Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Great Collecting Mind: Trade Post


Recently, Greg from The Collective Mind blog reached out to claim a couple of trade bait inserts I posted on my blog.  We worked out a trade that, for my part, helped me knock off some set needs.  Some vintage Packers also made their way to me, highlighted by my first MacArthur Lane card.  The All-Pro cards are pretty cool, too, as I never remember Ted Hendricks as a Packer (I'm a bit too young for that) and John Hannah, the non-Packer guard on the card, is one of my all-time favorites.

Adding to my Packer collection is always great, but this year's collecting goal for me was to whittle down my set needs.  Coming up at the end of the year, I'll post more about set building.  Right now, I'll just show my new additions.

For my sets, Greg, helped me inch closer to my 2008 Topps set.  I'm down to about 60 needs for this one, but I don't think I'll finish it before the year closes out.

Eleven cards toward my favorite set from 2015, Topps Platinum.  I'm now down to eight on this one, but I should have it finished off with an order I'm placing this week.

For you baseball-only readers, I did get a pair of cards to help me with my baseball sets.

This elusive Fergie was the last card for my 2012 Cooperstown set!  This is one of those, "I swear that set was complete, but now I need another card?!" instances.  I think I'm going to start keeping track of the last card needed to complete a set.

I love the Perspectives set from this year's flagship.  This has been an interesting set build.  I'm attempting to complete an insert set without purchasing a single pack of the product.  That's right, I have opened exactly zero packs of flagship this year.  I spent my money on Opening Day, Bunt, and Archives.  After completing Opening Day, with its nearly identical cards, I didn't really care to bust a bunch (or any) of flagship.  I'll just take what comes in trades.  I'm about halfway done with Perspectives.  Not too bad, in my opinion.

Anytime I can get vintage Packers, it's a good day.  When I can add some set help on top of that, it's a great day.  Thanks, Greg, for a good trade.  I look forward to trading again.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Trolley Dodging at Night

A couple of weeks ago, Night Owl posted that he was doing some cleaning, and he wanted to rid himself of all his dupes.  Well, it just so happens that a number of players in my collection spent some time in Dodger blue, so I gave him a list of guys I would take off his hands.  Well, Night Owl came through big for me.

Let's start with the All-Star MVPs.

I think this is my first Don Sutton as a Dodger card in color.  Strange.  All of my other Sutton's are from different teams or have a black and white photo.

Piazza is a favorite PC of mine because he fits into both the All-Star MVP and Rookie of the Year collections.  Only a few guys do that: Piazza, Ripken, Griffey, Jeter, Trout, Fred Lynn, Willie Mays, and Frank Robinson.

Though I've never been a Dodger fan, they are well-represented in my collection because of their odd streaks of star rookies.  From 1979 to 1982, the Dodgers swept the NL Rookie of Year votes: Rick Sutcliffe, Steve Howe, Fernando Valenzuela, and Steve Sax.  Then they went on a five-year streak from 1992-1996: Eric Karros, Mike Piazza, Raul Mondesi, Hideo Nomo, Todd Hollandsworth.  With the impressive farm systems and immediate success these players had, it's a wonder, looking back, that L.A. didn't dominate the majors for two decades.  Sorry to bring that up Dodgers fans.  Most of the aforementioned players were represented in Night Owl's package.

I've been Bipped!  Erm, Fernandoed!  Fernan-did?  I don't know how to say it, but Night Owl sure sent me a good number of "El Toro."  The Upper Deck card in the middle is so interesting to me.  I'm not sure why card companies did this, but the triple image sure makes for an interesting card.  Honestly though, what were they trying to do here?  And how did they choose which players got the triple-image treatment?

The Kellogg's is only my second Kellogg's card in my collection but this one is in much better condition, as my only previous card has cracked plastic on it.  

Love this Gold Zone card of Raul Mondesi.  I can't exactly read Mondesi's impermeable Mona Lisa stare, but I'm guessing that this isn't a happy bat flip.

Some interesting Nomos for me here.  That Stadium Club in the top middle is a reminder of everything that is good about the Stadium Club brand.

Of all the Dogder ROYs, Hollandsworth probably made the least of his subsequent years, although he did bounce around for a while, including a stop with my Cubbies.  The close-up of his face next to the name on the left here is a little bit weird.

Remember when Interleague play was a big deal?  This Karros from 1998 highlights the first year of Interleague play.

I have never seen a card like this Triple Play Action Baseball featuring Eric Karros.  What you see is a card that folds up and has a game in the middle.  You scratch off the boxes to determine the plays and use pennies as markers as you go around the field.  There is even a handy scoreboard on the card.  Play goes for 3 innings.  I'm sorely tempted to play a round with this one.

We'll end with some more Karros fun.  What you see here is a proud Rookie of the Year accepting his award on 1994 Collector's Choice.  Now fast forward to 1997 Pinnacle. Does this even look like the same guy?  Not that he looks extremely old in the second card, but that definitely feels like more than three years' worth of aging to me.

 Before I sign off here, let me give another shout out to Night Owl's generosity.  I also mentioned that I have a nephew who is a Dodger fan in training, and I hope to make a collector out of him as well.  Along with my cards here, I also received a small stack of Dodgers on cardboard for my nephew.  Thanks, Greg!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Kindling Some New Trade Flames

I recently discovered a new blog, Rekindling the Cardboard Flame.  It appears that this blog was started just a few months ago, and just a few months after mine.  When I saw that we were working on 2008 Topps football, I reached out to see if he needed some of my extras.  Hey, we blogging noobs have to stick together. 

Most of my end was set help for the 2016 Panini football set.  Tyler sent more, but these are some of the key rookies that I needed.  I didn't even realize that Zeke was one of the numbers I was going to receive, and I'm glad Tyler was gracious enough to include the card without demanding a premium for it.  Zeke is definitely hot right now.

And here are two more Accolades that I needed.  My wantlist is now down to 13 cards.  I may be in the minority, but I rank Manning and Marino higher on my list of GOAT QBs than Brady.  My reasoning is simply that these two (along with Dan Fouts and probably Drew Brees) are probably the best pure passers.  I know Montana and Brady had that intangible "It Factor" that brought home the championships, but Manning and Marino were simply phenomenal passers.  I view football as too much of a team sport to place as much emphasis on Brady's championships as others do.  Likewise, I give Manning pretty much zero credit for ending his career with a Super Bowl victory.  Frankly, I kind of hate the debate because it's impossible to say, but I do like seeing these two arms side-by-side.

The package wasn't all set needs, though.  Here we have some new Packers for my collection, including two more for the Jordy Nelson PC.

And we'll end with 2 legendary BYU defenders.  Both have proven to be solid NFL players, though Keisel is starting to wind down while Ziggy is just getting started.  I love the idea of Absolute's Unsung Heroes set, and it's very satisfying to see a former Cougar make an appearance.  I've seen just a few Keisel cards out there, which I suppose is the purpose of the set: to give some cardboard cred to some dudes who don't get a lot of love.

Thanks for the trade, Tyler.  I'm always open to "rekindling" a trade connection in the future.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

2016 Panini Football: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Recently, I wrote about my birthday blaster splurge.  The final product in that purchase was 2016 Panini football.  As I was trying to decide which products to buy, I settled on Panini because
       a) it offered more cards per box, and therefore a better chance of completing the set
       b) it was a retail-only product, so I felt like I wasn't missing anything with a blaster as opposed to a hobby box, and
       c) I thought the design looked good after I looked up some images online.

In hindsight, I regret the decision.  I was disappointed with the cards from the get-go.  But, I am relatively close to completing the set, so I will continue.  But now I wish I had gone with the 2016 Absolute.

Base Cards:

The design is actually one of the ugliest I've seen.  The weird playing-card design on the border is ugly, and it never varies; every card is the same thing.  The border color matches the team, however.  The picture is small, allowing the hideousness of a border to dominate the whole visual image.  So why did I choose to collect this set?  Because all of the images I saw prior to my purchase were of the the parallel you see on the right.  It's shiny, and the shininess subdues the ugly border and gives the starring role back to the photo.  What you are actually seeing is the Knights Templar parallel, not the base.  Silly me.

The back has its own issues.  The information is scant: one season of stats, no size or college or NFL service time, and a number that is dang near impossible to read.  What number is that?  (51, by the way.)  I shouldn't have to strain my eyes just to number my cards like I'm looking for some Topps short print in the fine print.  All the way around, I'm not happy at all with the base cards.

Shining Armor Parallel:

I thought the Knights Templar was the shiny base and this was the rainbow-y, refractor-y parallel, but no, there are actually different types of shiny.  I'm telling you, if the Knights Templar were the base and the Shining Armor was a the parallel, I'd be singing a somewhat different tune right now.

Chainmail Parallel:

This is a sort of prizm-type refractor parallel, and is less common than the Knights Templar and Shining Armor.

Bravery Parallel:

Bravery parallels are numbered to 199 and fall roughly 1 per blaster.  I believe there are different colored  parallels besides these green, as well.  But they still just look like the crappy base.


I pulled one insert or parallel in every pack.  Some of the insert sets were actually pretty good, while others did nothing for me.

I pulled only one Royal Family insert, and this is NFL royalty, indeed.  I can't think of a more prominent family in football.  The Matthewses are prevalent, the Rooneys and other owners have been influential, but 3 top-notch quarterbacks will give ultimate status to a football family.

 I mentioned this in an earlier post, after my trade with Sport Card Collectors, that I would be completing this set.  It's a pretty good design, and the checklist is great.   After my purchase and a couple of subsequent trades, I've got 7 of 20 cards.

Accolades is the other insert set I'm trying to complete.  It features NFL greats and some of their greatest accomplishments.  I actually pulled 2 Favres and 2 Rodgers in my 3 blasters, and I still am only a quarter of the way through the set.  I have both these insert sets, along with the base, on my wantlist.

I really like this set, too.  But I don't like to chase every insert set, so this one I decided against.  But it is one of my favorites.

I don't like this set too much, though.  I don't really care to see guys at a track meet with neither a college nor a pro connection.

I really think Panini is doing a great job with its NCAA license in its NFL products.  This insert doesn't make much sense to me, though, other than it seems to be trying to further this set's knight theme.  I still like the full college uniforms, not airbrushed.

The Hits:
There is one hit per blaster.  Here are my four.

This is the type of stuff I fully expected to pull: simple small jersey relics of not-so-big-name rookies.  I only got two of those, though.

My third hit was a relic of Jameis Winston, numbered to 199.  Not a bad pull.

And I couldn't believe it when I actually pulled an autograph.  And it's of a guy I've never heard of!  Who plays for the Jaguars!  What joy!  Seriously, though.  I figured any auto would be a tough pull in this product.  But the real story here is that signature.  I do believe that is the worst signature in my collection.  Only one name is even attempted, and really, it wasn't attempted beyond the first letter. 

So, I'm kind of stuck collecting this set, but I don't care much for it.  It was cheap, and it turned out being much cheaper than I expected.  What do you think?  Am I being to hard on it?  Let me know your thoughts.

By the way, all the cards you see here except the Legends of the Shield inserts are available for trade.  Hit me up if you're interested in something.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Hot Dime! The Cubs Are World Champions!

Last week, I received a trade package from the great Dimebox Nick.  As usually seems to be the case with these trades, I think I have a great package for somebody, and then I'm dwarfed by their package for me.  All the cards you see today come from my fellow Cubs fan Nick.

As you may have heard Anthony Rizzo tell David Ross last night, I am an emotional wreck.  Okay, maybe "wreck" is too strong a word.  But I am feeling somehow different than I expected to feel.  After I was whooping and hollering all during the game last night, I was surprisingly quiet when it was all over.  My wife even asked, "Aren't you happy?"  And yes, I was happy.  Extraordinarily happy, in fact.  I still am.  There's a slight buzz of euphoria in my brain still.  I feel light.  I would even say that I feel happier today than last night.  But my response to my wife was, "I don't know what to do with this feeling right now."  Perhaps I had exhausted myself emotionally.  It was a long, long game, after all.  Maybe it was the rain delay that put the kibosh on all the excitement.  Maybe it took a while for it all to sink in.  Or it could possibly that I have not learned to deal with winning where the Cubs are concerned.  Whatever the reason, it felt weird.

Today, though, I've come to a realization.  I don't feel a part of it.  Not completely.  Sure, I've been a Cubs fan since I was a little kid.  My loyalty has never wavered.  I've been a Cubs fan longer than some of my blogging brethren who share my predilection of baseball teams, just because I'm older.  But that's it for me.  The Cubs don't represent my city, state, or region.  They don't represent my family or my roots.  I have no connection with Chicago.  I went there once, when I was 18.  I spent two days there and never came into the vicinity of Wrigley Field.  But that's it.  They are not my home team.  I have put up with a lot of losing by my team in my lifetime, but it was only my adoptive team.  Now that it has happened, it feels like this championship means a lot to Chicago (well, at least half of Chicago), but that's not me.

My state is a basketball state.  The Jazz are the only show in town.  Arizona and Colorado (the two closest stadiums to me now) didn't have franchises when I first took interest in baseball, so there was nothing that approximated a home team.  I became a Cubs fan through baseball cards.  That's fitting, isn't it?   I got my first baseball cards in a box of cereal.  I pulled out a 3-card pack of Post cards.  I still remember them: Mark Grace, Ryne Sandberg, and Rickey Henderson.  Two Cubs.  And I became a fan.  It helped keep my interest when I could watch their games on WGN.  I was a perfect long-distance relationship.

But now, here I am, a lifelong, long-suffering Cubs fan thinking, "Now what?"  Of course I'll stick with my team.  Of course I'm excited for more with this young core.  But I get the feeling that many of you Cubs bloggers are surrounded by people just as excited as you are, while only a few 14-year students have even mentioned anything to me today. Thank you, Chicago/Illinois/Midwest for letting me share in your triumph.  Even though I've not been there through the years, I've been watching, loving, and WAITING from afar since I was a child.  Oh, and I think I'll drop the long-suffering adjective, thank you very much.  Who knows when it will happen again.  I think we as a fanbase understand better than many how rare an occasion this can be.  I'll relish it now, but I don't know that I'll ever focus on the long history of losing anymore.

Now, here are some cards, courtesy of Nick.

A storied franchise, for certain.

A lot of guys have worn Cubby blue trying to reach this summit.

Some all-time greats have called Wrigley home and left without tasting a championship.

We've seen a lot of good and bad baseball through the years.

We've had some fun, even through all the losing.

Technology has come and gone and changed.

We've seen shooting stars shine bright and flame out quickly.

But these young players finally gave us fans something to really cheer about--and a lot to look forward to.

Of course, Nick sent a lot more goodies in the package, but this post deserves to be 100% Cubs.  Hey, they earned it.  Thanks Nick for the great trade!