Thursday, November 4, 2010
So, point your browsers over to Sports Syzygy and check it out. Please update your links and readers.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
...and suddenly I've got an impressive Jon Lester collection, but that's getting ahead of myself. About a week and a half ago, I received an e-mail from Mojo letting me know that he really wanted my Kobe Bryant Rookie & Stars patch autograph that I had won in the Panini Adrenalyn photography contest. Always one to entertain an offer, I took a look at what he had to offer and what he had to offer was impressive. We exchanged a few e-mails and my end of the trade arrived in the mailbox on Friday. I'll start with some of the extras and work my way up to the meat and potatoes of the trade.
I didn't have any Jon Lester rookies prior to this, so these were welcome additions to my collection. Now I've got a great Jon Lester collection. What's that? These aren't all that impressive. Hmm, there must be something else in this package to prompt that first sentence up there.
Next up is a 2008 Donruss Threads Anthony Rizzo Diamond King. I haven't purchased any of the unlicensed baseball stuff that Donruss/Panini has done since losing their MLB license. So, it is safe to say that this is my first card from this set. This card is serial numbered 7/100.
Rizzo might have been king of the high school diamond, but at the time that this card was produced, he had yet to be crowned king of any minor or major league diamonds. The Donruss crystal Ball was working because he's currently ranked 3rd amongst Red Sox prospects after a season in AA Portland that saw him hit for power, but not much average. He was named the Sea Dogs MVP and the Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year. Jon Lester got all of the press because he was in the majors at the time he battled cancer, but Rizzo defeated cancer himself in 2008.
Here's the Dice-K card from last year's Topps World Baseball Classic redemption cards. The terrible diamond cut on these cards would be a harbinger for many mis-cut, mis-printed, damaged and missing cards to come from Topps in 2010. It's a refractor and it's of a Red Sox player, so I'll take it. Whether or not Matsuzaka is a member of the Red Sox roster when Opening Day rolls around is under a lot of debate. He could be traded to lower salary, but if he's still around he'll easily be the best 5th starter in the league. I'd like to see him stick around.
Next up is a gold Aaron Bates from Topps Unique that's serial numbered 15/25. Bates doesn't currently rank amongst the top Red Sox prospects, but that doesn't take anything away from the coolness of this card. I like the design of the Topps Unique base cards, but I probably won't ever own too many of them unless I go digging through a singles box for them. The packs and boxes cost way too much for me for what you could possibly pull as hits. It was great for those who are only looking at the serial numbers, but a lot of the big hits were ugly looking cards.
Josh Reddick is part of the new crop of youngsters knocking on the door in Boston. We got to see a lot of these youngsters last season due to all of the injuries that plagued the Sox. Two-thirds of the starting outfield spent the majority of the season on the disabled list. Reddick currently ranks 8th in Boston's farm system and is on the 40 man roster.
This green foil parallel from TRISTAR's 2008 Projections set is numbered 16/50. This is a nice looking set. I've purchased a box of the special packs containing only Red Sox Prospects and liked what I saw.
To be honest, I don't even know what set this Carlton Fisk card is from. I thought it might have been All-Time Fan Favorites, but that doesn't appear to be the case. What I do know about the card is that it has Pudge's complete career statistics on the back which is very cool. The card is numbered out of 99 on the back and has the cool old-school Topps logo on the front.
As a Sox fan, you can only ask "What if?" when it comes to Fisk. What if management back then hadn't played games with Fisk's contract negotiations and he remained with the BoSox rather than signing with the ChiSox. For starters, I'd probably have no idea who Rich Gedman was.
Oh, here's another Jon Lester card. Is this the one that lays the ground work for a kick-ass collection? This is a relic card that's numbered to 102 from 2009 Topps Ticket to Stardom. Here's a nice ticket stub from
Fenway Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The ticket has a photo of Ramon Hernandez bunting the A's to victory over the Sox. On a Jon Lester card? This will be interesting to have in the collection in a "Topps really produced shit like this?" kind of way.
Jacoby Ellsbury had a really tough 2010. He missed over 90% of the season, stayed away from the team while rehabbing his injury and ended up alienating fans as well as teammates. He's an amazing talent on the basepaths even if he doesn't get there via walk as often as a lead off hitter should. Here's hoping that he can put a disastrous 2010 behind him and rebound next season.
This card is from 2007 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects and features a jersey swatch from an All-Star Futures game-worn jersey.
On the other hand, Clay Buchholz had a brilliant 2010. He finished with a 17-7 record and 2.33 ERA. If not for an injury that wiped out 3 to 4 starts, Buchholz might also be mentioned as an AL Cy Young Candidate. As it is, I don't see too much difference between his stats and the players that are getting all of the attention. The only thing that Buchholz didn't do was strike out a ton of batters.
Those of you who have been reading the blog for a while are probably sick of me mentioning that I was lucky enough to witness Buchholz no-hitter. Because of that, I've put together a little bit of a Buchholz collection. I've got an Allen & Ginter autograph, this relic card and now just need a Bowman Chrome rookie to complete the trifecta.
Here's another card from 2008 Donruss Threads. This is an autographed Lars Anderson limited to 474 copies. I'm not sold on using the Diamond King name with prospects, but Donruss was probably trying to cash in on the nostalgia of the brand.
Anderson is currently ranked 4th in Boston's farm system and once he's ready for the Majors it will give Boston the flexibility to move Kevin Youkilis back to the hot corner. It can't hurt to have two top prospects at first base and it'll be fun watching to see if Anderson or Rizzo ends up being the first baseman of the future in Boston.
When I started watching basketball, Bill Walton was a member of the Boston Celtics. So, even though I'd later find out that he only spent two years with the team at the end of his career, the fact that I first saw him with the Celtics on a team that would go on to win the 16th Championship makes me always associate him with the Celtics. So, when I saw this card I definitely wanted it in my collection.
Elite was yet another Donruss product that I never purchased any packs of. I got my fill of multi-sport sets in the 90s thanks to Classic. This is a cool card and one of only 100 copies in existence.
This Big Baby card is one that Mojo had let me know about a while ago, but until recently I didn't have anything to send off in order to acquire it. This is actually one of Baby's better looking autographs with the only flaw being that it slips off of the sticker a little at the bottom of the G. This card is the gold version and is numbered to 25 copies.
Davis has been huge so far for the Celtics this season. He is now the first person off of the bench which will be important in order to keep Shaq and Garnett rested for the playoffs. Davis has been playing the center position late in the 4th quarter of games due to Shaq's free throw problems and has been playing well. I wouldn't be surprised if his name came up at the end of the season in 6th Man Award conversations.
Here's the card that I've been teasing throughout this whole post. It's a Jon Lester 2007 Sweet Spot black bat barrel red ink autograph card numbered to 5. This is the type of card that you may not even see for sale let alone have the opportunity to own. So, that card alone lays the groundwork for a great Jon Lester collection that I think I shall now begin. I'll pick up one or two higher end rookies and then a nice looking relic and build from there.
Thanks to Mojo for the great trade. I didn't think I would end up trading the Kobe for a handful of cards, but then again most people don't have a collection full of cards such as these to draw upon.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
I wanted to do a little comparison between the different amounts of refractors that I received out of the three 2010 Topps Chrome products that I opened. Since the "hits" were just about the only cards in my box that weren't damaged, I may as well get as much enjoyment out of them as possible. First up, the box.
It's tough to pass up Chrome for the price it is currently selling for. At $35 a box, you're paying just under $1.50 a pack. That also gives you two rookie autographs per box. Sure, the autographs have a tendency to smear, smudge or get wiped completely off of the card and most of the players are bums, but there are two of them in the box. While most of the time this will mean nothing, there are cards out there of Jason Heyward and Stephen Strasburg to be found.
I only pulled 5 base card refractors with one of those being a blue. Colored refractors are ridiculously tough to pull from this product which I think is another reason why people are having more fun opening blaster boxes. The purples look very cool and are a lot easier to find than the blues. My hobby box did also yield two insert card refractors which may have cut into my refractor total. You should get 8 refractors in each box according to the odds, but even with those two cards added to the total, I was shorted a refractor. Bastards!
Next up is the haul from the blaster box that I opened. Seven packs resulted in six refractors and one Heritage insert card. I was shorted one pack in my blaster. Bastards! There were three basic refractors, two x-fractors (both Yankees, what did I do to deserve that?) and one purple refractor. If the one missing pack had contained a refractor (although odds say that it shouldn't have) then I would have equaled the total number of refractors from my hobby box.
Last, but not least, is the "value" pack. I'm not exactly sure where the value is since you're paying $3 a pack. Yes, you're guaranteed the three orange refractors, but how much is that really worth? The odds say that you should get one other refractor in your three packs, but I got two. I added one more blue refractor to my collection as well as a second Nick Swisher X-fractor. I did alright on my orange refractors. They aren't favorite players or anything, but I did get "rookie" cards of Mike "Lost in the Strasburg hype" Leake and Brennan Boesch.
In a few months, once all is said and done and all of my missing cards are sent to me and all of my damaged cards are replaced, I'll really like 2010 Topps Chrome. That being said, my opinion of the company is severely dependent upon how they handle these requests. If the boxes remain this cheap or drop even lower, I'll probably purchase another box or two to chase the set. So, if anyone has any Chrome you don't want and would like to send them my way, I'm sure that I can find something here to make it worth your while.
I've got to say, if you like refractors then blasters are the way to go. I had a regular, x or purple refractor in every pack except one which had a heritage insert instead. Unfortunately, retail of this product is actually overpriced since dealers are pretty much paying people to take 2010 Chrome off of their hands. You can get this stuff for $1.50 a pack online when you buy it by the box. It's $2.50 a pack by the blaster and $3 a pack (but you can call them 5 cards packs with the orange refractors) in "value" packs.
I've got to go now. I've got an e-mail to send off to Topps.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
I lost my original box break, but here's a recap of what I got:
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Disastrous Box of 2010 Topps Chrome Baseball from Michael Travers on Vimeo.
Friday, October 22, 2010
I read all of the horror stories in regards to 2010 Topps Chrome, but since the prices dropped on boxes after the Strasburg injury I decided to take a shot. I like the cards and all of the autographs are on-card. It seemed like it was going to a great product. Boy was I wrong.
The third and fourth cards in every one of my packs were disasters. Whatever machine makes the indentations on these cards for the outlines around the players was not aligned properly on these cards. It occurred to varying degrees as well. There are severe cards such as the Mike McCoy in the picture and then others such as the Strasburg which I probably wouldn't have noticed if the other cards weren't so bad.
I don't know how anyone could enjoy opening a box such as this one. It became more of a chore than anything else. So, I've sent an e-mail to Topps Support. I think that I'm owed more than just replacements for these cards. Opening a box of cards is about more than just what you get in the box. For me, opening a box of cards is the most fun that I have in this hobby. This box was no fun to open at all. It's not about value either. Check out some of the boxes that I open. I love oddball stuff that's never going to be "worth" anything, but it's got amazing value to me.
So, I've sent off an e-mail to Topps Support and will see what they say. I'm usually a big supporter of Topps Customer Support, but as of late things haven't gone so well. I think that's mostly due to them being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of damaged cards that are being packed out these days. I'm also not sure if the people working in support know much about the cards they are dealing with. That's the only reason I can think of why they would replace a card with an upside down autograph with another card with an upside down autograph.
Stay tuned for updates.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
While this is nice, it really only speeds things up for those missing hits. If you get shorted a hit then you're already screwed. There's no way that you're going to be sent a Strasburg auto or some 1/1 card as a replacement for that shorted hit. So, while you will get the hit you were promised who knows what it might have been.
The main issue is that Topps' quality control has been declining dramatically over the past couple of years. I love opening jumbo boxes, but after seeing the quality of the cards coming out of the last three that I've opened, I'm now hesitant. It sucks having to pick out the best 25 of the damaged cards to send in. Also, the rarer (and better) the card that is damaged, the greater the chances that Topps isn't going to have the exact same card available as a replacement. So collectors lose out again. I'm still annoyed about a great Dwyane Wade autographed mini that I pulled out of a rip card in terrible condition. I still don't feel like I got enough in return for the card, but no one in customer service could get solid numbers on the print run of the card (which I felt was a 1/1). I later read about other collectors getting replacement product while still getting to keep their damaged card and got even more annoyed.
So, kudos on making things easier, but the only way to solve this problem is to improve quality control. Until then, too many collectors will get screwed out of what the deserve.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Other than that, I've got around 26 wax boxes on the way thanks to cashing out some vacation time. I think I may try out the iSight cam on the new iMac and try some video box breaks especially on the smaller boxes. Until then, I'd be interested in some guesses as to what you think I might be getting. Some is old and some is new. Some is stuff that I've busted before in the same type of box and some are retail versions of boxes that I've already busted, but am now trying to finish off the sets. I'll take a look at the guesses and who knows what may happen after the breaks are done. I don't want to announce a formal contest since I'm still getting everything together up here, but I'll definitely be sending some stuff out to the regular readers out there who have stuck around with little new content being written.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
For some reason, this scheduled post didn’t get posted on Saturday so I’m posting it now. Just imagine that you’re reading it on Saturday.
Today is my 35th birthday. For the past 9 years, it really hasn’t been the best day for celebrating. In fact, I often get a sympathetic reaction just from telling someone my birthday when they are taking down my information. That being said, I will be out having a good time tomorrow with the family.
Thanks to everyone still reading the sporadic posts here. It’s been one issue after another this past summer keeping me from posting regularly. There was the issue of the temperature getting too high to sit up here comfortably. Next year, I’ll have a better air conditioner up here so that won’t be a problem. Then there was the issue of my now 5 year old computer really not cutting it anymore. The hard drive is pretty jam packed, the wireless isn’t so great and it’s about time I upgraded. Luckily, I will have that opportunity soon and this computer will most likely become one that my daughter can use in her playroom. There’s also the ennui that a lot of other bloggers seem to be going through as well. I haven’t been purchasing a lot of cards lately and have lost some interest in writing about the hobby. There hasn’t been a whole lot of new product out there that has interested me. I do have my eyes on some products though and should be able to go on a little bit of a sports card splurge after my trip to Disney at the end of the month.
I do have some good news to write about though. A friend of mine decided that he no longer had the space to store his sports card collection and brought a large Tupperware bin full of cards to me to sort through. There was a lot of great stuff in there that I plan on posting about over the next couple of weeks. So, there’s that.
So, it’s so long Pierce.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Technically, the contest called for a picture of yourself with the bus, but I snapped these pictures as my wife was taking our daughter to the car as it was starting to rain. This stop was before the contest was announced so I was hoping that the judges would be lenient. While I wasn’t anywhere to be found in the picture, I thought that it did a great job of capturing the coolest stop on the Adrenalyn Tour, the Basketball Hall of Fame. So, I submitted the picture, waited and ended up being selected the winner of the contest.
The really cool thing about this prize was how it was shipped. They didn’t just take the card, throw it in an envelope and ship it off. This card came in a special box worthy of their big name exclusive.
Upon opening the box, this is what I saw. This is a 2009-10 Panini Rookies & Stars Kobe Bryant patch autograph. If you’re not going to get an on-card autograph, this is by far the next best thing. The athlete touched the jersey swatch and it looks a hell of a lot better than a sticker, especially the gaudy silver ones.
Here’s a look at the back of the card. The serial number is 128/199. While I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of Kobe, you can’t deny his place in basketball history and now that LeBron ran off to Miami with his tail between his legs, Kobe is certain to be the best player of this generation. It’s kind of cool to have an autograph of a player of that caliber. That being said, if anyone out there had the patch autograph cards from Timeless Treasures of someone like Bill Russell or Larry Bird I definitely think that a trade could be arranged.
Thanks again Panini for an awesome prize!
A friend of mine made a trip out to California and while he was out there made his way to a Giants game. Upon entering the park, he was given a pack of these trading cards. I had no clue what the cards were at first, but as I did more research, I found out that they were pretty cool.
You can find out all of the details here on the Levi's Workshops blog. What stood out for me was the lack of statistics on the back of these cards. Instead of stars, you’ll find out what the player’s favorite charity is. Also, the cards were produced by Shepard Fairey’s Studio Number One. Fairey started getting popular while attending the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and Boston was one of the first places that both the “Andre the Giant has a posse” and “Obey Giant” stickers started popping up. Fairey had his first art museum exhibition here in Boston at the Institute of Contemporary Art (and was arrested at the premiere for outstanding warrants related to graffiti.) You can even find his Obey stickers in Punk Farm, a book by one of my favorite children’s authors, Jarrett J. Krosoczka a fellow RISD graduate. Krosoczka also used a slightly altered version of the image as promotional stickers for the book.
I’m getting off track here, but what I’m trying to say is that I’ve become a fan of Fairey and his art over the years. Everyone now knows the iconic Obama poster that he created and I own a Hurley “Dude” t-shirt that copies that style.
These cards give you a good idea of what can happen when talented designers work on cards. These cards have a vintage feel without exactly copying a design from an old set. I really wish that this design had been used for a mainstream set because it’s that good.
Not only is it a good looking set, but it is also a fun set. I’ve always thought that mascot cards were fun and should be included in sets, but that’s rarely the case these days. You might find them in kids sets, but that’s about it. Here we’ve got a card of Lou Seal. Before opening this pack, I had no clue that Lou Seal was the mascot of the San Francisco Giants which is exactly why we need more mascot cards in sets.
If you flip the card over you will see that Lou’s favorite charity is The Marine Mammal Center. You can read all about the mission of The Marine Mammal Center and find out some facts about the organization.
Now that you’ve all seen the card design, am I alone in thinking that these are great looking cards? There’s nothing flashy, but they’re still great looking cards. One interesting thing you’ll notice on these cards is that the player’s jersey number appears on both the front and the back. The pictures are black and white, but that ties into the whole silk-screening workshop that these are promoting. The only colors that you’ll find on these cards are red and various shades of black.
Lou Seal isn’t the only animal that can be found in these packs, there are Pandas to be found as well. While Sandoval hasn’t replicated his outstanding 2009 season, his 2010 campaign hasn’t been terrible and he’s young enough that he’s got plenty of time to bounce back.
This set doesn’t just contain current players though. You can also find cards of a few of the all-time great Giants players.
Will “The Thrill” is definitely one of the better cards in the set as is Willie McCovey. Check out the rest of the set, including the Junior Giants cards, below.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Back in April, I wrote a post about a fantasy baseball league I had joined which was a lot different than anything out there. The reason that I joined was that it was almost identical to a league that I used to be a member of through the mail in high school. I just read a tweet from @benchwarmerBB stating that there would be an August special coming up that would allow new owners to play in 2011 for free. It’s a great way to test the waters and see if this is something that you’d be interested in. I’ll keep people up to date and depending on the details of the promotion, maybe we can get all of the bloggers in a league together. I’d be willing to draft a second team to participate. Check out the league’s site, check out my original post and if you think this might satisfy the baseball guru in you then let me know.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
From the moment that I started watching the Red Sox, Dwight Evans was my favorite player. He is one of the most underrated players in the history of the game. If only he had discovered the teachings of Walt Hriniak earlier in his career instead of halfway through the 1980 season, he may have gotten more consideration when it came to the Hall of Fame.
While Jim Rice had a couple of career years better than any that Evans put up, Evans had a better overall career and that’s without considering Evans’ far superior defense. Rice is in the Hall of Fame, but Evans is not. Ozzie Smith is in the Hall of Fame mostly for defense and some stolen bases. Evans is a more deserving candidate than Smith was, but Smith had the one or two big career years to get himself into the minds of fans. The biggest thing that hurt Evans’ consideration for the Hall was not having that one monster season. He was well on his way to that in 1981 when the strike stopped play in the middle of the season. Evans couldn’t get back on track once play resumed. Even with doing almost nothing in the second half, Evans finished third in the MVP voting. No one in the American League hit more home runs during the 80s than Evans and he was fourth in all of baseball. He led the league in walks and OPS (long before anyone knew what it was) multiple times, but those aren’t flashy categories. Without the strike, there’s a good chance that Evans tops 400 HR and 1400 RBI for his career and gets a longer look by Hall of Fame voters.
Dewey had a cannon for an arm, was amazingly accurate when throwing home and mastered all of the angles in Fenway Park’s right field corner. His eight gold gloves are the most in the history of the Red Sox and only three outfielders have more than he does: Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente and Al Kaline.
Most of the time it is easy to accept the fact that Dwight Evans won’t ever be in the Hall of Fame, but it gets harder to accept when players such as Andre Dawson, Ozzie Smith and Jim Rice get inducted. Evans is better than Rice, very similar to Dawson and better than Ozzie (who absolutely shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame if Alan Trammel isn’t).
On to the card at hand, 1973 Topps #614. This card pictures Dwight Evans along with Al Bumbry and Charlie Spikes. Bumbry was the ‘73 Rookie of the Year and would later go on to be a coach for the Red Sox. I miss having multiple rookies on one card. It allowed Topps to include more players from each team’s roster in the setand resulted in fewer cards of guys who only had a couple of at-bats and never saw big league playing time again.
This particular copy of this card isn’t in the greatest of shape, but I purchased it with my own money back in the late-80s at a collectibles show at the Bayside Expo Center. This copy will always have a special place in my collection even if I pick up better copies of the card. I’ve got Sweet Spot cards signed on leather, Sweet Spot cards signed on a ball, Leaf cards signed with baseball stamps and a bunch of other cool modern cards, but none of those will ever come close to this card. This card has been in my collection for over 20 years. The only thing that could have come remotely close to this card would have been Dewey Dufex, but unfortunately he retired before Pinnacle unveiled the coolest parallels ever.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Since I have half of the set from my jumbo box and I like the set, I may as well try and complete it. I’ve managed to pick up 5 duplicates from packs and so I’m offering them up to anyone out there who may have the cards that I need. My duplicates are T5 Justin Upton, T11 Joe Mauer, T14 Ubaldo Jimenez, T13 Andrew McCutchen and T20 Matt Kemp. I need T1 Ryan Braun, T2 Gordon Beckham, T4 David Price, T6 Hunter Pence, T7 Ryan Howard, T8 Buster Posey, T10 Evan Longoria, T15 Pablo Sandoval, T16 David Wright and T18 Clayton Kershaw. I’ll also take trades for these cards for other stuff from my collection if you aren’t chasing this set at the moment. I’m sure I can find something that you’ll like. Drop me a line if you can help me out.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
A few months ago, my daughter won a contest on the Upper Deck Facebook page. We sent in a picture that she had drawn of mom on a baseball card for the contest and she was randomly picked as a winner. The prize was a box of 2009 Signature Stars Baseball. We opened the box together, but she lost interest about halfway through. She showed a lot more interest in the Hannah Montana box that she won from Beckett.
Actually, I didn’t show a lot of interest in the box either which is why it never showed up here as a box break. The box promised four signature or memorabilia cards and we pulled five which was cool, but it still wasn’t anything to write home about. We got an autographed card of Joe Nathan, a jersey card of National Team member Cody Buckel, a numbered jersey card of National Team member Kevin Gausman and a numbered, autographed jersey card of National Team member Cory Hahn. Four of the five hits were member of the National Team… yawn.
The last of the five hits became a lot more interesting on June 7th when he was drafted #36 by the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox have had a lot of luck with past supplemental draft picks. Clay Buchholz was compensation for the loss of Pedro Martinez in the 2005 draft. Jacoby Ellsbury was compensation from the Angels for the signing of Orlando Cabrera. (Side note: Most Sox fans ignore these picks when arguing that the Sox should have kept Pedro or Cabrera. Letting both go was the right move at the time and in retrospect.) Future Closer, Daniel Bard was compensation for the Yankees signing Johnny Damon. (Damon was the only big name the Sox let go who has done much of anything after leaving.)
This year’s 20th pick, Kolbrin Vitek, was a compensatory pick for the Braves signing Billy Wagner. This year’s 36th pick, Bryce Brentz, was selected with a pick given for the loss of Jason Bay to the Mets. The 39th pick, Anthony Ranaudo, was compensation for losing Billy Wagner (what the heck were the Mets thinking? Maybe they thought they were getting the other Chris Carter.) Ranaudo has some injury concerns, but if he can regain his form he just may end up being the best of the three.
I actually got to see both Brentz and Vitek play a few weeks ago during the Futures at Fenway. Hopefully it won’t be too long before I see both of them playing in Fenway full time. Until then, I have a new card to add to my Red Sox collection.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
I was a big fan of last year’s Obak set and am very happy to see that it will be returning in 2010. With so many sets doing the same things with the same players over and over again, Obak is a breath of fresh air and a very fun set to collect. The best part of these sets are the cards celebrating the history of baseball. There’s a lot to be learned just reading the backs of these cards.
The Obak set isn’t licensed since Topps has the MiLB exclusive license, but for the best cards in this set it doesn’t really matter if they are licensed or not. For the athletes in the set, if you don’t mind some airbrushing and lack of team names, then you’re going to end up loving this set.
Charles Ebbets is one of the cards that can be found in the Game Changers subset. Other people in the set include Eberhard Anheuser for the beverage of choice during ballgames, George Eastman whose advancements in film helped get pictures of the game to fans and Jefferson Burdick who is known for The American Card Catalog which became the standard for identifying and organizing trading cards produced before 1951.
History’s Greatest Players includes Roger Clemens, Andre Dawson, Hank Greenberg, Dale Murphy and Cal Ripken Jr bringing some established star power to the set.
There’s a Minor League Player of the Year subset that includes such names as Don Baylor, Johnny Bench, Jose Canseco and Jason Heyward.
The Can You Believe subset looks like it will be both fun and informative. The subset includes one-armed pitcher and Olympian Jim Abbott, Wally Pipp who supposedly sat out a game due to a headache which led to the start of Lou Gehrig’s legendary streak and Moe Berg who also a spy during World War II.
There’s a Multi-sport subset, but it seems like it would have been a better fit in last year’s set that included Bo Jackson and Gene Conley. Throw Brian Jordan in there and you’ve got the start of a great subset. This year’s set consists of “Hopalong” Cassady, Dave DeBusschere, Francis Ouimet, Kyle Rote Sr. and Charlie Ward.
Tri-Star also has the TNA Wrestling license and make use of it in this set. There’s a one card Pop Icon subset that consists solely of Hulk Hogan. The Historic Names subset has a Tinker, Evans & Chance card which is cool. Those three players also appear individually on short prints along with Todd McFarlane and his balls and a card featuring both William H Taft and Barack Obama.
The mini autograph checklist looks to be a good one. You can find Jim Abbott, Johnny Bench, Starlin Castro, Roger Clemens, Jason Heyward and Hulk Hogan in that set.
The modern sized cards have some nice autographs available as well. You can find Heyward again as well as Castro, Drew Storen, Michael Trout, Abbott, Baylor, Bench, Canseco, Clemens, Dawson, Gooden, Hulk Hogan, Dale Murphy, Cal Ripken and Darryl Strawberry. One of the more intriguing autographs available is that of Todd McFarlane. I already have his autograph in my collection, but it would be interesting to have it one a baseball card.
There’s one cut autograph card that’s going to command a lot of attention and that is the card containing autographs of Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper. If these were on-card autos that card might be the card of the year. Who knows, it might still be with the cut signatures. Other interesting pairings for cut signatures are Buster Posey with Matt Wieters, Hank Aaron with Tommie Aaron and Stan “The Man” paired with Pujols. There are also cut autographs of Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Obama.
The box toppers look very cool this year. They are oversized cabinet cards and it looks like they feature a picture of each team’s stadium with a player from that team on the reverse.
Each box contains 11 hits. You get 4 autograph cards which are numbered to 125 or less, 2 parallel cards numbered to 50 or less, 1 T212 mini parallel cards numbered to 50 or less, 3 short print cards and one of the T4 cabinet cards numbered to 75 or less.
Last year’s Obak set was great and it looks like this year’s will be even better. You’ve got fun facts, a great autograph checklist and something different than everything else out there. Obak comes out on August 11th unless you are going to the National where you can pick up the product on the 5th.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Wow, what a show put on by David Ortiz in the home run derby. It’s great to see him do this on a National stage after people wanted to write him off for the second season in a row.
They really have to do something about the derby though. At the scheduled two hours, with my current favorite player in the running, it still borders on too long. Once it goes over by 30 minutes with Berman “back”ing and making terrible jokes and Joe Morgan oozing bitter all over everything, it starts to get brutal. Maybe drop the field to six batters, then three and then the top two slug it out. Something has to be done though. Homeruns start to look the same after a while. This isn’t the dunk contest where there’s some variety and even the dunk contest has gotten stale in recent years.
Congrats again Big Papi.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
I got shut out when Topps celebrated their new online presence with a month of giveaways. My daughter won a box of Hannah Montana from Beckett and a box of Signature Stars from Upper Deck. I came close to winning a beautiful Bob Cousy autographed card, but I want a little overboard on my confidence in the Celtics and picked them to sweep the Heat which led to a low guess on points scored for the series.
That’s all changed a little bit recently though. The first victory came out of the blue and wasn’t from a contest. I just happened to be browsing the Topps Facebook page and noticed that someone had made a comment asking if they could return off-center Stephen Strasburg cards to Topps for replacements. Topps replied to let the poster know that they would be replacing these cards if they were sent in. Being the smart ass that I am, I replied that they could just send their cards to Beckett and have them graded as 9.5s. I don’t see the comment on the Topps page anymore, but one person who saw it before it was deleted really appreciated it.
Steve Mandy from Attack of the Baseball Cards in Union, New Jersey sent me a message on Facebook letting me know that he found my comment very funny and letting me know that he wanted to send me some packs that Strasburgs could possibly be pulled out of. I sent off my address and a few days later had a package arrive containing one pack each of 2009 TRISTAR Prospects+, 2010 Bowman, 2008 Timeline and 2008 SP Authentic. I wasn’t lucky enough to pull a Strasburg, but I did get a Red Sox Chrome prospect, a Bowman Throwback (absolutely love this set) and some other cool cards. Attack looks like a very cool card shop and I can see why. If Steve is willing to send off packs of cards to random people on Facebook, I can only imagine what he does for his customers in the store. Thanks again Steve!
The next big piece of news arrived when I checked Facebook this morning. You may recall that I went out to the Basketball Hall of Fame to see the Panini Adrenalyn tour bus when it was visiting. On the way out, I snapped some pictures of the tour bus with the Hall of Fame. It’s a good thing that I did because Panini ended up running a contest for the best picture of yourself with the bus. I was notified today that I was the winner of the contest. The prize? Check it out below:
Wow, this is a very cool prize. I’ve seen a few of these autographed patch cards in person and they’re very nice looking. It would be cooler if it was a Celtics player, but I’m not going to complain too much. I can’t wait to see this card when it arrives. Kobe stuff should be even more desirable now that LeBron has given up on trying to build his own legacy and is now willing to try and be carried to some championships.
I now pass the luck on to someone else and hope to read some cool stories of other people winning some cool items.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Saturday, July 3, 2010
The most ridiculous thing that I’ve seen in a large sampling of ridiculousness has been the huge increase in the price of boxes of 2008 Timelines. Huge for a product such as this one that is. If I remember correctly, these boxes regularly sold for around $50 and were often on sale for around $40. These boxes have now jumped to $75 and more. The chance of pulling a Strasburg autograph out of these packs is insanely tough and other than that card, I really haven’t seen anything else big come out of these packs. There’s a lot of sticker autographs of minor stars and young players that never panned out.
This used to be a fun, inexpensive set to break with some nice retro designs, but it has now joined the ranks of 2010 Bowman as a set containing Strasburg where only 2% of the boxes out there will be worth even a fourth of what you pay for them. I’m surprised that 2008 Sweet Spot boxes haven’t jumped in price as well, but those were overpriced to begin with and the price never really dropped on those so there’s no room for them to go up at the moment.
Ginter has already dropped from the crazy prices it had climbed to at release. I’m sure everything else will follow. At the very least, all of the Strasburg stuff should drop in price next year when we do this all again for Bryce Harper.
As my daughter has gotten older, I’ve looked for any opportunity possible to get her into collecting. It hasn’t been that difficult since kids always look to do the same things that adults are doing. When I’m searching the card aisle at Target, my daughter is also looking for something she might want to open such as Spongebob cards or Bella Sera figures.
My whole family shares a love of Pixar movies. We went to see Toy Story 3 opening weekend and loved it. While out shopping the other day with my daughter, we picked up the Toy Story 3 sticker album and a handful of packs. I expected something along the lines of sticker albums that I had purchased as a kid, but what we got was something a lot more cool.
I don’t know how the collation runs on these things, but there is something close to chase stickers in this set. In every 8 sticker pack you seem to get two stickers that are either the shiny prisms or the very cool, reflective fabric stickers.
The prismatic stickers look very cool and scan well also. Here are a couple of shiny Slinky Dog stickers. You can’t tell from the scan, but the Little Green Army Man sticker is printed on a reflective fabric. These stickers are very nice and I’m hoping for a few duplicates of these to keep after completing the set.
Here’s what a completed page looks like. The stickers are die cut to different shapes which makes for a great looking page when done, but this is not something that a little kid can do with good results. When I was putting stickers into the album with my daughter, she took care of all of the rectangle stickers which I did all of the weird shapes. Even I couldn’t line things up properly. Check out the pipe to the left of Slink. Oops. There are three stickers on this page. The first is of Hamm, Rex and Jesse, the second is of Woody and Buzz while the final one has Mr. Potato Head and Slinky Dog on it.
There are 180 stickers in the set which is pretty large. I plan on buying a box of stickers to open a little at a time with my daughter and hopefully we can at least get close enough so that an order of singles from Panini will finish off the set. This has been a fun way to share my collecting hobby with my daughter and I know that I’ll end up reading her the story in the book (Oh yes, the sticker book also doubles as a story book) many times before all is said and done. Thanks Panini for a great set!
Friday, July 2, 2010
Every now and then, I’ll pick up a few Dee Brown cards for my collection. I lost some interest when he left the Celtics and even more once he retired. I wasn’t collecting much then anyway. When I see something cool online, I’ll grab it to add to the collection. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
The only good card out of this bunch is the 2006-07 Upper Deck Trilogy Generations Past Signatures card. It’s a sticker, but it is a nice looking card. I’d love for Panini to release some Dee Brown jersey cards. Collectors have been snatching up the Reggie Lewis cards out there and I think that Slam Dunk Champion Brown should be next in line.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Way back in 1992, expansion was a fairly rare thing in professional sports not involving hoops. During the 90s, it seemed to happen all of the time with the Rockies, Marlins, Diamondbacks, Devil Rays, Panthers, Jaguars, (new) Ravens, Texans (2002), Raptors, Grizzlies, Sharks, Senators, Lightning, Mighty Ducks, Panthers, Predators, Thrashers, Blue Jackets (2000) and Wild (2000) all joining their respective leagues. There were also four NBA teams added right at the end of the 80s.
Since expansion was still a big deal with the Rockies and Marlins were added to the ranks of Major League Baseball teams, there were a lot of cards produced to commemorate the event. Some of the tougher ones to acquire were the 1992 Topps factory sets that were only sold in Florida and Colorado respectively. These sets are reportedly limited to 5,000 copies and contain what may be Derek Jeter’s rarest rookie card. There are 5,000 sets embossed with a Rockies Inaugural logo on each and every card and 5,000 sets with a Marlins logo. Due to the fact that these sets were tough to acquire initially and contain a very desirable rookie card, set prices have never really come down like most everything else produced around that time.
I got caught up in the expansion hype and started collecting anything and everything that I could get my hands on related to the two new baseball teams. Once I get all of my stuff out of storage, which I feel like I’ve been saying forever, I really want to document this collection and hop onto SportsLots to try and grab the last few cards that I need. I think that this may require a video post since it would require far too many scans and I’ve got stuff that won’t scan such as Coke bottles and Starting Lineups.
Until now, the cards from the expansion factory sets have eluded me. It looks like a lot of people have been breaking the sets lately because a lot of singles have been showing up on eBay. The majority of the singles can be acquired very cheaply and these team sets are no exception. I picked up the Rockies with their logo and the Marlins with the Rockies logo as well. Now I just need to pick up both teams with the Marlins logos on them. One day, I’d like to acquire the factory sets themselves, but they aren’t as high on my priority list. The cards themselves look a lot cooler than a couple of sealed boxes.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
First off, 1,999 isn't all that limited when you think of all of the different Strasburgs out there numbered to 1, 5, 25, 50, 99 and even 999. eTopps is fringe enough as it is and I don't see this card retaining too much popularity once all the dust has settled. There will be a lot more numbered cards this year with and without autographs that people will be chasing.
Second, the few times that you can actually make some money back on eTopps cards you've got to take advantage. I've stopped buying the cards at IPO because many times you can get them for a quarter of the price a few months later. The only cards that I've sold for more were this Strasburg and a LeBron James rookie.
Third, I'm in the final stretch of paying off an upcoming Disney trip and funds for cards are scarce. If I combine this with some cash that my mom gave me for Father's Day then I should be all set when Ginter comes out.
Fourth, there's no such thing as a pitching prospect. This phrase existed long before Todd Van Poppel was drafted, but it should have been reenforced by Van Poppel, Prior, Wood, Taylor, etc. It's a ridiculously small number of pitchers whose rookie cards end up being worth something when all is said and done. I'd much rather pick up something that is worth something other than financial value to me.
Fifth, it's fun to just sit and watch the bids come in when it comes to something like this. I put the card up for a one day auction this morning and hopefully I'll be pleasantly surprised by the end result.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Ever have a card that you needed to add to your collection, but never found one at a price you were comfortable with paying? It’s extremely rewarding when your patience pays off and you can finally add that card to your collection at a price you’re comfortable paying. For me, that card was the 1992 Fleer Update Mike Piazza RC.
I was lucky when it came to 1992 Bowman. I was a fan of ‘91 Bowman and was looking forward to the release of 'the ‘92 set. I grabbed a box the first weekend it was out and pulled a Piazza out of my box. I was also able to find one dealer who was willing to sell a Piazza for the $3 that it was listed for in the first Beckett that had Bowman pricing. Every other dealer informed me that they were holding the card until the next book came out. Remember, Beckett is only the bible for dealers when they like what is says.
I wasn’t as lucky when it came to the Fleer Update Piazza. By the time that set came out, Piazza was well on his way to winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award and his Bowman rookie was the hottest rookie card in the hobby. Many dealers took a bath on 1991 Fleer Update sets and orders were lower for the 1992 sets. This happened a lot with update and traded sets in the 90s. One year would be overproduced and the next would be scarce. I remember back when 1999 Fleer Tradition Updates were the hot set due to rookie cards of Rick Ankiel and Josh Beckett. You can get those sets for a few dollars these days.
I don’t remember seeing a lot of the 1992 Fleer Update sets when they were released and the ones that I did see were overpriced from day 1. Both the Piazza card and the set continued to climb as there was a perceived scarcity in regards to this set. So, it was a set that never got added to my collection.
These days, many of the sets that were formerly considered scarce in the 90s are now thought of to be overproduced. You can find plenty of unopened 1992 Fleer Update sets online. The same goes for the once red hot 1992 Topps Update that contained Nomar Garciaparra’s rookie. I’m still waiting for the day that they discover cases of the 1992 Stadium Club Dome set in somebody's basement.
The 1992 Fleer Update set has been on my eBay watch list for a while now. Some good auctions ended while I wasn’t paying attention and others ended higher than I was willing to pay. A week ago, I finally won an auction at a great price. The winning bid for the 1992 Fleer Update Set: $25 with free shipping. It looked like the seller had a case that they were trying to get rid of. They originally had the sets listed with a Buy It Now price of $29 which was already good, but they had offers on so I figured why not take a shot. I offered the $25 and it was accepted. I got the set Monday and now this card is finally in my collection where it belongs. The card is pretty ugly compared to the classy ‘92 Bowman, but as one of only two Piazza rookies out there, I had to pick one up.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
It’s been a long time since an athlete has been hyped as much as Stephen Strasberg. I’ve got to admit that it can be fun getting caught up in the hype. We hype up just about everything these days whether it be new TV shows, movies, books, etc. You can watch viral videos made to promote new books and see commercials for a new movies months before it comes out.
If I had the chance, I would have tried to pick up tickets to see Strasburg pitch for the first time. It’s something that you can talk about years from now. It wasn’t planned, but I saw Dice-K’s first ever start at Fenway and that was cool. It might be part of the reason that I’ve continued to back and root for Dice-K when most Sox fans have given up on him.
Back in 2003, the NBA decided that Boston would host that year’s Summer League games. UMass Boston would be the venue and a certain big name rookie would be there playing. (Actually, multiple big name rookies may have been there, but at the time I didn’t really know who Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh were.)
I checked out the schedule and picked up tickets for a block of games that included both Boston and Cleveland (which I think was the last day of league play). I don’t think that LeBron did much in the game that afternoon, but plenty of people showed up to see him. I remember a lot of free throws, but I think that the only field goal that James has was on the shot pictured below. The Cavs had a three-on-none fast break where the ball was thrown off of the backboard for LeBron.
I think it was just a basic dunk which is the smart thing to do. You don’t want to end up with a freak injury in a meaningless game before your rookie season. That wasn’t popular with the crowd of course.
The two games were fun to watch. All I remember from the game that the Celtics played in was that Marcus Banks had really shiny green sneakers. I wasn’t there to see the Celtics that day though. I was there to see what all of the hype surrounding LeBron James was about. I didn’t get to see it that day, but James had some great games during the Summer League and everyone knows what he has done since then.
Monday, June 7, 2010
You may have noticed a severe lack of posts here lately. As the weather has gotten warmer, the third floor has been getting very warm as well. It’s not even summer yet and it’s already regularly over 90 degrees up there. Other than making it unbearable to sit up there for any lengths of time, it also seems to be causing problems with my wireless adapter. I’ve always had a direct connection to the Internet, but that’s not possible here so I’m connected wirelessly. I didn’t have these problems during the winter months though. There’s nothing more frustrating than constantly losing connection to the ‘net.
I’ve been keeping up with all of the blogs out there during my breaks at work like I usually do. I haven’t been spending too much on cards due to lack of interest and the price tag on things that I am interested in. I did sell some stuff on eBay, but that was mostly to fund the two Fatheads that I picked up and the Hurley action figure that I’ve been meaning to pick up for a while now. I’ve gotten a little more done in the room, but the temperatures up here have slowed down the progress.
Since I’ve been spending more time downstairs, I signed up for a trial subscription with GameFly. I plan on renting all of the sports games that I stopped buying because I played them for two months and then never touched them again and bought almost the exact same game the following season. So far, I beat Super Paper Mario in a week so I’m already ahead of the game. I would have been pissed if I had paid $50 for that game and then cleared it in a week. I’m not one for going back and trying to get every last hidden item. That’s a cheap way of trying to extend a game without putting more real content into it.
The plan is to get an air conditioner up here that’s temperature controlled and hopefully that will take care of things. What I really need is a portable computer whether it be a laptop or an iPad although I’m not really sure what it would be like typing up posts on the iPad.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
I recently celebrated my 4th Anniversary. We didn’t do anything huge since we’re going to Disney World later in the year, but we had a nice weekend away in the Mystic, CT area. We did some gambling at Mohegan Sun, did a little shopping and of course had a dinner and a movie date night. We did this two years ago and enjoyed it so much that we decided to do it again this year. On that first trip, I picked up a cool Red Sox wool pennant. I picked up some cool goodies on this trip as well.
Mystic, CT is home of the Mystic Pizza restaurant made famous in the movie Mystic Pizza. This original location was too small inside for filming, but the outside was used for the front of the restaurant in the movie. The interior shots were filmed in the Mystic Pizza location in Stonington. I added to two of my collections at Mystic Pizza. I picked up a new pin for my pin board and pressed two pennies. I was caught off guard and didn’t have enough change to press the third penny that was available.
I picked up a couple of other pins in a general store in Olde Mistick Village. I’ve already got logo pins of both the Sox and Pats, but these were very nice and the price was right so I added them to the collection. The pin board is now here, but I need to purchase something sturdy to hang it with. Once that’s done, I’ll get some pictures of it up on the blog. After this upcoming Disney trip, I may need a second board.
There’s also a shop in Olde Mistick Village that sells sports stuff. A lot of the stuff there is overpriced since the store is in a touristy shopping area in a touristy town, but I did find something that I really wanted.
This Red Sox glass switch plate cover looks great in the room and will look even better once I touch up the paint a little. I’ve got some Red Sox items in the room and the Celtics will be well represented, but I think I’ll have to search out some Patriots stuff (retro logo only, no ugly flying Elvis head logo) for the room as well.
Last, but not least was an oddball item that I had to pick up for myself. My mother-in-law had given me the Red Sox version of this a couple of years ago for Christmas and it was a fun little gift. When I saw the Celtics version, it had to be mine.
Here you can see Kevin McHale, Larry Legend, The Chief, Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Reggie Lewis, Red Auerbach, Pierce and Dee Brown. There’s three cards right into player collections and a bunch of other fun caricature cards. I love this kind of oddball stuff.