Sunday, August 21, 2016

2016 COMC purchases: 22 many Verlanders!

You might say I had a Ver-iffic time picking up some cards of this here blog's namesake on COMC over the last few months, enough to allow me that punny title up top.  Here's 22-card salute to Justin Verlander:

Part 1:  the Refractors
2007 Bowman Chrome Refractor
2009 Bowman Chrome Refractor
2010 Bowman Chrome Refractor
I had a lot of luck landing Justin's versions of one of my all-time favorite inserts.  Here's a trio of Bowman Chrome Refractors, one of which is almost 10 years old(!).  Just eyeballing them I had some difficulty sorting the 2009-2011 versions since they're pretty similar in design.  As with most Refractors (as you'll see), though, they really pop, especially the scan of the '07.
2010 Topps Chrome Refractor
2011 Bowman Chrome Refractor
2013 Bowman Chrome Refractor
The Topps Chrome card here gives us a bit of variation, though I now realize I already had it.  Oh well, that's still 21 new JVs!  I'm not a huge fan of borders on many card designs but the black and red of the 2011 card do a nice job of emphasizing the other colors on that insert, even if the scan doesn't really do it justice.
2013 Finest Refractor
2014 Bowman Chrome Refractor (#140/500)
2014 Finest Refractor
The 2013 card was the worst of the bunch in looking Refractor-y even in-hand, so that year was a rare miss for this insert.  Also, it sure looks like the 2013 Finest and 2014 BowChro cards use the same image.  Meanwhile, the 2014 Finest issue definitely shines, and its rainbow-ness calls to mind the crazy '94 set that was realized 20 years earlier.
2014 Topps Chrome Refractor
2015 Finest Refractor
2015 Topps Chrome Refractor
And the last three of 12 new Refractors.  The 2015 Finest is the oddball here with its strange polygonal background, but at least it refracts more than the 2013.  And while I generally wasn't a fan of Topps' 2015 flagship design, it ends up looking pretty reasonable when dressed up in chrome and Refractorized.

Part 2:  the other inserts (and one base):
2007 Topps Chrome Generation Now (#GN283)
As with the flagship versions of this insert I'm not actively chasing Verlander's whole run of 17 cards, but if they're cheap enough I do like to pick them up.  This is my second Chrome version (#16 is the other) while I have four of the "base" versions, and it's definitely the most fun to have as it highlights not just the first win of his Rookie of the Year 2006 campaign, but also his first win period--he went 0-2 the year before.
2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Aspirations (#153/200)
2012 Bowman Blue (#157/500)
2012 Topps Archives Cloth Stickers
The die-cut EEE parallel is just one of two non-Topps cards today (monopoly blergh) with both hailing from Panini brands.  That year's Elite Extra base set was just 25 cards, most of which feature veterans.  The Blue parallel from Bowman is one of two as you'll see in just a couple scans; when not picking up Refractors one of my other focuses was numbered inserts like this one.  And besides those I tried to track down inserts I generally found interesting, such as the Archives Cloth Sticker, definitely a fun and unconventional find in a modern product (and a nice throwback).
2012 Topps Opening Day Stars
2013 Pinnacle Aces
2013 Topps Triple Threads Amethyst (#147/650)
Here's a couple more cards that fall on the "interesting" spectrum;  the Opening Day Stars insert has a very enjoyable look and feel, which makes sense in a product ostensibly aimed towards kids.  And the Pinnacle Aces card flashes back to the days of Dufex in the 90s.  2013 Triple Threads takes us back to the numbers game, and though I'm not a huge fan of the color--whatever it's called it sure looks purple to me--I'll take that serial numbered insanity when I can.
2013 Topps Update Gold (#1866/2013)
2014 Bowman Blue (#359/500)
2014 Topps Tribute
If you're surprised to see just one Topps Gold after reading that I was chasing numbered cards, don't be--I already had such Verlanders from seven different products so there aren't many I need.  The Bowman parallel is about the same shade of blue as the 2012 card, I think, though if I were in charge I'd use a darker blue like they've used on the Refractor versions.  And our final card is the only non-insert, but you can't go wrong with a premium looking set like Tribute.  It actually has a bit of a Refractor-like rainbow background to go with its thickness and foil highlights.

My Verlander collection now clocks in at 227 thanks to these excellent additions.  Here's to Mr. Kate Upton, who beat the Red Sox this afternoon for his 13th win of the season.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Complete sets: 2006 Greats of the Game Tigers Greats

Yesterday among my COMC PC purchases I showed off an Alan Trammell insert from 2006 Greats of the Game, and now, as promised, I'm back to show off the full set.  As I mentioned, I'd already previously picked up the Bill Freehan and Kirk Gibson cards for those guys' collections, and that means this time I nabbed the Tram and seven others.  And now you get to see and learn more about this fun set.

The Tigers were one of six franchises honored with a 10-card team greats insert set in this Fleer product, with the others being the Cardinals, Cubs, Dodgers, Red Sox, and Reds.  At least in Detroit's case, nine of the players featured also made an appearance in the base set, and a 10th was thrown in--Ty Cobb, oddly enough!  If you look at the list of players below and wonder why Lou Whitaker isn't included, for example, you're not alone, though to be fair, Sweet Lou appeared in very, very few products after '96.  I would have probably made a couple replacements--where's Mickey Cochrane, Hank Greenberg and Charlie Gehringer, for instance?--but in a set of just 10 cards I think Fleer did a reasonably good job.

Card fronts are divided into two sections.  The top 2/3 is a dark blue rectangle encompassing an inset classic photo of the player and a photo of old Tiger Stadium over which are placed the Fleer Greats logo, the iconic "Olde English 'D'", and the player's name and position.

The bottom third is a grayscale cropped photo with the years of the players' Tiger career (not including Gibby's second tenure, apparently) in the bottom right corner.  Another logo with Detroit's "D" done up in a regal banner style sits between the player photo and this section.

The back is again divided in a 1/3-2/3 scheme.  The smaller section is another dark blue rectangle that includes the card number (or lettering, as the case may be), player name, "D" logo, and biographic info.  Another grayscale-type image sits in the other section, on top of which is a white box with an intricate silver border (topped by the previously-mentioned banner logo again), inside of which is the standard write-up.

This is a very classy insert set from a product with a classy reputation, and the Tigers theme is the icing on the cake for me.  Here's your look at all 10 cards:

Monday, August 15, 2016

2016 COMC purchases: Gibby, Barry, and Tram

I'm back after a fun brief trip to Los Angeles last weekend and then another week and weekend of relaxing and being lazy.

Let's get back into the swing of things with some cards of three of my PC guys, all from my latest COMC package:
Kirk Gibson 2002 UD Piece of History MVP Club
Kirk Gibson 2003 Topps Tribute World Series (#141)
Kirk Gibson 2008 Donruss Threads Century Stars
Two of these three may feature Gibby with the Dodgers, but that's cool since a few sets occasionally remember 1988's game 1.  Card #1 from UD's fun Piece of History product highlights Kirk's 1988 regular season NL MVP award, which he won over the Mets' Darryl Strawberry by a decent number of points thanks to this stat line:  .290/.377/.483 with 25 HR, 76 RBI, 106 R, and 31 SB.

Number two hails from Topps' typically beautiful and high-end Tribute set, this one a World Series-themed product.  It features one of the game's most iconic shots of Gibby celebrating his famous homer.  I need to track down his earlier card from this set which includes him with the '84 Tigers.

Kirk appeared in a Throwback Threads Century Stars insert set in both 2005 and '08.  The back of the latter, which you see above, notes his 1984 game 5 two-homer performance, including one off another west coast ace reliever, Goose Gossage.
Barry Larkin 1996 Pinnacle First Rate
I tend to flip-flop between posting my Larkin cards here and on TMM because, while I love showing him off with the rest of my Wolverines, I know there's a much larger audience here that appreciates the HOF SS.  Speaking of folks who appreciate Larkin, Pinnacle did so with this dufex beauty back in 1996.  Barry certainly was first rate the previous year, winning the NL MVP, a fact that's surprisingly left off of the back, which notes that "...he ranked sixth in the league with a .319 BA in '95 and came in second with a career-high 51 stolen bases."

My 333rd Larkin is good enough to bring back the "90s inserts rule" tag, probably to nobody's surprise!
Alan Trammell 2001 Greats of the Game
Alan Trammell 2013 Pinnacle Awaiting the Call
Alan Trammell 2006 Greats of the Game Tigers Greats
Trammell is a bit of a combo-breaker as the other two guys today won regular season MVPs;  while Tram took home the award for his '84 World Series performance, he was flat-out robbed in 1987, posting a full 3.2 more bWAR than Toronto's George Bell.  He also belongs in the Hall of Fame, but that's an argument for another day.

As with Gibson I found three new cards for his PC, two of which are inserts.  First up his his base card for the beautifully understated Greats of the Game set Fleer produced in 2001.  If they ever put out a bad design for this set I haven't seen one.

Card #2 is one I avoided for a while since I'm as pissed as other Trammell fans that he's been disrespected by Hall voters.  But it's a cool looking set, even sans logos, and if the veterans' committee ever gets it right then it'll be a fun card to look back on.

Last up is Alan's entry from another Fleer Greats set, this one a 10-card insert covering Tigers Greats.  He's one of three guys in the set I PC, along with Bill Freehan and Gibson, and this is one of the eight cards I grabbed while making this purchase so I'd have the full set.  I'll be showing that off in a future post, likely my next one.

Stay tuned for that along with one or two other COMC-related posts, and if you're interested in seeing some of my other pickups please head over to TMM this evening.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

2016 trade package #17: Sports Cards From the Dollar Store gives you Wiiiiings



Lots of red but no bull in this post!  Well, just a bit--despite being as useful as the USPS, Canada's mail system decided to work for a bit, so I was fortunate enough to be one of the recipients of another trade package from Doug over at SCFtDS!  Hopefully the American version will be functioning whenever Canada's gets back to some semblance of normalcy.

Anyway, Doug provided plenty of goodies--in fact, enough for a two-part trade post, which means there's even more to see over at TMM this evening.

But that's for after this post.  Here's the TMV content you're here to see:
Cleary was the first Newfie to win a Cup thanks to Detroit's last win in 2008.  Datsyuk was a team stalwart for 14 seasons before understandably heading back home after this year.  Draper was an often underappreciated key cog of four Cup teams.  Ellis played parts of two seasons with the Wings before heading to the Kings, then seven more seasons with Buffalo.  Filppula put up eight solid seasons with the Wings, good enough to earn a free agent contract with Steve Yzerman's Lightning.  Lidstrom needs no introduction as he's one of the greatest players in franchise history.  And Osgood was also underappreciated by many fans, but was part of three Cup-winners, starting most of the games for two of those squads.
And Hank gets his own scan thanks to this five-card bounty.  Zetterberg has put up more than 300 goals in his 13-year career and was also part of the 2008 Cup-winning squad.  The Ultra insert celebrates his feat of scoring 13 goals in the playoffs that year as the Wings defeated the Penguins.  He put up double-digit playoff goals--11--the following year as well as Detroit fell to the Pens in a rematch.

This bunch of Wings brings back some nice memories of some of Detroit's best recent teams and players, so thanks for sending them my way, Doug!  I'll respond in kind whenever you give me the go-ahead.

Please make sure to head over to TMM this evening for the rest of the loot!