Thursday, January 21, 2021

2021 trade package #2: Chronicles of Fuji

I'm back with trade #2 (out of three so far!) from January 2021. This one was slightly larger than the last so it took me a bit of time to put it together and then a bit more to, you know, feel like writing up a post.

Fuji (Chronicles of Fuji) managed to surprise me with a fairly packed bubble mailer, then impressed me even more with what was inside:
Up top are 2020 Ginter cards of a couple slugging 1Bs who starred for Detroit and hit many a longball. My math tells me that Miggy and "Big Daddy" have combined for 594 homers as Tigers (349 and 245, respectively), and Cabrera may very well hit the hallowed 500 mark this season, needing just 13 to get it done (plus 134 hits for the big 3K).

Down the middle are Willie Horton, a newer PC guy for me, out of 1990 Pacific Legends (more on that in a bit) and an '85 Fleer Team Stickers card that includes stickers of a pennant and a jersey starring the Olde English "D". The latter is a cool item as I really don't have many stickers from Fleer or elsewhere from the mid-80s on back. Nice find, Fuji!

And lastly we have probably the coolest and most surprising item in the package. Topps' Pro Debut product in 2018 got just about as creative as the Minor Leagues themselves with these "Fragments of the Farm Relics". Stewart's card here includes a piece of a sign from the outfield fence of UPMC park, home of the Tigers' AA Erie (PA) Seawolves. Other sources of relics include protective netting, bases, pennants, tarps, and more! Stewart could use more time in the Minors but this card definitely gets the call to my collection.
Next is a group of six 1993 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes oversized cards. I think I've had occasion to show off only one of these here before, but Fuji broke a box of the product that features 2.5x5.25" panels like you see above, done in the style of the 1912 T-202 set (also referred to as "Hassan Triple Folders"). Former Tigers Kell and Lolich each got their own cards (with a left or middle panel image showing them with a different team) while Cobb appears on a bunch of shared cards including the ones you see here with Ruth, Rogers Hornsby, Tris Speaker, and Ted Williams. I'll happily deal with figuring out how to store these to be lucky enough to own this many!
Here's a look at the back of Kell's card to give you an idea of how those look.
And then we come to what was responsible for the bulk of the package. Many of you probably remember how I busted a box of 1988 Pacific Legends last year--I certainly did enough posts teasing the break and covering it--and Fuji opted to buy the other box I'd picked up. He also put in some work collecting the '89 and '90 iterations of these, and apparently had enough extras to send me 94 of the 110 cards in the 1990 set! He even went that extra Fuji mile by including a list of the missing cards, none of which are huge stars, so it's not like he held anything back (if you couldn't tell by old Hammerin' Hank up top). I'm going to grab the rest on Sportlots soon and then I'll just need to track down the '89 set one way or another to complete my run.
Here's a quick look at the other Tigers-related guys in the set, plus a front and two backs of other representative guys, though I should also say it has a Fan Favorites vibe (just like the '88 version) by including guys like Rusty Staub, Don Mossi, and Jesse Barfield.

As much as anything else in this package, this was a very generous gift from Fuji and I really appreciate it!

Mark, once again, thanks for the nice New Year's surprise! I was happy to enjoy the fruits of a couple of your oddball box breaks and I'll have to try to see if I can find something similar you can use. In the meantime I hope you liked the few Christmas cards I sent your way and that you're hanging in there while trying to teach kids during the pandemic. Domo arigato, Mr. Fuji!

Saturday, January 16, 2021

2021 trade package #1: Topps Cards That Never Were

After being the source of one of my final 2020 trade packages, Jeremy from Topps Cards That Never Were is back at it again with my first envelope of '21! It's a three-card PWE that expertly pinpoints multiple collections and it makes me glad that I made sure to include him in my 2020 Christmas cards.
The cardboard trio was protected nicely in a toploader with a note on top. Recent pulls are definitely good fodder for trade packages folks send my way considering I don't really bust packs/boxes anymore, much less newer stuff, so I can always use stuff like that. As a matter of fact I did need all three cards here:
First we'll look at the Barry Larkin card on the left: a Green version of Topps' 2020 Decades' Best insert. The back, which you'll see at the end of this post, does a solid job of explaining Barry's inclusion in the set, and so do his stats and accolades from the 90s. His team opened the decade with its most recent World Series title, he won the '95 NL MVP, and he was an All-Star for eight of those ten seasons. Larkin put up a .303/.388/.466 line while walking more than he struck out (remember when guys used to do that?) and was credited with an outstanding 52.6 bWAR, a number better than career marks for several HOFers at the position. While this Wolverine doesn't approve of the color used for this parallel, I'm glad to add the card to Barry's PC, which is nearing 800 items!

The other cards star pitchers I love to collect, though I couldn't immediately identify them since I'm so out of the loop when it comes to Topps parallels. It didn't take me too long to label them as Rainbow Foil cards from 2020 Topps and Update. Hill's is from the flagship product, though he does make an appearance in Update too for some reason. JV's from Update on an active leaders card as he's tops in strikeouts (which you'll get to see below). Rich is a free agent after the Twins took a flyer on him and saw him pitch limited innings over eight games, so we'll see what the future holds for the 40-year-old. Verlander's 2021 debut, if there is one, will be delayed since he underwent Tommy John surgery. Hopefully he returns to being at least close to the dominant force he was before a rare injury sidelined him.
Here's the backs as promised. Barry's card does a good job of spelling out his ranks in hitting stats for the decade. It's fun getting to see Hill's entire, well-travelled career on one card. And I laughed at seeing corpulent "free agent" P Bartolo Colon sneak his way into the bloated Update set.

Jeremy, thanks again for thinking of me two months in a row! I appreciate you being well aware of who and what I collect and treating me to new cards I needed that I wouldn't have picked up myself anytime soon. Hopefully you liked the stuff I finally sent your way after this second PWE from you arrived, and eventually I'll try to build up more stuff for another trade.

Next time we'll be sticking with trade cards, but instead of the southeast we'll be heading way out west with another of my favorite guys to deal with!

Thursday, January 14, 2021

2020 COMC purchases: Dean-o and more new cards you haven't seen-o

Before I get to today's cards I just wanted to highlight a minor miracle that occurred since I last posted: last week my first COMC shipment containing the items I purchased for Christmas card packages finally rematerialized and appeared in Detroit, then Ann Arbor. I've since managed to put together all but one of those envelopes and send them out, so you may see some belated Christmas card posts soon!

Besides getting those done I've been hard at work ordering buttloads of cards from Sportlots (almost done!) and my first try with (ordered!), so I'll be showing those off in due time.

Ok, onward to tonight's content, which is 100% baseball:

Former slugging 3B Dean Palmer was one of two big winners today, and the guy who got the most new items added to his collection (now 160 cards strong). I'll get to the two most prominent items in a minute, but first, it's "90s inserts rule" time! The '94 Pinnacle Museum Collection design isn't nearly as good as '95's in my opinion, but it's still a great looking parallel. A year after the Preferred brand debuted as a Leaf name, it switched over to Donruss and was responsible for some very nice looking inserts, such as that Cut to the Chase die-cut parallel.

A Silver base card from '97 Finest gives me both of Dean's entries in the regular set, with the only two Rangers earning spots in the rare Gold versions the exact two you'd expect--Pudge Rodriguez and Juan Gonzalez. And '99 Black Diamond has some very fine parallels that are nicely differentiated both in coloring and numbering. Above you see the Double (/3000) and Triple (/1500) versions, meaning I still need the Quadruple (/150) to complete the mini rainbow.

As if 90s insert greatness wasn't enough, I managed to score my second relic (also a bat) and first autograph for my Palmer PC. The signature hails from the well known auto-per-pack 1996 Leaf Signature product and is the most common Bronze version, limited to 3500 copies. The writing is a bit squished but fairly legible otherwise. And speaking of hit-per-pack products, the bat was found in 2001 Private Stock packs I remember quite well, busting many back when relics were more novel. Both of these make for a nice boost to that growing collection.
This next group is a bit of a mix, comprising two former Tigers and another favorite PC. It may not have been too many© but I did find two new Granderson jerseys from 2008--SP Legendary Cuts and Topps Heritage--getting me to the 10 hit mark, for just $1.50 and $1.25, respectively. I also came up with a 2016 Donruss Stat Line insert for under $0.50 which was exciting since I've loved the parallel since it first appeared in 2001. This one's numbered to 263 for his career HR total through 2015, and he's put up 81 more in his final four seasons for a solid total of 344. And after all that we're not quite done yet with Curtis....

First let's have a look at the other cards here. Gwynn was one of the two subjects (Griffey's the other) I wanted to track down from Leaf's 1997 insert called Knothole Gang. Leaf took the motif seriously and came up with a super cool design. These are numbered /5000, which you should remember was pretty tough back then! 90s inserts rule and this was an easy purchase for me. Would you believe it was a "Freedom Isn't Free" special at just a buck-oh-five?

Former versatile Tiger (and player for five other teams) Tony Phillips, like Palmer, is another PC I've been starting to build up in the last year, and this '97 Refractor was the cherry on top of this order, the last card I snagged with my dwindling credit before seeing about shipping my two groups of purchases (trade bait and personal). 1997's design happens to be one of my favorites of the brand so I didn't mind paying $0.75 for this shiny 90s gem.
I said I'd get back to Grandy, didn't I? After naming this here blog after him more than 10 years ago I was finally able to add a plate to his collection. As you can see, this one's from 2017 Donruss and is of the yellow variety, and it was right in my $5-10 wheelhouse at around $8. I'm super excited to add another 1/1 of a favorite player, and I may have to put together a display for whatever "-fecta" I end up with. Right now I could do a RC, relic, auto, 1/1, and manurelic, which is a pretty nice group!
Switching over to the Michigan guys, here's today's last group. Leading off is the Mechanical Man and a 2012 Panini Cooperstown Crystal Collection parallel. This is the regular version, numbered /299, and it completes the trio for me as I already had the Red and Blue versions--a trifecta rainbow!

Next, I was ecstatic to score my first UM uniform autos of 2019 draft picks Tommy Henry (D-Backs, 2nd round) and Karl Kauffmann (Rockies, 2nd round). Elite Extra is perfect for collectors like me because of just such cards. In each case it's also my second auto but obviously my favorite for both given the college photos.

Staying relatively recent, I continued my slow progress towards P Clayton Richard's collection with a 2019 Topps Walgreens Yellow parallel. While the hues aren't quite right, combined with the blue of his team's uniform, it makes for a very appropriate card for a Wolverine!

I'm pretty sure buddy of the blog John, who's definitely already enthused by this group, will like this next card the most. My fellow Freehan collector would be all over this 2005 SP Legendary Cuts Glory Days jersey, one that was surprisingly new to me as I got down to my last few bucks of credit. I already owned the Gold (/75) version of this but not the unnumbered regular one you see above. $3 was a small price to pay for my 25th hit of one of the franchise's best all-time catchers.

And last but not least is the end of my baseball gets, namely a Getz. Hailing from 2008 Just Minors' Just Autographs set, this is a Gold autograph that's numbered on the back (digitally, on a foil stamp), which set me back $1.33. I ended up snagging it instead of the paradoxically more costly (on COMC, anyway) base version. This one getz (sorry, not sorry) his hit total up to 16, with all but two of those (a couple of plates) featuring his signature.

This is quite a nice haul to look at and I haven't even gotten to my football stuff yet! I haven't even scanned that yet, much less figured out if I'm going to break it up into multiple posts, but between the card stuff I mentioned above that's been keeping me busy and putting together this post, I've neglected a couple really nice trade packages I need to show off, so look for those to be my next two posts before I possibly get back to the rest of my COMC loot.

Until then, please enjoy looking at these pickups while we all wait for pitchers and catchers to report!

Saturday, January 2, 2021

2020 COMC purchases: hockey new year!

I hope everyone had an excellent holiday season, I know I did. After taking a few days off, though, I decided I was ready to get started posting in 2021, and fortunately I happened to have some worthy content handy.

Although I'm still waiting on my original COMC order (which is pretty much all trade bait destined for Christmas packages), a package that's been in limbo since 12/14, the second one I had shipped days later made it to my mailbox before the year was up. All but one of the cards in this one were for me, so at least I've got that going for me!

I ended up doing quite well with the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales so I have a nice fat stack of cards to show off. Because of that I'm going to break them down into (at least) three posts by sport. As you might have guessed by this post's title, hockey is first up:

While this is in now way a huge haul, I'll remind everyone that I don't tend to search out hockey very much, and I largely went after these due to their ridiculously low prices. Here's a bit more about each:

Chris Brown 2013-14 Upper Deck Overtime Autographs auto: once again, ladies and gentlemen, it's the pride of Flower Mound, Texas! $0.90 was all it took to grab this Coyote colored (:chuckles Phoenixly:) signature of Brown, my ninth including an auto of 12 total hits (and 15 cards overall). It's a rare addition to his collection by me since much of what I own is courtesy of The Buckstore Kid, naturally. Fellow Wolverine Jacob Trouba can also be found here so this may not be the last of the set you'll see!

Greg Pateryn 2013-14 Crown Royale auto RC (#450/499): Pateryn is something of an unheralded D-man but he's managed to hang in the league on and off for approaching a decade, which is nice to see. He was originally drafted by the Leafs but made his debut and played his first few seasons with the pictured Canadiens here. Crown Royale's die-cuts just about always look nice, and the fact that this is also a numbered RC is a plus. At just $1.25 I was glad to make it his third hit (two autos and a plate) out of just five total cards.

Jeff Tambellini 2005-06 Parkhurst Signatures auto: the last auto of the group belongs to the son of former Oilers GM Steve. Jeff was a dynamite college player during my school days in Ann Arbor, though his NHL career was nothing special. But, man, could he take over a game and carry the team on his back when they needed it! I had no second thoughts about paying a buck for his signature on such a nice design, not that I was surprised that the classic Parkhurst name offered up a good look like this. Five of my eight Tambellini hits feature his John Hancock (out of just 14 cards overall).

Mike Cammalleri 2008-09 Black Diamond Jerseys Quad quad jersey: only one hockey Mike today so I'm not gonna use the tag, but I am quite happy with the new addition. Everyone knows relics have kind of lost their luster over the years, but it's not because of cool ones like this. The four swatches on my copy resulted in three different colors, which is definitely a win, as was nabbing the card for $1.25. TCDB tells me Cammalleri is #3 in my hockey collection (76 cards) and it's no wonder when I can add cool hits like this, my 18th of the former sniper.

Dylan Larkin 2019-20 SP Game Used Showcase Standouts Jerseys jersey: no, it's not a Wings card, but when you only have to pay $1.05 ("Freedom isn't free!") for a relic of a star like Larkin you go for it. And it looks like instead of being the now infamous "event-worn" crap that involves throwing on a jersey for five seconds to meet the definition, it was at least used in action at that event. Larkin's prices make many of his hits cost-prohibitive so this was a fun, cheap way to grab relic #5 (of seven hits) and card #40 overall. I'm glad the Wolverwing will be back in Motown for at least two more seasons after this one.
Since this was just five cards, plus I needed some back scans for TCDB, here's the backs of everything.

I would expect my next post to cover all my baseball purchases next, but we'll just have to see!

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Another milestone and a new year!

I'm back tonight briefly to join in the New Year's fun and celebrate another milestone before saying so long and good riddance to 2020.

Obviously the year sucked for many, many reasons, but card collecting was emphatically not one of them. While I spent just north of $800 this year--much less than usual--and only got to enjoy three card shows before things went to shit, I still had a great year of picking up stuff for myself and others. And I also got to post a total of 38 trade packages to go along with deals from a brand new source, TCDB trades. Collecting and trading made the year suck much less than it could have so again I want to thank everyone who read and and commented on the blog and traded it with me, plus other bloggers who kept things interesting themselves.

On a somewhat related note, I didn't make a big deal of this at the time, but I didn't want the year to end without noting one major milestone:

This here blog turned TEN! F$%king TEN! back on August 28. Yep, Too Many Grandersons made its debut that Saturday in 2010 as I explained the title's Simpsons reference, laid out my goals, and teased opening a bunch of boxes, which was kind of my thing for a while back then. While I can easily tell that I've averaged fewer than 110 posts a year here (I'm just shy of 1100 including this one) I'm glad I was at least able to stick with it to last this long. I've made a lot of great collector friends, made trades that wouldn't have been possible otherwise, added a plethora of great cards, and evolved as a collector in what I'd say is a positive fashion. So thank you to everyone that stuck with me! I promise to keep blogging sporadically and not clogging your reading lists for years to come as long as this remains fun for me.

Here's to 2021 being at least a bit better than the dumpster fire of 2020. Happy New Year!
Happy New Year Nintendo GIF

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

2020 trade package #38: the Collector

As is the case for many people right now I'm awaiting delivery of some stuff from DeJoy's woefully underprepared USPS--I appreciate the hard work being put in by everyone other than that corrupt cue ball--but there's no way that's gonna spoil my holiday. Why? Christmas cards!

This evening I'm covering the last of those I received (so far) this month, and today's envelope comes from a generous dude who's one of my most reliable commenters, and who runs a truly outstanding blog: Chris over at the Collector.

Chris, whose name comprises the first five letters of "Christmas" (whoa, conspiracy! Illuminati confirmed!) upped the ante by sending cards inside of a literal Christmas card:
Not only was this holiday-appropriate, but it also served as a great way to protect the trading cards:
That was a very nice gesture by Chris who, to my knowledge, has never been seen in the same room with Santa Claus, just sayin'. Anyway, my collecting will be very happy since he sent me this great trio:
A Tigers card, a PC addition, and a Wolverine base make for an outstanding not-so-secret Santa gift for me!

First up is a 2019 Panini Father's Day base (/199) of Casey Mize, one of Detroit's top pitching prospects. The 2018 #1 overall pick out of Auburn made seven starts last year and went 0-3 for another tanking Tigers squad, but his future looks very bright, just like this card. The scan doesn't remotely capture how nice it looks, with glittery rainbow dots and lines appearing all over. As indicated here, Mize pitched for the US Collegiate National Team in 2017 after his second college season, and was just as successful against other countries as he was here. I'm looking forward to a Tigers rotation staffed by guys like him, Matt Manning, Tarik Skubal, and other future stars!

Next is a card that may have some of you turning your heads sideways like confused dogs, but it's perfect for me. I PC former Tiger Dean Palmer and needed that 1994 Fleer base, which I confirmed after checking on my TCDB wantlist. While I've crossed the 150-card mark I still have a long way to go, so everything helps, even low-end base cards like this (though I do have reinforcements coming in from COMC at some point). Dean-o wouldn't head to Detroit until five years after this card was made, but the previous season, 1993, saw the slugging 3B smack what at the time was his career high of 33 HR. He'd go off for 38 in both '96 (still with Texas) and his '99 Debut in the Motor City. Kudos to Chris for remembering I collect him.

And double bonus points for including a Michigan card of some sort, in this case a '92-'93 Ultra base of Jamaican Wolverine G Rumeal Robinson. Seen here in some old-school Hawks duds, he's best known for making two foul shots to win the '89 NCAA title with Glen Rice's Wolverines. His subsequent NBA career wasn't much to speak of, and then he made some bad decisions that led to criminal charges, but he at least seems to have been out of the headlines for five years. His role in Michigan's basketball title gives him a special place in my UM collection so I was very happy to see him as I opened Chris's card.
And here's the backs for all you...uh...back-o-philes? Apparently I did a terrible cropping job since a good chunk of Mize's card is cut off. "2019 Panini - Father's D--"? Father's what?! Father's Donut? Father's D'Brickashaw Ferguson? We may never know.

Chris, thanks very much for thinking of me and putting some nice thought into this Christmas card filled with cards! Once the COMC order that includes items I purchased to send out my own versions arrives I'll happily be returning the favor.

With nothing else in-hand besides the massive UM box from TCDB that I'm still trying to figure out how to present, I may be taking a brief hiatus until after the holiday, but as always, you never know when more cards will materialize into your possession. In case that happens, I want to say Merry Christmas and thanks to everyone who traded with me and read/commented on TMV this year--you're all the gift that keeps on giving!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

2020 trade package #37: $30 a Week Habit

I've made numerous references to not having spent nearly as much as I usually do on cards this year, largely for pandemic-related reasons. There's still a bit more than a week left, of course, but as things stand I'm a bit over $800. My calculator tells me that I'm averaging $15 per week.

That makes me half as cool as Robert of $30 a Week Habit, who was the second nice person who got into the holiday spirit and sent me Christmas cards--verified this time, see?:
Robert is another PWE veteran so he did a textbook job of getting these to me safely while adding a nice note for the holiday. As for what was inside,

HO HO HO, MERRY VERLANDERMAS! It's not Silver and Gold (halfway there!) but it's definitely two many Verlanders and therefore the perfect Christmas gift for your truly.

On the left is a 2019 Prizm parallel that I definitely needed to look up, but fortunately it's one that's serial numbered (/399) so looking it up on TCDB is way easier. In this case it's called "Blue Mojo", and half of that title makes sense to me, but we live in a world of crazy parallel names so Mojo it is. Somehow this is my first of JV's base/variations from the 2019 product, though I do have a couple other inserts. It's new, it's blue, and it's shiny, so I like it!

Speaking of numbered parallels, one that's a lot easier to identify is the Gold one found in Topps flagship packs for almost two decades now (and by the way, I remember busting a lot of '01 Topps and thinking those golds were sweet!). Topps going mostly border-less makes some of them tougher to discern but the Golds still stand out plenty, plus it helps that they're numbered to the year they were made. On the right here is Justin's only entry in the series 1 set, a league leaders card. The co-ace of the Cheatstros totaled 21 wins, hitting that big pitching milestone for the second time after notching 24 in his Cy Young 2011 campaign (another feat he repeated in 2019, actually). In doing so he proved that Detroit didn't know what they were doing in terms of his health, since all he did after being shipped to Houston in 2017 was go 42-15 in those two-plus seasons (before losing 2020 to injury) with the aforementioned Cy Young, a second place finish the previous year, and a World Series ring just months after the trade. Gold indeed.
Just two cards to scan so here's some backs, which let you clearly see the numbering I mentioned, and other interesting stuff.

At some point I might try to figure out how many cards of Mr. Kate Upton I added to my collection this year, but regardless I'm very happy to enjoy the gift of two more.

Thanks for thinking of me, Robert! I'm looking forward to doing more dealing with you next year, especially if shows become possible again and I can get back to acquiring cards and spending money on them at your usual rate. Until then, I hope you have a Merry Christmas, possibly one that includes the gift of cards of your own!

Next up is what stands for now as the final Christmas cards I have in my possession, though if the USPS ever solves its mail constipation issues that could change. Merry Cardmas to all!