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!

Monday, February 11, 2019

2/2/19 show report: a Hall of a show

A couple Saturdays ago (the one before the Super Bowl) I headed east to Taylor for my favorite monthly show and had a fun time as usual.  This time I spent a bit less than usual and came home with fewer cards than I tend to, but still ended up with the usual mix of PC stuff and trade bait (including a quartet viewable on TMM tonight).  $15 of the $30 I paid went towards dime, quarter, dollar, and $2 cards while the other half covered one bigger pickup.
This isn't that big hitter--you'll have to wait until the end for that--but instead a rare trade bait item I picked up without anyone specific in mind.  If you're a fan of the Twins, Glen Perkins, or manupatch autos, please feel free to claim this 2007 SP Authentic piece in the comments!

As today's title alludes to, everything else was Hall-worthy:

Ah, the golden age of choice that was the mid-90s and early 2000s!  Three of my big four are seen here on a trio of brands from different years.  Junior stars on a Diamond Pearls insert from possibly my favorite Stadium Club version, 2001.  Gwynn may have had Pennant Fever like that 2000 Aurora insert, but he only hit paydirt twice, then ran into brick walls named the '84 Tigers and '98 Yanks.  And finally Maddux was card #1 in one of Upper Deck's greatest debuts, '96 SPx.  I had his Bound For Glory insert but not this base card somehow!
The Iron Man was my only twofer this time but it was a productive one thanks to the card on the left.  I was amazed to find card #4 in the '97 Donruss Ripken the Only Way I Know insert set I'm chasing, and for just a quarter!  Each one is numbered /5000 and usually goes for a few bucks so I was glad to knock one off so cheap.  That's joined by a shiny subset card from one of Fleer's many, many 2000s products, 2000 Gamers.  The design brings a film-like motif plus raised letters (the name of the subset), though my favorite part is the cool photo of Rip in the field.

My rare big pickup was the kind of thing I don't usually splurge for at shows, but my favorite seller cut me a reasonable deal and I was happy to continue supporting him being there, so it was a mutually beneficial purchase:
From all the way back in 2002 this is a beautiful Sweet Spot Classics Signatures auto of new HOFer Alan Trammell.  I saw this in the seller's showcase and was immediately drawn to it even though I already have a similar Tram signature, because it took me back to the hype of when these first came out.  It was cool to see one in such great shape considering the many examples of faded autographs over the years.  No such trouble here, though, and it's a perfect way to celebrate the iconic Tigers SS entering the Hall this summer.

Until next month's show, stay tuned for more Sportlots stuff.  Will I get them posted before March?  We'll find out!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

2018 Sportlots purchases: Febru-Barry Larkins

Well what do you know?  Not posting for a while hasn't decreased the piles of cards I need to show off in posts!  That includes one over on TMM this afternoon, by the way.

Let's celebrate my first post of February with a guy whose first name rhymes with the month:  Barry Larkin!
We're starting all the way back in '92 with the second of Barry's Topps Gold parallels, this one a UER as the team in the bottom right corner says "Astros", an error that was repeated, then corrected on the Gold Winners cards.  Then we get into a nice Donruss/Leaf/Pinnacle run with Limited, Signature, VXP 1.0, and Mint cards from 1996-98, plus a super cool die-cut Lasting Memories insert from the last year in that run--a card I was surprised to land for so cheap on Sportlots.  Glove stories are the focus of the last two in this scan:  UD-branded cards from 2001 out of Reserve and Gold Glove.  The latter is a set I may try to end up with one day.
Here's one more small group of verticals.  2002 Fleer's design takes away from an otherwise fantastic photo of Larkin turning two, and a bit of sleuthing makes me think that might be Preston Wilson of the Marlins making a cameo.  I finally added the "regular" 2004 Donruss Elite base after getting the Extra Edition version by accident a couple times.  That same year's Topps was near the end of my interest in that brand's products but still offered the rare fun insert like Hit Parade.  And of course I was all over grabbing another Stadium Club offering, this one from 2018, featuring a photo from much earlier in the HOFer's career.
As with videos in this age of HD (turn your cameras 90 degrees, idiots!), baseball action often lends itself to horizontally-oriented photos like these. I scored yet another UD-produced hologram card, in this case from '92, and added a pair of '94 Collector's Choice issues from the manufacturer's debut of that product as well.  Speaking of parallels a '95 Stadium Club Virtual Reality insert features another very cool action photo, if you can call laying around on the job "action".  One of Topps' more out-there products, D3, was made that same year, and I bet you can see why it was a one-and-done.  Pinnacle's Aficionado taught me the meaning of that Spanish word and had a very cool looking design I wish we could have seen more of.  Lastly, I scored one more insert on the cheap, 2001 Fleer Tradition Diamond Tributes, starring a guy who definitely deserved it.

And the last item I picked up is probably the oddest of the bunch, or at least definitely the largest:

That's both sides of a 1994 Upper Deck All-Star Jumbos card from a boxed set UD produced that year.  Beckett's OPG says that most of the photography was done by the legendary Walter Iooss Jr., as in the guy that had his own insert set in the previous year's product.  Barry was indeed at the Midsummer Classic in '94 during a run that saw him selected in nine of 10 seasons.  His teammate Rijo was coming off a career-best 9.2 bWAR and did pretty well during the strike-shortened season.  As usual the Iooss photography is excellent and this is a fun piece to add.

Larkin's haul continues to cement him near the top of my PCs at 745 cards, behind only Ripken and Griffey, a couple guys you'll see in upcoming posts.  But first I'll be giving you a look at what I picked up at this month's card show!

Monday, January 28, 2019

2019 trade package #2: Sports Cards From the Dollar Store

I know what it's like to worry whether or not I sent a good enough trade package to Doug of Sports Cards From the Dollar Store considering the amazing stuff he always sends me, but I'm not sure why he'd ever have to fret about that.  Once again he's termed the latest envelope he sent my way as "quantity over quality" but in typical Doug fashion there was both.  To the great benefit of my favorite collections a good amount of the quality tilted towards what I'm showing off on TMM this evening, but there's also plenty of great stuff you get to see right here:
Soon-to-be former Tiger, probably-not-for-a-while former Tiger, and recent former Tiger.  I'm curious to see if the Tigers get smart and put Castellanos at DH where his bat can do plenty of harm to opposing teams and his glove won't do the same to his own.  A full return to health could portend a return to form for Fulmer this year.  And JV is always welcome back to these here parts!
Here's a very good group of quality prospects as all but Gibby's son Cam can be found in the team's top 30 according to mlb.com.  As has been the case for a system that's struggled to produce quality hitters for a long time, the pitchers lead the way here with Alexander (24), Burrows (5), Hall (23), and Manning (2).  Burrows (86) and Manning (53) both also crack the site's top 100 prospects list.  Those two were Detroit's first-rounders in 2016 and '15, respectively.

As for the hitters, Lugo checks in at #15 for the organization and Paredes is the next best hitter at 13.  The former came over in the correctly maligned J.D. Martinez Deal while the latter was paired with fellow infielder Jeimer Candelario in return for Alex Avila and Justin Wilson at the deadline in 2017.  The Heritage Minors cards look especially nice here!
Doug also sent me a pile of Red Wings to rival or even outpace the Michigan Hockey cards he included this time.  I decided to start things off with the nine Hockeytown stars from 2018-19 O-Pee-Chee that I found in this envelope.  Glendening is a favorite since he's a Michigan guy, and I'll always remember Zetterberg fondly even though he's career is pretty much over at this point.
Cleary and Draper both played roles on Cup-winning teams as the former enjoyed the success of the 2008 champs while the latter was part of all four recent titles.  Hall of Famer Alex Delvecchio was a nice find here after his amazing 24-year career in Hockeytown that produced three Cups.
Plenty more winners to see here.  Fedorov scored exactly 400 goals for the Wings over his 14 years in Motown and was a blast to watch as one of the most talented of the Russian Five.  The recent HOFer was part of all of the Cup-winners except for the 2008 squad.  Holmstrom was an absolute pest in front of the net and joins Draper in the four-Cup club.  Mr. Hockey enjoyed both accomplishments:  the Hockey Hall and four Cups himself.  And so did another recent star:  my all-time favorite D-man, Nick Lidstrom.
I don't know that Osgood will ever be enshrined in Toronto but I sure am glad he spent 14 years with the Wings in his two stints and won three of those Cups.  So did franchise icon Steve Yzerman, who'll hopefully get a chance to right the sinking ship in Detroit as GM at some point.  Zetterberg "only" won with the '08 team but had a great 15-year run here.  And for some reason I remember being a big fan of Sheppard, though he was gone before the team turned things around in the late 90s.

As always Doug, thanks!  This huge bunch of Tigers and Wings and Wolverines was a great start to 2019 for another year of trading with my most prolific partner and I'm looking forward to hitting you back before that notable birthday of yours.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

2019 MLB Hall of Fame and the 30 teams/30 players blog bat around

There's two great topics to cover today instead of posting cards I bought, so let's hit 'em both!

First, the 2019 Hall of Fame election announcement.  Huge congrats to:
Roy Halladay200 wins, 2 Cy Youngs, 8 All-Star nods, a perfect game plus a no-hitter (the latter during the playoffs!) and a career bWAR of 64.3 over 16 seasons.  It's a shame he won't be there to celebrate his induction.
Edgar Martinez2 batting titles, 7 All-Star appearances, and a 68.4 bWAR in 18 seasons (though he didn't play a "full" one until his fourth).  Edgar was the Platonic ideal of a DH and made people appreciate OBP.
Mike Mussina270 wins, 7 Gold Gloves, 5 All-Star selections, a crazy 83.0 bWAR in 18 seasons, and he saved his best for last, winning 20 games in 2008 before retiring.  His Yankees career was bookended by World Series titles he missed out on, plus it's not his fault that Baltimore's owner was a cheap asshole.
Mariano Rivera652 saves (a record), five World Series rings (he was the '99 MVP), 13 All-Star selections, and a 56.2 bWAR in 19 seasons.  He waited his turn for a couple years then rode into the record books as a Yankees legend.  More often than not if the Yankees got to the 8th or 9th with a lead, it was "Enter Sandman" and the game was over thanks to the greatest closer the game has seen.  Also the first unanimous selection!

All four of these guys are very deserving and I look forward to their ceremony in Cooperstown this summer.

Next, the 30 for 30 blog bat around:  the player I immediately think of when I hear the name of each modern team.  (All scans that aren't mine come from COMC.)

2002 Upper Deck - [Base] #736 - Luis Gonzalez - Courtesy of COMC.com

Arizona -- Luis Gonzalez.  Came up with one of the biggest hits in World Series history--against Mariano Rivera, no less--after the D-Backs almost let the Yanks claim a fourth straight title.
Atlanta -- Greg Maddux.  With apologies to the likes of Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson, the best pitcher of his generation.
Baltimore -- Cal Ripken Jr.  Nothing against the Robinsons, but this one was easy.
1961 Fleer Baseball Greats - [Base] #152 - Ted Williams [VG] - Courtesy of COMC.com
Boston -- Ted Williams.  I've never been a fan of their recent teams so I went with an obvious classic choice here.
1959 Topps - [Base] #350 - Ernie Banks [Good to VG‑EX] - Courtesy of COMC.com
Chicago Cubs -- Ernie Banks.  C'mon, he's "Mr. Cub"!
Chicago White Sox -- Frank Thomas.  There was a period in the early 90s when I loved the White Sox, and that was mainly thanks to "the Big Hurt".
Cincinnati -- Barry Larkin.  The Big Red Machine was fantastic but give me Barry any day.
Cleveland -- Bob Feller.  An incredible pitcher who was fun to watch in old baseball videos and a pleasure to meet in person.
1997 Bowman's Best - [Base] - Atomic Refractor #67 - Larry Walker - Courtesy of COMC.com
Colorado -- Larry Walker.  He had his best years with the Rockies and put up some crazy numbers in his time.
Detroit -- Lou Whitaker.  So many to choose from, especially Al Kaline, but I'll go with my favorite guy growing up, another legend (and deserving HOFer) who stuck with the team for his entire career.
Houston -- Jeff Bagwell.  Man was his crouched stance and wound-up swing fun to watch as he mashed homers.
Kansas City -- George Brett.  A great hitter and representative of his era.  Three words:  "pine tar incident".  Three more:  "straight fuckin' water".
Los Angeles Angels -- Jim Abbott.  You younger guys can have Trout, but I'll go with another Michigan favorite, the amazing pitcher who throw a no-hitter with one arm.
Los Angeles Dodgers -- Kirk Gibson.  Gibby would have been a good choice for the Tigers too, but I'm putting him here for his storybook moment in '88.  None of the recent guys really appeal to me, but those 80s teams sure were fun!
1996 Topps Finest - [Base] - Refractor #100 - Jeff Conine - Courtesy of COMC.com
Miami/Florida -- Jeff Conine.  I'm not sure if I've seen him come up yet--Giancarlo Stanton is a popular choice--but he was an original Marlin that was among the team's leaders in games.
Milwaukee -- Robin Yount.  Another guy I got to appreciate a bit at the tail end of his career.
Minnesota -- Kirby Puckett.  Joe Mauer was my second choice (Killebrew was just too much before my time) but I had to go with the guy that brought energy to the '87 and '91 Twins.
2002 Topps Stadium Club - World Champions Relics #WC-GC2 - Gary Carter - Courtesy of COMC.com
New York Mets -- Gary Carter.  The Mets are one of the few teams here that I just never really cared for, but Carter's a HOFer that was a big piece of the '86 champs.
New York Yankees -- Derek Jeter.  I went with one of many obvious choices, just a more recent one.  Jeter was the face of the 90s/2000s Yankees dynasty, though I wish he would have made a pit stop in Ann Arbor on the way to Cooperstown!
Oakland -- Rickey Henderson.  The do-everything cog of the A's on four different occasions, he was the greatest base-stealer ever and put together the 19th best bWAR the game has seen.  And he was simply a blast to watch.
1978 Kellogg's 3-D Super Stars - [Base] #3 - Mike Schmidt - Courtesy of COMC.com
Philadelphia -- Mike Schmidt.  Nobody recent could topple the power-hitting 3B for the 1980 champs, though he retired when I was still quite young.
1955 Topps - [Base] #164 - Roberto Clemente [VG] - Courtesy of COMC.com
Pittsburgh -- Roberto Clemente.  I can't possibly add anything new in lauding a true legend and humanitarian.
St. Louis -- Stan Musial.  My modern choice would probably be Albert Pujols but Musial is such a beloved HOFer and career Cardinal that there was no question in my mind that he was "the Man" for the job here.
San Diego -- Tony Gwynn.  I opted against "Mr. Tiger" but went with "Mr. Cub" and now "Mr. Padre".  The greatest pure hitter of his generation lives on thanks to some very cool bloggers.
San Francisco -- Willie Mays.  This choice was far too easy, especially after I confirmed that most of his Giants career was spent in San Fran, not New York.  One of the greatest five-tool athletes ever.
Seattle -- Ken Griffey Jr.  The most fun player to watch in the 90s, health prevented him from being the true heir to Mays, but when he was playing, you stopped and watched.
2005 Donruss Prime Patches - Portraits - Name Plate Patch #P-36 - Rocco Baldelli /50 - Courtesy of COMC.com
Tampa Bay -- Rocco Baldelli.  First reaction:  "Eh, who cares?"  Second reaction:  "Jeez is Florida baseball garbage".  Third reaction:  "Ok, Baldelli was a good guy".
Texas -- Nolan Ryan.  He pitched for so long I got to see a lot of him in my formative baseball years, and the flamethrower was amazing to watch game after game.
1994 Score Select - [Base] #12 - Joe Carter - Courtesy of COMC.com
Toronto -- Joe Carter.  That World Series homer, tho.  Other guys have come and gone but if that moment doesn't scream Blue Jays, I don't know what does.
Washington/Montreal -- Vladimir Guerrero.  The current version of Washington doesn't have enough history yet so I'm going back to the Expos days.  Again, Pedro Martinez was a good option, but Montreal is where Guerrero built his legend as his generation's answer to Clemente while toiling in relative obscurity.

I realize a number of my choices were obvious and/or unoriginal but I tried my best to adhere to the "first guy you come up with while not thinking about it" idea.  What do y'all think?