Thursday, March 30, 2017

Christmas in July...err, March

Jedi Jeff, hero of 2x3 Heroes  recently sent out his 'Tis the Season giveaways, and I was one of the lucky recipients.  I claimed a lot of 2016 Archives and 2013 Panini Golden Age.  I claimed the Archives because I am half-heartedly collecting the set and thought this could spark a more concerted effort.  And the Golden Age was intriguing to me because I had never owned any of it and it seemed like a pretty fun set.  I ended up getting more than I expected, which is never a bad thing when it comes to free cardboard.

Here are some of the best faces Jeff sent from the 1953 design.  I once read an article about Max Scherzer's dichromatic eyes, and apparently they are his favorite physical attribute.  Jose Altuve looks like somebody's annoying little brother here, and apparently Nelson Cruz was standing too close to the canister of tear gas in the spring training clubhouse. 

Moving to the 1979 design, we see some clubs that did not exist when this set made its original appearance.  One of the things I about throwback sets is the anachronistic look.  I like seeing the Marlins teal on this design, a color which was not there the first time around.

Likewise, my favorite thing about the 1991 style last year was seeing the older guys in a design that is iconic to my childhood, but still well after the player's time.  I especially like the Maris and Boudreau and their ilk, the ones who are more likely to be seen in black-and-white than the color here.  For some reason, these photos just pop to me.

As for the Golden Age, I was not disappointed.  I really like the cards I received in this set.  Here we have some historically significant baseball influencers.  Kenesaw Mountain Landis was the first commissioner of baseball.  His appointment was spurred by the Black Sox scandal of 1919, and it was partially his ruling against gambling that led to Pete Rose's banishment by commissioner Bart Giamatti about 70 years later.  Josh Gibson was simply the greatest power hitter of the Negro Leagues.  Curt Flood can be credited (or blamed, however you would like to view it) for the institution of the modern-day free agent system in baseball.

Some great old-timey entertainers made an appearance.

 As a history buff, I really like owning cards of some historically significant people.  Since Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were born Utahns, they're everybody's favorite outlaws in these parts.  Only in the West do people have have favorite outlaws, I think.

More historical cards here, including the Lusitania, whose sinking by German u-boats during World War I turned Americans away from the widely held preference for isolationism.  Animosity toward Germany began to increase, eventually leading to American involvement in the war.

And, of course, there were other legendary athletes included, as well.  Now my only decision is whether or not I want to track down the entire set.  I'm still debating it, but this was definitely a fun addition.

Jeff also included some 2016 Diamond Kings.  This was first time I'd ever seen any of these cards, and I like them a lot.  I'm not a fan of unlicensed Panini, but with these vintage looking cards, it worked.  Here we have some of the greatest hitters to ever swing a bat and one-third of Chicago's most famous double play team.

To go along with the names that everybody knows, I got a chance to learn about some people that I had to learn a little more about.  I have no problem with researching guys for my hobby.

Jeff included some of my favorite modern-day players as well.  I'm still not used to seeing Ichiro in a Marlins uniform.  I don't think it will ever look right to me.

Some of last year's more ballyhooed rookies arrived in the package too, including Gary Sanchez and former top-three pick Jonathan Gray.  Overall, I thought the set was great.

Included in the package was a note from Jeff wondering why we've never traded yet.  Well, Jeff, now that I have your address, I plan on unloading some White Sox on you.  I'm hoping I have a few that you need.

Nothing like some free cardboard to celebrate the Christmas season in Spring.

But the Christmas feeling didn't stop there.  Oh no, Johnny's Trading Spot got in on the action, too.  In one of his posts, he mentioned that he had picked up doubles of this Jim Kelly holiday promo card:

Isn't that festive?  When I saw it on his blog, I immediately wanted it.  Why?  Well, this is why:

This is the football homescreen of Zistle.  I have seen this card listed first every single time I have pulled up the football page on Zistle for over a year.  When I saw a copy available in real life, I snatched it up, just so I could own the number one listed card on my favorite card organizing site.  Now that Zistle appears to be going the way of the dodo, all this appears to be a moot point.  But for novelty's sake, I'm still glad that I own the card.

So from 'Tis the Season giveaways to holiday promo cards, Christmas made another appearance in my mailbox this week.  Thanks to Jeff and John for the great cards!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Saturday at the Show With My Son

Card Collecting: A Family Affair

This weekend, the Local Card Shop held its semi-annual card show.  I didn't attend the last two, so it has been about a year and a half since I've been there.  This year, I called up a buddy and we decided to split a table to do a little selling at the show.  I try to sell at one of the two shows each year, but I usually only barely break even on the cost of the table.  So, to counteract that, I recruited a partner to share the cost.  Of course, the cost was really only one reason I wanted to share the table with somebody.  I also wanted to have ample opportunity to browse the other vendors' tables. 

I was excited for this show all week because, well, it's a card show.  But even better for me, my 8 year-old son wanted to come with me and sit at the table.  Yes, it would appear that I am in the process of creating a monster.  I loved the idea of my boy's first card show.

So, aside from the joy of having my son choose to join me, what did I find?

Mostly, a treasure trove of early 2000s products that were missing from my collection.  I had never even seen these brands until last week, and I was glad to add to my All-Decade Team collection here.

Let's not forget the late-90s, either.  Most of these products already had place in my collection, but these particular cards were new to me.

Moving backward in time, we see some great defenders of the 90s.  I really want to know why Kevin Greene is wearing only his boxers on this card.  Or why one would want workout shorts that so closely resemble boxers in the first place?

Being a card show just ten minutes away from BYU's Lavell Edwards Stadium, it had its fair share of people seeking and selling BYU players.  I had more people come to my table asking for Steve Young than any other request.  Unfortunately for them, I'm a collector, not a dealer, so I wasn't selling my own BYU collection.  But it can be tough to build a collection around guys with a hometown mark-up, and the LCS marks up the local guys in a big way.  For example, a base card of an Austin Collie non-rookie card is priced at $1.25, and good luck talking it down.  I expected to see the same thing from the various sellers at the show, but I found one seller who was pretty reasonable with his prices.  So I picked up a few cool Cougs.

First up, some great BYU QBs.  This Bret Engeman is my first of his card, and I have to admit, I was surprised to see it.  I had completely forgotten that he had latched on to any NFL team and was unaware that any cards were produced.  I think this is largely because Engeman was a pretty forgettable quarterback for some pretty lean years for Cougar fans.  He manned the QB spot for the teams following Lavell Edwards' retirement, and the team was struggling to find its way for the first time in about three decades.

Those two Ty Detmers are just purty, though.  I really like the Fleer Goudey sets.

Speaking of great quarterbacks, I picked up Steve Young at every level: in college, in the USFL, and in the NFL.  This is my first card featuring Young with the LA Express, and I knew I had to have it.  But I am curious about something on one of these cards . . .

Just who is on the back of this ProLine card?  I looked up Cardinal uniform numbers on Pro-Football Reference, and found nobody of note who ever wore #14.  Whoever this is only played in a handful of games in their career.  So why is this photo even in the mix of photos to be used on these cards?  How could it possibly have ended up on this card of Steve Young?  And, who is it?

Two of these guys now have Super Bowl rings.  One narrowly missed out when his team lost to the Patriots.  All played college football in Provo.

This is the first card I've seen of 2017 Draft Prospect and BYU all-time leading rusher Jamaal Williams.  I got this one from a kid who came to my table wanting to make a trade.  The card is a little more beat up than is visible in this photo, but I was quite willing to make a deal.  He wanted Steelers, and is often the case when I sell at card shows, I definitely let him get the long end of the stick.  I definitely don't want to be that guy who cheats kids out of cards, and I know of some out there.  Sometimes I made a deal just to help the kid out.  One kid came to my table wanting to trade for a Steph Curry.  I just happened to have several copies of the card, so I didn't have anything to lose.  I took a couple of his semi-stars, gave him the Curry, and put the two cards I got from him in my dime box when he left.  This was by far the most trading I've ever done at a card show.

The guy who had the table next to mine was also a Packers collector, so we ended up swapping a bunch of extras.  There was a lot more early 2000s goodness involved here.

These are the first cards I have of either of these players.  Super Bowl Hero Max McGee and Javon Walker.  Both came in the aforementioned trade.

I added a little to my Jordy Nelson PC.  The last two cards (Chrome Rookie and 60th Anniversary Red Parallel) came from the same vendor.  He was selling mainly high end stuff and wanted full book value for it all.  I picked out these 2 cards and talked him down to $7 for the pair.  I immediately wondered if I had just overpaid, but I have since learned that I can't get the Red Parallel (numbered to 60) anywhere online, and the cards of lesser players are on COMC for $3-$6 apiece, so I'm quite happy with the purchase.

I especially love the Anthony Munoz rookie here.  This was another part of the trade with the other Packer collector/vendor.  I traded a Brett Favre Refractor in the wrong uniform for this beauty.  We were both happy about it.

One thing my local card show sorely lacks is a dime box (or even a quarter box, at most tables).  I am the only one who ever sells cards from a dime box.  This show tends to revolve around high-priced high-end merchandise.  The cards shown here, with the exception of the Jose Abreu, are some of the only affordable baseball cards I found.  This seller was two tables down from me, and totally obnoxious all day long and a prime example of Guys I Don't Like Trying to Rip People Off at Card Shows.  I heard his incessant braggadocio all day long, informing anybody who would listen about all the money he had to invest in these cards.  When I selected the four 2017 cards shown above and offered him $2, his face looked like I had offered to slice certain sensitive parts of his body instead.  He agreed, but not before he had shown me another Carlos Correa. He offered me the 2016 Donruss Career Stat Line (shown above as Jose Abreu), numbered to 500.  He told me it was going on ebay for $36, but he would let me have it for $23.  I politely declined, but inside I was wondering if I owed somebody some money.  See, I had just barely paid some guy $1 for the Abreu shown above.  I was worried that he had taken too low of a price.  So I checked on ebay.  The Carlos Correa in question was listed for as low as $3.50 plus shipping, and didn't go above $8.  I couldn't believe the dishonesty in this guy.  I talked to him again about another item, and found a similar story.  He told me it was going for $70 on ebay, but I could have it for $30, when in fact, I could have ordered it right then for about $10.  Unbelievable.

In spite of this guy's getting my blood boiling, it was a pretty successful card show.  My son had a blast handing out my unopened junk wax packs to kids as they wandered by.  He cracked his first box (Panini Triple Play) and begged me for a George Hill card he found at a table.  I don't even care who it is, I was just delighted to have him ask for a player by name because he knew who it was.  And he already wants to know when the next one will be.  I'll take it.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Nothing is Absolute

...unless you're talking about a certain Panini football product.  I have bought very little new product thus far in 2017, and the trend doesn't appear to be going away.  My first unopened packs that I cracked this year was a blaster box of 2016 Absolute football.  It's product that I generally avoid because it tends to be a small base set (100 cards) rounded out by a bunch of rookies that are nearly impossible to find.  The end result is that after a few packs, the duplicates start piling up.  But this year, I really like the design, so I settled on one blaster and decided to call it good.

Typical of the product, there are 100 base cards in the set this year, 50 retired players (numbered to 499), and 50 rookies (numbered to 499).  A blaster contains 8 packs of 8 cards, with one insert or short print base included.

Pack 1:

The first pack brought me an extra of the one base card I already owned of this product, Jordy Nelson.  The design is good; I like the shininess and the use of colors.  It would be nice to have a background in the picture, but the design behind is attractive enough.  At first, I thought the Greg Olsen was a parallel because it is just similar enough to the base design, but upon closer inspection, I realized that this was an insert set.

Pack 2:

I've recently become interested in starting a Heisman winner mini-collection, and this pack brought me three Heisman winners.  Does anybody know all three?  The Earl Campbell is not only a shorter printed retired player, but a Blue Spectrum parallel to boot.

Pack 3:

Here is a Khalil Mack pack attack, with the base and the Xtreme Team insert.  I like the Xtreme Team look, but I'm wondering why they needed two separate photos on the front, which feature the exact same photo twice.

Pack 4:

Before I even opened anything from Absolute this year, I already had my sights set on the Unsung Heroes set.  It's not my favorite design.  When I put it in my binder, the names are upside-down.  But I like the concept and the checklist of the set.  I now have 2 (Woodhead and Brett Keisel) and would be interested in any others.

Pack 5:

Here is another Red Zone insert.  I think I know somebody who might have an interest in this one.  My favorite in this pack is the Jeremy Maclin, though.  I love that even though they cut out everything in the photo except the featured player, they kept the ball in the air on this card.  I'm not sure if/how this catch was made, but it appears to me that it may have been bobbled or off of a tipped pass.

Pack 6:

What is Jay Cutler doing?  He looks ridiculous, and that's just as well, because as Packers fan, I always view him as ridiculous.  I want to hear from Bears fans: are you happy he's gone?  Do you expect Glennon to be an upgrade?  I'm curious.  The T.Y. Hilton is a Blue Spectrum parallel, but I didn't notice at first because the blue foil fits in so well with the team colors.

Pack 7:

Here's a blurry photo featuring another former Bear and another Xtreme Team insert, one that I'm keeping for my new Heisman mini-collection.

Pack 8:

Sterling Shepard finishes up the box, but not the rookie base.  That means I found exactly zero rookies in this blaster.  The final tally looks like this:
  • Base: 56 of 100
  • Retired: 0 of 50 (unless you count the parallel toward the set)
  • Rookies: 0 of 50
I definitely like the look of the set, but it's senseless to try to break more product trying to come anywhere near set completion.  I'll still chase down the Packers team set and the Unsung Heroes insert set, but I won't be breaking any more.  This is one product which I liked, but have no desire to complete.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

All the Burlap in the World

It is a rare feat for me to finish a set within the year it was released.  Normally it takes me years to complete a set.  I’ve learned from reading the blogs that people aren’t crazy about burlap, but I’ve been excited for the new Heritage.  Heritage has been a fun break before, but while looking on ebay for a box, I found a presell complete set and put in a lowball offer.  Then, surprise!  I got it!  You’ve mostly seen the burlap already, so here are the puzzles on the All-Star cards:

(This was 100 words, by the way.)