Tuesday, January 9, 2018

I Made a Trade with LV Through TCDB, BTW

It's always interesting to me to come across fellow bloggers on other sites.  While I don't post every trade that I make, I always post what I get from bloggers because I know my thanks won't fall on deaf ears.  In today's case, I was contacted by TCDB user stevienicks77, who turned out to be none other than Laurie D of LV's TTM Autograph blog.  We worked out a trade in December, so I'm a little late in posting, especially because she already posted on her end. Stevie, erm, LV, erm, Laurie was able to help me with a few set needs.

The majority of my end of the trade came from 2016 Archives.  I'm getting so close to finishing that set I can taste it.  Here is a sampling of the 1953 design from the set.  I'm always glad to add a Satchel Paige card to my collection.  I don't think he receives half the recognition he deserves for his amazing career.

Representing the 1979 design, we have some legends, current stars, a promising rookie, and a late ace.

1991 was my favorite design redux of the set, and these cards are the best.  It would be tough to find a better group of players than these six.  The Nolan Ryan card is phenomenal.  I also like the Goldschmidt because his cards usually feature him with a bat in his hands, but the 3-time Gold Glover is no slouch in the field, either.

Finally, I received one card each from two other sets I'm trying to complete.  I didn't even register that the "When I Was a Kid..." subset of 2013 Triple Play was an SP until had a hard time tracking them down for a price I was willing to pay for such cheap cards.  I'm completing the set just because I can, but I have to say that the SPs are better than the rest of the base set.

So there's my trade with a blogger through the outside venue, TCDB.  Thanks for the cards!  I appreciate the set help.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

How I Spent My Christmas Break

In my last post, I wrote that I was finished with cards for the year.  I had two weeks off of school and I made the decision that I would refrain from spending any time with my cardboard collection.  In the meantime, I planned to spend some time with one of my other hobbies, namely building stuff.  Like P-Town Tom a few weeks back, I pulled out my trusty Kreg Jig and my miter saw and set to work building a window seat/storage bench for our upstairs loft. 

This is what a two week break from cards will get you.  Child not included.  It's all finished now except for the painting, but that's my wife's job.  I saved a little time and money when I lucked into some dresser fronts in Ikea's scratch and dent corner.  All I had to do was frame it in, attach the facades, and build the lids.  Next project: a built-in bookcase to the left of this picture to complete our kids' reading nook.

Though I vowed to keep myself away from cards, the cards didn't stay away from me.  Since this is a card blog, I'll take this opportunity to show off some cardboard that came in the mail over the break, which I glanced at and tucked away in the closet until I could scan and file them.

First, there was a small PWE trade with Nachos Grande.  We swapped some Topps Gallery.  He is working on the set, and I just saw some guys I collect on his trade list.  The top two are base cards.  The Addison Russell on the bottom is an Artist Proof parallel.  Eric Hosmer is shown on a Masterpiece insert, which I really think is the best-looking set of the year.

Right before Christmas break, I made a purchase on ebay.  This Leaf Valiant card is quite pretty in-hand.  It's a shiny on-card auto, representing the 7th Brad Sorensen autograph in my collection.  And it only cost me $1.29 shipped.  I'll take that all day long.

It was good two weeks off, but I'm glad to be back at it now.  I am referring to both work and cards, of course.  I hope all of you had a good holiday season and have started the new year off on the right foot.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

I'm Done with Cards . . . for 2017

Last Friday was the first full day of Christmas Break for me.  I used it to finish getting the last of my loose cards put away.  For the sake of my marriage, I have resolved not to be involved with my cards again until through Christmas Break.    Instead, I'm playing board games and building Lego sets with the kids and building some storage benches to finish the reading nook in our loft.  I knew there was no way I was getting any cardboard for Christmas anyway, as all my family thinks I'm a crazy person with a bad habit and they refuse to support it.

We moved into this home last September, and I claimed an unfinished closet upstairs for my cards.  I've been working to get organized since the move, and I'm there (for now).  Here is over a year's work of organizing:

Here is every card I own, minus one binder that's in our master bedroom closet, just for the sake of space.  No loose cards lie anywhere.  No stacks of cards are placed randomly in boxes.  Each card is in its place.  The only exception you see is the stack of cards on the left, but those are pulled as part of an ebay lot and are ready to ship.  All my PCs are in binders, along with select sets and frankensets.  Other sets and all my trading fodder are in shoeboxes.  I'm proud of my work, and as I type, I'm about four days in to my self-imposed embargo without handling a card.  Now my supplies need to be stowed away.  I have penny sleeves, team bags, and top loaders shoved all over the place just below the picture.

Since I'm done with my cards for the year, now is as good a time as any to recap my collecting for 2017.  First, I didn't set any collecting goals, but I did declare that my focus would be to add to my BYU collection.  As the calendar turned to 2017, my BYU football collection was a paltry 105 cards.  I have to admit; I lost focus a little bit.  I did make a couple of BYU only purchases, but I didn't add as much as I would have liked.  My collection now stands at 185, so that's a total of 80 new BYU cards added.

Instead of BYU, I found myself focusing on set-building.  Again.  Even though last year I swore it off.  I've decided that sets have a place in my collection, and a fairly large place at that.  So let's take a look back at the sets I've completed in 2017.  Some of them I started this year, but most of these sets have been years in the making.  I'll run through these in reverse chronological order, and share the final card I acquired to complete the set.

2017 Topps: This is first time I have ever completed a flagship set.  I'm working on Update to polish it up, but as far as the cards that have continuous numbering, this set is complete.

Final Card:  I'm not exactly sure.  I didn't keep track.
2017 Topps Heritage: I've never completed Heritage either, and I really wanted to get it this year.  One of my main reasons was the fact that I knew it would have a World Series subset, and it would feature the Cubs, of course.  I like the burlap, too.  Once again, this is only the base set.  I didn't even attempt the SPs.  As far as I'm concerned, they're just gravy and not necessary to complete the set.  I don't have the budget to chase them down just to say I've completed the set.  That may be sacrilege, but I'm at peace with it.

Final Card: I bought this set off ebay.  They are all the first and last card.

2016 Topps Perspectives: This 25-card insert set took me two seasons to build.  The significance of this set is that it was built entirely through trades.  I didn't crack a single pack of 2016 Flagship; I just saw the set on the blogs, fell in love with it, and went to work.

Final Card: #P-1 Andrew McCutchen

2015 Topps Update Pride and Perseverance: Here is another insert set I completed.  I love reading the stories on the back of these cards.

Final Card: #2 Curtis Pride--I thought it ironic that the last card missing from my Pride set was Curtis Pride.

2015 Topps Update Whatever Works: This is another great subject for a set.  I love baseball's quirky superstitions, so it makes sense that I would be drawn to an entire baseball card set devoted to its quirky superstitions.  This set was tricky.  Somehow my wantlist got messed up, and I ended up acquiring duplicates of some cards instead of the cards I actually needed.  It's all fixed now, and the set is complete.

Final Card: #12 Justin Verlander
2014 Panini Contenders: **Disclaimer** This is not the complete set with all of the rookie autos.  This is only the base veteran set.  I bought three retail boxes of this back in 2014 and pulled so many dupes that I still didn't have the 100-card base set.  I do know.

Final Card:  #100 Adrian Peterson

2013 Panini Prizm: This one should have been done last year.  I thought I had it.  Then I realized that I had two copies of Saints running back Mark Ingram and none of Saints running back Darren Sproles.  Oops.  I rectified it early this year.

Final Card: #143 Darren Sproles

2013 Topps Strata: I bought a hobby box of this in 2013 and ended up with a good starter set.  It wasn't my favorite design, but I had enough that I decided to just go ahead and complete it anyway.  Note: the football version of Strata is not a high-end product, like baseball Strata became.  This is a middle-range product with an "just okay" look to it.

Final Card: #45 Michael Vick

1995 Collector's Choice: This set was 20 years in the making.  I started it when I was 13.  Then I went on hiatus for almost two decades.  When I came back, I decided to finish it off at last.  Some of the cards I had to chase down were really familiar because I had lost some through the years.  I've got them all back and then some, and this set from my childhood is done.

Final Card: #246 Bryant Young

1988 Topps: This is my crowning achievement for the year.  Earlier in 2017, I decided to chase this set for sentimental reasons.  It was the first set I ever had in my collection, the one that started it all.  I'd never really considered putting the set together until this year.  It turned out to be easier than I expected.  So many 1988 cards came my way in trades.  I found out one of my LCS's had a monster box full of them and the owner was willing to sell them to me for a nickel apiece.  The one card I was worried about was the iconic card of the set, Bo Jackson's rookie.  I found it on ebay in November for just $4 and snagged it.

This wasn't the last card I needed, though.  I thought this one would take me longer than it did.

Final Card: #285 Lawrence Taylor

For those of you keeping track at home, I finished off 10 sets in 2017, seven base sets and three insert sets.  I added 80 cards to my BYU binder, and had a whole lot of other cards join my collection.  All of those cards are safely stored in binders or BCW shoeboxes.  I'm ready to begin the new year.  And I'll ring it in without my cards.  But when Christmas break ends next week, I already have some boxes I bought off ebay to bust.  Since it pleases my wife, I can wait until then.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Favorite Card of 2017

For whatever reason, deciding on my favorite card of 2017 was difficult.  I think it boils down to the fact that I didn't get any cards produced in 2017 that made me say, "Wow!"  I got plenty of awesome cards, but the ones that I got and couldn't take my eyes off came from other years.  As unpopular as Flagship was this year, I think there was some outstanding photography that made it a pretty good set.  Most of the cards I considered came from this set.

I don't have a countdown this year, but I will share some of the cards that crossed my mind when P-Town Tom announced his contest.

Earlier this month, I tried some Topps Gallery.  I pulled this Masterpiece insert.  It's beautiful in-hand.  In fact, this insert set is probably my favorite set of 2017.  But the subject matter of Brian Dozier just isn't enough to be my favorite card.


Another card I considered was chosen by the web's most well-known Angels blogger, Tom from Angels in Order.  This card is so cool, and Andrelton Simmons's defensive prowess is certainly worthy of a fiery celebration, but it just wasn't enough to be my favorite.

I think this card, already shown off by Night Owl, is probably my favorite.  But, alas, I don't own it.  I just have seen it enough on the blogs for it to pop into my mind immediately when I thought of best card of 2017.


P-Town Tom himself already showed this card on his blog.  It's great, with Bryant celebrating the World Series on the front and Schwarbs on the back.  This would probably be my runner-up.

Even though I didn't choose the card above, from the beginning, I thought that there were enough cards celebrating the Cubs World Series to choose one from them.  A Heritage TV design?  Possibly?  The Cubs flying the W?  Also in the mix.  But no one single card stood out to me.  Then last week I bought another pack of Update, and it solved my problem.  There, in probably my last pack of 2017, was my favorite card of the year.

And here it is.  The Cubbies celebration parade, with Heyward, Bryant, Fowler, and Rizzo.  The only negative to this card is the fact that the player front and center in the card was one of the first to leave following the championship.  But that is such a minor drawback that I don't feel like I could choose another card.  2017 was the year of Cubs celebration cards, and I don't think I could tire of it.  This is my favorite of those 2017 cards.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Cubs Box Post-Script, Basketball Style

I mentioned earlier that Kerry had thrown some Jazz cards in the Cubs box for me.  I'll just show off a few here, since I forgot that part in my last post.  Here are some of my favorite.  Shiny legend John Stockton is always fun.  The Optic Hall Kings insert is especially cool.  Rookie Donovan Mitchell has been one of the NBA's best stories this year, and has stepped into the role of superstar for a team that desperately needed it.  The fanbase was optimistic when D-Mitch was drafted, but how quickly he has become The Man for the team exceeds anybody's wildest dreams.  These are the first cards I have of him.

Last year I took my oldest son to his first Jazz game. George Hill was lights out as the Jazz routed the Nuggets, so my son became a George Hill fan.  This year, I took my second oldest to his first Jazz game.  The Jazz played about the worst I've ever seen an NBA team play, but Joe Ingles was the best performer on the team that night.  Naturally, my younger boy gravitated to "Slow-Mo" Joe.  These cards belong to my boys now.  Thanks, Kerry!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Cubs Part (Part Deux)

Last week I started recapping the massive amount of Cubs cards that I received from Kerry, proprietor of Cards Cards. 

As I flipped through the cards, there were some that looked so familiar that I was shocked to learn that I did not, in fact, own the card already.  In the case of the above cards, I owned the Opening Day version and two parallels of the the Barney, the Topps Mini Soto, and the Chrome Baez.  I'm actually still trying to figure out how I didn't have the regular flagship Baez rookie already, as I busted so much Topps in 2015.  Then again, I also opened enough of that set to (almost) collate Series 2 multiple times over, but I still haven't pulled (or owned) the Kris Bryant rookie of that set.  Maybe Javy fits in the same category there.

One of the best things about obtaining large lots of Cubs is digging out the players that are new to my Cubs binder.  No, I don't have a CATRC binder, a la Burbs, nor am I crazy enough to attempt such a feat, but it is fun to find representation for as many Cubbies as possible.  The highlights for me are the first Jose Quintana (Chrome Style) and Davy Lopes, looking as menacing as ever.  Some players, such as Dave Sappelt, don't even ring a bell of recognition with me.

Aaron Heilman is new to my Cubs collection, too.  Oddly, Topps doesn't seem to want him to be in it all.  While he is clearly pictured as a Cub and labeled as such on the front, the back lists him with the Mariners.  Not only is the Mariner logo and name on the back, Topps doubled down on its mistake by writing about Heilman leaving the Mets for the Mariners.  So how did this happen?  In December 2008, Heilman was sent to Seattle as part of a three-team deal involving the Mets, Mariners, and Indians.  Luis Valbuena, J.J. Putz, and Joe Smith were some of the bigger names involved in this deal.  Then Seattle shipped Heilman to the Cubs just about a month later in exchange for Ronny Cedeno and Garrett Olson.  It looks as if Topps held off on Heilman's card until Series 2 to feature him with Seattle, but had to get a new picture when he was dealt again.  Somebody (or everybody) apparently overlooked fixing the back that had, presumably, already been created.  Marks for trying, though, Topps.  Heilman was traded to Arizona in November following the 2009 season, marking his third trade in an 11-month span.

 Here is a look at some of the Cubs' great can't miss prospects over the years.
  • Lance Dickson got his Cup of Coffee in 1990, appearing in 3 games and posting a 7.24 ERA.  It was his only time spent in the Majors.
  • Ty Griffin was a #1 draft pick, but he never played in The Show.  He spent 1989-1997 in the minors before hanging them up.
  • Mike Harkey made his debut in 1988, started 5 games and posting a solid 2.60 ERA in 3 losses.  Injuries hampered his progress, and he next appeared for the Cubs in 1990.  He spent 5 seasons in Chicago as a starter (3.92 ERA) and kicked around the league with 4 teams in the 4 following years to end his career.
  • Gary Scott saw MLB action in 1991-1992.  He batted .160 with a .198 OBP.  Fifty points under the Mendoza Line!  His WAR in 67 total games was -1.8.
  •   Earl Cunningham rose to the level of the #44 prospect in baseball.  He never rose to the level of a Major Leaguer.  He gets points for a Cubs gold chain that places squarely in the late 80s/early 90s.
  • Derrick May spent five seasons with the Cubs, having a pretty good season in 1993 when he hit .295 with 10 homers.  May spent exactly the decade of the 90s in the Majors, from 1990-1999 with the Cubs, Brewers, Astros, Phillies, Expos, and Orioles.  He was a serviceable outfielder.
  • Greg Smith appeared in 27 games over three seasons with the Cubs and Dodgers.  His career average of .212 puts him right around the Mendoza line.
  • Finally, Brett Jackson was another first rounder that didn't pan out.  He played one season for the Cubs, batting only .169.  He drew a fair number of walks, however, that boosted his on-base percentage to .299.  He was traded to the Diamondbacks in 2014 and played a few games for that club until he was out of the league.

This is the entire Cubs team set from 1997 Pinnacle Xpress.  Honestly, I was completely unfamiliar with this set until I received these cards.  It's typical late-90s Pinnacle fare: clear photography, unique--maybe even busy--design, and gold foil.  They're pretty nice cards and I do like the different photographs being used.

 These are cards I just liked for various reasons.  Shawon Dunston sure was involved in a lot of flying dust, if these cards tell the story.  Luis Salazar appears to be in the midst of a huge swing-and-a-miss.  I've always found those cards interesting.  A Chrome rookie of Starlin, who was just recently part of the Giancarlo Stanton swap.  The Kevin Gregg card is interesting to me because where is his glove?  Honestly, he looks more like a coach here.  The last card is the most interesting to me, though.  That is Doug Dascenzo, outfielder, on the mound in a real-life Major League game.  I know that it's not all that rare for position players to pitch, but I haven't seen too many base cards depicting that event.  It's pretty cool.  Dascenzo actually pitched four innings in his career, giving up three hits and striking out two of the 18 batters he faced.

Finally, we'll end with some views of the beautiful ivy at Wrigley.  Thanks again for the cards, Kerry.  Any Cubs collectors out there who have holes in your 1988-1991 or 2012-2013 team collections, there's a chance I could have some dupes from this box to help you out.  Let me know what you need, and I'll check it.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Sneaky Secret Santa Strikes Swiftly, Soundlessly

Just as December was beginning, I went to the mailbox and found a padded envelope.  As I expected, it was addressed to me.  Nobody else in my family receives bubble mailers.  However, I didn't recognize the return address at all.  I wondered, Could this be my Secret Santa?  It seemed a bit early for my Secret Santa package to arrive; after all, I hadn't even begun putting my package together yet.  (I have now.  It's in the mail, so the recipient should be getting it in a day or two.)  I opened it up, and saw some wrapping paper and a card.  It was Secret Santa, and he was early!

My first thought was to keep it and unwrap it later, more toward Christmas Day.  However, knowing how slow I am at posting things on my blog, and wanting to give a shout out and public thanks to the sender ASAP, I decided that I had better open it.  So here I am, two weeks later, finally posting its contents.  It's probably best I didn't wait, or I might not have written this post before Christmas.

The question remained: Who was my Secret Santa?  The answer lay in one of the cards.  This card to be exact:

Jon, from A Penny Sleeve for Your Thoughts, was my Secret Santa.  Jon and I have never traded before, so it was no wonder that I hadn't recognized the address.  He made a great first impression.

A couple of vintage Cubs is a nice start.  The '59 Glen Hobbie is almost my oldest card now, if not for my Glen Hobbie rookie, which is a '58.  I thought it a strange coincidence that it is the same player in back to back years vying for the oldest in my collection.  Neither one of these pitchers had great careers, but Hobbie was serviceable for a few years in Chicago.  Schaffernoth played for the Cubs for 2 seasons, posting a 4.58 ERA and a 3-8 record before leaving the Big Leagues for good.

Now here we have two players who had significantly more successful careers at Wrigley.  These are both oddballs, and sets that I never even knew existed, to boot.  The Andre Dawson is a 1993 Duracell issued set called "Power Players," and it was apparently available in 6-card packs with a proof of purchase mail-in order.  I don't know how I didn't know about this as a kid.  I was certainly old enough to understand this concept at the time, and I would guess that I used batteries then.  The Ryno is from a 1993 set released by photographer Barry Colla and it featured the All-Stars of that year.  I have no idea how it was released other than it appeared to have been only available as a boxed set.  I'm happy to include both of these cards in collection.

My only other card from this red-bordered set is a star, Giancarlo Stanton, but I'll take a Rizzo any day over Stanton.  The blue hat and red border look fantastic together on this parallel.

After seeing those great Cubs, I ran into some basketball.  Jon included a trio of Grant Hill cards.  Hill just happens to be my favorite basketball player of all-time, and one of the few basketball players that I collect.  What I can't figure out is how Jon knew to include Grant Hill.  I have no basketball listed anywhere on my wantlists, and I don't think I've ever done a post that focused on Hill.  Jon must have done some deep digging in my blog to pick up that clue, and I appreciate that.  All three of these cards are pretty sweet, too.  The Classic Four Sport is a Promo, which is cool.

The cards kept rolling, as Jon sent some Steve Youngs for my BYU collection.  That Pacific Revolution set is really cool in hand, but it is pretty busy.

This is the back of the Action Packed Armed Forces card.  As you can see, it is clearly marked as a Promo, as well.  I don't know where this one came from, but the oddballs keep rolling in from Jon.

If I'm going to be completely honest, the package made my heart sink at the very first.  You see, I opened up the 1st little package and immediately saw the back of the Raymont Harris card.  It was like opening up that present from your grandma on Christmas Day, all full of anticipation and excitement, and discovering that she had given you underwear.  Except this was worse than underwear, it was a Bear.  I wondered if Jon had gotten me mixed up with someone else, or had assumed that since I was a Cubs collector I also liked the Bears, and sent me a package chock full of Bears.  Then I noticed one single word in the bottom corner of the card: "Refractor."  It hit me that Jon had seen the newest addition to my wantlist and had sent me a card for my Refractors Frankenset. He was redeemed!  It's a shame that refractors don't scan well because these cards look great in a binder full of refractors.

That was it for the package labeled "Open 1st."  Now for the one instructing me to "Open 2nd."

We're back to the Cubs, but this package is obviously the one full of hits!  A Brett Jackson auto from A&G.  I don't collect A&G, but I have to say that they always look great and I'm happy to take this former Cubs Prospect Supreme into my collection.

The second hit of the package--a Johnathan Franklin auto from 2013 Prizm.  Johnathan Franklin logged only 19 carries in his brief pro career with the Packers, but he is one of the Packers that I focus on.  In 2013, he and Eddie Lacy were both drafted by the Pack, and it was my excitement over both of the picks that helped catapult me back into collecting.  Franklin was an entirely different skillset than Lacy, and I thought they complemented each other well.  Unfortunately, a neck injury in his rookie season ended his career.  I suppose it's the career-ending injury that gives me a soft spot for Franklin in my collection.

The final card in the package was an auto-patch numbered to 725 of Brandon Jackson.  Jackson came into the league in 2007 and had higher expectations than Franklin, due to his status as a second round draft pick.  Unfortunately, it didn't pan out for Jackson, as he spent only four years in Green Bay, starting only 16 games and averaging about 3.8 yards per carry in that span.  He spent one year in Cleveland after leaving the Pack before he was out of the league.  That doesn't matter to me, though.  I'll take an on-card auto and two-color patch (especially when it is obvious part of a number or letter) of anybody who suited up for my Pack.

In his card, Jon wrote that he "attempted to add some new additions to multiple parts of [my] collection."  I'd say he was successful.  Thanks a million, Jon!  I loved the package.  And thanks to Matt at Bob Walk the Plank for facilitating this little Secret Santa exchange.  It has been fun.