Saturday, May 20, 2023

2023 trade package #12: the Collector

Tonight's trade envelope comes from a collector I've traded with many times who recently celebrated 600 transactions on TCDb (quite the feat!). That collector's name? THE Collector, Chris!

Not one to sit around and wait for deals to come to him, Chris put in a bunch of work to hit that 600 deal milestone (in preparation of celebrating his 600th post). I can see in his transaction history that he started 2023 with 545 done and he's completed 78 already this year as I'm writing this. Nice! Find him over there as hockeydude, by the way.

Chris reached out to me early last month and I became his 596th swap. He offered me a nice little mix of items from my wantlist in return for future considerations, though I happened to have some stuff on hand I was going to send him anyway, so that worked out really well.

Here's what the New Jerseyan sent westward to me in Michigan:

The transaction Chris proposed actually only included the bottom six cards so the trio of Tigers were nice throw-ins. The Cuyler and Fryman are from '93 UD while Jose Lima hails from the '96 product. Cuyler got a pretty good number of ABs with some of those terrible 90s Tigers squads while Fryman enjoyed a respectable career in Detroit before finishing out his run with the Indians. The late Lima looked like nothing special before a trade to Houston produced the highest moments of his career. He did return to Detroit in 2001 for parts of a couple seasons.

Another Tiger is the lone baseball representative from the deal as originally agreed upon. J.D. Martinez is a guy who pulled a reverse Lima, heading from Houston to Detroit and overhauling his swing to great results in the batter's box and his wallet. His 2017 Topps All-Star Game set card got me to look up his Midsummer Classic appearances, and he's made five--one with the Tigers and four with the Red Sox.

Basketball gets just one new card today but that's fine because it's my least favorite sport. Chris hit one of my Wolverine cager PCs with a 21-22 Donruss Optic base of Tim Hardaway Jr., a three-year Michigan guard who's spent the last five of his nine NBA seasons with the Mavs. Wait, he's been in the league for nine years?! Man, I'm getting old.

Switching over to one of my alma mater's more recently successful sports, Chris found a pair of ex-Wolverines that I was happy to see. First is five-time Pro Bowl OT Mike Kenn who played 17 seasons for the Falcons. He appeared in 251 NFL games, all of which he started, and that's an excellent pro career if you ask me. His '82 Topps card above notes his second of five eventual All Pro selections. Joining him from the other side of the ball is DE Kwity Paye on a '21 Panini Chronicles Flux base that shows him in college action. Paye, like Kenn, was a first round selection, in his case by the Colts, and he'll be going into his third NFL season this fall.

And we'll wrap things up with a hockey duo from hockeydude right in the thick of what's probably sports' best postseason setup. Mike Comrie (2001-02 Topps Reserve) never won a Cup but did contribute a pair of goals and four assists to the 06-07 runner-up Ottawa Senators, who fell to the Ducks 4-1. Meanwhile, Ann Arbor native Andrew Copp (21-22 OPC's Retro version) is still active in the league and has 54 playoff games under his belt including 20 last year with the Rangers, but saw his new team, the Red Wings, fall short this season. I'm hoping the team exits its long rebuild soon and that Andrew is part of that success.

Chris, many thanks for making me part of your quest for 600 trades and congratulations on blowing that goal out of the water! I'm looking forward to picking up more stuff for you at the next show and in the meantime I hope those deals keep rolling in on your end.

Monday, May 15, 2023

2023 trade package #11: Scribbled Ink

This evening's trade package comes from buddy of the blog Paul, a Michigan transplant living in New Hampshire. Throughout the year I can pretty much count on Paul sending me a few oddly shaped packages containing stuff I've never seen or heard of, and that's exactly what happened here. This one included cards, sure, and we'll look at those first, but those of you who don't skip the rest of the post will be rewarded with some very cool collectibles!
The cards portion opens open with a pair of Cronenworths, which is a great way to start. Jake and Rich Hill are Michigan's two main alumni in MLB right now, though Hill's fellow lefty Tommy Henry's been pitching a bit for Arizona as well. And out of the trio, Cronenworth isn't a pitcher while also being a young-ish semistar, so he's made a good number of cardboard appearances. Thank you to Paul for including him here, especially that cool Refractor!

Griffey's next and he gets three additions to his collection: a Fleer/SI base issue which is a collaboration I've always enjoyed, a fold-out mini-poster from the same product, and a numbered (/299) parallel of a 2022 Topps insert celebrating big postseason moments. If you're too young to remember Ken Griffey Jr.'s winning run in the '95 ALDS against the Yankees (plus his five homers in the series), well check it out!

Fellow PC guys and co-HOF entrants Gwynn and Ripken also made appearances in this package. Mr. Padre is seen on 2022 Topps diamond-themed insert that treats him as the baseball royalty he is. Meanwhile, Junior Ripken's cameo is a 2018 Storybook Endings insert that talks about his 2001 retirement.

Paul doubled up on the ex-UM players with a basketball representative in Chris Webber. One of the most famous to play in Ann Arbor, the NBA HOFer appears on a card that almost literally screams 90s in its design (Fleer's Skybox Z-Force).
I thought it would be fun to scan the fully folded out Griffey mini poster and also include the pair of stickers Paul sent me from the fine folks who produce his bats (and I believe his son's as well?) for his adult league, the Walter Bat Company. Based on the interaction I've seen between them on Twitter they seem very communicative and easy to work with which is awesome when you're paying for someone to make something you're comfortable with. Kudos to them for great customer service!
And now we get to the first of the non-card items, and what a fantastic one it is! Apparently a company named Spectra Star sold these marbles with player images embedded in them in the early 90s. This group is "Set #2" and includes HOFers Yount, Ripken, and McGriff, certified star Fielder, and Cory Snyder, who was kind of decent in 1988.
The back gives you some stats of the players plus the flip side of the marbles, which contain team logos. Up top you can see the groupings from the other three sets, and now I kind of want at least two of the others if not the rest, as one includes Jim Abbott and Ken Griffey Jr. (plus Paul's PC guys Canseco and Ryan), and another has ex-Wolverine Chris Sabo.

I love the oddball 90s-ness of these and like the idea of keeping them in the packaging for display purposes. If I end up picking up the rest I'll make sure to show them off here, and I'll give another hat tip to Paul for introducing them to me.
Here's something I definitely didn't expect either: a book written by "Al Kaline's last bat boy," Dennis Clotworthy. It was released around 2014 and considering the number of great stories I have to imagine the author has about Kaline and his teammates from that era, this should be a very interesting read I'll be sure to check out once I'm caught up on a couple other books.
Oh, and it happens to be signed by the impeccably-named author, too! I'm a fan of the "Go Tigers!" inscription and love that he abbreviates his former title as "L.B.B." Rest assured I'll let my fellow Tigers fans know how this was once I've read it.
Last up is a 20-year-old Fleer-produced team truck. I think I was at least vaguely aware of these or something like them from the team (when discussing them with others the name White Rose came up too). While that terrible 43-119 squad led by an overmatched Alan Trammell is one I'd rather not remember, this is a very cool item that I'll be happy to display somewhere in my card room or on my living room bookshelves with similar collectibles that show off my pride in the team I continue to root for no matter what.
Here's a quick look at the bottom of the box which shows that these were apparently limited to 1500 made, making me wonder how much they were distributed regionally as opposed to nationally.
And one last shot of the top of the packaging to give you a bit more detail.

Paul, thanks for some great cards and even cooler surprise oddball stuff! I appreciate you always keeping me on my toes as I never know what you're going to send and what rabbit holes you'll send me down (seriously, those marbles are too cool!).

Looking over at my card desk I think I'm down to just two more blogger trades but that can always change quickly so maybe I'll try to get to them soon so those generous folks can get their due. Until then, go get 'em, Tigers!

Saturday, May 6, 2023

3/2023 and 5/2023 card show reports: talking about four shows on the weekend like it's TGIF

Why yes, I am an 80s/90s kid, why do you ask?

So one of the consequences of my slacking on posting more than usual this year is that I've fallen behind on covering the shows I've made it out to since March. That's why I'm taking a quick break this evening from trade packages to do a brief roundup of the four I attended in March and May (so far).

First up is the usual monthly show in Taylor for March. I made it over there on Saturday, the 4th, and I didn't come back with a whole lot, but did track down some stuff that made it into trade packages, a bit of random trade bait, and some items for myself. All of that set me back just $45. Here's the goods:
The trade bait that hasn't found a home yet, even after getting posted on TCDb a while ago: an Alge Crumpler jersey (not numbered), a jumbo swatch of Ardarius Stewart (two colors with stitching, #d /25), and a dual autograph of RBs Kenny Irons and Chris Henry (#d 50).

Please feel free to make an offer for anything mentioned as trade bait tonight here in the comments or over on TCDb, by the way.
I ended up with a lucky seven grouping of cards for myself. Juniors Griffey and Ripken appear on Triple Play's fold-out/scratch-off (unscratched) game cards and Kenny gets a second addition thanks to Stadium Club's 1999 Never Compromise insert. Maddux indeed took the Road to Cooperstown and that Fleer/SI insert looks great. Speaking of amazing inserts (the 90s ones especially rule!) how about an Orange Epix of Pudge? A Michigan uni RC of Josh Uche from '20 Prestige is one of two football additions with the other being an above average-sized jersey swatch of Denard Robinson from 2013 Rookies & Stars. It's numbered /299 and represents hit #55 of Shoelace, who's happily with the program assisting with the team's recruiting efforts (which are going quite well if you hadn't noticed!).

Next, I drove about 75 minutes on a cold, windy, rainy day up to Lansing--willingly! Why the hell would I do that? Well they have a pretty nice sized show at the mall up there, but I had no reason to make the trek until I found out that Jeff and his cousin Sluggo would be making the even longer drive up from Indiana to spread the good word of Sluggo's Sports Cards to Michiganders like myself.

Despite the shitty weather I'm very happy I made the trip because it was great to meet Sluggo, plus he and Jeff had a very impressively organized setup of fairly priced cards to look through. It also didn't hurt that Jeff gave me a very friendly discount, but I would have happily paid full sticker price for what I picked out of their $1/$3 boxes. Jeff and and I also got to swap cards in-person again, which was fun.

Again, this is long enough ago that a decent amount of what I bought went out in trade packages, but once again I have some loot to offer up to the masses plus a trio of cards for myself for an even $50:
The word of the day was "manurelics" and boy did I pick a bunch of them out of the $1 and $3 boxes! These five are all up for grabs. Arrieta's is one of those heavy MLB Debut medallions from 2016; Kemp's is a much lighter Players Weekend "patch" (plastic piece) from 2018; Kepler is a very chunky commemorative coin/medallion out of the 2020 product; Sano's is a plastic-y Jackie Robinson "patch" from 2017; and the Big Hurt's 2021 offering is also a plastic piece masquerading as a "patch," one that I guess Jeff didn't need since he's the first person I would have offered it to!
I didn't keep much for myself but that's totally fine. As you can see I ended up with Topps 70th manurelics of Gwynn and Scherzer from the same set as the Thomas above, and those join Kaline and Verlander in my collection. I'm no longer treating manufactured relics as "hits" but do still like to pick them up occasionally, and I've created an album for any I've kept in all sports.

The one non-manurelic card that went into my collection was a Barry Larkin that was new to me. The "90s inserts rule" tag is once again welcome this evening thanks to his 1995 SP Special FX insert you see there on the left. This is a tough-to-scan foil card that has a sky blue with clouds background (which didn't really come across in the image) plus an inset hologram, the latter of which was synonymous with UD over their first decade in the hobby. What a great looking card, even if you can't tell from the scan.

Many thanks to Sluggo (Kevin) and Jeff for a great experience, and I can't wait to meet up with them again the next time it's convenient for all of us.

Less than a week after seeing those guys I headed back to Taylor on Friday, March 31, for the April show, which happened to begin at the end of the previous month. I love getting there on Fridays when I can so the boxes are less picked through and the crowds are smaller since the autograph guests appear on Saturdays and Sundays.

I spent a high for the year of $75 on lots of good stuff, much of it of a higher quality than I usually get. Yep, once again some of the stuff got sent out. We'll start with available trade bait:
The Clemson sticker of Adams was a fun trade bait pickup for a buck, and it was something I don't recall seeing before. There are enough college collectors that I bet I find a taker before long. Böhringer is a jersey swatch /75; Cobbs is a Prizm auto /199; and the Smith manuhelmet auto goes for a crazy 899 copies.
Yet again, one scan covers my own pickups. I don't know what the future holds for Baddoo's spot on the team but couldn't pass up an acetate of him. Griffey was a dime or quarter and logo or no, that's a keeper as well. The Ricken Stadium Club Draft First Day parallel was possibly the most exciting pull for me that day because I'd never seen one before. That filled a hole in one of my more obscure Michigan Baseball PCs! Pudge shares a '92 Team Pinnacle insert with fellow star catcher Benito Santiago. A shiny Topps Tribute of JV was too nice looking to pass up. I found not one but a pair of Cronenworth minis from '21 Ginter.

And then there's a very nice pair of hits. I think both were priced around $10 but ended up being a bit less when bundled with other cards, plus I got my usual little discount. It feels like forever since I added a Griffey hit and then all of a sudden I have a great bat card from 2001 MVP. A piece of a HOFer's bat is always nice, and it's extra great when it's a guy with one of the sweetest swings in the game!

The other is just my second autograph of Fab Fiver Jalen Rose. Hailing from 2010-11 Panini Gold Standard, it looks to be a sticker auto (on a card with a signature window, which is interesting), and the back has a serial number /299. I obviously don't put much money into my basketball collection but I was happy to add a quality signature of the ESPN/ABC analyst and former Wolverine great for a reasonable price.

And now that catches us up to the day I'm writing this, May 6. Yesterday was my most recent show appearance and, you guessed it, it was time to head east to Taylor Town again on a Friday. My favorite seller had promised lots of discount stuff and he didn't disappoint. I spent $65 after a little discount on 50 dime cards, 50 $1 cards, and seven that were $2 apiece. I didn't even stay as long as I usually do because my patience ran out, but he'll apparently have more next month so I'm looking forward to it.

The trade bait not ticketed for future envelopes starts with a bunch of numbered football inserts out of the dime box:
Bruce and Holmes are /750; Lowery and Williams are /499; Muhammad is /600; and the four Prestige cards (three are Gold, Nash is Green) are /500.
Cartwright (/499) and Jackson (/1000) finish out the non-hits. From the baseball stuff, the Baez auto/manuball is /99 and LoCain's All-Star jersey isn't numbered. The Abdur-Rahim Game Floor card was too fun to leave for just a buck. And the football stuff includes jersey relics of Will Fuller (/25), Andre Johnson (/160), Laquon Treadwell (/199) and D'Wayne Eskridge (/249)
The pickings were slimmer when it came to my PCs this time, but I can't complain because I largely use shows to stock up on trade fodder. Miggy's a 2007 Turkey Red but is actually an SP with an ad back. Pudge is a nickname variation from '22 Donruss. Maddux is a 2006 UD insert I didn't have. And LeVert is a '19-'20 Mosaic insert. All came from the dime boxes.

It's a big relief to have all of these cataloged and posted so I can put them away and continue to chip at the piles of cards on my desk. Until June, unless I make an unexpected stop at another show, look forward to more trades of the blogger and TCDb variety!

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

2023 trade package #10: Topps Cards That Never Were

Hey, why don't I show off another envelope I received last month? This one was a surprise from Florida resident Jeremy of Topps Cards That Never Were. Jeremy has been a fun trade partner as he collects the Rays as well as the Tigers, who will always remain my favorite MLB team even when their owners ignore their way to a perpetual rebuild. Here's what the maker of missing Topps cards PWEd up to me this time:
Up top we have a pair of Topps cards that ARE, both of Wolverines I collect. First is a zoomed-in action shot of San Diego's versatile Jake Cronenworth, who's switched to playing 1B from primarily 2B after the Pads acquired Xander Bogaerts. Though he hasn't put up gaudy numbers he remains a key piece for a team with playoff expectations. TCDb tells me I have 82 of his cards, and it's very cool to be well on my way 100 when a few years ago he wasn't even considered a serious MLB prospect.

Meanwhile, Barry Larkin's card is one that was made this year to look like it was made in '88. Obviously it wasn't since the photo shows Larkin wearing one of my favorite versions of the jerseys the franchise wore late in his career. His card back then looked like this,
and the stats on the back from his first two seasons didn't portend his HOF career, though 1988 would be his first of 12 All-Star appearances. This is one of 938 Larkins I own as I continue the march to 1,000+!

The last baseball card of the group stars a former Tiger, one who's due to face his former team in his debut for his newest one. Justin Verlander will get the start tomorrow a day after another former Tiger, Max Scherzer, leads his Mets against Detroit. Jeremy mentioned in his note that this Panini Prizm insert--a Red/White/Blue Prizm--is "the usual Verlander parallel" and that running joke has provided me with some very nice JV cards since the two of us have been trading. I currently count 568 many Verlanders in my collection and as always, I can never have too many!

Last up is a third Wolverine that he was nice enough to include. I've mentioned that the blue 2022 Panini Select Draft cards are the product's retail version when they've come up in previous posts, and now I have another one to add to my collection: GOAT DB Charles Woodson. The set's color scheme continues to complement the Wolverines found therein, especially since they appear in their college uniforms. As always, that's a big plus for me! I wonder how many of the 338 Woodson cards I own show him as a Wolverine? TCDb says just 18 which feels low, but that makes me appreciate the few that I have.

Jeremy, thanks again for the fun surprise PWE! As you can tell by all I said about the four cards you included this time I really appreciate you sending all of them my way. And I'm glad you liked the stuff I sent back down south. This may not be a good season to be a Tigers fan but I hope you're enjoying the resurgent Rays in 2023!

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

2023 trade package #9: Sports Cards From the Dollar Store

It's been more than a couple weeks since I last posted, mostly due to the usual procrastination and distractions, this time with a bit of life thrown in. That said, I haven't given up on covering the piles of cards on my desk, especially the blogger trades from some very cool people.

For the second straight year, Michigan Hockey's season ended in disappointment in the NCAA semi-finals, this time to eventual champ Quinnipiac (who's ok in my book for beating Minnesota!). All the same, it was a great year for a star-studded team that certainly lived up to the historically great program's expectations.

The person I trade with who's boosted my Wolverine Hockey collection with cards of the program's past stars more than anyone else (except, maybe--maybe--myself) is Doug over at Sports Cards From the Dollar Store, and earlier this month he treated me to more of his trademark generosity from across the border. There's lots of hockey to check out and plenty more too!
We'll open things up with Bowman Chrome and Heritage Minors of some of the Tigers' prospects. The two double-"J"s are among the team's top farm players, and Greene has shown plenty of flashes. Paredes, of course, was flipped to Tampa in another one of those ill-fated "Will Detroit ever develop and keep an infield prospect?" deals.
Among the notables here are a 2007 Topps Red Back parallel of Bondo, a Fleer All-Star insert pairing up the well known Fryman with HOFer Craig Biggio, a Matt Manning that's "OMG eBay 1/1 100/100 last one!" (which is extra cool), a sweet recent Stadium Club base of Cal, and a Heritage insert of prospect Wenceel Perez. Nice stuff!
The baseball group ends with a bang! First is a Leaf Flash autograph of former Portage Northern and UM pitcher Tommy Henry, who got nine starts last year and one so far in '23. It's gaudy--it is Leaf after all--but the mostly Michigan uniform-ness makes it a winner. Joining him is my first hit of ex-#1 overall pick Spencer Torkelson. Nobody knows what to make of him but I think he still has plenty of time to show what he's capable of, especially if the team can stop messing with the swing he had success with before they got their dirty mitts on him.

Like I said, there's lots of UM Hockey to cover but there were also a few of the local pro team as well including a fun pair of stickers.
The Michigan Football contingent all fits in one scan with room to spare. From the non-hit group I especially like the brand new Aidan Hutchinson, and I recently learned that the blue Select cards are the retail version which explains why they seem to be way more prevalent to me than the "regular" base, which I now know as the hobby set. The Nico auto, which may be a Mojo parallel or one of about a million other variations, is just as loud as the earlier Leaf auto we saw but no less appreciated--it's just my second of the stud WR, and just like the Henry it's a college card, so thumbs up! To that Doug added a nice relic of Collins' WR predecessor Amara Darboh, and the numbered hit with a large swatch is my 48th of him. It's apparently a rare instance of a Darboh I have that Jeff doesn't, though I wouldn't be shocked if he rectified that soon.
The hockey content did not remotely disappoint, and most of it this time seemed to hail from a few products like 17-18 Compendium, 21-22 OPC, and 22-23 Upper Deck. They all look quite nice but I think the latter happens to be an especially good effort by UD. Out of this group the Jets' Kyle Connor has one playoff goal thus far.
Oh that's a nice Dylan Larkin! The captain tied his career highs with 32 goals and 47 assists in '23 but did them in the same season for the first time, so his 79 points were a career best. He led the team in all of those categories and also signed an eight-year extension, so I'm happy he'll be around Hockeytown for a while longer. The Young Guns of Will Lockwood that follows is my first of  four-year Wolverine, so that was a fun find in the envelope. We'll see more of a couple of the guys in the next scan, but for now the pairing of Montoya goalie action cards was pretty nifty too!
The non-hits stuff finishes up with an awesome Turco action shot and trio of additional recent UD issues that include outstanding photography and design. How cool is that Larkin, tho?!

As for the biggest cards, two of them star former Wolverine-turned Devil-turned Golden Knight-turned Wing-turned Canadien-turned Wild: Jon Merrill. He's popped up a good amount in Doug's previous packages and got another nice boost this time with a very nice autograph and oversized jersey swatch. The pair gives him 13 hits, good for a tie with fellow buckstorecards package stalwart Chris Brown for 7th in the hockey collection. He's joined by another well-travelled vet still active in the playoffs, Tyler Motte. His 8th hit is a gorgeous UD Premier jersey/auto/RC with a beautiful three-color swatch from a jersey of the team that drafted him, the Blackhawks (he's now with the Rangers). Bonus points for the jersey number added to the signature plus serial numbering to boot.

Doug, thanks again for another killer package! I know you've already started posting some of what I sent back your way, and I hope you've had a chance to pick out some Presstine repacks for even more blog content.

As for me, I don't know how quickly I'll be back with the next envelope, but I'll work on it!

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

2023 trade package #8: My Sports Obsession

Let's keep the trade package train rolling with some cards from one of the folks I've been lucky enough to meet in-person a number of times. A few weeks ago Jeff who blogs at My Sports Obsession was up in Lansing with his cousin Sluggo (follow Sluggo's Sports Cards on Twitter!) for a mall card show. Considering they had a more than two hour drive to get up there, it was reasonable for me to hold my nose and drive around half that to the home of the Spartans.

I'll make sure to include a recap of what I bought from them in a future post, but for now I'll just say I was very impressed by their inventory, organization, and prices. Sure, I may be very biased, but I happily put my money where my mouth is there.

Anyway, we both took advantage of the in-person-ness of the situation to bring each other some items for each other. I had a ton for him thanks to a deal I made with one of my TCDb friends (mostly set help for his 70s and 80s sets), and he hit me back with some Tigers, other baseball PCs, and one of our shared interests: Michigan Wolverines!

Here's the loot I get to show off this evening:
Baez's Silver Pack insert is as shiny as his play hasn't been since joining Detroit. At least we Tigers fans can still enjoy one last season of Miggy, even if he's been a shell of his former self the past few years. He's got plenty of shiny of his own, including Bowman Platinum and Topps' questionable Chrome collaboration with Ben Baller. The 3,000 hit milestone card is a classic, and while I'll never have that many of his cards, this bunch did put me over 400, which is very cool!
Cronenworth is a recent enough Michigan guy that both Jeff and I collect him, including his '23 Topps base. PC guy Gwynn gets a trio of adds, include very 90s brand Zenith, a beauty of a Stadium Club base, and '88 Topps Reflux (not a typo, I've had enough of those!). Fellow HOFer Maddux also gets a new trio including a super thick Museum base and a Reflux card of his own. Morris (another HOFer!) gets one of the best cards in the bunch: a Framed Black/Gold Foil parallel of his '03 Diamond Kings base, numbered /100. Original Donruss FTW!
Including the last one in the previous scan, I count 10 many Verlanders, which is a huge chunk for me to add at once these days. Jeff treated me to a pair of numbered parallels from Bowman's Best (/250) and Prizm (/149) in addition to a mix of base and inserts, mostly from recent Topps brands. The Aces card has a design I really appreciate, which is a rarity from the manufacturer these days, though it probably helps that it's a tried and tested look that's been done before, both by Topps and other brands. TCDb tells me I have 568 of his cards, and that number can keep climbing if folks keep sending them to me like Jeff did.
Jeff also included a bit more than a scan's worth of Michigan Basketball stuff. Though this year was forgettable for the team, the cards weren't. 80% of the Fab Five is represented here, including current coach Juwan Howard. I thought it was especially cool that he gifted me cards of both of the basketballing Wagners, with Franz having a 2-to-1 advantage.
Before we hit the gridiron we'll wrap up the basketball content. That would be an SPx card of Maurice Taylor numbered /5400 and an Ultra insert commemorating Webber winning ROY.

Next, a jumbo Pacific card of QB Todd Collins kicks off the well-represented football content. WR Jason Avant stars on a numbered Leaf Rookies & Stars insert (/1000), fellow wideout Funch gets lots of exposure(s) on a more recent card from the same brand (different manufacturer, though!), and stud DE Winovich appears on a SAGE HIT card that shows how far they've fallen since being unable to use logos (still, I appreciate any card that's new to me!).
And now we go over to two 100% football scans. After Brady, the first of three UM QBs in this scan (and four in this post), Darboh and Evans each add a Panini brand RC and SAGE card to their collections. I think my collection of Darboh and Jeff's are very comparable, probably more than any other player we both chase. The numbered Funchess Panini Black Gold card is definitely the thickest of the whole bunch, and it features plenty of black and gold plus a cool acetate-plus-shadowbox kind of style that I really like. Grbac (/3250) and Griese (/2500 and /2000) join Brady in the QB club with some cool numbered inserts. I loved that year's Black Diamond cards and that's actually a parallel of the '97 champ's RC.
The numbered Grieses don't end there, though, as 2005 Score (Scorecard /599) and UD Portraits (Gold /75) double that total. Sweet! A Bowman Chrome U of all-everything QB JJ McCarthy helps grow my small collection of him, and of course I love seeing the college action there, even on a Topps-produced card. Man am I excited to see what JJ can do with this offense now that he has a full year of starts and playoff experience under his belt.

Ojabo is one of a surprising three defensive guys in this post, and the mirror finish on his Blue Select Draft issue is very team-appropriate. DPJ's Prizm parallel (Pink or Purple, I forget which) gives us a run of three straight Michigan uni cards. I hope to see CB Ambry Thomas healthy for a full NFL season with the Niners, with whom he's pictured on the above Prizm RC. Beastly RB Tyrone Wheatley gets two totally different insert additions from '95 Pacific and 2000 Black Diamond, with the latter numbered /1000 up front. And we finish up tonight with one last defender, DE Chris Wormley. This one's a parallel of his 2017 Panini Phoenix RC and it's numbered /199, which made IDing it much easier.

Jeff, thanks again for another great meetup! I hope to catch you and Sluggo at another show before long depending on when you'll be in the area next, and before then I'll show off the haul I bought from you guys for a very nice deal.

But before I get to that I still have a few trade packages to catch up on, so hopefully I'll be back soon with more of those!

Saturday, April 8, 2023

2023 trade package #7: Bob Walk the Plank

Well, so much for "rapid-firing" through these trade packages (with more having arrived!), but at least I'm back today with another one!

I sent Matt of Bob Walk the Plank some stuff around Christmas and he returned the favor last month with a very nice baseball/football mailer I was quite pleased with:
Four active players, three currently with the Tigers. Baddoo just got called back up with Austin Meadows out for an indeterminate stretch due to anxiety. Baez needs to start hitting! I hope Miggy (appearing on two very nice Stadium Club parallels) has a wonderful sunset season, even playing on a dead-end team like the '23 Tigers. The Castellanos cards are all quite nice with the first three being numbered Panini offerings. You all know I love those Stat Line parallels, and numbered cards in general, so hell yeah to those!
Will Mize be another super high draft pick pitcher who flames out in Motown? I love the Leaf card of Pudge that borrows from the old Sportcasters design, which I've always thought looked cool and unique. Also, it's numbered to just 50 copies! Short came to the Tigers in a 2020 deal for Cameron Maybin and I don't get the impression he's the answer to the team's need for middle infield hitters.

And then, how fantastic is the trio of (too many!) Verlanders? Matt and I don't tend to go as high-end as we used to in our deals but these are approaching that territory. Check out a fresh-faced JV on cards from 2005 Fleer Classic Clippings and Topps Update (x2). The Fleer card has a bronze look going on including the foil and is very consistent with a number of their brands back then like Greats of the Game, and more importantly it's a RC of the sure-fire HOFer. Meanwhile, his Topps Update base isn't a RC since that was found in the flagship set earlier that year, but it's still a very desirable card. You know I love the Gold parallel numbered to the set's year, 2005, even more. Thanks for helping me stick with my blog's brand, Matt!
The rest of the baseball portion includes three horizontal cards. I was happy to see Jim Abbott's '22 Stadium Club base as I didn't already have it (or just about anything else in this envelope, actually!). Joining Verlander with adding a Topps Gold to his collection is Miggy on a 2015 card that pairs him with fellow AL RBI leaders Trout and cheater Nelson Cruz (boo!). Lastly, a very appreciated new Cronenworth hails from 2021 Topps Gallery, and this is apparently the Green parallel even though the rookies in the set have much, much less of the color on their cards than the vets. It's numbered /125 which helped me ID it, and it's a great looking item to boot.

It would be impossible, though, to compete with the next two cards of HOFers in terms of star power and quality. Hit #1 is an Al Kaline bat relic from Panini's 2013 Golden Age. Team logo or not, it's a very nice looking card of a team icon known for his bat. You don't just throw around Kaline cards without a thought in trades so I really appreciate Matt's generosity here. That looks to be my 11th Kaline hit, split between four relics and seven signatures.

Speaking of generosity, how about the second item, which had my jaw dropping? For a relatively underappreciated HOFer, Barry Larkin's autographs can sell for some pretty solid money. That's why that term applies to Matt picking up the above 2022 Ginter X autograph of the Michigan/Cincy legend, signed in a sharp silver pen and numbered to a tiny 25 copies. Wow! This is the kind of item I love to add to my collection but don't tend to focus on because of the cost, opting for quantity over quality. Do yourself a favor and find a trade partner like Matt that'll get something like this for you, then load them up with good stuff and they might just return the favor like this! I count 23 different Larkin hits in my collection, and this is my eighth auto. Again, wow!
We'll end today's post with some football items, and while nothing was quite as explosive as those last two cards we looked at, there was zero drop in quality. That starts with a base trio of GOAT QB Tom Brady from 2004, and of course it makes me wistful to see three totally different manufacturers represented there. The two cards of fellow UM QB Brian Griese are even better as they're numbered to 150 (2004 Topps Black) and 32(!) copies (2008 Score Artist's Proof). Numbered inserts all day, please! A '22 Score insert of beastly DE Aidan Hutchinson, seen in college action (with, I believe, LB Nikhai Hill-Green making a cameo) represents a newer generation of football alumni. And we bookend this scan with a pair of cards of another GOAT, DB Charles Woodson. I appreciate the '22 Score base plenty but I really liked being gifted his second appearance in Fleer's '98 Ultra set. The earlier card has a beautiful college action shot and serves as his RC but this first one of him with the Raiders is also a big plus.

What can I say? It was another Bob Walk the Plank mailer filled with greatness as he never misses. Thanks so much for being one of my most trusted trade partners, Matt!

Back with more trade action soon!