Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2016 COMC purchases: Grandy and the Juniors

First, here's a quick notice to head over to TMM this evening for a celebration of James Earl Jones' birthday and a bunch of cards starring that blog's namesake!

With this year's Hall of Fame class less than a day away from being revealed, here's some more player collection cards I picked up on COMC.  I grouped these together and named them in the style of a 50s band so you know they'll be good!
Today's newest card is this 2010 Topps Update manu-bat of former namesake to this blog Curtis Granderson.  Topps has made some manufactured relics I've loved and loathed over the years and this one leans more towards the former.  It may not be a real bat barrel but then again it's not like I could afford one of those, much as I'd love to.  As I near 100 cards of Grandy this is just my third of him with the Yankees and fourth overall where he appears in a uniform other than Detroit's.
The good old "90s inserts rule" tag is back and happy as ever to be here with Mr. George Kenneth Griffey, Jr.  From one of my all-time favorite parallels (out of one of my top-five sets overall), 1995 Pinnacle Museum Collection, I dug up two of Junior's issues:  the Swing Men subset and his solo checklist.  Along with those I already own his other solo base card from this insert, and just need the multiplayer checklist to complete the run.  After showing off another of these in a post I may get to tomorrow, I'll have shown off 13 of these Dufexed cards of 10 different players I collect, with one more to come when I get around to it.

Besides those two I grabbed one more 90s insert favorite:  Griffey's entry in 1998 Topps Flashback.  This set combined a recent photo up front with a throwback photo on the flip side (which also includes a throwback Mariners logo!).  It's a fun look at baseball middle-aged Griffey and baseball kid Griffey, a.k.a. the Kid.  Hopefully I can track down Gwynn's card from this set as I already own Ripken's and Maddux doesn't appear.
Speaking of the Iron Man, here's a fun four-spot I found of him from my favorite card provider.  First is his 1997 base card from Fleer's Sports Illustrated product.  I've always enjoyed these card-sized reproductions of SI covers, such as this one from July 29, 1991 marking 1500 straight games played.

Meanwhile, the Behind the Numbers die-cut in the shape of Ripken's iconic #8 should look a bit familiar since I just showed off Tony Gwynn's version the other day.  I had to shell out more than I usually like to for inserts to grab this but happily did so as the feeling of nostalgia it brought me was priceless.  You'll be seeing one more card from this set in my next post and a final one when I finish scanning cards of my big four PCs.

Lastly I grabbed a pair of cards from the 2000 Fleer Gamers insert called "Cal to Greatness."  The set comprises 15 cards with the first five coming in at 1:9 packs, the next five at 1:25, and the final quintet at 1:144.  These are numbers 7 and 8, so they're the somewhat rarer versions to go along with the cards I already own, which I believe are numbers 1-5 (unscanned so far).  While the first bunch feature a more subtle design, these are of the reflective foil variety, and the rarest ones have more of a rainbow foil look to them.  I'll slowly try to complete this set as reasonable pricing allows.

Stay tuned (as soon as tomorrow) for my final COMC pickup post over here, though I'll have a few more yet over on TMM.  Also, I hope everyone's as excited as I am for the big Hall of Fame reveal tomorrow.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

2016 COMC purchases: Tony-one Gwynns

Continuing on with COMC pickups, I had the most success scoring cards of one of my favorite PC guys:  Tony Gwynn.  Over the last few months of 2016 I managed to nab 20 new Gwynns from my favorite card-procurement option, and that put me past the 250-card mark to 254, a nice little mini-milestone on this fine Sunday.  To make my punny title work I'm actually showing off 21 cards, including one you've already seen, as I completed a small set, which I'll get to in a minute.  So I hope you enjoy looking through these as I group them into fun categories FOR THE GWYNN!

2015 Donruss Tony Gwynn Tribute:
This is the complete set I just mentioned.  I had grabbed card #4 at a show back in July and easily found the other four on the cheap around Black Friday.  As you'll see this set didn't get too creative with the foily fronts as much of the design is the same on each card.  However, the smaller color photos are pretty cool, the backs are solidly done, and I like the career highlights Panini chose.  What do you think?:

Gwynn Topps didn't suck:
I still owe y'all a post on how my relationship with Topps has changed throughout my collecting, but for now I'll just say that these two cards were made when my opinion of their cards couldn't be more positive.
On the left is a semi-transparent insert from 2000 Stadium Club Chrome (a product that should have lasted much longer!) called Eyes of the Game.  These looked fantastic, and better yet, they did come in Refractor form as well.  Just a fun, well executed insert.

Speaking of Refractor-like cards, I nabbed Tony's card from 2002 Archives Reserve, another Topps product that was unfortunately short-lived.  This is a Chromed-out Refractor reprint of Gwynn's base card from '97 Topps, yet another of my favorite sets from that manufacturer.  It's a classic photo of the master in action, and I've always liked how the bat supersedes the border and keeps on going.

90s Gwynn-serts rule!:
Like many of you who grew up collecting in that decade, I absolutely love collecting inserts from the 90s, and when I add new ones I always make sure to celebrate by deploying my favorite tag, "90s inserts rule".
First up is a '95 Donruss Dominators card featuring a tough-looking Gwynn, normal-looking Kirby Puckett, and Paul O'Neill with his trademark Resting Bitch Face.  These shiny multiplayer cards are very cool and I'm happy to add them to my PCs whenever I can.

Going back a year to 1994 we stick with Donruss and the first of three Diamond Kings cards today.  Dick Perez's baseball art looks great as usual.

I scored a pair of inserts from one of my all-time favorite products, '95 Pinnacle.  The first is one of Tony's Museum Collection parallels in the set, and I love this Dufex version of the multi-exposure photo.  The other is another of those inserts I wouldn't have dreamed of pulling back in '95:  Red Hot.  The flame motif is very cool and I love the shot of Tony in his follow-through.

Representing 1996, one of two cards was a Dugout Collection parallel, one of two Gwynn cards in that set.  As I mentioned yesterday when discussing a card of Jim Abbott from the same set, I think this was a pretty good parallel of an already solid base set.  Joining that is a flashier insert from '96 Sporflix (another favorite!) that I never could have pulled when it came out:  ProMotion.  This fun insert took an already well-done hologram concept and made it even cooler.

Finally, I treated myself to one of my most-wanted inserts that I waited this long to get because...reasons.  1998 Pinnacle Inside included a fantastic die-cut insert called Behind the Numbers (though I think Pinnacle missed out by not going with Inside the Numbers...) that was a relatively tough pull because not many folks likely bought lots of those cans at once.  Fortunately I didn't have to pay very much for this amazing card cut in the shape of Gwynn's #19.

By the way, you'll see a few of these inserts again in an upcoming post or two!

Serial-numbered Gwynn-sanity:
Hey, you got inserts in my serial-numbers!  No, you got serial-numbers in my inserts!  Here's my Gwynn version of one of my favorite card types in an obvious homage to Robert's coolest project.
In this case we start with 1997 and another one of my favorite products and inserts (seeing a theme here?).  I really enjoyed collecting '97 Donruss, its update set, and the inserts found in both, including the two-player Franchise Features cards.  These were done up in a marquee-style motif with a current star--"Now Playing"--and prospect--"Coming Attractions"--and simply looked great.  Abreu didn't exactly live up to this pairing but went on to post an almost 60 bWAR over a nice career.

A pair of '98 Donruss/Leaf products is next.  First is the outstanding version of the Diamond Kings insert produced that year, one of my favorites of the run.  I also own Barry Larkin's and Ken Griffey Jr.'s versions from that set.  This one is numbered 08241/10000.  That's joined by Leaf's excellent Heading For the Hall (#0632/3500) insert.  Something tells me Donruss didn't have to go out on much of a limb to include Gwynn in this classy looking chase card.

Sticking with the same year I turned up a pair of numbered Leaf Rookies and Stars inserts from that product's maiden voyage.  Come to think of it, most if not all of the inserts may have been numbered in the set that was popular for a while thanks to a high-end RC of former Big Thing J.D. Drew.  On the left is an insert called MVPs (#3225/5000), a set where Leaf picked their top league players at each position (Barry Bonds and Andruw Jones were the LF and CF in this case).  Meanwhile, the Standing Ovations card (#2944/5000) highlights a big achievement, and in this case it was Tony matching hitting legend Honus Wagner by winning his eighth NL batting crown.  I'll stand and clap for that!

Finally I have a pair of post-millennium pickups.  From yet another favorite product, 2001 Donruss, comes a Diamond Kings reprint (#0212/1985) of his Diamond Kings card found in 1985 Donruss, as the numbering suggests.  I completed the Rookie Reprints available in this product and may decide to chase these as well in the future.  Oddly enough, I don't actually have the original version of this card yet!  Sticking with Donruss brands, our last card is from an insert called Hitters Inc. (#1718/2000) out of 2005 Leather and Lumber.  This is another one of those reflective, foiled-up cards that's unfortunately difficult to scan, but it looks fantastic, and if anybody belongs in a set with that name it's Mr. Padre.

I hope you had as much fun looking at these as I did picking them up for my collection, especially the nostalgia-inducing 90s stuff.  What did you love/hate out of these?

I'll close with the song that inspired today's punny title, one of those Green Day songs that doesn't actually sound exactly like the rest of Green Day's songs:

Saturday, January 14, 2017

2016 COMC purchases: MLB Michigan Men

All right, let's start looking at some of my loot from COMC purchases from 2016, including cards purchased during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend!

First up are some cards of six PC guys that all have one thing in common:  they played baseball for Michigan.  Three or four of these guys should be pretty well known to most of you, and hopefully some of you will become aware that I collect the others and eventually help me find new cards of them as well!

On with the cards:
First up alphabetically is Jim Abbott and this Dugout Collection parallel from 1996 Score.  It's a bit of a strange photo to use and reminds me of one of my favorite memes:
I've always admired the simplicity of the '96 Score set, though, and consider Dugout Collection cards (and its relatives, such as Gold Rush) to be solid parallels.
Cronenworth is one of those guys I'm betting few, if any of you, know.  I first wrote about him last May when I started collecting his stuff, which so far is limited to 2015 Bowman Draft/Chrome.  That means chasing a bunch of parallels, but at least many of those are Refractors, like this Purple version (#134/250), which gives me eight of his 19 cards so far.
It's always a celebration around here when I can add new cards to my favorite PC, that of Rich Hill, who I hope continues to enjoy success with the Dodgers in 2017.  First up is Hill's Mini Green Back card (#26/88) from 2008 UD Goudy.  It was the last card I needed to sew up that product, and I may put up a separate post soon showing off the six-card rainbow.

The other card is much more recent and shows Rich with his other 2016 club, Oakland, on his 2016 Topps Gold parallel (#0557/2016).  That's only my second Hill card from the product besides his base card, though I'll soon be showing off another in an upcoming trade post.  For now, these two put me at 252/373 Hills, with a denominator that's grown a bit in the last few months, a happy development in my opinion.
Here's a card that was an easy buy:  I love collecting Larkin, I love '96 Sportflix, and I think Artist's Proof parallels are great.  Plus the nostalgia factor looms large--I opened a bunch of packs of this product when it came out and wouldn't have dreamed of pulling a card like this as such parallels were relatively rare at the time.  As a pleasant surprise the scan turned out quite nicely--I like when you get a glimpse of multiple facets of a hologram-style card like this.
The other player in today's post I'm betting almost none of you are familiar with is Yankees farmhand Michael O'Neill.  That's not a huge surprise since the 2013 third-rounder hasn't advanced past AA yet.  I scored two more of his cards this time to add to my small-but-growing collection.  First up is a new autograph (my 13th), a Green Refractor version from 2013 Bowman Sterling, giving me five of his 10 cards from that product.  As you can see, Paul's nephew has a very nice signature.

The other card is also a Refractor, this one a Pink Wave out of 2014 Bowman Chrome Prospects Series 2.  O'Neill has a ton of cards from 2014 Bowman Chrome products--I count 42--so every little bit helps.  I don't know how I feel about the "Wave"-style Refractors, but pink is a reasonable color for the iconic parallel.

Make it 29/85 cards (including a couple of dual autographs with Yankees legend Paul I wasn't aware of until yesterday) in O'Neill's collection.
Finally, you can see that I got on a nice little run of George Sisler pickups.  As it turned out, Black Friday was a great time to chase a bunch of inserts (and a few base) of Gorgeous George.  First up in this starting nine is Sisler's base from 2002 Sweet Spot Classics, one of my favorite looking sets that I don't own but should definitely grab someday.  A classic photo with a classy design is always a desirable pair.

Next is a trio from one of Topps' best offerings, 2003 Gallery HOF.  Honestly, if Topps made more products like this I wouldn't be crapping all over them in every single post.  These cards are flat out beautiful and well executed.  The first two represent George's base card and then a variation (sans ad on the outfield wall) while the third is the Artist's Proof version of the former.  As usual, Topps nails it with a Gallery product, and I'm going to enjoy having these in my collection.

The next pair comes from a less interesting but still solid product:  2011 Topps Marquee, which should have been named "Why Didn't We Just Make Stadium Club?"  At least it has the borderless design I like along with some cool photos.  The two cards you see there are Blue (#292/299) and Copper (#137/199) parallels featuring foil corresponding to the parallel color along with serial-numbering up front.

Panini's 2013 Cooperstown set has appeared on my blogs a few times thanks to appearances by Sisler and fellow Wolverine Charlie Gehringer.  Here, Sisler makes another cameo in the form of a very nice Blue Crystal parallel (#095/499), which goes along with the base and Green Crystal versions I own.  Stop me if you've heard this one before, but The Scan Doesn't Do It Justice!

Our eighth and ninth hitters both hail from Panini's 2014 Hall of Fame product, and they're two of my favorite inserts that came out of it.  On the left we have a card done up in Donruss' fantastic Crusades design, an insert that dates all the way back to 1998.  These shiny gems used to be highly coveted due to their scarcity and great looks, and I'm glad Panini brought the design back for use with Hall-of-Famers.  And speaking of homages to past designs, our last card is a throwback to Donruss' Elite Series, an insert that was absolutely huge when it burst onto the scene in the early 90s.  While the one Panini used here isn't my favorite, I love the throwback to another early Donruss set.

These nine newbies gave my Sisler collection a nice little boost to 64 cards.

Stay tuned for more COMC, eBay pickups, and trades soon!  Also, please head over to TMM this evening for even more COMC loot.