Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Card show pickups - mini-collections

Mini collections are probably the foundation of my loose card finds - maybe it just gets to be a little silly and I worry about not catching them all, but it's all fun and games.

I'm good about making keepers out of the ones I do learn about and / or stumble on - rather than be on this impossible mission to make every collecting topics subset card mine.

During a dig out of the quarter boxes, I was able to find a 1999 Upper Deck Vladimir Guerrero card which I may have picked up anyway - but a closer look shows an extra element where he is breaking his bat.

I was able to a football card of Shane Buechele, the son of former MLB player Steve - it maybe a nothingburger card of an undrafted quarterback already waived, but the bloodlines aspect is always fun to tie together.

I was happy to find base cards for Kyler Murray - another bloodlines guy [nephew of former MLB player Calvin] and also a multi-sport athlete who has literally shown flashes of stardom as a quarterback.

Just about all Bowman cards have no real personality - but I found a 'hats-off' card of Bo Bichette showing off his flow.

A facial hair card of Eddie Murray is a nice find - I default to making cards of notable players primarily binder material, but it's not like I'm playing with anything but a card I paid a quarter for.

Maybe it's not in your face, but I found a card of Yu Darvish, pictured with a pitching grip visible - that's a keeper though probably based on name value than card type.

It's not ideal but images on the reverse are keepers just the same - have to make sure to check images on the back of cards that have them, where at times there is a image like on the 1998 Upper Deck Cal Ripken Jr. card where he is doing some fan service.

A sweet Grant Hill basketball card featuring a Shaq cameo is something I want more of for my mini-collections - where this particular card goes into my 'star on star' cameo collection.

My mini-collections are designed to repurpose rank and file commons into something besides my A-Z archives - but maybe it's a stretch to make certain cards keepers out of cards like the Jurickson Profar [because he has shades on] or a most random Pittsburgh Pirate named Jacob Stallings [it's a bit more obvious where the Stallings is a catching card].

The 2020 Topps Update Silver Pack Rhys Hoskins wearing a Philadelphia Phillies retro uniform pops with a refractor finish - so the card made it into the final take home pile.

I'm not the expert in collecting them - but gum cards are certainly fun to find for myself.
I grabbed a pair of Mark McGwire cards where he is presumably making a nice diving stab at the ball and taking a curtain call - because of all the PEDs and how his career unfolded, I don't want to salvage any more McGwire cards than I have to, but have done so, might continue to do so and two more cards were needs for my mini-collections.

I don't think about manager cards all that much, but the 1992 Topps Tommy Lasorda is a classic - it probably ends up in my 'men at work' collection.

I don't know if I like the circumstances of the image used on the 2008 Upper Deck Manny Ramirez [another PED guy] card all that much - but I guess it's a great image regardless.

I grabbed the Alex Rodriguez [one more PED guy] because it's kind of a nice, horizontal image - where he goes up in the air to try and complete the double play.

Sammy Sosa is a PED pariah, even more so than a McGwire, Manny or A-Rod - but I like the card of Sosa diving back to the bag on a pickoff attempt, so that goes into my baserunning collection.

The Sam Hilliard [no it wasn't $5] probably ends up as a 'dirt fetish' card in my collection, while the Tony Gwynn ends up as a baserunning card - the David Ortiz [okay, so one more PED guy] ends up being a celebration card, so that's a keeper.

Maybe Mr. Irrelevant here is a 2008 Upper Deck Masterpieces card of Y.A. Tittle - the image used is one of the most iconic in NFL history, something I had to look up.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Card show pickups - binder material

What I call my decade stars collection is the loose cards I've pulled or found for notable players who made their debut during a particular decade - I don't keep up with going through the cards on a regular basis so maybe adding onto these collections isn't quite a priority other than as a 'catch all' spot.

On the other hand, I like being able to put pages of random cards together featuring the same subject - as part of binders serving as a register or an encyclopedia of sorts I have in-hand, rather than something digital.

Past the guys who made their debuts in the late 1970s and played through the junk wax era and even beyond - I'd ideally like to 'beef up' my collection of cards for old-school / vintage players, even if that means only making their retro, post-playing career issues keepers.

I grabbed the 1983 Fleer Rickey Henderson Super Star Special subset #646 card and was glad the other card [featuring Reggie Jackson #645] paired up with it was actually in the same penny sleeve - rather than a case where I have one card, but not the other.

I associate Ken Griffey Jr. as a 1990s guy, but he made his big league debut in 1989 - so the 1980s binders is where I have his cards situated.
These are legends who made their debut in the 1980s - besides the junk wax era cards, I'm probably still looking to make keepers out of cards from products I never got to heavily collect.

The 1988 Topps All-Star Roger Clemens #394 is actually a Tiffany card - so that adds a little something to what would be just enother junk wax card.

As far as 1990s debut guys go, I've got to grab Derek Jeter cards as I find them in the wild - where they add depth as more 'rank and file' binder material to the Jeter cards I have already.
More cards of stars who made their debut and had their breakout years in the 1990s - at one point Frank Thomas was neck-and-neck with Griffey Jr. as far as the most popular player in the baseball.

In the 'here and now,' maybe 'The Big Hurt' is a little forgotten [though not entirely out of sight with his baseball analyst work on Fox and various endorsements for questionable supplements] - where Griffey Jr. is still held in high regard as almost a mythical figure [as far as a baseball player goes].

There is a Chipper Jones card I picked up that I thought might have slipped through the cracks as a parallel - however, it is looks like it is one of four base card types released in 1998 Fleer Showcase.
These are cards of stars who made their debuts during the 2000s - with Albert Pujols no longer with the Angels, maybe there is a now a sudden nostalgia for when he was really in his prime with the St. Louis Cardinals, rather than trying to go back to his albatross years with the Angels.
Some cheap binder material for guys who made their debut from the 2010s - maybe I've had a small pile of Brendan Rodgers cards when he was a top prospect in the minor leagues, so I made him a decade stars guy this past year, just to be able to put the cards away somewhere.

Even though Rodgers has been hit with some injuries, maybe he's finally healthy for the Colorado Rockies to see if he can be a viable every day player in the infield - where he probably takes over for Trevor Story at shortstop in 2022 if that is what the Rockies want.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Card show pickups - the other sports GOATS

This could have been part of the last post, but these guys are stand alone figures as far as their sports go - maybe not anything but cheap cards of Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Tom Brady, Joe Montana, Phil Jackson and a couple of Michael Jordans [on the Washington Wizards...], but they are keepers as I found them.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Card show pickups - the other sports

Through my collecting life, there have actually been efforts to be a multi-sport collector - however long term interest hasn't really lingered, where focusing on collecting one sport gets complicated as it is.

At times, I think it would be a nice change of pace to get away from baseball, though digging around bins jumbled around as opposed to being separated by sport - it maybe a sign of desperation, where I'm not finding what I'm looking for when I add non-baseball cards to my probable keeper pile.

I don't think I have a hierarchy to collect other sports, like I do with my baseball cards - these cards may end up as misfits, though I'll see if I can funnel them into my mini-collections and make something up, so random cards have a purpose somewhere in my head.

For football, I gravitate towards cards of quarterbacks, wide receivers or running backs, notably the top tier guys from the past 25-30 years - if nothing else, I might also consider cards of 'personalities' such as former players working as analysts and/or have crossed over into pop culture.
For basketball, I've mostly tuned out keeping up with NBA players, so I'm just not familiar with most players that aren't on that national superstar level - however, I pounced on what look to be a quartet of Rui Hachimura's most basic [yet still NBA branded] rookie issues just because I might have heard of him briefly somewhere.
I found base cards of Giannis Antetokounmpo, which may not be a big deal - but he is coming off a NBA championship run this past summer and also purchased a share of the Milwaukee Brewers, so there is a MLB tie in there.
More NBA cards of guys fans have heard about over the past 25 years - Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Devin Booker, Anthony Davis, a pair of Shaqs and a completely random Karl Malone card.

The 1992-93 Topps Stadium Club Members Choice Malone #205 probably replaces the other one I picked up under dubious circumstances as wee young lad - I want to say the original may still be lurking somewhere in my collections of loose cards for other sports, but I wanted another outright just to keep handy.

These cards may represent the 'other other' sports though a 1981 Fleer Steve Garvey #110 makes a cameo - it's not a big deal where it's all fun and games, but the Garvey card has a crease running just above his batting helmet.

Rummaging through cards quickly, maybe I just don't pay close enough to see if any particular card has blemishes or imperfections - however I do try to be picky about anything obvious.

Hockey is out of sight out of mind but dare me to name two NHL players off the top of my head and it would probably be Alexei Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby - why not splurge on some cards for the duo just to say I have them.

I found a mini card of Alexandra O'Laughlin - who maybe best described as more of a 'personality' rather than an an athlete, but in this circumstance I'll give her a pass.

To round things out, I ended up finding a couple of cards [same ones] of race car driver Hailie Deegan - I ended up grabbing one for $2 just because I've heard her name mentioned in some card show videos I've watched on YouTube and maybe she's the next big thing.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Card show pickups - the odds and ends

Through the dog days, I don't really know if my 'card show summer' is coming to an end, where in reality it will just roll over into 'card show fall' and so forth - but maybe I need some time to recap and organize all the cards I've picked up over the past couple of months, where I need a little bit of time I can justify being able to rummage for more random cards.

I'm trying to break down a 125 card purchase to make multiple posts in a more managable way - where I don't get overwhelmed about trying to cram everything into one post that will come and go.

My 'oddball mall' material pick ups were made to see if I can get into these types of cards - maybe I can consider them cutesy or unique pick ups on the down low like the Jimmy Dean's Ken Griffey Jr., but there is something missing with the cards with no logos.

These cards [there's only five of them], were mostly from the junk wax, so it's not like these are hard to find test issues or something of that ilk -the Don Larsen is actually from a 45-year old card set, but I have a tendency to disassociate any retro cards not issued during a player's career as something lesser, regardless of age.

The Pete Rose is from 1986 Leaf set - cards from reprinted Canadian versions of Donruss or Topps [O-Pee-Chee] can be considered oddballs, right?

The Kirby Puckett and Ryne Sandberg was from a boxed set - which may have been selling for $2 at the neighboring table where the card shop's [the host of the card show] bargain material was displayed.

These are my shiny card hauls and while the players are not necessarily outright favorites [maybe except Ichiro] - the cards maybe squirreled away in various loose card projects just because they 'pop.'
As much as possible, I'm never going to catch myself picking up any Panini Donruss cards [unopened packs or boxes] - but I'll pick up any loose parallels, where any Pink Fireworks parallel cards [they might not be apparent but like the Eugenio Suarez and Gerrit Cole shown] are simply keepers.
These are prospect / rookie material - for a moment I thought the Nate Lowe rookie was of Brandon Lowe, so I grabbed it.

The others have had Bowman cards before, so these aren't they first-year 'paper' cards and/or parallels - but Alek Manoah looks to be a probable decade stars / binder guy once I have enough cards of the big league pitching rookie, while the Grayson Rodriguez and Josh Jung are still working their way up the minor league ladder.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Topps redemption mail - Ha-Seong Kim

I pulled an autograph redemption in one of the 2021 Topps Stadium Club blaster boxes I picked up online - reading horror stories about not receiving a card promised and/or where the time element really drags on, I was pleased to get my promised card in about two weeks after entering the scratch off code.
I don't know much about Kim except he was a big time star in Korea and was supposed to provide immediate impact - however, he might be more of a future considerations guy at this point, buried on the San Diego Padres roster.

While it may have been a natural fit see Kim playing for Fernando Tatis Jr., who has since returned but is now playing the outfield - it just made more sense for the Padres to have made Jake Cronenworth to be their primary shortstop, where the 2021 All-Star gets the opportunity to play one position for a good stretch of games.

Maybe there was a scenario where Kim could have been the shortstop while Cronenworth played second base - but Adam Frazier is at second base, so at this point, two All-Stars aren't going to be moved around to make playing time for a guy who is still a bit of an unknown quality in Kim.

With how things quickly change with high end contending teams trying to upgrade when possible, who knows knows if Kim is in the Padres’ long term plans - if Kim isn't given a chance to play every day somewhere in the next few years, he'll be back posting superstar numbers overseas somewhere.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Taking a different direction - vintage and old school - Pt. 2

This post probably goes with the previous one, where I changed things up and ended up going heavy on the old cards - the optics at this card show table however were drastically different.

Everything just hanging out like a swap meet set-up from 1992 - I didn’t know who was manning the table and wondered if I should bother the guy off to the side, who seemed like in his own little world sorting through cards.

Cards were stored loose in boxes piled on top of each other - the newest cards may have been junk wax era through the late 1990s and the natural conditions had gotten the best of them, not at all appealing to sift through.

Where the most basic card show table have sort of an order of things, everything was just left out with no apparent rhyme or reason - maybe this wasn't the spot to be, but this also might be catnip to other collectors who might go to town finding a table out in the wild like this one.

What caught my eyes was the loose vintage cards I was going through - I had my doubts, but if everything was as disorganized, quaint and mostly backwards, maybe there were some cards to pull and grab for cheap.

The guy who ran the table finally came back and I asked how much were the cards so I knew the prices I’d be working with - I was hoping the seller would say all the cards were a quarter or $0.50, but the guy told me to grab what I can find and he would make a price for me.

I started plugging along and was building up a pile thinking I might have to end up with little or none of the cards I’d pulled - maybe the mission was to pull notable cards as I might recognize them and then look for miscellaneous cards that end up as mini-collection adds or cards to funnel into other loose card projects.
I waited until the seller had a moment after his lunch and finally handed him my stack - I was really wondering that when it came to tally them up, he would stop at a few and make up a higher price in his head.

I think he got bored and asked how many cards I had and said maybe 60-70 - in the end I actually ended up with 59 cards.

The first price quote was way too much for loose beaters that look like they came from someone’s attic - maybe if they were presented better, I can see the value in each card, but that wasn't the case.

I gestured I couldn’t pay what the seller was asking, so I had to put some cards away and maybe pick out ones I really want - I was hoping for a little coup for the cards I did pull, but now had to pay the piper.

I might have tried to gesture to offer $40 outright, but he said he had to get at least $1 for each card - I've been collecting for way too long and I felt like a beginner.

“How about $60,” he said. “Do you have $60?”

I relented to pay the amount the seller said, just to get this stash in hand and so I could move on - maybe wife cheered the husband on as he made a sale.

Good thing I didn’t try to grab anymore cards just to be cute, notably the non vintage / old school material I might have had to pay $1 each just the same - I did manage to find a pair of second year multiplayer cards of Adrian Beltre and David Ortiz, so that is a little modern action [even if talking about from nearly 25 years ago already].

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Is the dollar boxes where it's at?

A sentiment echoed by collectors through forums, YouTube clips and Twitter is digging through the dollar boxes at shows is where you can find great material and/or the most value - maybe it's a little bit of fluff where guys who have a social media following exaggerate their low end finds for an audience and sellers are only eager to make it where a dollar is where they want their most cheapest cards at, even the most basic cards of rank and file guys.

Maybe dollar boxes are glorified grab bags where you do know what is infront of you, but a good seller has probably leafed through the cards you are rummaging through one-by-one and the odds of finding good impulse purchases based on value - might already be predetermined as opposed to an opportunity for a true treasure hunt.

On the other hand, this doesn't mean it's pointless to dig around at random tables - I'm not a high end guy, I rummage around like I've always done to see if there are keepers to fish out.

I deal with small sample sizes as far as going to random tables at random show dates, but I've come to expect no discounts on dollar cards [so far] - I guess the cards are already a dollar as opposed to more.

These ended up being my dollar value finds at a card show, off one seller I stumbled on - maybe in the 'here and now' there are tables just devoid of good 'ole baseball cards, where I feel like an old head, because I want to build finds off baseball to start off with and I don't think it's that prime time sport anymore.

1972 Topps Hank Aaron IA #300 - this beater has a crease running vertically and could have been a wallet card from decades past; it has Aaron pictured, it’s a vintage card and for a dollar, it's a keeper.

1984 Donruss Robin Yount #48 - passed this over but I want 1984 Donruss to be a set where I chase down cards of notable players, even if it means not really having a chance to get them signed otherwise due to cost for the living Hall of Famers.

1984 Fleer Cal Ripken Jr. #17 - I sort of want to build up a run of 1980s, pre junk wax era cards of decade / binder guys who played through the 1990s, just to add some depth to all the junk wax era cards I do have.

Topps was fairly common, but maybe by the mid 1980s, Fleer and Donruss had put out better, more valued flagship sets - tickling my fancy as faux nostalgia for a time I never got to experience as a collector.

This copy had little blemishes over the text on the back and the bottom portion maybe a little rougher than at first glance - so this might have been more of a quarter than a true dollar card.

1986 Donruss Cecil Fielder RC #512 - maybe it’s fun to finally just grab a rookie of a player who was a larger than life figure when I was starting out collecting baseball cards.

I have had copies of 1986 Topps rookie, but I don’t think the 1986 Donruss was ever a card that ended up in my hands over the past 30 years - might as well scratch the itch when I can.

2003 Donruss Diamond Kings Hall of Fame Heroes Reprints Duke Snider #4 - I’m not really familiar with the originals, maybe printed more as a ‘collector’s issue’ for novelty, featuring legends of the game.

I do like the textured surfaces of the contemporary [yet nearly 20 year old] inserts - rather than that thin, early 1980s cardboard Donruss used.

2004 Fleer Authentix Ticket Studs Albert Pujols #5TS - maybe not a hard to find card but it was a keeper because it was on my want list as a 'retro uniform' card and I found it in the wild.

I’m trying to remember where I originally saw this card, maybe off a blog post - I try not to deal with odd sized cards, but this is a neat one that folds out.

Having seen the card online, I intend to leave ‘as is,’ just so it remains just about regular size - where it fits alongside other cards stored loosely, where the wear and tear won’t be as obvious.

2004 Playoff Prime Cuts II Dale Murphy #93 - this was considered a base card in a high end product, serial #’d 672/699.

2005 Donruss Classics Classic Combos Ernie Banks / Reggie Jackson #CC-49 - this is a dual sided insert, serial #’d 113/400.

2005 Donruss Classics Home Run Heroes Ted Williams #HR-9 - insert, serial #’d 0113/1000

2013 Topps The Elite Willie Mays #TE15 - I thought this was from a high end product with a thicker stock.

2020 Bowman's Best Orange Refractor J.D. Martinez - this was a parallel, serial #’d 20/25; I don't collect him at all, though he's been featured a couple of times already.

Maybe it's more binder material than showcase material but I have to adjust my expectations and see what cards I find - the cards I found for a dollar end up being random cards to add to my collections and it's not a bad thing.

Maybe the seller was collecting 2005 Donruss Studio at some point and he had a whole box of them for a quarter - the base cards are kind of dull a little boring, but I tossed in five random ones for a quarter each.
These three are from 2005 Donruss Zenith and I grabbed them for a quarter because they were interesting enough - Miguel Olivo Artist's Proof parallel is a 'catching' card, the Mark Kotsay Artist's Proof parallel is a 'retro uniform' card and the Brian Roberts base card has him breaking his bat wearing a Baltimore Orioles 'retro uniform.'
Go figure, I don't think this post would exist if I hadn't found this card and it was in the seller's $2 box - I thought I knew my cards where maybe I'm still vaguely aware of cards I really don't know much about [if that makes sense], but I don't think I've ever seen a Fleer card that had a 3D / lenticular effect.
Maybe I wish the player was better and wasn't involved in using steroids / PEDs - but McGwire is still among the stars featured in my decade / binder stars, so I had to make this card a keeper.

Friday, August 06, 2021

Taking a different direction - vintage and old school

I'd briefly mentioned in my previous post, the seller at the card show with the $0.50 material wasn’t around a few weeks ago - I wasn't really concerned, because I might have been trying to change things up, though maybe it was odd I didn’t see the seller going around.

His spot was taken up by two other seller tables, including a guy with what looked to be a 1970s, early 1980s monster box - I just didn’t get a chance to look through the other time when I was busy with $0.50 material guy and only had so much time.

This person had several small ‘cubbies’ or baskets labeled Mike Trout, rookies, error cards and bargain vintage which might be interesting - maybe the ‘better’ cards in the rookie basket were marked at ‘book prices,’ from a different time and place, so those weren’t necessarily a consideration.

There were top loaded cards spread out loose on the table - mostly junk wax or more common UV coated era inserts from the mid 1990s; nothing really caught my eye.

I was flipping through cards from the vintage cubby, thinking this could be material to pounce on - but my intent was to dig through the 1970s, early 1980s monster box.

I asked about them and he dug out the box for me - to look at over his display case.

Knock yourself out,” he said.

If I can grit through things, maybe I can build up a grab bag quality of old-school cards to take home - the lure to these cards are their relative ‘oldness,’ but maybe I feel aimless when there are obvious anchors to build upon.

These cards are more likely set builder commons and while these were a dime a piece - I just don’t know if I have the patience to find least 5-10 keepers to cling onto among your garden variety commons featuring players I'm unfamiliar with.

The plan was to try and come up with random cards, maybe minor star or even just mini-collection material - though it it almost feels like I'm making things up as I go along, not knowing what I'm setting aside.

Old-school / vintage pick ups have to mean something where they have a purpose - it maybe easier to see where I can funnel newer, contemporary cards towards something, but maybe I'm at a loss with cards from the early 1980s and 1970s.

Maybe after about 45 minutes, I haphazardly grabbed 80 random cards trying to make sure the number I had in-hand matched the number I told the seller - handed them over and the guy actually counted out 81, so my mistake in actually going over by one.

These were singles I picked out of the vintage and rookie baskets [1978 Topps Lou Whitaker] and while my modern collecting mindset is to turn my nose at lesser condition cards - these well loved copies probably hit the spot an impulse buys.
I'm not going to be mindlessly hoarding vintage cards, because I feel I might miss out on here and now interests to end up with a pile of miscellaneous old cards I don't know what to do with - but as long as I collect, I want to experience the feeling of grabbing loose old-timey cards out in the wild.
Mini-collection material - baserunning; play at the plate [George Hendrick], double play throws; shortstop ['74 A.L. Championships]; signage; Coca Cola [McAnally and Renko] and maybe cult baseball players / feats [Office].
Mini-collection material - facial hair guys
Mini-collection material - hats-off, multi-sport athletes [Bart Johnson], nations [Winston Llenas; Dominican Republic] and players smiling [Manny Sanguillen].
Mini-collection material - tools of ignorance
Mini-collection material - cards or subjects I tally as 'haves' in my collections rather than new 'adds' for the year because I already have the specific card of a player [Broberg] or I have at least a card of the other players.

Broberg and Pole goes into my 'what's in a name' collection, Stottlemyre goes into my bloodlines collection - while Romo and Mendoza [The Mendoza Line] goes into my nations collection [Mexico].

Maybe binder material - admittedly I may not have cared to build up a collection for either Niekro [R.I.P.] or Jenkins, but they are Hall of Famers.
Topps year-to-year team runs - I've neglected the project [1978-present] for the most part, unless it's to try to add the newest years of Topps to the mix, but here is quartet from 1980 Topps; R.I.P. Richard and also Staub.
Angels Opening Day starters collection - for the most part, need a 'bunch' of missing holes from the 1960s through the 1970s, while I feel missing stragglers from the 1980s onward are a little more manageable.
Team boxes material - for the smorgasborg of cards I've sorted out according to teams, I want to infuse a little bit of old-school flavor in this instance.
Miscellaneous - I have a copy of this card autographed in-person, but wanted an unsigned copy just to have in hand.
Miscellaneous - hmmm, I wonder what I'm going to be able to do with these cards?