Saturday, March 31, 2018

Old school adds for my nations collections

I was flipping through a stash of cards at my LCS and I found at least four guys who I assumed where born in different places other than the United States - I don't particularly know who they are, but I saw their cards as finds to help me work towards towards my goal of 100 old-school / vintage adds to my 25-30 mini-collections.

I want as many subjects represented from nations that have spawned professional baseball players - though I wonder if really care to have every player, past, present and future [do I have the resources to have and/or grab their cards]?

I'm probably never going to get everyone's card and it's not like I have a link to one particular nation - maybe it feels weird to be hunting for cards of guys whose language I do not speak, whose culture and life experiences differ from mine and at times seem really worlds apart besides me seeing them as professional baseball players.

As a baseball fan, I do realize players born in different nations continue to make a significant impact in pro baseball - in my own little way, I want to chronicle the contributions of players from all over the world, particularly players who have reached the big leagues to have a card made of them.

1970 Topps Hector Torres #272 - Mexico

1974 Topps Pedro Garcia #142 - Puerto Rico

1975 Topps Ramon Hernandez #224 - Puerto Rico

1975 Topps Eduardo Rodriguez #582 - Puerto Rico

Friday, March 30, 2018

On the topic of my infamous mini-collection

I picked up a 1975 Topps Mini John Milner #264 off the quarter bin scrap heap - it's kind of pretty looking, but an otherwise nondescript piece of cardboard of a rank and file ballplayer who made his MLB debut in the early 1970s and played through 1982.

Stumbling upon Milner on the internets, I learned he testified about his drug use in the Pittsburgh drug trials of the mid 1980s - Milner also threw some shade at icon Willie Mays for having amphetamines ["red juice'] at his disposal.

I didn't know much about Milner, but after everything was said and done, maybe Milner was more of a sympathetic figure who just got up in the times - but I had to add his card to my rather dubious mini-collections.

Maybe there hasn’t been as much emphasis to seek out cards of guys who’ve done some bonehead things [either on the field or off the field] - since I don’t want to glorify or endorse bad behavior, especially the more serious, morbid and fatal offenses like sexual harassment, rape and murder.

However, pro athletes are my ‘celebrities’ to 'gossip about' and this mini-collection was probably inspired by Jim Rome’s radio show [from the early 1990s through early 2000s] - when he’d mock all sorts of pro athletes [he loved to ridicule and pick apart the black eyes] who messed up.

With Twitter and other social media, everyone has to insert themselves into someone’s controversy / drama and it’s kind of depressing reading all the instantaneous hot takes - it’s all overkill and it’s not shocking anymore when professional athletes are arrested, sharing pizza in a hotel room, caught for a DUI, shoplifting, blackballed for a number of things, et al.

Cards of presumed offenders will still be added, but there is the caveat that it’s all negative and while I don’t want to sugarcoat things - having a card for ‘ha, ha’ value doesn’t really put my collection in a positive light or make it particularly better [even if it’s all kind of superficial at best].

Thursday, March 29, 2018

2018 Topps Living Set Shohei Ohtani #7

I think heard about this new Topps product in the past couple of weeks and I don't really get how this set is supposed to come together - I think collectors want something that can be tied to a particular set with beginning and a definite ending.

If I was a set collector, team collector or player collector, I would want closure as far as knocking off specific cards from a set checklist in a given year - not something that is going to meander for years to come, without an apparent finish line to cross.

The 1953 Topps inspired design is fine, but why did Topps need to recycle another 'retro' style as opposed to using something original and fresh for something design with a living set in mind [?] - the old-time design was probably decided upon to appeal to collectors' familiarity with Heritage and Archives, though it's been 65 years since the original issue 1953 Topps cards came out.

Go figure, it wasn't too hard of decision to pick up an Ohtani single for about $5 and I see this card as kind of a unique issue - at least something I can't pull out of a pack from a Target or card shop.

Besides his terrible spring outings as a hitter and a pitcher, I believe Ohtani's immense talent will play out - he collected his first big league hit on Opening Day and it would be nice if he does something with the bat in the next couple of games, then showcases his pitching talent on Sunday.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Two adds for the bloodlines collection

I made a cameo at my LCS to raid the quarter boxes for any newer cards to flip through like 2018 Donruss baseball but no dice on that - so I ended up rummaging around for some loose cards as well as picking up packs of penny sleeves and a cardboard box.

1975 Topps Rookie Pitchers #615 - feat. Pat Darcy, Dennis Leonard, Tom Underwood and Hank Webb; this card will count as a bloodlines collection add with Webb being the father of big leaguer Ryan, but Underwood [R.I.P.] was also the brother of former MLB pitcher Pat and the father of one time Dodgers minor leaguer J.D. Underwood...this card could be a beyond the glory card for Darcy, who served up Carlton Fisk’s home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.

Leonard had the most success out of the four guys on this card but after being a front line starter for the Kansas City Royals - a knee injury derailed the latter part of his career; I’d put him in the beyond the glory mini-collection, though I know I have a card of his somewhere, so this card wouldn't be a 2018 add for him.

2017 Panini Score football Kiko Alonso #6 - this is where I feel my mini-collections can get really esoteric at times.

I had a Bowman Draft card of one-time pro baseball player Carlos Alonso and I looked him up just to see if he was still playing - Carlos washed out after parts of 7 minor league seasons, but I saw he had a brother [Kiko] who plays in the NFL.

It wasn't a priority - but when I stumbled upon a random base card of Kiko, I had to pick it up so I had a card for each brother.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Bat Blog Around - various card collecting projects

This is a list of the trading card projects I work on that are my priorities - there really isn't a day where I don't look through collecting forums and/or blogs or look something up on eBay, but because it's a hobby I enjoy only by myself, interest in playing with my actual cards is something that wanes from time to time. 

Having an opportunity to spell some things out for about the 500th time and go over my various trading card projects in somewhat of a 'show and tell' setting - gives me some hope, where I don't feel like collecting is strictly all for nothing. 

Main projects

1. Personal collection cards - I once read a blog post lamenting the absurdity of having a PC, but it’s about having a collection of centerpiece cards [due to value and/or sentiment] as opposed to merely hoarding all sorts of miscellaneous cards [and never really evolving and/or getting more sophisticated, regardless of what I may actually put in my PC].

There was a movement to reboot my PCs starting in November 2016, where I’ve wanted to make my collections a bit more well rounded - by adding certain pickups like miscellaneous rookie cards like the Clemens pictured, weeding out certain cards, re-ranking the order in a Google Sheets file I created and then physically rearranging my cards. 

Maybe my PCs are always going to be kind of ‘all over the place’ and thin all-around between the varying degrees of quality, years, types, subjects, et al - if nothing else, I want to have a good, representative collection of cards I can pull out and have a good look at once in awhile.

2. Regional collections - I'm trying to corral what I have in an order that makes sense even though I don't see myself as a comprehensive team collector as far as picking up all cards from a specific team year by year, card by card, product to product.  

A.) Personal collection cards - it’s a work in progress and I kind of want to mimic what I've tried to do with my main PC, where I've tweaked and rebooted parts of my collection so it doesn't feel as random.

B.) All-time autograph collection - this is basically trying to count out and list all the autographs [IP/TTM/certified/purchased] in my collection; the goal is to get as many different players as I can; though completion isn't realistic, I'll live with 'highlights' I know I have in my collection, while adding fillers along the way, even if I'm missing some obscure and likely 'impossible' autographs to get for one reason or the other.

C.) A-Z singles / A-Z inserts collections - it’s a work in progress to account for notable, yet to miscellaneous team related cards.

A-Z singles - means my collection of notable pulls, finds and purchases that 'maybe worth something' like prospect cards or parallels of team stars that may not really be worth much at all, but are fits in my regional collection. 

A-Z inserts means any pulls, finds and purchases that are probably not worth much - yet are still a little more unique than base cards.  

D.) Loose card projects - anything that doesn't fit as a PC, as part of my all-time autograph collection, that can't be slotted as an A-Z singles or A-Z inserts additions.

Binder stars - I guess I've made it where I've set aside cards of selected players to put in a book; hard to deal with prominent players who have spent time with other teams, but I try to collect as many cards for guys who have played for my team. 

Frankenset - this collection basically serves to showcase at least 500 random Angels cards by numerical order; I'm kind of surprised there seems to be Angels cards to count 1-500, though I'm still missing 60 assorted, random cards to complete the first 500.   

Opening Day Starters- maybe inspired by at least a card blogger or two, maybe I want to put together a collection of cards to showcase a team's Opening Day lineup.

Maybe my Angels cards are just kind of 'loose' all around with a mash-up of cards - so like my Angels frankenset project, my goal is really to use up much of my base and ‘lesser’ insert cards for something relevant.

Organize by year in the following order - 1B, 2B, 3B, LF, CF, RF, SS, C, P and DH [if applicable].

Shoebox - as part of my team boxes spelled out below.

3. Collecting topics aka mini collection cards - I’d like to think my mini-collections is my centerpiece collecting project where I could just do my own thing.

Maybe the main reason for these collections is to be a card geek - trying to keep up with ‘trivia’ as well as hunting cards that ‘pop’ with some personality, even if they are all common and/or otherwise forgotten.

I may have 25-30 'official' ones and 5-10 'unofficial' ones - I probably was influenced by the baseball cards subsets of their early 1990s [1992 Upper Deck - Bloodlines, 1992 Pinnacle - Shades, Grips, Donruss Triple Play - awesome action] as well as being bored and trying to see if collecting random cards for the heck of it, to put in one specific mini-collection category was viable.  

My yearly goal is to add 500 'new' collecting topics cards I say yes to adding one more card that can possibly count toward a mini-collection, no matter how esoteric.

4. Award winners collection - the purpose of this collection is to round up and to showcase MLB award winners [Most Valuable Players, Cy Young and Rookie of the year] through baseball cards.

Between base cards, parallels, retro cards, vintage cards, memorabilia / certified autograph cards, in-person/TTM autographs - this is kind of a frankenset project for me where things are mixed up.

The most important aspect of all the wrinkles within this collection is the cards used are era [retro cards are actually OK] and team appropriate - with some exceptions that I’ll chalk up to ‘not worth worrying about.’ 

5. A-Z singles - I need to maintain upkeep of my collection of notable pulls, finds and purchases that 'maybe worth something' but may not really be worth much at all and may not fit any of my collections. 

6. IP/TTM autographs - I don't get to do it as much, but it's not entirely out of my system and I feel I can still get subjects to scribble on trading cards or what I'd call my 'claptrap of junk' I lug with me to spots where I presume I'll see someone worth looking to get an autograph from. 

Side projects

This is more of a list of the trading card collections I may work on from time to time - but perhaps a little unfocused or seem a little vague.

1. Topps year-to-year run [1978-present] - though the run doesn't exactly go back to the 'vintage years' of the 50s, 60s and early 70s, I'm looking to get at least one regular issue Topps card each year for the teams that were in existence in 1978 through present.

Obviously for the expansion teams that have sprung up since, including the Miami Marlins, Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays - will only have Topps cards starting from the teams' first seasons in Major League Baseball.

2. Inserts - I'm trying to make it so there is a system for listing and putting away assorted pulls, finds and purchases.

I have my inserts in binders but because it maybe easier to access my inserts when I need to add new cards to the collection - there maybe a push move my inserts to boxes and put a mini-collection in a binder or at least have more pages for my assorted decade, binder stars.

3. Decade / binder stars - these consist of the base cards and common inserts / parallels I’ve pulled from various breaks or have found through other means; I sort all the cards I have by player in ABC order, by decade the players made their debuts.

This collection isn’t something I'll go through on a regular basis but once in a while - it's fun to see how many assorted cards I have for players in a binder, from the national stars I followed to everyone else.

4. Team boxes - this collection is a smorgasbord of cards sorted by team, so I can flip through them as a casual collection; at the moment, I have a shoe box for my American League cards and a plastic card box for my National League cards.

Maybe there is kind of a ritual to build up the boxes bit-by-bit - then maybe spending a couple of hours at a time going through the cards to see what I have, to be able to add and subtract.

Nothing is permanent and I weed cards from this collection from time to time for various 'needs' like rediscovering mini-collection cards or a card for an active player involved in a transaction - I try to keep in mind at least 10-15 'anchor' players for a particular team, whose cards I'll look to add to make the individual teams more well rounded.

These collections can include cards of prominent stars, postseason heroes [if applicable], other players from championship teams - players who may have passed in more tragic situations than natural ones, long retired stars, etc.

Having these team boxes maybe a response to repack breaks over the years where rather than just putting all the crap I'm flipping through into my A-Z archives - I decided to put together a team collection of cards to see what I can come up with.

5. More loose card projects - these are the various ways that help me sort of bide my time and milk out a unique card collecting experience since I do end up enjoying rummaging through cards as long as there is more cardboard to look at it.

As is, I’m juggling multiple things, trying to push multiple buttons as a process to cobble together up random cards and to put them into specialized themes - these projects keeps me involved in collecting in a fun, if simplistic sort of way.  

Milestone numbers - 500 home runs, 3,000 hits, 300 wins, 3,000 strikeouts

Hall of Famers - inspired by a card blogger or two, a card for each member of the Hall of Fame as I stumble upon them.

Transactions - I look at 365 days a year, so perhaps it shouldn't matter, but I'd still like to keep a 'Rolodex' of about a 100 or so random cards to reflect a particular year's [in-season, off-season through the end of spring training] moves.

School ties - a random assortment of cards from notable pros in multiple sports, from a selected number of California colleges.

This collection isn't meant to be comprehensive, but a collection of cards from schools I've heard about with good athletic programs - Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, UCLA, USC, Stanford and Cal.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

2018 Topps Opening Day blaster box

If the base design was more original, rather than looking like flagship Topps, then Opening Day would be much more interesting rather than redundant - OD is a cheap product with all sorts of fun inserts and I guess if I wanted baseball cards, maybe these are an alternative the non-MLB licensed Panini Donruss.

I see myself as a low end collector, though it doesn't mean I can't be a 'card snob' and an insecurity I might have is pulling MLB rookie logo cards out of a cheaper version of the flagship Topps product - it probably won't ever happen where any number of guys with rookie cards in this year's class will turn into Clayton Kershaw or Mike Trout, but I don't want it where if that does happen, I end holding 'Opening Day' version (s) of a base rookie instead of the 'flagship' ones.

But go figure, one of the reasons I grabbed a $10 blaster was to chase after a Shohei Ohtani rookie card, which isn't in Topps Series I - OD sets with his cards may have been selling on ebay for $15, so I could have gone that route for a cheap RC of the pitcher / DH, but it's a more exciting to pull one if I have the chance.

Pack one
#153 Addison Russell
#84 Starling Marte
#BOD-MK Mikie Mahtook - Before Opening Day insert

#191 Matt Wieters - Yellow Printing Plate 1 of 1; I was hoping this was Bryce Harper or at least Daniel Murphy, but my first printing plate pull made this blaster pretty good already.

I realize the Wieters is probably only worth just about what I paid for the entire box - but I like the metallic texture of printing plates, especially when the player's image is visible.

#89 Jeff Samardizija
#189 Steven Souza Jr.
#95 Dexter Fowler

Pack two
#97 Kevin Kiermaier

#197 Parker Bridwell
#8 A.J. Pollock
#M-11 Paws - Mascots insert
#195 Marcell Ozuna
#52 Justin Verlander
#152 Jake Arrieta

Pack three
#108 Marcus Stroman
#15 Adam Jones
#115 Ryan McMahon
#TTC-YD YMCA Dance - Team Traditions & Celebrations insert
#45 Trevor Story
#145 Zach Britton
#32 Raisel Iglesias

Pack four
#29 Carlos Rodon
#129 Francisco Mejia
#42 Jon Gray
#ODB-PP Opening Day in Pittsburgh - Opening Day insert
#132 Walker Buehler
#27 Ian Happ
#127 Victor Robles

Pack five
#142 Paul Goldschmidt
#58 Cody Bellinger
#158 Corey Kluber

#BDO-MT Mike Trout - Before Opening Day insert
#24 Kyle Schwarber
#124 Nicky Delmonico
#9 Jake Lamb

Pack six
#69 Jacob DeGrom
#169 Kenley Jansen
#18 Trey Mancini - Opening Day Edition parallel
#M-17 Mr. Met - Mascots insert
#109 Anthony Rendon

#4 Mike Trout
#104 Nomar Mazara

Pack seven
#80 Maikel Franco
#90 Hunter Pence
#190 Cole Hamels

#TTC-RM Rally Monkey - Team Traditions & Celebrations insert
#59 Corey Seager
#159 Edwin Encarnacion
#68 Noah Syndergaard

Pack eight
#57 Yasiel Puig
#157 Jesse Winker
#49 Yulieski Gurriel
#M-1 Sluggerrr - Mascots insert
#168 Yu Darvish
#176 Aroldis Chapman
#76 Khris Davis

Pack nine
#149 Xander Bogaerts
#46 Miguel Cabrera
#146 Chris Davis
#BOD-MS Miguel Sano - Before Opening Day insert
#87 Hunter Renfroe
#187 Matt Carpenter
#94 Adam Wainwright

Pack 10
#37 Carlos Carrasco
#137 Miguel Andujar
#23 Willson Contreras
#ODB-CL Opening Day in Cleveland - Opening Day insert
#194 Alex Colome
#100 Joey Gallo

#200 Shohei Ohtani - I pulled a 1 of 1 printing plate, a Bridwell base, a Trout insert, a Trout base, a Rally Monkey insert and this card I was looking for, so why don't I have strong feelings about Opening Day again?

Pack 11
#123 Chance Sisco
#12 Nick Markakis
#112 Max Scherzer

#TTC-KC King’s Court - Team’s Traditions & Celebrations
#65 Joe Mauer
#165 Alcides Escobar
#39 Francisco Lindor

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

1988 Fleer Dennis Rodman #43

I was searching for a few Rodman videos on YouTube and was inspired to pick up his rookie card - which is probably realistically valued, but I would have thought would be worth $50 instead of $10 or whatever.

Rodman is just an old depraved man now who likes to get DUIs while taking vacations in North Korea - but back in the mid 1990s, Rodman made collecting rebounds his thing on the court.

He also showed up at his book signings in drag, had an outsized personality with a made for TV movie about his life, was an ‘it’ guy to sign autographs at card shows - everyone kind of wanted a piece of him and he ate it all up at one point.

Baseball became my sport to watch and to collect, but when it came to looking over to other spectator sports - maybe an obvious thing was to gravitate to the personalities, the pros who made the news away from the court.

Monday, March 12, 2018

2018 Topps Angels factory set purchases

I haven't really paid attention to these sets because they seems so basic, but I actually bought a couple of sets online - since there is a rookie year Shohei Ohtani card in the checklist and early 2018 Angels cards of Ian Kinsler and Zack Cozart.

I was thinking about buying only one, but I thought these are cheap enough where I’ll open one to actually play with and save one just for the heck of it - even though Topps floods the market with these team sets, the Ohtani card is an early year novelty.

FWIW - I have a 1993 Topps Stadium Club Atlanta Braves factory set I bought at a Walmart 25 years ago; it is probably the longest I’ve held onto a baseball card package [it’s in a blister pack of sorts - I’m afraid the cards may have stuck together since they were glossy and foil] unopened, though I any ‘investment potential’ was never there in the first place.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

A pair of Angels rookie buyback purchases

I don’t think stamped buybacks are remotely collectible as ‘stand alone’ cards unless they are part of some autograph insert - but even if they are low-end gimmicks, with the original copies being worthless otherwise, I actually picked these cards up for a couple of bucks and change [each].

I had my eye on these cards because they are actually rookie cards unlike many buybacks I've seen - featuring a couple of retired Angels stars who made their MLB debuts in the 1990s.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Shohei Ohtani 2018 Topps Now pickups

I added these to my collection as no brainer finds, even though it's spring training debut cards - as opposed to regular season debut cards, which should come at the end of the month, but where does the collector in me stop and grab any one of his higher end issues?

It's going to be tough seriously collecting him where the buy-in for a lousy card I'd really want [a high end rookie-year autograph or parallel] - will probably be too rich for my blood.

If he does something 'good' and it's on a Topps Now card, I might have to keep up, even if the idea of Topps Now is still something I'm not really familiar with - I can’t imagine how many Ohtani Topps Now cards will be created throughout the year, for every rookie season highlight and milestone.

I do want Ohtani to live up to the hype and have a buzz surrounding him all year long - considering his immense stuff as a pitcher, it's not going to be fun if he doesn't end up pitching well early on or suffers some sort injury that knocks him out for a prolonged period of time.

Presumably getting sporadic DH at-bats as a hitter in-between pitching starts, a slow start with the bat may leave him perpetually behind - where doubt creeps in as to whether he needs to focus on strictly pitching.