Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sorting - collecting topics and inserts

I get self-conscious about collecting when it's mostly a solitary activity for me to hoard cardboard - I have to find ways to keep baseball cards a 'thing' so I can kind of feel like I still have some sort of purpose and not just some kook.

For the last couple of weeks, I've tended to my 25-30 mini-collections - that means hunkering down, listing my 2015 adds in my collecting topics / mini-collections database as well as listing cards I've pruned from my A-Z archives of commons.

I really wonder why I care about a countless number of commons and/or base cards - it's fun when I could occasionally flip through a grouping of cards and see a theme that has me amused.

As my latest batch of collecting topics cards are listed [and sort of put away in temporary boxes], my focus will shift through my loose inserts - several years ago, I started to list my inserts in a spreadsheet and put them away in binders.

I lost interest over the few years as cards piled up all over the place - as is, I've busted open the box of plastic sheets I bought two or three years ago to restart the process of putting inserts away.

I need to make sure that most inserts [parallels, oddball issues, etc] are accounted for - even if organizing them really just means they are in a binder somewhere.

Maybe I'd really like to figure out things about my spreadsheet - discover forgotten cards, try to sort cards by team to perhaps serve as trade bait and see if I can generate 10-15 trades by posting a listing of cards by teams.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

More 2015 Donruss pack breaks - x4

It's nice to pull any autograph from loose packs and while the retired player shown is not exactly the type of guy I'd associate with a 2015 baseball card product - it's a card I can add to my award winners collection, since Horner was the 1978 National League Rookie of the Year.

Pack one
#189 George Brett
#185 Frank Thomas
#47 Mark Trumbo
#91 Dallas Keuchel
#135 Ryan Howard
#130 David Robertson
#23 Hisashi Iwakuma - Elite Series
#4 Dustin Pedroia - Diamond Kings

Pack two
#153 Brandon Belt
#149 Hunter Pence
#54 Nelson Cruz
#101 Albert Pujols
#105 Adrian Gonzalez
#96 James Shields
#39 Byron Buxton - Preferred insert

#172 Edwin Encarnacion - Stat Line parallel serial #'d 259/400

Pack three
#166 Alex Cobb
#69 Alexei Ramirez
#63 Anthony Rizzo
#131 Josh Donaldson
#126 Ichiro
#70 Bob Horner - Signature Series auto serial #'d 18/49
#36 Francisco Lindor - Preferred insert
#7 Johnny Cueto - Diamond Kings insert

Pack four
#176 Bryce Harper
#171 Rougned Odor
#84 Nolan Arenado
#76 Aroldis Chapman
#80 Yan Gomes
#73 Devin Mesoraco
#27 James Loney - Elite Series insert
#206 Adam Wainwright - 1981 Donruss

Thursday, March 26, 2015

2015 Donruss Yasmani Tomas Preferred

I guess I've been on sort of a Donruss kick - the base cards are bland and seem like filler, but the parallels and inserts give the product a little bit of life.

If Tomas plays, he'll have his share of cards, ones that will actually picture him in an Arizona Diamondbacks uniform - but I figured to pick one this VIP Reserved insert, serial #'d to 99, just to put away for now.

There have been rumblings that Tomas isn't going to be a particular great player especially if the Arizona Diamondbacks are insistent he stick at third base - he could have a season like fellow Cuban Jose Abreu in 2014 or might find himself with no immediate place to play, despite his immense power potential.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Upper Deck finds

At my LCS, I rummaged and dug through two monster boxes consisting of 1989 Upper Deck and 1993 cards [from a few brands including Donruss and Upper Deck] - I grabbed a bunch of cards that fit a number of mini-collection themes and in all, I had at least 120 cards I wanted to take home.

However, it's not like the cards were discounted since they'd been collecting dust and were in mothballs for the last 20-25 years - I still had to pay a quarter a card and probably at least $30 if I took home all the cards I found.

I had to slow down and whittle down my stash into something more reasonable - I put away the 1993 cards I pulled, figuring I could just pick up a full 1993 Upper Deck set instead of fooling around with loose cards.

I could probably pick up an 1989 Upper Deck set or at least end up with a lot of assorted cards - but there is still a little mystique with UD's inaugural brand, so I relented to pick up a handful that really appealed to me.

1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. #1 - nah, just kidding

1989 Upper Deck Kevin Gross #31 - on the reverse image, pitchers hitting 

1989 Upper Deck Roger Clemens #195 - through his first legitimate run as a pitching superstar

1989 Upper Deck Mark McGwire #300 - I've always associated the image as one that might be used on a poster.

1989 Upper Deck Rick Sutcliffe #303 - pitchers hitting

1989 Upper Deck Dave Winfield #349 - hats off

1989 Upper Deck Oil Can Boyd #415 - showing emotion
1989 Upper Deck Dennis Rasmussen #645 - on the reverse image, pitchers hitting

1989 Upper Deck Mike Aldrete #738 - my best guess is he's swinging at a ball in the dirt.

1989 Upper Deck Jim Abbott #755 - this might have been his most popular rookie year card.

1989 Upper Deck Omar Vizquel #787

2015 Donruss Dominator Joc Pederson #23

This doesn't really fit into my collection but I picked up to complement a 2012 Bowman Chrome autograph I pulled several years ago - even though the card is unlicensed, it's nice and shiny.

Turning it over though, I see one big mistake - the highlights listed are not about Pederson at all, but Kennys Vargas of the Minnesota Twins.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Regional collecting

My team is the Angels and while I may say I'm interested in a number of non-Angels players like everyone else - I'm a one-team guy when it comes to collecting.

As is, I'm probably stuck to loose Angels inserts and base I may end up with like this Garrett Richards card I found - I can't get into high end cards, because it's all about Mike Trout, I kind of missed the boat on him, but now everyone is into him as the hot, young superstar.

I don't like the idea of trying to complete team sets [too tedious, especially when it comes to junk wax years], but want a collection of different, Angels cards - I think I do have to de-emphasize my interests somewhat because while I covet Angels cards, but I don't want it so I'm held hostage by the need to have all Angels related cards [even if the player pictured aren't really favorites].

An idea would be to scour for cards of prospects, so I have some better cards of guys who maybe future Angel stars - though guys anointed as top prospects turn into busts, guys who seem like future stars are disappointments and guys get traded or even find themselves cut prematurely.

Monday, March 23, 2015

2015 Donruss Jimmy Rollins #136

I was leafing through some 2015 Donruss base cards and found this Jimmy Rollins - he is sort of depicted as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball club and actually has him hitting at Dodger Stadium even though he hasn't played one single game there as a Dodger.

It's not a big deal, it's originally an image of Rollins as a Philadelphia Phillies player - but I do think it's kind of odd to see the on-deck batter in the background with a red undershirt, wearing a red batting helmet.

Featured autograph - Courtney Hawkins

Hawkins still has holes in his swing but with his power potential, should find himself in the major leagues eventually - the outfielder had a fine spring with the Chicago White Sox and things maybe looking up.

I wasn't sure about his signing habits but I had assorted prospect cards and a Future Stars 8x10 print I bought several years ago - so I was hoping to get at least the picture signed and maybe a few cards signed when I got out to Arizona for several days.

Hawkins was actually 'one per' guy, where he only signed one thing for a person at a time, but was actually cordial - he made sure to sign for anyone who wanted his autograph at Sox camp going out and coming back from practice.

It doesn't change things from a autograph collector's perspective but I guess 'one per' is just how Hawkins rolls - when he was signing, he asked another collector if he was going to be around and told him that he'd sign more for him then as opposed to signing more than just one card at the particular moment.

Friday, March 20, 2015

2015 Topps Opening Day blaster recap

Even though there are a handful of fun inserts I should be eating up - for me, Opening Day is kind of just exist as sort of filler.

Many of the cards came fresh out of the packs with the corners smashed - I guess I get what I pay for, but it's a waste of a cheap and fun break if I have to send more than half of the cards back to Topps.

While I'm not a stickler for condition, particular with base cards - I want 'clean' cards as opposed to ones with visible imperfections.

Pack one
#137 Dellin Betances
#154 Tanner Roark
#181 Jose Fernandez
#M-02 Atlanta Braves Mascot - Mascot insert
#90 Daniel Murphy
#38 Johnny Cueto
#40 Clayton Kershaw

Pack two
#94 Sonny Gray
#51 Aramis Ramirez
#197 Brian McCann
#SC-24 Adrian Beltre - Superstar Celebrations insert
#171 Andrelton Simmons
#83 Corey Kluber
#53 Jean Segura

Pack three
#69 James Shields
#87 Josh Hamilton
#162 Chris Davis
#110 Dalton Pompey - Blue parallel
#FF-15 Danny Santana - Franchise Flashback insert
#183 Dustin Pedroia
#113 Matt Barnes

Pack four
#71 J.D. Martinez
#36 Clay Buchholz
#166 Masahiro Tanaka
#STA-TC Nationals Park photo by Tom Cicotello - Stadium Scenes insert
#77 Mike Trout
#109 Brandon Finnegan
#96 Madison Bumgarner

Pack five
#122 Justin Verlander
#67 Josh Harrison
#163 Rafael Montero
#FF-08 Julio Teheran - Franchise Flashback insert
#169 Matt Adams
#104 Anthony Ranaudo
#136 Drew Smiley

Pack six
#9 Yu Darvish
#144 Robinson Cano
#4 Lonnie Chisenhall - Blue parallel
#STA-LD Safeco Field photo by Lica Djelosevic - Stadium Scenes insert
#177 Billy Hamilton
#138 Gregor Blanco
#151 Rusney Castillo

Pack seven
#180 Doug Fister
#146 Ben Zobrist
#105 Jose Abreu
#HTD-13 Elvis Andrus - Hit the Dirt insert
#17 David Ortiz
#98 Adam Wainwright
#128 Chase Headley

Pack eight
#20 Miguel Cabrera
#178 Carlos Santana
#168 Kennys Vargas
#HTD-02 Lorenzo Cain - Hit the Dirt insert
#74 Derek Norris
#182 Adrian Beltre
#130 Matt Holliday

Pack nine
#85 Zack Greinke
#188 Mookie Betts
#31 David Wright
#M-25 Theodore Roosevelt - Mascots insert
#102 Gio Gonzalez
#132 Peter Bourjos
#170 Marcus Stroman

Pack 10
#41 Carlos Gonzalez
#190 Cliff Lee
#126 Oswaldo Arcia
#SC-18 Mike Napoli - Superstar Celebrations insert
#52 Roenis Elias
#107 Erick Aybar
#140 Hanley Ramirez

Pack 11
#56 Elvis Andrus
#10 Pat Neshek
#175 Manny Machado - Blue parallel
#FF-12 Nick Castellanos - Franchise Flashback insert
#89 Brian Dozier
#120 Jay Bruce
#57 Salvador Perez

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Featured autograph - Kyle Kubitza

I don't know much about Kubitza except the Angels picked him up during the offseason - I got him to sign a couple of cards in the Arizona Fall League a few years ago, so his autograph is already in the collection if he plays in a game for the Angels at some point.

Dare I dream that the 24-year old turns into a solid, but unspectacular player if and when he gets to the big leagues with the Angels - I don't think he's ever been regarded as a top prospect, but I'm just hoping Kubitza establishes himself as a useful MLB player for more than just a couple of years.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Featured autograph - Kris Bryant

With the crazy hype surrounding his spring training home run barrage, I'm glad I got him a few years ago - when I actually got him, he had probably shortened up his autograph already, but the recent graphs he has given out in-person just look real sloppy.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

2015 Donruss pack breaks #3 of 3

Pack nine
#86 Justin Verlander
#78 Corey Kluber
#105 Adrian Gonzalez
#96 James Shields
#175 R.A. Dickey
#170 Leonys Martin
#11 Maikel Franco - Donruss Preferred insert
#81 Troy Tulowitzki - Statline parallel serial #'d 262/340

Pack 10
#48 Patrick Corbin
#46 Paul Goldschmidt
#73 Devin Mesoraco
#80 Yan Gomes
#195 Ernie Banks
#194 Bo Jackson
#18 Zack Wheeler - Elite Series insert

#198 Andrew McCutchen - 1981 Donruss insert

Pack 11
#52 Justin Upton
#49 Alex Wood
#97 Alex Gordon
#88 Victor Martinez
#149 Hunter Pence
#147 Ian Kennedy
#146 Everth Cabrera
#14 Daniel Norris - Donruss Preferred insert

#14 Clayton Kershaw - Diamond Kings insert

Pack 12
#104 Clayton Kershaw
#95 Eric Hosmer
#120 Danny Santana
#113 Jose Fernandez
#185 Frank Thomas
#180 Stephen Strasburg
Dummy card
#21 Jimmy Rollins

#24 Bob Gibson - All-Time Diamond Kings insert

Friday, March 13, 2015

2015 Donruss pack breaks #2 of 3

Pack five
#119 Brian Dozier
#112 Henderson Alvarez
#124 Matt Harvey
#117 Francisco Rodriguez
#159 Kolten Wong
#155 Mike Zunino

#4 Nolan Ryan - Donruss Preferred insert

#13 Christian Walker - The Rookies insert

Pack six
#119 Brian Dozier
#112 Henderson Alvarez
#131 Josh Donaldson
#126 Ichiro
#192 Pete Rose
#189 George Brett
#6 Javier Baez - Donruss Preferred insert
#43 Christian Walker

Pack seven
#60 Dustin Pedroia
#72 Todd Frazier
#66 Jake Arrieta
#193 Tony Gwynn
#191 Ryne Sandberg
#28 Eric Hosmer - Donruss Preferred insert / VIP Reserved serial #'d 52/99
#2 George Brett - Donruss Preferred insert

#4 Dustin Pedroia - Diamond Kings insert Press Proof parallel serial #'d 006/199

Pack eight
#71 Joey Votto
#65 Starlin Castro
#87 Miguel Cabrera
#79 Carlos Santana
#165 Kevin Kiermaier
#160 Yadier Molina
#28 Leonys Martin - Elite Series insert

#6 Jose Abreu - Diamond Kings insert

Thursday, March 12, 2015

2015 Donruss pack breaks #1 of 3

Last week was all about 2015 Topps Heritage, but I got my fill through retail - so I when I finally stopped at the card shop this week, my interest in Heritage was kind of sated.

I heard 2015 Donruss was coming in and I bided my time just long enough [after already making a small purchase of loose quarter cards] - so the owner could get his shipment in and open up a box.

My gut tells me to stick with Topps because it's MLB licensed - but I grabbed a dozen loose packs of 2015 Donruss because as a baseball card collector I'm not going to be denied checking out some new product.

The handful of the inserts I pulled kind of pop and maybe the lure to picking up loose packs here and there - the Donruss insert sets that recycle designs from its past incarnation as a baseball card company are 'cute,' if not something to really put together.

The base card design look a little calmer than 2015 Topps - the cards are printed with a glossy surface with no foil stamping.

The red colored backs that almost resembles 1990 Donruss.

The cards still sort of feel a step below a MLB licensed product, but I like it when there are no logos on uniforms / caps on cards of players who have recently switched teams - bonus points added if and when the new team is listed on the card as well.

Pack one
#103 Jered Weaver
#125 Bartolo Colon
#135 Ryan Howard
#130 David Robertson
#169 Yu Darvish
#164 Evan Longoria

#26 Everth Cabrera - Elite Series insert
#34 Daniel Norris

Pack two
#111 Marcel Ozuna
#142 Starling Marte
#139 Gregory Polanco
#179 Doug Fister
#174 Melky Cabrera
#1 Andrew McCutchen - Jersey Kings insert; while not a patch, the dirt stained material swatch used gives this particular card character.

#13 Michael Taylor - Donruss Preferred insert

#200 Yu Darvish - 1981 Donruss

Pack three
#118 Joe Mauer
#145 Seth Smith 
#144 Gerrit Cole
#188 Mariano Rivera
#184 Mark McGwire

#164 Evan Longoria - Press Proof parallel serial #'d 94/99
Dummy card
#23 Matt Adams - Elite Series insert

#10 Alex Gordon - Long Ball Leaders

Pack four
#104 Clayton Kershaw
#95 Eric Hosmer
#109 Dee Gordon

#100 Mike Trout
#190 Wade Boggs
#187 Kirby Puckett
Dummy card
#19 Jacoby Ellsbury - Elite Series insert

#1 Tony Gwynn - Tony Gwynn Tribute

Monday, March 09, 2015

2015 Topps Heritage blaster recap

2015 Topps Heritage blaster box [$19.99 each at the Target] - I used my $5 off coupon from my Topps coupon book available in Topps Series I blasters from Target.

Pack one
#246 Kyle Gibson
#213 Joakim Soria
#77 Casey Janssen

#224 Corey Kluber / Max Scherzer / Jered Weaver - 2014 American League Pitching Leaders; wins
#458 Jon Lester
#326 Braves 2nd Place NL East Division - checklist
#82 Scott Kazmir
#39 Marcus Stroman
#132 Travis Ishikawa

Pack two
#45 Mookie Betts
#109 Didi Gregorious
#295 Jayson Werth
#207 Chase Headley
#87 Torii Hunter

#Topps THC-470 Nelson Cruz - Chrome parallel serial #'d 128/999
#9 Jenrry Mejia
#268 Nick Castellanos
#194 Nationals 1st Place NL East Division - checklist

Pack three
#114 Josh Reddick
#1 Buster posey
#126 Chris Tillman
#120 Brian Dozier
#500 Mike Trout - SP
#375 Josh Harrison
#170 Chase Utley
#272 Wei-Yin Chen

#83 Matt Shoemaker

Pack four
#336 Fernando Rodney
#24 Wil Myers
#342 Tyler Matzek
#14 Kyle Lohse
#Topps TN-4 Lou Brock / Dee Gordon - Then and Now insert
#228 Yonder Alonso
#145 Ben Zobrist
#210 Neil Walker
#68 George Springer

Pack five
#215 Justin Morneau / Josh Harrison / Andrew McCutchen - 2014 National League Batting Leaders; average
#401 Hector Neris / Chris Heston
#57 Carlos Ruiz
#108 James Loney
#36 Sean Doolittle
#NAP-12 Felix Hernandez - New Age Performers insert
#103 Drew Storen
#242 Kendrys Morales
#71 Mark Buehrle

Pack six
#279 John Gibbons
#388 Dellin Betances
#139 Javier Baez / Jorge Soler 

#249 Mike Scioscia
#273 Adam Wainwright / Clayton Kershaw - NL Aces
#491 Victor Martinez - SP
#209 Kyle Lobstein / Buck Farmer
#238 Dodgers 1st Place NL West Division
#146 Guilder Rodriguez / Lisaverto Bonilla

Pack seven
#95 Scooter Gennett
#161 Adeiny Hechavarria
#163 Dexter Fowler
#282 Tanner Roark

#NF-9 Marvin Miller - News Flashbacks insert
#386 Matt Williams
#329 Michael Saunders
#420 Matt Cain
#248 Wade Miley

Pack eight
#350 Masahiro Tanaka
#167 Bud Norris
#122 John Danks

#340 Garrett Richards
#345 Scott Van Slyke
#72 Nolan Arenado
#214 Allen Craig
#162 Brad Miller
#181 Gio Gonzalez

Sunday, March 08, 2015

2015 Topps Heritage value pack recap

It's only one pack, but this was such boring break - I pulled one lousy insert, no short prints or anything else but base.

#374 Jimmy Rollins
#366 Alex Cobb
#26 Ryan Zimmerman
#306 Rafael Ynoa / Jackson Williams - these are a pair of Rockies rookies from 2014, though Topps managed to make Williams into an Angel after he was claimed off waivers by the Halos during the off-season.
#411 Ryne Sandberg
#129 Alex Avila
#307 Alfredo Simon
#32 Andrelton Simmons
#330 Carl Crawford
#91 Nick Markakis
#NAP-12 Felix Hernandez - New Age Performers insert
#70 Yoenis Cespedes
#353 C.C. Sabathia
#288 Yimi Garcia / Melvin Mercedes - it may not mimic the original 1966 Topps set [or any vintage Topps set that had dual rookie stars], though I prefer as many players i.e. the rookies to actually have their own cards as opposed to two guys being put on one card.
#221 Clayton Kershaw / Johnny Cueto / Adam Wainwright - 2014 National League Pitching Leaders; ERA
#220 Mike Trout / Miguel Cabrera / Nelson Cruz - 2014 American League RBI Leaders
#119 Trevor Rosenthal
#5 Ryan Vogelsong
#13 Stephen Vogt
#107 James McCann / Kyle Ryan

2015 Topps Heritage hanger box recap

I heard about a 35-card Heritage hanger box and went to Target to see what they were about - I'm familiar with the Topps flagship 72-card hanger boxes, but I don't think I've ever seen Heritage hanger boxes.

The Holofoil parallels look sharp though at first I thought they were the usual Chrome parallels from previous years - unlike the Chrome parallels, the Holofoils are not numbered and looks like a retail only parallel.

#297 Colby Rasmus
#223 Clayton Kershaw / Johnny Cueto / Adam Wainwright - 2014 National League Pitching Leaders; wins
#328 Denard Span

#414 Alex Rodriguez
#243 Pablo Sandoval
#350 Masahiro Tanaka
#315 Koji Uehara

#405 C.J. Wilson
#20 J.D. Martinez
#201 Jason Heyward
#322 Tsuyoshi Wada
#381 Eric Hosmer
#418 Matt Garza
#231 Brock Holt
#310 Adam Jones
#493 Kyle Seager - SP

#NAP-15 Javier Baez - New Age Performers insert
#TN-1 Harmon Killebrew / Nelson Cruz - Then and Now insert
#TN-10 Sandy Koufax / Adam Wainwright - Then and Now insert
#THC-70 Yoenis Cespedes - Holofoil parallel
#THC-496 Albert Pujols - Holofoil parallel
#THC-431 Billy Hamilton - Holofoil parallel

#THC-300 Andrew McCutchen - Holofoil parallel

#THC-493 Kyle Seager - Holofoil parallel
#347 Danny Santana
#58 Brandon Moss
#65 Logan Morrison
#10 Julio Teheran
#235 Kevin Gausman
#16 Anibal Sanchez
#121 Kevin Kiermaier
#337 Billy Butler

#99 Angels Belters feat. Albert Pujols / Mike Trout
#352 Seth Smith
#355 David Robertson
#372 Juan Lagares