Sunday, September 30, 2007

Card show trip

I always feel handcuffed because I don't want to spend $$$, but just come away with something decent for about $20-$40. I end up hitting the common bins, maybe picking up a pack or two and probably spending more time twiddling my thumbs than making something happen [to improve my collection].

$2 for 40 commons - 23 random 2007 Topps Allen and Ginter base cards, four random Manny Ramirez cards, two Jonathan Papelbon cards, five 2007 Fleer Ultra [Joe Mauer, Robinson Cano, Adam Dunn, Dan Haren and Vicente Padilla], a 1993 Flair Barry Larkin [Barry Bonds cameo], a 2003 SPX Tim Salmon, a 2007 Fleer Shane Victorino and three random 1982 Topps cards featuring then Angels [Geoff Zahn, Andy Hassler and 'Disco' Dan Ford].

$5 for 20 assorted cards at another guy's booth - didn't think I'd find 20 cards out of his random $0.25 bin, but ended up with the following:

2006 Bowman Draft Chrome - Wade LeBlanc, John Shelby [x3], Chris Davis [x3], Brett Sinkbeil, George Kontos [x2], David Huff [x2], Jermaine Mitchell [x2], Cyle Hankerd, Tyler Robertson [x2] and Ryan Morris.

2006 Bowman Draft - Chris Davis

2007 Bowman prospects chrome - Ronnie Prettyman

Also spent $12 on an official MLB baseball
- figure to pick one up now, in case I can get it signed later.
Featured Breaks

Two packs of 2007 Topps Turkey Red retail [$2.99 each at Target] - Vladimir Guerrero base card, Phil Hughes Turkey Red Ad back variation and A-Rod home run #302 insert card. As a collector who tries to get cards signed randomly either in-person or through the mail, I can't keep up with these nice looking, arty, retro cards.

1.) You don't want to plunk down $4-$5 a pack for these cards - you are competing with collectors who build these sets. You don't collect these sets for how they look in binders, unsigned. You don't want to pay $25-$40 on Ebay for a hand collated set of cards at one time either, if it means having to add another base card set [usually not the short prints] to your stash just for 'autograph endeavors.'

2.) The 'white whales' add up - as far as players have retired, moved on [figuratively, literally, etc] and are basically tough to get an autograph from in-person and don't usually sign in the mail. If you had a chance to actually see Ichiro, Dice-K, Derek Jeter, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, et al and they are going to sign for you - I'm not going to have them sign a card, no matter how great it looks. Some guys like my favorite pictured does not even bother to acknowledge you. You basically have to shoot for the subjects within the sets that you have a realistic chance of actually getting an autograph from.

3.) The Turkey Red oversized box toppers - maybe the ones to focus on, if you want something unique to get signed, without having to focus on the entire regular card set.

4.) I guess, it would just be a matter of - trying to get the cards you do have signed and sticking them together, so at least you have a 'representive' sampling of cards you can show off.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Random Card Surprise

My brother's long time friend [Chris] left me about 5,000 assorted trading cards. Going through them through the past week took me back to moments when I would jump at any opportunity to look through cards from neighborhood acquaintances when I was a kid.

1.) The 5,000 card box [?] looked like it was from a late night shopping TV network - a somewhat 'organized' set of assorted, overproduced cards, mostly the 1990s. There were so many cards to go around during the decade, from sport [basketball, baseball, football, hockey] to nonsports cards [some artist cards], but just not enough of the 'good stuff' still having collecting value today [which probably would mean a few specific baseball cards from the decade]. The baseball cards I found in the box otherwise sucked [brands and player wise] and there were no real 'finds' as far as any cards that booked over a half a nickel each.

2.) There was a binder with mostly 1989, 1990 and 1991 Upper Deck - I was hoping for a 1989 Junior rookie card and I would have busted out a grin if I found one, but there was just commons and some 'minor stars.'

3.) It is kind of sad - my brother's friend said I could keep them all or just throw them away if I didn't want any of them. You want to sort the cards out for various purposes and to be done with them and it is mostly cards I should discard. Back in 1992 or 1993, the cards in the box would have still been crap. Still, in some revisionist sort of manner, maybe my brother's friend was just throwing it all away, giving it up and it got me just a little sentimental, knowing I haven't let go of this hobby of collecting cards.

4.) On the other hand - it doesn't seem like a box that was handed down from one generation or another. I think what I really would have wanted, is if the box contained actual cards having some value and being dumped to me for free. Who cares about being sentimental, when you are living the dream you've envisioned since you were knowledgeable enough to distinguish what cards were good and what cards were not. I think what my brother's friend did was save me from buying a random Tristar Hidden Treasures packs [if that was what I was thinking] or take a stab at possibly another random box of cards [if made available for sale at some show somewhere]. I've got my fill of cards worth 1/2 of a nickel and I don't need to fulfill those hunger pangs with regards to getting some overproduced cards printed 15-20 years ago.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Featured Breaks

Due to logistics out of my control I couldn't quite make it out to a bi-weekly cardshow - I had wanted to see what the 2007 Upper Deck SP Rookie Edition looked like in-hand. I've seen the cards on Ebay and I like seeing 2007 rookies like Tim Lincecum, Ryan Braun, Hunter Pence, Phil Hughes, Alex Gordon, Troy Tulowitzki, Brandon Wood, Hideki Okajima, Dice-K, Akinori Iwamura, et al pictured on cards [true rookie cards or not] that were printed to look like they were from 1993, 1995 and 1996 SP products.

Two packs of 2007 Goudey retail [$2.99 each] - I wanted to get a feel for how these cards looked and I pulled about eight green backs, seven red backs and one Brooks Robinson Heads Up subset card. I like the rendering of the cards, the 'oddball' size that apparently mimics the originals - but for myself, it comes to the same old story of being as a collector who likes to randomly get stuff [mostly cards] in-person at the stadium. You have to really pick and choose which cards you want signed and extra cards of the same veteran MLB players only add to the confusion, particularly if the players don't even sign all that often: Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran, Magglio Ordonez, Gary Sheffield, Craig Biggio, Joe Crede, ICHIRO, Kenji Joh-mama, Greg Maddux and Gary Matthews Jr. [Angels].

Speaking as Angels' fan, Matthews Jr. has made occasional highlight reel grabs and has stabilized centerfield for the Angels [for the most part]. At the plate, he has shown he can hit for power, run, drive in runs, leadoff and also be capable of hitting in the middle of the order.

While his numbers have dragged along through the second half of the year, he seems to be a player [when healthy] that is capable of doing something good in any given at-bat.

Unfortunately the Angels are still $10 million for a guy who can't crack 20 home runs and .260? Who does Matthews Jr. think he is, Andruw Jones? There have also been HGH allegations during the spring that he is apparently being made even more accountable for [since Troy Glaus and Rick Ankiel's names have come out for alleged steroid/HGH usage].

My philosophical take - I think the buybacks are the most 'attractive' common pulls out there besides the [most likely 'hard to pull'] autograph cards from sporting icons like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan. The buybacks seemed to be seeded in a realistic manner, making them relatively more common and easier to find [right now]. I think I'll go to Ebay to see if I can pick at least one card up for a price of a blaster box of Goudey.

Two packs of 2007 Bowman Chrome retail [$2.99 each] - I don't like these packs because they come with only three cards in them. If you are grabbing two packs from a retail store like Target, then you probably a long way from a hit, as far as an autograph is concerned. Cards pulled include: Brett Myers, Paul LoDuca, John Smoltz, Mitch Maier [rookie logo card, which means 95 percent of the time, he has probably had a rookie card release from a previous year], Whitt Robbins [first-year prospect card] and Jeff Locke [first-year prospect card].