Tuesday, August 19, 2014

2014 trade package #22: Gavin is the Earl of trading

Yesterday on TMM I showed off this image,
as a celebration of a five-envelope mail Monday.  While that post covered four of those packages, one of them--the last bubble mailer on the right--had to wait for today's post over here.  It was a surprise package from Gavin of 100-plus follower blog Baseball Card Breakdown.  He participated in my giveaway/contest earlier this year, and while I hoped that would lead to more trading, I certainly didn't require anything in return--especially not something as nice as what he sent my way out of the blue:
Earl Weaver 2004 Topps Retired Signature auto
Whoa!  I think I made a comment or two about this Weaver during Gavin's sorta recent contests where various autos like this one were the prizes.  Still, I never expected to acquire it so soon, if at all, because I hadn't worked out any actual trade with Gavin.  Chalk this one up to generosity, I suppose.  The good news is that it led to a formal deal this time, and once we both ship our cards out I'll show another sweet Baseball Card Breakdown pickup that's as exciting as this one.

Speaking of the Weaver, this is my first autograph of the esteemed (if diminutive) Hall of Fame manager.  Earl was of an old-school class of skippers that was a favorite of players and fans alike due to his strategic acumen, winning ways, and most of all, his legendary temper.  This famous video shows that last trait in spades (but includes very NSFW language!):

Weaver managed the Orioles--his only MLB team--for 17 total seasons (1968-82 and 1985-86) and his teams won more 1480 games, four pennants (three in a row, '69-'71, plus '79) and the 1970 World Series.  The Veterans' Committee voted him into the Hall in 1996, and there he'll forever be remembered for success...and swearing!

I'm a big fan of Topps' Chrome-ified retired/favorites sets of the 2000s, and 2004 features an especially nice design thanks to its black border surrounding the 2004 flagship look.  This is a great shot of Weaver, and I love that Topps designed a nice clear area for an excellent on-card signature.  Earl obliged collectors with a beautiful John Hancock for this encased work of art.

Thanks a ton for a fun and exciting surprise, Gavin!  I look forward to completing our pending trade (and showing off my return as well).  If anybody needed evidence that the guy is a thoughtful and generous trader, look no further than this post.  And speaking of his collecting habits, don't forget to head on over to Baseball Card Breakdown if you're not already following!

Friday, August 15, 2014

2014 trade package #21: a Migg-nificent haul from Bob Walk the Plank

You know, you can try as hard as you want, but these days it really is tough sledding trying to out-generous Matt from Bob Walk the Plank.  Send him as many great cards as you can, but chances are good he'll come up with something even better.

Case in point:  this guy:
Miguel Cabrera 2005 Donruss Signature auto

Matt emailed me a couple weeks ago and asked if I'd like a Miggy autograph, keeping in mind that he'd be pictured as a Marlin.  Uh, YEAH, that sounds pretty ok, Matt.  He confirmed that it wasn't identical to my other one (personally pack-pulled!) and a trade package was born.  Which is awesome because I love trading and definitely love sending stuff to other folks, but I have no idea what I'm going to come up with for him in return!  This is a very nice card (from a set that looks kind of drab without the autograph) and as usual I'm a fan of Panini's holographic stickers.  This is a great signature of a much younger Miggy, a couple years after winning a ring during his rookie season, and a couple before heading to Detroit in one of the heists of the century.

As if that wasn't great enough by itself, Matt slid another great card into the package:
Bill Freehan 2005 UD Past Time Pennants Signatures Bronze auto

This is a Freehan auto I'd already picked up a while back, but picking it up is a win-win for me:  either I trade it to someone who can use it (please feel free to leave a comment with an offer), or I can keep it with my Tigers PC since I'm already keeping one with Bill's collection.

As is always the case including this, my sixth trade with the Bucs/Mountaineers (Buccaneers?) fan, Matt is a ridiculously generous trader and I can't recommend him highly enough, along with his fantastic blog.  I'm happy to see so many trade packages from him appearing on other blogs, making the community that much stronger.  If you haven't yet, take a walk off the plank--you'll be glad you did!  As for me, I'll be working on a trade package worthy of a first-ballot HOF triple crown-winner of my favorite team....  Thanks, Matt!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

8-10-14 card show report: SPxcellence

It's been a bit less than a month since I last hit a card show, but with the usual sources not turning up much recently, I decided to head back to Gibraltar Trade Center in Taylor at least one more time before it closes up shop later this year.

As usual my focus was PC cards for me and trade bait for you guys.  I found some of each, and the former can be seen on a TMM post this evening, and the latter will hit a few of your mailboxes soon!

I eventually got sick of flipping through quarter/$0.50/$1 boxes and hit a wax dealer on the way out.  I'm not a big box breaker anymore, but I did see one that caught my eye:
I loves me some Upper Deck football cards, which nowadays combine beautiful photography and design with college photos.  I threw down $65 for 10 packs of five cards, including four guaranteed hits.  After I got back I looked up Blowout's box price, and while it's $10 less, that doesn't account for shipping (and waiting), so I don't feel like I overspent.

Here's how I did:

Base cards:  40/50 (80%), no doubles

Since this was a relatively small number of cards, I just scanned 'em all to show them off:
Pretty good player selection other than Andy Katzenmoyer.  Lots of big names and nice photos.  I'll likely just grab them from Sportlots, but if anybody has the 10 I need please let me know:
3 10 13 15 23 36 37 39 40 50

As always, here's a back for completeness in the form of set's lone Wolverine, Anthony Carter:

1996 Inserts:  Collin Klein and Steve Young; 1997 Inserts Landry Jones

I love the callback to SPx's designs from 18 and 17 years ago (wait, seriously?!), especially the '97 card, although my experience with both original sets is limited to baseball.

Finite Legends Eddie George (#209/899); Finite Rookies Tyler Eifert (#464/899) and E.J. Manuel (#783/899) (3:10 odds)

Pretty good players again here, even if one of them is a Buckeye.  These are heavy on the gold foil, but I like how they look.

Le'Veon Bell Autograph Jersey (#108/475)
Keenan Allen Winning Big Materials Patch (#06/10)
Ryan Nassib Super Scripts auto
Marquess Wilson Rookie 2013 Signatures auto (#228/299)

Well, I got my four promised hits, three of which were guaranteed to be autographed.  Although Bell's a Spartan, he was still a good pull and I'm hoping he'll get me a chunk of change back.  The Allen falls closer to Topps' definition of a "patch" but is limited enough that maybe I can get something for it as well.  I like the design of the Nassib auto but it'll likely take a bit to find someone that wants it.  As for the Wilson, after I posted the results of my break on Blowout I was quickly able to trade it for a Denard Robinson relic, so that's a plus.

Overall it was an enjoyable rip, even if it was a quick one at just 10 packs.  I pulled zero doubles, the set will be cheap to complete, and I got some sellable/tradeable inserts and hits.  If you find this at a show or elsewhere for around $50 total I'd call it a no-brainer.

Everything you see from the inserts on down is available for trade minus the Marquess Wilson, so if you see something you like please let me know!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

2014 trade package #20: Reader Mark H. throws me some more throwbacks

First of all, welcome to this here blog's 600th post which, as always, would be more impressive if it hadn't been in existence as long as it has.  But at least I'm still going!

To celebrate (as if I wasn't gonna post this anyway), here's my second trade package from reader Mark Hoyle, one of the guys that participated in my recent giveaway/contest.  Back in June he shot me over a very cool PWE stuffed with vintage Tigers, and he recently followed that up with even more, quickly cementing him as one of my top sources of Detroit cards of yesteryear.  Here's what I got this time:
Last time Mark sent me one '71, but he doubled that effort today with the well-known Horton along with Cesar Gutierrez, a SS who played in a bit more than 200 games over five seasons with the Giants and Tigers.  As usual, the design looks great.
Next Mark tacked on another pair to the huge number of '72s he sent in June.  One is a multiplayer RC (w00t!) including Jim Foor, Tim Hosley, and Paul Jata.  Foor was a first-rounder in '67 that barely appeared over three MLB seasons.  Hosley played in parts of nine seasons, mostly with Oakland.  Jata appeared in 32 games in '72 and that was it.  I'll have to add those to the rest and see where I'm at in regards to the team set.
And now onto the '74s, which dominated the package this time.  Sharon was a Pirates '68 first-rounder that came over in a deal for the previously-mentioned Foor.  Brinkman, (who appeared in the last post for the '73 set) came to Detroit in a deal that sent former star Denny McLain and Wolverine Elliott Maddox to the Senators.  Speaking of the Sens (and that same deal), Coleman, a pitcher, was their #1 (3rd overall) in '65, and Mark also included him with the '73s last time.  I showed off the Cash in my last card show report, but it's great to land another of the well-known Detroit slugger.  Finally, LaGrow was featured on two cards Mark previously sent.

The top row here includes the last three '74s from the main set, including Mickey Stanley, the OF who famously moved to SS for the '68 World Series, a tactic that aided the Tigers in their ultimate victory.  Next to him is Woodie Fryman, an 18-year veteran who both started and relieved during his long career.  Lastly is another multiplayer RC, this one of the multi-team variety.  John Gamble, owner of 3 PA, 0 H and 1 R over 13 games in his two seasons with Detroit, is the lone Tiger, but Chalk was a two-time All-Star, Mackanin lasted for nine seasons, and Trillo was a four-time All-Star with seven teams over his 17-year tour (and is obviously the best player on the card).
The remaining trio comprises cards from the '74 Traded set.  Sutherland was a Montreal expansion pick in '68 and was with Detroit for about two-and-a-half years out of his 13 seasons.  Ray came over in the same deal, but the 28 games he played with Detroit in '74 proved to be his final ones.  Luke "Sky" Walker (just kidding, obviously, since Star Wars hadn't come out yet) also closed out his career in Detroit with 28 games after the team purchased him from the Pirates, for whom he pitched in his previous eight seasons.

Thanks for another great PWE, Mark!  I'm loving all the help you've given me towards the Tigers team sets from the early 70s, of which I have pretty much nothing.  Readers, if you haven't traded with Mark yet, keep an eye on your comments sections and know that he comes TMV-approved!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Three up, three down: at a low Price

This is something new I've been meaning to try:  a feature where I cover three positive and negative events in the hobby and my favorite sports.  Let's see how it goes.  Look, I even did up an MSPaint for the occasion:

I'll start with the negative first since it's nicer to end on a positive note.

Three down:

1.  Panini comes out on Topps:  Looks like football cards will be a Panini-opoly starting in 2016.  For those of you who know how much I bash Topps, don't assume I'm in favor of this--less competition is always bad (coughISPscough), and you would think the NFLPA would have learned from the massive mistake made by the MLBPA to hand Topps the keys to the kingdom.  Good luck finding any positives here, other than maybe some laughs when Topps inevitably posts some hypocritical comments about the ills of exclusive licenses!

2.  Repack products are re-ripoffs:  This Blowout thread from a few weeks ago showed a break of yet another repack product, this one called "Super Deluxe Box Breaker Edition."  The discussion centered on the breaker pulling pretty much the best hit in the product, a Jose Abreu Superfractor, and how much of a hit to the wallet collectors take when purchasing the product and not pulling that winning lottery ticket, especially with the exorbitant price of the box (apparently around $7000 for 10 hits with lots of other useless gimmicks).  These products really don't add anything to the hobby, at least not for collectors, but I'm sure the manufacturers are laughing all the way to the bank while breakers chase a few extremely high-end hits.

3.  Tony Dungy avoids distractions, except when they're convenient:  Jeez, what's the deal with the NFL right now?  Ray Rice gets a slap on the wrist from the league for assaulting his wife while comparatively minor drug offenders suffer much harsher penalties, and then previously-respected coach and commentator Tony Dungy says he wouldn't have drafted Missouri DL Michael Sam, the All-American SEC DPOY, because he could be a "distraction."  "Things will happen," he explained.  "Things" such as an openly gay player being part of the league, causing an uptick in purchases of fainting couches, apparently.  Is he worried about the locker room, maybe?  I don't think he should--this excellent piece from ESPN's Body Issue makes sports locker rooms sound extremely homoerotic in a frat boy sort of way.  No, this is obviously Dungy's sour grapes because the GayRoller is coming for him and the rest of America.  You may as well just come out and say what you mean--that's what's so great about free speech.  Also, for people who aren't backwards-thinking hypocrites (that "distraction" theme seems awfully familiar when it comes to sports...), it makes it easier to identify people you can safely tune out.

Three Up:

1.  Gint-a-cuffs II:  The Second One:  I know this isn't really the second year of Gint-a-cuffs, I just wanted to make what will soon be a dated reference to the Sharknado sequel.  I have exactly zero interest in Topps' A&G product for a multitude of reasons, but I recognize how great this blog national holiday is for the hobby, so I welcome it with open arms, even if I'll never participate.  Enjoy, guys, and good luck!

2.  Baseball Hall of Fame lives up to its name:  This year, Cooperstown welcomed six new plaques to its famed Hall, and the list of names is mind-boggling:  Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, and Greg Maddux, as well as manager trio Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussa, and Joe Torre.  Other deserving names aren't on that list, but hopefully those wrongs will be righted next year, and for now we should enjoy this impressive sextet.  I don't know that collectors needed any further incentive to collect any of the three star players, but Hall entry usually provides a nice boost, and those guys clearly deserved it.  As a child of the 90s, I applaud this monumental induction enthusiastically--congratulations to all!

3.  The Tigers pay a low price for a high Price!:  This is probably the one you knew was coming.  2014 proved to be one of the more exciting trade deadlines (and months of July) in recent memory, especially with the A's making multiple blockbuster trades.  Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski appears to have skunked everyone else, though, with an amazingly bold deal that brings Rays ace and #1 deadline prize David Price to Detroit in exchange for Austin Jackson, Drew Smyly, and a minor league SS prospect.  I came to admire Jackson when I finally came around on the Granderson trade years ago, and I'll fondly remember him, but I won't necessarily miss his maddeningly inconsistent bat, plus he's a free agent after 2015 and likely wouldn't have fit in the budget anyway.  Smyly's a bigger long-term loss since he's so cheap and under control for several more years.  But the immediate fact is that Detroit's rotation is scarier than standing between Prince Fielder and a buffet, and the team was able to be creative in landing Price despite a dearth of quality prospects.  I'll likely continue to collect at least Jackson's Tigers hits, and I don't know about Price because he may be gone after 2015 (or sooner?), but in terms of the on-field team, I'm very excited about the playoffs now!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Complete sets: 2006 Topps Rookie of the Week

It's been a few months since I last posted one of the complete sets sent to me by the legendary BA Benny in his last trade package to me before signing off (and more than a year since that mammoth trade).  Short of content for the moment, I thought it might be fun to look at another set, with this one being much newer than the last.

Today's set is Topps' 2006 Rookie of the Week promotion.  According to BaseballCardPedia (always a wonderful source for more info about sets), "This 25-card set was distributed exclusively through Topps Home Team Advantage dealer network. A new card was available each week, and to acquire that week's card collectors had to purchase a pack of Topps cards from their local HTA dealer.  Each card is a reprint of the player's Topps rookie card, but with a different photo then the original."

The same set/different picture is something Topps had started doing more of around that time, especially with the contemporary Fan Favorites set, which are far superior to the more recent Archives product that focuses on just a couple designs.  The monopolists did a pretty nice job of player selection overall, with its 24 different players (more on that shortly) comprising mostly retired HOFers along with a few modern stars.  As you'll see, nobody in this set will raise any eyebrows in 20 years.

Here's a look at the 25-card set:
The first group starts with Topps Baseball Tebow, Mickey Mantle, naturally, and then another eight Yankees right aft--oh wait, he's the only Yankee in this group of nine!  Wow, that's actually kind of nice.  I think Topps did well to jump all over the different decades instead of making these a lot more predictable and going chronologically.  The alternate photos are pretty good too.  I do have to laugh at the pair of assholes Bonds and Clemens going back-to-back, though. 
First things first--I love that Killer, and the design guys understood the history of the product enough to make his card look great even with alternate images.  The rest of the group sticks to stars from the 60s-80s except for Ichiro, who'll join the other guys in the Hall soon enough.  Of the formerly multiplayer RCs with other players cropped out appearing in this set--Ryan, Ripken, Seaver, Bench, and Schmidt--only Schmidt's card really looks weird after the edit, so that's a plus.  And hey, still no other Yankees so far!
With Jeter's impending retirement, this is another group that will be 100% HOFers very soon--and by the way, I in no way argue against his inclusion here.  My hat's off to Jeter and his excellent career, in addition to being a rare star that never really acted like a douche or got caught in any terrible scandal.  I love the choice of Gibson as well since he really doesn't get enough hobby love nowadays, plus he's one of just four pitchers in this set.  The trio of 83s that went consecutively--Gwynn/Boggs/Sandberg--was a cool outcome, though I'm not sure if it was done on purpose.  And finally, my only real complaint about the set:  a second Mantle card.  Topps, we get it--you're obsessed--but in a set this small, would it KILL you to give us 25 different players?  At least you're consistent in your suckiness.

This is still a fun set to look at once in a while, though, and I'm curious to hear some opinions from those of you interested in enough to comment, so have at it!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday fun: JV Squad

Without anything major to scan and post for a few days, I thought it would be fun to post a page/team's worth of Justin Verlander cards as I'm trying to get everything I have of him scanned.  So here's nine I felt like showing off today:
Justin Verlander 2006 and 2007 Topps Turkey Red
Turkey Red:  it's not just for inserts!  Here's a couple examples of base set versions of Turkey Red from 2006 and 2007.  Both designs are pretty cool, but I generally prefer the newer set because its border looks a lot better to me than the plain gray of the older one.  It's fun to compare the different artistic styles of the images, though.
Justin Verlander 2008 Stadium Club First Day Issue
Stadium Club's last hurrah (until this year's set, though we'll see how that goes) featured one of the brand's best designs while keeping the trademark full-bleed photography.  This is a great image of a smiling Verlander in a Tigers hoodie I totally want.  This insert also keeps up with the set's traditional First Day Issue parallel.
Justin Verlander 2008 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
Justin was indeed a member of Topps' All-Star Rookie Team, and he also took home a Rookie Cup the following year, as this 2007 Chrome White Refractor illustrates.  Considering he went 17-9 and won the AL Rookie of the Year in his first full campaign, the choice was a no-brainer (perfect for Topps, where brains are inversely proportional to the number of redemptions in their products!).
Justin Verlander 2010 Topps Chrome Topps 206 Chrome (#097/999)
Topps had previously done the Chrome thing with another set that featured cards with a reprinted design--Heritage--and that definitely worked well, so I think the 206 thing was a good decision that worked out well.  A Refractor of one of these would definitely look great.
Justin Verlander 2012 Topps Update Gold (#0303/2012)
I was surprised to find a Topps Gold insert of JV that I hadn't scanned--and then I found another!  This one highlights his selection to the 2012 All-Star team, which I'm guessing he'd just as soon forget:  Verlander started and gave up five first-inning runs in the eventual 8-0 drubbing by the NL.
Justin Verlander 2013 Heritage Chrome Purple Refractor
Purple is very low on my list of colors, but I do like the Chrome Refractorness going here otherwise, as I briefly mentioned with the 206 card above.  Purple and green are among the parallel colors I could really do without.
Justin Verlander 2013 Topps Gold (#1174/2013)
Here's the other Gold card I dug out, and I really dig the use of the horizontal photo on this one, which is a textbook case, really.  Better yet, it doesn't suffer from Topps' obsession with extreme close-ups, so you even get a shot of a SS in the background, which I would assume is Jhonny Peralta.  Definitely one of the best photos in JV's collection.
Justin Verlander 2013 Topps Opening Day Stars
This sweet insert just arrived not too long ago in my trade package from Tony of Off-Hiatus Baseball Cards.  It's a nice example that proves that just because a set is "low-end," it doesn't have to have crappy, boring inserts.  The "3D" hologram thing Topps went with works very well, and the concept of highlighting Opening Day starters is a good one.

I still have lots to scan, but for now you can see all 47 cards I've scanned in Verlander's PC album right here.  Watch for more of these posts in the future, especially when I have nothing else to post about!