Monday, October 30, 2017

SEC - "Sweet 16" Match Up #8

Read all about it! Griffey no match for iconic set!

It's the last round of the Sweet 16! If you like predominately blue cards with compliments of red in them, then boy do I have a match up for you! It a battle of iconic blue uniforms!

1985 Topps #578 Terry Francona
1972 Kellogg's #2 Amos Otis

Terry Francona
Bracket Round: defeated Ted Williams (1-0)
Fun Fact: Due to a lost bet, Francona has an "I love Manny Ramierez" tattoo on an undisclosed location of his body.

Amos Otis
Bracket Round: defeated Bo Jackson (1-1 tiebreaker)
Fun Fact: Otis's favorite breakfast cereal is Raisin Bran. He is credited with convincing the executives of Kellogg's to up the raisin allowance to two scoops.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Repack Haiku #22 (Wil Myers)

Hometown advantage
Didn't help Padres slugger
Ousted in first round

2016 Topps Update #US268 Wil Myers (HRD)

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

World Series Tale of the Tape

The World Series starts tonight, and it should be a good one. A battle of juggernauts who won over 100 games during the season. Now, for most baseball fans like me, chances are your team isn't one of the two left standing. Who do you vote for when your team isn't playing? Personally, I base it on a few different factors. Let's see how the two teams stack up:

Former Red Sox Players

Dodgers - Rich Hill, Adrien Gonzalez, Dave Roberts (Mgr)
Astros - Josh Reddick, Alex Cora (Bench Coach/Future Manager)

What can I say, if I can't root for my team, I can root for guys who used to be on my team. As tempted as I was to give extra credit to our newly announced manager, Alex Cora, I simply cannot go against the man stole the most iconic base in Red Sox history.

2017 Topps - MLB Awards #MOY-2 Dave Roberts

Advantage: Dodgers

Shenandoah Valley Baseball League Alumni

Dodgers - Adam Liberatore
Astros - Will Harris, Chris Devenski, Tyler White

Having 3 players on one team that have played in my area's collegiate summer league is quite impressive. The fact two of them have been All-Stars even more so.

2017 Topps Heritage #608 Chris Devenski

Advantage: Astros

University of Virginia Cavaliers Alumni

Dodgers - Chris Taylor
Astros - Derick Fisher

Go Wa-hoos! Chris Taylor is an unsung hero of the Dodgers. He's accumulated a sneaky 4.8 WAR. You want a sleeper pick for World Series MVP? He's your guy.

2017 Topps Now #332 Chris Taylor

Advantage: Dodgers

Championship Drought

Dodgers - 29 years
Astros - Never won

Honestly, it this regard I don't have a heavy favorite. The Dodgers haven't won since I was in middle school, so I'm cool with that streak being over. Still, the Astros are one of a small number of team to never have won. That's a streak that needs to end!

Advantage: Astros

Personal Connection

Two years ago during a trip to Florida, I saw the Astros play the Nationals at Space Coast Stadium. I got a ball signed by a few of the Houston players, most notably Carlos Correa and George Springer. I have never seen any Dodgers in person.

2016 Gypsy Queen - Framed Blue #90 Carlos Correa

Advantage: Astros

AL Bias

Yes, I admit I have one

Advantage - Astros

Bonus Points

After being devastated by the hurricane, Houston needs a lift in spirits. A World Series win won't fix all that has been lost, but the it will cement a deep connection between a team and its city.

Advantage: Astros

Final Talley: Astros 5, Dodgers 2

So yeah, I pulling for Houston here. The Dodgers are an amazing team, and I won't be sad to see them hoist the trophy either. Here's hoping for a great series that will go 7 games!

Go Astros!

Monday, October 23, 2017

SEC - "Sweet 16" Match Up #7

Extra! Extra! Henderson Steals Victory!

This week is the ultimate vintage vs. junk wax smack down! Only one can advance!

1955 Bowman #9 Gil McDougald
1989 Donruss #33 Ken Griffey Jr. (RC, RR)

Gil McDonald
Bracket Round: defeated Dave Stewart (3-0)
Fun Fact: To get this particular pose, McDougald was asked how he had to hold the TV antennae in order to get the evening news.

Ken Griffey Jr.
Bracket Round: defeated Max Scherzer (2-1)
Fun Fact: Ken's son is named Ken Griffey Jr. Jr., and has stipulated in his will that every future generation of Griffeys should have a Ken with an additional Jr at the end.

Voting is now open - it's an All-Time Great vs an All-Time Great Set! Comment and let your voice be heard!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Payday Pack - Gotta Catch 'Em All!

I actually had a pack of Topps Fire I was going to post, but I didn't get a chance to scan the cards I needed. Fortunately, I had a backup post available. Unfortunately, it's Topps Series 1, which most of you have seen aplenty by now.

The choices at the nearby Wal-Mart are getting thin. Plenty of Series 2, a healthy amount of Series 1, and a couple boxes of Heritage High Number. Nothing that particularly excites me. I'll have to stop at the local Target and see if the options are better. For now, a pack of Series 1.

With this pack I couldn't help notice how many cards depict some really great outfield catches.

3rd Place

2017 Topps #216 Denard Span

Hmmm..I wonder where Denard is playing in this photo?

2nd Place

2017 Topps #149 Gregory Polanco

That guy is the yellow shirt is great. Wary, but playing it cool...

1st Place

2017 Topps #324 Ben Revere

I couldn't bend like this if I was stretched out in my bed!

Contestants Not Appearing On Stage
#111 Edison Volquez
#224 Hector Rondon
#97 Marcus Semien
#152 Nolan Arenado League Leaders
#CBP-1 Mark Trumbo (Comeback Player of the Year Award)
#253 Tucker Barnhart
#122 Cleveland Indians Team Card
#5 Corey Seager (ASR)
#183 Wade Miley

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Repack Haiku #21 (Tim Wakefield)

Pirates infielder
Made a successful career
As knuckle-baller

2011 Topps #364 Tim Wakefield

Monday, October 16, 2017

SEC - "Sweet 16" Match Up #6

Bell Stays Cool In The Face of Smokey

On to the next contestants! This week we have the rookie cards of 2 Hall of Famers! Both members of the 3,000 hit club! Both in the Top-20 in career Runs scored. These guys could hit!

1980 Topps #482 Rickey Henderson (RC)
1978 Topps #707 Rookie Shortstops

Rickey Henderson
Bracket Round: defeated Lee Evans (1-0)
Fun Fact: Rickey proved an old adage wrong when he stole first during a regular season game. Rickey simply dropped his bat and ran to first. The home plate umpire was so confused he initially ruled it a hit by pitch, even though Rickey was already on first when the ball made it to the catcher's mitt.

Paul Molitor
Bracket Round: defeated Dom DiMaggio (1-0)
Fun Fact:The 4 shortstops formed a barbershop quartet while in the minors. The musical venture was short lived when they realized none of them could sing.

Who gets another at-bat in the tournament? Leave a comment with your vote!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Post #100 And Other Random Thoughts

Rather than sneak this into Monday's Single Elimination Challenge, I thought I'd whip up a quick post to celebrate that this is, in fact, my 100th post! What does this mean? Well, honestly, not a whole lot. I guess I've just stuck with this long enough to reach a milestone. Still, it looks like I'm going to keep going for awhile, and maybe that means tidying up my blog a bit. I haven't updated my page layout in awhile, and I definitely need to update my list of all the other great bloggers to link to. If I have time, I'd like to create a customized blog design too, but that's further down the timeline. Anyhow, hopefully the look of my blog will evolve in the upcoming weeks. Thanks to everyone who has read my ramblings so far. I get a kick out of the interactions and comments!


2016 Bowman - Prospects #BP109 Rafael Devers

Apparently the cutoff for the Topps Update set is somewhere in the two week window between the All-Star game and when Rafael Devers debuted for the Red Sox. I'm quite disappointed that our young third baseman is not in this set. Maybe I expect too much because Topps Now has become so prevalent. (Devers has 15 Topps Now cards this year, in case you were wondering...) At least you Aaron Judge fans will be happy...


 Go Astros!


There's still time to vote for this week's Single Elimination Challenge! If you haven't checked it out yet, what are you waiting for!


2017 Topps #283a Andrew Benintendi (RC)

There's been a Blog Bat-A-Round recently where bloggers are stating what their collecting "white whale" has been. Right now, I don't really have one. I don't have a particular set I'm trying to complete right now, or a player collection. I will say when the base set came out this year, I was hoping to pull an Andrew Benintendi rookie. I haven't yet, and I don't know how many more Series 1 packs I'm willing to buy to try for it. I guess Benintendi is my "White Whale", at least for this year...

Friday, October 13, 2017

Championship Series

Well, my initial predictions really fell flat! So much for my Indians vs Nationals World Series!

To get it out of the way, my Red Sox did not play well at all the first two games. They performed much better at home, but you cannot give a talented team like the Astros a two game lead and expect to win the next three. I don't know what changes are in store for the lineup this off-season, but a new manager isn't going to be the difference maker.

What surprised me the most was the poor performance of some great pitchers. Chris Sale, Corey Kluber, and Max Scherzer all had Cy Young worthy seasons and were supposed to lead their teams deep into the postseason. I personally felt seeing theses guys twice in a best of 5 series would be the main reason their teams would advance. They all disappointed, and now their season is over.

Before, I had stated that there were really only two teams that I didn't want to win the World Series. Guess which two advanced! Only the Dodgers and Astros have a chance of ending sizable title droughts now.  I'm hoping one of them does!

Let's update my predictions and see what I expect/hope to happen:

ALCS - Astros over Yankees

This is based partly because I don't want the Yankees to win, and partly because I watched first hand how amazing the Astros really are. They are now the best team among the 4 left. Of course, I said the same thing about the Indians, and look where that got me. Seriously Yankees, stop winning. 

NLCS - Cubs over Dodgers

I'm seriously OK with either team. I'm hoping the Dodgers win, because 1988 was a long time ago, and the Dodgers have some very likable players. That being said, the Cubs are in the midst of a dynasty-like run, and something in my gut tells me this rematch from last year is going to be a case of deja vu.

World Series - Astros over Cubs

Again, my AL-bias is showing, and again, I watched them dismantle my team with relative ease. I just can't shake how deep and talented this team is. We shall see.

Pack War Prize Showoff

Their are certain milestone numbers that are important in sports, especially in baseball. 3000 is a big one. If a hitter gets to 3000, you know he's a Hall of Fame level player. People pay attention when you get that 3000th hit.

2000 is a pretty impressive number too. A lot of players get to this level with little fanfare. This is solid player territory, players who have worked hard and paid their dues get here. If you're lucky enough to reach this milestone, it's safe to say you've built up a pretty good fan base. Hitting the 2000 plateau doesn't get the credit it deserves.

Shawn (aka Corky) over at Pack War recently hit his 2000th blog post, and for a blogger, that's quite an accomplishment. He's consistently posted over 200 posts a year every year since he started blogging in 2009. I'd say he's built up a pretty good fan base himself!

In celebration of such an impressive milestone, Shawn held a contest. He initially started with 3 random commenters picking from 3 different prizes, but expanded it to 6 by the end. Lucky for me he did, as I was lucky winner #5! The prizes were nothing short of amazing, and when it came to my turn, I had two very good cards to chose from. I turned down the opportunity to own my first printing plate, mainly because I don't really follow basketball, let alone collect cards from the sport. What I did pick came in the mail recently, and Shawn was generous to include some extra goodies:

Both rookie cards of all-star shortstops who made their debut at age 20 during the month of August. Coincidence?

First, my prize: The 1982 Fleer rookie card of Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. Even if I had a higher pick and more prizes to choose from, this would have been one of my top picks. You just can't go wrong with the rookie card of an all-time great. Besides, I don't have many from 1982 Fleer, but if I ever decide to complete the set, I can cross the most popular card off that list. Shawn also included another All-Star shortstop's rookie card - current Red Sox player Xander Bogaerts. These two cards alone were enough to enough to put a big smile on my face, but wait, there's more!

These cards are so amazingly cool you could keep a side of meat in them for a month!

When I saw these cards I was taken in by the their shininess and beautiful artwork. Then I noticed the guy on the left was carrying a towel, and that my friends made me excited! Sure enough, these cards are from one of my all-time favorite book series, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy! These were unknown to me, so I had to look these cards up. These are Tekchrome inserts from a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy set set produced by Cardz in 1994. They are just amazing, and I can't believe I hadn't seen them until now. I may have to reread the books again soon!

Somewhere, a focus group decided to issue cards for every single one of David Ortiz's 75 walks in 2004....

Shawn finished it up with a trio of serial numbered Red Sox from Topps Moments & Milestones set. Roger Clemens was my favorite growing up, and cards like these remind me how amazing he was when he was with Boston. The Ortiz card is amusing because few things should be as numerically documented as the exciting stat known as a walk.

Thanks for the cards Shawn, and congrats again on the milestone post! You keep writing, and I'll keep reading!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Repack Haiku #20 (De'Anthony Thomas)

Sadly appropriate, given that yesterday was the last game of the season for my Red Sox. On to other sports!


Not a baseball card
What wild sorcery is this?
A wrong sport repack

2015 Topps #138 De'Anthony Thomas

So, this is a first! I decided to continue my Repack Haiku series, and purchased a big 100 card Fairfield baseball card repack. Somehow, this lone football card managed to sneak himself into the box. I should expect better quality control for my $5...

Monday, October 9, 2017

SEC - "Sweet 16" Match Up #5

El Tiante Takes Tie-Breaker!

Since both cards received the same number of votes, the tie breaker goes to the older card. Sorry, Big Unit, but being a Hall of Fame pitcher will have to be consolation prize enough.

Hot dog! I'm excited about this match up! I randomly seeded the card in the Single Elimination Challenge, and it's always cool when there some connection between the two cards squaring off. Kahn's has been issuing cards for a long time, and two of their cards are represented here.

1989 Kahn's Cooperstown Collection "Cool Papa" Bell
1956 Kahn's Weiners Smoky Burgess

Cool Papa Bell
Bracket Round: defeated Roberto Alomar (2-0)
Fun Fact: Other nicknames Bell's teammates considered included "Chill Daddy", "Ice Pop", and "The Frozen Father".

Smokey Burgess
Bracket Round: defeated Bob Gibson (3-0)
Fun Fact: Burgess's sponsorship deal with Kahn's was terminated when he gave an newspaper interview and controversially stated that a hot dog was, in fact, a sandwich.

Who decides the winner? You Kahn do it! Comment below and let me know which wiener you await!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Payday Pack - A Good First Impression

I knew the Astros were going to be a tough opponent, but I still believed the Red Sox could win a short 5 game series against them. A big factor in that belief was the idea of Chris Sale stepping up and pitching like the Cy Young contender he is for 2 of those 5 games - shows what I know, huh?

Hopefully Game 2 will be better, but I'm less confident in their ability to take 3 of the next 4. There are good reasons I don't bet on games...


The card choices locally have started getting scarce. There's still plenty of base set, but a lot of other sets are gone. No Archives, Stadium Club, etc. If I want to mix things up, I need to buy cards I normally wouldn't buy. Optic is one such brand. I'm lukewarm to "chrome" sets in general. Slap some foil on the base set and charge more? No thanks. Granted, some cards look a lot better from this upgrade, but in general I'm usually not impressed. I decided to splurge and give Optic a one pack tryout nonetheless.

I had low expectations going in, but the "Gods of Sports Card Randomness" decided to make this pack interesting. Here's my 3 favorites:

3rd Place

2017 Donruss Optic #79 Xander Bogaerts

I honestly don't mind the lack of a license on Donruss cards. It reminds me of the old unlicensed oddballs from my youth. This Bogaerts is a nice card, and the red border stripping works well with Xander's red high sock look.

2nd Place

2017 Donruss Optic - Dominator #D11 Robinson Cano

When I entered this card in the TCDB, my first inclination was to put this under the green parallel of the insert. It's not (no serial number), but that green sure does stand out.

1st Place

2017 Donruss Optic - All-Star Blue (SN149) #AS-11 Mookie Betts

Yeah, if the "Gods of Sports Card Randomness" want me to buy more Donruss Optic, they made a very convincing opening argument. Getting a truly beautiful low count SN parallel of my favorite team's star outfielder is about as good a pull as I could have hoped for. It's easily one of the best cards I've pulled this year!

OK, so maybe I'll buy another pack...

Hey, I got other cards too!
#106 Albert Pujols
#163 Ryne Sandberg
#121 Yoenis Cespedes
#136 Felix Hernandez
#150 Josh Donaldson (Prism parallel)
#3 Mark Trumbo Diamond King (Purple parallel)
#48 Reynaldo Lopez Rated Rookie (Purple parallel)
#146 Nomar Mazara (Purple parallel)
#103 Eric Hosmer (Purple parallel)
#21 Maikel Franco Diamond King
#5 Anthony Rizzo Diamond King
#62 Teoscar Hernandez Rated Rookie
#43 Alex Bregman Rated Rookie

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Repack Haiku #19 (Dickie Thon)

Dickie Thon ponders
Life's mysteries or perhaps
what to have for lunch

1992 Upper Deck #150 Dickie Thon

Here's what I'm pondering - should I continue this series? Mr. Thon represents the last of the cards from the repack I bought. I'm debating if I should buy another repack and throw some more poetry out there, or do something different. What do you say, faithful readers?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Let The Postseason Begin!

****We interrupt this post to bring you a special announcement: If you're pretty confident in who will win the World Series, head on over to Collector's Crack and participate in the 7th Annual Almost the Easiest World Series Contest on the Web Official Sign Up Post!!!! Colbey is giving away some very nice cards indeed! Now on to our regular programming.*** 

The field is set! From 30 hopefuls we have narrowed the field down to 10. If you're team is lucky enough to advance, congrats! If your team is home playing golf, well.... Anyway, I thought I would post my unofficial ranking of the playoff teams, in terms of who I want to win the World Series. Because what I would like to happen is often not what I think will happen, I'll post my predictions as well.

Who I'll Be Rooting For

As a Red Sox fan, you can probably guess who is first on the list (and for that matter, you can make an educated guess at who comes in last!) Outside of my team, I usually will root for whichever team has gone the longest without a Championship. There are, of course, exceptions based on current rosters and special circumstances.

1. Boston Red Sox (AL East Champions)

2004 Topps World Champions Boston Red Sox #NNO Boston Red Sox Jumbo
As long as my team is alive and kicking, I'll be rooting for them to win their 4th Championship since 2004. That being said, they have a tough road to World Series, and will have to defeat some incredible teams along the way. They have the talent to do it, but they'll be underdogs all of the way.
Prediction: Lose to the Indians in the ALCS.

2. Cleveland Indians (AL Central Champions)

1967 Laughlin World Series #45 1948 Braves vs Indians
The next 3 teams are fairly interchangeable, but I have to give Cleveland the nod here. Last year's World Series was one of the best ever, and you have to feel sorry for the Indians and their heartbreaking Game 7 loss. They are now the team that's gone longest without a title, and it's time they get theirs. Bonus points for manager Terry Francona, a personal favorite of mine. He's already a Hall of Famer in my book, but a 3rd title would seal the deal.
Prediction: Defeat the Nationals in the World Series.

3. Houston Astros (AL West Champions)

2017 Topps #175 Houston Astros
 I'll admit, I have an AL bias. I'm more familiar with that league. Houston is scary good, and about an equal a match for my Red Sox as any team out there. A part of me wants them to win it all, if nothing more than for the hurricane torn city of Houston and their fans. I won't be sad if they do, but I think they'll be one of the first teams out.
Prediction: Lose to the Red Sox in the ALDS.

4. Washington Nationals (AL East Champions)

2017 Topps #564 Washington Nationals
The Nats are as close as I have to a local team, and it's great to see them do well. The Scherzer/Strasburg one-two punch is a tough combo to beat, and I think that and their offense will take them far.
Prediction: Lose to the Indians in the World Series.

5. Los Angeles Dodgers (NL West Champions)

1989 Fleer - World Series #12 Dodger Blue World Champs
We've seen this team at their best, and at their worst, and both times we looked on wide eyed and in disbelief. They are the Jeckle and Hyde of baseball, and I don't know who is going to show up. If they play to their abilities, they'll make Kirk Gibson proud.
Prediction: Lose to the Nationals in the NLCS

6. Minnesota Twins (AL Wild Card)

1988 Fleer World Series #8 Kirby Puckett
They have a young exciting lineup, and Kirby's team deserves a good run. Unfortunately, it seems that whenever they have to face the Yankees in the playoffs, they get owned.
Prediction: Lose to the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game.

7. Colorado Rockies (NL Wild Card)

2017 Topps #583 Colorado Rockies
The main reason I have them over the next team is that they haven't won a title yet in their relatively short existence. That, and I feel a small pang of guilt that my team swept them in 2007.
Prediction: Lose to the Diamondbacks in the NL Wild Card game.

8. Arizona Diamondbacks (NL Wild Card)

2004 Topps - World Series Highlights #WS-LG Luis Gonzalez
If my AL bias has one major downfall, it's that I don't watch enough of Paul Goldschmidt. He's probably more amazing than my fantasy team stats give him credit for.
Prediction: Lose to the Dodgers in the NLDS.

9. Chicago Cubs (NL Central Champions)

20016 Topps Chicago Cubs World Series Champions Box Set #WS-14 Ben Zobrist
Just because they reside here does not mean I have something against them! They are a dynamic team who will keep Chicago in the playoff headlines for the next 5 years at least. I just have a hard time rooting for them to go back-to-back when 6 other teams have gone 25+ years without a title.
Prediction: Lose to the Nationals in the NLDS.

10. New York Yankees (AL Wild Card)

2010 Topps - History of the World Series #HWS25 Yankees
I don't care how likeable and exciting this team may be - never the Yankees! Don't "Judge" me...
Prediction: Lose to the Cleveland Indians (hopefully swept) in the ALDS.

So just to sum up my predictions, I think it's going to be Cleveland over Washington in the World Series. I hope the Red Sox prove me wrong!

Monday, October 2, 2017

SEC - "Sweet 16" Match Up #4

Schacht Gets Last Laugh! Read All About It!

As sad as I am seeing another Red Sox card fall by the wayside, I can't argue one bit with the Al Schacht victory. It's such a great card! It was the visible top card in a pack of repacks and I knew I had to own it.

This week, we have two masterful pitchers. One is one of the greatest strikeout artists of all time and a Hall of Famer. The other is a beloved baseball personality with one of the best windups in baseball.

1968 Topps #532 Luis Tiant
1992 Leaf - Black Gold #302 Randy Johnson

Luis Tiant
Bracket Round: defeated Mariano Rivera (1-0)
Fun Fact: Topp's initial plan was to make this set out of actual burlap. The project was scraped when kids complained about the cards getting tangled up in their bike spokes.

Randy Johnson
Bracket Round: defeated Dave Parker (1-0)
Fun Fact: Every March 24th, birds from all over the world descend upon Randy Johnson's car and cover it with poop. Ornithologists believe this is direct retaliation for the shocking death of one of their own.

The voting booths are open! Comment on this post and help decide which card is better!