Saturday, November 28, 2020

Give Thanks Wrap-Up

Welp, this week didn't go as planned. Some of you may have noticed that I had planned to write a "Give Thanks" post daily through Thanksgiving, but I suddenly dropped off. I can explain, but first let me just share my final gratitude: my wife. And to illustrate why and explain my sudden drop-off, let me tell the story of my week.

Last Wednesday, I started running a fever and on Thursday I noticed some swelling in my neck and a lump at the base of my skull, so I made a doctor's appointment for Friday. He ordered some bloodwork and a CT scan. He thought he had it narrowed down to two possibilities: an abscessed infection in my neck or lymphoma. That was a sobering thought, but we tried not to worry until we got the CT scan on Monday. We didn't make it that far.

Saturday brought new symptoms and new problems. On Saturday my throat started hurting and then I spent the night throwing up. Sunday morning, we realized the dire nature of the situation. My fever was reaching over 105 degrees and I couldn't keep any fluids down. We went straight to the ER when we woke up. With all of the COVID precautions, my wife wasn't allowed into the building. She dropped me off and went home. At the ER, the doctors re-did the same blood tests and ran the CT scan. And that's when I went into septic shock. My blood pressure crashed, dipping as low as 69/37. I was wheeled straight up to the ICU, where I spent the next two days.

Even after I was released from ICU, my wife still wasn't allowed to visit because they hadn't received the results of my COVID test. Without a negative test, nobody was allowed in the room but the nurse. So I waited over 48 hours, in the ER, in ICU, on the Med/Surg Floor, alone until I was cleared.

And this is where I express my gratitude to my wife, in one simple scene. After I finally received a negative result, my wife was able to visit. The moment she walked in the room, I didn't even get any words out before I broke down into uncontrollable sobs. For minutes, I cried. I cried because she was the most beautiful sight in the world to me. I cried because the weight of loneliness that I had been fighting with the infection came crashing down. I cried because the woman I decided long ago to share my life with, who had been torn away from me when I needed her most, was suddenly back. I cried because she meant everything to me and I knew I couldn't take her for granted. Why am I grateful for my wife? It's not what she does, or says, or anything. It's that she is, and that she shares what she is with me and lets me share with her.

This will wrap up my Give Thanks posts. Though I haven't commented much this week, I've read a few blogs here and there and I loved hearing the gratitude many of you shared. The next step in this holiday season is to remember our blessings and now try to spread the joy around for the Christmas season!

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Give Thanks Day 3

 I can't let this Sunday pass without expressing thanks for a loving Father in Heaven. Of all the things He's done for me that I'm grateful for, the biggest has to be that He sent His Son to complete the Atonement for me and the rest of the world. It is through the Savior that I will overcome physical death and have opportunity to overcome spiritual death and find myself back in the presence of God. No work of my own could make it possible, and I'm grateful for my Savior.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only egotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. --John 3:16-17

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Give Thanks Day 2

 This will be another post without cards. Just gratitude today.

I took this picture the other day. My gratitude swells here at the sight of my three kids in this picture raking our 87-year-old widow neighbor's yard. What makes me grateful here is the willingness they had to go perform an act of service. I asked the two older boys to put down the Nintendo Switch and go rake her yard. They did it immediately, and my 4-year-old girl begged to go help, too. I'm not bragging about my parenting here; they came out naturally good. If I had asked them to stop the video games to do a chore for me, they would have fought me. It's not that I've trained them well. I'm grateful that these kids are so inclined to help others. I don't know why I got them, but I'm so grateful I did.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Give Thanks Challenge

I want to issue a challenge to all card enthusiasts on the blogs. Starting today, for the next seven days-- including Thanksgiving--write a small afterword at the end of any of your blog posts that briefly describes one thing for which you are thankful and a little explanation as to why you are thankful for it. 

Happiness researcher (yes, it's a real job) Shawn Achor has found in his studies that success does not make people happy. Instead, he says that when we expect success to make us happy, we "have pushed happiness over the cognitive horizon" because there is always something more to achieve. He has found the inverse to be true: successful people aren't more happy; happy people are more successful. One thing he recommends to find happiness before success to fuel our future success is to make a gratitude journal and write in it every day for 21 days. When we do this, we are rewiring our brains to look for the positive. When we are looking more for the positive, we see a lot more positive. When we see more positive, we feel that things are going better for us and it makes us happier.

Over the course of this challenge, I'm going to attempt to write a post every day, with or without cards, just to express my gratitude and watch the effort ease the troubles in my mind. I hope many of you will join me, unless for some reason 2020 has removed all troubles from your mind anyway. The order of my gratitudes is by no means a priority list or a countdown. It will just be what is on my mind that day.

Today I wish to express gratitude to the teachers and counselors that I got to work with as I was going through school. This comes to mind today because we had counselors come into my class today to discuss a four-year plan for school as these eighth graders prepare to enter high school next year. I was reminded of a counselor I had in 8th grade who once asked me which college I wanted to attend. I said I didn't know. He responded, "I'll tell you where you're going to college: anywhere that offers you a scholarship." He then went on to explain that I had what it would take to get an academic scholarship if I worked at it through high school. From that day on, that was my high school goal: have the resume necessary to get a scholarship. It worked. I applied to three schools and two of them offered me full tuition scholarships, setting me on a great course for my adult life. Of course, this counselor wasn't alone. There are many teachers who helped me get where I am, and I'm thankful for them all.

Your turn. Write a standalone post about gratitude. Or just add gratitude at the end of any post you are already publishing. But let's show our gratitude for the great things that still exist in the world!

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

State of the Set: 2008 Upper Deck X Xponential

I feel that there are too many sets on my wantlist that have been sitting there for years while I slowly chip away at them. This year I noticed that a lot of those sets are well within striking distance this year, so I've tried to swing some trades for set needs while focusing my recent Sportlots purchase on sets as well. We'll see how many sets I can kill before the year is out.

For the past few years, I have written a post that summarizes my set completion quests for the year. I still plan to do that for 2020, but I also decided to give a progress report for sets that I'm actively acquiring cards for along the way. I thought this might be more interesting than writing one giant post that tries to tie all the different cards from a trade or a purchase together.

I wanted to write about football, since it is football season right now. But my fantasy team wasn't kind to me this weekend, even if the Packers did win, so I'm not a football mood at the moment. So let's take a look at a baseball insert that I've been working on for a while now: 2008 Upper Deck X Xponential.

Why I'm collecting this set: When I first got back into collecting, I found a discounted box (maybe 2?) of Upper Deck X. I had never seen the product before, but I remember cracking the box open and seeing the holographic wrappers. I immediately got an idea in my mind of what this set would look like. And let's just say that the base set then turned out to be disappointing. But there was one actual holographic card in each pack: the Xponential series. These were the types of cards that I expected, and I thought they were great.

How long has it been on my wantlist (roughly)?: I didn't put them on my wantlist immediately, mostly because I didn't have interest in building sets then. It would be a few years before I that endeavor attracted me. I would say I decided to put together this set 2-3 years ago. It's a rather large insert set (90 cards), so it has been a bit of a long build.

Current state of set completion: The cards above, from a Sportslot order, finished the Xponential set. It is done. So there's some bonus material in
this post: I'm also collecting the the slightly harder to find Xponential2 set.

Whereas I like Xponential, X2 is an even better looking card. Xponential has a little too much red, but the black on these cards helps the holographic foil stand out more. I have 90/90 of the original Xponential cards, but my completion for the X2 is 60/75 (80%).

Current needs: The 15 cards I need or Xponential2. X2-CP (Carlos Pena), X2-DJ, X2-EB (Erik Bedard), X2-GM (Greg Maddux), X2-GS (Grady Sizemore, X2-HM (Hideki Matsui), X2-JR (Jimmy Rollins), X2-MC (Miguel Cabrera), X2-MO (Magglio Ordonez), X2-MR (Mariano Rivera), X2-PE (Jake Peavy), X2-RA (Rick Ankiel), X2-RH (Ryan Howard), X2-RO (Alex Rodriguez), X2-TT (Troy Tulowitzki)


Prognosis: Obviously, one set here is done. With 15 cards to go and a little more than a month before year's end, I don't think I'll get to finish X2 in 2020. It will probably be a trading/Sportslot priority for next year, though, and I hope to find the final 20% by next December 31.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Contributors to a Gallery

 I went out looking for Update. This may be shocking to some of you, but I couldn't find it at my local Wal-Mart. I did, however, find some Gallery. Just not this year's. The only option I had for sports cards was a handful of 2019 Topps Gallery fat packs. Since I didn't buy any Gallery last year and I was in the mood to bust a couple of packs, I picked up a few packs.

These are the keepers for my collection. My favorite card here is the Nicholas Castellano Cubs card. The wood parallel and the Heritage inserts are both represented here, both Alex Bregman. I know that a lot of people don't care for Gallery, but I usually like it. One thing I've noticed is the quality of artwork varies, though. Going through these packs, I started to pick up on the artists' styles.

So I decided to present my pulls, grouped together by artist.

These are all by an artist named Kevin Graham. I feel like his portraits were most lifelike. Steven Duggar, in particular, almost looks like a photograph.

This artist is Todd Aaron Smith.

These cards were done by Josh Trout. He seems to prefer portraying in-game action. The Kershaw is a gorgeous card, in my opinion.

These four cards are by an artist named Dan Bergren.

Here is some work by John Giancaspro, who contributed to the Master & Apprentice insert set. Yount and Yelich, by the way? I must have missed something, but I don't think there was ever an apprenticeship relationship between these two. Yelich didn't even come up with the Brewers.

This group of portraits was done by Carlos Cabaleiro. This is probably my least favorite of the artists. A couple of these faces, like Goldschmidt and Andujar, just look off to me. And you can't really see it here, but it looks like Christin Stewart has a giant, white zit right between his eyes. Not my favorite group.

The final artist who contributed to my Gallery purchase was Louise Draper. She also did the Bregman Heritage insert. As far as I can tell, Ms. Draper didn't do any of the base cards, but she got the entire Heritage insert set.

I'm sure this post would have been more interesting if I were an art connoisseur, or even competently versed in some form of art criticism. Instead, I can only tell you that I think my favorite artist was Josh Trout, while I didn't care for Carlos Cabaleiro. Truly, I would rather hear your opinions. Which artist do you prefer, based on the sampling I have provided here? Is there any you don't like as much? Let me know in the comments.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Who's Playing in the Big Leagues? I Am. (And Mike Trout, Too, Apparently.)

My most recent box break was this current year's edition of Topps Big League. I know that everybody has seen this product by now, so I don't feel much of a need or desire to introduce it. So I just want to break down some of the spoils of my box.

I picked up a box way back on National Baseball Card Day, not knowing when I would actually have time to crack it open. I kind of thought of having it available for my birthday, but then that date came and passed with the box still sitting untouched. Last week, I was able to create some down time in my classroom after I had gotten ahead in my lesson plans and my term grades were finalized. With nothing to grade and nothing to plan, I had some time to open my box.

We'll start with some Cubs. I love the images on the Schwarber and Baez cards. I honestly don't know how many of these players will be back on the North Side next year, and I don't want to talk about it. Moving on.

How about we look at some other cards to stay in my collection: these Rookie of the Year winners. I love the Alvarez and Alonso cards, showing them receiving said award that I collect. And I think it's a cool addition to the binder to have Bellinger with the MVP award after beginning his career as the top rookie. It's inspirational for these other players in this photo, I'm sure.

So I started to gather together all of the All-Star MVP award winners, and I noticed something. In this photo there are no fewer than 5 Mike Trout cards. One of them is an orange parallel, but it is unique from the others, so there are at least 5 Mike Trout cards in the base set of this year's Big League. Three of them are Award Winners, which to me is an argument against having a subset featuring the award winners from the previous year. I don't know how many League Leader cards he appears on, but this one player seems over-represented in this set, even if he is the face of the game.

Each pack included an orange parallel. All of these cards shown are available for trade, so I tried to choose some that might attract interest. Tom, do you need this Vogelmonster?


I beat the odds and pulled a different parallel, too. This Tommy La Stella Rainbow Foil is numbered to 100. Also available for trade.

Fun inserts are part of Big League's MO. There were three insert sets that I liked this year. As of now, I'm tentatively putting them on my wantlist to try and build them. Even though I may be ambivalent about bat flips, I kind of like these cards, so it might be fun to complete it.

While I have a take-it-or-leave-it attitude about bat flips, I am a fan of defensive wizardry. These cards have a weird mix of basic blah, heavy-border design and fancy CG work. Right now I think I like them and will probably chase this set down, but I may change my mind later. With 2 Astros and a Yankee, I'm off to an unpopular start to this set.

As far as designs go, the Roll Call is probably my favorite insert of Big League this year. For that reason alone, I plan to collect this set. The downside is that it is a bigger set than the other two and there are no Cubs. Also, I don't think I understand the meaning of the Roll Call. But it sure is appealing to the eye.

Caricatures are a staple insert of Big League, but I don't care for them. I definitely am not going to collect this set, and all of these cards are available for trade.

This year, I'm not building the Big League base set, so I have some trade bait for anybody who is. Here is my tradelist for the set, courtesy of my TCDB account. If I can help you with your own set build or team collection, just let me know.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Some Great Cards Arrived in My Mailbox (If I Could Only Remember From Where)

 It's time I posted a few mail days that have been sitting in my folder for a while. All of these came from bloggers, who are still my favorite people to exchange cards with.

We'll start with one of my oldest trading partners, Matt of Sports Card Collectors. He sent a double PWE my way some Cubs that I didn't have. He eschewed any base cards in these envelopes. The only base he sent my way was a shiny Elite Anthony Rizzo. I have to admit, this particular Panini offering doesn't look too bad. I'm glad to add the trio of Rizzos here. Jose Quintana is a Rainbow Foil parallel, though it is hard to see from the photo. And I have really liked Topps Gallery in recent years.

The rest of Matt's PWEs' contents included more inserts and parallels and featured my current favorite player, Javy Baez. Some great cards here.

Continuing to show Cubs here because I just really want to put them behind me right now. What a season this was. They led the division basically wire-to-wire, but I never truly believed they were going to make it far. Still, I thought they'd at least take the series against the Marlins. Get a game at least, guys! Alas, the unbeatable postseason juggernaut from South Florida was too much to handle. Now I can't help but wonder what happens to the roster and these core young guys who brought home a title not so long ago.

I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I'm not sure who sent these. Kerry, maybe? It's been too long since I received them and too hectic a time for me these past months for me to remember, but I do love the cards. Poor Kyle Schwarber, being drowned in sunflower seeds and water simultaneously, may not love them as much.

Now, these I know came from Kerry. A couple of them came from his free break of Upper Deck Victory, and a couple came from a Free Friday giveaway. I was surprised to see the Casey Hayward auto still there, as the post had been up for a few hours before I viewed it, but I was able to snag the signature of a former Packer.

These cards came from Fuji, who evidently saw my post about my favorite non-sports cards and decided to send me some American history love. I didn't know who George Read was before I received this card, but Fuji's envelope led me to learn a little about him.

These cards came months apart but all courtesy of Jay at Card Hemorrhage. I love the Lineage set and the Rookie Cup of Andre Dawson. The shiny Bowman's Best rookie of Miguel Tejada is a great fit for my All-Star MVP binder, too.

We'll end with another couple of cards that I have forgotten who sent them to me. Once again, I apologize for my disorganization and guppy memory of late. The identity of the sender may have slipped my mind, but this is a pair of unforgettable cards. Shiny, refractory, and star-powered, they are welcome additions to my collection.

A big thanks to SCC, Kerry, Fuji, Jay, and anybody else whose generosity provided content for this post. I promise I can keep better track of my cards' comings and goings now that my collection is out of storage and I'm not transitioning between living spaces.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Somebody Call the Police!

Because there is a team up in Green Bay who is giving everyone they meet a beat-down! 

The Renaissance of Aaron Rodgers has been really fun this year. The offense is putting points on the board like crazy. I know the team took a lot of heat this off-season for not providing Rodgers with more weapons. I admit that I wasn't too enthralled with the Draft Day strategy, but I was actually more worried about picking up a decent linebacker after watching what the Niners did to the D in the playoffs. The team did neither of those things during the draft. Rumor has it that Rodgers himself was none too happy, but I'm hoping that he is starting to "trust the process" a little more after these earlier successes. I hope the team is treating Jordan Love as a long-term project, and they have convinced Aaron that there is no plan to play him at any time in the near future. My mother is a Utah State alum, so I've seen plenty of Jordan Love over his college career and I will attest that he needs a lot of work before he is ready to take the reins of an NFL offense.

Regardless of what the future of this team is, right now they are fun to watch. To commemorate my current excitement level with this team, I want to post about my latest Packers purchase. I recently found a seller on eBay who has a bunch of the Packers Police sets for sale. These are some of my favorite cards of the Pack, even though I didn't have many before. I don't know of many teams that do this type of set as consistently as the Packers do, so this seller had a few different ones to choose from. I would have liked to get some of the sets from the early '80s, but the seller seemed to have priced them at a little more of a premium. Instead, I opted for a four-year run that for me spanned my 8th-11th grade school years.


This team won the Super Bowl. After spending about three years getting my heart broken in the playoffs, I was finally able to see my team bring home a championship. I don't have many Mike Holmgren cards, and this is definitely the first time that Ron Wolf has been added to my collection. I think the same can be said for Earl Dotson and Craig Hentrich. I love that Earl Dotson photo.


And this team lost the Super Bowl. But since this set was printed the year following the victory, the Lombardi Trophy is featured prominently in the set. It even got its own card. If I am to judge the roster by the checklist of these sets, then George Koonce, Wayne Simmons, Keith Jackson, Chris Jacke, and Ken Ruettgers were the keys to the Super Bowl win. They were in the 1996 set but were replaced the following year by Frank Winters, William Henderson, Dorsey Levens, Santana Dotson, and a trophy. That roster then lost the Big Game. Coincidence? I think not. (Actually, I think I would rather have the latter four players on my team than the guys from the year before, but that's just my opinion.)


I think this is my favorite look of the police sets I picked up. There were several newcomers to this set: Bernardo Harris, Adam Timmerman, Ross Verba, Brian Williams, and Tyrone Williams.


When I first saw this set, I thought, They were sure leaning hard into the new Millennium, futuristic design. That was before I noticed the "Into the Millennium" stripe running up the left side of the card. The most notable newcomer in this year's rendition is Coach Ray Rhodes. This is my first Rhodes card. There were two new faces that I'm glad to see (Ryan Longwell and Marco Rivera, who I really loved when they were on the team), one I'm not so happy to see (serial rapist Darren Sharper), and one that I really don't have any feelings for (Vonnie Holliday).

These police sets are some of my favorite oddball cards, so picking them up for a little over $5 shipped apiece was a no-brainer for me. Now let's hope the 2020 Packers squad can keep speeding up the field and assaulting the end zone before the police show up and book 'em all.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

A King's Ransom

I wasn't planning on posting today, but something just happened to make me change my mind.

Today is my birthday and, purely by coincidence, I opened my mailbox to a PWE from Jon of Penny Sleeve Thoughts. This is the note he sent me.

When he did his most recent Free Stuff Giveaway, I mentioned that both of the cards I would have claimed were taken. No big deal; I didn't think anything of it. Well, apparently Jon did, and he thought I needed a consolation. So he sent this little, insignificant thing instead.

What?! A 1952 Bowman! My first one and now the oldest card in my collection. It's even got a little star power, since Ransom "Randy" Johnson was a two-time All-Star for the Cubbies at third base. All this because Jon a) thought I somehow deserved something just for commenting on his post b) is a very generous guy. I can't say, "Thank you," enough, Jon. It was a wonderful birthday surprise.

Here is the back, for those who are interested. Hope you are all having a great day, too.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Reigning on the Diamond

Panini has one good baseball product, I think. I think Donruss looks atrocious year after year. Prizm may be shiny and have cool refractors, but I think it also looks ugly. Logically, the lack of a logo shouldn't make much difference. After all, you're still getting a 2x3 cardboard picture of a baseball player. But the missing logo just seems to detract so much from the card. In the past few years, though, I've found a Panini brand that I have really liked. I haven't had much chance to break a lot of Diamond Kings, but every time I do, I have a lot of fun with it.


Over the summer, I found a hobby box on eBay for a price I liked, so I picked it up. I knew full well that I would have no time to crack it open for a while, but I thought it would be fun to have something to bust open when things settled. Indeed, we were already packing for a move when I received the box, so I had to pack it away immediately without a glance. We spent a few weeks after the move living with my parents while we renovated, and most things remained in boxes in the garage after we did move in while we figured out where to put things. It was only recently that I could get to my cards. This past week, I got around to discovering the contents of this box. I don't often post box breaks in this format, but I kind of wanted to show how the entire break went, so here is a pack-by-pack look at a 2020 Diamond Kings hobby box.

Pack 1: 

The box started out fast, with 2 inserts and our first hit. Despite the auto, the highlight for me is the fact that both of my inserts in this pack are guys I collect. I have to admit, I had to look up Mauricio Dubon because I had never heard of him. It turns out he was the Giants' primary starter at CF this year, hitting .285/.342/.365. Obviously, he's not a power hitter, but an auto of a player who has established himself as a starter, at least, is better than many autos I could pull.

Pack 2:

Wow, really bad photo here; I apologize. I got another Yordan Alvarez to add to my ROY binder and the Cubs' top rookie to chase on cardboard this season, Nico Hoerner. The DK Original insert looks really nice, and as I look at the checklist, I think I pulled one of the best players that I could have in Ted Williams.

Pack 3:

The second blurry photo in a row. Again, I'm sorry. I promise that the rest of the pics will be better. Another Cubs rookie makes an appearance here, along with three chase cards. The gray-framed Mookie is my first Mookie as a Dodger. I like pulling the Wagner, and I like the theme of The 3000 set, but I'm not overly in love with the design. I do love the All-Time Diamond Kings set, though. It's reminiscent of the 1992-93 sets, which are probably my favorite Diamond Kings. I'm holding on to Dustin May as a possible Rookie of the Year candidate.

Pack 4:

This pack is rife with Hall of Famers: Thomas, Alston, and Elston (Howard). Harvey Kuenn and Ohtani are keepers for my ROY collection, and of course, I love Javy Baez. Jose Ramirez is leading the AL in WAR (and apparently, the number should be higher) and is a short print.

Pack 5:

A couple more Hall of Famers show up here, but Clemente is probably the only keeper for me. My first Gallery of Stars insert is Vlad Jr. I like the look of this set more than The 3000. Donnie Walton is my second SP of the box, but I have no idea who he is. Oh, look! He has a -0.2 WAR for the year (and maybe should be lower? I don't know.).

Pack 6: 

Another All-Time Diamond King here. This is my first look at the DK 206 inserts. I don't like them. I get they're going for a certain look here and the modern players are being portrayed in old-timey uniforms for a reason. But I can only vaguely tell that's Ken Griffey, Jr. Is that a shadow on his jaw, or did they give him a beard? It just doesn't look right to me.

Pack 7: 

Two Ken Griffey inserts in a row! The Artist's Palette insert set sure is colorful and interesting. Add in Kershaw, Ruth, and KB? Already I'm calling this pack a success. Then we can throw in Kyle Lewis, who is the odds-on favorite to win AL Rookie of the Year. This is an SP, to boot. 

Pack 8:

My second Framed Gray card is a definite keeper for me. Another DK 206 card, and this one is a little better. I'm still not a huge fan, though. At least I can see that being Mookie Betts a little better. Here's something interesting. Back in Pack 3, I pulled Framed Mookie.  I mentioned it was my first card of him as a Dodger. Notice here that he is portrayed with Boston. Same player. Same year. Same brand. Different teams. Interesting, no?

Pack 9:

Two more Cubs for me here: base Anthony Rizzo and another colorful Artist's Palette Baez. That makes two Artist's Palette cards and both are players I would have hand-picked to be in my box. Not too bad. Luis Robert, another of this year's rookie to chase, is a nice pull. Mauricio Dubon makes another appearance, in SP form.

We're heading into the last quarter of the box. The second hit of the box has yet to be seen.

Pack 10:

Whoop! And there it is. A quad relic of Tony Gwynn! I'm not one to chase relics, but I think I'm going to hold on to a card with a late legend. There's even a pinstripe. This is a great hit, in my book. I also want to take a moment to notice that this is also a Stan Musial hot pack. But I would like to point out that The 3000 appears to be essentially a parallel of the base. But Tony Gwynn hit!

Pack 11:

We follow up the hit with another good pull, a Gallery of Stars of Ronald Acuna. There's another SP here, this time of Randy Arozarena. This is another player I'm unfamiliar with, but his numbers on Baseball Reference seem like he's a good young player in the making.

Pack 12:

The last pack will wrap this box up with a bunch of Hall of Famers. Mathewson, Alexander, Suttles, Ashburn, Mantle, and Musial are all enshrined in Cooperstown. Pete Alonso is a ROY need. So even though I don't collect most of these HOFers, I can't argue with these cards. Richie Ashburn is a rarer Plum Frame parallel of the All-Time Diamond Kings insert, so that's a pretty nice pull.

Here's a quick summation:

96 Total Cards

  • 67 base cards
  • 6 SPs
  • 2 Gray Framed
  • 6 All-Time Diamond Kings
  • 1 Plum Framed All-Time Diamond Kings 
  • 3 DK 206
  • 2 Artist's Palette
  • 2 Gallery of Stars
  • 2 The 3000
  • 1 In the Zone
  • 1 Aficionado
  • 1 DK Original
  • 1 Auto
  • 1 Quad Relic

I'm not going to build this set, so I have some trade bait available. I thought many of the inserts were interesting, but the bright colored theme kind of made them all blur together to me. As a result, I think I may only chase one insert set: the more subdued, but beautiful DK Originals. I'm also considering the Aficionado set as a possible set-build. Of course, I would go for the sets that gave me the worst head start, but I like them best. I don't know that I'll chase the All-Time Diamond Kings set, but I sure do like it.

For under $70 shipped, this was certainly a great box for me. I had a lot of fun with it. I really think I hit well on the inserts, as most of the subjects of those cards are guys that will fit well in my collection. Baez, Rizzo, Griffey, Ripken, Acuna, Ohtani--I don't know that I could have chosen any better myself. Overall, a successful break for me.