Friday, February 15, 2019

A Fond Farewell

I came way too late to the party.  As a fairly new blogger to the scene, I haven't built up the relationships many of you collectors have over the years. I don't think I've earned my way into that "inner circle" yet.

The downside to this is that on occasion you have to say goodbye to one of the greats before you've gotten an opportunity to really know them. Such is the case with Wes, most recently from the Area 40 blog. When I was a blog lurker, Wes's exploits and tales of generosity were often subjects of post from bloggers all around. He was one of the great collectors, and what separated him from most others was that he was eager to spread that joy of collecting whenever he could. The guy was a year long Santa Clause.

As many of you know, Wes decided to retire from the hobby. Rather than go quietly into that good night, he decided to go out with a bang and experience every card collector's greatest fantasy: an massive days-long pack-ripping extravaganza! As part of this orgy of cardboard, Wes decided to give away all the hits. Even more impressive (to me at least), he decided to donate all the base cards and inserts. (I don't think this part can be understated. We're talking thousands of cards here. I don't know where they'll go and how they'll be distributed, but I can't help but imagine the wide-eyes happiness some kids may get from such a donation. Wes may have created a few life long collectors from this act of kindness, and that is beautiful.)

As for the hits, which included serial numbered cards, relics, and autographs, Wes decided to make teams and lots available on a first come, first serve basis. I'm not going to lie, when he announced when  claims could be made, I had his blog loaded on my phone and refreshed constantly. I was like a Black Friday bargain hunter camped outside a store on Thanksgiving night. I knew that if I was even 2 minutes late, that one of the many other Red Sox fans out there would have my team quickly snatched up. I managed to procure the Red Sox lot, as well as any Buffalo Sabres that may show up.

Wes's "grand opening" was truly epic, and it was amazing what he pulled from all those boxes and loose packs. It was fun to follow. No Red Sox or Sabres were revealed among the biggest hits, so I had to wait until my envelope arrived to see what goodies I ended up with.

I was lucky enough to end up with 6 cards, which I'll countdown by my own personal excitement ranking:

2008 Bowman Chrome - Prospects Refractor #BCP137 Yamaico Navarro (SN#500)

I don't focus on minor leaguers and prospects, so Bowman is not a set I usually target. At least Navarro eventually made it to Boston, playing 36 games with the Red Sox in 2010 and 2011.

2001 Topps - Gold #218 Victor Martinez (SN#2011)

A part of me was hoping I'd get a gold parallel from this year's set, but I can't complain about an All-Star catcher!

2002-03 O-Pee-Chee Premier #136 Rob Ray (SN#500)

The lone Sabre in the bunch, featuring fan-favorite Rob Ray. I actually like the alternate jersey!

2017 Donruss - Season Stat Line #62 Jackie Bradley Jr. (SN#26)

Each card in this insert set was serial numbered to the player's highlighted stat, in this case Jackie's 26 home runs. The SN#26 was one of the smaller print runs in the set.

2008 Topps Moments & Milestones #102-49 Mike Lowell (SN#150)

If I ever start a player collection, Mike Lowell would get serious consideration. Besides being a Red Sox All Star and World Series MVP, he's also a fellow cancer survivor and once played in my hometown's summer league.

2004 Topps Clubhouse Collection #NG Nomar Garciaparra (MEM, T2)

A sweet Nomar Garciaparra bat relic! Am I the only one amused by the layout? It looks like Nomar is farting out the relic. Maybe Garciaparra need to cut back on the fiber?

Thanks again, Wes. You'll be missed among the blog-o-verse. Whatever the future holds, I wish you luck and happiness.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Repack Haiku #89 (Sandy Alomar, Jr.)

I thought he had a
decent case for Hall of Fame
surprised by JAWS score

1992 Donruss #29 Sandy Alomar, Jr (AS)

By the popular Hall of Fame metric, he's listed 128th, tied with Greg Zaun and behind current players like Alex Avila, Miguel Montero, and Matt Weiters. I have a hard time processing that...

Monday, February 11, 2019

Time Travel Trading Update #26

Despite a nice influx of 70s cards, my last post struck out on the trade front. I was able to get some feedback regarding the 2019 set at least. Both responses I received were in favor of adding a pack of the new set into the mix, so that's what I'm going to do!

Fresh off the rack is a pack for the stack!

Can I just say that Poncedeleon must be one of the great baseball names ever? It takes me back to middle school history... 

So let's see if new set mania gets me any more trades! As always, the key for me is to get something older in return! Make your trade offers below or on the Trading Card Database (My ID is Kep75).

Let's get some trades going!

The Time Travel Trade Stack:

2019 Topps
#27 Mike Leake
#32 Carlos Correa
#57 Justin Verlander
#62 Elvis Andrus
#123 Jose Martinez
#189 Khris Davis (LL)
#215 Didi Gregorius
#217 Joe Jimenez
#226 Almora Albert
#274 Francisco Cevelli
#290 Steven Souza Jr.
#334 Jake Lamb
#346 Chris Iannetta

2019 Topps - Evolution Of
#EO-21 Vintage/Modern Baseball

2019 Topps - Rainbow Foil
#140 Daniel Poncedeleon

2019 Topps - Super Stars Of Baseball
#SSB-32 Chris Carpenter

2008-09 O-Pee-Chee (hockey)
#128 Tim Thomas

2001 Upper Deck - e-Card (golf)
#E-TW Tiger Woods

1993 Classic Draft Picks (basketball)
#33 Will Flemons
#67 Bennie Seltzer

1990-91 Hoops (basketball)
#168 Glen Rice (RC)

1990-91 Pro Set Super Bowl 160 (football)
#16 SB XVI Ticket - San Francisco 49ers / Cincinnati Bengals

1990 Pro Set - Theme Art (football)
#10 Super Bowl X Pittsburgh Steelers / Dallas Cowboys 

1986 Sportflics
#122 John Tudor

1986 Topps
#5 Rose Special '75-'78
#6 Rose Special '79-'82
 #401 Fernando Valenzuela (Turn Back The Clock)

1985 Topps
#694 Joe Carter

1982 Donruss
#NNO Checklist 545-653

1982 O-Pee-Chee E.T. The Extraterrestrial (non-sport)
#15 Among Elliott's Toys

1980 Topps
#143 Bruce Bochte
#157 Willie Wilson
#671 A's Future Stars

1979 Topps
#130 Bob Watson
#465 Reggie Smith

1977 Topps
#524 Rowland Office

1975 Topps
#378 Derrel Thomas
#402 Bob Tolan

1974 Topps
#38 Don Kessinger
#67 Tommy Helms

1974 Topps - Team Checklists
#NNO Montreal Expos

1973-74 O-Pee-Chee (hockey)
#53 Richard Lemieux

1973 Topps
#18 Leroy Stanton
#29 Tony Taylor
#36 Steve Barber
#79 Jim Willoughby (RC)
#98 Dick Woodson
#99 Carl Taylor

1972 Topps
#43 Rick Wise
#109 Jerry May
#437 Maury Wills
#438 Maury Wills (IA)

1971 Topps
#16 Ken Singleton (RC)
#63 AL 1970 RBI Leaders (Howard/Conigliaro/Powell)
#71 AL 1970 Strikeout Leaders (McDowell/Lolich/Johnson)
#90 Joe Pepitone
#95 Luis Tiant
#105 Tony Conigliaro
#146 Ralph Houk (MGR)
#183 Gil Hodges (MGR)
#195 AL Playoffs Game 1 - Powell Muscles Twins!
#208 Billy Martin (MGR)
#290 Tony Oliva
#374 Clete Boyer
#385 Maury Wills
#388 Al Oliver

1971 Topps (football)
#22 Ken Avery (RC)

1970 Topps
#47 Bob Miller
#56 Phillies Rookies - Joe Lis/Scott Reid (RC)
#103 Frank Reberger

1970 Red Rose and Blue Ribbon North American Wildlife In Danger (non-sport)
#32 Polar Bear

1969 Topps
#139 Andy Kosco

1969 Topps - Deckle Edge
#13 Mel Stottlemyre

1969 Topps (football)
#73 Bennie McRae
#154 Sam Baker

1968 Topps
#4 1967 AL RBI Leaders (Yastrzemski/Killebrew/Robinson)
#348 Larry Colton/Dick Thoenen

1968 Topps - Game
#15 Steve Hargan

1968 Topps (football)
#7 Earl Gros

1967 Philadelphia (football)
#109 New York Giants (TC)

1966 Topps
#154 Chuck Hiller

1966 Philadelphia (football)
#104 Rams vs. Browns

1965 Philadelphia (football)
#193 John Paluck

1964 Philadelphia (football)
#172 Ken Gray (RC)

1963 Topps
#155 Bill Stafford

1961 Topps
#32 Ray Sadecki
#38 Bob Lillis
#96 Billy O'Dell
#165 Gino Cimoli
#258 Jack Sanford
#267 Norm Siebern

1960 Topps
#95 Frank Thomas

1959 Topps
#289 Willie Jones

1959 Topps (football)
#80 Joe Perry

1958 Topps
#371 Marty Keough (RC)

1958 Topps Zorro (non-sport)
#83 Rude Awakening

1957 Topps
#66 Brooks Lawrence
#235 Tom Poholsky
#249 Dave Pope
#371 Bob Lennon

1956 Topps
#21 Joe Collins
#103 Willie Miranda (white back)
#156 Johnny Antonelli

1956 Topps Flags of the World (non-sport)
#70 Jordan

1955 Topps
#126 Dick Hall (RC)

1954 Bowman
#73 Don Mueller

1952 Bowman
#57 Clyde Vollmer

1938 Church & Dwight Useful Birds Of America Tenth Series (J9-6) (non-sport)
#2 Black-throated Green Warbler

The Time Travel Trading Project is simple in concept. I started out with a random pack of 2018 Topps Series 1 baseball cards. My aim was to trade every card in that pack for something older. Each card I receive in turn is then made available for trade, with the goal to get the oldest card I can get.

Number of trades completed: 29
Unique trading partners: 21

Number of cards mailed out: 69
Year of oldest card mailed out: 1956

Number of cards received: 161
Year of oldest card received: 1938

Friday, February 8, 2019

Payday Pack - Rediscovering Vintage

Let's shake things up from the abundance of 2019 cards. I'll show off some new stuff for the next Payday Pack installment, I promise! I'm a sucker for clearance items. I always have to check out and see what's been marked down. My recent trip to Wally World came up with a some discounted cards. Two 36 card packs of 2017 Series 2 were marked down to $3.49 - less than 10 cents a card! Even though I liked the 2018 set much better (still plenty of that on the shelves BTW), and 2019's set was (at the time) due to arrive soon, I couldn't pass them up. I'm glad I didn't!

3rd Place

2017 Topps - Memorable Moments
#MM-47 Johnny Damon 

There are three versions of this ballplayer. The clean cut Johnny, the #NotMyDamon Yankee, and this version - The Caveman, Jesus in Center Field. His memorable moment was a grand slam dagger to the Yankees in 2004.

2nd Place

2017 Topps - 1987 Topps Anniversary
#87-177 Aaron Judge (RC)

2017 packs didn't last long on the shelves, because of the frenzy that was Aaron Judge's rookie card. I swear someone local was buying up all the packs to get his hands on as many of these as he could. He missed one. 

1st Place

1968 Topps #12 1967 AL Strikeout Leaders
(Rediscover Topps Bronze Foil Buyback)

You know that feeling when you first open a pack and can tell something was different? I had that feeling as I was slowly looking through this pack. That burlap border stood out in the middle of the modern cards we now know.  I didn't get many of the buybacks last year, but this is the first and only vintage I pulled. Now I have to decide if this should go with the rest of my 1968s or not...

Others Not Appearing On Stage
#584 David Price
#457 Brett Gardner
#593 Jose Abreu
#601 Khris Davis
#414 Zack Cozart
#615 John Jaso
#418 James McCann
#445 Alex Gordon
#594 Justin Bour
#392 Pablo Sandoval
#617 A.J. Pollock
#419 Roberto Perez
#535 Lonnie Chisenhall
#631 Zach Wheeler
#353 Felipe Rivero
#666 Rougned Odor
#510 Kelby Tomlinson (Rainbow foil parallel)
#ASM-8 Gary Carter (MLB All-Star Game MVP insert)
#ATAS-48 Barry Larkin (All-Time All-Star insert)
#448 Jose Martinez
#625 Ty Blach
#591 Matt Bush
#588 Kirk Nieuwenhuis
#351 German Marquez
#372 Ryan Schimpf
#640 Cole Hamels
#380 Albert Pujols
#460 Alejandro De Aza
#541 Shawn Kelley
#646 Corey Knebel
#595 Max Scherzer
#405 Max Kepler
#692 Rob Refsnyder
#560 Zack Greinke

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Top 5 Tribute: Frank Robinson

Baseball fans everywhere lost a legend when Frank Robinson died today. In honor of his remarkable career, I'd like to present the Top 5 cards of his in my collection:

1976 Topps #477 Cleveland Indians (TC, MGR, CL)

8 days after I was born, on April 7, 1975 Frank Robinson managed his first MLB game, the first African American manager ever to do so. It seems almost appropriate being Black History Month. It may not be the same level as Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier, but Frank paved the way for men of color to be more than just players.

1989 Topps #774 Frank Robinson (MGR, CL)

It's only fitting that he would one day manage the Orioles. Despite being known as a fierce competitor, Frank had a warm smile that showed a love for the game.

1985 Topps Woolworth 

All-Time Record Holders #29 Frank Robinson

I always loved the look of this set. The wooden frame and gold label give it a timeless appeal.

1998 Sports Illustrated Then & Now - Great Shots! 

#21 Brooks Robinson/Frank Robinson

This is more of a mini poster than a card, but it was an insert in a card set and the repack I pulled it from made for a cool surprise. The two Robinsons made Baltimore a force in their time.

1971 Topps #329 World Series Game 3 

(F. Robinson Shows Muscle!)

Such a simple shot, but there's just so much going on! Frank is about to cross home plate, and receives a congratulatory handshake on the way. An umpire in the foreground looks on. (Another Black History Month fun fact while I was researching this World Series up: In this series, Emmett Ashford became the first African American to umpire in the Fall Classic!)

Here's to you, Mr. Robinson! R.I.P.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Repack Haiku #88 (Kevin Brown)

Did his part to cap
Greatest Postseason Comeback
Gave up 5 earned runs

1990 Score #210 Kevin Brown

The Yankee's 2004 ALCS Game 7 starter lasted just 1 1/3 innings. He gave up a home run to David Ortiz in the first inning, then loading the bases and exited just before Johnny Damon's grand slam sealed the deal.

Monday, February 4, 2019

First Impressions: 2019 Topps Series 1

Thank the Lord for Target! I've been making routine checks at Wal-Mart, hoping to see some of the new base set, but they've been slow to the punch. Fortunately, I had an opportunity to visit Target and they had everything out! Now I can open a pack and see how I feel about it now that it's in my hands!

The honor of the first card of 2019 goes to:

#156 Luis Castillo

Alright, lets talk about the design. I'm happy for the partial border. The lines remind me of early 80's designs, and the bathroom tile effect in the corner is subtle and not overpowering. I know some people weren't a fan of the last name getting top billing over the first, but this doesn't bother me. Castillo's shot is your standard "pitcher gonna pitch" photo, but I like how it crosses over the border.

#80 Tim Anderson
#176 Trea Turner

That's about as nice of a closely cropped jump shot as you're going to fine. Well done!

#8 Adam Jones
#17 Caleb Joseph
#236 Sean Doolittle
#79 Miller Park

If this card is indicative of the whole stadium subset, then I am a fan. Beautiful photography. This is the kind of picture you set as your computer's desktop image.

#3 Eduardo Nunez - WS Game 1

I didn't start buying cards again until 2015, which means this is my first time pulling a Red Sox World Series card. It's everything I hoped it would be!

#323 George Springer

This is officially my way-too-early choice for card of the year! Holy cow that's fantastic!

#222 Zack Greinke
#282 Tim Beckham
#119 Wilson Contreras
#180 Justin Turner
#66 Stephen Piscotty (Rainbow Foil)
#ED-13 Yankee Stadium (Ballpark Evolution)

The sepia tone of the old Yankee Stadium makes this insert really stand out. The white lettering is a bit washed out but overall a nice looking insert.

#27 Mike Leake
#121 Joey Wendle
#268 Blake Snell LL
#214 Colin Moran
#238 Whit Merrifield
#230 Miguel Cabrera

Let's peruse the backside, shall we? First off - full stats have returned! This is a welcome return to normal, even if my old man eyes are going to need a microscope to read anything. They continue to include player's Twitter and Instagram info, but have wisely eased up on displaying Topps' social media handles. (The #ToppsBaseball hash tag does seem to appear on players who are too cool to have Twitter/Instagram, like me!)

#280 Miles Mikolas
#229 Shane Greene
#155 Tyler Glasnow
#252 Jakob Junis
#212 Brian Anderson (FS)

Rainbow colored "Future Stars" heading, and it's not obnoxious! Also, our first on-card look at the new Marlins logo (Too much black for a graphic in my opinion.)

#174 Jose Leclerc
#296 Lewis Brinson
#337 Michael Givens
#200 Jacob DeGrom
#66 Stephen Piscotty
#315 Duane Underwood Jr (RC)
#67 Danny Jansen (RC)
#43 Nick Burdi (RC) 

Overall, I like this set quite a bit. The photography seems to be high quality, and the design is appealing without being overbearing. My biggest complaint would be the super small font size on the back. I understand if a player has 15 years of stats to include, but otherwise it needs to be more legible.