Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Ducks and More

Football has the longest offseason, but that's fine with me. 

Reader Brandon has exchanged cards with me a few times, and he's been able to track down some quality Quack Attack cards in the past. This time was no exception. I usually save the Ducks cards I get in trades to post on game days, but that's not always fair to do. Let's check in on some former Ducks.

De'Anthony Thomas, the diminutive back with deep ties to Snoop Dogg, has had a strange pro career so far. He's remained in the Kansas City Chiefs plans for three seasons running, but hasn't accumulated a ton of offensive opportunities on the field.

Kenjon Barner didn't pan out with the Panthers, but his former college coach Chip Kelly gave him an opportunity with the Eagles. When Kelly's own opportunity ran out, Barner surprisingly stuck with the Eagles and provided some moments last season when others were injured. He's a restricted free agent currently, but I'm hoping the Eagles bring him back.

Another small Duck back, LMJ was one of the most amazing college players I've ever seen. Although he worked out for the injury-depleted Seahawks as recently as a couple of months ago, it seems like he may be done with the NFL. There's been chatter about him getting more involved with the University of Oregon again, which is cool.

I don't give a whole lot of attention to Ducks basketball players/cards here, but that's mostly because there just haven't been a ton of players who have had a lasting role in the NBA. When you're looking at the post-junk wax era and wondering who I might collect (without flipping the cards over or doing some light Googling), you're pretty much talking about Aaron Brooks (2007-present), Joe Young (2015-present) and Luke Ridnour, who recently retired. There's been a few other guys sprinkled in there, but it's those three that have the most cards. That could certainly change next year, with as many as three Ducks players projected to be drafted.

Brandon didn't forget that I liked baseball cards, either. He sent a stack of cards for my sadly neglected 2014 Allen & Ginter collection. I need more of those!

Thanks again to Brandon. I'm hoping to get the trade gears greased and activated again soon.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A New Season

Pitchers and catchers, reporting for duty! 

The sporting world has been rather rough to me lately, at least when it comes to my rooting interests. After sitting through another agonizing Trail Blazers loss last night, a card arrived in the mail from Peter of Baseball Every Night, reminding me that pitchers and catchers were due to report the next day and everything would soon be alright with the (sporting) world. True, last Cardinals season left a bit to be desired, but there's nothing so exciting as a brand new slate of 162 games out on the green grass and occasionally springy domed surface.

Or so I thought. Some terrible news hit this morning when the words "elbow discomfort" and "MRI" were used in connection with one Alex Reyes, one of the shrinking number of reasons to get excited about Cardinals baseball (and baseball in general, to be honest.) Every one of his appearances on the mound last season was must-see-TV in a season that was trudging towards inevitability (i.e. Cubs title.) But now, it is all but certain the next time we see the kid put on a baseball uniform will be in 2018, and that's one of the bitterest pills to swallow.

It's also a new year of cards (and Cards on cards), and I am less than impressed with Topps once again. There's a good reason parallel and perpendicular is a tried and true design element while weird angles is a turn off, and this is a good example. Based on exactly one card available for review, it seems like the background photo effects aren't as pronounced as last season, but that's all I can really say for this card. And yet, it's the back of the card that really gets me. As someone who grew up with Topps baseball cards as the official statement of record for baseball player statistics, it's beyond saddening that we no longer get to see a player's complete Major League Batting Record anymore. These card get the crappy '88 Donruss treatment, which just plain sucks. I know that almost everyone is just a few key presses away from these days, but I hate this. No, no, I really hate this. This is now my lone 2017 Topps baseball card, and I will need to get all of the other Cardinals cards in this set somehow, but I can't support this.

Well, here we are. Baseball will go on in 2017. Some will be ecstatic and many more will be disappointed. Brandon Moss signed with the Royals, I think? Cool for him.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

You Can Still Supertrade in 2017

More envelopes of joy from a new Supertrader. 

Now that we're about a week into February, it's time to finally post about some of the first things I received in this doomed new year. Johnny's Trading Spot is one of the latest to join the group of crazed individuals that sends baseball cards around the country to fans of particular teams. Translation: more Cardinals cards for me.

I avoided reprints for the most part when I was a kid, so I missed out on some of the early '90s Topps reprint sets. They were printed on glossy cardstock, which was rather novel for the time, but it's an odd match looking back. This does give the collector a rare look at some clear and crisp renderings of the classic sets, whose cards are usually found all scuffed up and dull looking. They're not my favorite things in the world, but it still makes me happy that I've put a good dent into a team set that I had no intention of ever collecting. I need to add these to my want lists soon.

One of the biggest collecting surprises to me has been how much some of the inserts from the junk wax era (mostly 1993 and beyond) have held their value and at times remain a difficult find. For example, I'd never even seen this 1993 Leaf Ray Lankford insert card before. It's mine, now. Hands off.

While not a rare mid-90's insert, this 1994 Fleer Jose Oquendo is a treasure all of its own. Why? Well, because I didn't own it until now! That, and he's bunting.

Yeah, that's all I've got.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Nice Things Are Nice

No 2017 Topps will be opened here, now or ever. 

Dennis from Too Many Verlanders / Manninghams has similar collecting interests as me... just, you know, different teams. While my Ducks collection surely would be put to shame next to his Michigan treasures (not to mention the fact that it's not yet organized in any way, shape or form), I still love getting the Ducks cards in the mail as a nice change of pace from my typically baseball-centric trades.

The Detroit Tigers fan also manages to find some really nice Cardinals goodies for me, including this Statline parallel of one of my all-time favorite players (Jim Edmonds if the scan is too unclear), from 2003 Donruss Team Heroes.

I have no idea where this gloriously airbrushed card came from, but my guess is that it was some sort of promotional card included with a PC game. Did you know that Tony La Russa had a line of PC baseball simulator games? I may have known this at one point, but I am pretty sure this fun fact fell out of my brain awhile back.

Big Mac takes top billing on this goofy 2000 CD-ROM "card", which seems pretty funny considering what we know about all three of these players in 2017. I had a number of McGwire's cards (and "cards") from the 1999 PowerDeck offering, but this is my first from 2000.

This is another fine example of an early to mid 00's insert card. I love this stuff.

Finally, as usual, I like to hold out the Ducks cards for one of my weekly posts about the team during football season, but I thought I'd show a little teaser here. Look at all those autographs!

(P.S. 2017 Topps is no good! Bring back the stats, man.)

Monday, January 30, 2017

From Cardinal Fan to Cardinal Fan

Another Christmas surprise came from a fellow Cardinals fan. 

Often times, a team collector will end up trading with the enemy, gathering up piles of cards representing a hated rival team, feeling a sense of relief when said cards are out of the house. Other times, like this one, it's a friendly exchange of ideas, er, ballplayers from the team you root for. Some of these friendlies arrived shortly before Christmas from Ray of All Cardinals All the Time, knocking some more Cards cards off the want lists.

No, this isn't a '64 Gibby with oddly sharp corners, coloring and lettering. Surprisingly, I needed this 2011 Topps 60 Years of Topps insert. My want list gets a little bit suspect around the 2011-2012 years, but I'm starting to clean things up a bit. Still, I was surprised to learn I needed this card.

Much of 2012 Topps is an undocumented mess, so look for me to be adding some parallel and insert needs to my list in the coming weeks. Jon Jay's blue Walmart parallel won't be among those, thanks to Ray. Jay was a very solid player in his time in St. Louis, someone who was often asked to make up for lack of productivity in other outfield spots or just cover for injured players.

Finally, here's a couple of Motte's. If you're sensing a theme here, these are all former Cardinals who were part of the Cardinals 2011 World Series run.

My scanner ate part of this 2012 Bowman Platinum insert, but you can at least see that this is a die cut of the former Cardinal closer. I didn't even know that these die cuts existed, but I feel like I never fully jumped on board the Bowman Platinum train.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Bunch of Jablonski

The trade winds blow from @adamk0310 and Infield Fly Rule. 

As I ponder another collecting organization dilemma (Zistle vs. The Trading Card Database), it's time to sort through some more stuff I received last month as part of a flurry of activities around the holidays. Infield Fly Rule is all about the Rockies, and a number of my personal collections involve players who came through Colorado at some point during their career, so it's a good trading fit.

In fact, this was a rare junk wax need, a card depicting the Big Cat's lost season in St. Louis -- complete with shiny new expansion team logo.

Matt Holliday is now a former Cardinal as well as former Rockie, which, again, is going to take some getting used to. I didn't Own this Own the Game insert, but now I do in fact Own it.

My DK collection has gone into a bit of a state of neglect, so it was nice to finally add something to it. I am lacking in cards from his Rockies days.

From the same set, Luis Ordaz didn't make much of an impact in his career, sporting a career .522 OPS. Yikes.

Adam also sent a whole pile of cards for Erin's collections, which will have to be sorted through on another rainier day. This is one of Tulo's last cards with Colorado, from 2015 Topps Archives in the style of 1983.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

All This and Steve Sax, Too!

My second ever card of 3-time All-Star Curt Simmons is a certified autograph. 

In the midst of endless reproductions of Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle cards (well, not him so much anymore), a lot of good to great players of the past end up getting lost in the shuffled. Topps Archives, in their various incarnations over the years, shines a light on some of the lesser known but still fondly remembered players. (This selection process also leads to some odd places, as I touched on last night.) I was honestly drawing a blank when I first pulled out this Curt Simmons card from 2016, courtesy of the legendary Night Owl.

It wouldn't be a Night Owl trade envelope without some quality want list needs. My massive, but quietly shrinking 2016 Ginter list took another dent. Mr. Brown here is an actor, as noted by the camera icon in the upper right hand corner. He was in Field of Dreams, which is clicking with me now, but I never would have made the connection without reading the facts on the back.

This, er, last year's Heritage was also taken down a peg. Here's a confident looking Dillon Gee, looking pleased that I have fewer cards to collect. He would be displeased at the current state of my closets, however.

In the Cardinals section of said closets, this David Freese insert from Panini's 2013 Hometown Heroes set ticks another box. I've been swimming in base cards from this set from kind traders everywhere, but I've barely even seen any of the non-base stuff since I was still holding a grudge against unlicensed MLB cards in 2013.

This is a really, really busy Allen & Ginter design, but the Wizard is doing his best to fit within the tiny frame that he's given.

Sometimes you get a Steve Sax card from a Dodgers collector! As quickly as I put down the 1993 Upper Deck set, the other junk wax(ish) era set that I dared put together through this blog still isn't complete. I'm an idiot for neglecting one of my first true (cardboard) loves, but I'm down to needing just Tom Brookens and Bob Freaking Dernier to finish off the set that taught 10 year old me about team colors.

Because I arrived super late to the 2015 Stadium Club (exclusive VIP) party, this... er... LAST year's set doesn't get enough love from me. It's great. I need more. But I have quite a few other things to think about at the moment, including those stupid closets.