Tuesday, March 19, 2019

2018 COMC purchases: ten out of ten

I've been on another self-imposed blogging hiatus, once again spending most of my card time on TCDB as I try to upload my collection, list trade bait, and contribute to the database by uploading scans, correcting checklists, and handle some inaccuracy reports.  It really is addictive!

But today I'm finally making it a point to set aside a bit of time to post the last of my 2018 baseball acquisitions.  These 10 new entries came from COMC, mostly around the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, if I recall correctly.  I have a lot more to post on TMM eventually--Michigan Football loot, natch--but at least today I can finally put these away.  Enjoy!

Former A's prospect Jason Christian starts things off with a beautiful Red Refractor parallel of his 2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects base.  This one set me back $10, is numbered 2/5, and is tied with one of the two cards I'm missing in Christian's PC for fewest copies (2009 Donruss EEE Signature Status Gold).  The other is the final card in this rainbow, a Gold Refractor /50.  Both can be had if I'm willing to pay!

#2 is another Bowman Chrome Refractor, this time of Tampa IF prospect Jake Cronenworth, who continues to fight an uphill battle for a spot in the bigs.  Not even $0.50 was enough to score me this Black Wave Asia parallel, my 11th of Jake, all of which are from his 2015 Bowman Draft/Chrome rainbow.  That leaves eight to go.

The final player in this row is one of two new PCs I'm introducing today.  Fritz Fisher is a former Wolverine lefty who signed with the Tigers and appeared in just one Major League game, somehow striking out Harmon Killebrew in his 1/3+ inning of relief.  Gladding was the much more successful pitcher on this multiplayer RC from 1964 Topps.  Fritz's other card came out in the same set two years later, another duet, this time with the more well known John Hiller.

Here's a fun mix of new(ish) and old!  I think I've professed my love for Pacific's Paramount Fielder's Choice cards before, and here's another chance to sing their praises.  The one you see above stars none other than Mr. Padre Tony Gwynn, one of my favorite PCs.  There's a good number of 90s-adjacent inserts I'm chasing of Gwynn and his big four PC cohorts--Griffey, Maddux, and Ripken--and the super cool Fielder's Choice cards are part of that.

Dick LeMay is today's other new PC guy, also of the vintage variety.  The former Michigan pitcher signed with San Fran in 1958 and appeared in 45 games with the Giants and Cubs between 1961 and '63, the sum of his career.  Above you're seeing his '62 Topps RC, leaving me short just his base from the follow-up Topps set.  Yep, another two-card PC!

Card #3 in this bunch had me plenty excited, even if I have a lot like it.  I've managed to complete Zach Putnam's 2008 Razor Letterman base and #d /20 nameplates (check 'em out here) so all I can chase now are the rarer /5s and 1/1s.  This "N" is just the second letter of the six letters (I have the same number of 1/1s!) in the /5 group (I also own a "T") and is #1/5.  After a roughly two-month break from buying on the site starting last June, I may it my first purchase of this shipment on August 1 for $12, and if I can get the other four letters for about that I'll be thrilled.
The last "regular" cards of this post start with a 2017 Topps Update Gold parallel (#0245/2017) of new Blue Jays hurler Clayton Richard.  It's just the third I've got of his rainbow (including the Mini versions) to go along with a base and Rainbow Foil.  The 2017-19 spots on my PC checklists need lots of work!

And then there's a bit of player wantlist help in the form of card #8 out of Flair's 1995 Ripken insert.  I need cards 1, 3, and 5 and then will be able to show off another completed insert set devoted to the Iron Man!
The oddest item of the ten is my second 2009 Topps Heritage Ad Panel box-topper featuring ex-closer J.J. Putz.  It's hard to find a good checklist of these, but I believe I've figured out that Putz appears on three in total:  this one, the one I have that includes Braden Looper and Freese again, and a last one I'm still working on finding with Uribe and Alfonso or Rafael Soriano.  $2.40 wasn't an unreasonable price to pay for one of these in my opinion.
And at last we come to the final card and one of my favorite pickups of this latest shipment.  Thanks to many vintage stars appearing in modern releases it's easier than ever to find them on affordable plates and 1/1s, and that's exactly what I did here with Michigan and MLB legend George Sisler.  Surprisingly it took all of $8 to land one of the better cards in my collection of Gorgeous Georges, a Cyan plate from 2014 Panini Hall of Fame.  While I have a couple cards of him from the other subsets or inserts I didn't have this one.  Hey, a plate's as good a place to start as any!  (By the way, this is 1/1 #115 in my collection!)

Stay tuned for lots of great football stuff from COMC on TMM eventually while I figure out what I'll be posting here next.  With any luck it may be a second card show report for the month!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

3/2/19 show report: 9 is Barry fine

Well would you look at that?  It's just a day after the latest card show and I'm already posting my pickups.  Maybe I'm getting into better blogging habits again?  Probably not, but I'm still glad to be getting more content out there instead of letting TMV sit idle.

This time my wallet came away $20 lighter so it ended up being another low-key show for me, but you'll see no signs of disappointment here.  The breakdown was:

  • Dime boxes:  10 cards = $1
  • Quarter boxes:  36 cards = $9
  • $0.50 boxes:  2 cards = $1
  • $1 boxes:  3 cards = $3
  • $2 boxes:  3 cards = $6
If you'd like a complete picture of what I got, please head over to TMM after you're done here.  As for the rest:

We'll start with unassigned trade bait again.  This is something I stopped doing for a while since I was bringing stuff home that nobody was claiming, but between COMC and TCDB that should no longer be a problem.  Beltran is from '04 Diamond Kings and is #069/100, and the USA Whitson jersey came out of '09 UD Signature Stars.  Please claim them via a comment or email if you're interested!
First up from my take-home is Junior Griffey.  I found a nice little handful of his cards in the dime and quarter boxes including this trio for me.  The '93 Score Dream Team subset still looks cool more than 25 years later.  2001 Upper Deck MVP's Super Tools insert shows off my favorite of Griffey's skills:  that trademark swing.  And a Defining Moments insert from 2013 Hometown Heroes recounts 1995 ALDS game 5, which will forever live on in Seattle Mariners lore.

Technically these bumped me up to 800 unique Griffeys but after a bit of consultation on TCDB I've eliminated a card from his PC:  the 1991 UD Griffey Sr. base on which Junior cameos.  So I'll wait to add another item before celebrating.
I could still do without Gypsy Queen but once in a while something grabs my interest like this Framed parallel of Tony Gwynn from 2012.  When I picked it up I thought the brown border went well with San Diego's colors, then found out that's not one of the colors used as a framed parallel that year.  Apparently Topps calls this "Gold".  You do you, Topps....
Of course the day's winner was titular guy Barry Larkin.  I brought home more than 10 cards of the HOF SS and these nine went to his PC.  The first five are definitely my favorites, starting with a pair of '96s:  a Score sample (of the Dugout Collection parallel) and UD Hobby Predictor.  I already have the Exchange Card version of the latter so I'll just need to find the Retail variants at some point.

The next pair come from Pinnacle's multi-product Epix insert from 1998 and here you see Orange parallels of the Game and All-Star Moment versions.  Last up in this group is a 2013 Panini Cooperstown Induction insert that celebrates one of Larkin's career highlights.

After that is a trio of 2017 Topps-produced cards that aren't too exciting, though at least the Bowman insert is Chromed and the GQ Hand-Drawn Art card (the second of two made) looks nice enough.  However, that Salute insert is about as mailed-in as it gets, and I wouldn't have picked it up if not for the low price of a dime.

Finally we go all oddball with a '94 King B Disc.  I've heard of these and I think I have a couple in my collection at this point but didn't realize they were still being made in 1994, so that was a fun surprise.

Larkin's PC is celebrating a mini milestone of its own:  more than 750 cards!
That leaves a fun insert quartet starring mound maestro Greg Maddux.  Fleer's Golden Memories set from 1996 still looks amazing, and I was already a fan of it thanks to a Trammell/Whitaker card before I dug Greg's card out of the box.  I flipped a pair of 2001 Topps chase cards--Ring Masters and Own the Game--because I erroneously thought the former was "Hobby Masters", another Topps insert from around that time.  These remind me of one of my favorite Topps products, one made back when they put a bit of thought into those designs.  And last up is a 2018 Diamond Kings Portraits insert of the HOF pitcher.  You just can't go wrong with DK's artsy design!

That's all for this month's show so stay tuned for COMC loot as soon as I get around to it.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

2018 Sportlots purchases: RIP this series

Well here it is, February 28, the date I recently set as my goal to finish up posting my Sportlots purchases from last year.  It took me longer than it should have to get that done, but get it done I did as you're now reading the final post in this run.  (Note:  you can also check out the last in the TMM series right here, though a number of you already have.  Thank you!)

The big finish on the baseball side isn't anything I scheduled purposely.  Instead I got the smaller bunches out of the way, then did the usual run of my big four PCs.  You saw Griffey, Gwynn, and Maddux, so naturally today's subject is my biggest PC from any sport:  Cal Ripken Jr.
We'll begin today with a card that's almost as old as I am:  1986 Sportflics #8 (Cal should always be #8 in a set!).  I love me those holograms/lenticulars, of course, so this was fun to grab, along with his appearance in that year's Rookies set, which I forgot I owned as it includes Lou Whitaker (plus Eddie Murray, Dave Righetti, Steve Sax, and Darryl Strawberry).  Next, a '94 Fleer Update Diamond Tribute insert looks super nice to me with that sky background despite coming from a lower-end product.  

More base from '95 Ultra and '96 Bowman's Best, Finest, and UD all look terrific.  I really think Upper Deck's design peaked in 1996 and '97, though it was a good looker year in and year out.  Speaking of that manufacturer, thanks to TCDB I found a second version of the header card from its multi-brand Ripken Collection set that has the Collector's Choice logo instead of UD's on the bottom.  What you don't learn on that site!

Last up here is the debut of Bowman Chrome in '97 on a design I've long enjoyed, maybe because the Refractors look so amazing with it (as is often the case with that product).  I also love action photos of Ripken in the field, like this one where he's flinging a grounder across his body to first for the out.
Three more '97s start this scan:  Donruss Limited, Finest, and Upper Deck.  The Limited card pairs up Ripken with future Cubs 3B bust Kevin Orie, the same thing Bowman's Best did with its 1994 debut.  The Finest is a double once again, but fortunately I know someone else who collects Cal.  And the UD is one of the many fine looking subsets from that year's flagship product, a set I really, really just need to buy for myself.

The second row starts with '98 Ultra's classy design in the form of a checklist.  Next up is '99 Black Diamond, a set I mentioned in my Jim Harbaugh post yesterday because it came with some beautiful looking numbered parallels.  And then we come to one of the best pieces of the post:  one of Cal's two appearances in '99 Topps Gallery.  I mentioned in the Maddux post that I didn't much care for the look of the Masters subset found within, but otherwise absolutely love the regular design once again.

On the bottom we'll start with Rip's regular base card from 2000 Bowman's Best (another favorite, as I keep mentioning) to go with the subset appearance I've long since landed.  The scan then ends with two excellent designs from 2001:  Donruss Classics and Ultra.  The more I see the '01 version of the latter the more I like it.
To finish up the verticals this last scan includes base cards from 2002 UD and 2003 Donruss Champions plus a 2005 Donruss Team Heroes Movie Gallery insert.  The first two look quite nice, especially Upper Deck (as usual) while the insert was a bit of a letdown as I'd forgotten what these looked like and didn't think to preview it somewhere like COMC.  Oh well, it's a cheap insert!

The quartet of horizontals is 75% Upper Deck, starting with one of Cal's two appearances in the '92 Team MVP Holograms boxed set, in this case a checklist using an image of a statue(?).  The rest of the set looks normal, including his other card, for what it's worth.

Next up are flagship base cards from '94 and '95.  The former is a subset that shows the HOFer signing at the park, as he was well known for doing, and the latter is a great shot of a play at the plate.

And I'm happy to end this post and series on a fun note with a two-player base card from Fleer's excellent Fall Classics product from 2002.  The last ten cards in the 100-card set (120 with SPs) were part of a subset called "All Time Series Team" that paired up legends at each position--or groups of three when it came to the outfield--with a player from each league--except for the outfielders, with one card per league.  You could make an argument for a number of other players to represent SS but I'm perfectly happy with the Ripken/Ozzie pairing here.

And at last this series is done, with Ripken retaining his PC crown along with a new total of 874 cards and counting.  Thanks to everyone who read and/or commented on any or all of these posts!

I'm looking forward to showing off my late 2018 COMC stuff here soon and finishing off my purchases from last year, plus getting up another show recap if I make it out there this weekend.  After that, maybe some original content like the favorite set designs idea I teased?  Who knows?  More to come!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

2018 Sportlots purchases: I just want to love you Madd-ly

The end is so close I can taste it--one post left for each blog in this latest Sportlots series after the one you're reading right now, and two more days left in February.

In that spirit let's have a look at some new cards that site is responsible for adding to my Greg Maddux PC:
Mid-90s inserts from Select and Ultra hail Maddux as a strikeout artist, which he was while never being a flamethrower or leading the league in the stat (he only even broke 200+ once).  That '95 UC3 card dead center is a good reminder that Chicks Dig the Longball.  The bottom right corner includes three Certified cards (Select and Pinnacle) from '96 and '97 in all their mirror finish glory.  And Greg looks like an ace on my favorite SP base design, released in 1996.  Once I get caught up with purchases I'll likely put together a series on my favorite year of each product I like.  Non-purchase content FTW!
Topps' Gallery could be a product that could be difficult to narrow to just one, though here I prefer the '97 offering to the subset from 1999 seen on card #8 (though the regular '99 design is fantastic).  Collector's Choice's Stick'Ums seems to be quite popular among bloggers that were collecting back in '97 and I don't blame them!  I'm guessing Pinnacle Inside's 1998 Stand-Up Guys isn't too unfamiliar to most of you, and here you see half of one of Greg's appearances on a card he shares with fellow aces Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, and Hideo Nomo.  The other includes both Jones guys--Andruw and Chipper--and Javy Lopez.  Some very nice base designs from '98 Ultra, '99 Black Diamond, and 2000 Pacific fit in nicely while '99 SPx has always been a bit of an outlier, kind of like a non-numbered version of the previous year's SPx Finite with that big old gold stamp.
SPx's 2000 version is another natural choice for me when it comes time to do that favorites list.  A blast of blue from that year's Ultimate Victory looks fantastic, and 2001 Leaf Certified Materials completes a shiny trifecta in the top row.  Another trio of UD brands forms in the middle with 2001 Sweet Spot and Gold Glove and '02 Ovation.  The first two feature very nice designs while the latter is very easy on the eyes thanks to the combination of colors from the pairing of the stadium scene and sky border.  A couple Donruss brands and a one-and-done Fleer offering--Rookies and Greats--from 2003 round out this group.
This last scan is dominated by Upper Deck, producer of five of the eight cards you see here.  Classic Portraits (2003) was an interesting if brief experiment.  I'd argue that Sweet Spot didn't look nearly as nice as that '01 version in terms of the 2004-05 versions (cards #2 and 5, respectively), though I still appreciate the product's cool autographs.  I'm glad Diamond Kings spawned a whole set of their own like the one seen above from 2005.  Flair Showcase looked especially nice in 2006 and I believe a throwback to this design has been used in other sports lately.  Lastly, the horizontal cards are a tale of two UD products 20 years apart:  a 1992 Team MVP hologram insert and 2002's Piece of History, a fun set I broke back in the day.

That's 35 new Maddux cards for me and he seems to be one of the few guys that didn't hit a new milestone marker this series.  Still, it was a very productive purchase for his PC which now stands at a solid 643 with more surely to come soon.  After all, there is a card show this weekend....

Stay tuned here and over on TMM in the next couple days for the final posts in this series, after which I'll get to COMC pickups from late last year, then likely other stuff such as show purchases and maybe even a surprise large pickup!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

2018 Sportlots purchases: Gwynning streak

I don't know if I'll get two more posts on each blog for this series done by the end of Thursday (to be done by the end of February) but at least I can say I'll have gotten two up this evening!  One of those is another RB special over on TMM and you can find the other right here.

The star of today's post is Mr. Padre, the second of my four big non-Tigers/Wolverines PCs, so let's check out some new Tony Gwynn cardboard:
We'll start with quite the range in years here:  1992-98.  Leaf's shoulda/coulda/woulda Black Gold parallel from '92, the one that should have been the base design, is a fun way to lead things off.  Then we go super shiny with Pinnacle's '94 the Naturals boxed set that was totally on-brand back then.  Sportflix's UC3 product from 1995 was redundant, plus the regular version was much better, yet the two you see above, including a Cyclone Squad insert, are still interesting relics of the time.  Everything else is fairly standard base card fare from 1995-98, though I always love seeing that Ultra design!
I'd say things get a bit more interesting here as we move on to 1999-2001.  The base cards are from shiny and/or interesting products like Finest, Bowman's Best, Ultimate Victory, Absolute Memorabilia, and the underrated Upper Deck Gold Glove.  2000 Bowman's Best is one of my favorites in that product's run, other than the fact that they're already Refractor-ized.  A trio of Upper Deck inserts from 2000 make me fondly remember ripping some of those products back then.
Scan #3 is where class meets flash.  I was excited to land a mix of UD's Sweet Spot and SP Legendary Cuts issues along with an '06 Greats of the Game base.  Each of those look amazing and offer a nice variety of design.  Compare those to 2005 Leaf Certified Materials and the first bunch of horizontal cards, ranging from '93-'06, and bask in the fun of the variety we used to enjoy.  I think the Upper Deck Diamond Gallery hologram card from '93 is a particular highlight here, and the type of card I bet used to draw in younger collectors at the time.  Pinnacle's 1996 Aficionado is a pretty solid mix of style and substance, though.
And at last we reach the end with a few more horizontals.  While I have the '97 Bronze Coin from Pinnacle Mint I'll have to track down the '98 version to go with the die-cut base card above.  I also came up with both versions of Tony's 1999 Pacific Invincible Sandlot Heroes cards, and while I'm not sure why Pacific made multiple versions for each player I'm glad they're at least easy to tell apart.  The back of his 2000 UD Statitude insert notes that he compiled a career-high 220 hits in 1997 before picking up #3000 in 1999.  And I'm happy to end on a high note with one more classy offering from 2005 SP Legendary Cuts, another beautiful example of the quality that product brought year after year.

That all amounts to a very solid 33 new Gwynns for a new PC total of 629, making him another player to cross off a milestone during this series.

Stay tuned for two more posts in this series before I finally get to some very nice COMC loot!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

2018 Sportlots purchases: Griffey goodness

It's time for another Sportlots catch-up post!  Let's delve into some cards from one of game's legends:  Ken Griffey Jr.:
Mid-90s-to-mid-aughts collectors represent!  Everything you see here today will fall into that span, a.k.a. my wheelhouse.  The golden age of cardboard creativity today brings us cards from three Fleer brands (plus Update, to be picky), three more from Topps, and a pair courtesy of UD.

The '94 Ultra set was my favorite of Fleer's early foray into premium cards, until the '97 set kicked it up a notch.  That '95 SP base is almost iconic for me when thinking about collecting back then.  I'll always be a fan of the matte Fleer cards from '96 and '97 such as this flagship/Update pair from the former.  Fleer's SI is a brand I continue to admire a couple decades later, especially the magazine cover issues.  And while Topps' '98 version of Finest wasn't my favorite it's still a good reminder of what they could make when they put effort into it.
In this next scan the cards narrow down to a three-year period:  1998-2000.  The Pacific Home Run Heroes insert isn't terribly attractive but it serves as a cool reminder of Griffey's amazing 1998 campaign in which he clubbed 56 homers for the second straight season.  As a matter of fact, many of his counting stats were quite similar to his MVP year in '97, though that season's bWAR was noticeably better than the follow-up.  While we're on the subject SI makes a second appearance while covering those same '97 numbers.

Meanwhile, '99 Bowman's Best had what I thought was a second straight off-year in terms of design, but fortunately the 2000 version, for which I have two examples here, was a return to form.  Finest's effort in 1999 was a similar improvement in my mind.  And since we're talking higher-end Topps products you shouldn't be too surprised that I went back to the Gallery well, in this case 1999's offering, as it always was one of the manufacturer's best products.  And speaking of the base, this scan closes out with my favorite SPx design, the one used on the 2000 set.
In today's last scan first we'll handle some unfinished business:  the year 2000.  That trio you see up top hails from that year's Topps flagship product (back when I enjoyed it), including one of the base set's subset variations (my fourth) and a couple inserts.  UD's Classic Portraits from 2003 was an interesting idea that possibly could have lasted had it done a better job of executing its theme in the design.  2007 Ultra brings another great look at Junior's trademark finish after that sweet swing of his.  And then we finish up with one horizontal card: a checklist from UD's one-and-done Collector's Choice SE from '95.

This fun bunch gets my Griffey PC to a new total of 797 with another exciting milestone within sniffing distance.  I'll work on hitting that soon, but next time it'll be back to the drawing board with Sportlots cards of another major PC guy!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

2019 trade package #3: Baseball Card Breakdown

Baseball Card Breakdown
This week I felt a bit like I was back in elementary school in that I received some Valentine's Day cards.  Ok, they weren't really for that occasion, but the important thing is that they were the best type of cards, and that's what matters to me.  A couple of my favorite traders hit my mailbox just in time for the 14th, so here I am on the 16th posting trade packages from Sports Cards From the Dollar Store on TMM plus a surprise PWE from Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown right here!
The king of custom cards didn't need to send any of his handiwork this time thanks to quality like this.  Zim is probably a lost cause for the Tigers at this point but his 2017 Stadium Club Sepia parallel looks terrific.  Better yet, he's joined by PC guy Cal on something I somehow didn't have: a 2001 Topps Archives Reserve Future Rookie Reprint.  While I'm not immune to the Topps reprint fatigue many have complained of, I love getting new Ripken stuff, and 2001 Archives Reserve is one of the manufacturer's best products period.
And how about Gavin filling out the mailer with TOO MANY VALENTINE VERLANDERS?!  That's the way you do it, folks, just textbook excellence (not unlike the Upper Deck insert of the same name).  I needed all six of these 2018 Topps-branded offerings starring JV as an Astro.  My favorites bookend the top row:  a Blue Finest Refractor (#056/150) and that year's version of Gallery, which continues to look amazing.  Fire and GQ are two products I could definitely do without, but I still appreciate new items for one of my favorite PCs.  All of those are joined by Mr. Kate Upton's two appearances in '18's Topps Update.  The first is a checklist that highlights his 2500th career strikeout while the other notes his All-Star selection.

That's six brand new cards for a new total of 357 Verlanders.  Let's see if we can keep adding to that total this year, fellow traders!

Thanks again for the fun surprise, Gavin.  I have next to nothing set aside for you for now but will try to remedy that at a few upcoming shows so I can hit you back!