Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Repack Haiku #40 (Alex Trevino)

For a moment there
I thought he shared same name with
Game show host Trebek

1986 Fleer Update #U-119 Alex Trevino

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Topps Is Slowly Erasing Jose Iglesias From Exsistance

As a Red Sox fan, I'm always interested in how former Boston players are doing. Last week, my Payday Pack posts featured Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias. I've always liked Jose. I remember when he was coming up in the Red Sox farm system, he was lauded as a defensive marvel in the vein of Omar Visquel and Ozzie Smith. The belief was that if he could hit just enough to not be a liability, his glove would ensure a long career with multiple Gold Gloves. It hasn't quite turned out that way for him yet, but he still plays his position fantastically. He's even made an All-Star team!

Anyway, back to the Payday Pack card. I was genuinely curious about how his season from last year went, and as I flipped the card over, I made a horrifying discovery!

Allow me to present a tale of terror, illustrated by the back of various cards...

2013 Topps #432 Jose Iglesias (back)

Here we have Iglesias's first card in a Topps base set. This youngster doesn't have much of a career stat line yet, so Topps included his minor league stats in full detail. His career was just beginning.

2014 Topps #653 Jose Iglesias (back)

The next time we see him on a card, Topps eliminated his minor league credentials. "So what?" you may say. Topps does this all the time, and always has. It's not that big of a deal. Perhaps I'm being paranoid...

2015 Topps #239 Jose Iglesias (back)

2016 Topps #144 Jose Iglesias (back)

...after all, they continue showing his career as normal in the next two base sets, even designating his lost year of 2014.

2017 Topps #441 Jose Iglesias (back)

Last year, Topps decided to truncate his stats and show only the last 5 years of his major league history. Of course, they did this with all of the players, much to the grumblings of collectors everywhere.

Which brings me to this years set. Feast your eyes on this abomination:

2018 Topps #32 Jose Iglesias (back)

There's only 3 years of stats! What are you doing Topps? You're acknowledging his career has lasted 6 years, but you are only showing the latest half? Shouldn't 2013 and 2014 be there at least? I could even see an argument for replacing the injured year with 2012. There's no logical reason to only show 3 years. Look at all that empty space, Topps!

I don't know what Jose Iglesias has done to upset Topps, but if he doesn't make amends soon, his card backs will nothing but Twitter handles...

Monday, February 26, 2018

Time Travel Trading Update #4

All Lucas Sims could do is shake his head as the laughter poured out of the speaker of his phone. His teammates had gotten him good! He couldn't believe they were able to convince him he got traded to the Indians. Now here he stood, outside the gates of their Spring Training home in Goodyear, AZ watching the Indians players do warm up drills while he waited for a cab.

An hour later the cab pulls up. Before Sims could reach the curb, the cab door swung open and another ball player came out. "Eric Hosmer? What are you doing here?" asked Sims. "I have a meeting scheduled with the Indians' General Manager." Hosmer replied. "Even though I have already signed with the Padres, I always keep my appointment!"

A scream erupted from the Indians training complex, and as the two ballplayers turned to see what happened, a white light envelopes them, and they were gone.


As luck would have it, I got 3 packages in one day, so a lot more cards to add here!

First off is a package from Billy of Cardboard History. Billy liked my trade idea so much that he offered me 3 well-loved cards from 1978 in exchange for any card of my preference. He just wanted to be in on the fun! I ended up sending him the Cleveland Indians team card, and I got these cards in return:

Up next was Colbey from Cardboard Collections. This Braves fan snagged the Lucas Sims RC, and in return I get to add a 1977 George Medich to the fold:

Finally, Chris from Nachos Grande decided he wanted the Eric Hosmer. We decided to have some fun with this trade, and the return package was going to be a complete surprise. He sent along some Red Sox cards my way, as well as a great vintage:

The Time Travel Trade Stack:

2018 Topps
#135 Atlanta Braves (TC)
#180 Ryan Braun

2013 Topps Update
#US84 Stephen Drew

1990 Topps
#18 Carlos Quintana

1979 Topps
#455 Bill Lee

1978 Topps
#24 Don Money
#193 Rich Chiles
#347 Terry Forster
#445 Mike Ivie
#471 Roy Smalley
#581 Lynn McGlothen

1977 Topps
#294 George Medich

1971 Topps
#177 Hal McRae

1964 Topps
#305 Jack Lamabe

1962 Post Cereal
#58 Frank Malzone

1956 Topps Davy Crockett Orange Back
#54 The Alamo's Answer

With these recent additions, I now have 16 cards available for trade out of my initial pack of 12, and I still have some cards slated to come in! Not only is the Time Travel Trade stack getting older, it's gotten bigger! Now's the time to join in the fun! Make me an offer - any older card within reasonable condition. Let me know in the comments below, or on the Trading Card Database (User name: Kep75)!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Payday Pack - Too Many Yankees

Yep, another pack of 2018 Topps! Any pack where a quarter of the cards you get feature your favorite team's rival is not a good pack by any standard. Needless to say none of those Yankees made the cut among my favorites:

3rd Place

2018 Topps #223 Evan Longoria

Evan looks upset. That is a definite "Are you kidding me?" scrunch face. Based on what he's said about his now former team, it seems appropriate.

2nd Place

2018 Topps #32 Jose Iglesias

There is a card blog out there (Please forgive me because for the life of me I can't remember who does this! EDIT: Thanks Billy! It's Johnny's Trading Post!) that looks at the shadows on the cards and makes guesses as to what they look like. I'll be interested in seeing what he comes up with for this one. (All I can think of is a bird with outstretched wings...)

1st Place

2018 Topps #79 J.T. Realmuto

This right here is about as beautiful of a catcher's action shot as you're likely to find. At least an action shot where you can actually see the catcher's face and he's not overshadowed by a runner trying to score.

Others Not Appearing On Stage:
#128 Jake Marisnick
#199 Shin-Soo Choo
#146 Zack Greinke (LL)
#193 Aaron Judge (LL)
#83-72 Didi Gregorius (1983 Topps)
#350 Clayton Kershaw
#181 Garrett Cooper (RC)
#108 Justin Turner (LL)
#242 Craig Kimbrel

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Repack Haiku #39 (Rick Parker)

Utility guys
Had to do everything
Squat like a catcher

1991 Topps #218 Rick Parker

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Time Travel Trading Update #3

Justin Turner could take a joke. In fact, he was considered one of the more creative pranksters in the clubhouse. This, however, was pretty good. When the mysterious invitation to an 80's themed party arrived, Justin was suspicious but confident he could narrow down the prankster behind it. It didn't stop him from putting on his rainbow 1983 Houston Astros uniform and showing up at this strange mansion in Baltimore, MD. When he arrived, he quickly discovered that everyone else was in lab coats. That would be the last he saw before things went black...

When he awoke, he found himself in a small shaking box, filled with strange lights and dials. A display seemed to be showing the date and time, but the date kept changing backwards in years. Justin was a fan of time travel movies, and it didn't take him long to discover what was happening here. It also didn't take him long to figure out how to work the time machine.

"Alright" thought Justin as he fiddled with the controls. "If there's one thing time travel movies have taught me, it's that historical figure thrust into modern time will have hilarious consequences." Justin smiled broadly as he set the dial to Texas, 1836. "Pranks on you now..."


When I started this idea of  trading a pack of new cards with the intent of getting the oldest cards possible, I knew I'd run into a potential trade where I'd get a card back I'd like to keep. When TCDB member gwhy11 offer me a card for the 1983 Topps insert of Justin Turner, I knew I'd have to face this situation. I got this card in the mail last weekend, and it's a beauty:

1962 Post Cereal #58 Frank Malzone

I'll be honest, I wouldn't mind holding onto this one. A vintage oddball of a Red Sox All-Star - what's not to like? Still, in the interest of the game, I am putting Mr. Malzone back into the trade stack. Do you want him? It starts with an offer of something older.

Now, this is where the game gets interesting. Although this was the only card in the agreed trade, gwhy11 also threw in a couple bonus cards! These also join the Time Travel stack:

1964 Topps #305 Jack Lamabe
Here's the back, complete with mysterious notations!

1956 Topps Davy Crockett Orange Back
Card #54 The Alamo's Answer

Wow, that Davy Crockett card is cool! I don't collect non-sport cards like this, but I'll wager there are a few readers out there who wouldn't mind adding this to their collection! The trading continues! Make me an offer!

The Time Travel Trade Stack:

2018 Topps
#135 Atlanta Braves (TC)
#180 Ryan Braun

1979 Topps
#455 Bill Lee

1978 Topps
#193 Rich Chiles
#471 Roy Smalley
#581 Lynn McGlothen

1964 Topps
#305 Jack Lamabe

1962 Post Cereal
#58 Frank Malzone

1956 Topps Davy Crockett Orange Back
#54 The Alamo's Answer

Monday, February 19, 2018

Time Travel Trading Update #2

Garrett Richards looked over to the man beside him. "Why did we agree to this?" he asked. Justin Smoak's stare never left the platform in front of him. "We're baseball players, Garrett." Ian Kennedy interjected. "Players get traded all the time."

"Not like this!" Garrett retorted. When he got the call that he had been traded, he expected his next flight would be to a Spring Training site in Florida. Instead, he found himself in Pennsville, NJ, with 3 other players that were not his teammates on the Angels, but were going on this journey with him nonetheless.

"Does anyone have any gum?" Garrett looked behind him at the young face of Julio Urias. He seemed unfazed by this. It was always good when a pitcher didn't get rattled by the unexpected. 

A booming voice came over the loudspeaker. "Please step up onto the platform." Almost instinctively, each person did as they were told. Without warning, they were encased in a calming white light, and then they were gone.

Moments later, an alarm rang out. Smoke filled the platform, and what felt like a mild earthquake shook the building. A tall figure cloaked in red emerged from the smoke.

"The Spaceman is back, baby!" The figure howled. Bill Lee looked at the crowd of people beginning to swarm around him. "I hope you don't mind I brought some of my poker buddies with me!"


I received my first batch of cards from TCDB member wackydog. He jumped in early and offered a 4-4 trade for some late 70's cards:

As great as it is to add these awesome cards to my collection, I'm putting them right back out onto the Time Travel Trading block! Any of these cards can be yours, just remember I'm looking primarily to receive and older card in return.

The cards currently available for trade are:

2018 Topps
#135 Atlanta Braves (TC)
#180 Ryan Braun

1979 Topps
#455 Bill Lee

1978 Topps
#193 Rich Chiles
#471 Roy Smalley
#581 Lynn McGlothen

Help me keep the time travels going and make me an offer! The more trades made, the older the cards will get! I'll keep the updates coming as more cards come in!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Time Travel Trading Update #1

I've received a lot of positive feedback on my idea, and as of today, I have various pending trades on all but one card from the pack! I'll reveal what I've gotten in return once I have the cards in hand, but I will say that this has been an amazing success so far. I'm excited to show off what I traded for! Until then, there's still time to get in on the fun! The following cards are still up for grabs:

2018 Topps #135 Atlanta Braves (TC)

2018 Topps #180 Ryan Braun

Just a disclaimer - one of these cards is technically claimed. A fellow collector just wanted to be a part of this project, and doesn't really care which card he gets in return, so I'll send him the last card standing. Anyone want either of these cards?  Remember, all I'm asking is for an older baseball card in return. What I receive in return will be added to the pile in an attempt to keep trading for older and older cards.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Repack Haiku #38 (Greg Gross)

He may have been Gross
but 5th all time in pinch hits
Not a bad career

1988 Topps #518 Greg Gross

Monday, February 12, 2018

Time Travel Trading

As the release date for the new 2018 Topps set approached, I started thinking about what I can do with one of the packs other than simply showing off what I pulled. Last year, I took the first pack I bought and sent every card out for a hopeful TTM autograph request. I got 2 back, which was enough incentive for me to do so again this year. However I also wanted to do something different.

Eventually, I remembered the famous "One Red Paperclip" story - where a man took a single paperclip and initiated a series of trades until he traded for a house!

Shortly thereafter, another person took a 1986 Topps card of Alan Knicely in attempt to trade his way to a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle.

I've decided to recreate that experiment on a much smaller scale.  I'm not looking for anything nearly as valuable as a '52 Mantle. My goal is to take each card in a pack of 2018 Topps and try to get the oldest possible card I can.  How far back in time can I go?

So here's where you come in. I need trade partners! I'll list the contents from my pack below. Each of these cards is available for trade. Whatever older cards I trade for will also be added to the trade pile and I'll post regular updates on what is available.

A few self imposed guidelines:
  • I'm pretty confident I can at the very least get cards from the "junk wax" era in return. That wouldn't be as much fun, so I'm establishing a baseline of cards from 1983 or older. (Besides, since that's what this year's insert design is honoring, it fits!) That's obviously not set in stone - I'll consider any card as long as it's older than the one I'm giving up.
  • Although my goal is to get the oldest cards I can get, I reserve the right to keep a card. Who knows, I may get offered something I like too much to put back out on the trade floor. If that's the case, I may swap that card out with something comparable.
  • Ideally, I'd like most trades to be conducted through the Trading Card Database. It's just easier to keep track of trades. If you are on the TCDB, my name on there is Kep75. If you're not a member of the site and still want to trade, not a big deal. We'll still make it happen! Just comment below.
  • I'm hoping to make most of these trades a straight one-for-one, but if I need to part with extra card or two to get something better, than so be it!
  • I'm doing this mainly for fun and to get myself out there in the trade world. I'm not necessarily looking to get the better end of a trade. On the flip side, I know the inserts will at least fetch a higher return than the base cards.
  • In the event multiple people make an offer for the same card, I reserve the right to poll my fellow collectors/blog readers as to which trade I should accept should I be unable to decide myself.
Without further ado, here are the contents of the pack:

#180 Ryan Braun
#19 Garrett Richards
#244 Francisco Mejia (RC)
#278 Lucas Sims (RC)
#83-60 Justin Turner (1983 Topps insert)
#DJH-21 Derek Jeter's 2,000 Career Hit (Derek Jeter Highlights - Black insert)
#86 Eric Hosmer
#239 Cleveland Indians Team Card
#135 Atlanta Braves Team Card
#66 Ian Kennedy
#82 Justin Smoak
#124 Julio Urias

So, here we go! Send me a trade offer, either in the comments below, or through the TCDB. What's the oldest card you'd offer for any of these?

Friday, February 9, 2018

Payday Pack - Riding The Slip 'N Slide

2018 Topps Series 1 has been out for a little over a week now. Let's open a pack and see what gems we can uncover. As usual, I'll pick out my 3 favorites.

3rd Place

2018 Topps #42 Cody Bellinger (FS, ASR)

This must be an error card because it's missing the RC symbol, and we all know Bellinger and Judge cards just aren't printed without the RC designation, right? Kidding aside, does anything tie Topps products together from across the years quite like the All-Star Rookie cup?

2nd Place

2018 Topps #232 Nate Jones

You just have to love those retro White Sox uniforms!

1st Place

2018 Topps #297 Kevin Kiermaier

Kiermaier is regarded as an elite defender. How elite you may ask? How many outfielders have you seen throw a Shaka/Aloha sign while making a catch in an almost near-perfect Air Jordan silhouette pose?

Others Not Appearing On Stage:
#241 Nick Pivetta
#14 Amir Garrett
#16 Daniel Coulombe
#316 Max Fried (RC)
#LTM-BP Buster Posey (Legend In The Making insert)
#KB-16 Kris Bryant (Kris Bryant Highlights insert)
#230 Trevor Story
#2 Clayton Kershaw (LL)
#187 Chad Kuhl

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Repack Haiku #37 (Gabe Kapler)

New Philly skipper
Started as young Tigers stud,
Fan fave in Boston

2000 Upper Deck Black Diamond #31 Gabe Kapler

Monday, February 5, 2018

First Impressions - 2018 Topps Baseball

Like everyone else, I got my hands on the latest product from Topps. Now that I have some in front of me, here's my thoughts:



2018 Tops #180 Ryan Braun

  • I like the graphic design on front. I still hope Topps eventually comes back to borders, but this design has has some personality to it, unlike the past two sets. I've dubbed this the "Slip 'N Slide" set!
  • I may be wrong here, but the photo quality seems sharper than in years past. The photo selection seem improved too.
  • The color on the backs are bright and really look good. I especially like the teal on the back of the Mariner cards
2018 Topps #220 Nelson Cruz (back)



  • The graphic design isn't without it's fault. The first letter in the name is truncated, which make absolutely no sense.
  • Only partial career stats on the back. That didn't bother me in the 80's when Donruss did it, but I expect better with Topps.
  • Anyone who doesn't know Topp's Twitter handle by now? Anyone?
  • Blurring the backgrounds just diminishes the fantastic photography. I want to see the crowd, the field, the teammates in the background! 

2018 Topps #42 Cody Bellinger (FS, ASR)

  • 15 different parallels is overkill. Over 100 inserts (which include parallels of the inserts for Pete's sake!) is so mindbogglingly excessive I really don't know what Topps is thinking here. There shouldn't be more inserts than base cards. They should just come out with a separate set called "the inserts" and give people a reasonable chance at completing insert sets without the base cards. 
  • I didn't have a problem with last year's set dedicated to Jeter. Two year's in a row however? It makes me think Jeter bought into the company. (That being said, this year's set looks much nicer than last year's reprint set.)



Favorite subset: The few team cards I've seen have had some of the better photographs.

2018 Topps #135 Atlanta Braves (TC)

Least Favorite subset: If you're going to do a League Leaders subset, I prefer the days when the Top 3 guys were listed. If Topps is going to insist on a single player, they need to do better with matching players with stats. When I first saw Chris Sale had a League Leader card, I would have assumed it'd be for leading the majors in strikeouts. Nope, he gets ERA, where he placed 2nd...

2018 Topps #129 Chris Sale (LL)

Favorite Insert: Those 1983 tributes look great, and they have complete career stats!

Least Favorite: The Top 10 Topps Now cards are just over-glorified advertisements for Topps Now. The only thing worse is the eerie feeling they show up a a foiled Topps Buyback 15 years from now....

Base Card I'll Be Chasing: Rafael Devers rookie card.

2018 Topps #18 Rafael Devers (RC, ASR)

Insert Cards I'll Be Chasing: The 6 Red Sox cards in the 1983 Topps set.

Overall, I like this set, and I think it's the best looking set since 2015. I might actually try to complete this one...

Friday, February 2, 2018

Payday Pack - Get Out Of The Way, Verlander!

Pack #3 in my series of packs I got from a repack box is from the 2016 Topps Opening Day set. Let's rip it open and see what gems lie in waiting. Here are the 3 best of the bunch:

3rd Place

2016 Topps Opening Day #OD-31 Alex Gordon

Alex Gordon looks up at the fluffy white cloud hovering just above him.

2nd Place

2016 Topps Opening Day - Striking Distance #SD-8 Justin Verlander

This is a great looking card. I really like the graphics used. There's only one problem, and it's the only reason why this card didn't take first place. Verlander's arm is blocking the text! It's quite annoying. If you were unfamiliar with this insert, you wouldn't be able to tell what it was from looking at the front.

1st Place

2016 Topps Opening Day #OD-160 Anthony Gose

Despite Verlander's attempt to sabotage his own card, the Tigers will not be denied today! This is an amazing action shot of Gose sliding into base. If you stare at this card too long, you may get spiked, or at least have some up that dirt fly into your eyes!

Others Not Appearing On Stage:
#OD-195 Jake Arrieta
#OD-66 Sonny Gray
#OD-122 Masahiro Tanaka
#OD-49 Erasmo Ramirez