Friday, June 28, 2019

Payday Pack - Murderous Glare

Remember the Fairfield repack box I recently wrote about? It also came with a pack of 2015 Topps, one of the better set designs Topps has had in recent years. Just to break things up a bit, I'm going to use it for this week's Payday Pack. Here are the Top 3 pulls:

3rd Place

2015 Topps #213 Jered Weaver

I know psyching out the opposition is a part of the game, but Weaver looks like he's ready to straight up kill someone. I would not want to be in the batter's box with him on the mound!

2nd Place

This is a great card featuring a Hall of Famer. I like the black and white contrast between the two uniforms.

1st Place

Superman himself couldn't strike a better pose as he flies through the air. JBJ is a marvel in center field!

Other Contestants Not Appearing On Stage:
#149 Daniel Murphy
#82 Nick Tepesch
#201 Tommy LaStella
#43 Starlin Castro
#261 Lance Lynn
#186 Rex Brothers
#84 Jonathan Schoop
#230 Jean Segura
#161 Howie Kendrick


Chris at Nachos Grande has been doing a series called "(Even) Better Know A Blogger" where he asked some volunteer bloggers to respond to a questionnaire. Last night, I was the featured blogger, so if you haven't already, go check it out! It's been fun looking at the responses my fellow bloggers have given!

Also, if you'd like a shot at winning a Dave Winfield rookie card, head on over to Johnny's Trading Spot - He's got a very time consuming contest going on, and right now it's seems that I'm the only active participant! Guessing games are a lot more fun when more people are playing, so head on over and try your luck! I won't be mad if you win, I promise!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Repack Haiku #108 (Mark Melancon)

Became an All-Star
After bad stint with Red Sox
Flipped for "Brock Star" Holt

2014 Topps #188 Mark Melancon

There are few things worse for a fan than having a guy play horribly for your team, get traded, and then find immediate success with his new team. At least the Red Sox got a fan favorite and future All-Star out of this one.

Monday, June 24, 2019

The Worst Card Ever Made (A Contest Entry)

This past year, baseball card collectors witnessed firsthand the worst card ever produced. It's not the worst because of the card itself, really. The design is simple and not overdone. The photograph, while lacking action, does show a clear close up. It's not some lowly journeyman reliever who will be forgotten over time. In fact, it depicts a young MLB superstar during the potentially greatest moment of his young career.

An argument could be made that this card is bad because it was only available online, and for a price much higher than a modern baseball card really should go for.

But it is a memorabilia card! That would help justify the cost some, right? There's just something special about owning a swatch of jersey or a splinter of bat from your favorite player. This however...

2019 Topps Now - Sping Training #ST-1F Manny Machado (MEM, SN1)

That's right folks, I'm talking about Topps' ultimate money grab, the famous tablecloth relic from Manny Machado's press conference. For those of us who appreciate the business side of baseball more than the game itself, is a card highlighting Manny's required presser after he signed with San Diego for the meager sum of half of San Diego.

Topps, ever the innovator, felt that fans should have a sense that they were there among the journalists and suits. They've already done the club uniform routine before, so what else could they use? In a true eureka moment, some Topps peon hung around until after everyone left and grabbed the tablecloth. That tablecloth ($15.29 at Wal-Mart) would bring in hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars! Genius!

The worst thing? People bought it. Topps made their money, and then some. Good grief, someone actually paid $800 for the SN1 parallel! $800! Why would someone spend that much on a tablecloth relic when they could get 160,000 cards from the glorious 1988 Donruss set for the same price?

Now Topps knows the truth - no relic is too ridiculous! Ladies and Gentlemen, we've opened up a Pandora's box for Topps. I can just see it now....Topps, like a carnival barker with megaphone in hand, announcing the future of baseball cards:

New from Topps: "Relics From History!" - An exclusive online only set of cards featuring one-of-a-kind relics from baseball's brightest stars!
  • Who wants a napkin relic from Ronald Acuna Jr? We're pretty sure he ate at the same Subway store we got it from!
  • Justin Verlander's 3-year-old nephew drew a picture of a cow - we ripped that bad boy up and made it into a card. Get them while they last!
  • Do you want a popcorn bag from the movie theater where where Aaron Judge sat and watched "Fifty Shades Of Grey?" It's yours!
  • Mike Trout rode to the stadium in an Uber car and we cut up the seatbelt! Hurry supplies are limited!
  • How about a pillowcase from a hotel Mookie Betts once slept in? We can't be sure if he used it, but who cares?
  • They said we couldn't do it, but we did! For the next 24 hours, we proudly offer this one of a kind relic of a Post-It note Bryce Harper used to write down his next hair appointment! Only $799.99!
See what I mean? The possibilities are endless! Gum from the bottom of Buster Posey's shoe! A blade of grass that Christian Yelich's dog peed on! The corner of an envelope offering low credit card rates to Vladamir Guererro Jr! If it has even the slightest connection to an athlete, it's a candidate for an upcoming relic! ToppsNow - giving you what you want, for a price!


This post is the first of hopefully many entries for a contest hosted by Daniel at It's Like Having My Own Card Shop. Interested in winning some awesome cards? Check out his post here!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Confessions Of A Master Pickpocket

Back in my high school/college days, I would often gather with some friends and play Dungeons and Dragons. I usually ended up playing some sort of spell caster, but every now and then I'd develop a thief to play. I remember one campaign where our adventuring party was low on funds, so we decided to stage a performance at a local town. While my friends were wowing crowds with their feats of skill, I walked among the onlookers and picked the gold from their pockets. I had amazing luck - high monetary gains without even coming close to getting caught. I ended up with about 3 times as much gold as we were hoping for. I then proceeded to tell my friends that I scored half that amount, and secretly pocketed the rest for myself. The DM admired my moxie and rewarded me greatly. As far as role playing games were concerned, it was one of the few memorable things I did.

I never tested my pick-pocketing skills again - until now. The amazing Julie of A Cracked Bat, practically dares her regular blog readers to pick her pocket! The potential score was too much to resist, and once again luck was on my side. Check out the rewards of my thievery:

So many awesome Red Sox cards! Plus, since I was not in an adventuring party, I get to keep them all! I think the Dom DiMaggio reprint is my favorite, although the Luis Aparicio is sweet too.

Thanks again, Julie - may all your dice rolls be 20!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Repack Haiku #107 (Andy Allanson)

Google can be weird
Went looking for some fun facts
Found a shirt instead

1990 Score #452 Andy Allanson

There's has to be a story here, but this shirt is just awesome:

You know you want to buy one:

Monday, June 17, 2019

Is Fairfield Running Out Of Junk Wax?

I was coming towards the end of another repack for my weekly haiku series, so it was time to buy another pack. My go-to place has been the Dollar Tree, which usually has 30-card packs repacks available for a buck. I haven't seen these cards there in awhile. I hope they haven't stopped selling them. I was left with no other option but to but one of Fairfield's 100-count (plus a pack!) boxes for a reasonable $5. That should have provided me with enough 80's and 90's goodness to continue my series for a long time. Upon opening the box, I was met with something quite unexpected! There was very little junk wax to be found!

No classic wood-grain borders! No red with paint splatters! No gray with white pinstripes! Where are all the junk wax?

In fact, out of the 100 loose cards in the box (104 actually - bonus!) only 28 were produced before 2011. A whopping 73% of my repack was cards from the past decade:

2018: 4 cards
2017: 1 card
2016: 28 cards
2015: 8 cards
2014: 2 cards
2013: 25 cards
2012: 6 cards
2011: 2 cards

About half of the box was from Topps' 2016 and 2013 base sets! How weird is that? Not that I'm complaining - I didn't get back into collecting until a couple of years ago, so most of these modern cards will be new to my collection. Still, I was expecting the standard fare of late eighties/early nineties overindulgence.

To top it off, a lot of these newer cards were from parallel sets. Among the goodies I got were:

  • A couple of framed parallels from Gypsy Queen

The blue Red Sox card was actually the front card showing on the package. No wonder why I picked this particular box, huh?

  • A 2017 Leaf card of potential 2019 MVP Cody Bellinger

I didn't even know Leaf was still around!

  • A bunch of 2016 All-Star Game stamped parallel Topps cards!

These were exclusive to a boxed set, weren't they?

That's pretty good for a repack I must say! I'm impressed. I'm tempted to go back to see if another box has similar cards.

I'll probably take one or two from each year of the modern stuff to go with the junk wax cards. That'll give me plenty of haiku material to work with!

Has anyone else noticed a decrease in "junk wax" era cards with their repacks?

Friday, June 14, 2019

First Impressions: 2019 Topps Big League

It took a month after the set's release, but I finally have my hands on a blaster of this year's Big League set. With this, my First Impressions series has come full circle - the 2018 Topps Big League set was the first one I did! Topps has changed the set a lot since its initial offering - gone are the legends of years past, Players Weekend variations, and the Ballpark Landmarks subset. New are subsets featuring Award Winners and Highlight from the previous year. Although I have no problem with these subsets, I wish they would have found another fun subset to appeal to kids. (That is who this set is still targeted for, right Topps?) Anyway, on to the cards, and my initial thoughts on them.

#B3 Mike Trout (Blaster Box cut-out)

I guess, by virtue of being on the box, this has the honor of being the first card. Although the border is a different shade from the base set, I can still talk about the set design here. Overall, I like the concept of the design - the pictures scattered on a table/desk motif. I've always loved the wood grain look on baseball cards, and here it is used subtly and is very well-done. The team flags are fantastic, too. My main quibbles are with the name banner and the execution of the scattered photos. I don't mind that Topps used a tilted frame to showcase the photos, but the fact that the photos themselves aren't tilted along with the frame annoys my undiagnosed OCD tendencies. The name plate is also skewered at a different angle than the frame, which makes it look even more off.

#311 Aledmys Diaz
#375 Christian Yelich (AW)

Now this is an amazing card! A beautiful shot of Yelich receiving his Hank Aaron award from none other than the legend himself! I would love to see more cards of current players interacting with players of the past. The J.D. Martinez counterpart is officially a wanted card now...

#245 Taylor Ward
#117 Scott Kingery
#SCR-LG Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (Star Caricature insert)
#233 Evan Longoria (Gold parallel)
#209 Ian Desmond
#119 Mallex Smith
#347 AL Runs Scored Leaders (Betts/Lindor/Martinez) (SK)

The hot streak continues! This is the 3rd straight set I've done a First Impressions on that has given me a Mookie Betts card. I guess winning an MVP for the World Champs makes a player stand out!

#61 Kyle Seager
#36 Marcus Semien
#164 Luis Severino
#45 Xander Bogaerts
#365 AL Wins Leaders (Snell/Kluber/Severino) (SK)
#WC-6 Billy Hamilton (Wall Climbers insert)

Here's one of the inserts from the set, Wall Climbers. I think they could have done better with this card. Besides the poor angle that makes it look like he's laying on a tarp, Topps makes the unfortunate decision to celebrate a play that Hamilton made last year as a Cincinati Red and then change his uniform to his current team. It's one thing to Photoshop a new uni on a generic base card, but when you're specifically highlighting a particular game/play/achievement, then stick with historical accuracy.

#216 Pablo Sandoval (Gold parallel)
#56 Mark Trumbo
#202 Paul DeJong
#101 Travis Jankowski
#156 Daniel Palka
#159 Justin Verlander

Here's what the back of the cards look like. It's pretty much the same as last year, although the white makes the extra unused space stick out more. The Did You Know? section returns again, to my personal delight. Verlander gets my vote for best trivia fact of the blaster.

#139 Welington Castillo
#373 AL WHIP Leaders (Verlander/Snell/Kluber) (SK)
#38 Kyle Gibson
#PW-18 Starling Marte (Nicknames insert)

Big Leagues does the Players Weekend nickname cards again, only this year they are a separate insert set. The great thing about this particular set is the back actually explains the meaning behind nickname! I now know why Marte had "Tato" on his back - that's important information people!

#67 Touki Toussaint (Gold parallel)
#294 Kyle Tucker
#108 Corey Kluber
#302 Kyle Freeland
#15 Ryon Healy
#100 Jose Altuve
#273 Eddie Rosario
#167 Adam Duvall
#144 Jose Peraza
#BO-14 Joey Gallo (Blast Off! insert)
#352 NL RBI Leaders (Baez/Arenado/Yelich) (SK) (Gold parallel)
#183 Victor Robles

Big Leagues has some great action shots, including this one. Victor looks like he's showing us his "jazz hands!"

#40 Blake Snell
#111 Joey Lucchesi
#299 Roberto Osuna
#385 Christian Yelich (AW)
#28 Marcus Stroman
#133 J.D. Martinez
#360 NL Slugging Leaders (Yelich/Story/Arenado) (SK)
#SCR-CD Chris Davis (Star Caricature)
#249 Franklin Barreto (Gold parallel)
Take the Field contest card
#262 Eugenio Suarez

Kurt Bevacqua would be proud!

#90 Brandon Belt
#231 Scooter Gennett
#37 Derek Dietrich
#154 Jose Berrios (Blue parallel)
#308 Tucker Barnhart (Blue parallel)
#283 Shane Bieber (Blue parallel)

Each blaster box comes with a pack of 5 blue bordered parallels. Each pack seems to contain a gold/yellow parallel also. As with color parallels, they seem to look better depending on the team represented.

#350 NL Doubles Leaders (Freeman/Rendon/Markakis) (SK) (Blue parallel)

All in all, not a bad follow up to the premiere release. There's no sophomore slump here!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Repack Haiku #106 (Chris Capuano)

All-Star with Brewers
Won silver with U.S.A.
In Baseball World Cup

2013 Topps #191 Chris Capuano

Monday, June 10, 2019

Time Travel Trading Update #31

One trade to show off this time around, courtesy of a TCDB member named Mike. Mike offered up some more 1974 Topps cards in exchange for some newer greats, including a couple of Hall of Famers. That's right, folks - only here would you see someone willing give up a Carl Yastrzemski (not going to lie, that hurt a little...) for Pat Bourque, or Rickey Henderson for Mike Lum! My goal is to get the older card, not necessarily the better card! Heck, I already had a Jack Billingham and it was worth Albert Pujols to me!

Here's the latest cards available:

Keep the trades coming! Turnover is a good thing! Comment below or send me a trade through the Trading Card Database (User Name: Kep75)

The Time Travel Trade Stack:

2018 Topps
#502 Xander Bogaerts

2017 Bowman
#12 Trea Turner

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

1998 Score
#60 Carlos Delgado
#68 Scott Rolen
#74 Mark McLemore

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

1992 Fleer Ultra
#594 Dave Righetti

1991 Upper Deck
#778 Dave Righetti

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

1990 Upper Deck
#626 Frank Viola

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

1989 Fleer
#29 Bob Welch

1989 Score
#495 Larry Parrish

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

1981 Topps 
#100 Rod Carew (AS) 
#210 Jim Palmer

1980 Topps
#2 Willie McCovey (HL)
#143 Bruce Bochte
#157 Willie Wilson
#290 Steve Garvey (AS)
#605 Terry Forster

#671 A's Future Stars

1979 Topps
#25 Steve Carlton
#130 Bob Watson
#214 Boston Red Sox (TC) 
#465 Reggie Smith
#680 Carlton Fisk (AS)
1978 Donruss KISS (2nd Series) (non-sport)
#99 Paul Stanley

1978 Topps
#63 Don Zimmer (MGR)
#131 Bert Blyleven
#295 Bill Lee
#373 Jim Willoughby
#424 Boston Red Sox (TC)
#482 Rick Miller
#706 Rookie 1st Baseman (Cage/Cox/Putnam/Revering) 

1977 Topps
#524 Rowland Office

1976 Topps
#50 Fred Lynn (ASR)
#70 Roy Smalley/Roy Smalley Jr. (FS)
#78 Cecil Cooper
#118 Boston Red Sox (TC)
#193 '75 NL Home Run Leaders
#597 Rookie Pitchers (Aase/Kucek/LaCorte/Pazik)

1975 Topps
#220 Don Sutton
#310 '74 Victory Leaders
#378 Derrel Thomas
#402 Bob Tolan

1974 Topps
#38 Don Kessinger
#67 Tommy Helms
#141 Pat Bourque
#158 Jack Billingham
#158 Jack Billingham
#227 Mike Lum 
#349 John Vukovich 
#372 Ken Reitz

1974 Topps - Team Checklists
#NNO Montreal Expos

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

1973 Topps
#18 Leroy Stanton
#29 Tony Taylor 
#30 Tug McGraw
#36 Steve Barber
#68 1972 Leading Firemen (Carroll/Lyle)
#75 Vada Pinson
#79 Jim Willoughby (RC)
#80 Tony Oliva
#85 Ted Simmons
#98 Dick Woodson
#99 Carl Taylor
#116 Ralph Houk (MGR)
#145 Bobby Bonds
#225 Albert Oliver
#230 Joe Morgan
#232 Ken Singleton
#240 Bobby Murcer
#258 Tommy John
#325 Boog Powell
#329 Ed Kranepool
#365 Rico Petrocelli
#368 Bill Buckner

1972-73 Topps (hockey)
#8 Stanley Cup Trophy

1972 Kellogg's All Time Greats 
#1 Walter Johnson  

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

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)
#270 Rico Carty
#290 Tony Oliva
#374 Clete Boyer
#374 Clete Boyer
#385 Maury Wills
#388 Al Oliver

1971 Topps (football)
#22 Ken Avery (RC)
#110 Floyd Little (AS)

1970-71 Topps (basketball)
#16 Bob Weiss 

1970 Fleer World Series
#1 1903 World Series Pirates vs Red Sox  

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

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

1970 Topps (football)
#135 Paul Warfield 

1969 Topps
#66 Orioles Rookies
#139 Andy Kosco

1969 Topps - Deckle Edge
#13 Mel Stottlemyre

1969 Topps (football)
#73 Bennie McRae
#115 Randy Johnson
#154 Sam Baker
#175 Joe Morrison

1968 Topps
#4 1967 AL RBI Leaders (Yastrzemski/Killebrew/Robinson)
#309 Ken Henderson
#348 Larry Colton/Dick Thoenen
#449 Gene Oliver

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 Topps
#27 Dick Bertell
#86 Les Narum
#87 Nelson Mathews
#108 Don Mincher
#111 Lee Thomas
#178 Dalton Jones
#239 Doc Edwards
#307 Barry Latman

1965 Philadelphia (football)
#193 John Paluck

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

1964 Topps - Coins 
#7 Frank Malzone

1963 Topps
#155 Bill Stafford

1961-62 Fleer (basketball)
#32 Willie Naulls 

1961 Topps
#32 Ray Sadecki
#38 Bob Lillis
#96 Billy O'Dell
#165 Gino Cimoli
#258 Jack Sanford
#267 Norm Siebern
#273b 4th Series Checklist
#399 Cliff Cook (RC) 

1960 Topps
#289 Willie Jones
#548 Don Mincher (RC) 

1959 Topps
#298 Tex Clevenger
#424 Ken Aspromonte

1959 Topps (football)
#80 Joe Perry

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

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

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: 35
Unique trading partners: 25

Number of cards mailed out: 105
Year of oldest card mailed out: 1956

Number of cards received: 263
Year of oldest card received: 1938

Friday, June 7, 2019

TCDB Trade Recap: Cards From San Jose, CA

A quick little trade from TCDB member chvlDm netted me some Red Sox from last year's Heritage set:

I didn't pick up a lot of last year's Heritage, so it's always good to pick up some team cards I'm missing.

Thanks for the trade!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Repack Haiku #105 (Steve Farr)

Mainly a closer
Served up Jim Thome's first bomb 
Won ring with Royals

1992 Fleer #225 Steve Farr

Monday, June 3, 2019

Top 3: Bill Buckner

Bill Buckner passed away last week at the age of 69. He was one of those players every team needs to succeed - not a superstar, but solid all-around player who plays hard every day. He is of course most remembered for one unfortunate play on the grandest of sport stages, but he was so much more than that. In honor of the former All-Star and batting champion, I present the Top 3 Bill Buckner cards in my collection:

1973 Topps #114

I'll start off with the oldest card I have, as well as one of his best. It still looks weird seeing him without that epic mustache, but this is a great card of the hitter in his younger days. I love how it looks like he's about to knock the figurine off his All-Star Rookie cup.

1987 Donruss Opening Day #183

I really wanted to showcase a card of him on the field with the Red Sox, and ironically the only one I have is from one of the first sets released after that World Series blunder. He wasn't a Gold Glove winner by any means, and he was often replaced by a better fielder in the late innings, but he played first base pretty well for a guy with balky knees. Awhile ago, there was an ESPN 30 For 30 program that featured the 1986 World Series, and Buckner's unfortunate legacy. The slow motion replay clearly shows that the ball was there, in his glove, and the webbing of the glove gave way and allowed the ball to pass. The error was caused by a faulty glove, not a faulty player. Still, he became the scapegoat, and despite fans' ignorance, he handled it with grace and humility. He never shied away from it, and for that he earns my respect. The simple fact is the Red Sox do not make that World Series without him.

1987 Topps #764

Another card from 1987, this one makes the Top 3 just for being so aesthetically pleasing. Look at how his leg and torso are almost perfectly aligned. The guy was one of Boston's top run producers, and it's easy to see how he became a fan favorite wherever he went.

R.I.P. Bill Buckner, thanks for the memories...