Saturday, March 30, 2024

2023 COMC purchases: check out my last post for 2023

That's right, this post will finally wrap up 2023 for me. At least it only took a third of 2024 to get there!

I'm going to take a quick run through the cards I picked up for myself so I can get ready to finally get started with 2024 stuff. Here's what I scored this time around the Black Friday weekend:

90s inserts rule! Three numbered Gwynns? Don't mind if I do! The first is "limited" to 3000 copies and you'll see the back in a bit. The other two had just 5000 copies made of each. As a reminder, that seems pretty high these days, but these were still pretty rare back then, way before today's era of "absolutely garbage boring insert or one of 200 parallels."

Tigers PCs Dean-o and Phillips each get a tougher parallel for their collections, and I splurged a little for the UD Amazing Greats Ripken, a definite top 10 insert for me since I pulled my first one way back then.
One insert I went all-in on was '97 Pinnacle Inside's Dueling Dugouts. You've seen at least one of these here, but basically the double-sided cards feature two players with a wheel you can spin that will show those players' stats in a given year. These four of some of my favorite player collection guys leave me short just Griffey's card (shared with Andruw Jones) in terms of what I want to collect.

And here's a few backs for you. Gwynn's paired up with the solid Brian Jordan. The other three are guys I really don't care for: Jeter (Ripken), Clemens (Maddux), and A-Rod (Ripken). One-time Pirates prospect Jose Guillen was on the flip side of Gwynn's "Great X-Pectations" insert, and the back of Cal's Amazing Greats (a fun pun of a title to go along with an elite design) is also worth a look.

They don't make 'em like they used to but there's still so much 90s greatness to chase that I may never have to worry about the absolute nosedive inserts took after the 2000s.

And now it's time for the (mostly) hits! I don't count manurelics as I consider those inserts for the purposes of my collection, but they're still fun to pick up on the cheap. My second Blomgren auto is another Michigan uni special and it's die-cut too. Brewer joins the hits collection with his first auto. I now have five signatures of Criswell after picking up a cheapie Heritage Minors auto. How could I pass up a large Granderson swatch? Framed Ginter cards still look miles better than the regular ones, and the signed cards are even better, so I scored my fifth sig of pitcher Tommy Henry. Kauffmann also gets his fifth auto on a great looking Elite Extra card. Larkin's manurelic is a reminder that he was a nine-time Silver Slugger as a SS, and that bat relic is pretty cool too.
No, I'm not going all-in on Rogers as Detroit's catcher of the future, but including the last card in the previous scan, I found three signatures of his that I really liked: Diamond Kings with a couple of swatches plus the top-notch Stadium Club design and the Chrome version. Stewart is also a newbie to the Michigan PC, a rare Michigan State-to-Michigan (grad) transfer drafted by the Angels in the 9th round in 2022

One of my two basketball pickups, which unfortunately didn't scan well, is my first autograph of "Sauce Castillo" himself, Nik Stauskas. While I owned 10 hits including a crazy five plates of the ex-Wolverine, I hadn't scored a signature until now.

And now it's time to talk about football stuff I picked up before the team beat Alabama and Washington to become National Champions. Anthony transferred to Oklahoma for the 2023 season but spent 2021 and '22 in Ann Arbor, highlighted by a six-catch, 155/2 TD performance against his hometown Spartans in the suspect '21 loss. The Darboh is my 49th hit, all but 15 of which are signed, but I wasn't passing up a cheap one! Eubanks was a fun TE who bounced around the NFL the past few years after going undrafted. Kinnel played DB from 2015-18 and appears to be out of the league now. LB Cam McGrone played in 2019 and '20 for Michigan and was drafted by the Pats, though so far he's only appeared in NFL games with the Colts.
Cade was the guy that somewhat rescued Michigan during that weird/hapless 2020 season, bringing the team back from the brink of a terrible loss to Rutgers. He transferred to Iowa and said some stupid stuff, and there are rumors he gave successor at QB JJ McCarthy the could shoulder while they were teammates, but he was a key part of the 2021 Big Ten champs who defeated Ohio State, so I'm happy to have him in my collection. Nordin was a huge big-legged kicking prospect and Jim Harbaugh famously slept over at his house during his recruitment. He could be as inconsistent as any other kicker, booming some and missing easy ones, and he kind of had a Rickey Vaughn vibe. I thought the multi-piece Toomer jersey looked badass even if I don't really have any love for the Giants these days. And I finally scored a certified auto of Vaughn, the RB/FB who bravely spoke out about the sexual assault he and many of his teammates suffered at the hands of team doctor Robert Anderson. I continue to commend his courage in coming forward despite his trauma to make people aware of this monster's horrible acts and how the athletic department did nothing.

Last up in this scan is a lone hockey player joining the collection, center Cooper Marody. A native of nearby Brighton, the three year Michigan icer was drafted by the Flyers in 2015 and got a couple very small cups of coffee with Edmonton, though he's mostly toiled in the AHL since leaving school.
And last up we have the horizontals. Like I said, if they're cheap enough, I'll pick up the occasional manurelic like the Larkin above. Mo Taylor is the other new basketball auto I added this time and it's from back when those cards could look really cool (no surprise it's from Bowman's Best). I don't know if two counts as this kind of volume, but I scored more bunches of Funchess in the form of a jersey auto and sick five-piece relic card. Those put him at the 25-card mark, so, not bad! My third hit of Buckeye-destroyer Hassan Haskins is a cool patch (or prime jersey) auto. And last up, I believe the last card I added before shipping everything was one of the best looking Jake Longs in his (currently) 97-card collection of hits: a true patch/auto.

And with these I'll call it a year on 2023. As always I had a blast trading with so many people, getting out to shows, buying elsewhere where I could, and sharing stuff for those of you who are nice enough to follow me here.

I'll also take a brief moment to celebrate a big milestone I hit at some point last year even with some reshuffling of categories: 2500 Michigan sports hits! My official count appears to stand at 2570 and includes
  • 38 baseball subjects
  • 32 from basketball
  • 248 representing football
  • 61 hockey folks
  • 4 from other sports
You might be able to tell from how I described my haul above that I put more effort into guys I'm missing in my hits collection with a special focus on trying to get at least one certified autograph of as many as I can. Once again, thank you to all who've contributed to this chase, one I'll be happy to continue for however long I keep collecting, which I expect to be a long time!

I'll try to be back soon to get started on 2024, for which I believe I already have something like four blogger trades received (and a bunch from TCDb too), a few shows, one eBay purchase, and two cool Facebook Marketplace buys. Thanks to those who've stuck around while I've dragged my feet on posting, and I hope to be back with more soon to keep everyone interested.


  1. Lots of great stuff. Of course I love the Gwynn pickups... especially the Dueling Dugouts insert. That's such a creative insert set.

    1. 90s inserts rule! And I do love me any new Mr. Padres I can add. I always keep my eye out for more copies of the nicer stuff in case you need it too.

  2. I have trader stuff to send your way again when I get to not being lazy and doing so.

    Digging all of the 90s love above!

    1. Thanks for what you already sent so far, and I hope your 2024 improves post-surgery and stuff!

  3. Really hard to beat Ripken Amazing Greats!

    1. WYKYK, and you have great taste, my friend!

  4. I often wonder how many copies have survived of a lot of those 3,000 and 5,000 print run inserts/parallels? I suspect that with some of them the still existing copies are quite a bit lower than one might think; which in turn would make them a bit rarer than most collectors think.