Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Kitchen Sink Trade

As in, everything but the... 

Long time reader and Tribe supporter Tim and I exchanged some cards this past month, and my end of the deal netted me stuff from all corners of my collection. It's not always easy finding Ozzie Smith cards that I need (at least not outrageously expensive ones), but good people like Tim seem to keep doing it. Perhaps that seemingly endless '90s pipeline will never dry up.

Here's an Altuve for Erin from the 2016 Topps BUNT set. Yes, you have to capitalize BUNT, you see. Otherwise, no one would know what I was talking about.

I'm a stealth Eagles collector, even though I don't really talk about it here. I don't even really have an idea of what to do with the cards I accumulate. They all go into a box for now, although my Randall Cunningham cards will at least get their own time to shine at some point.

This one ticks the "player collection, non-Cardinals division" box. It's crazy to think a sports highlights show on ESPN was once considered appointment television, but for a time it really was.

Ah yes, vintage stock. Quite lovely, really. Oh, I'm not talking about any rare high ABV beers that I'm cellaring. This is just a Mike Leake card, numbered to 99, with the kind of card stock that would get me to collect the flagship set if they ever switched to it full time.

It's always great to see an LMJ card. He helped take Ducks football to a whole new level.

Speaking of endless supplies of things, is there a light at the end of the tunnel of Mark McGwire insert cards? Big Mac supercollectors have probably been featured on that Hoarders TV show. This is a nice one, though, with the always classy Chromium finish.

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Low-End Theory

Also, it's Mike Zunino Appreciation Night.

Some blogs have a theme and some just slap some Cardinals up there and call it good. While I'd like to be the former, what I do here never really comes close to the things that long-time blogger Nick (aka Dime Box Nick) and his blog (long name: Dime Boxes -- The Low-End Baseball Card Collector's Journey) contributes on a regular basis.

While I'm still putting together a pool of cards to send back his way, Nick sent over a healthy stack of set needs as well as Cardinals-based goodies. While I'm always scouting out the former, it's the latter that I am most excited about writing about here, so the Cardinals get weighted a bit more heavily here.

Here are two guys I've never heard of in my life. It will be fun to look back on this in a few years when they are both superstars. Maybe?

Although I've watched a fair amount of HBO so-called prestige dramas, I've never seen half a minute of a Sopranos episode. I've heard it was good, except for the ending.

On to the juicy stuff here. Aledmys Diaz is having the kind of down season that would escape the notice of most TV announcers, while Matt Carpenter and Dexter Fowler have gotten a lot of attention for underperforming despite each carrying an OPS well above average.

Let's pour one out for Jhonny, who was recently released. He was really good for a time, until he, you know... wasn't anymore.

This from 2016 Stadium Club is kind of a strange photo of the Wizard, likely before an All-Star or playoff game. I'd like to figure it out if I had more time.

The inserts from the Heritage High Number sets are usually some of the trickiest for me to track down for whatever reason, but at least I won't have to find this Piscotty card for my St. Louis collection.

I've given Topps a lot of flack lately for lazily paying tribute to cool things from their past like this "stand-up" card that is just a card and couldn't stand up on anything without a lot of help. They impressed me with their coins in this year's Archives set, but this and the Walmart "buttons" are still incredibly stupid to me. Still, I am very glad to knock this off my list.

Not quite a "zero-year" guy as Nick likes, Tejada logged a grand total of 40 ABs with the Cards early last season as an emergency signee when Peralta went down in the spring. Fortunately, Aledmys Diaz stepped up and seized control of the everyday SS job.

Did they end up making Spring Fever cards this year? Hobby exclusives are always so out of reach to me. This is a nice addition to my Waino collection.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

From the Archives

Blaster results, skewed heavily towards the Cardinals. 

It's been about a week, and I'm still impressed with 2017 Topps Archives. Since this stuff wasn't available at the local stores last time I checked, I went ahead and ordered a blaster online. And while I was really excited about the exclusive coins that actually resemble the late '80s coins sets Topps produced (and not just a picture of them slapped on a piece of cardboard), it was pretty disappointing to find that there were no Cardinals in the set of 25. I would have actually attempted to scan the coins I received, but both of them were rotten lousy Cubs. Instead, lets look at this poorly scanned image.

Not the right year, but you get the drift. Also, these things are actually metal, so they will oxidize over the years. Be careful how you store them!

Back to the present-ish, here's a fantastic photo of Carlos Martinez. I think I've narrowed things down to Martinez and Matt Carpenter as far as whose shersey I'm going to buy next, but I might also do something off the wall and get a Jedd Gyorko.

Hmm... still Photoshopped? This is way too closely cropped for me to be able to tell.

Does anyone actually collect these?

In today's new economy, I am guessing people's wealth will be measured in number of Aaron Judge cards owned before too long.

These are fun. This is an insert modeled after '59 Bazooka.

What the hell?

This is great. But you knew I'd say that.

This is some sort of faux-retro insert that was completely unnecessary. I wish that Topps hadn't included these. If they really needed to fulfill some sort of insert quota, they could have gone for something like the tacky 1992 Topps Black Gold design, I suppose.

Always good to end with a Waino.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Cards in a Can

At some point in your life, you have to do this. 

Like many a card collector before me who went into an extended hiatus through the bulk of the '90s, I was fascinated by the ridiculous idea of cards-in-a-can and knew that someday I would get my own can of cards to open. That day was recently. For all its flaws, eBay is still a wonderful thing in many regards.

I went for a 1997 can for this little exercise. I already have an empty can from 1998, so I decided to choose the previous year for whatever reason. In any case, here's the entire contents of a pack, so to speak, from the era of very large men who were good at baseball.

110 - Darin Erstad

138 - Raul Casanova - Okay, I don't know him.

80 - Mark Grudzielanek - Ah, please bring back the Expos. I find the hair-flipping Nationals to be insufferable.

79 - Jose Canseco - Jose didn't rip his sleeves off. His incredible awesomeness blew the sleeves right off.

25 - Todd Hollandsworth

128 - Andruw Jones - Just call him "Andrew". I don't know why Braves announcers made it so confusing.

50 - Dean Palmer

99 - Charles Johnson - It probably has a lot to do with the Marlins championship that year, but Charles Johnson was a pretty hot property at one point.

63 - Jeff Bagwell - AHHHHH frost-tipped hair! Get it away from me!

129 - Vladimir Guerrero - Not an actual rookie card, but a pretty great player to end this with.

You're right, Pinnacle! These cans ARE cool!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Sixth Time is the Charm

Is this... really... @Topps Archives? 

This can't be happening! After bungling this set for five consecutive years, it seems that Topps has finally put together an Archives set worth its salt. That's my impression, at least, after seeing one card that arrived today from The Raz Card Blog. This jumped straight to the front of the Trade Post line today because I was just super excited about this single card.

The cards are actually kind of thick! This has been my whole issue with this product for years now. I liked the old Archives/Fan Favorites sets from the past decade because there was some actual substance and care put into them, and I'm hoping I'm not let down by this one. I took a glimpse at the autograph list, something I rarely do, because Archives usually has interesting (and often affordable) on card autos. Rick Ankiel? Jim Edmonds?! I neeeeeeeeed these.

Calming down now a bit, Raz also sent this duo of Blazer rookie Jake Layman, the one on the right finishing off my base team set. Pretty much everyone outside of the core (Dame, CJ, Nurkic(?)) is probably up for grabs this offseason, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Layman moved. The draft is soon, and that's when things start to get interesting (unlike in the playoffs).

Finally, here's a needed short print of a guy I tried to pick up in every fantasy league this year. His performance so far has been on par with his All-Star season last year. Not spectacular, by any means, but pretty good.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Topps Sacrifice

Topps makes another go at the physical-turned digital-turned physical baseball card set. 

One of the most frustrating things about the product you can buy in packs at actual stores called Topps BUNT (besides the odd capitalization) is that I'm all for more low end products. I don't like to spend a ton of money on ostensibly a hobby, and a fairly disposable one at that. It's just hard to muster up much enthusiasm over this.

As a team collector, I end up with this stuff whether I like it or not, and I still feel compelled to seek it out because team collectors don't get to choose what they collect. The cards choose us. The Lost Collector is a fellow (Yankees) team collector has sent me many cards over many years, and happened to be the first one to send me any of this year's BUNT cards. In fact, I hadn't even glimpsed an image of one of them before these landed in my mailbox.

This was almost a card I was going to say something positive about, as I thought it might be my first non-Photoshopped card of Dexter Fowler in a Cardinals uniform, but... nope... just look at those batting gloves.

I was glancing at this season's Memphis Redbirds stats for some crazy reason last night and noticed that Luke Weaver is doing well. The Cardinals need a lot of things, but starting pitching hasn't really been one of them so far. I still would expect Weaver to be up again with the big club in some capacity soon, though. Things just seem to work out that way.

Topps has been playing around with their filters this year (see also: Gypsy Queen), which explains this blue (?) tinted Matt Carpenter parallel. I'm hoping Carpenter pulls out of this deep funk that he's in.

This is supposed to represent a physical digital program for a game that doesn't really exist, I guess? Strange. Waino has pulled it together quite well of late after a season-plus of getting knocked all over the park and back.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Pulling on Threads

Yet another new Panini basketball set. 

I think we're finally close to the end of the 2016-17 NBA calendar, but Panini is still cranking out sets by the bucketful. I bought in another group break from Steel City Collectibles, this time getting the Blazers (of course) in a Panini Threads break.

I didn't fare as well this time as last, when I snagged an auto from one of the Blazers rookie bench dwellers. I did manage to pick up the team set (for the most part) as well as some nice inserts, like this High Octane Glide card.

The Blazers are going for a uniform redesign next season with the switch to Nike, so I'm hoping we've seen the last of these unfortunate red jerseys. I vastly preferred the red jerseys the team wore in the '00s.

This lot was heavy on Dame cards, which is what you'd expect with the team's only player to play in an All-Star game.

Lazy card backs.

This Floor Generals insert mentions Lillard's 40 PT/11 AST game against Cleveland early in the season, but shows him playing against Denver.

More Dame inserts.

McCollum goes by CJ rather than C.J., but I've yet to see this acknowledged on basketball cards (or his Wikipedia page for that matter.)

Nurkic was the man that saved the season for the Blazers, or at least the guy who came along and pulled the Blazers out of a deep funk into mediocrity and an 8th seed. He also got hurt. Hopefully he is fully recovered for next season. When I mentioned that I got most of the team set, it was because of the standard group break rules that sent me this card of Nurkic in a Nuggets uniform with a Blazers logo, but leaves me still needing Mason Plumlee's Blazers uniform/Nuggets logo card.

Included in the break were some Panini Day packs. I'm not sure what Panini Day is -- maybe it's a new holiday that all of the kids are talking about?

I think these are hobby exclusives. I got to knock two of these off my list, at least.