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.