2015 NSCC #8 – Relic the Opportunity

The 2016 National Sports Collectors Convention is happening next weekend.  I won’t get to go this year.  It’s in Atlantic City and I’m not anywhere near there and my travel days are pretty much booked.

Plus Lollapalooza is always that same weekend and I am very near there and my wife bought tickets for Sunday.  And I have my brother coming up to visit the rest of that weekend.

Still, I went last year and had a great time.  I’m jealous of my collecting friends that are making the trek.  I’m sure you’ll have a blast and lighter wallets when its all said and done.

Well, it fills a need

Going in, one of my goals was to find a “ton” of relics for $5 or less.  In reality, I got so swept up in the dollar (and less) boxes that I didn’t look at too many of the relics.  On the random occasions when I would glance at that stuff, I found that many were above my $5 threshold.  Still, I was able to get a few cloth and wood fragments to add to my collection.  I think a couple got me to pay more than a Lincoln, but certainly not this bland Gwynn I’m using to start us off.

#/250

Shortly before I went to the National, I also bought some stuff from COMC as an anniversary present to myself. That package included two different Century Collection relics of Gwynn that I’ll show another time.  After nabbing this (for I think $2?), I just need two more – a 3 cent stamp relic and a 6 cent stamp relic.  Oh, and the base card.

Looks like a scratch off contest card

This is the exact kind of relic I expected to find for cheap.  The kind that’s non-descript and exists solely to add game-used to a product.

I pulled a Tom Seaver one of these in a group break I ran

National Patch Time is a little misleading. I appreciate the play on words, but it’s really more like swatch time.

More Maddux than expected

These unconventional windows are fun.  I still have some Tony Gwynns from this set to show off someday.

Missed opportunity to make this an “O” for Ovation

I feel sort of lucky that I could find so many Maddux relics in my limited time searching.  I wasn’t expecting anything too fancy in my budget and that’s exactly what I got.  Sometimes you just have to go quantity over quality.

He’s as surprised as I am

I wasn’t expecting to find a (then) current year GQ relic.  I guess I makes sense.  Either way, it was cheap when bundled with these next two from the same seller.

This is not the greatest card in the world

Here’s a nice, shiny one.  I like weird windows, but the “M” doesn’t make a lot of practical sense.  I get that it’s a milestone, but why would the cut out match the insert name?

Possibly the only card from 2005 that’s not numbered

To get us back on track, here’s a dual, and my only bat piece from the show.  That’s pretty nice, but my favorites are these next two.

#/225

How about a triple jersey with cloth from a guy named Wood?  Back in 2004, this would have been a huge deal to many more people.  Patience pays off.  Well, I guess in my case it’s not patience since I wasn’t actively collecting in 2004 and never pursued this specific card, but you know what I’m saying.

#/200 if you can believe it

Yet as cool as that is, this patch card is better.  I’m not sure which letter from the front of the jersey we’re looking at, but it’s one of the curvy ones and it’s glorious.  I honestly don’t remember what I paid anymore, but I can guarantee it wasn’t more than $10, so I’m happy.

Assuming I’m still alive and financially solvent, I should be at the 2017 NSCC where I’m sure I’ll splurge on a few more great relics.  I’m not sure if I’ll be able to beat this patch, though.

Time Sensitive Releases and the Future of Collecting

There’s a new trend in card manufacturing, and quite frankly it scares me a little bit.

This season, Topps introduced a new product called Topps Now.  This would not be a retail or hobby release, but instead an online exclusive with a very limited window.  Each day, Topps would take events or milestones from the previous day’s games and make a card out of it that would be available for 24 hours.

The concept is essentially a physical manifestation of their daily card trading phone apps, like Bunt, except without a “free-to-play/collect” option.  The cards would cost $10 each shipped (or less per card for small lot of the same card).

Now, I completely understand why Topps (and now Panini, but I’m focusing on Topps since I’m mostly a baseball collector) would want to pursue this avenue.  There are several benefits, with little downside:

Cut out the middle man – It starts to open up the direct to consumer market space that card companies should be taking advantage of without fully harming existing distributor and hobby shop relationships.  It’s tough to compete on box prices, oddly, because manufacturers focus so much on retail price and don’t want to undercut (and thus alienate) the outlets that are selling in higher quantities.

High chance for profit – I’m assuming that the set-up cost (card creation/photo licensing/printing) is well factored into the high price of admission, so that even if they don’t sell many more than one or two hundred, they’ll probably make a little bit of cash.  Considering it’s all print to order (with I’m sure a small percentage for damage returns), they don’t have to sit on inventory.  And if it’s a big, or interesting event like Bartolo Colon’s home run, there’s a small windfall heading their way.  I’m sure that the regular season is proof of concept and the playoffs will be where some of the bigger money is made.

Publicity – Let’s go back to Colon.  By producing cards of the previous day’s events, you’ll have more opportunities for news outlets to pick it up.  “Hey, remember that cool event?  There’s a card of it that you can get if you act fast!”

Engagement – When you have new cards every day (and now new mini-sets every week), it theoretically increases collector engagement.  They will want to follow the company’s social media outlets to stay informed and be ready with their wallets when their turn comes.  On top of that, we’ve already seen that customers will use #toppsnow when a big moment happens in a game in the same way some do for the Sportscenter Top 10 plays.

Seems appropriate

But, despite how beneficial it may be for Topps to at least explore this for a season or so, its actually reducing my appetite for collecting for a couple reasons.  Let’s go back to engagement.  My social media presence is very “off and on” due to various factors.  Luckily I don’t collect any current players, but even the concept of having to check in with Topps every day to see if there’s a new card for my collections is daunting, exhausting, and sounds like a chore rather than fun.  I want more than a day or a week to decide if buying a card is worthwhile.

It is something of a precursor.

Of course, that assumes I can afford it.  So, let’s talk about the price.  To this point, I know of two cards that fit my goals:  one with Frank Thomas and one with Tony Gwynn.  If I were to grab those, I’m looking at $20, unless I wanted to buy multiple copies and try to flip them at a huge risk of losing money in that process.  It’s really hard to rationalize that kind of money, and I make a decent living.  I see several collectors online that really struggle with bills at various times and it makes me feel terrible.  I don’t want to feel like I’m being punished as a collector by missing out on this time sensitive card because I have to focus on paying bills.  And you can say that a person doesn’t have to buy the card, but don’t you also think there’s a different impression with these?  Most budget conscious collectors clearly wouldn’t go out and buy a box of high end cards, but they also don’t have to worry about that box of high end cards going away.  It can sit on the shelf and remain a pipe dream.  This venture has a built-in “fear of missing out” factor that is meant to trigger the impulse spending that shouldn’t happen.

For those that have the discretionary income, do you spend $10 on a single card just because of the immediacy, or do you spend $10 on multiple cards that have a lower print run.  They also just released a “limited to 99 copies” Hosmer All-Star MVP relic for $60 each.  When was the last time you saw a pack-pulled relic actually sell for $60?  Even Babe Ruth and other legends don’t go for that.  The crazy part is that they’re being flipped for $350 right now.  That’s more expensive than his rookie red refractor auto /25.  How is it fun to feel like you have to be at the ready at all times, so you can grab a card at highly inflated prices within 5 minutes before it sells out just to avoid potentially feeling the need to buy it later at an even larger price?  That’s not fun to me.  Collecting should come at my own pace, not dictated or time restricted.

These also typically go for about a dollar if you’re patient.

So, ultimately my problem is with the price versus print run.  Since most of these cards have a print run ranging between of 200 and 1500 or so (with a couple extreme outliers), the cost flies in the face of what we know of the modern card market.  If you look for a non-numbered, non-auto, non-relic card of a player, the odds of reaching that $10 cost plateau is very low in the modern world.  Even when you get into relics, it’s doubtful unless you have a superstar of the hobby and other factors.  What I’m trying to say is that print run doesn’t really mean much when talking value/price.  I’m sure all of us have had the experience of finding a card #/50 or less in a dollar bin on multiple occasions.  When I buy cards on ebay, I rarely have to bid more than the minimum of 99 cents unless the card has a print run lower than 99, and many times you have to dip below /50 to see a considerable difference.  So, what makes these different?

In theory, these cards are all going into the hands of collectors that want that card for their own.  But I doubt that’s true.  There have to be a decent amount of card shops or other sellers buying in bulk to flip.  But, when cards are readily available (and apparently more than 100 copies meets that standard these days), secondary prices are going to fall.  The sheen is going to wear off, because it will be replaced by the next new set.  How many people will care about these cards in a year or two the way they are occasionally scrambling for them now?

Take a look at the Colon card now.  Already, you can find auctions that are ending at just a hair over the $10 max distributor price.  It’s climbing back up temporarily, possibly because of a recent internet article and All-Star hype, but in general that leads me to believe I’ll be able to find the cards I need in the dollar bin after a couple years.

That will be fun.

If I Were To Collect: Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays Edition

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

I should be using the recent All-Star festivities to get the Padres edition up, but I can’t.  I have a player in mind, but no card in my possession to scan.  Or at least not that I can find right away.  So that team will wait and instead I’ll use this opportunity to look at an AL team.

The Rays are expected to be sellers this season.  They had some good years, and I hear their old manager is pretty good, but I can’t say I’m rooting for them in any sense other than as an underdog to take down a big market behemoth.

This reminds me of Game 163

Evan Longoria is a star, for all intents and purposes, but he doesn’t see much hobby love.  Blame it on the small market team, I guess.  Since he’s the face of the franchise, it would be a pretty steep uphill climb to collect the guy.  Still, I think I’d have a lot of help through trades on him, and the heavy presence would make card boxes more likely to turn in my favor.

May not be a Ray much longer

Current player runner-up:  Chris Archer

Sorry, Tampa Bay fans, but there’s not much to pick from in this category.  Archer is a former Cubs prospect making semi-good, so that seems like a good enough reason to me.

You are getting sleepy.  You want to collect Rocco

Retired player runner-upRocco Baldelli

The Rays don’t have a deep retired roster to select from as a new expansion.  Rocco was a big deal before life took a nasty turn for him and he was forced to leave the game.  In his short time as a top prospect, it would give me a fun chase with all those crazy inserts during my collecting dead zone.  And I could do it on the cheap.

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

2016 Cubs – The Fourth 10 Games

Okay, now we’re slowing down.  Not just blog wise.  The Cubs only managed 5 wins in this batch of ten, which is the first without a winning record.  That will make my job of catching up a little easier.  Coming off a run of winning 9 of 10, going .500 isn’t too terrible.  Maintaining our lead against the dormant Cardinals and Pirates is the primary goal.

’90 Fleer is an underrated design

My goal for the blog is to continue to use this series to clean up my old scans.

Back when the luster of UD was still new, but the production run was much higher

These were some Maddux cards I had laying around from my original collecting spurt as a kid.

I maybe bought 2 packs of 1992 Bowman

I really don’t have much to say about some cards, so why really force it.  Let’s just enjoy the representative properties of this digital cardboard “win.”

Don’t look at the circle.

Although I will mention how cool this card is.  I love subsets.  I also love subsets with a purpose.  I miss seeing cards like this in an normal set.  I miss seeing different designs within the same normal base set.

Ta Da!

See, that wasn’t so bad, right?  Just like the Cubs in this run.  Not so bad.  Not great either.  I guess that could also apply to the look of these scans.  Let’s see if I and the team can do better next time.

Award Winner? He IS the Award!

You probably heard this already, but right before the All-Star Game Major League Baseball announced that it was renaming the batting championship trophies for each league.

On the American League side, players will receive the Rod Carew Trophy, a man who ended his career with a .328 average and 7-time batting champion.  That news generated a standing ovation from the crowd, which had to be a thrill for Carew and his family who were in attendance.

Then, the San Diego hometown crowd went nuts when they learned the NL batting champ trophy would bear the name of Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn

Is Will sticking his tongue out, or is that some weird shadow trick?

Obviously, both of these players are worthy of the honor.  By that I mean Carew and Gwynn, not necessarily Will Clark.

The Bestest

You could make an argument for other hitters, and I bet I wouldn’t disagree with you on several names.

He won a few awards, but no MVP

Still, it’s really nice to see a player I collect recognized in this way.  I’m not too sure he would have been selected if he were still alive, to be honest.

No surprise that he’s the Padres hit leader

But, no matter who the players are, I think we can all agree that having a Rod Carew/Tony Gwynn batting title is much better than having a corporate name cash grab slapped on there.

Also had a career .338 average

We’re starting to see several new Tony Gwynn commemorative insert sets recently, which is not a bad thing.  It helps to celebrate an amazing career for a very loyal player.  Now, this batting title award will ensure that his legacy will be in the forefront of baseball fans’ minds for a long time.

Congratulations Rod and Tony!

Video Games vs. Card Collecting – Side Quests

I’m going to try something a little different on the blog.  Lately, most of my free time has been spent watching a bunch of movies (I’ve even been writing the occasional review again after 2 years of not doing that – here’s that blog) and shows and playing video games.  Basically, I find myself enjoying my various hobbies in waves, and cards are in an ebb at the moment.

The more time I spend with other hobbies, I notice the similarities between them.  So, every once in a while, I’ll be comparing them on here.

Today, let’s talk about side quests.  I’ve been playing a lot of Mass Effect lately.  For those that don’t know, it’s an action-RPG set in space where you explore various planets and work with different alien races to prevent universal destruction.  Like with other Role Playing Games, you have your main objectives and you also come across random people in your journey that give you optional tasks that result in experience or extra useful items.

3 Grants on one scan

I don’t know about you, but I tend to be something of a completionist with my video games.  If there’s an open world to explore, I’m going to explore as much as possible.  If there are random side quests and extra objectives to achieve, I will do everything within my skill set to make that happen.

Topps inserts are tough this year

Well, I think that several of us card collectors also have our own side quests.  Some want to get a card of every Hall of Famer, or every All-Star, or they want cards of plays at the plate, or pitchers batting.  Whatever the reason, it’s a secondary collection.  You have your team or player collections, then you have your side quest.

Some crazy foil and ugly rookie cards

These cards are my side quest.  I’ve mentioned several times about how most of my earlier collecting days were dominated by basketball cards.  At that time, I started a quest to collect virtually all 1995-96 insert cards.  This was one of the first years were most products were putting an insert card in every pack.

Big time foil and sweet Beam Teams!

It’s been a long journey and a side quest I ignored for far too long.  I picked all of these up from COMC and I still need to do some more universe exploring before I get my big experience point boost, but the most important thing is I’m back on the quest.  If any of you crazy characters from other worlds care to help me, you can find my want list over here.

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

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

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

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

He’s disappointed his border is green instead of red

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

Shiny X

Current player runner-up:  Ryan Zimmerman

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

Still waiting…

Retired player runner-upTim Raines

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

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

2016 Cubs – The Third 10 Games

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

All of these are super old scans

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

No Rick Face here

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

Sign your name within the lines

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

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

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

Name on front

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

See, name within the lines

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

All of these cards were from my original collecting run

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

They were scavenged from my parents’ basement

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

Long live junk wax!

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

My Last Long Trade Package

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

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

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

Quite the impact

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

Sweet arm patch proves the picture isn’t old

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

Dot the bat

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

That’s a strange All-Star logo

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

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

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

One more down

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

Not a terrible border, I suppose.

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

Did not save the best for Omega

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

I think they want to tell us something

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

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

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

Billy Joel reference free.  Oops.

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

Just a touch of paper loss

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

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

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

Ball placement.

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

Ummm

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

Only 10 points?  Or is that good?

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

And the back is centered, too

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

Paralleled to crazy town

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

Didn’t someone call this the elevator door set?

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

Glad it showed up in the scan

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

If only it was as a White Sock

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

Run, mini man, run

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

Gradients

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

SuperStar!

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

Hair watch, 2016

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

Golden Rainbow

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

The border is torn just like Tony’s pants!

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

Are those eyes of approval?

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

Golden without the rainbow

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

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

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

Here comes the hotstepper

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

Not a strong cardboard legacy with this.

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

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

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

Wait a minute, this is a Chris Gwynn jersey…

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

He hit the ball so hard, it turned back time

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

Better than average

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

Not a big fan of this design

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

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

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

Thrilled!  Both of them!

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

Very cool photo

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

Another hair sighting

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

You know he’s Canadian, right?

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

Not as dynamic as the other out of focus catcher shot

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

Someone’s not too thrilled to be on the Reds

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

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

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

As always, thank you very much, Nick.

The Most Expensive Carlos Marmol Card In My Collection

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

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

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

Who’s that other guy?

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

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

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