Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Rookie of the Year on Baseball Card Day

This is a somewhat timely post. Sure, National Baseball Card Day (or, "International Trading Card Day") was all the way back in August. I picked up my free pack of cards way back then and never posted anything about it. But it's still timely today because one of my pulls was a guy who was recently honored with an MLB "Major Award."

A Major Award: the soft glow of electric hardball in the window

That major award was American League Rookie of the Year. The player is Julio Rodriguez.

This is my only J-Rod so far. I'm using it in this post to welcome him and NL ROY Michael Harris to my Rookie of the Year collection. I don't have any cardboard of Harris, yet. I'll be interested to see how their careers go from here. Documenting the career trajectory of these players is my reason for this little collection. For example, what will become of Cody Bellinger and Aaron Judge, who both won the Rookie of the Year award in 2017, subsequently took home MVP awards, and are now currently free agents? Their careers seem to be going in opposite directions of late. I'm rooting for them, as I am for Rodriguez and Harris.

As for International Card Day, here was an interesting incident. I picked up the thin, clear cellophane pack and saw the Topps promo card had a weird scalloped edge on it. I thought it was kind of odd, but didn't think too hard about it. Then I opened up the pack and saw this.


Notice the top of each card. It appears that the machine that crimped and sealed the packages caught the entire stack of cards in this pack. (Which also includes former ROYs Carlos Correa and Mike Trout). 

This photo courtesy of TCDB

The owner of the LCS also saw this and provided me with another pack, which contained the Julio Rodriguez card. I didn't scan the rest of it, though. The highlight of that pack was my first card of Corey Seager as a Ranger, adding that piece to my collection as I continue to document the career path of yet another former Rookie of the Year.

I may be a few months late in celebrating our little hobby's holiday but as the major holidays approach, I'm right on time recognizing the latest player to be added to my PC. Now I just need to get on track with my Rookie of the Year spotlight posts.

Friday, November 18, 2022

2021 Donruss Jumbo Pack Box

I went on a dry spell without making any purchases for about 3 months. I was saving up some change to a certain amount, then I started buying a bunch of stuff that I needed. In the past few weeks, I've tried to fill set needs. I've tried to hit project and mini-collection needs. I've pursued some new BYU players that I needed to add. Part of what I "needed" was the fun of busting some packs. I found a good deal on a couple of boxes to scratch my itch.



One of those two boxes is 2021 Topps Big League. I haven't touched that one yet. But a fat pack box of last year's Donruss football has already been finished off. I chose this one because I was thinking I needed to complete a 2021 set still. However, after I bought the box, I remembered I already had a complete 2021 Prestige set in my possession. Oh well, I still wanted to bust a box and we'll see if I get close enough to this set to go after it.

Let me me walk you through a typical pack.

Each pack contained 18 veteran base cards. You can see from this pack, there are a handful of legends in the checklist.

There are three rookies in each pack. This particular pack didn't include any spectacular names. There are 50 photo variations in the set. Each variation is just a helmetless shot.

Finally, each pack brought four Press Proof Blue parallels and one insert. This was fairly consistent throughout the box. (Four packs had 3 variations replaced with base cards.) Collation was good; I pulled no dupes. Which, if you do the math, you can already figure out what I ended up with: 220/250 veteran base, 36/100 rookies, 44/50 variations, 48 Press Proof, and 12 inserts.

Moving on from a pack breakdown, we'll see an overview of the entire box.

A Pack hot pack.

 

 This was an interesting pack. I ripped it and saw a Nick Chubb Dominators as the insert.

Then pulled the cards out of the pack, flipped them to the front, and found Nick Chubb's base card on the top.

Oddly, there are two Tom Brady base cards. These are not variations of each other. Buccaneer Brady is #1 in the set. Patriot Brady is #2 in the set. It's like the Patriots used Tom Brady as their legend on the checklist, despite the fact that he had a current card with his active team!

I didn't pull any of the bigger rookies, like Justin Fields or Trevor Lawrence. Or Zach Wilson, which I would have liked best. But here are the best of the rookies in the box. Micah Parsons is already on the threshold of superstardom. Amon-Ra St. Brown has been a beast this year. Davis Mills has been surprisingly reliable for the Texans. Rhamondre Stevenson, Travis Etienne, and DeVonta Smith are pretty solid.

There are far too many masks in the variations. I don't like the reminder, but I guess it will make an interesting historical note in later years for this set. This box got me so close to completion that I decided I'll make a run for the complete base set: vets, rookies, and variations all.

Of all the Blue parallels, these are the ones I am going to keep.

Any other Press Proofs are up for trade. These are the most notable. I pulled both versions of Jonathan Taylor. There are a few interesting rookies here. Rashawn Slater was named #78 in the NFL Top 100 by his peers after just his rookie season. Sam Ehlinger was briefly the starter in Indy this year. And Javonte Williams was playing pretty well before he went down for the season.

Of the 12 inserts in the box, there were four that will slide into my collection. Elite Series may be shiniest, but only one of the designs is really appealing to me: the simpler Inducted set.

I don't necessarily plan to keep all of these inserts. There are some pretty decent cards here, though. Jaylen Waddle and Ja'Marr Chase are young studs at receiver, and there are three between the two of them here. Nick Chubb and Lamar Jackson are two of the best at their positions. The Rondale Moore card is interesting. In the scan, it looks like just a base card, except for the "Rated Rookie" in gold foil stamping. But it's a "Rookie Portrait" insert and the card has a canvas feel to it.

Even though it's not the coolest product out there, I had a blast opening packs for the first time since my annual Opening Day break back in March. As a bonus, there were no collation issues, so I was able to come within 30 base, 64 rookies, and six SPs of a complete set. So I'm going for it. If you have any 2021 Donruss, here is my wantlist. Let's deal!

Monday, October 31, 2022

All-Star Hunting at BaseballCardStore.ca

I've hardly purchased any cards since school started. I've pulled off a handful of TCDB trades, but I really haven't had many cards added to my collection for quite a while. So when I received a package this week, I was excited to be able to show it.


I'll get to the larger purpose of my purchase in a second. First, I sought out some All-Star MVPs that still had open slots on their pages in my binder. I like all of those Michael Young cards. I think since I was not even aware that baseball cards were even still being printed during my collecting hiatus, cards from the 00s always feel fresh to me.


I don't know why I decided I needed so many Bob Horners for my Rookie of the Year collection. It turned out that I only needed one, but I apparently found the need to add many of them to my cart. That one in the middle has to be one of the most unflattering cards I've seen, even if they are celebrating a notable achievement.

But most of my purchase revolved around finding cards I wanted to add to my All-Star Project. Believe it or not, every player you are about to see in the next 8 scans was an All-Star at some point in his career. There were a lot of these cards that I liked, so I'll just share the scans and my favorite card in each one. The cards are all in alphabetical order, ready to go into my All-Star monster box.
 
8 cards, 7 different years. I think my favorite here is the Certified Cuts Morgan Ensberg.

I like the double dip Kendrick. I like the bunting practice from LeFlore. But there is something about the Larry Gura that really appeals to me. It's my favorite of this bunch. 

I think the card that stands out to me the most is Dennis Martinez. It's so close up that his body takes up most of the frame. The rest are a bit "blah."
Magglio Ordonez on SPx is my favorite card in this scan. Biff Pocoroba is someone I've never heard of before. His sole All-Star appearance came in 1978. His full name is Biff Benedict Pocoroba, according to Baseball-Reference.com. He's one of a number of guys in this purchase that are completely unfamiliar to me.
Best card here is J.R. Richards. Even without much frame of reference, you can tell this dude is 6'8 from this photo.
I really like the Manny Sanguillen with his glove on his bat--just like I did it on my bike when I was a kid. But the SP Authentic Grady Sizemore, pushing off the wall on the Geico ad takes the cake for me here. What a great card that is.
Robby Thompson's double play turn is good. Andy Van Slyke's helmetless dive into the base is better.
There are some really great cards here. I love Jack Wilson turning two on Tatooine. Tony Womack going in headfirst. The Kevin Youkilis Signature Stars card just comes together perfectly. But I can't crown any other card as the best in this scan--a bunting shot on a McDonald's MVP oddball reigns supreme. 

How many of these All-Stars bring back memories to you? How many had you completely forgotten? How many have you never heard of? Or who surprises you that they were ever an All-Star at all? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Holographic MVPs

Without looking it up, can you name the AL and NL MVPs from 1991? I'll give you three seconds.

3






2






1





If you guessed--or remembered--Cal Ripken and Terry Pendleton, you are correct. I bring this up because I recently stumbled onto an all-holograph set from Upper Deck.


I didn't even know of this set's existence before I found it on eBay. As I've mentioned in a few of my most recent posts, I spent the summer with overproduced era sets, trying to complete one set per year since I started collecting. For 1992, I chose Fleer. Unpopular, I know, but I still don't regret that decision. But as I waded through my junk wax cards, I became really fond of 1992 Upper Deck and its fun, unique photos on both sides of the cards. I jumped onto eBay to explore the cost of a factory set and found 1992 Upper Deck Team MVP sets for sale. 

 


I still don't know how it was distributed, but I learned they were EXTREMELY RARE. Yes, ONLY 214,000 were made. My CoA says this is #143886/214000. I put in a bid and ended up winning for about $3 plus shipping. Then it took forever. I waited for three weeks after I had received a tracking number before checking up and finding that the tracking number had never been received by USPS. I contacted the seller who said he had gotten sick and would mail my package the next day. About five days later, USPS marked the package as having entered transit.

The set has 54 cards--two for each team and one each for the league MVPs. Each team is represented by its top pitcher and top position player. Many big names--from Nolan Ryan at the end of his career to Jeff Bagwell at the beginning of his--are featured in the set.

 

But do you remember these guys? These are the stars that Montreal, California, Detroit, Houston, New York, and Milwaukee had to offer. I bet those Bill Wegman vs. Luis Polonia matchups were instant AL classics in 1991.

It's a pretty cool set and I'm glad I found it (cheap). I'm still debating whether/when to add 1992 Upper Deck baseball to my wantlists, but in the meantime, I'll be mesmerized by turning a set of 54 holographic cards around in the light.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Fantasy Football Kickoff, 2022

Already this year, our workplace fantasy league (which is the one that counts to me) is less exciting. A couple of years ago, our school split. We managed to keep some of the teachers who went to the new school in the league last year, but they started their own faculty league this year. So I went on the recruiting trail for some new players this year. I found a few enthusiastic new players and thought the league was set. Then we ran into a hiccup: we've always used Yahoo! as our platform, but our district's new filter blocked Yahoo! fantasy sports. We typically draft together after school, but we couldn't do it on Yahoo! this year. So I had to switch the league over to ESPN. However, when faced with the prospect of having to create an account on a new system, three of our lukewarm players dropped out. So instead of a 12-team league, which I love, we have a less-than-ideal nine-team league. That's disappointing to me. On the flip side, the nine players we have are pretty much all-in. There shouldn't be any cupcake victories because somebody left their three players who are on IR in the starting lineup because they haven't logged in since Draft Day.

Since the NFL kicks off tonight, let's have our annual look at Trevor P's Myopic Chihuahuas. All cards are in my collection

2021 Wild Card Matte - Retail Black #MBC6 Trey Lance Front
QB: Trey Lance, San Francisco

Not the QB I wanted. But we had one player who drafted all of the QBs. I'm not sure why. I think he missed out on all the running backs, so he drafted Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, and Lamar Jackson instead, thinking he could flip one for a decent running back. So in a nine-team league, I somehow ended up with the projected QB11. I've yet to decide if I'll bite on a QB trade.

2021 Panini Prestige - Youth Movement #YM-3 D'Andre Swift Front
RB1: D'Andre Swift, Detroit
 
I believe in D'Andre Swift. I think he'll have a good year. But I can't say that drafting any Lion running back as a starter doesn't give me pause. Still, he was my biggest target going into the draft, and I came away with him, so I can't complain.

2021 Panini Playoff - Kickoff #215 Javonte Williams Front 
RB2: Javonte Williams, Denver
 
I also believe Williams will take a firm hold on the RB1 spot for the Broncos, rendering Melvin Gordon irrelevant. Russell Wilson will loosen defenses up like Mile High hasn't seen since Peyton Manning, and Williams will have room to run. That's how I envision this going, at least.

2021 Panini Prestige #212 Ja'Marr Chase Front 
WR1: Ja'Marr Chase, Cincinnati
 
Actually, Swift wasn't my #1 target. This guy was. I was happy to get him. But this is why my roster makes me nervous: this is the third player in four slots that is entering his second season. And I have more in my FLEX and bench spots. For some reason, those players looked attractive to me this season over more established vets. Chase was huge last year. He will be again this year. But I'm relying on a boom-or-bust breakout strategy.
 
2021 Panini Absolute - Green #37 Stefon Diggs Front 
 
WR2: Stefon Diggs, Buffalo
 
I ended up with Diggs last year, too. I didn't intend to go after him this year, but he fell to me for just $3 more than I had budgeted for my second receiver slot. Given that I was also projecting the other guy I was targeting to have a breakout year, I pulled the trigger on the higher ranked, more proven commodity. 

2018 Donruss #387 Dalton Schultz Front
TE: Dalton Schultz, Dallas
Tight end is always my Achilles' heel. I tried to fix that by going hard after Kyle Pitts, whom I think I will have a monster year with Marcus Mariota at quarterback and no proven play-makers on the outside. But I wasn't the only one going after Pitts, apparently, and he ended up being too rich for my blood. I'm high on Shultz, though. I had him ranked as the TE4, ahead of Darren Waller and George Kittle. It's a big drop-off from the Kelce, Andrews, Pitts tier, but I think my fellow Utahn will serve me well.

2020 Panini Mosaic #226 AJ Dillon Front

FLEX1: A.J. Dillon, Green Bay

Maybe this was a homer pick of me, but I don't think so. Dillon has been great since the Pack drafted him. I know he's behind Aaron Jones, but he still got plenty of playing time last year and made the most of it. I expect even more evenness in the backfield this year, and I think Dillon will roll.

2021 Panini Prestige #215 Rashod Bateman Front

FLEX2: Rashod Bateman, Baltimore

In this league, we play two FLEX with no kickers. It's more fun that way. Here is yet another second-year player I'm counting on to take the leap. He's now WR1 in Baltimore, so that's positive. We all know that WR1 in Baltimore doesn't equate to huge volume, however. I think he'll be solid as my third wideout, though.

2015 Topps Platinum #81 Lavonte David Front
Defense: Tampa Bay

I tend to stream my defenses, but this year I anticipate keeping the Bucs for a while.

Bench:
RB: Chase Edmonds, Miami
RB: Dameon Pierce, Houston
RB: Tyler Allgeier, Atlanta
WR: Allen Lazard, Green Bay
WR: Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit
WR: Christian Kirk, Jacksonville
 
My bench is filled out with rookie running back stashes that I think will see a lot of volume by season's end (Pierce and Allgeier) and receivers who may be weak options, but are at least the top guy for their teams (all three--Lazard, St. Brown, and Kirk). I'm hoping that a couple of these guys pay off as they become "The Man" for their teams.

My draft went mostly according to plan. The only major regret I have is not getting Rashaad Penny. He was big for the last few weeks last season, and with nobody else currently in the backfield, I thought he'd be able to pick up again where he left off. So I nominated him late in the draft. It took everybody else in the room by surprise and one guy looked at me and asked, "Do you seriously want him?" I made the mistake of answering truthfully and set one other player after him. In the end, he had more money to spend and I missed out. My other doubt is that I had wanted Derek Carr as my QB before I knew we were down to a nine-team league. With nine teams, though, I figured I could do better. After I failed to get any top-tier QB, I had the chance to get Carr according to my original plan. But I second-guessed that idea and opted for possible rushing yardage from Trey Lance. Now I think I may want that one back. We'll see. 
 
It's rare that I can budget and build a dream line-up before a draft and basically see it come to fruition. I had to make very few in-game adjustments. So if this season doesn't work out, I'll know it was a faulty game plan from the beginning.

What are your thoughts? How does this team look to you? How does it stack up against yours? Are you ready for some football?

One last thing--none of us are too satisfied with the ESPN platform so far. I decided to try the NFL.com site with a team, just to test it out for next season. I signed up for a custom public league with a salary cap draft. When I signed up, I noticed that the commissioner had set the budget for $700 instead of the customary $200. I tried to adjust my position budgets accordingly, but when the draft started, I found that all of the teams but one were on autodraft. The result was that the bots typically drafted according to preset budget estimates based on $200 while I was free to go as high as I wanted. I missed 45 minutes of the draft and still ended up with this lineup:

QB: Joe Burrow (Proj. QB8)
RB: Joe Mixon (Proj. RB5)
RB: Najee Harris (Proj. RB6)
WR: Davante Adams (Proj. WR4)
WR: CeeDee Lamb (Proj. WR5)
TE: Travis Kelce (Proj. TE1)
FLEX: James Conner (Proj. RB14)
K: Justin Tucker (Proj. K1)
DEF: Buffalo (Proj. DEF1)
QB: Dak Prescott 
RB: A.J. Dillon
RB: Devin Singletary
WR: Terry McLaurin
WR: Jerry Jeudy
WR: Rashod Bateman

This league means nothing more than a test of the NFL.com platform, but I am still laughing at how this lineup turned out.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Summer Trading Recap

I haven't been very busy on the blogs for a couple of months. As a reader, I've been having trouble with comments, so most bloggers haven't heard from me for a while. Jon outlined his problem with his comments going to spam, but I have a completely different problem: I can't even leave a comment. On my computer, on my phone, using Chrome, using Firefox, when I click to leave a comment, nothing happens. I can't even bring up the box to type in a comment. So I've been lurking in the shadows of other people's blogs and leaving comments infrequently, when I can.

But my own blog has been pretty silent, too. I haven't had time to do research for some of my series. I've been busy with my collection, but I explained a couple of weeks ago that I've been busy building some junk wax sets. I don't think people are too interested in my chronicling my 1989 Score set build as those cards come. So I have been neglecting my blog this summer. Let's catch up on the cards I added to my collection this year, aside from the bulk junk wax set building lots.
 
Lots of rapid-fire pics and little commentary ahead.
 


Two separate PWE trades from 49ants brought me some 1994 Finest set help and a couple of All-Decade players who do not yet have a full page in my binders. The world needs more Alan Faneca cards.


A trade with stdolan provided an All-Star project need in Hoot Evers, a set build need (Defensive Wizards), and a cool food issue of Billy Williams.



Users jfcard, robschaar, and sqc5193 offered up some more All-Decade players who are somewhat harder to find. The last two Steve Hutchinson cards I needed to fill my binder turned out to be his rookie card and a commemoration of his Hall of Fame induction. It's kind of a poetic pairing.




All of these cards came from OfficerZero, who came through with some more All-Decade players, a couple of Packers, some college uni Heisman winners, and some BYU alumni.

 


More college uni Heisman cards, plus BYU GOAT receiver Austin Collie, a throwback All-Star need, and a pair of ROY adds with Tommy Agee and Herb Score from kee1975. Thesouthpaw got into the fun with a handful of BYU players, another Heisman winner, and some Green and Gold.




Both cory79 (1st pic) and gregman1000 (bottom 2 pics) offered up some more BYU players, a few Cubs, some Rookies of the Year, and some 90s set help. 
 
The oddballs gregman1000 sent me are incredible. This is one of my favorite Ty Detmer cards. It's so unlicensed it even has a disclaimer on the back that says, "Not For Trading." The perforated TCMA Rookie of the Year cards were completely unknown to me.

We'll finish up the BYU-heavy portion with deadhead11's all-Saints trade, featuring three former Cougars (Taysom Hill and Colby Bockwoldt on the Total card) and a need from the Power House set that I'm chasing. Fellow Cougar fan twpjrk hit me up with a trade proposal, saying he needed to find a good home for this Max Hall auto. It's numbered to 25 and I was very happy to take it.

 




Users sfurukawa, andersonadams1, NR78, and nozzlemaster all sent a fun variety from my wantlists.







I traded with two fellow Packer collectors. The first four pictures show my return from bizzork, including stacks of wax needs and a bunch of Packers. The next three are from dmbramer, who traded me a pair of Jordy Nelsons, a rare Kevin Mawae with the Jets, and a handful of former Cougars, most of whom were drafted by the Pack. Also, the Topps Total card says it's Brady Poppinga, but that is actually Al Harris.
 

We'll end this with one of--if not the--biggest trades I've even made on TCDB. I swung a deal with tenlbpain that sent over 200 junk wax cards in either direction. It was glorious. Not one card was older than 1987 and only a couple newer than 1995 (and those were 1996).

I'm not even sure that includes all the TCDB trades I've made this summer. There were a lot. Those trades and the organization of all the incoming cards kept me busy with the hobby, even if I wasn't making any purchases or keeping up the old blog.