Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A Different Kind of Group Break


Get ready. 

I teased this on Twitter recently, but I have purchased some boxes of cards in preparation for a group break here on the blog that will correspond with a certain major milestone around here. The important points to note are that the break will essentially be free and will be minor league baseball focused (with other opportunities to snag stuff for other sports/interests). Aside from opening some product, I am hoping to put lots of cards in the hands of others who have read this blog over the years. There will be the usual team slots, and some other slots to grab that will be a little more fluid in what cards they could contain. We could also just call this a giveaway, if it's easier to think like that.

In other news, I bought in on a break over at Tracy's Box Breaks several months back, and for whatever reason the cards got buried under piles of other cards that I haven't gotten around to writing about. I have neglected my duties here. I apologize.


The break was for a 2017 Topps factory set (the big draw being a randomly assigned numbered Derek Jeter relic that came with the set), 2016 Topps Archives Snapshot, and 2014 Topps Mini. I struck out on the first two and already owned all of the base cards from the Mini set, but did land this excellent gold parallel of PC guy Matt Carpenter. The gold cards are numbered to just 63 in this online-only product, so I ended up content here.


Tracy always throws in nice bonuses, too. This Rick Ankiel card from the thick 2001 E-X set somehow wasn't among the hundreds of early '00s Ankiel cards I've collected over the years, thanks mostly to this blog.


Alex Reyes is coming back and he's heading to the rotation! This is crazy exciting news. My MLB At-Bat app is going to be bursting with no-hitter alerts in no time. (I am deadly serious here.)


2005 was the first year I opened a baseball card pack since the '90s, so it seems appropriate to be told to "rediscover" a card from that year. Or does it? In actuality, I am pleased to get any kind of buyback card of a guy who I actually actively collect.


Still, hands down, this has to be the best of the bunch. Food cards are the best cards.

CardConNW '18: Breakdown


A meeting of the baseball card minds, spearheaded by @breakdowncards netted some great items.

Back in March, Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown arranged an in-person meeting between several local card bloggers, and I was a lucky enough to be on the invite list. In attendance were Rod from Padrographs, Ken of Cardboard Hogs, and special out-of-town guest star gcrl of cards as i see them, oh my o-pee-chee!, and namesake blog garvey cey russell lopes. Gavin was kind enough to schedule the meet-up at my favorite downtown taproom, which also happens to be a block from my work. I found that after a delicious beer or two, it was slightly less awkward to talk about sports cards in person with other people. Success!


Everyone brought cards for everyone, and this post will focus on the stuff that Gavin gave me. Carlos Martinez is the certified staff ace at this point, and any Stadium Club inserts seem to be a tad difficult to obtain. I still need a lot of the triumverate inserts from these recent sets, but this was nice to get.


I don't have a single Topps Silk Collection card in my set. Well, let's make that "didn't" in the past tense. I don't really quite understand what Topps was going for with these, as printing plate cards at least make sense because they're supposedly involved in the manufacturing process. Silk cards just seem weird and unncessary, but at the same time totally cool because I own one now. Ha!


Gavin is a big collector of the signature cards from the 2003 Topps Retired Signature Series set, so it makes sense that he has a surplus of the so-called base cards from the set. I just like the cards because they use one of my favorite modern Topps designs (2003 Topps) and incorporate past players.


The white borders replace the blue from the base set of the same year, but it's still very recognizable. It looks like Willie is doing some batting cage work perhaps.


This could possibly be a Christmas card. Red and green don't really mix all that well together in my eyes, except for a certain time of the year towards the end of the calendar.


More Wong, this time from last year's Topps Tier One set. I have never laid my eyes on any cards from this set before. It's pretty swanky.


Gavin is well versed in the custom card game, and he even worked up a special card for this special occasion. I need to figure out how to do this someday. It's an itch that I haven't even found a way to scratch yet.


4 of 4! Something, something, eBay joke! I do appreciate that Gavin apparently threw me a bone and mentioned Ozzie's eventual Cardinals stardom, even though I most certainly collect his cards from his formative Padres years.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Coke Was It


The biggest taste you've ever found. 

I've been in a bit of a purge mode lately. Oddly enough, this includes purging of various watch lists and shopping carts online. This means I'm actually buying stuff that I've had on my radar for, sometimes, years. Don't ask me how my brain works, because I'm not even sure.

The next thing in line to get purged from my watch list (and thus added to my collection) is the 1981 Topps Coca-Cola Cardinals team set. This was available for a fairly low price on eBay, and came with a second set (if there's any interest out there.) The cards are nearly identical to their 1981 Topps set counterparts, along with recently traded players and Coke logos added.


Here's a good example. Topps didn't manufacture team sets for every team in the league, but without actually counting (so much work!) it appears there are about a dozen or so different team sets.


Here's a look at the back of one of the cards, with the Coca-Cola logo fully represented, as well as more trademark verbiage at the bottom.


As I had mentioned, there are photos of traded players as well. Sorensen gets a wonky airbrush here instead of his flipped up cap photo from the Traded set.


This one is another alternate photo, though both Sutter's Traded set card and this one look a lot better than the lesser players who happened to switch teams.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Team Sets, Minor League Guys and Canadian Things


Fun baseball cards with a dash of Ducks. 

Cleveland Browns megafan Angus runs the blog Dawg Day Cards, as many of you know. Once again, he found a way to send a ton of cards my way that I'd ordinarily never see. Meanwhile, I think I'm working on a stack of roughly two Browns cards to send back his way. I'll have to figure something out there.


A solid chunk of the package I got from Angus batch in March were O-Pee-Chee cards from the '70s. O-Pee-Chee! These cards were in great shape (I love the jagged borders) and I'm pretty sure I needed every single one of them. I don't, ahem, get to buy a lot of '70s OPC packs for whatever reason. I chose this single Rich Folkers card to represent the bulk of the lot, as looking at the fronts of these cards mostly do not reveal any differences from their Topps counterparts. Most of the '80s sets would be a different story.


Here's an exception, and also a card I didn't even know I needed. For some reason, in my Oh My O-Pee-Chee! history lesson, I don't remember coming across Mr. Grieve and his newly crowned team. (As with many '70s cards of similar ilk, my scanner ate the edge of the image.)


Jumping forward a few decades, here's a 2003 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites. The card pays an early '80s tribute to Whitey Herzog on a faux '89 design. I am not going to complain too much, however, because it's a nice looking card and is one I didn't own previously.


Skipping back in time to actual factual 1989, here's Bob Horner in his O-Pee-Chee Cardinals appearance. Despite these coming straight in the peak years of the overproduction era, I am quite certain I have fewer 1989 and 1990 O-Pee-Chee cards than any other year. I've actually shopped online at various points for boxes of the stuff, but the prices are pretty ridiculous.


I mentioned team sets and the minor leagues, in the subject at least. Angus sent over complete team sets of three different minor league Cardinals affiliates. Very little in the baseball card world makes me happier than minor league cards these days, so I was pretty excited about all of this. I haven't heard of 90% of these players, of course, but I still think they're all pretty great. It must just be my nostalgic feelings for the departed Portland minor league teams of the past that are clouding my judgment.

Juan Andujar, by the way, looks to either be sustaining himself entirely on a diet of dugout sunflower seeds, or his photo has been given the Paula Abdul "Promise of a New Day" treatment.


David Sala is super happy to be on a baseball card.


I mean, when you get a new Basil Shabazz card, you have to scan it and post about it, right?


Angus threw in some Ducks football stuff as well, which is always appreciate. Bralon Addison was a prolific wide receiver at UO, but has worked primarily as a running back professionally. He got into just one game in 2016 with the Bears, and is still trying to make a go of things. He recently re-joined the Bears.


Professionally speaking, things haven't worked out well for Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, but he had a stellar Ducks career and remains one of my favorite football players.


Finally, here's a little throwback jersey card of Larry Walker for Erin's collection. If you look closely, you can even catch a little glimpse of a Rockies pinstripe in that circular window.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Monday, May 7, 2018

Why?


Pondering my collecting decisions. 

Roughly a few times a week, I'll get a card in the mail in a plain white envelope from a Listia auction. I still consider myself a casual user, but I've completed thousands of auctions over the years, which makes me extremely disturbed at the thought of how many stamps this little hobby has cost me. I use the virtual currency to occasionally win stuff, which is how this Kris Bryant New Age Performers card from last season's Heritage set came to be in my possession.

When I opened the envelope, Erin was curious about the card. When I showed it to her -- a Cub, of all thing -- she simply said one word: "Why?" While I mumbled something about Heritage, barely above a whisper without making eye contact, I realized that this is a question I've been asking myself a lot more lately. Why do I collect these things? Am I really a set collector? (No, not really.) I enjoy the Topps Heritage line, but as the season changes over to summer, Allen & Ginter will be here soon enough. And I haven't really enjoyed Allen & Ginter all that much in awhile. Do I really need all of this crap? I don't think there's ever an end to that question, personally.


Moving along, in consideration of unnecessary purchases, I went to Target tonight (see what a hypocrite I am?) and bought a few more Bowman packs. This Ryan Mountcastle card is part of a promotion where if the player featured on the card is called up at some point during the current season, you win a "BASEBALL PLAYER DEBUT PRIZE!" I have no idea what that means, and I'd normally be eager to enter the online code right now to get the ball rolling. However, a quick glance at Mountcastle's numbers and current injury status suggest that he's unlikely to get the call this season. His age and not ever playing above AA also are contributing factors. I have until the end of October to enter the code, supposedly, so I'll keep the card in pristine shape in the mean time. It would have been cool to pull one of these sure thing players (hello, Acuña) instead of Mountcastle, but these are supposedly a pretty tough pull.


In another completely unrelated note, check out what I found in a stack of college basketball and football cards in a neglected corner of my room! This Steph Curry rookie year card is going for nearly $10 on COMC right now, so I was pretty happy to rediscover it. I have accumulated way too many things that don't fit into my collection, including from other sports, so I need to find a home for some of this stuff soon. It would be awesome to put together another free Group Break like I've done in the past, only for weird crap like Kentucky basketball cards and Auburn football players that I have no idea how they got in my home.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Pizza Time!


I love food issues. 

Confession time. I had an eBay auction in my "watched items" for at least a year, possibly longer, for a partial set of Blazers cards that were given out for free. It pained me to pay a lot of money for these, but after consuming a few beers at relatively new local brewery, I decided to take the plunge. I just paid money for pizza cards.


I don't think these cards were well promoted. If I recall correctly, a couple of seasons ago, with any Papa Murphy's pizza purchase, you could get a free Blazers card. There was a different player for every month of the season. It always sounded like something I would be totally into, but for whatever reason I never bit on it. There are two Papa Murphy's locations nearby, both about a mile away from where I live. I've never been a huge fan of their take 'n bake pizzas, but I'm also not against it. It's pretty hard for me to knock pizza of any kind, Papa John's notwithstanding. Maybe I just didn't want to ask some teenager for my free promotional basketball card while I waited for my order to be completed?


One of the most interesting things about this set is that it's fully NBA licensed. Panini did this! It's legit. Despite the fact, that the set is barely Google-able, the only officially licensed company was involved. As far as I know, these cards were really only promoted during local Blazers game broadcasts.


The minimalism of these cards is kind of a crack-up, but it's fun to see the 4 Questions format on the back. Ed Davis is a cheese pizza kind of guy. (Ed Davis is my kind of guy.)


The only (so far) ex-Blazer in the set is Mason Plumlee. Mase just seems tailor-made for dorky food issue cards. This is great.


Breaking Bad is actually my favorite TV show of all-time, so I'm with Plumlee here. Unfortunately, I can't take him seriously after seeing his answer to #3 here.


And finally, here's CJ. McCollum is probably the most media-available guy here in our little local market, but I wonder if he has any idea that he is featured on a Papa Murphy's pizza card.


Mission Impossible...? Be more specific, CJ!

Missing from my set at this time are two guys, Damian Lillard (obviously), and the guy that was also a lottery pick the same year as Dame. That guy is Meyers Leonard. It makes sense that Lillard's card is hard to come by, but Meyers? Seriously?