Saturday, December 30, 2023

A random card buy - Maria Sharapova

There are probably worse cards to claim in a running sale on social media - but for a dollar or so, I took a flier on this card, where it is a little different than the baseball cards I may try to pick up.

Sharapova will always be one of those personal eye-candy crushes and with the former tennis star showing on random trading cards, it rekindles some nostalgia I can objectify - even when the last time she was really in the news, was when she failed a drug test, so that is that I guess.

Friday, December 29, 2023

Featured autograph - Michael Stefanic

I picked up this pack pulled autograph card to add to my all-time Angels collection - it ends being a pretty looking parallel that pops.

Stefanic has played in parts of two seasons with the Angels and while he might be a fringe big leaguer at 28 - he can handle the bat with a .326 lifetime average in the minors along with an on-base average of .412.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

A random card buy - Kyren Williams

I saw this 2022 Score Rookies #332 card earlier in the year and squirreled an image of it away - that protective head gear made me do a double take.

It may not be such a big deal, but for a moment I thought it was the goofiest card - I wanted a copy for an oddities collection I have or maybe even for a collection of all-time Top 100 cheap 'zz' keepers project that never quite got off the ground.

I think I saw an expired auction listing from a seller on social media who runs these low end card auctions - I asked about the card since no one bid on it, but I don't think the seller understood or cared I wanted the card outright.

I started claiming 'quarters' off another social media seller just because he teased this card in a sales post - I probably would not have bought the 200 odds and ends if not for the copy of the card.

Go figure it wasn't actually tallied up in the final order and while I wasn't charged - I had to make it a micro mini mission to secure a copy, where it was still on my mind.

I went looking for the card on eBay and while it's probably a dollar card shipped on eBay all day long - I bought it off a listing for about twice as much but the card is now secured in-hand.

FWIW I did not know who the player on the card was and for all I cared, he might have been a practice squad guy - however, it looks like the second year NFL pro has had a breakout season as a running back, rushing for over 1,000 yards.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

More small things at the card show

I was digging through some '6 for $5' boxes from a random seller table and these were my keepers - added another 18 cards from the seller's '5 for $1' box and maybe it was kind of odd thing I couldn't push the total to 20 outright.

Maybe my favorite card is the 1986 Donruss Rookies Jose Canseco #22 - it was a card I remember a childhood friend possessing and seeing regularly [along with an autographed 1989 Upper Deck Dante Bichette rookie] whenever I would visit his house.

I really wanted to take a better picture of this 2000 Topps Finest Moments 3000 Hits Tony Gwynn #FM3, where it's hard to see on the first image - but it's usually hard to take photo ops of shinier, chromium cards, so what you see is what you get.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Thank you Shohei Ohtani and good luck

I did not want to get caught up in the news cycle of Shohei Ohtani signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers on social media - because in my own little way, I tend to want to share my two cents, interjecting my thoughts, where it ends up like trying to cope after he's left my home team.

It was a business decision on his end and strangely, I'm kind of glad he is still in So. Cal, where I wonder if the fandom for Ohtani supersedes the idea he is a Dodger - ideally, maybe it was better to see him in some far away place like Toronto, where he maybe he gets to be out of sight, out of mind.

I could understand where it was just about inevitable and logical - where it was always going to be the Dodgers or bust.

I’m probably not collecting his old team cards for one year where they are now dated, while my existing PC ends up being off cards from his old team - I can see where my interest in collecting Ohtani ends up being muted, until things settle down where softly remains one of those universally popular, easy guys to collect.

I abruptly cut the cord on the company that broadcasted Angel games late in 2022, where just before one of Ohtani's pitching starts, I found out there was no Angel channel to watch games anymore - the current streaming TV package that replaced the old cable TV one has the company that broadcasted Dodgers games locally, even though I barely ever tuned in through 2023.

Going forward, I’ll probably be glued into more Dodgers games due to Ohtani alone - even though the Angels are my team.

1.) Maybe said I would cease to be an Angels fan if and when Ohtani leaves - that probably won’t be the case, but losing this larger than life megastar it’s a whole new deal to process.

The Angels have been a bad organization for the past decade where as a fan, I can be a free agent too - but maybe I need to chill with my one lousy team and hope Ohtani defecting to the Dodgers ends up forcing the Angels to be more creative, where they need to do something radical.

2.) $700 million for a DH in the foreseesable season is ridiculous, but while I've always believed in the talent to come back - it softens the blow where Ohtani is only going to be doing one thing [and not two things at once].

3.) There is no reason to think that Ohtani will not have at least multiple seasons where he is pitching and hitting to his full capabilities - but maybe there is a part of me that wants to believe his first MLB team got his best three seasons ever.

Monday, December 04, 2023

Working on the small things at the card show

In a more quaint card show setting, I actually spied a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle #311 in one particular showcase and did a little window shopping for all sorts of high end prospect cards teasing a top rookie like Corbin Carroll or a top prospect like Jackson Holliday - still I wasn't quite at a big time show in this particular location I was at, where it was teeming with the sellers that had the odds and ends I may indulge in.

These cards were from the value bins of a grandfather and grandson duo I've bought from at other show dates, but have only really seen set up two other times - their 'binned singles' with prices on the back are all jumbled up by sport, so it's kind of a mess to spend time at.

Their lesser [maybe $5 and under] material are sorted by sport, so ideally it's easier to try and go through the monster boxes of toploaded cards row by row - I did as much deep cut picking as I could to flag potential keepers, but wasn't as emotionally invested, where I wanted to spend only so much to get my cheap thrills.

1995 Pinnacle Museum Collection Tim Salmon #391 - who would have thought that out of sheer randomness, I can find a card that just hits the spot, as a cheap but unique parallel of a local team star I've collected for just over 30 years.
1994 Upper Deck Collector's Choice Silver Signature Barry Bonds #610 and 1995 Pinnacle Trevor Hoffman Museum Collection #85 - I profess to collect Bonds, where I think he should be in the Hall of Fame already, but the iffy factor maybe too much where he is not particularly well liked.

While Hoffman is a Hall of Fame closer, he's not a guy whose cards I'd look for, so maybe I can appreciate a parallel - where it's a little different from much of the basic cards that represent Hoffman in my binder / decade stars collection.

1985 Topps Pete Rose #106 - though it was not a vintage card, maybe the first card I actually set aside, because it presumably shows an image from Rose's collision with Ray Fosse [R.I.P.] in the 1970 All-Star game.
The back of the Rose card partially pictures his 1970 Topps Super card - the card I picked up is part of a subset that makes up a puzzle in the Pete Rose set.
Maybe at some point, these shiny inserts were fillers to skip over when looking for bigger hits - but these types of cards end up being ideal binder material, where they don't cost much and at times really pop.
I liked Mike Piazza as one of the biggest superstars of his era, but what does it do to pick up cards of his in 2023 [?] - I almost skipped past this 2006 Topps Hit Parade #HR9, but for the countless cards a notable player may have printed, the ones showing them in unfamiliar uniforms might be the ones worth taking a flyer on.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Nearly a glitch in the Matrix - feat. Kirby Puckett

I made this 2006 Fleer Greats Decade Greats Puckett a keeper out of a 25 card dollar dig at a card show where I was charged $20 - I have Puckett rubber stamped as a Hall of Fame legend to collect from the junk wax era and this retro card from the 2000s ends up a little more unique, where it goes into my stadium project.
Like my last post, I thought the same image on one card was used for another card and sure enough Puckett's 1988 Fleer card used nearly the same image - maybe it makes a little more sense where Fleer [or Upper Deck, which had bought out Fleer in 2005] would be able to dig around and look for an archive of images to use. On first glance, the pictures on the cards are virtually the same where they could have been taken seconds from each other - the only wrinkle that makes the images slightly different are Puckett's eyes, where the retro Fleer card has him looking towards the side, while the 1988 Fleer card has his eyeballs sort of looking downward.

Monday, November 27, 2023

A glitch in the Matrix - feat. Wade Boggs

I don't know if I liked the image on the 2023 Donruss Wade Boggs - I imagine Boggs following through hitting a ball during an at-bat, but kind of hard to tell, where it's almost an awkward shot.
As I'm scrolling through some f/s posts on social media, I saw a Boggs lot with a 1992 Upper Deck Boggs that kind of looked familiar - it looks like Panini found and used the same image that Upper Deck did all the way back in 1992.
Maybe better eyes will spot the minute differences between the two images but I have to go look for the 1992 Upper Deck Boggs - as both a stadium project card and to put together as a pair with the newer Panini Donruss card.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Thankful for some old-school / vintage pickups

Maybe at every corner of a card show I attended, would be a table where people were clustered at - it was hard to squeeze in and in a case or two, I might move off a table for a moment and already have someone jumping into my spot.

I found myself at a table where a bunch of old heads [at least older than I] were going through vintage or old school material - the cheap cards in bins were ‘2 for $1,’ and cards in binders were a dollar each.

Maybe I had to bug off for a little bit before circling back to see - if I can find an opportunity to get back to the table and start picking around somewhere.

Maybe things started off awkwardly where another guy rummaging through the '2 for $1' bins thought I smelled of cigarettes - I found it silly where I don't smoke at all and was saying as much, while rolling my eyes.

This guy was wearing a mask where it looked like he might have trouble breathing in a confined area - I was not about to say anything to disrespect the guy, but just try to get out of his way, while doing my thing.

I think I found some old school / vintage beaters - the Brooks Robinson that ended up being autographed from my last post was part of the cards that were '2f for $1.'

I've never really been well versed in old-school / vintage cards, where I'm going to be digging through 'old cards' with a serious focus like set building - but maybe it's a reward to idly dig and find cards of Hall of Famers, even if they are beaters.

I am pretty sure these are stadium project cards, so it's nice to find a pair of old school keepers that really go back - besides most of what I've accumulated from the 1980s through present. I had a chance to go through the vintage dollar binders - maybe I was dealing with the leftovers towards the latter part of the show and I decided to make these four random keepers out of more beaters.

Like the Brooks Robinson, the Whitey Ford has a scribble on the front - it's not an autograph on the card, but someone wrote 'Yankees' in black ballpoint pen.

If I had paid attention, I would have put the card back - but maybe part of the charm of going through vintage cards [for cheap] is seeing cards that end up being defaced in some way.

I grabbed a 1963 Topps Roger Maris #120 [$25] off the table - I asked the seller if I could take a look at it because it was kind of behind the cheap-o bins I was going through and though there might be an invisible barrier that kept me from reaching around the loosely displayed cards on the table.

The seller said I can actually go ahead and have a look at the card since the cards came originally from their bins for their single cards - but there was just not room to put them somewhere else.

Earlier in the year, I had an eye on another copy of the Maris card at the card shop I go to - but it disappeared off their display cases before I decided I might actually want the card.

Maris ends up a famous non-HoFer in MLB history for his historic 1961 season where he blasted 61 home runs - the main image gives off that late ‘61 vibe, where Maris looks a little morose with sad eyes.

From the bins, I found a 1966 Topps 1966 Rookie Stars Bill Singer / Don Sutton RC #288 [$10] and a 1967 Topps Tony Perez #476 [unmarked top loaded cards were $3] - it is unexpectedly cool to actually pick up a vintage HOFer rookie, even though Sutton shares it with a guy who had a racial incident 20 years ago with former Miami Marlins GM Kim Ng, who was then working for the Dodgers.

At another card show, another copy of the Perez ended up one of my last cuts - maybe I should have made it a keeper three weeks ago, but got another chance to make things right and this copy might end up having a little more eye appeal.

When I finally presented my miscellaneous stack to the seller, I don't think I got much [or any] discount off the total - but the cards I ended up with might just have a bit more historicity, compared to busting a retail value box or a mega box 'thingy' that might be $50 these days.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Featured autograph - Brooks Robinson

I was thumbing through '2 for $1' old school / vintage bins of a seller I stumbled upon at a card show - I thought this might be just another card, but took a closer look and it looked like it was faintly scribbled on.

It looks like an autograph of Robinson, who passed away on Sept. 26 - maybe it's a testament of how generous he was about signing, where I might find an autograph card of his in a relatively unlikely place.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Some stadium project collection adds

I probably had 45 minutes during another pit stop at a card show - I ended up hanging around the hosting card shop's bulk bins and eventually started to find some probable keepers, where I was able to build a take home stack.
By the time I was seriously collecting in the early 1990s, I was probably aware of the Classic game cards - though probably not the early sets from 1987 or 1988.

I don't think I've ever seen these particular cards before - so they end up nice finds, even if their only value is esoteric.

No one is coveting a common of Mark McLemore in 2023 - but I had to make room for a 1996 Upper Deck Collector's choice in my pile since it is a nice horizontal shot of McLemore, presumably taking a hack at an Angel game.

I wouldn't remember McLemore actually playing with the Angels through the first part of his MLB career - though I kind of remember he was at a career crossroads back in the early 1990s, before re-inventing himself as a valuable jack-of-all trades utilty guy that allowed him to stick aroud.

Now it's like a reward finding a parallel for my stadium project - I don't think I'd ever buy any Panini baseball product outright, but the occasional parallels maybe worth a second look.

Friday, November 03, 2023

Topps Pro Debut Minor League Legends

I have not paid attention to Topps Pro Debut for a good minute, but these retro themed inserts have caught my eye over the past few years - I found a few of last year's inserts in the quarter bins of a card shop and may have ordered one or two others from COMC.
I decided to pick up the entire 2023 set, rather than hoping random stragglers spill out somewhere - the checklist teases some usual names like Albert Pujols, Cal Ripken Jr. and Alex Rodriguez, but Tony La Russa as card #1 takes the cake.
I like the inclusion of vintage Hall of Fame legends, where unlike the countless retro MLB cards of the same subjects - it's fun seeing the different uniforms and hats on these cards, presumably showing all-time players in their formative years in pro baseball.

There are non-HOF fan favorite types that add some deeper cut names to a 19-card checklist - I'm not sure if I can appreciate them as much the fans of teams they played for through the 1970s and 1980s, but guys like Bill Madlock and John Mayberry get a second look as minor leaguers in this set.

Wednesday, November 01, 2023

Some odds and ends from the card show

This was from the same show, I ended up buying these cards from - after going around the room at least once, I stopped at this one table again to rummage through the person's bins.
I grabbed this 2023 Topps All Aces Shohei Ohtani #AA-11 because it seemed like a harder to find single or a random card that I might be paying a little more than I would like [at least for the time being] - I bit on this copy of the card just to be able to put it away in-hand without worrying about needing it.

I might be prepared for the idea Ohtani will be making the free-agent circuit this upcoming off-season - maybe the fact that he won't be doing his two way thing in 2024 softens the blow of him going somewhere else, but damn if he actually leaves the Angels.

I found a pair of unique Ken Griffey Jr. cards - maybe the Panini card on the left ends up being a no brainer, because it's just so shiny.
As much as I'd gush over finding the Panini Griffey Jr. card that jumps out at you above - I'm not sure whether the two Mark McGwire cards and the Vladimir Guerrero Jr. card pictured are just as cool or just end up being weird looking misfit cardboard that challenges my good taste in aesthetics.
I ended up grabbing these Mickey Mantle cards - I don't know if I really paid attention if there were any left in the box, but I wasn't looking to take them all.

I have to look the cards up, but I think they were from a Mickey Mantle X set Topps put out a couple of years ago - Mantle has been in countless card sets long after he played and long after he passed in 1995, where they are fairly common and not as sought after like a living 'here and now player.'

I like to tell myself to make some of The Mick's miscellaneous retro cards keepers - where it is fascinating he was this larger than life baseball player to a generation [before my time and place].

Maybe I'm a little more tuned in to making cards from oddball issues keepers - though I'm not sure whether this 2021 Topps x Derek Jeter Captain's Crew #41 has the charm of an oddball or is just another card from another mainstream set.

I thought the sleeved but unmarked cards from my stack were dollar each, so my total came out to $23, but when I presented the cards to the seller, I was charged $15 - maybe the sleeved cards were actually $0.50 and after my total came out to $19, the seller took a little something off my stack.

Monday, October 30, 2023

2023 Topps Chrome Lids pack break with $50 hat

During a stop at an outlet mall, maybe I wanted to see if I can look for a blaster box of cards - I was gifted some cash money [$40] and maybe I go to one the specialty places that sells sports stuff like hats or jerseys, where I've seen they usually have a card display.

I ended up at a Lids and seeing their promotion with Topps, where you can get a bonus pack of special Topps Chrome cards with a purchase of themed Mitchell and Ness hat - figured I had the money that partially covered a purchase of a fitted cap without feeling as self-conscious because I don't wear hats, especially ones that cost $50.

The designs vary by MLB team and also by different Topps themed graphics - I got a California Angels version and while it's not a traditional looking cap, it ends up being kind of funky looking sort of in a stylish way.
The side of the cap features a stylized 1993 Topps patch
Topps Major League Baseball button of sorts affixed on top of the cap
I like the big old-school 'CA' logo
I was looking forward to at least a five-card pack, but Topps ends up being a little stingy with only a three-card bonus pack - it's hard to strike gold with one lousy pack, where I only ended up with Gabriel Moreno, some kind of rookie for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Bryce Harper and another rookie in Jordan Walker.

Friday, October 27, 2023

Another quickie card show pit stop #2

I stumbled upon a real high brow monster box of cards and went to work for about the 10 minutes I had left at a card show - I was kind of on the clock where I had to wrap things up sooner than never, so I was trying to make the most out of my rummage.
I've ended up with two or three of these Bowman Jordan Walker prospect cards over the past few years, but was in a hurry to pile up cards - so I just threw one new copy found into my pile.
I made keepers out of mini collection material such as - Greg Maddux hitting on the back of one of his cards, an awesome outfield action card picturing Kevin Pillar, a Tampa Bay Rays mascot card, a Benito Santiago catcher card and a random Dave Righetti oddball, I made a keeper because of the bald guy in sunglasses making a cameo.

Team USA cards - I tried to look for the guys that were kind of familiar now [even though they were either on college or even on U-18 teams when depicted on the cards].

I was able to find a couple of cards of Reid Detmers - I think I sent similar copies and got them back signed TTM during the pandemic season.

Even though I ended up grabbing at least a few guys who might not be in the big leagues yet or may not get there - I found cards of Anthony Volpe, Bryson Stott, Riley Greene and Corbin Carroll.

Finally some random cheap-o Hall of Famer cards - even though they didn't start their careers in the junk wax era, I might be content to ignore cards of guys Tim Raines, Andre Dawson, Gary Carter and Alan Trammell because they had their glut of cards printed during those 1986-92 years.

Depending on what I may find at the bulk level, I might be compelled to pick up two or three cards of the HOFers whose cards from the junk wax era I'll usually skip over - if the cards end up being a little different like oddballs or cards with a unique image used that stand out.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Another quickie card show pit stop #1

I stumbled upon a real high brow monster box of caards and went to work for about the 10 minutes I had left at a card show - I was kind of on the clock where I had to wrap things up sooner than never, so I was trying to make the most out of my rummage.
I found a pair of Will Clark boxed set oddball and vowed to be committed to this dig - I've rubber stamped Clark as one of the guys from the junk wax era onward as a collecting fan favorite, even though I've found 'The Thrill' to be a little too grating these days when he does his podcasts with Eric Byrnes.
Random current guys - I think I've made Brandon Marsh's Angels rookies keepers, even though he is obviously no longer an Angel.

Through his rookie year, maybe his development as a young big leaguer had stalled with the Angels - he gets traded to the Philadelphia Phillies finish out the 2022 season, but after a solid year in 2023, there might be some potential left for Marsh to be an even better player that he could have ever have been with the Angels.

He has become a fan favorite, where he is fun to watch with all his fair flying around - in the highlights I've seen of him with the Phillies, he's always fired up, gesturing to his dugout after hits and seems like a real 'rah-rah' guy.

I pass on most Gerrit Cole cards just because he seems too 'corporate,' even for MLB players who get millions to play a game - however I want to make it where most Panini Donruss Pink Fireworks parallels are keepers.

More Pink Fireworks parallels teasing a pair of questionable guys - I hesitated to make these keepers because of the players shown, but it's like a reward finding the parallels themselves, so into my pile they went.
I didn't know if there was space in my pile for a 1987 Topps Domingo Ramos #641 or a 1991 Fleer Brady Anderson #466 - but I added them on with others I assume are stadium project cards.
I would term these guys as 'fan favorite' types - Gooden and Murphy had runs of superstar greatness, while the ageless Franco was always an all-star talent, even though may have been considered a notch below a true superstar.

I could never get into the junk wax era Conlon card sets because the images were black and white and pictured old timers before my time - but made a keeper out of a card of Johnny Vander Meer, who threw two consecutive no-hitters as a big league pitcher.

I made this Mark Gubicza card a keeper after not claiming a copy I'd seen in a sale online recently - I classify his cards as mostly junk wax commons, but he's had ties with the Angels as a broadcaster for at least the past 15 years, so maybe his oddballs are worth a second look.

Another Brady Anderson card makes the pile and it is a 1988 Topps Traded 'XRC,' so it is more unique card - I remember him as a junk wax guy who barely had any pop and was a fringe big leaguer through his mid 20s.

At the age of 28 however, he broke out as a late bloomer for the Baltimore Orioles - where he became a solid top of the lineup presence for the bulk of his career through the 1990s, with a peculiar 1996 season where hit 50 home runs.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Some better than a blaster keepers?

At the last monthly card show date I went to, the tables seemed a little light, where the familiar sellers I usually start to stack some probable keepers were not around - maybe I'd be good with making a couple impulsive purchases after trying to go around the room and figuring out where I can go hang out somewhere else.

I ended up at a seller's table with a three row, 3000 count box - but only a couple of partially filled rows of $10 cards / three for $25 or $5 cards / five for $20.

I started to rummage through the one lousy box, while the Big Boss Man at the table [and a worker] looked like they were doing some bigger wheeling and dealing with other collectors trying to buy or flip some cards - his value boxes were the least of his concern, where here I am trying to rummage and see what I can stack for $25 or less.

I ended up finding a 1967 Topps checklist #361 and made it a keeper because it's kind of a Roberto Clemente card as well - I do not really think this card is like having an actual one of the player, but I'll make an exception where I'll treat it more as a unique oddball that has the player's image.
To the naked eye, the card looks fairly clean with relatively bold, vintage colors - I realize some are harder to find [maybe not this one] because they might be marked or not cared for as much.

I grabbed a 1962 Topps Eddie Mathews #30 because it was a relatively clean card of a Hall of Fame slugger who blasted 512 home runs - I think my friend is still wondering where the baseball he sent Eddie Mathews went back when Mathews was still alive and signed TTM for a fee, 25 years ago.

I added this 2022 Topps 1-of-1 printing plate card of Greg Holland, because I like cards with players sharing a 'good game, game over' moment - I like the printing plates where the image of the player is still visible, even when nearly ghosted out.
I don't know if collectors value them as much other than player collectors who need to cross them off a checklist - but seem relatively hard to find and are a little different than the actual cards.
I don't know if this 1997 Fleer EX Star Date 2000 Vladimir Guerrero #15 was really worth $4 - but relented to pay a premium for a really loud, early MLB insert that features this all-around great.
I totally understand what it means where a player can do the impossible, but on the back of the card - it's funny where a minor league manager says Guerrero could go 4-for-3 in one night.
Finally, I impulsively grabbed what I think is a 2020-21 Panini Prizm LaMelo Ball RC #278 - with the number of ultra modern brands Panini has pumped out, it's hard to tell what is what.

Maybe it was a bigger deal to chase LaMelo's cards a few years ago where even his low end stuff was worth a little something - while he and his brother Lonzo has lived up to the scrutiny they had as part of the Ball brothers trio from high school to the pros, LaMelo only played 36 games last year.

Lonzo hasn't even gotten on the court the past couple of years - where his pro basketball career has been in limbo, despite being only 25.