Saturday, February 27, 2021

2021 Topps - eBay blaster nearly a disaster

For the times I've searched around the Targets I can get to and have seen bupkis, maybe $27 shipped wasn’t necessarily a bad price to pay for something delivered from eBay - considering a box is about $20 and maybe the premium I’m paying for in this instance merely covers the cost to ship the item.  

On an afternoon where I actually, finally found some 2021 Topps on the shelves at my local Target and was able to buy some baseball cards - I checked the mail after I got home, it looks like my eBay blaster came in, so maybe things 'evened out' a little where I had some new cards to play with.

Unfortunately,  I saw the small box the blaster was shipped in was crushed along with the actual blaster box itself - I had second thoughts fast, but because I had suffered from a bit of FOMO the past 3 weeks, I took my chances and opened the blaster up. 

Fortunately it doesn’t seem like any of the cards got damaged - this was a basic box with no bonus inserts / parallels, only a coupon ‘book’ for future purchases throughout the rest of the year.

Topps 70th Anniversary patch card pack
#70LP-JB Johnny Bench - there are never outright duds on the checklist and the cards usually look nice, though super thick and has been some variation of these manufactured cards for the past decade or so.

Pack one
#11 Max Kepler
#186 Luke Voit
#268 Johnny Cueto
#67 Clayton Kershaw
#231 Dane Dunning
#270 Mitch White
#249 Trent Grisham
#182 Eduardo Rodriguez
#70YT-17 Gleyber Torres - 70 Years of Topps insert
#T52-30 Yadier Molina - 1952 Topps Redux insert 
#190 Sonny Gray
#158 Buck Farmer
#245 Aristides Aquino
#240 Jose Urquidy

Pack two
#302 Max Muncy
#254 Zack Britton
#237 Willy Adames
#313 Matt Shoemaker
#233 Dansby Swanson
#6 Justus Sheffield
#246 Cavan Biggio
#195 Baltimore Orioles team Card
#TC52-43 Shohei Ohtani - 1952 Topps Redux insert; Chrome parallel
#T52-15 Jacob deGrom - 1952 Topps Redux insert
#103 Daniel Johnson
#10 Daulton Varsho
#243 Santiago Espinal
#65 Isaac Paredes

Pack three
#218 Matt Olson
#51 Sean Manaea 
#157 Aroldis Chapman
#234 Lorenzo Cain
#283 Texas Rangers team card
#296 Joey Wendle
#201 Get up! - checklist feat. Pete Alonso and Michael Conforto
#86B-35 - Vladimir Guerrero Jr. - 1986 Topps insert
#T52-16 Justin Verlander - 1952 Topps Redux insert
#187 Christian Pache
#291 Miguel Cabrera
#189 Adam Plutko
#69 Gio Gonzalez

Pack four
#33 Yonathan Daza
#42 Kyle Lewis
#62 Stephen Vogt
#203 Trea Turner
#139 Humberto Mejia
#324 Nick Neidert
#55 Nick Senzel
#128 Dylan Bundy
#36 Charlie Morton - Rainbow Foil parallel
#T52-47 Sonny Gray - 1952 Topps Redux insert
#165 Willson Contreras
#38 Mitch Moreland
#27 Mike Trout - the centering on the back is is off for a handful of the cards I've pulled; that might be worth noting.
#105 Shane Bieber

Pack five
#87 Jorge Alfaro
#31 Brandon Kintzler
#95 Gerrit Cole
#133 Mitch Keller
#149 Mitch Haniger
#68 Washington Nationals team card
#318 Chicago White Sox team card
#159 Postgame Hand Wash - Clean Hands Needed - checklist - feat. Danny Jansen and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
#TTY-21 Derek Jeter - Through the Years insert - I wouldn't get fooled but I've never liked cards picturing cards.
#T52-34 Albert Pujols - 1952 Topps Redux insert
#121 Matthew Boyd
#252 Luke Voit
#289 Josh Reddick
#85 Brusdar Graterol 

Pack six
#266 Jurickson Profar
#57 Will Smith
#292 Oscar Mercado
#106 Brandon Nimmo
#216 Adam Frazier
#311 Codi Heuer 
#316 Alex Gordon
#206 Wade Davis
#101 Travis D'Arnaud
#T52-24 Manny Machado - 1952 Topps Redux insert
#53 Andres Gimenez
#197 Nick Madrigal
#167 James Kaprielian
#277 Alec Bohm

Pack seven
#36 Charlie Morton
#3 Matt Chapman
#54 Joakim Soria
#71 Randy Drobnak
#161 Lewis Brinson
#60 Yu Darvish
#196 Ryan Yarbrough
#287 Arizona Diamondbacks team card
#86B-42 Starling Marte - 1986 Topps 
#T52-19 Luis Robert - 1952 Topps Redux insert
#83 Gavin Lux
#174 Raisel Iglesias
#4 David Bote
#278 Jon Lester

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Featured autographs - purchases

Off a couple of Facebook posts from the same collector [presumably a Milwaukee Brewers fan, so that's a theme here] - I saw some IP/TTM signed cards offered f/s and decided to take a couple off his hands.

I thought I was good with the pair of purchases [Jacob Barnes and Jim Ganter], but the next time I'm scrolling through my feed - but I saw another f/s post, which was more certified autographs from some 'prominent' Brewers stars of the early 2000s i.e. Ben Sheets, Richie Sexson, etc.

Barnes was an Angel in 2020 so I needed his autograph for my all-time collection - the 5-year big leaguer had a bloated ERA but struck out 24 batters and walked only 4 in a decidedly small sample size of 18 innings through pandemic 2020.

Ganter doesn’t register as a guy whose autograph I had to get, but his playing career went through the junk wax era, so at least I'm familiar with the name - the oddball Milwaukee Brewers police set issue from 1992 caught my eye and while I don't really consider it vintage [despite all the years that have passed], the yellowed top loader certainly is.

A second baseman for most of his career, Gantner spent 17 years with the Milwaukee Brewers - he wasn't the type who put up big offensive numbers like teammates Robin Yount or Paul Molitor, but was solid for the era he played in.

Maybe the scavenger in me is looking to salvage things once in a while, so while I probably didn't a Jenkins autograph in the here and now - it's a 20 year old pack pulled issue from a debut year of a set that has some tradition and history associated with it.

Jenkins was a hard hitting outfielder who had starred for the Brewers for most of his career before ending up with the Philadelphia Phillies for the their World Series championship run in 2008 - I remember where he had a little cult favorite following in Milwaukee because he resembled NFL star Brett Favre.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

TTM autographs received: Reggie Smith

After putting together a paid request with $30 to Smith’s promoter, who has handful of former LA Dodgers players signing for TTM for a fee - I got my pair of cards signed in about a month.

Though he is an old-school / vintage era guy, Smith has a couple of coaching cards in sets [2004 Upper Deck USA 25th Anniversary and 2013 Panini USA Baseball Champions] - I'm still trying to get as many signed to this day.

While I wasn't familiar with Smith's MLB playing career, he was a fantastic player from the mid 1960s through the early 1980s - finishing with over 2,000 hits, slugging 314 home runs with a lifetime OPS+ of 137.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Featured autograph - Duane Ward

Off a Facebook post, I saw some extra signed cards offered f/s, presumably from a past signing with the former big league reliever - I saw there was a 1990 Leaf pictured and picked it up for $11.

It probably doesn't work for everyone, but rather than deal with the hassle of sending in a smaller item like a trading card to an organized signing - I would rather take my chances seeing if there are leftovers where I can take a look at how an autograph comes out for a card from a particular set [when available].

While I don’t think Ward has been considered a historically tough autograph to get - he seems more likely to do something for pay than for free and I don't know if there was ever a period of time [maybe over the past 15-20 years] where he regularly responded to through the mail requests.

I remember Ward as a hard throwing weapon out the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen through the early 1990s - he pitched a lot of innings in his prime and while his postseason pitching totals were a little shaky, he did his part during the Blue Jays' back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and 1993.

I mostly forgot about him through the mid 1990s, though he missed all of the 1994 season and his MLB career was basically done the next year - he was inducted to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2020.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

TTM autographs received: Billy Bean

Bean signed a pair of cards, including the one shown in about 3 weeks - he was named as Major League Baseball's first Ambassador for Inclusion in 2014 and also works as Vice President and Special Assistant to the Commissioner.

Friday, February 19, 2021

TTM autographs received: Scott Fletcher and Frank Bolick

Maybe it's not reasonable to really live by the mail box, waiting on returns, especially when I'm not a 'mass TTM mailer' and most days yields bupkis - still, it is fair to anticipate something, when I have made that tiniest bit of effort to send out autograph requests to get my random card (s) signed.
Fletcher, a former big league infielder from the 1980s through the mid 1990s signed my cards in about 3 weeks - with the realistic number of cards to pick up and send out, who knows how long my interest is going to run, but it's another 1984 Donruss and 1990 Leaf pair signed.

Bolick signed my cards in about a month - in his 16-year professional playing career, Bolick spents parts of 2 seasons with the Montreal Expos and Anaheim Angels.

Though Bolick was a fringe big leaguer, it's fun looking up his numbers - especially when through his mid 30s, he put up some video game numbers during a 4-year stint in Japan 20 years ago.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

TTM autographs received: Bob Kipper and Doug Sisk

After going through a 3 week drought, two successes came in which was some sweet relief - what is the compulsion about getting something in the mail box, when the cheap thrills last for the shortest time, before I start worrying about what I haven’t gotten back?

Though not entirely a mystery, whenever I see any SASE returns, it is kind of a blind box deal - I take the time to open them up and good results reaffirms the order of being able to put in the work to send requests out and anticipating a surprise.

Kipper had the briefest of cameos as a California Angel at the start of his big league career before getting traded in a package for some veteran help - the lefty signed my cards in 7 days.
Sisk was a longtime relief pitcher through the 1980s and signed my cards in about 3 weeks, including a 1984 Donruss.