but were bounced in 4 straight by the Dodgers.

I said this on twitter as well, but while I’m sad the Cubs lost, I’m certainly not disappointed.  They exceeded my wildest expectations, and I’m really excited to see how we can build off of this success and make another good run at it next year.  Maybe we can even be so lucky as to avoid the Wild Card step (not holding my breath for that).

Got this in a X-Mas pack my parents bought me – Hope he’s still on the team next year.

Regardless, I know that they are going to play hard.  These young kids don’t quit.

If I Were To Collect: Baltimore Orioles Edition

[The sixteenth 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?]

Well, since I’ve dropped the ball on blogging for a while, I’m in the mood for a quickie post.  What better way to accomplish that than with a three-scanner.  I can’t really tie any of these posts to actively played games, so it’s all random selection from here.  I honestly don’t know a lot about the Orioles other than they seem to have a pretty active card blogging contingent and that Ripken collectors can get intense.  Spoiler alert: I’m not going anywhere near that wallet landmine.

Not the best cropping job

Adam Jones gets the call based not only on his potentially underrated on-field play, but also his personality.  Sometimes impressions are wrong, but it sure seems like he has a great head on his shoulders and takes pride in being a good person.

Unlicensed only

Current player runner-upMatt Wieters

In theory this should be easy.  As far as I know, he still doesn’t have any Topps cards.  I’m not sure about the history on his hold out, but it sure is interesting.  Oddly enough, it also means I sometimes forget he’s an active baseball player.

Really old scan – don’t have this anymore

Retired player runner-up: Eddie Murray

See, I told you I wasn’t touching Cal.  Cal may have been a bad-ass in some respects, but Eddie is a different kind of bad-ass.  Look at how pissed he is to be squeezed into that little circle.  Don’t you want that attitude staring back at you?  “You don’t have all my cards yet? What the hell are you waiting for?”  It’s built in motivation.

The Series So Far
Angels – (tie) Jim Abbott & Vladimir Guerrero
Blue Jays
Braves – Steve Avery
Brewers – Bob Eucker
Cardinals – Jim Edmonds
Diamondbacks – Randy Johnson
Dodgers – Jackie Robinson
Indians – Jim Thome
Mets – (tie) Darryl Strawberry & Dwight Gooden
Orioles – Adam Jones
Phillies – Mike Schmidt
Pirates –  Andrew McCutchen
Rangers – Nolan Ryan
Rays/Devil Rays
Red Sox
Reds – Eric Davis
Rockies – Carlos Gonzalez
Tigers – Alan Trammell
White Sox – Paul Konerko


I know I’ve been questioning whether or not to continue the blog, but I can unquestioningly say that I’ve been extremely lucky with the bloggers and readers I’ve “met.”  It’s a great community, and I highly recommend it to people that have the time.  I’m very sorry that I haven’t for a while.

Nick M is one of those long time blog readers that I’m very happy to have “known.”  I don’t know if he’s come back to the blog since I half-assedly returned, but either way you’ll be seeing his name quite a bit in future posts.  This is only one part of one trade.  I’m saving the Maddux and Thomas cards from this massive trade for a later time.  And then there’s the fact that I received another couple packages from Nick shortly after this.

I tried to find enough Griffey and Ichiro cards to make it worth his while, but I doubt I’ve come close to paying him back for this.  I don’t think I deserve to have such great readers and trade partners, and maybe I don’t have as many anymore, but I’m very happy that I at least did at one time.

Look out for “The Fog”

I love getting new Dempster cards.  I don’t want to say that Maddux/Thomas/Gwynn are expected, but they’re understandably the most common.  You’d be surprised at how many non-insert, non-parallel, non-hit Dempster cards I still need.  You too may be able to help!

I guess the Sox match the beard

Heritage and A&G brought me back into collecting in 2009.  Now, since I don’t focus on sets anymore, and because I don’t really collect many current players, I don’t buy that many packs.  That just means that your dupes are appreciated.

The Cubs will someday win the pennant again

We go from real H to fake H.  My Kerry Wood collection has been bolstered quite a bit and is making a run at the big boys number-wise.  492 Kerry Wood versus 502 unique Gwynns and 621 Big Hurt.  That ain’t bad.

Unpunched variation

I’m so afraid to handle these die cuts.  That “waist” is so tiny that my stupid grubby hand will probably snap it in two or turn it into a tent.

Wrong C on the cap

This is safer, but terrible looking.  I don’t understand the awkwardly thick “X.”  It’ really more of a diagonal “T” with a knife in its head.

Goud oudda here

So, it’s a semi-art card (assuming the uniform is real picture, but the body was manipulated for some reason), but yet they couldn’t change it from Cubs to Indians to match the text?

Still missing the Venezuelan, sparkle, and Mini versions

This is the Diamond Anniversary Refractor variation from Lineage. Not to be confused with the Diamond Anniversary Platinum Refractor version which is more of the sparkly one.  If you didn’t know that ahead of time, you’d have to look it up.  I hate crap like that.

Grit. Not the photo filter — the teeth.

The second and last Castro card from this bunch is your simple Gypsy Queen from some year that I should probably know by now.  As long as my checklist is accurate and as long as it’s safely in my binder, I tend not to care too much.

Man on a mission

The rest of this post will be All Gwynn, All The Time. We start this segment with what is now a somewhat iconic design in the All-Star Glossy.  I certainly dig it.

Wristband leaders

I always thought the helmet on Benito looked a little strange in this picture.  I understand it needs a mask in front of it, but without he’s more prepared for a war bunker than a baseball diamond.

That is a skinny dude

Without looking at the back, I’ll guess this is for batting average.

No parallels necessary

This generation has Chipz, and we had Coins. With an “S” because we weren’t that cool yet.

Not hardcore. S-core.

Really not much to say about this one. The bland before the storm.

Someone spilled something on the baseball bible

I miss ProVision cards.  They were the biggest highlight of the Fleer year, and even if they weren’t particularly rare, they were still special.

I think I see Mufasa in the background

The tribute is really to all those baseballs that Tony Gwynn killed in his career.  All three of his home runs.  Not a power hitter.

What a “fun” border

Okay…so then I raise my hand up all the way?  Then you slap my hand with your hand?  Hold on, hold on, hooooolllld on.  Let’s go over this again.

It would be nice if they put the stadium’s name on the front

It’s okay, Tony.  It’s just a diagram of a stadium’s dimensions. Nothing to be afraid of

The blue foil means it’s special

All Rats.  What’s that?  I’m supposed to read the second word bottom to top?  That can’t be right.  Tony Gwynn hits All Rats.

Even more blue

Here we go again.  Sredael Tats.  So, this is a German tattoo design?  Okay, fine, but what does that have to do with baseball?

Someone’s high school photo is cooler than yours

I give up on reading this one.  You’re on your own.  Be sure to “pace” yourself.

Not exactly a ProVision

Sadly, Tony never won a ring.  A leader in many senses of the word, but this one never quite worked out.

The Member Since thing is a nice touch.

I can’t say I understand the reason behind the credit card motif, but I can say I like it.

Back to the sideways text, I see.

Tony is coming for those two players.  He has that look of vengeance in his eyes.

Yeah, sounds about right

Hooray for subsets.  I miss subsets.  Foil subsets are pretty good too.  Except when they don’t scan.

More foil!  Tons of border, too!

Here’s a good example of how the hobby changed.  Donruss Elite started as a premium, rare insert and then became this as of 1997.  It’s a nice looking card, but the end of an era.

No gold border variations here

There’s a large dead zone in Topps sets for me.  I know they existed.  I know what they look like, but I can’t for the life of me, even after 6 years back into this hobby, tell you which year is which.  This one is somewhere between 1997-2001.  I could look it up.  I had to in order to scan, organize, and digitally organize my scan, but I still don’t know the real answer.

Nice framing there.  Perfect ball placement

I kind of have the same problem with Ultra sets too.  Several sets in a row are too similar to identify right away.  Again, I’ll guess 1998-2002.

Perfect bat placement

For a checklist, it sure doesn’t list too many cards.  29?

Not Best Designs, that’s for sure

I’ve asked this before, but why bring Bowman’s Best back?  This stuff never intrigued me.

Not making much of one

I guess it’s better than bringing back Impact.  This looks cheaper than Pacific cards.  I feel like it belongs as an insert in a magazine.

2 Cool 2 B 4 Gotten

I…I…Just don’t get it….

Kinda like a poor man’s Ultra

Sorry everyone.  Not all of the cards can be extremely exciting.  Well, unless you imagine that Tony just dropped his dance partner on the floor.

The future is then

So, there’s no cursive handwriting on this, but that still doesn’t help me figure out what year this is.  Whatever.  It’s a decent picture at least.

Fleer Halo Effect

Fleer Focus lasted more years than expected.  I don’t know what the “focus” was, but my guess is to pad the release schedule.

Precursor to a future, better, product

Here’s another card that I don’t mind.  It took a few.  I like the motion lines at the bottom with the timeline and having two pictures.  Not bad.

Call him “Captain Chopper”

I like the Vintage cards too, but that’s because the 1971 Topps set is badass.  Besides, how can you not like that picture?

Higher end than years past

I never posted it, but I opened a box of 1997 Zenith.  One day I hope to rip a box of the 1998 Zenith dare to tear cards.  This 2005 card is much fancier than those.

Forever linked in baseball history

This is another box I want to rip.  I need a ton of Baseball Heroes cards.  Tony Gwynns especially.  He has solo cards along with these tandems.

The oft-used Sea Green parallel

But thanks to Nick, I have one of the tougher parallels already.  Only 23 more cards from the set to find!

Yay! 1986 was my first baseball card experience

It’s great to have this original back version of the CYMTO insert.  I know they exist, but tend to ignore them overall.  There are so many reprints, that it’s tough to keep track.  Glad someone else is willing to do the groundwork

No crazy SP on this picture.

To round out just this first “half,” we have the green paper parallel of some GQ year.  I think these were the rack pack exclusives.  I buy very little retail anymore, so these retail exclusives are a pretty easy way to make a trade happen.

As you can see from this “half” of one trade from one person, I have to thank Nick once again, as I’ve done several times in the past.  It’s an amazing feeling opening an envelope with this kind of care.  I hope everyone who reads this gets to experience it.

It’s a COMC X-Mas (2013, Part 5 of 5)

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

I bought a total of 85 serially numbered cards as a Christmas present to myself in 2013, which was 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.

It’s down to this: the 17 most expensive (and occasionally lowest numbered) cards of my haul.  Then, later, we answer the question “Does money buy happiness?”  Okay, maybe not, but I’ll give my thoughts on the process as a buyer at least.


$1.25 – #/100 – 2005 Studio Proofs Silver – We start today’s countdown with another lazy stamp parallel.  Proofs are a good idea in concept, but when a product is clearly past the proofing stage and you’re just throwing on a stamp to act like it’s from earlier in the run, then you’ve lost me.  I’m also looking at you, 1st Day issue.


$1.25 – #/100 – 2005 Timeless Treasures Bronze – Pitch your way out of the cupboard, Kerry.  Since your last name is wood, let’s see how well you handle being trapped inside a wardrobe.  Have fun in Narnia.


$1.25 – #/100 – 2003 Fleer Tradition Glossy – Here’s the second card that requires I show the back due to no visible changes on the front.  Again, all that’s different is the gloss.


$1.25 – #/99 – 2005 Leaf Limited Bronze Spotlight – Away – I’ve shown a bronze spotlight before, but that was a different year of Limited, and that year didn’t have Home & Away versions of each like 2005 did.  Perhaps it’s not so limited anymore?  The scan sure looks better, though.


$1.25 – #/99 – 2005 Reflections Purple – The majority of the cards I need from this set are dual relics with Wood paired with Mark Prior or Nolan Ryan, but there’s also a good chunk of set parallels with similar numbering.  I have this purple /99, but I also need a red/99 as well.


$1.25 – #/99 – 2009 SP Authentic Copper – Either Beckett’s labels are messed up, or the product manager for SP Authentic messed up, because this Copper parallel is lower numbered than the so called Gold version (#/299).  What’s your vote?


$1.25 – #/50 – 2005 Leaf Limited Silver Spotlight – Away – This looks familiar, doesn’t it?  Except this time it’s the silver spotlight with half as many made.  It’s interesting that the Away versions were both available for similar prices (and that I didn’t find similarly cheap Home versions).


$1.41 – #/99 – 2010 Upper Deck Portraits Gold – It’s not my favorite card of the lot, but it’s one I’m happiest to have.  2010 Upper Deck isn’t very prominent, so these parallels are even tougher than usual.  On top of that, this “gold” parallel is identical to the original insert except for that number stamp.  That means maybe I’d get lucky in a dime box finding it, but more likely I’d think “Oh, I have this” and skip right on by.


$1.49 – #/65 – 2005 Throwback Threads Polo Grounds 65 HIT Long 3 – DLP was a real sunovabitch in 2015.  Every product had 5,000 variations of some crazy insert.  Throwback Threads had these polo grounds things.  I think it may be based on a game of some kind?  All I know is that Kerry Wood has 19 versions of this card that fall within my guidelines (and several more that don’t).  Multiply that by, I think, 100 players and you have one convoluted insert mess.


$1.50 – #/1200 – 1997 Donruss Preferred Tin Boxes – Okay, I know this isn’t a card, but when I saw this on the site, and for a decent price, I had to jump.  I think this was probably the biggest impetus to me pulling the trigger and building a cart and checking out.  I wouldn’t mind opening a tin or two of my own someday, too.


$1.50 – #/50 – 2005 Artifacts Rainbow Red – I don’t know much about Artifacts as a set, other than to say it exists.  And because it exists in the past 15 years, there are a few parallel cards to go after.  Maybe I’ll know more by the time I track down the rest of them.


$1.50 – #/50 – 2005 Fleer Authentix Club Box – I like Fleer Authentix, and even opened a box in the past.  I prefer the actual hits to the parallel cards, since they usually include fake ticket stubs and the like, but still happy to have this one.


$1.55 – #/99 – 2004 Fleer Genuine Insider Reflections – Down to the top five and this is not a great start.  I’ve used the Etch-a-Sketch analogy before, but damn if it don’t fit.


$1.75 – #/55 – 2005 Throwback Threads Polo Grounds 55 STRIKE Foul – Look, it’s our old friend, but with a lower number.  I wonder if you can actually play this game if you have enough of the cards (assuming it is actually a game).


$1.75 – #/50 – 2005 Leather and Lumber Gold – These last few cards really aren’t too exciting, are they?  Throw some different gold foil and call it a parallel.  Boy is that annoying.


$1.75 – #/50 – 2005 Playoff Prestige Xtra Bases Green – These Xtra Bases cards are similar to the Prestigious Pros, but easier to scan well.  Let a new adventure begin?


$1.75 – #/50 – 2005 Ultra Kings Gold – Last, but not least (and also not best), we have an all-gold Fleer Ultra card.  That’s sort of fitting?

And there you have it, the exciting and the not so exciting.  All told, I spent about $90 to get 85 cards I needed and wouldn’t normally be able to find as easily.  I love the selection on COMC. I love the picture element, even if it’s still not the best way to judge condition.  What I hate is the fee structure.  I really don’t like supporting such an intense infrastructure, and as I said at the start, I can’t ever see myself selling on the site.  I’ll buy from the site again every once in a while (and likely in big chunks like this), but I also wouldn’t buy traditional cards from there, or easy to find/trade stuff.  It’ll be reserved just for cheap inserts/parallels/relics.  The world needs a better card selling website.  COMC is close, but it’s really not exactly the best solution in my mind.  Hopefully, that day will come.

Guaranteed Winners (AKA “In The Black”)

I’ve been pretty inactive on this blog, as you can likely tell.  I wish I could claim it was simply due to work taking over my life again, but it’s not true.  I’m simply having a tough time finding the inspiration or motivation to write.

Baseball cards are still great, and I’m not currently planning to stop collecting, but I need to find a new direction if I’m going to keep blogging.  Right now it feels like a chore.  I’ve been focusing a lot more attention on video games and a YouTube gameplay channel that I hope to launch before the end of the year.

I’ll explain my process a bit so you know where I’m coming from.  I scan all my incoming cards in batches of 9 into a master image that get scanned into my player folders.  When it comes time to post, I’ll break up the scan into individual cards and label them with the specific card name (to go into a “posted” folder).  Completed Master images go into a different folder.  Then I post the card scans to a website – currently I’ve been using – and label them there too.  Then transition the images to the blog. I do this extra step because wordpress has limited space.  Anyway, then the images get put on the blog through url copy/paste and then resized.  I tag all the cards in various ways so I can search past posts more quickly, and then think of crap to say.  All told, a simple post is a couple hours and some of the bigger ones I’ve done with 30-50 cards will take several days.

I don’t really see my methods changing, but maybe the size of the posts will.  I would love to share a trade in one long post, but I absolutely hate the thought of starting and writing that post.  I may limit things to 9 cards max and see how that goes (after getting through all my drafts with saved images).  Ultimately, I would like to keep the blog active.  It would be great to achieve my goal of posting & commenting on all cards in my collection.  I certainly want to keep the trading avenues open.  Anyway, just wanted to vent a bit.  I don’t think there are any easy answers.

This post is a perfect example of my waning interest.  I originally wanted to post this in celebration of the 82nd win, and now look at where we are. So, instead I have to rationalize this title by saying that whatever happens in the rest of this season, there’s no way to be disappointed or upset.  I’d be surprised if we win the NLCS.  I’m thrilled we weaseled our way into the Wild Card.  I’m honestly satisfied with a winning season.  Everything else is a massive bonus.

What better way to celebrate their winning by showing off some of my own winnings.  Who really had the better season?  Answer: The Cubs.

I haven’t won or obtained any of the other Obak cards

To fit the subtitle, most of these will be black parallels.  By the way, here’s a perfect example of using past tags to quickly find a post, because back in July of this year (aka probably 5 posts ago at the current rate) I showed off the other Starlin Castro black mini #/50 and talked about how hard it was to find a cheap auction.  Well, shortly after, this one came along.

Winner of the Rookie Cup

That means that it, along with these next two were bought after my self-imposed ban.  I made exceptions for some lower numbered things at low prices.

Winning vignette

But, after these three, I don’t think I’ve picked up any Castro cards.  The suspension will likely be over once the season starts next year (unless the Cubs win it all – then all bets are off).

Winning materials

These silk cards are really fun.  I like the small window in the front that lets you feel the threads.  I guess you could also mix and match silks to sell “jersey number 1/1″s as well, but clearly I didn’t fall for that trap with my win.

Maybe not a winning team

Do you remember when Chrome contained the entire set?  And also the full Traded set?  I don’t, because I wasn’t collecting then.  But I do know this is #/100 and from the 2002 Traded version of Chrome.

Winning auctions of other people’s losses.

I’m trying to diversify my Dempster collection and find more non-Cub items.  I’m pretty sure I have over 50% of the Cubs-era cards, but overall I’m at about 33%. Nabbing this cheap relic helps.

Was not the winning pitcher of the game

Ryan made two All-Star teams – 2000 & 2008.  It’s great to see, but also created quite a few more cards I needed.  By the way, in the 2008 game, he struck out all 3 batters he faced.

Will have to win another of these, too

The Upper Deck golds are annoying.  They’re very hard to tell apart and seem to be decidedly more difficult to find than the Topps Black.  I found a dealer with this and the two Kerry Wood ones I needed for a low BIN.

Just a portion of my wins

Lastly, we have Dempster’s penultimate Topps Black card.  I still haven’t found a 2014 one in my range.

There you have it.  I have a bunch more ebay victories to show off, but that will have to be another time.  This 9 cards thing seems somewhat manageable, but still not likely for every day.  Either way, I have a few older long posts as previously mentioned that will eventually find time here.  I hope.

2015 NSCC #6 – Seeing Multiples

My last National post was all about cards I had, but bought again because I’m a dumb piece of dumb that’s dumb in the head.

Today, I want to focus on the positive side of the doubles spectrum.  What follows aren’t exactly duplicates, they’re parallels.  It’s understandable that some dealers would have more than one version of a particular card.  If they bought someone’s player collection and is selling it off, or if they opened many boxes/cases of a product, it’s bound to happen.

I originally thought about expanding this to inserts that I bought for multiple players, but it turns out that I had a ton of same player, same set cards as it was.  Oh, and keep in mind this doesn’t factor in the Moments & Milestones cards I grabbed.  That will probably be a separate post.  By probably, I mean definitely.

So, what did I find all lumped together for my ease of use and purchase?


How about we start with some die cut 1997 SPx?  This is the Bronze version.  I have no idea how the rarity compares to others.

Etched foil and holograms!

What was great about this purchase is that the dealer had these labeled on the penny sleeves.  That helped me quickly identify this as Silver.  Trust me, that came in handy when looking at this next one.

Slick holograms!

This is the Steel version, which looks very similar.  Sadly, there are no markings on the back to tell you what you have.  If I was making the decision, I would reverse the naming.

Dr. Moreau went a little crazy

Pinnacle Inside was actually a product I hoped to find unopened.  I would have loved to crack a few cans of this stuff.  You can kind of see there is a empty space up the middle bottom.  That’s because it was to be paired with another card.

I could have also gone with the Human Centipede angle

You are supposed to slide and interlock the cards to create a 4 player thingy.  I have two separate halves here that don’t match up.

Get ready for this background

These next few may be a little boring, so I’ll run through them quick.  Marvel at the Silver foil of the all-numbered 1998 Topps Stars set.

Kinda looks like a swing and a miss.  That ball is already past the bat, even though it’s not really a ball.

Now “ooh” and “aah” at the magnificent gold

Red = most basic

You be the judge!  Is this a Michael Jackson impression?

Bronze = same numbering as red, but somehow not basic

Or, is it Pee Wee Herman?

Silver = a third card

Or, is it a third thing that I can’t think of on my own?

There has to be a better picture to choose

The 20th Anniversary set was a cross product set that included a lot of sports stuff, but also historical events, etc.  I could look up how many cards are in the total set, but it’s in the 1000s.

I’m actually slightly surprised there weren’t more than 8.

What I can tell you is that Tony Gwynn alone has 20 cards in the set with his highest number at #2300.

First ballot along with Cal

The third one I got is the third I have total for him.  There are also 2 buybacks and 2 memorabilia cards to go after, which means I need 21 more.

I don’t know if they had the license, but an Auburn picture would have been cool

For Frank Thomas, it’ll be a little bit easier.  Only 15 cards and 1 memorabilia and I grabbed 2 at the show.

5 down…way too many to go.

I wonder with the big set, how many of each card were made.  If the print run ends up being fewer than 50 each, then I could ignore them all together.

It’s not as white in person

The 2015 Donruss set paid tribute to the late Tony Gwynn by creating a 5 card insert set (with parallels).

Glad its not a 19 card set

I grabbed 2 at the show and 1 came in the box of 2015 Donruss that I opened for myself.

I do wish there was a little more variety involved

For some reason I thought there were retail and hobby versions, but I was wrong.  There are red versions /99, though.  So…a total of 7 more to go.

Scanners hate these…or me

It’s extremely hard to tell, but this is the Hyperplaid (aka most common) version of the peel & reveal insert.  It’s an acetate card with a refractive pattern.  In all there are three variations for each player.

Scanner is still mad, but begrudgingly complying

And this is the Sparkle (aka middle rarity) version.  Here we can at least see a little something in the background, so you know I didn’t cheat and use the same scan twice.  Not like anyone would care if I did, though.  I’m now missing the Stadium Stars version to complete the set.

Horizontal coating

Sticking with 1999 Finest, we have another round of pointless variations.  Split screen cards came in 3 (or possibly 4 types).  This is the dual refractor where shiny occurs all over the place!

Vertical coating

The one only thinks Glavine is worthy of sheen and shine.  I’m not 100% sure if there is a variant where neither gets refracted. I think I’m only missing the Maddux side version.


Big cat gets the focus and Thomas plays in the shadows

Yay, unpeeled again!

This should have stayed in the bins.  It’s damaged on the back only. There’s a big ole crease straight down the middle that I somehow missed.  I’m almost positive there was another dealer that had a better condition one I could have had instead.

“A” stands for “A lot of empty space”

A lot of card companies took Maddux’ trade back to the Cubs as an excuse to produce multiples of a superstar.  So, we have this higher end Braves card #/949.

“C” stands for “C all that empty space”

This Cubs version is also #/949.  I really don’t know if they were separate series, or if wanted to milk the name.  Regardless, they are in my hands now.

This is your standard issue, highest numbered card

2005 was rich with the Braves & Cubs stuff too. I have to show the back, because the front has Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. I’ll need another copy for the Wood collection.

The back has David Justice and Ryan Klesko for some reason.

Maddux gets front billing on the Braves side, though.  This Green is twice as rare at /750.  Also available are Blue /1000, Red /500, Black /250, Gold /100, and Jersey (varies) for both squads.

Kinda looks like the “P” from Topps Pristine.

Pretty much all the Chrome I saw went into the “need” piles while searching.  Basic chrome and refractor cards are sorely lacking from my collections thus far.  Here’s a small stride.

Still un-enthused.

A slightly bigger stride is this White refractor /660.  I think Topps made the right choice by not using white with this design.  I don’t know if they made the right choice with the design overall, but that’s a separate conversation.

The DH is below

I love picking up high end scraps on the cheap.  Is it odd that I still want to open a box of Triple Threads even though there’s really no realistic incentive behind it?

Just follow the arrow

I mean, when you can get this for 50 cents or a buck, and most of the hits would be numbered out of my collecting range?  I don’t know.  Still something I hope to do if I ever make enough.

Look out for the glass meteor

While I didn’t find much of the old Tek sets, I did manage to find someone that had a couple of the new ones.  First we have the more basic wave pattern that is used for all the color variants, etc.

Phew, it landed in the water

And lastly, we also have the spiral, which I would imagine is 2nd most common.  Most of the patterns aren’t numbered, so scarcity is tough to gauge as an outsider looking into bins, but I do know that there’s still a long road to go for these and the Tek sets from the late ’90s/early ’00s.

Maybe in 2017.

If I Were To Collect: Arizona Diamondbacks Edition

[The fifteenth 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?]

We’re at the half way point in the series!  I might actually finish this before the end of the start of next season!  Today we focus on the Diamondbacks, one of the newest teams in the League.  The Cubs swept the snakes at home over the weekend, which helped us tread water in the wild card race.  Thanks, Arizona!

Pitchers batting!

Randy Johnson is another one of those easy choices.  Cy Young winner, 300-plus game winner, strikeout master, intimidating force on the mound.  It would be a fun collection to pursue, albeit sneakily expensive.

I miss the purple uniforms

Current player runner-upPaul Goldschmidt

He’s not underrated in the baseball world, but he seems to be underrated in the collecting world.  He’s quietly putting together a pretty remarkable career and he’s get a lot more attention in a bigger market.

Pretty nice signature

Retired player runner-upLuis Gonzalez

I pulled this autograph from a box in my non-blogging run.  It’s the gold version numbered out of 10, and I actually recently sold it on ebay for much less than a HOF candidate should.  I know it’s unlicensed, but I bet a collection for this hall of very good player would be attainable.

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