Thursday, April 20, 2017

2017 trade package #9: Bob Walk the Plank

He started it!  I mean, at least, I think so.  I've been trading with Matt of Bob Walk the Plank for more than three years now, and at some point during that partnership one of us raised the stakes to the point that each time we send out a package we do our best to wow each other, often with high-end stuff.  Since this is my blog I'm going to say that Matt fired the first shot.  I may not be able to pinpoint the exact moment he ramped things up, but I have lots of examples:
With amazing content like that, what could I do but respond in kind?  It has been and continues to be a blast trading with Matt, especially thanks to this high-end back-and-forth that fortunately hasn't resulted in bombings on either side.

So let's look at the latest heavy hitters the Mountaineer Man sent my way last month!:

Austin Jackson 2016 Panini National Treasures Game Dated Material Signatures jersey auto (#98/99)
This beauty represents the Tigers portion of the envelope, and it may just be my best Austin Jackson in that bunch yet!  I do have a Triple Threads jersey/auto as well, but I think the game-datedness noses this one ahead.  I looked up the box score of that June 30, 2012 game against Tampa and confirmed the back's mention of AJax's 8th inning, two-out, three-run shot that ended up being the difference in the Tigers' 6-2 victory that day.  Also of note in the box score, the only Detroit participants still left on the 2017 roster are Miguel Cabrera and Alex Avila.

As for the card itself, it's another fun example of a simple Panini design I like that isn't hurt by the lack of logos.
Barry Larkin 2015 Topps Five Star Golden Graphs auto (#19/50)
I'm happy to say that this amazing Barry Larkin autograph isn't the default winner of the package, if you can believe it; reserve your judgment until you see the other two cards!  Five Star was pretty much a forgettable product as far as I'm concerned, but the exception would be this beautiful signature set featuring a bold gold auto on a striking black background, plus a nice photo.  Larkin seals the deal with his very cool John Hancock on a huge addition to my collection.  It represents my fifth Larkin autograph and 20th hit overall, giving me a nice pair of milestones to celebrate!  Seriously, Larkin stuff often goes for big bucks so it doesn't get much more high-end for me than a fantastic inclusion like this.
George Sisler 2003 Topps Gallery HOF ARTifact Relics bat
George Sisler 2016 Panini Flawless Teammates Triple Relics Sapphire bat-jersey-bat (with Goslin and Rice) (#03/15)
And this pair out of f$@kin' nowhere is why the Larkin wasn't an automatic win.  The Wolverines have placed three players in the Hall and Matt sent me cards of two of them in Larkin and this pair of relics of "Gorgeous" George Sisler.  One is from the 2003 HOF version of one of my favorite Topps products, Gallery, and I really like how they added a bat chip and color gradient along the left border to what was already a very nice looking base card.  

The other hails from the very high end Flawless product made by Panini in 2016.  This super low-numbered hit features not one but three HOFers including Goslin and Rice.  These three were Washington teammates for part of 1928, Sisler's only season with the old Senators, while the other two played most of their careers for that club.  Tigers fans may remember Goslin playing for Detroit from 1934-37.

This was an amazing pair of out-of-the-blue high-end hits of one of the best players in my collection, not to mention the game's history, and I'm floored at Matt's generosity, not even taking into account the other two cards you already saw!  I'm proud to say that thanks to Matt I now own three Sisler relics (to go along with three manu-relics), bolstering my collection of vintage stars.

I can also credit the Plankster for sending me the cards to reach another fun little milestone of 350 Michigan Baseball hits!

Matt, at this point I'm speechless, but rest assured I'm going to get to work on putting together a package that makes your jaw hit the floor, just as soon as I can find the ammo to do so.  Remember:  you started it!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

2017 trade package #8: I Feel Like a Collector Again

Time to get back to trade packages!  Including this post I currently have three to show off, though that could change quickly considering how generous and awesome many of you are.

So about a month ago I received my first envelope from Kin of the impeccably-named I Feel Like a Collector Again.  It was a three-card PWE that I'm looking at as a fun icebreaker that should lead to future trades, especially since his note mentioned he's got more to send me eventually.

Here's those three cards:
First up is a pair of 2017 Heritage base cards of DH Victor Martinez and reliever Alex Wilson, done up in the style of the Topps set from 1968, the same year as Detroit's second most recent World Series title.  Both of these guys factored in Detroit's win this afternoon over the Twins with V-Mart scoring a run on utility guy Andrew Romine's grand slam and Wilson earning a two-inning save.

Those guys were joined by another current Tiger familiar to anyone who can read the title of this here blog:
From 2011 Topps Chrome, this here is Justin Verlander's Purple Refractor (#271/499).  Kin's note mentions that he figured I already had this very card, but fortunately for me he was wrong!  Instead, it's my 237th different Verlander.  In terms of that year's rainbow I also own the base Chrome and Refractor from this set as well as the base cards from flagship and Opening Day.  It was nice to add some color to that bunch, not to mention a new Verlander in general.

Thanks again for kicking things off, Kin!  I'm looking forward to trading with you once I can pile up some stuff I know you'll like, but for now rest assured that I was glad to receive this Tigers trio, all of which were new to me!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Blasting off with 2017 Leaf Draft football

This post combines two things that have been pretty uncommon for me recently:  posting more than once in a week and (going back even further) spending money on retail stuff.  But after I saw what these 2017 Leaf Draft cards looked like, I decided to snag myself a blaster at Meijer last weekend.  (It also didn't hurt that five Wolverines feature in the base set, with lots more on the autograph checklist.)  A couple days later I grabbed one more since I enjoyed the break and hoped to complete the set.  Here's a bit more about the product and then lots more about how I fared:

  • I believe this is a retail-only product, and I also think that's been the case throughout its existence
  • Blasters go for about $21.99 and include 20 packs of 5 cards
  • As a bonus, you get two guaranteed autographs which are separately packed into toploaders (no sleeves!) and then a team bag
  • The base set includes 69 cards of players in their college uniforms
  • The photos are airbrushed in some cases, surely for licensing reasons
  • Inserts include:
    • Gold parallels
    • All-Americans (and Gold Parallels of those)
    • TD Machines (and Gold Parallels of those)

I pulled the following out of my pair of blasters:

  • 1 base set (69 cards)
  • 44 base doubles
  • 27 gold parallels
  • 1 set of  All-Americans (17 cards)
  • 10 All-Americans doubles
  • 8 gold All-Americans
  • 1 set of TD Machines (14 cards)
  • 6 TD Machines doubles
  • 5 gold TD Machines
  • 3 regular autographs
  • 1 gold autograph

Since I managed to complete what I'll call a master set of the base set and non-Gold versions of the two inserts, I decided to show off all of those here.  Should you have interest in seeing the Michigan cards in more depth, please head over to TMM!

Base set:

A sample base set card back, Virginia Tech QB Jerod Evans (in honor of MCM's Spankee's Hokies):


A sample back from the All-Americans:

TD Machines:

A sample TD Machines back:

Here are samples of the Gold parallels from the base set and inserts (backs look exactly the same):

And here's my four autographs:

  • Rodney Adams (USF)
  • Johnathan Ford (Auburn)
  • Eddie Jackson (Alabama)
  • I'Tavius Mathers Gold (Middle Tennessee)
Overall my impressions were fairly positive:  
  • Cons:
    • I would have preferred to be able to snag a complete set out of one blaster, but the crazy number of inserts (an average of about 44 per box!) made that unrealistic
    • Airbrushed unis (though that's not Leaf's fault)
    • I'm fine with the base parallels but think the insert versions were superfluous
    • The TD Machines design doesn't do much for me
    • Sticker autos don't bother me, I just don't really care for the plain white ones used here
    • A good number of the autographs are SSPed
  • Pros:
    • College unis!
    • Autographs of 153 different players
    • Five Wolverines in the base set
    • Early cards of some of the top players before the draft
    • A pretty solid base design
    • The colorful All-Americans insert looks great
    • A decent price point (that could be even better with coupons/sales/discounts); if you consider two of these the equivalent of a hobby box, you're probably going to get what I did:  a master set, lots of other inserts, and four autographs, all for about $40
    • Perfect collation:  neither blaster considered by itself contained any doubles whatsoever, and together they produced zero triples.  You can't beat that!
I'll note for those of you that are interested in these blasters but don't really want to get in at full price, I've seen card show sellers flipping them for something like 2 for $36, and I bet most of you could do better than that.

So if you're a college collector like me, you have my recommendation to check these out whether it's blasters or singles!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

3-31-17 card show report: quarter quell

Happy Tigers opening day! (and third day of baseball to the rest of you.)  Having just finished watching Detroit beat the White Sox, it's time to celebrate with some cards, and I'm happy to report that I'm featuring four different Tigers today.

So a few Sundays ago I went to a VFW hall-style card show I'd attended just once before, and I can safely say I'm never going back--it really was that bad.  The cards were way overpriced, the sellers were pushy, and I nearly got into an argument with a dealer who was preaching the gospel according to Beckett, then realized it was a lost cause and left after grabbing a few trade bait cards from someone else.  It was a shitty experience, to say the least, but fortunately I made up for it by hitting up my usual monthly show in Taylor.

I happened to be off on Friday and checked in to see if my favorite seller was there.  He was, and I spent the next hour or so going quarter box diving.  100 cards and $20 later (not a bad deal!) I was heading out the door in a good mood with some trade bait and fun cards to show off here and on TMM too.

Here's the goods:
First up is Tiger #1, an oddball-ish issue of catching stalwart Bill Freehan (89 cards) from 1988 Pacific Legends.  This design is literally the opposite of Pacific's M.O. from the mid-90s on, and its simplicity makes it a nice pickup.
Going back a bit further in MLB years (but less in card terms), here's another oddball of Tiger #2, Charlie "the Mechanical Man" Gehringer (33 cards), the best 2B in Detroit history.  I'm not sure exactly what year this hails from, but it's part of SSPC's HOF set from the 80s.  The design is kind of fun, plus it's nice to see a Gehringer photo that's new to me as far as I know.
My four big non-Tigers/Wolverines PCs all get in on the action today too.  Ken Griffey Jr. (439 cards) is represented here from the love-it-or-hate-it credit card-themed 1995 Studio set.  I count myself as a fan, but then again it's rare for me to see a version of Studio I don't like.  In this case I kind of enjoy seeing some of the stats up front.  How did Junior sock 40 dingers and plate just 90 runs?  The answer:  this card's stats reflect the strike-shortened '94 season, when he posted those numbers in just 111 games!
That's enough one-card players for a minute, let's take a look at a five-spot of Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn (262 cards).  I scored three inserts from a couple decades ago but unfortunately ran out of room in the tags to include "90s inserts rule".  Whatever, it's the thought that counts.  Those include the shiny Statistical Standouts from 1994 Leaf; the even more credit card-like Gold version of Gwynn's '95 Studio issue;  and a gorgeous foil-and-hologram mashup called Special FX from 1996 SP.  Those are followed by a very classy Faces of the Game insert from 2000 UD, then a much more modern card from the Also Known As set available in the fantastic 2015 Diamond Kings product.  Five new Gwynns equals a pretty nice day!
Speaking of 90s inserts, we go all the way back to '92 for this Fleer All-Stars insert of HOF SS Barry Larkin (353 cards).  1991 saw him appear in his fourth straight Midsummer Classic, and he'd add eight to that total before he retired in 2004.
Greg Maddux (275 cards) was the big winner of this show on the strength of these six cards, the latter four of which are lower-end offerings from 2014-2016 Topps.  The former two come from fairly interesting products, though--these base cards hail from 2003 Topps Pristine and 2004 Diamond Kings.  The second of the pair is from a subset called Flashback and depicts a younger Mad Dog in his first go-round with the Cubbies.  Note that these are sorted chronologically and alphabetically, and they alternate between Atlanta and Chicago unis!
This entry for my final Michigan Baseball PC guy of the day, Hal Morris (107 cards) is admittedly a bit of a stretch--this '94 insert is actually a Montreal Expos Stadium Club Team card.  But Hal features so prominently that I feel justified in including it in his collection even though it doesn't appear on his checklist per Beckett.  What do they know anyway?  Make that tag, Hal!
I always enjoy digging out fun 90s inserts of some of my PC superstars, and happily, Cal Ripken Jr. (405 cards) made a couple appearances this time.  The card on the left is an Extreme Corps subset from '95 Stadium Club.  Remember the 90s, when everything was EXTREME?  To the right is my third example from '95 Studio, in this case Cal's base card.  Like his fellow Junior, Cal had a pretty nice '94 season considering its brevity.
Our final two players are Tigers, a nice way to close out this celebratory post.  First up is Detroit legend and should-be HOFer Alan Trammell (123 cards).  Sorry, I couldn't find a Whitaker to go with it this time!  Those of you with good cardboard educations probably recognize this design instantly:  1981 Fleer.  Tram was just coming off the best season in his young career when this product made its debut, but his legend would truly grow three years later.
Last and most relevant, here's today's opening day winner, some guy you might have heard of.  Justin Verlander (236 cards) piled up 10 strikeouts and earned the win over the division rival White Sox as he looks to put up another excellent season.  It's hard to believe that it was 11 years ago when JV pitched his first full season for Detroit, piling up 17 wins en route to the A.L. ROY and and World Series appearance.  This 2007 Topps Generation Now card highlights the sixth of those victories, and I also have cards for wins #2, 5, 8, and 14.  I may pick up the rest eventually.  Here's hoping Mr. Kate Upton exceeds that total of 17 wins in 2017!

Like I said, this was a nice way to get the bad taste of that terrible other show out of my mouth.  Until next month's, I'm happy to have more trade packages to show off soon!

Monday, March 27, 2017

2017 trade package #7: the Daily Dimwit

It's been a couple weeks since I last posted so I'm probably one of the last to be able to say, "Hey, Dimwit's back!"  I hadn't realized that Sam was going to return to blogging, so that's an excellent positive development for 2017!  In related good news, I received a couple cards from him that I'd been waiting on since we last agreed to a deal.  It took him a bit to get them in the mail thanks to move-related things (we've all been there), but I was happy to find them in my mailbox this month and remember how excited I was to be getting them.

You'll find one of those pickups over on TMM this evening, and the other right here:

From 2015 Topps Archives Signature Series this is an encased auto of one of my favorite PC guys, Jim Abbott.  Topps had Jim sign this copy of his All-Star subset card (#406) from 1992 Topps, then numbered it to 50 copies (mine is #4, which is a bit hard to make out since encased cards are notoriously difficult to scan).

While I won't call myself a fan of every single buyback-type product, I do like the idea of being able to pick up this type of card of a guy like Abbott as it makes for one of the more interest signatures in my collection of the former USA/Michigan/Angels/others hurler.

This fun autograph marks my 119th card of Abbott, not to mention my ninth hit, all of which feature Jim's interesting signature.

Sam, thanks for not forgetting me and for sending me some great cards!  I look forward to flinging some Astros across the country to you once again in the future.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

2017 trade package #6: the (Pedestrian) Collector

A quick note before I get to another great trade package:  Jon from A Penny Sleeve For Your Thoughts is running a very cool contest celebrating reaching the 200 168-post mark.  (Dude, I haven't even made it to 800 posts here and I've been going for six-plus years!  No worries, you'll get there.)  Leave a comment for your chance to win $15 in COMC cards he'll purchase for you, just a fantastic prize in my opinion.  I'm happy to enter and pimp this contest, plus I'm now following his blog, a fun consolation prize if nothing else as I'm always glad to find new ones to check out.  Head on over and enter!

Ok, on to another trade package as I work to show off the hard work of some great traders and finally get to showing off my unposted Griffey/Gwynn/Maddux/Ripken stuff!

Today's envelope marks my second package from Chris, the (Pedestrian) Collector, who was the first to step up and join my tradeapalooza/giveaway late last year, then was nice enough to send some Tigers my way in December.  That package was 100% Motown Kitties, but this one was more well-rounded; besides the two cards you see below, you can also view a bunch more over on TMM this evening!

The spoils:
Card #235 in my Justin Verlander collection is this old-school league leaders piece from 2013 Heritage.  Card #6 in the set, it's the second such base appearance for Verlander, who also shares #2 with former teammate David Price and current jackass Jered Weaver on the AL ERA leaders card.  Coming off winning the 2011 AL Cy Young and MVP awards, Verlander posted a 17-8 record with a league-leading 239 strikeouts and a sparkling 2.64 ERA for the American League champs.  Another former teammate, Scherzer, appears for taking second with 231 K's a year before his dominant 2013 AL Cy Young campaign.

While I don't currently own the previously-mentioned card #2 in that set, I do have JV's third and final appearance, card #500, which is an SP.  Thanks for a new Verlander, Chris!
The other card I have for you here is a '96-'97 Fleer base of former Russian Red Wing great Vladimir Konstantinov.  Vladdie was a very good D-man after being chosen by Detroit in their outstanding 1989 draft that also landed them future legends Nick Lidstrom and Sergei Fedorov, not to mention future NHLers Mike Sillinger, Bob Boughner, and Dallas Drake.  What a haul!

Wings fans remember him as part of the '96-'97 squad that finally brought the cup back to Motown at the start of a very good decade for the club, then was unfortunately severely injured in a limo accident that ended his career.  The team dedicated their repeat Cup win the next year to "Vladdie", and I'll always remember this photo, which is on one of many posters that adorn my walls:

Thanks again for the new cards, Chris!  I know you said I shouldn't feel like I have to send anything in return, but I will anyway because that's how I roll.  But I'll at least try to make sure what I do send fits your collection since I think you mentioned you were trying to clear out unwanted stuff.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

2017 trade package #5: Wrigley Roster Jenga

I'm back today with a couple new trade posts (one here and the other over on TMM this evening) after slacking and/or being without power due to a crazy windstorm (but mostly the former).  While this is the last package I received in January (I think), I'm happy to reveal that I have three more that arrived since then.  Trading season is open!

That final January envelope came from Tony over at Wrigley Roster Jenga.  Tony is another first time trader for me via my tradeapalooza/giveaway from late last year, though I'll also give him credit for leaving comments here pretty regularly too.  A Cubs collector by trade, naturally, Tony sent me a huge stack of my team, the Tigers:
The Killer C's!  We start with a five-spot of Miggy Topps stuff of multiple sizes, including his Holiday Wal-Mart card from last year.  Next is Cabrera's teammate across the diamond, Nick Castellanos, in the form of a 2016 Gold parallel (#0492/2016).  Former Tiger and current MLBPA president Tony Clark appears on his '99 Metal base card.  And legend Ty Cobb rounds out the group an appearance from 1987 Hygrade and what appears to be a reprint of his 1910-11 Turkey Red T3 card.  Very cool!
We get through letters "E" to "S" with nine cards of nine players:
  • Former 2B Damion Easley: MLB Showdown
  • Cecil Fielder:  a '93 Upper Deck hologram
  • Michael Fulmer, the reigning AL ROY:  another snowflake Holiday Wal-Mart card
  • Curtis Granderson:  2009 UD Starquest (no such thing as too many cards of this guy!)
  • "Hammerin'" Hank Greenberg:  a 1985 reprint of Hank's '34 Goudy card
  • J.D. Martinez:  another snowflake card
  • Victor Martinez:  an insert from 2012 Opening Day
  • Max Scherzer:  a 2014 insert that somewhat brings to mind early 2000s-era Topps chase cards
  • Christin Stewart:  a Topps Debut card of Detroit's top 2015 draft pick

Still with me?  Great!  Scan #3 starts off strong thanks to an appearance by one of my favorite 90s Tigers, Mickey Tettleton.  Next to him is OF Justin Upton, who hopefully puts up some numbers reminiscent of Tettleton's Silver Slugger campaigns while in Detroit.  This here blog's namesake made the cut this time as Tony flipped three Verlanders my way, two of which were brand new to me--the "60 Years of Topps" reprint plus the final snowflake card of the package.

Also along for the ride are a few more interesting cards, starting with a '75 Topps of former SS Ed Brinkman, who'd moved on to St. Louis (by way of San Diego) when this card was made.  He's joined by a couple 1979 examples from the esteemed TCMA, catcher Frank House, who was with the Tigers for seven seasons in the 50s and early 60s, and IF Jerry Priddy, who played his final four MLB seasons (1950-53) in Detroit.  I don't believe I had anything of either player so these are great.  Finally, Hughie "Ee-yah" Jennings makes his triumphant return to this blog with a trademark photo of the excitable manager courtesy of 2011 Goodwin Champions.
This group has two themes going for it:  it includes players I don't tend to collect on their own, but will stash in my Tigers inserts collection.  It includes five Topps-branded parallels (Alvarez, Castro (#026/500), Moya, Pena, and Raburn), Gypsy Queen and Heritage inserts of Prince Fielder, and a '96 Fleer Tiffany parallel of former OF Bobby Higginson.  The latter is one of those cases where both the base card and parallel are fantastic.

This final scan includes a bit of oddball and un-categorized stuff.  '92 Bicycle playing cards of pitchers John Doherty and David Haas don't give me a pair of aces but I do get a decent shot at a straight.  Next is a '92 Front Row draft pick card of pitcher David Mysel, a '92 5th-rounder that I can't believe Tony dug up!  I think I included the Pacific card of Curtis here because he's a convicted sex offender who's just a disgusting human being.  The last Tigers offering is a Wacky Packages sticker poking fun at the team's mascot.  And lastly, Tony proved himself to be an observant trader by including a Michigan Football card of former LB (in his Michigan uni, no less!) Shawn Crable.

Tony, thanks again for the fantastic envelope stuffed with Tigers treasures.  I'm looking forward to sending some more Cubs your way in the future!