Saturday, May 25, 2019

A card shop find - a 1983 Topps set

During an out of town card shop trip , I was lurking in the junk wax / junk set corner, maybe looking for a junk wax box / junk era set to rip  - I guess I see myself as a hoarder or at the very least willing to rummage through a pile of crap to try and find 'something' to take home.

The last time I was at this card shop was in fall of 2017 and think I saw a 1995 Upper Deck Minors box for $15 last fall which was intriguing because regardless of how bad the content has aged - those mid 90s UD sets still look good.

However, there is probably lots of turnover - even if any particular box / set is just squirreled away somewhere else as opposed to someone actually buying it.

I saw some hand collated sets [junk wax era] on the counter closest to where all the junk boxes / junk sets are - this isn’t what I’m really looking for because the brown card boxes look ancient and taped shut, so who knows if there are just repacked garbage in there.

One of the store employees was explaining to an older collector that he just got those sets in and they did have the key cards - the older collector was looking for a run of old-school Topps sets.

I was lingering by, but the older collector was coming along looking for this and that - it felt like I kind of snatched the box with the 1983 Topps set [marked at $20] from just under his grasp.

Maybe the value has bottomed out, but old-school, pre junk wax era cards printed through the mid 1980s are still intriguing - it would be an impulse buy, but could I beat the price?

I really wasn’t about to mess with the set because who knows where it came from - even if the rookie cards of Ryne Sandberg [#83], Tony Gwynn [#482] and Wade Boggs [#498] would make the set seem like a no brainer purchase.

I have a PSA graded Sandberg and do prefer PSA graded rookies of Gwynn and Boggs - since there is some assurance someone looked at the cards to deem them authentic and assign a numerical grade.

For a price of a blaster, I could at least mimic the experience of going through the 35-year old cards like they came from unopened rips - maybe I could try to finish off my Topps team runs for 1983 with cards leftover for various, miscellaneous interests.

I actually took the time to put the set in plastic pages to see what a full set of 792 cards would look like in a book - during a few different times, I emptied out just about 90 plastic pages filled with assorted inserts and added the 1983 Topps cards.

To the naked eye the Sandberg, Gwynn and Boggs are presentable - maybe kind of examples I'd find in a more common showcase of cards at a card show or card shop.

The rest of the cards are probably in 'ex-mt' condition, with examples of cards - being off-center, miscut or otherwise having some sort of noticeable blemish.

I'll probably leave the misfit condition cards as fillers since I'm not a set guy - it's not really worth it to me to track down countless 1983 Topps so I can upgrade a random common here, a random star card here, etc.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Featured autograph - Griffin Canning

I didn't get a chance to get Canning at all at the beginning of the 2018 season because he made two starts in the California League before he got promoted to Double-A - as it goes, I was able to get the now current Angels rookie pitcher later in the summer as a visiting Salt Lake Bees player in Las Vegas.

One of the collecting things I'd like to focus on at the moment is gathering the loose autographs I have of players who are playing or have played for the Angels - I've counted up around 290 autographs for my all-time autograph collection so far and the goal is perhaps not completion, but to get a good representation of players in franchise history.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

2019 Topps Big League blaster recap

I was looking for 2019 Bowman Mega Boxes at a random Target stop but didn’t find any - so I relented to grab a blaster this other baseball product that might have just come out.

I like the cards though a concern has always been the card stock because they seem a little fragile - I’m not going to be literally playing with my cards, but I do like the flip through them and feel like these cards shouldn’t be handled too much.

The non-glossy finish on the cards maybe prone to fingerprints and blemishes - I can’t complain too much and the design seems to be much nicer than the debut issue last year, though I probably won't embrace it like it’s some awesome product for a penny pincher collector.

Exclusive box panel card

#B3 Mike Trout - I tore the panel with the card from the rest of the box and I’ll leave it as it is instead of trying to actual cut it out.

Blue border parallel pack
#378 Josh Hader - Award Winners subset
#147 Willy Adames
#268 Ryan Zimmerman
#269 Caleb Joseph

Pack one

#150 Albert Pujols
#154 Jose Berrios
#76 Nick Williams
#143 David Dahl
#WC-6 Billy Hamilton - Wall Climbers insert
#156 Daniel Palka - Gold parallel
#90 Brandon Belt
#183 Victor Robles
#216 Pablo Sandoval
#342 Noah Syndergaard

Pack two
#129 Max Scherzer
#323 Max Kepler
#287 Jesus Aguilar
#95 Kevin Newman
#SCR-RA Ronald Acuna Jr. - Star Caricature Reproduction insert

#17 Shohei Ohtani - Gold parallel
Take the Field contest info card
#40 Blake Snell
#294 Kyle Tucker
#371 Stat Kings 2018 AL Innings Pitched Leaders - feat. Kluber, Verlander and unemployed Keuchel
#141 Joc Pederson

Pack three
#50 Ronald Acuna Jr.

#380 Shohei Ohtani - Award Winner subset
#242 Whit Merrifield
#265 Andrew McCutchen
#BO-6 Trevor Story - Blast Off! insert

#328 Brandon Lowe - Gold parallel
#108 Corey Kluber
#56 Mark Trumbo
#246 Starlin Castro
#384 Mookie Betts - Award Winner subset

Pack four
#275 David Peralta
#5 Josh Bell
#93 Salvador Perez
#PW-27 Tim Anderson - Players’ Weekend Nicknames insert ‘TA7’

#10 David Fletcher - Gold parallel

#201 Isiah Kiner-Falefa - Rainbow foil parallel serial #’d 069/100
#202 Paul De Jong
#209 Ian Desmond
#25 Chris Archer
#29 Eduardo Escobar

Pack five
#326 Ian Happ

#293 Josh Hader - uh oh...
#340 Randal Grichuk
#203 Tommy Pham
#WC-6 Billy Hamilton - Wall Climbers insert
#347 Stat Kings 2018 AL Runs Scored Leaders - feat. Betts, Lindor and Martinez
#119 Mallex Smith
#180 Jonathan Villar
#235 James Paxton
#217 Wil Myers

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Featured autograph - Yordan Alvarez

He might not have had many cards back when he played in the Arizona Fall League in 2017, so I had Alvarez sign a 2015 Topps Pro Debut Fragment of the Farm Round Rock Express seat relic I'd bought at a card shop - I thought I'd turned a non-player relic into something unique even if I had to wait a couple of years before Alvarez would presumably be playing his home games at the stadium where the relic was from.

As it goes, I didn’t actually look to see which big league team Round Rock was affiliated with at the time and what level [Round Rock had been the Texas Rangers’ Triple-A farm team since 2011, when I thought it was Houston's Double-A affiliate] - it's just not a big deal, but now I had this 'weird, phantom' in-person autograph card signed by a player whose relation with the subject featured on-card was non-existent.

Alvarez reached the Triple-A level in 2018 with the Fresno Grizzlies [when the Grizzlies were affiliated with the Astros] - but was in playing in Double-A when the Fresno made its only trip to Round Rock, so I couldn't say he at least played at the ballpark as a visiting player.

Go figure, after the completion of the 2018 season, the Astros ditched Fresno and had a new agreement with Round Rock to be their Triple-A affiliate - I could finally show off this card, signed by a Cuban slugger tearing up the Pacific Coast League so far as opposed to stashing it away in a box of fails.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

TTM autographs received: Jo Adell

I saw successes with Adell c/o an off-season mailing address a couple of years ago - I sent a request after those trickle of responses but wrote mine off when there was no apparent response.

Fast forward to this year, I saw some collectors getting him back from requests sent from a year or so ago - fingers crossed, I was going to get mine sooner than never.

I just about called it when one of my SASEs showed out of the blue - inside were my cards signed and also preprinted form letter talking about Adell's new foundation.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Featured autograph - Brian Goodwin

Goodwin has been a solid addition so far for the middling 2019 Angels, getting an opportunity to stick at the end of spring training after Justin Upton got hurt - I got his autograph when he was in the Washington Nationals organization, playing in the Arizona Fall League in 2013, long before he was an Angel.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Another screen shot of a Google Sheets file

As far as I know, I've mostly gotten specific cards from my awesome action collection jammed together - it may have been the only thing I've thought about as far as collecting cards go.

I added a column to the Google Sheets file where I could 'tag' listed cards I had in-hand according to a sport - I'm always a 'baseball first' guy, but I want to account for cards from basketball, football, hockey, etc.

As far as cards from other sports, I'll have cards I'll physically add to the end of specific classifications / groupings that were made for my baseball collection - but there will also be a stand alone collection of cards for each sport.

Basketball - actual on court action - in the air; stick this with my baseball ‘in the air’ collection

Football - skill players - quarterbacks, receivers, running backs, tight ends

Football - special teams - running backs, defensive backs

Football - offense - kickers, linemen

Football - defense - cornerbacks, linebackers, linemen, safeties

Football - unique perspectives - celebrations

Hockey - actual on ice game action

Hockey - unique perspectives - celebrations, photo ops

Classifications / groupings for my stand alone cards may be just a little different from my baseball ones - I was trying to think of some unique themes for the football cards, but stuck with trying to arrange them by position.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Featured autograph - Tommy Pham

Even if I was still trying to get MLB autographs in-person on a regular basis, maybe picking up a $4 certified autograph of Pham would be easier than attempting to actually getting a scribble from him - I'm at the point where I just don’t get regular opportunities to graph big leaguers anymore and having a certified autograph card of an intriguing player like Pham satisfies me at the moment.

Pham seems to have a little bit of a ‘bite’ to him and maybe because of injuries, it took a while before he reached and established himself as a big leaguer - the window for him to be an outright star has never quite opened, but when healthy, he has put up numbers.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

2019 Topps Now Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #137

I guess I felt like a sucker after reading the Night Owl post about Topps spamming this card up - still, I had been looking forward to picking up Vlad Jr.'s first Topps Now card.

Compared to the Vladimir Guerrero [Sr.] universally noted in professional baseball as a guy who can hit them wherever it was literally pitched - the already jumbo sized Vlad Jr. is supposed to be a better slugging talent at the same stage of their MLB careers, so the hype has been through the roof.

Admittedly, I hesitated on pulling the trigger to get my one lousy copy when eBay sellers had them up for pre-sale [usually for around $5, though in mass quantities, they may get them for roughly a couple of bucks each] - I waited until the next day's set of Topps Now cards came out until browsing around to see if the listed prices had spiked just a bit and whether I can order one.

The print run for the Vlad Jr. cards was 19,396 [which is the most for any Topps Now card] and the game dated, on-demand cards just doesn’t have the same appeal as pack pulled cards - maybe as an extension of the love for Vlad Sr. however, I'll see about trying to collect his son in here and there, even if prices for his key cards are just not within my budget.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

2019 Bowman blaster purchases

Off the 2019 Bowman thread on the Blowout cards forums, I found out these were on the Tarjay Web site and decided to purchase some boxes at $19.99 each plus tax collected - on Walmart.com, they were priced slightly higher at $22.99 each plus tax collected.

Retail configurations are a tease, but collectors and speculators are mining for prospect gold and there was a little FOMO [that nasty acronym] - in case I wouldn’t be able to find any in-person at a big box stores.

As is, there might be a window to buy the same unopened retail products online - it saves a trip, without having to hope and pray the vultures haven't ravaged through the stock in-hand.

Unopened purchases is not a means to add something for my personal collections, but a break gives me an opportunity to flip through new cards - I'm hoping for at least a retail autograph pull, just to have some ink to show for my gamble, though the odds are long I'll pull someone who is a decent prospect.

I haven't decided or just might not bother on a hand-collated set purchase to build up the in-person / through the mail card depth, particularly for teams closest to me - things are bloated however and I get bummed out, when I can't get ink on cards I've ended up with.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Awesome action projects - classifications and groupings

I'm all about trying to stretch my interests out as far as playing with my cards and off what I'd started last year, there has been a push towards trying to see where specific cards off my awesome action collection can be jammed together - for the longest time, my awesome action collection was a mashup of assorted cards, but maybe I've been influenced by other cards bloggers to get even more specific as far as pooling together cards that show similar, unique images.

I added a column to the Google Sheets file where I could 'tag' listed cards I had in-hand according to a classification - I might have around 1,000 cards listed in my main awesome action collection and so I don't get overwhelmed, I'm only grabbing a certain number of cards at a time [like all the cards of players with the last names A-B, B-C, etc] to get through the year.

To dig a little deeper perhaps, I added a grouping column where I want to label cards within the main awesome action subset and classification - so far, I only have my A-B cards off my main collection and awesome action cards I had in my temporary setups to classify.

I’ve tried to conjure up groupings that come up as I’ve played and listed out cards in a specific classification - as is, it was a little confusing to sort what I had all over again, going in different directions, trying to herd into one place, that might fit better in another place, etc.

I worry the names of the groupings sound too basic, where there isn’t really have a ‘bite,’ but the cards that are tagged under an occasional boring sounding grouping - were collected within the awesome action umbrella.

Actual on field game action - baserunning, batters bunting, batting, celebrations, confrontations, curtain calls, fielding, in the air, making the throws and pitching.

Dirt fetish - maybe not as specific as long as I see dirt

Fun cards - goofing off, gum cards, having fun, mascots, mugging it up, oddities and props

Game face cards - focused, men at work

Personality shots - fired up, tributes

Unique perspectives - angles, event captured, horizontal, interviews, lounging around, majestic / panoramic, multiple-exposure manipulation, posed photo shoots and signage.

Maybe by the end of the week, things got more clear cut - where I was able to organize by classification and grouping, though it is just the start.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

2012 Topps factory set Bryce Harper cards

Harper has had a pretty good start with his new team and it’s going to be interesting to see if he holds up through the rest of the season - both these Harper rookie-year cards were included as part of the 2012 Topps factory sets, so they aren't too hard to find.

Even though the cards weren't randomly inserted in packs, due to a little FOMO - I picked up a copy of each for my micro-mini Harper personal collection.

I wouldn't say pulling one is common, but I’ve seen the 'screaming variation' found enough times through $5 repack boxes that I wanted one outright - so at the very least, I don’t go fiending out trying to find my own copy of the card.

The screaming Harper is 1 of 5 factory rookie variation cards inserted as a bonus - the card to the right ['front leg up'] is the factory set variation of Harper’s super short print rookie card from 2012 Topps Series 2.

Presumably the factory set variation was issued because Topps wanted traditional set collectors to have a Harper card with 2012 sets - even though it just isn't the flagship SSP Harper card coveted by serious collectors / speculators.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Jackie Robinson commemorative postcard

I don't remember when I got this odd-sized card but it was probably handed out at a MLB game to honor Robinson's MLB debut - as much as I know only the player for being a pioneer for African-American integration into the major leagues, I think digging deeper makes his life experiences relevant in 21st century America.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

I wish I didn't care as much or at all

The boxes to the center and to the right are where I store a part of my mini-collections - I've mostly been working on listing out [and physically putting away] collecting topic subset cards for the past couple of weeks.

I maintain a loose box of cards to stash 'adds' to count towards my year end achievements and a stash of 'haves' that may have been loose cards otherwise already in my collection - it's kind of 'grunt' work to empty the box but I get the satisfaction of playing around with my actual cards and making sure they are 'officially' part of my collection as opposed to just not giving a hoot.

I’ve started to put away some cards for the following but I think I’ve got to stop somewhere - there has to be a time where I can say I’m done with something at the moment, where I can catch my breath and pat myself on the back.- I’ve got to stop somewhere and there has to be a time where I can say I’m done with something at the moment, where I can catch my breath and pat myself on the back.

I can take myself through a ‘trip’ as a collector flipping through cards that belong to particular themes perhaps - but it feels irrelevant, where I’ve objectified strangers’ [regardless of their status as professional athletes] cards [like having a snapshot of someone else’s personal achievement] that mean bupkis to my life.

It’s because I’m a collector and one-time in-person autograph hound that thinks chasing ink got me closer to the game than it actually did - going through the cards or scrutinizing them because a bit more important because I was looking to get them inked up.

Not to get too dramatic, but maybe through collecting, I’ve kind of marginalized my own life where I wonder if trying to do something with miscellaneous cards are a waste - once in a while, maybe it’s peculiar to see ‘dead cardboard’ I flipped through and passed over at one time ‘archived to oblivion’ like commons from 10-15 years of once ‘current’ players that have moved on [when I haven’t].

Friday, April 05, 2019

2019 Topps Gypsy Queen value pack

I don't know if this is really the case but I think I've been pretty 'once in a while' about random pack / blaster / box breaks over the past year or so - this just means cutting off most Target or Walmart trips made solely for cards and walking away when I've had a chance to buy a pack or blaster of something.

On the other hand, I still get impulsive and maybe I was looking for some whoopee out of a random break - there are probably smarter ways to get newer cards in my collection, but things feel stale sometimes and I have to make a choice to grab something off the trading card hanger display at my big box store.

Green parallel pack 
#170 Lou Trivino - Mr. Mem [of Cardbarrel fame] mentioned on Twitter the card numbers printed on the back are tiny and my eyes agree.
#21 Matt Davidson - I saw the base version from browsing on eBay perhaps and because of the image selected off Getty, I was happy to get a parallel of the original card.
#175 Jack Flaherty

Pack one
#196 Yoan Moncada
#271 Trea Turner
#185 Jose Leclerc

#130 Michael Kopech
#29 Dawel Lugo
#229 Zack Cozart

Pack two
#22 Ryan Borucki
#273 Jose Urena
#182 Yu Darvish
#187 Justus Sheffield
#14 Josh Reddick
#257 Jeff McNeil

Pack three
#227 Jose Ramirez
#146 Kyle Freeland
#101 Blake Snell
#81 Trevor Bauer
#23 Xander Bogaerts
#124 Joey Gallo

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

2018 Topps Living Set Ichiro #25 PSA 9

I bought a copy of this card last year, but there was a stray mark on the top left hand corner and on principle, I returned the card to the seller - even though it cost me s/h to send it back.

Because the impulse buy didn’t end up working last year, picking up a copy of the card ended up itch I had to scratch - Ichiro was a universally loved player and as a personal tribute to the player and the man, I wanted a cheap, classy looking 'bookend card' for my micro-mini Ichiro PC.

While I don’t have an extensive Ichiro card collection [maybe three or four of his cheapest rookies in addition to whatever loose cards I may have] - I do have several in-person autographs I was able get through parts of his legendary career with a few stories on those IP quests for his scribble.

I would have originally settled for a raw copy of the card as they were released, but after the fact, a slabbed copy [$10.99 BIN - $3.00 eBay promo on purchases of $3.01 or more] only cost several dollars more - while third party grading can be a straight up joke, especially for the most recent of cards, having a card entombed in plastic gives me some peace of mind as far as getting a relatively clean card.

These cards aren't hard to find at all, so PSA 10 listings are not much more than the PSA 9 ones - as far as I’m concerned a PSA 9 is what I'll usually what settle for as the most common grade for most modern cards I’m looking to pick up.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Featured autograph - George Foster

Even though this old-school Sports Illustrated magazine showed Rod Carew on the Twins and not the Angels - I bought the copy on eBay to have it signed by Carew at the local card show back in 2007.

I put away the magazine for good and never thought about getting Foster’s autograph until I saw he was doing these spring training autograph signings with Fergie Jenkins - in recent years, maybe Foster has been a white whale of sorts, since he has shown up where it may not have been convenient for me to go.

I was able to go the Cactus League for a couple of weekends this past spring and on my last day, I saw a Facebook post by Jenkins' foundation that they were going to be signing at the Texas Rangers game in Surprise - regardless of whether I got any actual active players, one of my priorities was getting Foster.

I saw the Fergie Jenkins booths as I finally got in through the left field gates after going through security / a metal detector - Jenkins’ table was between Foster on his left and Byron Browne, a former Cubs player, who I knew because he participated in a kids camp in Peoria 11 years ago.

During the start of the game, I made my way to the Jenkins booth [Rollie Fingers was actually signing on the concourse, behind home plate, so it seemed like he getting most of the foot traffic] to get things over with - I looked over the price list posted on the tables [Jenkins was $30 and Browne was $20 maybe for the flat / balls] and Foster was the only one that the basic price was dependent on what you had.

I dug out my magazine and asked how much it would cost to sign - hoping it wouldn't be like $30 or $40.

"$20," Foster said.

As I handed him my magazine and my Sharpie - I gave my money to the handler next to him.

Foster suggested a spot where to sign my magazine and I pointed at a different place - he signed where I wanted and shook his hand after he was done.

I thought about taking a picture of him signing my item or maybe a photo op but it was nighttime and I was a little harried - to worry about anything but getting ink on my SI and leaving for a 5-hour trip back home.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Featured autograph - Nick Margevicius

This is an autograph I got last September of an anonymous Lake Elsinore pitcher who was playing long toss with a teammate - before doing some running across the warning track from foul pole to foul pole.

I waited around until he was walking to the dugout to ask him to sign one of those preprinted The Autograph Card blanks - “I don’t sign those” he said.

I don’t know why I wanted his autograph in the first place - for the 30 minutes I'd waited around, this guy shut me down rather quick and had to rummage through my autograph book to see if I had anything that could be signed.

Maybe just where the netting ends, he stopped to sign for at least a couple of kids and I whipped out a ticket stub from the previous night's game - he relented to scribble on that and my mission to get this random Cal League pitcher was done.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Featured autograph - Jimmie Reese

Reese didn’t play for the MLB Angels, but was a beloved figure as a longtime coach for the team - he was also a one-time roommate of Babe Ruth.

I started following baseball during Reese's later years in life in the early 1990s - I picked this autograph card up through Baseball Card Exchange to flesh out my Angels PC and as a small nod to this man working behind the scenes until his passing,

Sunday, March 24, 2019

2019 Donruss 30 card value pack

I wanted to like Donruss as a ‘niche’ baseball card product years ago, but for the most obvious of reasons - it’s just not something I’ll go out of my way to get a look at.

#96 Mallex Smith
#49 Steven Duggar
#110 Luis Severino
#82 Austin Meadows
#54 David Peralta
#88 Clayton Kershaw
#47 Ramon Laureano
#66 Sean Manaea
#98 Kyle Schwarber

#205 Grayson Grenier
- Breast Cancer parallel serial #’d 16/25
#62 J.D. Martinez - Holo Red parallel
#N5 Juan Soto - Vector parallel / Nicknames insert
#231 Framber Valdez - faux 1985 Donruss style
#168 Hunter Pence
#238 Bryse Wilson - faux 1985 Donruss style
#147 Freddy Peralta
#243 Matt Boyd - faux 1985 Donruss style
#171 Matt Carpenter
#246 Eric Haase - faux 1985 Donruss style
#140 Kevin Pillar
#209 Tanner Rainey - faux 1985 Donruss style
#239 Ryan Tellez - faux 1985 Donruss style
#181 Blake Snell - ‘Zilla’ variation
#21 Christian Yelich - Diamond Kings
#185 Trevor Story
#192 Matt Chapman
#9 Yoan Moncada - Diamond Kings
#165 Javier Baez
#198 Sandy Alcantara
#157 Gleyber Torres

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Farewell Ichiro

Ichiro is still pretty damn athletic at 45, but with his bat speed severely diminished and his ability to contribute on a day-to-day basis not something to be seriously considered - he finally walked away from the big leagues for good, getting an opportunity take the field as a player when his longtime Mariners played in Japan to start the 2019 season early.

I liked him just like everyone else seemed to - mainly it was because he was all about infield singles, stealing bases, showing off his arm and his defensive skills as a fast-paced contrast to the plodding all-or-nothing players who had one skill [slugging a lot of home runs], but offered little else.

Maybe for years, the media couldn't pin a narrative to Ichiro's career - part of the appeal was the quirkiness and mystery of this far east hit machine who crashed the major leagues at 27, yet was a year-to-year threat to reach the 200-hit plateau that he made up for 'lost years' to reach the 3,000 hit milestone.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

2012 Topps Heritage Mike Trout #207

I had no doubt the Angels were going to pay their franchise player - what else is there to say other than with the way Trout has built himself up as an all-around player, he'll continue to having lasting power through his mid 30s when he is supposed to be getting old and declining.

As far as Trout cards, I'll keep the ones I pull or stumble upon, but don't really go looking for ones to pick up since his better cards are always in demand - maybe two or three years ago, this particular second-year card was probably worth $3, but interest had picked up and it caught my attention.

I remember having a fling with trying to build the 2012 Topps Heritage set off loose pack / blaster breaks but lost interest soon enough - after the fact, it's easier to start with a hand-collated set purchase on eBay.

I didn't find a Trout among the 150-card box that housed my loose Heritage set-build from seven years ago - to scratch the itch, I had to get a copy even if it meant paying the going rate for a graded '9' example of his first Heritage card.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

2018 Topps Heritage Minors Jo Adell #220

I bought a copy of Adell's short printed Heritage Minors card last fall, because I thought it might be a nice low-end single, especially if he impressed in spring training - unfortunately, the crown jewel of the Angels farm system will be out for 10-12 weeks after getting hurt during a game.

While injuries suffered saps some of the prospects rankings hype for Adell entering the year - hopefully his circumstances doesn't affect his rise towards becoming a big league star, even if he'll be on the shelf in the meantime.

I got another copy of the Adell card when I recently purchased a full hand-collated set [1-220], including the SPs [201-220] - there wasn’t an incentive to get last year's Topps Heritage Minors set because I didn’t go to the Arizona Fall League to sort of get started on getting at least 15-20 inked up.

However, because of the odd in-person or TTM opportunity to get some of the cards off this set signed, it’s hard to think about not having stocked up on the most recent Topps Heritage Minors set - I’ve tried to go ‘cheaper’ in years past, only buying the base 1-200 set, but just so there are no questions about not having certain cards, I got a set with the 20 short prints.

Monday, March 04, 2019

2019 Topps Heritage blaster box

I think Topps Heritage is just another brand, but that is how I've felt about current-year releases in recent years - at least there might be something about Heritage feeling a little old-timey, especially with the thicker card stock.

I sort of like the heaviness of the packs in a blaster - it's kind of like a brick and it almost doesn't feel like a waste spending $20 for a casual rip of baseball cards.

The grey borders do seem boring and maybe drab, but that is how the original 1970 cards look - the inserts I might find in an average box may stand out a bit more than the base cards, though I would assume any particular one wouldn't be too hard to find if I wanted them outright.

Pack one
#370 Mike Moustakas
#148 Ronald Guzman
#71 2018 National League Strikeout Leaders - feat. Scherzer, deGrom and Corbin
#249 Jeremy Jeffress
#443 Matt Kemp - SP
#287 Mike Fiers
#183 Wilmer Flores
#346 Pedro Strop
#388 Carlos Santana

Pack two
#119 Michael Wacha
#219 Jesus Sucre
#262 Padres Rookie Stars - feat. Nix and Urias
#224 Chase Anderson
#THC-477 Mitch Haniger - Chrome parallel, serial #’d 522/999
#333 Manny Pina
#244 Angels Rookie Stars - feat. Arcia, Buttrey and Jerez
#310 Red Sox Celebrate World Series Title Win
#294 Justin Anderson

Pack three
#75 Jake Lamb
#296 Tucker Barnhart
#36 Reds Rookie Stars - feat. Trahan and Reyes
#255 Jonathan Gray
#NAP19 Jacob deGrom - New Age Performers insert
#58 Gorkys Hernandez
#362 Freddie Freeman - All-Star subset
#316 Dansby Swanson
#367 Bryce Harper - All-Star subset

Pack four
#107 Joe Panik
#222 Hunter Dozier
#152 Matt Boyd
#77 Tony Watson
#438 Matt Carpenter - SP
#344 Joe Musgrove
#82 Austin Romine
#312 Yairo Munoz
#338 Jarrod Dyson

Pack five
#271 Kyle Seager
#95 Joe Jimenez
#94 Francisco Cervelli
#2018 American League RBI Leaders - feat. Martinez, Davis and Encarnacion
#6 of 15 Lorenzo Cain - Baseball Scratch Off insert
#199 Jackie [Bradley] Clears Ducks on the Pond!
#270 Jorge Alfaro
#176 Will Smith
#2018 American League HR Leaders - feat. Davis, Martinez and Gallo

Pack six
#103 Miguel Rojas
#217 Tim Anderson
#378 Max Kepler
#290 Jose LeClerc
#NF-3 Earth Day Festivities Sprout in U.S. - News Flashbacks insert
#13 Chris Stratton
#147 Yangervis Solarte
#198 When [Yasiel] Puigs Fly!
#398 Teoscar Hernandez

Pack seven
#193 Devon Travis
#21 Athletics Rookie Stars - feat. Laureano and Martini
#213 Mark Trumbo
#334 Jose Quintana
#5 of 15 Anthony Rizzo - 1970 Topps Baseball Candy Lids
#321 Arodys Vizcaino
#2 Felix Hernandez
#153 Seth Lugo
#124 Marcus Stroman

Pack eight
#78 Mookie Betts
#235 Ryan Zimmerman
#137 Jurickson Profar
#85 Chris Iannetta
#429 Gerrit Cole - SP
#259 Chad Pinder
#285 Isiah Kiner-Falefa
#16 Jake Junis
#359 J.D. Martinez

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Fairfield 100 card repack hanger box

I might have last opened one of these in 2015 as noted from my pack breaks that year - though I’ve turned my nose at repacks because they seem all the same redundant types of cards.

Though these repacks are pretty generic, Walgreens maybe the go-to spot for these - a football one had a sticker that said it could only sold at Walgreens.

These continue to be occasionally blogged about, mentioned on Twitter or shown off on YouTube as a way to go through a bunch of assorted cards - I don't think there is any reason why repacks should exist, but it maybe a cycle where guys looking to get back to collecting want to start somewhere or someone like me is looking to flip through the junkiest of cards.

2018 Topps Opening Day pack
#23 Willson Contreras
#123 Chance Sisco
#12 Nick Markakis
#M-12 Orbit - Mascots insert
#145 Zach (k) Britton
#32 Raisel Iglesias
#132 Walker Buehler - I thought there might have been some chipping or blemishes, but in addition, the best card out of the pack actually has a bent corner, go figure. 

There was a sticker that said, ‘Team Set Inside!’ but a 2016 Topps Chicago White Sox 17-card factory set is quite random - what in the world would I do with these cards?

2017 Topps Jon Lester #162
1990 Upper Deck Mike Krukow #639
1988 Fleer Randy Velarde / Adam Peterson #646
1991 Upper Deck Rob Dibble #635
1997 Topps Stadium Club Walt Weiss #287 
1987 Donruss Steve Sax #26
1987 Donruss Mark Langston #568
1990 Fleer Kevin Bass #223
1992 Bowman Mike Stanley #370
1992 Bowman Tom Pagnozzi #241

1983 Topps Traded Carney Lansford #60T - I’ve never had a card from this set; the stock is thinner and the reverse is brighter; to me, Lansford was primarily a junk wax guy where his cards are redundant, but I’d like to find more old-school, early 1980s, non-mainstream cards like this off a repack.
1990 Best checklist #143
1993 Fleer Ultra Mike Morgan #21
1988 Topps Jim Morrison #751
1990 Topps Joe Boever #410
1990 Topps Donn Pall #219
1990 Topps Rick Schu #498
1990 Topps Mike Boddicker #652
1988 Topps Danny Tartabull #724
1992 Leaf Terry Steinbach #501
1992 Fleer Pascual Perez #240
2012 Topps Opening Day Josh Johnson #106
1992 Score Mitch Webster #643
1991 Upper Deck Scott Cooper #22
1991 Fleer Jeff Montgomery #564
1990 Topps Doug Rader #51
1990 Topps Dave Magadan #135
1992 Score Al Shirley #802
1987 Fleer Danny Heep #11
1990 Donruss Billy Ripken #164
1981 Topps Larry Gura #130
1997 Upper Deck Randy Myers #18
1993 Leaf Jose Rijo #411
1989 Fleer Luis Aquino #275
1992 Donruss Ron Jones #738
1992 Score Jack McDowell #62
1990 Donruss Randy Velarde #630
1992 Fleer Ron Karkovice #88
1991 Topps Craig Grebeck #446
2017 Topps Jean Segura #123
2017 Topps Ervin Santana #678
2017 Topps Julio Urias #582
2017 Topps Kyle Hendricks #468
2017 Topps Jeff Hoffman #335
2017 Topps Michael Brantley #605
2017 Topps Jerad Eickhoff #12
2017 Topps Julio Urias #582
2017 Topps Tony Watson #256
2017 Topps Jon Lester #144

2017 Leaf Cody Bellinger #02 - the odd card of Bellinger that looks like the worst Broder ever.

The image used was likely from some sort of rookie league game where Bellinger looks barely out of high school - but these may have been printed ‘en masse’ to capitalize on the hype of his 2017 ROY campaign as it has in-season rookie highlights on the back.

1997 Topps Donny Hill #339
1991 Fleer Bobby Thigpen #137
1987 Topps Candy Maldonado #335
1987 Topps Bill Schroeder #302
1987 Topps Storm Davis #349
1990 Fleer Neal Heaton #468
1987 Topps Maury Wills #315 - x2
1990 Upper Deck Junior Ortiz #389
1990 Upper Deck Ozzie Guillen #267
1986 Topps Luis Salazar #103
1992 Donruss Bob Patterson #590
1990 Upper Deck Sid Bream #250
1990 Donruss Doug Drabek #92
1990 Topps Rafael Belliard #143
1990 Upper Deck Bob Walk #596
1995 Score Jon Lieber #461
1995 Fleer Update Mark Johnson #U-149
1992 Score Gary Redus #67
1996 Upper Deck Charlie Hayes #436
1988 Donruss Felix Fermin #144 - got 'jammed up' with a run of 10 Pittsburgh Pirates cards in a row [plus 7 more in the rest of the repack] and found it peculiar.
2001 Topps Archives Joe Garagiola #228 - I didn’t know what these were when I bought a couple of packs at Target when this product was originally released; obviously they were reprints, but what was the hook to them? The numbers and set information are on an itty-bitty line on the back of the cards.
1993 Leaf Glenn Davis #45
2008 Playoff Contenders Tony Delmonico #46
1990 Donruss Steve Rosenberg #253
1984 Topps Lee Mazzilli #225
1983 Fleer Jim Morrison #313
1983 Fleer Jason Thompson #325
1988 Donruss Richard Dotson #124
1993 Upper Deck Bo Jackson #775
1983 Fleer Dave Parker #315
2017 Bowman Draft Charlie Barnes #CDA-CBA - according the box, one in four packages on average contain a hit and I actually pulled a recent Bowman Chrome Draft Pick autograph.

Maybe the path will not be as clear cut, but if Barnes makes one big league start in his professional career - I’ll consider this hit as a  a ‘nice pull.’
1990 Score Steve Lyons #88
1995 Topps Stadium Club Ray Durham #548
1983 Fleer Chili Davis #257
1991 Fleer Donn Pall #130
2013 Topps Roy Halladay #264

Sunday, February 24, 2019

2019 Topps Now Mike Trout Road to Opening Day promo

I probably this card in the mail for making at least one Topps Now purchase through Topps.com last year - while I bought my 2018 Topps Now cards from eBay, my lone Topps Now purchase off Topps.com was a Vladimir Guerrero autograph.

With the $300 million contract signed by Manny Machado and Bryce Harper still looking to sign a similar or likely better arrangement - the speculation over Trout's future has mushroomed.

It pisses me off because it has me uneasy about Trout's standing with the Angels - I think the Angels have always had Trout's back, even as fans [like me] have thought about how the best player in baseball should not be playing on a team that isn't contending for anything.

I want things to play out for the next two years and don't want to face the reality the face of my home team and yes, Major League Baseball - might be lured by the Philadelphia Phillies [his home team on the East Coast] or end up in the middle of the lineup for the New York Yankees.

I can't imagine Trout playing for another team and maybe an ideal extension would be a 7-8 year deal for something approaching $400 million of Angels owner Arte Moreno's money - if Trout does move on, the way I think about it is that someone else will get his 30s, but the Angels and their fans got his prime years.

Maybe the cliche don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened applies here - though the only acceptable scenario is Trout gets locked up as Angel for life and things turn around as far as getting other pieces to build around him.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

1986 Donruss Jose Canseco RC #39

If nothing else, this pickup allows me to have a copy of one the best rookies in the hobby, circa 1991 - I think about building up a collection of the hottest cards whose values have come and gone, but I'd be once proud to show off as young collector.

In real life, my youth is ancient history and I don’t know if can find others anywhere who might care - when I dig around and look for occasional baseball card 'war' stories on social media, forums or blogs mentioning this card in particular, I’ll pat myself on the back for having a nostalgic status symbol from way back when.’

As it stands, Canseco is a buffoon, a shyster and a Twitter troll - maybe long declared irrelevant, I did enjoy parts from his two books where [regardless of where one stands as far as Canseco 'ratting out' his old teammates, friends and frenemies] he exposed how the raw the Steroid Era was.

He said he wouldn’t have made the big leagues without PEDs but he had some staying power - maybe for three or four years, he might have been Mike Trout with ‘bite,’ a 5-tool player with power and speed as his prominent attributes.

Canseco was always the bad boy jock, but had he cultivated a little more of a clean cut image and a bit more discreet about his indiscretions - he might be a borderline HOFer with his numbers.

Because they were valuable commodities, I don’t know if I seriously chased after any one particular Canseco rookie era card - I still remember the friend whose house I used to go to having the 1986 Donruss Rookies as a likely centerpiece card of his collection.

Maybe in one of the first times, I splurged on a handful of singles at a card shop, I picked up Canseco's 1987 Topps - in the mid 1990s, I might have had a couple of Canseco's cards from the 1986 Donruss Highlights boxed set.

It maybe a little weird looking back, but a 1991 Score Dream Team Canseco was a card I wanted badly - I don’t think it ever was as popular as the Bo Jackson Dream Team subset card from 1990, but for a while, it was a notable card on its own.

Canseco was the ‘it’ player in MLB and he was posed swinging a bat topless by a notable fashion photographer - probably through means I’m not proud of, I might remember pulling the card off loose packs from the local supermarket.

Years later, I remember getting autographs at the ballpark in 1999 and Canseco came out of the front after a game - I must have been going batty when I spotted him and rushed to have him sign a couple of the Beckett magazines I must have bought at a card show.

He scribbled on them dismissively, but here I was seeing one the biggest stars of my childhood in the flesh - I tried asking him for a photo and he said, 'no' but I may still have it somewhere where I got the worst picture of me and him 'together' as he's walking.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

My miscellaneous finds off a 8 for $5 box

Once I start rummaging through loose cards at a card shop - I don’t know if I’ll be able to restrain myself.

There maybe a certain thrill, going through a box at some random card shop that has piqued my interest enough - that I'd bother seeing if I can pick up enough cards, so I sort of get a deal, even if most are picked over.

At times I get a sense that I’m influenced by others and want to entertain taking in all sorts of cards - though after the fact, I don't like idea of doing some mental gymnastics, in order to justify assorted loose card purchases that ends up being fool's gold.

These were finds I'd 'saved' from an out of town card shop trip and wanted to see if I could make a post.

1987 Topps Barry Bonds #320 - in sentiment, it seems 1987 Topps has become the 'classic' set of the junk wax era.

I pulled a copy of his 1987 OPC and maybe a copy of the Topps version years ago and I don't know where either card ended up - but I’ve liked the photo chosen compared to Bonds' other 1986 XRC and 1987 RC issues.

2018 Topps Gold Label Alex Bregman #49 - Class 2 serial #’d 37/99 - I wouldn’t know what this parallel is about and I doubt it is important but it's shiny and pictures a young superstar.

1996-97 Topps Stadium Club Chicago Bulls #GM3 - Golden Moments insert - I thought the card might be of note because it features Michael Jordan, but it was only worth what I paid for the card, maybe less with the slight nick on right hand corner.

2000 Fleer Tradition Glossy factory set Mike Lamb #472 - serial #’d 0916/1000 - I may have a loose definition of oddball, it’s kind of a different, off-beat card picturing a Cal State Fullerton baseball alumni.

Maybe a card I hope to get inked up in-person - even though Lamb hasn’t been at the annual alumni game in recent years.

2015 Topps Update Max Muncy dual RC #US54 - after his breakout 'out of nowhere' season in 2018, he stills profiles as a late blooming minor star at best, but he has become a fan favorite and his rookie is a 'penny stock keeper.'

2013 Bowman Chrome Albert Pujols #264 - Blue Sapphire refractor insert - this is a pretty, sharp card picturing Pujols’ 2001 Bowman rookie or at least what a parallel of an unsigned 2001 Bowman Chrome rookie might look like [the original Bowman Chrome issue is his most coveted card, especially since they were autographed].

1981 Topps Rickey Henderson #261 - to add to my 1978-present Topps sampler run, I'm looking for loose star cards like Henderson's second year card.

2005 Topps Retired Signature Cal Ripken Jr. #10 - this was a common base card, but it came from a product that might have relatively 'too rich' for tastes, so I don't even think the non-hit base trickled down to where I found them loosely.

I grabbed the card because it reminds me of the retired player short prints / variations Topps has made over the past 10 years - this particular rejiggering of the 2005 Topps design uses the old-school Topps logo on the front and had full career stats on the back.