To Rip Or Not To Rip

As the wise poet Ja Rule once said “It ain’t even a question.”

To my recollection, I have not pulled a rip card from a pack.  I’ve been very lucky throughout my collecting days, but never had the fortune to land this particular type of card so far.  Maybe this upcoming Ginter year will change that.

Either way, the best and most efficient way to get a rip card would be through the secondary market.  The biggest problem is that people like to do the thing that the cards are intended to have done to them.  I’m not interested in already ripped rip cards.  I prefer my cards to be intact.  That causes a bit of a cost problem, but it won’t stop me from searching.  Obviously I found one.

Way back in 2007

This was an August ebay win.  A little after Ginter came out this past year, I decided to escalate my search. I had rip card fever and I came across this beauty.  These older rip cards are a lot tougher to find. Most are either already ripped or in the hands of people that want them unscathed.  I’m pretty happy to have this one.

But I wasn’t done!

Ten years later

One month later, I won this guy, too.  The seller asked me to let him know what was inside, but I had to break it to him that I’m daring to not.  I did at least put a magnet up against it to see if there was a metal mini inside, but there is not.  Sure, there may be something really rare in this, but nothing would be more personally valuable than keeping the card just as it stands.

I don’t know how many more rip cards I need overall, but I’ll assume the answer is too many.  Still, it’s a great feeling to finally get my hands on the first one (and second).

Card-ography #5 – Tony Gwynn

Welcome to Part 5.  I missed the recent Blog Bat Around focusing on autographs and building a team with the signatures in their collection.  I honestly don’t have enough autographs to make that workable anyway (unless I were to draw from pack pulled stuff I have sitting around that I haven’t sold or traded yet).  So, instead, my contribution is a heavy hitter in my pre-existing series.

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.

Don’t get much cooler

I was lucky enough to grab this off of ebay back in 2014.  Back then, Gwynn autographs were significantly cheaper (for obvious reasons), and in this case, it was even more so thanks to the unlicensed nature.  People have sort of caught on and realized that logos or not, basketball photo or not, that these UD Black autos are fantastic and the ones I don’t have are too pricey for me to go after currently.  Not to brag, but this only cost me $20, which is half or less of the current price.

Literal:
If you didn’t know his name, what would you think this said?  “Jerry 6 — y —–”

Style points:
Tony has one of my favorite signatures.  It’s extremely readable and that looping T and the pronounced sharp lines on the Ys have an elegance to them that really fit his character.

Space Usage:
I’ve seen a lot of examples of his signature and Tony was great about filling in the areas given to him.  It is a vertical and horizontal design and can extend in all directions as needed.

Laziness:
I can’t imagine anyone would claim laziness on this signature, and it’s incredibly consistent. Remarkably so.

Intangibles:
Despite the consistency, this autograph’s T is a bit more jagged than what I normally see.  Still, the silver ink against the matte black paper looks great.  I love the young picture of Gwynn honoring his basketball skills.  Even though it’s unlicensed and not even a baseball card, this is currently my favorite autograph in my collection (across all players).

Overall:
Tony was a very frequent signer, and unfortunately, we still occasionally see some sticker autos in current products today.  My collection is over double-digits and I’m happy to slowly build that up further, but it will be tough to beat this one.

Back to the Dugout – Part 2

Welcome back!  Here we are at part 2 of what I think should be a three-part series, showcasing the goods I acquired from Kyle at Nolan’s Dugout. Part 1 is available to you right here.  That time, I shared the Maddux and Thomas cards from the trade.  Today will be all of the Gwynns and the start of the Kerry Woods.  I’m afraid I’m not very creative about the intros today, so how about we dive on in and look at some cardboard.

Hey cameraman, Tony’s to your left

With the addition of this team checklist, it’s becoming ever stranger that I don’t have the “normal” 1996 Collector’s Choice card.  Amazing how junk wax can elude us for so long.

And all he gets is a ribbon…

Yeah, I’d say that was just about right.  I see so many modern stat commentaries about how X player struck out Y number of times in a year or month or week and then they say how Gwynn struck out Y or less times for his career or season, etc.

And he still has to squat to fit on the cover…

I also read an article not too long ago about how a lot of this is due to the rise of players in Latin countries.  Flash and power are emphasized much more over contact, so they stand out to scouts.  As a result, the strike out rates are increasing because teams see the power and think they can teach the finesse later, which is not proving to be true for the whole.  May not be the only factor, but that seemed to have some merit.

Rocking the hot pink

If Heritage is still going on when this set’s time is up, the color swap variation will be interesting (and possibly actually even recognizable).  The “single missing pixel” variation that will inevitably be a thing in 20+ years, will not be interesting.  Although this is a reprint from 2011, so it makes me wonder if future Heritage would also include reprints of reprints.

If you like borders, here’s one of the biggest you’ll see

I still don’t understand most of the early 2000s Fleer sets, but I can appreciate the picture choice with the off-balance throw.

They loved their boxes

See, this one is called Premium, but it sure as hell doesn’t look like it.  Silver and foil were far too prevalent and overused by that time to carry that name alone.

More boxes

This theme I understand.  Sure it’s gray and drab, but at least I understand the concept.

Maximum UV coating stickiness

I mean, I just don’t get it.  Here they are, cranking out the sets but why would people think this looks good, or interesting?

Are you looking at my butt?

Ultra gets a pass.  There’s history and legacy there.  Sure, these designs may not carry the same oomph that they did a decade prior, but many of the Ultra designs are still interesting to look at.  Plus, there are no boxes.

Will we see any more boxy, intrusive borders in the last of the Kerry Wood cards that Kyle sent?  I guess you’ll just have to wait until next time.  Sorry, I’m not very good at the cliffhangers today either, I guess.

Introducing the John Lackey Collection

This is part two of a twenty-five part series chronicling my budding collections of the 2016 World Series champion Cubs.  Obviously, I’ve already starting showing off some of those cards, but I wanted to offer a formal introduction to the various players.  With my legacy player collections, I’m still going to attempt to show every single card on the blog, but with these new guys I’m taking a different approach as you’ll see here where I lump cards in one scan, and will probably skip many of the more basic cards I get unless I can get a good theme together.

Today we’re featuring former fourth starter John Lackey.  This may seem like an odd choice for the second installment, but there are a couple reasons behind this.  For one, since he’s been in the league longer I had quite a few of his cards, so I wanted to knock out a larger one early.  For two, I recently completed a trade with a certain Angels-centric collector (one who likes order) where he flooded me with Lackeys and so it’s better to “introduce” the collection before expanding it through that big trade.

A nice array of cardboard years

John came into the league in 2002 with the Anaheim Angels, where he stayed until 2005 when he moved to The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  That first year with the team saw the Angels win a World Series title.  2007 was his best year where he notched 19 wins, had a league leading ERA of 3.01 and had his only All-Star appearance.

The blue heritage was an ebay win after starting my collection

After being with the Angels, Lackey stayed in red for a while, first moving to Boston in free agency in 2009.  He found success there, but we’ll talk about that in a minute.  After 5 years, he was traded to the Cardinals in 2014 for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly.  2015 was another free agency stint where he decided to come to Chicago and chase another ring (not a haircut).  Then, after 2017, he decided to retire

Already almost done with this set

I know these cards are all from the UD Documentary set, but let’s quickly talk Boston.  There he won his second of three rings (guess where the third came from) in 2013.  After missing the season before, he came back and ended up being the pitcher of record in the clinching game 6 of the World Series.

Missing 2 of the base cards from this set and most of the golds

I mentioned the 2002 WS championship, but I didn’t tell you about how he, as a rookie, started game 7 to help them win it.  Meaning he’s done it twice, both in unexpected situations (rookie and returning from injury).

Adding in the Lacky card record.  He has 20 total cards to chase, but one is a season summary, so he will have a winning record on UD Documentary.
Lackey Angels card record:  10-3

The rest of these are from a COMC binge

No more Cubs cards the rest of the way down, so I’ll say that his 2016 season was good for his role.  11 wins and a 3.35 ERA. The 180 strikeouts was his third highest career total. 2017 was a bit of a down year, though.

Not sharing the card on this one

In terms of cardboard, it should be a more manageable venture than some of the other players on the team.  Despite a 15 year career, I’m only looking at a little over 800 cards total.

A Gold Jered Weaver in the background

He appears in just a few of these crazy multi-parallel sets, which makes things easier.  Those UD Documentary golds may be a bit of a hassle.

That 8 stamp is a little off.

The UD Heroes are pretty uncommon as well, but overall there aren’t many sets that look like they’d be incredibly obnoxious.

X gonna sparkle for ya

Lackey may not be the most exciting player, but I’m excited that it will afford me more opportunity to see some early 2000s baseball cards that I wouldn’t necessarily get to experience.  His cards will largely be cheap, which is good and now that he’s retired, there probably won’t be many more cards to add.  I’m looking forward to increasing the collection over the next few years and seeing a lot of red uniforms with a sprinkling of blue.

2018 Cubs – The First Ten Games

Another season, another attempt to track my team’s progress through baseball cards.  Will I make it all the way through the year this time, or will I fall short like I do with virtually everything else I try?

Last year, I celebrated every win by showing off a card, and used it as an excuse to get through a portion of the Greg Maddux Moments & Milestones cards I have (still have a ton left).  This time around, since I’m collecting the championship team, and most of those players are still on the roster, I figured I’d do something different.

I’m trying to pay closer attention to the games so I am planning to assign a “Player of the Game” for each win.  For the people I collect, we’ll see a card of that person.  If they’re not part of my collection, then I’m not sure what I plan to do yet.  I don’t want to scan cards I’m not collecting just for this because it’s a pain to format and upload things in my system.  Maybe I’ll go back to the M&Ms? Maybe use a card from a guy that left the team?  We’ll find out later, because I was able to stick with the established guys for this first round.

The Cubs started off in a mediocre fashion, splitting the first ten games 5-5.  The offense has been pretty anemic and the pitching less than ideal in the early going.

From a black friday box break

Win #1 – Kyle Schwarber – To start, this is half real, half joke.  He did have a home run in the game, but he also had two spectacularly bad defensive plays in left field.

GQ blaster break

Win #2 – Kris Bryant – He was 2 for 5 with one walk and knocked in 3 in the 10th inning.  The easiest picks are those that are the game winners.

From my A&G boxes last year

Win #3 – Javier Baez – He only got one hit, going 1-1, but he walked three times, which is big for him.  Although 2 were intentional.  Javy recorded 2 RBI for the day and also had a great base-running moment, going from first to home on infield single.

Pulled from a Donruss blaster

Win #4 – Bryant – Continuing his hot start by going 3 for 3, 2 BB, and a home run to tie it in the 6th inning.

From the GQ blasters again

Win #5 – Ben Zobrist – He was able to take advantage of his playing time with a 2 for 4 day and a HR to kick off the offense.

And that’s it.  These recaps may not be all that exciting, but the cards might get more interesting as the season goes on.

October 2017 Ebay Wins

Another month, another round of saved searches bearing gifts that I bought for myself.  This was my birthday month, but I didn’t expand my budget.  Even so, I wound up with quite a few good cards at a reasonable price.  I have several months backlogged, so let’s just get into it.

fake 1997 patch from 2009

I’m not sure when Topps started doing these blaster patch things, but 2009 has to be pretty close to the start of it.  The one that I want the most for Maddux is from 2010 as that would mean I have all of the cards from that year for him (aside from a couple rare Upper Deck things that were unannounced and maybe weren’t supposed to be released – so not sure if I should count them).  But for the 2010 blaster patch, I refuse to pay more than the .99 +s/h for it, so I’m still waiting years later.

Condition sensitive

I don’t make it a habit of buying regular inserts on ebay, and this really wasn’t an exception.  It was a package deal with the next card you’ll see.

The fake rips still look weird in green

This was the main reason for bidding.  I’m getting used to how cheap this Bunt stuff is, and I like that aspect.

The ghost of Wrigley

Where else can you get an insert of a star player like Rizzo #’d to 99 for a buck?  It’s pretty amazing.

Finding comfort in drowning in the quicksand

Lester is pretty dumbfounded by it as well.  I guess this is why the product is getting scrapped in 2018.

Should have posted on March 17th

Zobrist is just happy he wore sunglasses to block out the gaudy tinting.  I have most of the green parallels at this point.  Oranges will take a while.

Any minute now, he’s going to dissolve into tiny paint splatters

Here’s a little break for your eyes, in a way.  Topps Fire was a Target only product.  I bought a couple boxes (opened one, saving the other for a potential group break if I ever feel like trying that), and I can say that the parallels are pretty tough to distinguish if you’re not incredibly familiar with the cards.  This is one of the more obvious ones – the purple one #/99.

Fowler is not in the regular Donruss set, oddly. Piscotty is the Diamond King there

The Optic parallels are far too numerous.  Here we have a Carolina Blue #/50, which is different than the regular blue #/199 (not pictured or acquired).  Yup, totally necessary.

Class 2 if you’re playing at home

Can you believe we’re still not done?  How about more confusing parallels?  Gold Label is far too annoying.  Red means #/50 here, but not for the other classes.  And I also have a blue from a different class, so each time a search comes back with something, I have to check my lists again to see if it’s the same card or a different class with the same color.

No threads included

The biggest problem I have with these Topps Triple Threads cards is that I get them confused with Tribute.  The logos look similar to me, even though they really aren’t.  I do wish numbering and coloring would match across products, though.  Uniformity is good.

Also #’d to 99

Oh, and the Heritage relics are another problem.  This is from the high numbers series, I think, but there are some “gold” parallels that have the same green fronts as the regular ones, but the dots are kinda gold.  Very tough to see.  I’m glad they fixed that for this series, at least.

4 home runs over 2 games

Lastly for the month, we have an obvious parallel.  The black “border” version of Baez.  I’m surprised I got this for the minimum, because it’s not uncommon to see a mini bidding war on some of his cards.  I like the look of these and I’m happy to knock it off the list.

So, that was quite a lot for one month.  Next month will see some more black but only about half the cards.  Still, it should be good (subjectively)!

2017 NSCC #2 – Hitting the Dimebox Hard – Wood and Gwynn Edition

Back again with some more dimebox finds.  If you missed the first part of this adventure, go ahead and read up on it here.  These ten cent treasures were kind to me.  It was interesting to see what kind of random stuff was in there. It had the appearance of a closeout sale from a dealer or long time collector. These are the kinds of boxes I would set up (minus the toploaders on each card), if I were to try to purge my collection through a sale, instead of through trades.  **Cough** look at my trade bait **Cough**

Bring back holograms – I know there’s no hologram here, but I’m just saying

Things were light on the Kerry Wood front.  That goes for the whole show, which is surprising as he was one of the major players two years previously.  Maybe I snatched them all up back then or I just have most of what could be found in those bins.

The gaudy gold leaf thing can stay as a memory only

Here’s the second, and last, Wood of the day.  To be sort of fair, the boxes were full of a lot of cards from the past 2 years or so (case break run-offs and leftovers, I believe).

Back when the sticker albums were good

This 1989 sticker may have been the oldest card I saw in there.  I don’t remember anymore, because I had tunnel vision for my guys and wouldn’t be focused on much earlier than this anyway.

1,000th hit instead of 3000th, eh

From here, I work backwards from newest to second oldest.  You saw other Hallowed Highlights before.  Well, here’s this one.  I like the horizontal choice with this picture.

Sad Expos

If you couldn’t tell, this card IS celebrating the 3000th hit.  That was the special day in Montreal.

Same picture, same creepy eyes lurking.

However, this card is also talking about that milestone.  As do at least two others from this marathon set that I don’t have.  Not cool, Upper Deck.

Not the 3000th hit!

These 2005 UD Heroes are a little tough to come across.  It’s also hard to tell them apart from the 2008 set unless you look at the dates on the back.

Oops, and we’re back.

There are a lot of parallels and I don’t recall really seeing any of them in the wild.  I’ve seen some of the autos, which will certainly cost more than a dime.

Holograms!

I typically don’t make a habit of buying base cards at shows or card shops (on the rare occasion I visit one).  I’d rather put my money to better use and hope that a trade will fill in the rest.  But, again, for a dime, I had to get more holograms.

Bring these things back

Lastly, we have a card that’s not exactly rare, but still something I’ve been wanting for a bit.  This is the exchange/unredeemed version of the A group from 1993 Black Gold.  When you get to the ABCD redemptions is where you run into some cost issues and competition.  Can you spot Gwynn on this card?

That’s all there is to the “legacy” collections.  Next up, we’ll hit up the new guys for a couple more episodes and then who knows where life will take us.

If I Were To Collect: Minnesota Twins Edition

[The twenty-seventh 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?]

Only a couple more left in this series, and these are the toughest to come up with.  This particular post was delayed mostly because I had a hard time finding a card for the man below.  I’ve tried to only use cards in my possession for this project, but he only has so many.  Recently, I tried scouring through a lot of old boxes of lots that Andy and I purchased in our flipping days, and I finally stumbled upon this 1975 card in a partial set he bought (that’s at my house), so the series can continue!

A slightly battle worn card

Tony Oliva gets my pick for the Twins.  I feel like he’s an underappreciated player from the era.  Not necessarily forgotten, but he didn’t get into the Hall of Fame despite multiple batting titles, 8 All-Star appearances, Rookie of the Year honors and one gold glove.  I’ll leave it up to you as to whether or not he deserves induction, but he’s getting my choice for hypothetical Twin addition.

Don’t have this anymore. From a case break back in those days

Current player runner-up:  Joe Mauer

2000 hits aside, he’s basically the only player on the team I know.  Bonus points for staying with the same team for his entire career (so far).

Not sure if I have this, actually

Retired player runner-upHarmon Killebrew

I don’t know of a lot of Twins.  I’m not wild about any of the players from my childhood.  Kirby was a potential pick but the allegations against him sour that pick.  Instead I’ll go with the guy with the nickname “Killer.”  Look, it makes sense to me!

The Series So Far
Angels – (tie) Jim Abbott & Vladimir Guerrero
Astros – J.R. Richard
Athletics
Blue Jays – Carlos Delgado
Braves – Steve Avery
Brewers – Bob Eucker
Cardinals – Jim Edmonds
Cubs
Diamondbacks – Randy Johnson
Dodgers – Jackie Robinson
Giants – Kevin Mitchell
Indians – Jim Thome
Mariners – Felix Hernandez
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 – Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd
Reds – Eric Davis
Rockies – Carlos Gonzalez
Royals – Bo Jackson
Tigers – Alan Trammell
Twins – Tony Oliva
White Sox – Paul Konerko
Yankees – Mariano Rivera

A Warming Trade for an Annoying Cold

These past couple of days, I’ve been sick with a fun little cold, or flu (never really sure which).  My wife had a friend visit us and I had to tuck away and isolate myself to avoid infecting either of them. That also meant I couldn’t join on the fun stuff they had planned.  I was home resting.  I also couldn’t do much of anything else, and certainly couldn’t play with cards in hand.  I don’t want to spread my germs into that paper stock.  So, when you can’t handle cards, you write about cards (for as long as you can stand looking at a bright computer screen, that is).

One thing that gets me through is thinking about all the great people I’ve met through this blog over the years.  It’s always nice to trade with a friendly face.  Or name.  Just like with just about every blogger out there, I have not met Kerry (aka Madding from Cards on Cards) in person, but perhaps that will happen some day.

For the time being, we’ll continue our cardboard friendship through consistent trades.  It’s easy to find some good Cardinals and Heritage stuff to trade.  I guess the pack gods think I live farther down state than I do.  But even though it’s easy to pad his envelopes doesn’t mean that he won’t still respond to some of my trade bait posts to reserve some of the goods.

I know that it can be tough for people to find things for me.  I collect popular players and a popular team and I’m not actively involved in the hobby enough to be in the forefront of most people’s minds, but I’m happy to take whatever I can get.

I really appreciate thought and effort that goes into Kerry’s packages.  He knows what I like and isn’t afraid to get dirty in my daunting want list spreadsheets.  So, let’s see what came through this time around.

Small sampling of the goods

Kerry has been the only one, so far, that regularly sends me basketball cards.  I haven’t been buying anything basketball related in a while because I don’t have a good focus for that sport, so it’s great to get these packages to see what kind of sets I’ve been missing and to have blasts of nostalgia thrown in.  Horace Grant without his goggles!  Silver Signature Pippen!  Jordans! Unknown parallels for unknown modern sets!

I’ve never seen that orange thing before, but it’s not bad

Check out this cool stuff.  Plenty of color and shine and star players I’m interested in.  And you can’t go wrong with stickers.  Hey, remember when Jimmy Butler was on the Bulls… Those were good times.

Uh, there have been more than 40 years of baseball…

There are a surprising number of junk wax era cards I’m missing for my player collections.  This 1991 rack pack exclusive (I think that’s what it’s from) is no longer one of them.

There’s also a non-signature version I hear

There’s a less surprising amount of modern cards that I still need.  Frank Thomas is still a popular subject in new card sets, post-retirement like this one from the most recent Archives set.

Possibly the only Orioles cards I’ll be chasing

The vast majority of this trade package was a nice starter for my new Cubs collections.  In fact, my Pedro Strop collection was doubled with this batch of two.

Pretty good picture for a relief pitcher

I look forward to going after the far too prevalent parallels.

What do you think they’re talking about

Jason had two cards in 2011 for some reason.  This one is #338 in case you were wondering.

Strop wins the 2012 picture contest

Only one card this year.  And he doesn’t look too thrilled about it.

Strop wins the 2013 battle as well.

Switching teams over to the Orioles to immediately prove my earlier comment wrong.  Now I have at least two.  Okay, just remembered Arrieta as well.

I like the 2014 design less and less

Here he is with his eventual World Championship team.  Part of the reason I’m in this mess.

You open 2011 Update for Trout, I…would do the same

Lastly, is a David Ross card, which may be a difficult challenge (a lot of parallels, minor leagues and random stuff).  After 2011, David didn’t have any cards until 2014.  Crazy.

This is just a small sampling of the trade.  After my trade with reader Bill, this was the second big new World Series collection package I got.  There are still several more scans from this trade alone and Kerry has continued to be a friend and supporter by sending me a couple more packages afterwards, so he will remain a friendly face on this blog for quite some time.

A Few Good Group Breaks

2017 was a decent year for me on a personal level.  Aside from the last couple months of the year, I did find myself with more free time from work than I had the past few years (although this new position is going to be even better and would be the normal 9-5 schedule a desk job like mine should be).  I also managed to pay off some long-standing bills last year, giving me some extra disposable income.

Those factors, when combined with my need to collect many of the current Cubs players again has peaked my interest in joining group breaks.  I haven’t been willing to get in with the guys making it a full-time business, so far.  That world is actually a little intimidating.  So instead, I found a couple good alternate options.

All but two stayed in 2018

First up, we have a Series 2 break from Tracy’s Box Breaks (BatcaveLV on twitter and posts on his blog are here). He occasionally does some cheaper breaks and sometimes mixes old and new products.  This particular break was a tw0-team break with just the S2 box, and that’s fine by me.  I nabbed what is probably the full team set from the box.

A lot of first pitches from people I don’t know

My other team was the White Sox, conveniently paired.  I don’t need any of those cards, if you’re interested (I have more than what’s in the scan).  I nabbed a healthy amount of inserts overall, which was cool.  Even got the highly coveted silver stamped ’88 buyback of Gary Redus.

Nice surprise

The box also lucked me into a gold parallel of Hendricks.

Some angry cheering

And this Baez insert.  Always nice to get some of these out of the way.

I achieved nothing card worthy at 18U

Tracy also may send out some extra freebies, if he feels so inclined, and lucky for me, he did.  So, now I have this Almora USA card, which I think was from a box set thing.

The triangles look like the Double Dare logo

I don’t think he knew I collected Maddux, but he sent two cards I surprisingly didn’t have.  How was I missing this old Score card?

Exclusive!

And I got this Etch a Sketch design that I needed.  Thanks, Tracy.

Zobrist prizm among others

Let’s move on to Crackin’ Wax, who does a bunch of breaks (twitter handle here).  I used to participate way back in the BoBuBingo days (is that correct?), but haven’t in some time.  Part of that is not needing Cubs.  And other people jump in.  I got in for the Chrome half-case break.

Three Willsons is a nice boost to the percentage

I didn’t hit any of the big time hits or find the infamous Bryant variation, but I did get a Zastrynsky auto (not scanned as I’m not collecting him).  As you can see there are a few more refractors and inserts in the bunch.  I do have some doubles of the base if anyone’s interested.

This looks better, but I miss the colors

Lastly, we have a surprise entrant.  Super case breaker Brent and Becca (twitter) decided to group break a couple cases instead of flip on ebay as usual.  Ginter X was the limited run full set parallel online exclusive thing.  He did a random team break and I got the Red Sox.  While I would have been happy to flip some of those Benintendi’s, I was lucky enough to coordinate a trade with the guy who landed the Cubs.

A few Cubs are not pictured here

A case of this netted a bunch of cards, and I have tons of dupes if there are any Cubs collectors looking for the base.

I like the horizontal treatment

The minis are a big draw.  I forget the exact expected count, but considering the production, it’s limited.  I think 250 or less of each, and about 100 for each SP mini.  I didn’t get all of my guys, and I’m missing the priciest one in Bryant, but still a good haul.  But we’re not done.

Not yet live

12 boxes in the case.  2 autos per box, and one of them is mine.

Okay, now it’s live

The redemption was filled in February. I’m almost positive that if the autos were numbered, they wouldn’t fit my collection parameters, but I’m not exactly turning this away.  Not too shabby.  My group breaking has already since died down, but you never know when it might pop back up.