Monday, December 30, 2019

2019 collecting topics subsets count Pt. I

Mini-collection name
Vintage - 1973 and beforeOld-school - 1980 and before
Multi-sport athletesNoneNoneNone
Cult baseball playersNoneNoneNone
Facial hair316NoneNone
Awesome action312None1
Players smiling66NoneNone
Tools of ignorance51NoneNone
High socks21NoneNone
Retro uniforms20NoneNone
Awesome outfield20NoneNone
Inking it up10NoneNone
Pitchers hitting10NoneNone
Beyond the glory8NoneNone
Uncorrected error4NoneNone
Bonus babies32None
Interesting backs2NoneNone
Star on star cameos2NoneNone
Broken bat shots1NoneNone

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Some finds off a card show appearance #2

So I went to this random card show earlier in the month and besides what I'd picked up, I stumbled upon a table with a bin of loose junk packs for $0.50 - I tried to look for some premium UV coated era baseball packs from the mid 1990s, though any particular one might be brick city, so I had to think twice.

The same booth had a bin of repacks sorted by team - maybe 25 or 30 cards for a quarter.

The guy manning the booth probably thought I was nuts going through his junk cards, trying to look at the top / bottom cards like I was picking fruit - he said I could go and open them up, which seemed odd but I got the sense that he didn't really care.

I didn't bother doing that since I didn't have time, feeling like I was in either my element or just a hoarder - trying to make a stack out all these bagged up cards, setting aside the ones I'm planning to grab.

I didn’t particularly care which teams I got, though interesting, if worthless cards were a lure - the guy at the table wasn't saying much otherwise but said go ahead and make a mess, since cards were supposed to be fun.

Maybe he thought I was a straight up lunatic who was seeing trading cards for the first time - I spent $5 on 20 assorted 'packs' and while the seller didn't have a spare bag handy to hold my hauls, he ended up handing me a bag of more cards just to hold what I'd bought.

Just because I'm probably going to 'show off' the contents of my team repack breaks - one post at a time until I get through them all.

Chicago Cubs - 40 cards 1998 Fleer Tradition Update Gary Gaetti #U54 1992 Topps Jerome Walton #543 1993 Topps Jessie Hollins #487 1988 Donruss Andre Dawson #9 - players smiling 1993 Donruss Mike Morgan #394 - grips 1996 Upper Deck Collector’s Choice Frank Castillo #494 1992 Upper Deck Rey Sanchez #562 1993 Topps Mark Grace #630 1993 Donruss Shawon Dunston #268 - dirt 1993 Topps Stadium Club Jim Bullinger #118 1993 Fleer Ultra Frank Castillo #16 - grips 1993 Topps Butch Hobson / Jim Lefebvre #502 1993 Topps Aaron Taylor #786 - he’s the Cub among the quad of one-time prospects pictured. 1994 Topps Kevin Orie #762 1994 Topps Randy Myers #575 - Topps sampler run 1993 Upper Deck Fun Pack Mark Grace #17

1998 Fleer Update Kerry Wood U5
- Season Highlights insert 1993 Fleer Ultra Dwight Smith #23 - players smiling on the reverse image 1989 Fleer Mike Harkey #427 1993 Topps Derek Wallace #459

1989 Donruss Mark Grace #255
- players smiling 1993 Fleer Dwight Smith #384 1992 Donruss Rick Sutcliffe #642 - facial hair 1993 Upper Deck Shawon Dunston #101 - dirt 1992 Upper Deck Hector Villanueva #102 - angles 1996 Fleer Todd Zeile #333 1993 Fleer Doug Dascenzo #376 - dirt 1993 Upper Deck Sammy Sosa #819 1998 Skybox Dugout Access Henry Rodriguez #8 - facial hair 1993 Fleer Shawn Boskie #373 1993 Topps Gold Jose Vizcaino #237 1991 Fleer Bill Long #425 1991 Topps Dave Smith #110T 1992 Donruss Chico Walker #439 - dirt 1993 Fleer Dwight Smith #384 1992 Topps Mike Harkey #98 1993 Fleer Ultra Willie Wilson #324 1996 Pacific Mark Grace #31 1989 Donruss Manny Trillo #608

1994 Topps Chuck McElroy #613
- inking it up on the reverse image

Friday, December 27, 2019

Some old-school Garret Anderson finds

At a card show in the middle of this past year, I saw a mid 1990s 'GA' insert - I didn’t pick the card up because it might have had a ding, but it was a card I’d never seen before.

All I was sure of was the card was likely from a mid 1990s Pinnacle brand - thinking about that insert [after the fact, maybe a 1996 Score Diamond Aces #27], it surprises me between all this time, I'm just not familiar with many of the UV coated, shiny, Dufexed, foil stamped inserts or parallels that were found in a flood of late 1990s baseball products.

'GA' probably wasn't a fan favorite compared to his peers like Tim Salmon, Jim Edmonds or Darin Erstad - expectations were sky high after his hot rookie season, but GA seemed content doing his own quiet thing for a bit.

Maybe he was still a bit too 'sleepy' for Angels fans or made too many outs because he didn't walk a lot - but GA figured out some 'launch angle' skills with his naturally sweet swing and had a solid 4-5 year run in the early 2000s.

I liked GA as a player but probably doesn’t get as much love in my regional collection - why not pick up some nice, forgotten cards of an Angels Hall of Famer who has long since settled into anonymity.

1995 Select Certified Edition Garret Anderson Potential Unlimited #9

1995 Select Can’t Miss Garret Anderson #CM9

1995 Score Rookie Dream Team Garret Anderson #RDT8

Monday, December 23, 2019

2019 Topps Archives Topps Magazine inserts

As far as I know 2019 Topps Archives might as well not exist, but these inserts were too sweet not to pick up, especially being familiar with Topps Magazines of my youth - with loud and bright colors, the design of these cards are throwbacks to the early 1990s.

I almost wish there was such a Topps branded trading card magazine today - though maybe the magazine was printed when baseball cards still had mainstream appeal among youth vs. devolving into a niche hobby over the past 30 years.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

A mini-collections boost thanks to Bob

A fellow collector named Bob from The Best Bubble left a comment he wanted to trade cards and had around 50 off my collecting topics wantlist to send - he mailed the cards off relatively quickly and I actually something to look at sooner than later.

I went through the cards and it looks like a nice mix of mostly late 1990s UV-coated stuff and stragglers from other years - not exactly from the junk wax era but maybe as the years go by, cards that I might not get to pick up outright.

I'd just updated the yearly totals on my 2019 collecting topics count - but this late-year trade gives me more cards to list up and tally up before the year is over.

Go figure, the trade allowed me to knock out a chunk of cards off my wantlist - which has been neglected for the longest time i.e. I don't even look at it as and maybe I've never thought about posting a most wanted, so people's attention can focus on a smaller group of cards.

Maybe just as a 'reference guide,' I'll look to add that 'Top 10' or 'Top 15' most wanted - but also look to add cards that I can end up looking for myself, instead of letting things go stale.

I counted out about 65 cards and a sample of the cards I received are posted - thanks again Bob!

2018 Topps Stadium Club Anthony Rendon #61 - majestic / panoramic.

1991 Topps Stadium Club Shane Mack #259 - I'm not sure if this is a staged photo shoot or if Mack is standing in as a batter during a pitcher's bullpen session.

1995 Topps Stadium Club Larry Walker #148 - I've added 'posed' images to showcase artsy-fartsy looking cards.

1997 Fleer Ultra Sammy Sosa #169 - dirt fetish; I love this card.

1997 Topps Stadium Club Mark Grudzielanek #44 - dirt fetish

1999 Fleer Ultra Jim Thome #95 - dirt fetish

1996 Topps Lenny Dykstra #261 - dirt fetish; after the fact, there was nothing admirable about the man, but he always knew how to get his uniform dirty.

1991 Topps Stadium Club Walt Weiss #49 - in the air

1997 Topps Stadium Club Rey Ordonez #48 - dirt fetish

1997 Topps Stadium Club Harold Baines #70 - he gives some high fives back to his teammates as a little tribute as opposed to an outright celebration for whatever he just did before someone snapped his picture.

1997 Topps Stadium Club Moises Alou #80 - dirt fetish

1996 Topps Stadium Club Tony Gwynn #301 - Ozzie Smith's appearance makes this a 'star on star' cameo of then active players who were destined to be Hall of Fame legends.

1997 Topps Stadium Club Jody Reed #285 - in the air

1997 Topps Stadium Club Joey Cora #149 - in the air

1994 Upper Deck Rickey Henderson #60 - on a random note, maybe 1994 Upper Deck was a bit of a bore, but UD never really wavered in photo selection.

1996 Topps Stadium Club Edgar Martinez #300 - posed

1994 Topps Ryan Thompson #98 - I collect 'batting' cards which may not be hard since every other image on baseball cards maybe of someone hitting; a distinction I make for my 'mini-collections' is I got to feel the image is showing a little extra dimension like this tight, up close shot of Thompson taking.

1997 Topps Stadium Club Mark Lemke #322 - baserunning

Monday, December 16, 2019

Featured autograph - Marvin Miller and Ted Simmons

I was digging around to look for a Simmons autograph card I thought I'd gotten and found a Miller autograph card rummaging through a random binder - I got this card signed through the mail 10-15 years ago, though the card came back creased in the middle and it looks like my card was signed in ballpoint.

I looked through all my assorted binders and I don’t even know what I’m looking for, so maybe I didn’t get Simmons after all - though I remember it may have been a 1984 Topps AS subset I got signed.

I thought I'd gotten at least one during the 2007 spring training time frame when he was a coach with the Milwaukee Brewers - as far as I was concerned, the newly minted Hall of Fame catcher was just another retired player to get an autograph from.

I thought the autograph card wasn’t in the A-Z box I tried to create as an archive for autographs - because I'd looked through a pile of loose cards with the last name 'S' and Simmons wasn't there.

What I didn't realize was there was another grouping of 'S' cards that was actually in the box - I did some digging and I finally found my Simmons card sandwiched around other common autographs from 10-15 years ago.

From the bits and pieces I've heard, Simmons generally isn’t good about signing [he’s done paid signings, but it seems like he just doesn’t like to do it] - maybe I'd seen him a few times as a 'scout' in the Arizona Fall League, where you knew not to ask.

He'd give you a quiet "no thank you” like Eddie Murray [from my personal experiences] - where the person wouldn't make a big scene but basically refuse to pick up a Sharpie for you when approached.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Featured autographs - Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon

This space was for a featured autograph of Cole that was going to my Angels all-time autograph collection - how the Angels had brought home the local kid as the centerpiece for an Angels rotation that had fallen on hard times, yadda, yadda, yadda.

As is, after choosing to pick their spots over the past 5-6 years, maybe the New York Yankees decided to keep things real and get their man - there have been supposedly guys that have wilted under the New York spotlight, but if I’m a Type-A personality getting paid the biggest money, I want the challenge of playing for the Yankees.

The Angels can’t really compete in selling itself like the Yankees can and even with baseball's top player, they are a sleepier team - though not everything is glitters with gold, the Yankees now have the legitimate ace to lead them into a deep postseason run.

Despite the need for pitching, the Angels instead got the best position player on the free agent market - while lineup protection maybe a myth, having another all-world hitter like Rendon adds considerable pop to a lineup featuring Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Justin Upton, etc.

Signing Rendon doesn't solve the sore need for pitching and the Angels might as well have blown it with Cole signing elsewhere - but they made their big splash move to improve the team and that's a big deal.

The Angels are that much better now with Rendon on the team - mission accomplished, thought it's stupid to assume the Angels front office is done trying to look for a serviceable No. 2 or No. 3 arm [preferably a couple of them] to sign or trade for.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Some finds off a card show appearance #1

With my external exposure to collecting mainly limited to online activity - I wanted to check out a card show that seemed fairly close by, but had only been put together a couple of times within the past year as something new.

When I got to the spot, I was relieved that there were vendor tables setup and this might have been a show where I could work with - it wasn't a big show, though I didn't know where to start at first.

I'm not as particular with my priorities, so I didn't know whether to stop at someone’s 'booth,' particularly when the person's face manning the table looked to be a little long - I didn't want to make like I'm wasting someone's time digging around 'just looking' with nothing concrete in mind.

Even if I had to share some personal space, maybe I'd be more comfortable getting lost among other collectors browsing around - while the show wasn't completely dead, the lack of foot traffic was pronounced.

As it goes, all it takes is one booth with a some boxes of cards to rummage through - I didn’t know if I wanted to build a small pile of cards at this first initial table, but I stuck around after finding a 2019 Topps Update Luis Rengifo RC #US105.

2018 Panini Chronicles Revolution Rapture Ken Griffey #1 and 2018 Panini Chronicles Revolution Rapture Cal Ripken Jr. #14 - I've ignored Panini baseball products as off-brands, but after the fact, maybe a way to get a closer look more them is through loose card finds.

I thought these dollar cards were parallels, but they might be base cards - still anything that pops like featuring guys I generally collect might be keepers as binder material.

2019 Panini Chronicles Score Shohei Ohtani #20 [$1] - maybe it's because the players are depicted as caricatures, but I wasn't in love with the cards mimicking the 1989 Score football design mashed up with the 1991 Score All-Star subset cards.

Maybe it’s just me being random, but I left a 2005 Topps Justin Verlander RC #677 for $4 - but held onto a 2019 Topps Chrome Update Keston Hiura RC #38 for $3.

1986 Star Wally Joyner with an autograph [$2] - I didn’t know I needed this, but may have been odd enough that I grabbed it; I think the autograph is good, though it's been over 30 years since Wally World was relevant for anyone to care either way.

During a spring training trip this past year, I actually didn’t recognize Joyner as an Angels guest instructor - but got him to sign a card when I realized who it was.

2015 Topps Toys“R”Us Kansas City Royals team card #258 [$1.00] - if this had been the base card, I'd probably skip it over thinking it maybe too common to pick up outright, even if it was a probable mini-collection need.

Still, I have to make allowances not to overthink things and make various parallels [in this case, a store exclusive one] of base cards keepers - if they are as 'special' as this almost NSFW celebration card, featuring one-time Kansas City Royals legend Nori Aoki being swarmed by his teammates.

2019 Topps Chrome Update Rickey Henderson 150 Years of Professional Baseball #150C-4 [$0.50] - whether or not it happens, I usually expect to pull current year cards rather than buy them outright, though the image makes this updated version of an insert from the flagship set a keeper.

Monday, December 09, 2019

2019 Topps Chrome Update value pack recap

Exclusive pink refractor pack
#2 Josh Donaldson
#60 Corbin Martin

Pack one
#53 Eloy Jimenez
#84 Lucas Giolito
#150C-8 Steve Carlton - 150 Years of Professional Baseball refractor
#FBC-16 Tony Gwynn - The Family Business refractor

Pack two
#67 Willson Contreras
#61 Austin Riley
#CUA-GU Gio Urshula - autograph
#FBC-22 Pedro Martinez - The Family Business refractor

Pack three
#48 Mitch Keller
#91 Clayton Kershaw
#82 Francisco Lindor
#150C-3 Ichiro Suzuki - 150 Years of Professional Baseball refractor

Thursday, December 05, 2019

1993 Topps Traded Todd Helton RC #19T

As a non-geographic fan of the player, I liked the idea of Helton being a pure hitter, even if he played half of his home games at Coors Field and his power numbers actually dipped mid-career - maybe it got boring searching eBay listings of his first card, so to finally scratch the itch, I grabbed a copy.

I don't see Helton as an outright Hall of Famer, but with the idea of the nerds rejiggering the advanced stats of retired players - there are more ways to view Helton's playing numbers, where he at least has a case to be a borderline HOF guy.

Helton's one or two DUI issues doesn't make the one-team, face of a franchise fan favorite for the Colorado Rockies look good - but for the right players, their off-the-field missteps may not be enough for any particular writers not to give them a Hall of Fame vote.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

What the Angels need this offseason

As an Angels fan, I like thinking about who my team can get in the offseason and with pitching the obvious need - it maybe Gerrit Cole or bust.

However, I'm not going to fret about Cole at all until I check my phone and see he has signed with a team - Cole might 'hold out' until the spring and as much as the Angels desperately need him, they need to move on getting other guys.

This is my crack at attempting to solve the Angels pitching problems - that almost has little to do with actually getting the guy the Angels are thirsty for the most.

Hyun-Jin Ryu - he might be the more realistic non-Cole priority as a guy who is a magician on the mound, though there might be risks in signing him to a 3 or 4 year deal at a premium rate.

Though he was relatively healthy in 2019, I wouldn't want to sign the guy and see him breaking down again where he might pitch like a Cy Young contender - but someone who may make only so many starts and pitch so many innings.

Cole Hamels - as a veteran who has pitched for Joe Maddon, can he have a little bit of late career success on a 1 or 2 year deal? I don't think of him as that old, but has all the innings and usage caught up with the lefty?

Julio Teheran - on a start-per-start basis, he seems like someone who Angels fans would have fits about on Twitter or on fan forums, though nothing 'bad' really stands out when looking at his stats.

Dylan Bundy - maybe the Angels can trade for the 27-year old and turn him into something he hasn't been as a Baltimore Orioles pitcher. Despite double digit losses and inflated ERAs during the past two seasons, the 27-year old has been relatively healthy and may have some potential to be unlocked.

Wei-Yin Chen - maybe the veteran lefty has just had the worst luck since signing a big money contract with the Miami Marlins; going dumpster diving, maybe the Angels can offer him a spring training invite to see if he can show something to make the team as starting rotation depth.

Hold-overs - Andrew Heaney, Griffin Canning, Shohei Ohtani, Jaime Barria, José Suarez and Patrick Sandoval.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Catching up with Topps image variations

Besides what I might pull, I don't think I've actively collected the various Topps image variations released over the years - I can't keep up with the flood of gimmicky cards that might be harder to find [not always the case] and may cost a premium [not always the case].

As it goes, unless super short printed and/or featuring hot players like Mike Trout or Ronald Acuña Jr. - the cards have gotten fairly common, so there might be an opportunity to grab a run of the unique image cards featuring Hall of Famers or retired stars to add to my own mini-collection subsets or my decade stars binders.

2019 Topps SP Greats variation Will Clark #428 - maybe this was peak 1980s Clark, getting fired up after recording an out with the base runner [Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith] out of luck.

2019 Topps SSP Greats variation Vladimir Guerrero #675 - this feels like such a pure image of presumably an early-career Guerrero inking it up.