Monday, January 20, 2020

12/28/19 card show report: 90s inserts rule at the end of 2019

As I mentioned in my last post covering my in-person trade with Paul, we hit up his (extremely) nearby show in Troy on the last Saturday in December, marking the second time in 2019 that I got to two shows in a month.  That ended up putting me over $200 in card spending for the month, the only time that happened last year, though I came within $1 on two other occasions.  There was plenty of good reason for that, though:  besides the two shows I finished up my COMC purchasing for my Christmas Cards.

Anyway, Paul made sure it was worth the trip for me in a few ways, starting with that trade.  Plus, as I also mentioned in that last post, we got to meet up with Chuck (C2Cigars) from TCDB, which was really cool.
He brought a nice little stack of TCDB customs I'd seen around the site, and I happily took an autographed version of the one you see above.  It's a nice reminder of getting to meet one of the nicer guys on the site, and I hope some of you on TCDB trade with him eventually.  He was nice enough to bring me something straight off my wantlist:  a 1957 Topps RC of former UM football player Lou Baldacci.  A terrific addition to my vintage and RC collections, it's my first of the FB/QB/HB/PK, which isn't surprising since he has all of three cards to his name--this one and a couple reprint versions Topps did in 1994.  It gives me a completed run on my Michigan Football RC project checklist from 1955-'94, a string of 78 players.  Thanks, Chuck!

After the meetup I hit up one of Paul's favorite sellers, a guy who's usually at Taylor, though I tend to spend my money there on my favorite dude's tables.  I believe I ended up with $10 worth of quarter cards, including a nice bunch of $0.25 hockey autos that might make for good trade bait.

Then we headed over to the table of a guy I hadn't met before.  Paul was nice enough to alert us to his crazy deals, and after talking to him he sounded like a guy having fun and just wanting to sell stuff at ridiculously low prices to people who'd appreciate it.  He didn't seem to be aware of the value of current stars and was checking a Beckett or some other price guide, generally in favor of the buyer.

I dropped $38 at his table on a few things for my self and some pretty nice trade bait, some of which will go out eventually, plus a few cards for Paul as well--call it a finder's fee!  Here's the stuff I took home with me:
The "90s inserts rule" tag portion of the post covers these two fun inserts from that era.  Mr. Padre's is a '96 Denny's Holograms Grand Slam Artist's Proof, which was fun since I didn't realize Pinnacle inserted those into the packs found at the restaurant known for its food being garbage.  It's Gwynn on a hologram insert made in the 90s so it's 100% gold to me.

Joining him is Ripken on a shiny (not that you can tell from the scan) chase card from '97 Circa called Icons.  In fact, it's funny looking at the image in this post and then down at the actual card with its reflective rainbow foil front.  Cal was indeed an icon of his era and the back of this surprisingly thin card lauds him for his professionalism during "the most celebrated baseball feat in recent history.  That's great, but I was already sold on 90s insert+Cal+shiny!
Next up we have a couple graded rookie year cards of Michigan QB Brian Griese.  Besides the fact that my opinion of grading couldn't get much lower, I just felt like it would be more fun to crack these and see them up-close, so that's exactly what I did, and grouped them with my other football pickup from the guy:
Fellow QB Todd Collins looks awesome on his own rookie year insert, an acetate die-cut 1995 Playoff Contenders chase card called Rookie Kickoff.  Reread that sentence and then try coming up with a scenario where that doesn't come home with me!  And now we get a better look at the Griese cards from '98.  Up top is a Finest Refractor from that year, and despite the lack of film it hasn't been peeled--it's the rarer No-Protectors version!  Fortunately I didn't have to take the grading company's word for it as these are easy to identify with one trait:  the No-Protectors have the same Refractory look on the back.  Please allow me to demonstrate with something that took enough effort that I'd better get a comment from Gavin:
Shiiiiiiny!  That pairs nicely with Griese's '98 SPx Finite RC (#1535/1998), which was a bit too reflectively to scan nicely.  With that one out of the way I'm short just six of his 39 first-years I'm chasing.  Plus I got to celebrate yet another milestone in 2019 by landing my 200th card of the '97 National Champ.  Woohoo!
This guy also had a binder full of completed and near done baseball and football insert and relic sets.  This Amani Toomer autograph is just my second signature of the former Giants WR, and it hails from 2000 Playoff Prestige's Team Checklists set.  It looks like the last 30 of them were signed, and that includes fellow Wolverines Elvis Grbac and Tyrone Wheatley, the latter of which I also own.  One of the reasons I spent a lot of time digging through this seller's cards is that I first asked him for a price on this one and he wanted $2.  Sir, you have my interest!
Last up from this seller was a very appropriate color for a parallel of a former Wolverine star.  Here's a beautiful Blue version of Marty Turco's 2003-04 O-Pee-Chee base, numbered up front 432/500.  As usual I'll happily laud Topps when they deserve it, and I'd argue that they knocked this one out of the park (though I'm not surprised since they were still putting effort into their releases back then).
On the way out I made sure to stop by the tables of a guy who always has a huge variety of BCW supplies and some miscellaneous other stuff, because he was asking $3 for opened factory sets of 1990 Topps.  That worked for me since the set definitely doesn't warrant paying shipping, which costs more than the worth of the set.

I had most of my PC guys' cards from this one (though not all, which I'll get to in a second!), but scoring the complete set filled a nice gap in my collection:  I now own complete Topps flagship sets from 1984-2010, a run I'm fairly proud of.  Plus I had plenty of fun getting this set all sorted and in order (they didn't ship that way, I believe) as that gave me a chance to take a closer look at all of the cards.

And, as I alluded to a minute ago, I did end up with a few new additions:  two of Tony Gwynn's issues--All-Star and regular--and one of Ripken, also the All-Star subset.

I'd call landing this much stuff at a show that hasn't had much for me in the past an unqualified success and definitely a great way to end 2019.  Many thanks to Chuck and Paul for a fun meetup!

As far as shows go I did get to Taylor this month but haven't decided what order I'm going to cover my in-hand stuff, so we'll see when I get to that.  In the meantime, here's to another great year of shows and trading!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

2019 trade package #41: Scribbled Ink

~~~~~  Scribbled Ink  ~~~~~
My final trade cards of 2019 came courtesy of buddy of the blog and fellow Michigander (for a bit longer!) Paul of Scribbled Ink.  He's a busy dad so I try to meet up with him now and then if we get the chance, and as luck had it we were both available for his monthly neighborhood show in Troy on the last Saturday of December.  I don't tend to enjoy that show as much as the one I frequent in Taylor, though this one ended up working out quite well.  More on that soon!

Anyway, Paul let me know that fellow TCDBer C2Cigars would be in town and was interested in a meetup, which sounded like fun to me.  He was a cool guy and we all swapped a few cards while hanging out at the show for a while.

On a related note, Paul brought a box of stuff for me, and out of that big pile I ended up with a nice chunk of new cards for my PCs.  (I'm trying something a bit different tonight by only scanning the new stuff instead of everything, and we'll see what I do in the future.)
We'll start with a few 2019 Topps Tigers.  Greene (the only Update example here) was traded to the Braves, of course, and utility guy Rodriguez went to Milwaukee on waivers, but the other two seem to be ticketed for a good amount of playing time in 2020.  I think I've mentioned this once or twice before but I got to see Lugo play with Single-A Lansing a few years ago when he was in Toronto's system; He then got flipped to Arizona before heading to Detroit in the J.D. Martinez deal.
Pretty much everything else was baseball PC stuff.  Before I show off the spoils I wanted to demonstrate the composition of this box.  The pile on the left is all Jim Abbott cards while the one on the right is everything else!  I did a count and came up with 80 total Abbotts, 48 of which were unique, and I needed five of those, which means Jeff's getting a bunch of new cards of one of his favorites!
One of the words of the day is definitely "oddballs," and that's a good word when it comes to sending cards to me because there's always a high likelihood that I don't have one you're sending me.  Four of Abbott's cards here fall into that category, including some unlicensed issues and a '92 U.S. Playing Cards four of spades.  Even the more mainstream card is a bit odd--a '92 Studio Preview.  I happen to think preview cards are lots of fun to collect too, and my collection of those is also fairly small.  By the way, there were some really nice Abbotts in the dupes pile, so I want to make sure to give Paul credit for those as well.

The letter "G" is a big one today as well.  One Grandy isn't "too many" but it's a great place to start, and this Orange Refractor from 2012 now has a happy home with me.  Griffey cards from '96 Summit (co-starring Johnny "Noodle Arm" Damon) and 2019 Topps Perennial All-Stars are also very welcome, especially since they push his collection over the 900 mark to 901, allowing him to join Ripken in that very exclusive club in my collection!  A nice little run of Gwynn--the player who got the most new cards this time--follows, and that begins with an odd-ish boxed set Fleer card from '86.
Again, I give lots of credit to Paul for sending some super nice Gwynn cards that I obviously liked since I'd picked up a number of them myself.  This run of five (with more below) starts with another unlicensed item, then jumps ahead to the next couple of decades.  The UD Heroes card actually came out of Prospect Premieres in 2002, which might explain why it looks so different compared to that name's usual design.  And I love the throwback to Donruss's Heritage Collection on Panini's beautiful Diamond Kings card from 2017.

Supercollection guy Rich Hill would appear here but both his items were dupes; That's still worth mentioning since Paul smartly tossed them my way in hopes of feeding my favorite PC.  I can generally find good homes for those anyway.  Instead, how about a super cool Pacific Barry Larkin card, 2000's Invincible, which, as a reminder, is a base card!  Man do I miss Pacific.  Paul certainly didn't miss when he managed to hit my Clayton Richard wantlist twice:  2018 Topps Big League's Blue parallel and 2019 Topps Update.  Clayton's made a decent number of Topps appearances in the last few years for a lower tier pitcher so there's still plenty I need.
I'll include the last card from that scan in this group, which includes four of the packages five many Verlanders!  The Chrome 2019 Topps 150 card above has a Refractor finish while the one that follows it is an X-Fractor from the base product.  Topps Fire isn't really high on my list but of the Gold Mint and Orange (#108/299) parallels above, the latter looks pretty sharp and I do like that it's numbered.
The horizontal cards formed a nice group of eight, and it starts with more winning with Gwynn.  '94 Select and '96 Collector's Choice (with Edgar!) take me back to the early years of my teens when I was collecting a bit, but the UD3 and Ionix cards from a bit later really hit home with memories of some of my prime collecting years before I took a bit of a break in college.

And again, props to Paul for hitting a couple of my slightly more obscure PCs.  Two-sport star Henson gets his 59th card, and and awesome one too, from back when Refractors really meant something and didn't have like 80 versions.  His 2003 Topps Chrome Gold Refractor has that big fat serial numbering (#062/449) that brings back fond memories of collecting in the first half of that decade.  And he also surprised me with a 2002 card of Putz I needed from that year's Piece of History product (#793/950), my 199th checklisted card out of 217 overall.  Well done!

Closing things out here, Cal makes one appearance as a co-star on a 2019 Topps Historic Through-Lines insert with Astros star Carlos Correa.  Baseball-Reference finds that the latter's age 22 season, 2017, was Ripken-esque, plus there's the card's point that both were AL rookies of the year.  And then there's one last Verlander, another appearance from 2019 Topps Update.  Not only can I credit Paul for the 900th Griffey I'm posting, but he's also responsible for JV #400!  As with Junior he's now one card over that mark.  Quite the exciting trade package, no?
Well we're not quite done yet.  "Bipped with Sabos" is your new favorite band name that you're gonna steal, and in my case I laughed at seeing these 90s Topps second-years of Spuds because of a purchase I made that that day's show.  Anyone need this card in quantities ranging from 1-12?
The final baseball item is a graded copy of Alan Trammell's '84 Topps Rub Downs oddball issue.  I already had a regular copy but Paul pointed out that this one got an '84 grade, so it'll be fun keeping it this way.  Until I crack it, trim it, and resubmit it under the name "Vary Gee, sports card influencer" and it comes back as a 110.  By the way, SGC bills itself as "THE MOST TRUSTED GRADING & AUTHENTICATION SERVICE IN THE INDUSTRY," which is like Curt Schilling calling himself the most trusted athlete in a room with Aaron Hernandez, Ray Rice, and Pete Rose.  Good luck with that.  Anyway, cool item!
And at last, the final item in the box was this Jordan Poole 2019-20 Prizm Draft Prizm parallel, my first of a guy who 1) hit this amazing buzzer-beater in 2018 to send Michigan to the Sweet 16 on the way to an appearance in the title game,

and 2) is not Jordan Peele, the hilarious actor and brilliant writer/director of Get Out.  I'm very happy to begin his collection with a college card.

Paul, thanks again for all of this and so much more!  I'm looking forward to more trades and hopefully a couple games and shows before you head to the northeast.

With my 2019 trade packages wrapped up I'm planning on covering the aforementioned late December show next, then I'll decide if I want to finish up 2019 with my COMC loot before moving on to my first show of 2020, trade package (a box!) #1 from this year, and my first buy on eBay.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

2019 trade package #40: Bob Walk the Plank

Though he may no longer be an active blogger, Matt from Bob Walk the Plank is very much still out and about in the collecting world, which is easy to tell if you follow him on Twitter.  He posts his pickups and trades over there so he's definitely worth a follow.

Speaking of trades, my West Virginian collecting counterpart sent some cards my way--in an unorthodox fashion--in time for Christmas.  I love the spectrum of people I swap cards with since they increase the diversity of my collection, and if I had to label the stuff I get from Matt at this point, I'd go with higher-end Tigers and Wolverines with a nice emphasis on my PCs.  Whereas I have a show (or two) that acts as a good source for fun inserts and low-end hits, which I supplement via eBay and COMC, Matt hits me back in a big way with quality over quantity, and the results have been amazing.

That's why I should have known who was behind a pair of cards that arrived separately last month that research ultimately proved came from eBay sellers.  I knew I wasn't waiting on anything so I took to Twitter and Matt reminded me that I had a few things on the way.  Boy did I ever!

In total, Matt appears to have had three cards shipped directly to me, which made for a fun surprise before I even saw what the cards were, at which point my jaw hit the floor.  Please enjoy this high-end Christmas package from him that would lead you to believe that I live in a certain city in Ohio (barf) if not for their Michigan connection:
Spuds-erman, Spuds-erman, does whatever a Spudser-man can!  I believe this super cool Chris Sabo autograph from 2003 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites was the first of the three to arrive, and I was definitely excited when I opened it (before realizing that I hadn't bought it and didn't know who it came from).  That's because while Sabo is a pretty well-known player, he currently only has 25 autographs to his name, and of those only five of the products are MLB licensed (e.g. Topps). 

As it turns out this is actually Sabo's first autograph, and it's from one of Topps' products with the somewhat rebooted (it was used a bit in the 90s) Archives/Fan Favorites branding in the early 2000s before they milked it for all it was worth.  It's a nice portrait of Spuds on the 1991 Topps design, and I like that the back notes his excellent stats in the Reds' surprise 1990 World Series win.  As for the front, he has a very interesting signature to look at, and now I'm excited to add hit #1 of the '88 NL ROY, a card that gets me to about 75% of his 200-plus cards I'm chasing (and 181 overall).
I believe this card arrived that same day, and again, it was in another envelope from a different address, increasing my confusion.  I love including 1/1s in some of my trade packages--and had especially good luck buying them on COMC during the Black Friday sales, benefiting Matt, among others--but getting one back was a really nice treat.  Better yet, it stars one of my favorite Michigan Football PCs, RB Chris Perry.  As you can see, this one comes from Topps Draft (2005), one of my favorite Topps products back when they made them.  The designs could be pretty fun, especially the 2003 and '04 versions, and of course I loved seeing the players in their college unis.

In this case Perry was going into his second year so he's grouped with the vets, joining Tom Brady and Drew Henson.  I'll also point out that this is one of a number of products in the hobby that inserted plates for the fronts and backs of the cards, which is a fun thing to see every now and then.  That's actually the case for 2005 Topps Total, which is responsible for the other Perry plate in my collection--the front version, if you were curious!  This is a great addition to my Perry collection, 115 cards strong with 52 of them being of the "hits" variety, good for 9th in the collection.  It's also plate/1-of-1 #129 in my collection.

Now here I'll pause a minute for effect and to mention two things.  The first is that today's theme is high-end Cincinnati cards, not players named "Chris," so expect something a little different next.  The other is that any reasonable person who got those two cards above would be thinking to themselves that their (unofficial) secret Santa had already been especially generous and thankful for what they got.  I am that kind of reasonable person and at that point I felt that Matt had already done enough to ensure a merry Christmas for me and my collection.  Apparently he felt otherwise because he let me know that one more card would be arriving soon.  And boy did it ever:
Yowza!  Now there's a Topps card I can get behind!  Transcendent's prices aren't affordable for most collectors, but sometimes when you let breakers pay the gambling tax and then list them on eBay you can benefit.  Even so, I really have to credit Matt for his generosity in sending me this 2017 autograph of Reds/Wolverines HOF legend Barry Larkin!  I think this is what today's kids call "being extra," but in the best of ways.  Larkin's autographs aren't the cheapest even on the lower end so an on-card version limited to 25 copies in this ultra high-end product probably set Matt back a few bucks.  Between that and all the red going on between this and the Sabo, I think he really got into the spirit of the season!

So let's get into the details of the card.  The front has an image from the previously mentioned 1990 World Series, done up very artistically.  There's a section that's plenty large for a signature and I love that Barry managed to loop his initials a bit above it to where the numbering is, plus I just flat out love his signature.  The back has a good writeup that mentions some key things about his career, like going 30/30 and winning the '95 NL MVP, plus I like that blurb about training with a guy that's somewhat his current counterpart in Lindor.  I think mentioning the '90 series would have been cool, but short of that, thumbs up from me.

But the biggest aspect of this card besides the signature is its thickness.  A 2D scan can't portray this very well, but not only does the card have a lot of depth to it, it's also very heavy because it has a gold frame around it.  Topps has done framed cards recently to what I would consider good effect--hell, it's much better than another of the endless color or Hallmark holiday parallels--and that adds to the quality of this piece, making it something I'd definitely like to display if I was on the fence about it for some reason.

While I'm proud of the size of my Larkin collection (772 cards as of this post, including 21 hits), this is just my sixth auto of the former superstar, which I know is more than some other collectors, but a  number I'd like to grow.  That's not intended to be a humblebrag but instead another reason why I'm so impressed with Matt's generosity here.  Impressed but not surprised, considering the dude has sent me amazing stuff like autos of Griffey, Kaline, and a previous Larkin, among others.

Matt, thanks again for this amazing trio which most certainly let me enjoy a merry cardmas!  I look forward to swapping more cards this year and already have a few things in-hand that I think you'll like.

Everyone else can stay tuned for even more trade package fun, including another in-person deal and a box from our neighbor to the north slightly east.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

2019 trade package #39: Cards on Cards

Cards on Cards
In the end the Citrus Bowl went about as expected, even if it took longer than I thought for Alabama to put it away.  Still, I loved watching my Wolverines and am looking forward to the 2020 season as eagerly as usual.

Speaking of 2020 let's open up the year with a trade post as I continue to catch up on 2019 acquisitions.  I'm going chronologically--in the order these envelopes arrived--and I love that I get to start 2020 off with a bang.  Kerry of Cards on Cards sent me one of the finest packages I've ever received, which is saying something considering some of the gems that made their way to me from some of the greats of blogging.

As Kerry celebrates Oregon's thrilling Rose Bowl win, enjoy this celebration of some of my favorite collections!
We'll open things today with an eight pack of future Tigers.  These hail from 2019 Topps Pro Debut and pretty much every guy is in the team's 20 prospect rankings.  Pitchers Manning and Mize are the jewels of the organization and could form a killer 1-2 in the rotation if both beat the odds and reach their potential.  It's also nice that a few offensive prospects are rated highly since the team could use them ASAP, such as outfielders Cameron and Meadows.
And some more Tigers of the near future and/or now.  Boyd may not be long for Detroit if they can get a good haul for him (sorry, John!), and Greiner hasn't shown much, but we should see a good amount of the others, such as Paul's dude JaCoby Jones.  Kerry tossed in another Mize to bolster his tiny collection.
Speaking of current Tigers, here's a nice five-pack of LF Christin Stewart, who hopefully has a better season this year because he could be a mainstay here for years.  Between what Kerry sent me and what I already had I finally felt like I had enough Stewarts to enter them on TCDB and came up with a total of 15 thus far.  Not bad!  My favorite is the Panini Chronicles card that reuses an older Certified look that I've always loved.
I was able to pair up most of Miggy's cards with those of free agent Nicholas Castellanos in one scan, and that made me think I should look up how well they did as teammates.  From 2013 until Nick was traded last season, they combined for 260 HR, 995 RBI, and 27.9 bWAR.  This bunch of (mostly) 2019 cards is a great reminder of how much fun they were together.  The Cabreras also pushed him past the 300-card mark, which is awesome.  Donruss' Optic is a highlight here multiple times.
I challenge you to find one boring scan in this post, just one.  Can't do it, can you?  This one includes some nice base of some important Tigers from the aughts, Ty Cobb, a numbered Torii Hunter, and two fun McLain inserts.  2013 Hometown Heroes is one of Panini's best products of the last decade and I liked both cards you see here:  the stamped States parallel, and even more so, the round Sportdiscs lenticular insert.  I've had my eye on Jim Abbott's card from the latter and now I really want it having seen this McLain in-hand.
Here we'll finish up with the non-PC Tigers.  The Miggy is from 2015 Prizm and is numbered /100 which is pretty sweet.  I also checked J.D.'s and V-Mart's combined Tigers stats and came up with 214 HR, 825 RBI, and 21 bWAR (though as opposed to Miggy and Nick, I combined their entire Tigers careers, not just the years they coincided).  Soto is another potential future piece and I'm not sure why I didn't include him in one of the earlier scans.  And lastly, Kerry surprised me with a pair of Miggy jersey relics from 2017 Topps flagship--one from each series.  It looks like these give me 15 hits of one of the greats of the past decade, broken down into three autos, 10 relics, and a manurelic.  Not bad at all!
The Tigers half was outstanding but where things got really interesting for me was how well Kerry hit my player collections.  I'm not sure if he took the time to check my wants via my PCs page, or on TCDB, or what, but he managed to hit a ton of players with new stuff, and I needed every last card you'll see, starting with this bunch.

The Abbott is the same Hometown Heroes States parallel you saw above, and I really like it, though it would have been fun, as I usually say, for "hometown" to refer to that player's birthplace, meaning Abbott could have had a Michigan stamp himself.  All three cards of Astros pitching prospect Adcock from 2016 Bowman Draft/Chrome are new--Refractor, Sky Blue Refractor, and Silver (/499)--and give him a nice bump.  Granderson and Griffey appear on 2019 Topps-branded base, with Junior a single card away from 900!  I claimed the 2019 Topps Walgreens Yellow parallel of Hill after Kerry pulled one back in November because I'm your friendly neighborhood Hill supercollector!  And the LaMarre 2016 Topps Gold parallel is the first of his I've added in a long, long time, getting me up to 30 of 54 cards I've got checklisted for now.
I can't emphasize enough how impressed I am with what Kerry picked out here because not only did I need everything in these scans, but they're also not just a handful of common base cards I can check off of a list.  This group is a great example, beginning with a trio of Hal Morris issues:  an '89 minors card, '95 Pinnacle Nth Degree parallel, and an oddly named '98 Pacific variation called Red Threatt (the extra "T" is for "threat!").  Putnam finally gets a new addition thanks to the beautiful 2017 Topps Chrome Sapphire Edition and its beautiful blue background.  Putz gets an insanely nice triple play of 2005 Prestige Xtra Bases Red (/150), 2006 Upper Deck Gold (/299), and 2007 Upper Deck Predictor Blue (the last of the Predictor versions I needed!).  And lastly in this scan is a 2009 Topps 206 base of George Sisler that I thought I had until I found out this was a short print--wow!
With this scan we're almost done with the baseball stuff in the package.  The first six star PC leader Cal Ripken Jr., who stands alone in consecutive games played and cards in my collection (the latter number:  946).  I have to say that the Gallery Preview up top looks quite nice, even if much of the artwork in the final product wasn't really up to par.  The other three cards here are of blog namesake guy Justin Verlander-Upton.  While the 2019 issues are nice enough I'm oddly a fan of the 2009 Topps card since it's the Target parallel with the cool retro back texture.  I don't like the idea of retail exclusives at all but at least once in a while the execution is good.  Justin gets up to an almost milestone-worth 396 items.
I saved the best of the baseball stuff for last because I was floored to find these two cards in the package.  On the left is a 2009 Topps 206 Mini Framed auto of former blog namesake guy Curtis Granderson.  As I always say, these mini framed cards look terrific and Grandy's is no exception.  The artwork does a great job of capturing his enthusiasm and joy for the game, and I would love to see him return to Motown to mentor some of the young players on the team.  Anyway, well done by Kerry to surprise me with my 10th Granderson hit and third auto.  In case you were wondering, I still don't have too many!

The other card is one I'm also very excited about as it's just my second of Michigan pitcher Karl Kauffmann, and this one's even cooler as it's a Wolverines uni shot.  A few different Michigan draftees made it into several Panini-branded products in 2019 and I'm looking forward to capitalizing on those, though fortunately I didn't have to wait thanks to Kerry's generosity.  This 2019 Prizm Draft auto looks great, and if it's a sign of things to come then I think I'm going to enjoy chasing more of the 2019 College World Series runners-up!
That's right, we're still not done because there's still football stuff to get to!  The '95 Finest Everitt is the other card in this post that I asked Kerry about and again he was nice enough to send it my way.  Few Michigan fans can top his level of intensity in supporting the maize & blue, I'll tell you that much.  As for Jake Ryan's card, the 2015 Crown Royale base is his lone RC that qualifies for my Rookie Blue project (his other rookie is an autograph), so I can cross his name off the list and continue hoping that he can stay healthy long enough to earn himself a good shot in the league.

Everything else in the scan features one of my larger football PCs, especially in terms of hits, Jake Long.  The first two are 2008 Panini brand inserts from Rookies & Stars and Contenders, and they both bring that signature Panini shininess (and numbering-- /1000 and /500, respectively) from the late aughts that gets me every time.  Blue is a great color for a parallel version of an insert, such as the Icons card, also numbered (/250).  And my favorite Oregon fan even threw in a relic I could have sworn I had (but didn't) out of 2008 Bowman, highlighting that year's #1 overall pick.  That brings him up to 84 hits, good for fourth behind Henne, Manningham, and Braylon.
I was able to give our last subject of the day his own scan, even if I noticed later that I didn't remotely put these on the scanner in any sort of order (and didn't feel like fixing it).  WR Amani Toomer's career spanned a good run in the hobby meaning he earned a ton of cardboard appearances, and Kerry didn't disappoint with these six.  There's Ultra Gold Medallion parallels from 2006 (the die-cut one) and 2006, plus numbered parallels in the form of a 2001 Pacific Impressions Hobby Red Backs (/280) and 2008 Bowman Blue (/500).  Yep, the former is pretty much as described with all text and effects on the back in red.  And after a 2006 Turkey Red base we get to the day's final surprise, a 2004 Prestige Game Day jersey of the Super Bowl-winning wideout.  It's pretty much right in my wheelhouse in terms of the kind of thing I'd be chasing on COMC and it marks his 25th hit, making him the 16th football player to reach that mark.

Kerry, I can't thank you enough for the obvious effort you put into such an incredible trade package other than to say that you more than earned the last couple envelopes I sent your way!  Enjoy the afterglow of your guys' Rose Bowl win as you await St. Louis' Spring Training date and I'll work on putting together a return when I can.

The rest of you can stay tuned for two more trade packages (one in-person!) plus a larger than expected show haul from the end of last month, and possibly another show report from my usual monthly location I'll likely hit up on Saturday.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2019 Michigan Gameday #13: vs. Alabama (Citrus Bowl)

It's 2020 (happy new year!) and I have no idea what a VRBO is, but that doesn't matter since I get to enjoy watching my Wolverines play one last game as part of the 2019 season.  While it may not be the Grandaddy of Them All, today's game, the Citrus Bowl, is being played on January 1, unarguably the best day for bowl games.  You can have your national championship game on February 20 or whenever it is--I'll take New Year's Day any time.

This will be Michigan's fifth appearance in the Citrus Bowl, played in sunny Orlando, a place I wouldn't mind being right now.  As things currently stand the Wolverines 3-1 there, beating Arkansas after the '98 season, Auburn after '99, and Florida after 2015 (coach Jim Harbaugh's lone bowl win to date) and losing to Tennessee at the end of the 2001 campaign.
Michigan's opponent today will be a 10-2 Alabama team that lost those two games by a combined eight points to LSU, who's in the title game, and at Auburn in a matchup they dominated statistically.  It promises to be a tough day for the 9-3 Wolverines who looked strong at times this year but had difficulty with the best teams on its schedule.  The 2012 regular season opener against the Tide, a 41-14 Bama victory, is a good reminder of how overmatched Michigan could be today.

Then again, nobody should forget the Orange Bowl matchup from 20 years ago today, when Tom Brady led the team back from a 14-point deficit only to see a last-second game-winning field goal get blocked.  Still, Brady managed to hit TE Shawn Thompson with a beautiful play-action pass on the first play of OT, and when Bama responded with a TD of their own but missed the PAT the Wolverines were victorious.

Michigan's bowl record certainly has room for improvement at 21-26 (and 3-7 in their last 10), and to be honest I don't see that getting any better today against an NFL-ready Bama team that wasn't far from yet another playoff appearance.  The 7-8 point line is probably far too generous for this overmatched Wolverines team (which is also down a couple defensive players) hoping to go out on a high note.  But you never know, and regardless I'm happy to be rooting on my alma mater one more time this season.  Before we look ahead to the 2020 season let's celebrate 2019 one last time.  Happy Blue Year!

Monday, December 30, 2019

2019 trade package #38: Nachos Grande

Way back near the end of November Chris, who runs Nachos Grande, announced his Season of Giving giveaway in which people could sign up for some free cards of their favorite teams, with Chris trying to oblige as best as he could.  He's always been a good dude to trade with and I appreciated the dual goals of finding good homes for unwanted cards and sending things out for the holiday season, so I put my name in, and he was nice enough to send a stack of Tigers (and a few other things) my way.  If that's not the epitome of holiday giving I don't know what is!

Here's what Chris sent this time:
We'll lead off with possibly my favorite card of the whole package, a '98 Paramount Team Checklist card featuring Tony Clark, kind of the Tigers' Nicholas Castellanos of his day.  Detroit developed him as a high draft pick and he put up some good numbers on some awful teams before being cut loose in his seventh year.  At least he made the playoffs a couple times after that!  This card is another pefect example of how fun Pacific was back in the 90s.

Encarnacion was Clark's teammate for a few seasons and went on to win rings with the Marlins in '03 and Cardinals in '06 (against the Tigers!).  Fulmer's Bunt insert from 2017 was new to me, and I'll continue being a broken record in hoping he returns to health and effectiveness next year.  Hunter gave the team a couple quality seasons before retiring after a one-year return in Minnesota.  Kaline looks great on a 2002 Fleer Fall Classic base.  Kinsler (also '17 Bunt) was one of my favorites in his three-plus seasons in Motown and 2B hasn't been the same since he left.  Playoff hero Magglio appears on a 2008 UD Heroes Charcoal parallel #d 352/399.  Palmer's big bat was a rare highlight on some bad 90s teams, and '99 UD retro was a highlight of that year's releases.  And I somehow didn't have the base version of Phillips' '94 Collector's Choice base where the underappreciated multi-position player can be seen going airborne turning two.
And now some horizontal cards and more!  I didn't arrange things like this on purpose but the cards down the left side are all new to me while the other two are dupes.  While Granderson's redundant thanks to my '08 Topps complete set, I needed two of the '14 Topps base:  Miggy's 2013 AL RBI leaders base and an issue of V-Mart sliding into home in better times for him and the franchise.  '84 champ Larry Herndon's '88 Topps Big card was also new, and I'm sure I'm lacking a bunch of Tigers from the three-year(?) run of the product.  And then there's my co-favorite item today, an '85 Topps Rub Downs piece that includes Lou Whitaker along with Carney Lansford, Mario Soto, and John Denny, plus a glove and a couple of balls.  Chris had it in a penny sleeve with the instructions card, which was cool from a collecting perspective, and also wise of him since the other piece is so thin.  It's a very cool oddball item to add to Sweet Lou's collection, now sitting at 290 different items.
Lots more Tigers to get to!  Casanova had a great name but not a bat to match, and he was one of many players the Tigers acquired from the Padres or Astros in the 90s.  Higginson's act wore thin for me toward the end of his tenure, but that '98 Flair Showcase card is a thing of beauty.  The Bowman Chrome card (2012) is of RP Matt Hoffman, a 26th round pick that found his way into the set for some reason.  I'll always appreciate Robinson for being just good enough to entice the Orioles to send Mickey Tettleton to Detroit.  And while the humorous Sparks didn't put up great numbers, I do appreciate the fun design of 2003 Studio and its cool background photo of one of the entrances to Comerica Park.
Ok, now we're done with the Tigers.  Knudson's not worth mentioning but the 2011 Topps Attax cards of the park and mascot Paws are fun.  The former is actual a foil version but it was hard to get that to come across in a scan.
And last up today is a trio of non-Tigers cards, in this case Barry Larkin, a guy Chris also collects for some reason.  He sent a nice mix in the form of 2005 Throwback Threads, 2015 Contenders, and 2016 Topps Archives.  Those of you who know me at all shouldn't be surprised that I'd rank them 2, 1, and 3, in that order--Michigan uni cards almost always win--but all three look great no matter what.

Chris, thanks again for including me in your Season of Giving, and I'm glad you liked your own Christmas cards from me!  Let's do more trading in 2020, especially if I can hunt down more set-fillers for you so you can continue the completion momentum you've got going in your latest series of posts!