Saturday, July 31, 2021

The process behind my bargain bin digs - the last cuts

When it's 'last call' as far as my mind is concered, I'm trying rein in a good number of cards to take home [from a $0.50 bin] - where I've made up my mind as to how much I'll have to pay [where at times, it's going to be a strict card per card tally from a seller's POV].

These might be the 10 'other cards' that I might have just put back [where I wasn't going to spend $5 more on 10 more lousy cards] - but go figure ended up in my stash anyway.

The die-cut Chipper Jones insert, the shiny Tom Glavine parallel and the boxed set Jim Abbott are likely binder material - the Sammy Sosa goes into my batting [horizontal] collection, where I try to round up cards of unique images of batters at the plate.

I don't know if the Chipper insert does anything for me, since it's a little loud - but he ends up being one of my guys on the down low.

The Glavine was just too shiny to ignore - even though I probably underrate his HOF career as far as sentiment goes.

Abbott remains a larger than life figure because of what the one-time big league pitcher was able to do without a right hand - but maybe I'm lukewarm on picking a a run of his cards up because through the junk wax era, he had his share of cards.

Maybe when the period of time where cards were getting a little fancy, Abbott had moved on from the Angels for a bit - when he finally got back, his second stint with the team through the mid 1990s, was the beginning of the end.

McKenzie might end up being a decade stars / binder guy so I ended up grabbing the 2021 Panini Diamond Kings insert - he had flashes of success in his rookie year in 2020 but maybe the results are a little uneven this past season, especially with his walk totals.

I don't know how to classify Kyle Hendricks where at the moment he doesn't get into my binders as a decade stars guy - even though he's been consistently great, he doesn't have flashy stuff and just isn't that in your face kind of big leaguer.

There was probably a 4-5 year stretch from the mid 1990s onward where Brett Favre was the biggest thing in the NFL - the back of the card I picked up has him having a little bit of 'photo op' fun where there is someone taking his picture while he's playfully spinning a football like a basketball.
I like the Steve Francis card because it shows him 'hoopin over a bewildered Tim Duncan - which reminds me of this tweet.
These are a pair of Ted Williams inserts from the mid 1990s - I grabbed them because it looks like they have a lenticular, 3D surface that make them a little more unique.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The process behind my bargain bin digs - mini-collection material

Maybe I intend this post to be a little all over the place, but to have something to go with my other post - here are images that showcase my focus towards the mini-collections.
I have mini-collections for baserunning, home run trots, base hit gestures, fielding plays [separated by positions] and a horizontal batting shot - it doesn't seem that long ago that Vladimir Guerrero was an active player through the late 2000s and now his son is enjoying a breakout season on his own as a big league star.
The shiny cards are a pain to take pictures of because of the excess glare - but the way they 'pop' is quite the nice sight to see.
There is a couple of Derek Jeters, a Cal Ripken Jr., Tony Gwynn, Frank Thomas, Mike Piazza and Rickey Henderson to add star power to my mini-collections - I like the 1997 Upper Deck Collector's Choice Big Shots insert because there is a lot of dirt on the uniform, while the 1996 Upper Deck V.J. Lovero [R.I.P.] inserts are classy.
Maybe the Piazza is a fun card / oddities add because while he had 'unfamiliar' stints with the San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics at the end of his MLB career - in his prime, it was strange to see him traded from the Los Angeles Dodgers to end up on the Florida Marlins, for a stint lasting 5 games.
There is a Tim Anderson refractor which is nice with him fired up, a random Upper Deck Masterpieces Eli Manning / David Tyree card and a Bryce Jarvis card - Jarvis was a first round pick in 2020 and a son of a former big leaguer [Kevin], so that's a bloodlines collection add.

The rest of the cards [a Pedro Martinez might be obscured on the top right corner] - feature stars signing autographs and doing a little fan service for the fans.

This top row of this assortment features 'pitchers hitting' cards with Greg Maddux on the bases and ready to take his hacks alongside the batting cage - it maybe the last card I would ever think about picking up, but a 2019 Topps Chrome Kolby Allard '84 Topps #84TC22 ends up a keeper.

The second row features a 2013 Topps Chrome David Ortiz #79, one that has him in a Boston Red Sox 'retro uniform,' a 1994 Topps Stadium Club Rickey Henderson #654 that goes into my 'shades' collection and a pair of cards of NBA legends Patrick Ewing and Ray Allen - which coincidentally features a pair of other NBA legends [Roger Murdock and Kobe Bryant] making 'star on star' cameos.

I'm not quite the authority on collecting catcher cards but I like to round up the 'tools of ignorance' guys just the same - I picked up the cards of [Piazza, Willson Contreras and Yogi Berra] as probable binder material, but figured why not make them mini-collection adds to add to my yearly totals.

Finally I picked up a couple cards featuring Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain because they are iconic NBA figures who have a lifetime's worth of narratives behind their playing careers - maybe I wanted to step out of my comfort zone for a moment and pick these up, even if there was only a dollar spent between the two pieces of cardboard.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The process behind my bargain bin digs

These were my $0.50 hauls from the card show trip I made a couple of weeks ago - maybe I've been on a bit of a loop where this seller has been a priority stop.

If nothing else interested me, I could say I spent my time trying finding cards to give me some cheap thrills - even if it’s dated material from 10, 15, 20 years ago or older, time has passed where I can show some love for what I've generally overlooked.

It’s just hard not to skip over cards but I did try to go through all the rows from this seller's bins - maybe when I see someone else doing what I do, there might be a little competition.

I’m trying to stay in my lane and dare I say a little territorial, but maybe I need to calm down - I was making a mess and maybe there was diminishing returns as far as cards I was actually finding, yet this is kind of my jam.

I probably spent a good hour or so trying to grab stack after stack to see if there was any cards of interest to pull out - it’s a weird feeling when I'm in my own world, while someone else might give some the cards a brief look and walk away like there isn’t anything there worth their time or someone else might actually be pulling cards, just to put them back and walk away.

I was such a shark, it’s like I’m stuffing my face with all this food at a buffet - yet I’m clamoring to get up and serve myself another plate of goodies.

I was actually trying to have a look at a binder of certified autographs / relic cards I thought the seller was handing over to another guy for him to have a look - where in reality the book had already been sold to that other person.

This 1997 Fleer Ultra Season Crowns Mark McGwire #6 doesn't photograph well and is only worth a dollar - but it's a binder card all day long.
The process to weed out cards is a pain because I want it all, I can’t have it all - but I want to be able to walk away with as many cards with no regrets left behind.

I settled on a plan was to split my keepers into two distinct stacks of 40 cards - it wasn’t easy at all where I am overwhelmed, but I have rein things in where I've got to commit to picking up the cards that have piqued my interest.

Maybe a priority is finding stuff to squirrel away, where there might not be upside in the cards I find - but some overlooked [if admittedly low end] parallels, inserts and maybe rookie material may end up in my mini-collections, my decade / binder star collections or other loose card projects stewing in my mind.
In my head, I definitely try to get on a run where I try to look for more of a certain player, card type, brand or era - but maybe I'd rather have a mix of cards where I'm looking to be surprised by the next cards I might be tempted to set aside.
Maybe it's sweet relief to be able to pay for the stuff I found and be able to move on - at this show date, there may have 20-30 tables that were kind of spaced out and foot traffic wasn’t as dead as I’d anticipated, though I didn’t necessarily find another table to buy more stuff after I was done with my 'treasure hunt.'

Thursday, July 22, 2021

2021 Topps Series 2 blaster box recap

On Target.com, I grabbed my fill of 2021 Topps Series 2, which amounted to two blasters and a hanger box bundle of 2 - if there are cards available, a casual browse of the Web site or app might lead to opportunities to pick something up, rather than taking a chance to see if something will be found on the shelves.

Target stopped selling cards in their stores a while ago and I've had less reasons to drop into the big box store - but it's more convenient to order online, even if there isn't that thrill of discovery and I have to wait at least a couple of weeks for my cards to get to me.

Pack one
#501 Jason Heyward
#378 Austin Slater
#609 Chris Sale
#332 Wil Myers
#433 Braxton Garrett RC
#653 Vince Velasquez
#351 Keone Kela
#478 St. Louis Cardinals team card - feat. Yadier Molina smiling, showing some joy which seems rare as he’s all business as a pro ballplayer.
#635 Tanner Houck - image variation
#T65-49 Juan Soto - 1965 Topps Redux; with a fully formed backs, I almost want to make believe these inserts give you two different brands of cards in one i.e. the flagship Topps and a re-imagined Topps Heritage off-shoot.
#477 Tyler O’Neill
#559 Edwin Encarnacion
#445 Dakota Hudson
#557 Christian Vasquez

Pack two
#573 Trey Mancini
#411 Joe Musgrove
#386 Christian Walker

#613 Ramon Laureano
#575 Jared Walsh
#621 Angels team card - feat. Trout, Ohtani and Simmons [?]
#380 Andrelton Simmons
#373 Michael Fulmer
#86AS-38 Nolan Arenado
- 1986 All-Star
#T66-46 Randy Arozarena - 1965 Topps Redux
#448 Austin Nola
#574 Mark Melancon
#349 Sean Murphy
#517 Michael Conforto

Pack three
#549 Marcus Stroman
#602 Delino DeShields Jr.
#397 Isiah Kiner-Falefa
#336 Victor Reyes
#643 Alex Wood

#461 Ryan Zimmerman
#596 Josh Hader
#431 Andrew McCutchen
#609 Chris Sale
- Rainbow Foil parallel
#T65-37 Bryce Harper - 1965 Topps Redux
#471 Jared Oliva RC
#472 Marcell Ozuna
#590 Adam Haseley
#491 Michael Chavis

Pack four
#453 Starlin Castro
#633 George Springer
#385 Dellin Betances
#541 Corey Dickerson
#410 James McCann
#466 Walker Buehler

#604 San Diego Padres team card - feat. Fernando Tatis Jr.
#406 Estevan Florial RC
#PDC-32 Vladimir Guerrero
- Platinum Players insert
#T65-23 Casey Mize - 1965 Topps Redux
#648 Franchy Cordero
#520 Yoan Moncada
#632 Tom Murphy
#647 Shogo Akiyama

Pack five
#538 Jazz Chisholm RC
#619 Corbin Burnes
#548 Luis Alexander Basabe RC
#446 Alex Avila
#362 Garrett Crochet RC
#637 Rafael Montero
#356 Eddie Rosario
#372 Picture Time
- A Win is Worth 1,000 Words - feat. Atlanta Braves outfield trio, Ronald Acuña Jr., Cristian Pache and old man Nick Markakis
#414 Hanser Alberto

#T70P-SM Stan Musial - 70th Anniversary Patch Cards; I was looking for the stand-alone wrapper, but these cards were actually inserted with the regular cards.
#T65-12 Javier Baez - 1965 Topps Redux
#430 Mike Zunino
#342 Austin Romine
#554 Adam Eaton
#415 Nicky Lopez

Pack six
#503 Kyle Hendricks
#616 Alex Dickerson

#582 Dwight Smith Jr.
#639 Eric Hosmer
#641 Nick Markakis
#646 Homer Handoff - Roundtripper HB Dive
- feat. Giancarlo Stanton and Phil Nevin
#361 James Karinchak
#335 Ryan Weathers RC
#86B-36 Daulton Varsho
- 1986 Topps 35th Anniversary
#T65-5 Jo Adell - 1965 Topps Redux
#518 Adrian Morejon
#383 Miguel Sanó - this was probably favorite card because while the player hasn't been relevant, I like how he does a little dirt toss as he's heads out of the dugout to start a game.
#441 Daz Cameron RC
#543 Luis Urias

Pack seven
#502 Kevin Newman
#447 Carson Kelly
#611 J.T. Realmuto
#660 Kris Bryant
#429 Clint Frazier
#579 Craig Kimbrel

#387 Andrew Heaney
#353 Baseball is Fun - Rays Go Wild After Game 4 - feat. Brett Phillips, Hunter Renfroe and Willy Adames
#377 Drew Rasmussen RC
#T65-19 Francisco Lindor - 1965 Topps Redux
#374 Jose Garcia RC
#593 Chad Wallach
#654 Sam Huff RC
#473 Kyle Schwarber

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Card show results - the miscellaneous

I was worried the seller with the $0.50 bins wasn’t there like it was a couple of Saturdays ago - I like digging through and pulling out the most random cards, but prepared myself, if that wasn't going to be the case this time around.

When I got to the show, I started to go through a random seller’s dollar boxes - this was the box I kind of looked with some 2020 Topps Advanced Stats parallels that caught my attention.

The last time, I thought these belonged to the seller with the $0.50 boxes because it was left out loose - where it may have actually been forgotten after the other seller packed up for the day.

I was able to dig out the parallels and while they might not generate too much interest - they are maybe low key binder or A-Z insert material.

I found ones of Hyun-Jin Ryu, Jose Altuve, Dallas Keuchel and Matt Beaty - maybe Ryu was the headliner for me, but I didn't find 'better' players.

I made it a point to grab the others to have a small loose quartet of similar parallels together - the Beatty variation missed being a rookie card issue by one year and I might have hesitated on grabbing the card.

In my head, it just would have been better if it was an rookie year parallel - even if talking more about a rank-and-file big leaguer who is the least accomplished of the four.

Even if they maybe less of a chase out in the wild, where it’s a little tricky to look the cards up - the parallels are a little easier to identify outright because they are serial #’d.

The dollar box cards were seemingly odds and ends from the past couple of years, rather than a deep mix from past the 5-10 years - I grabbed a 2020 Topps Update Target Exclusive Ronald Acuña Jr. Highlights #TRA-13 card just because he's in the middle of blowing a bubble during a home run trot.

The person at the table was kind of amazed I was sort of on mission at his table - I get self conscious, but even if I’m wasting time, I like to do some digging for cards.

“You have a lot of patience to go through those cards,” he said. “I only care [to keep track] of the cards in the showcases.”

I hope the guy wasn’t telling me to bug off and while he was just sharing some real talk - maybe it reinforces the idea I maybe the only one who cares about this stuff and I’m just a little out of touch.

I wanted make up a little mix of cards and at least spend something to get my feet wet - money is money and I wanted to show I didn’t waste my time re-sorting the guy’s boxes just for the heck of it.

Out of the $2 / $5 boxes I grabbed some other cards - though I had to look closer at the backs to see which price individual cards fell under.
“I haven’t gone through those cards in a [while],” he said. “I just mark off the ones according to color for my son and the money goes to him.”

I grabbed a 2020 Topps Update 1985 Topps Fernando Tatis Jr. #85TB-37 for $2 - might be a basic insert card I expect to pull, but the dirt fetish aspect made the card a keeper.

I grabbed a 2020 Topps Vintage Stock Jack Mayfield #485 for $2 - he’s bounced around as a utility guy, but is currently employed by the Angels; a rookie year parallel of the one-time Houston Astro and likely an obscure Angel who is going to come and go.

I grabbed a 1963 Topps Roy McMillan #156 beater for $2 just because it was too odd out of a box of cards from the past couple of years - it has a Topps sticker over the toploader, but don’t know if it came that way.

Finally I grabbed a 2019 Topps Update Johnny Bench #US182 for $5 as an impulse purchase - even though it’s not a keeper, notably for what I paid, it may have had the most interesting image of the catching legend at the golf course.

Friday, July 16, 2021

My finds in the dollar boxes of doom

At the last monthly show I attended, I was wandering around, to see if I can scope out the table with the dollar card monster boxes - it was in the same place as the last time, but a little congested for me to squeeze into.

A mother and her boys were planted at the table, another guy was browsing around, while I was idle on the other 'far end' where other things were displayed - a couple of guys were chatting next to the table, just about bumping into me.

The table wasn’t that busy the last time around - but maybe I was resigned to look somewhere else in the meantime.

There was a little bit of a dead period, where there wasn't as many tables for me to really get lost at - it might have been it for me, even though I still really wanted to linger around the show to see if I can get my dollar bin fix.

Finally space at the table opened up, so I had to jump in somewhere before my time was up - I was watching to see what the guy would say when someone tried to get a deal.

I guess the person works for someone else and heard the ‘guy really wants a dollar for his dollar cards’ spiel again - though he let that other random person digging around pull top loaders from other cards, to use for the sleeved cards purchased.

There might have been only two or three monster boxes this time around as opposed to 6 or 7 - I was sandwiched between two others doing the same thing I’m doing and while YMMV, maybe it was hard not to look over for a moment and wonder the cards they had pulled should have been in my pile.

I was probably trying to get back the 30-40 minutes I was idle, while finally getting into these cards - while seeing too many 1988 Topps Tom Glavine RCs #779 I wasn’t taking for any price, I'm still bent on seeing if I could find cards of interest.

There were 1991 Topps Desert Shield baseball commons sprinkled in, but the cards still look like junk wax 1991 Topps to me - more importantly, I’ve never seen the rare Desert Shield cards in-hand, to figure out what to make of them and consider whether they were the real deal.

I was really on the clock and it was just about time to book it out of there - I'm trying to see if I can make my last minute finds count while trying to put together a grouping if cards that made sense to me.

It was hard to say if the cards I picked up gave me the same joy as last time - I was looking to spend $20, but relented to spend another $10, just to feel like out of the stash of cards I dug out, I was able to take home more cards.

Rookie stuff - I get a kick out finding rookie cards I've never had, featuring contemporary players who starred in the past 20 years or so.
1990s stuff - these cards might only be worth what I paid, but maybe that is good enough sometimes.

Out of my rummages, maybe I want to make the 1990s the foundation of the players [Frank Thomas, Tony Gwynn, Mike Piazza, Barry Bonds, Greg Maddux, etc] and card types [UV coated, foil stamped, shiny] I primarily latch onto - while I might be saying the same thing if I found a run of cards from the mid 1980s or mid 2000s, there is something to get familiar and nostalgic about through the 1990s.

Just on shine alone, I like the John Smoltz the best even if the effect isn't captured so clear - I might have ignored it at first because it came from 1998 Score, which was a little too low end for me.

The Jim Thome parallel has some nice, shiny effects as well and maybe it was serendipity - I actually picked up the Thome parallel card and also a pack pulled minor league card I thought was 'old school.'

A couple of cards paired up randomly, featuring pitching greats Mike Mussina and Johan Santana - I was kind of familiar with the 1991 Gold Leaf Rookies Mussina insert, but that 2000 Pacific Invincible Santana RC draws a blank for me.

I think the player image part of the Santana card is acetate - so that's a unique element used for what is presumably a base card.

Baseball legends and icons - retro cards give me an opportunity to give a nod to the greats of the game.
Oddballs - I'm not really an 'oddball guy,' but just had to get the Foster because the card caught my eye last time, while I just like the batting pose image of Rose with his shaggy hair.
Football - a couple more basic Tom Brady keepers just to be like everyone else hunting at the lowest end of the card spectrum.

I grabbed a rookie card [?] of Marshawn Lynch, a former NFL running back who has made headlines on the football field over the past decade - I can squirrel it away for either my beyond the glory collection, my cult players / feats collection or my infamous collection.

Maybe the last card I'd ever think of picking up was a 1999 Topps NFL rookie card of Edgerrin James - but there is something decidedly cool about how he is posed on the card.

It doesn't hurt that from college to the NFL, James is a legend in his own right - part of the Indianapolis Colts triplets with Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison that would end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.