Friday, October 23, 2020

A Two-Sport Showdown

NBA Showdown cards?! Yes, and more from @DenHartogJ including the familiar kind. 
I have a number of MLB Showdown cards in my collection, but I had no idea they made an NBA version until a healthy stack of each made it into my hands by way of Royals and Randoms this past summer. I had combed through the Trading Card Database pretty extensively to build my Blazers want lists, but because these sets are listed by year and not season (i.e. 2002 instead of 2001-02), they totally escaped my notice.

As is the case with the MLB, these are cards for some sort of card game, which also includes special cards like noted hothead (aka "Hot Hand") Rasheed Wallace.

Pippen and Sheed defending Kobe here while the text reads "Defense wins championships!" seems like it must be from an alternate timeline.

Here we get a close look at the underside of Double D's shoes. They look very old school.

Here's the more familiar version, although I honestly have no recollection of someone named Alberto Castillo being a Cardinals player at any point.

This is, of course, the former Cardinals starting catcher and manager. He's currently managing the Royals now, as only he can.

Willie! This is certainly one of the last cards made from McGee's playing days, as the set came out in 2000 and 1999 was his last. Of course, there's no chance of any real stats on these cards, so it doesn't commemorate his career very well.

Josh also sent a bunch of set filling needs, including many from the elusive 2002 Bowman Heritage product. Biggio was one of the more familiar names in the bunch, and it certainly helped that I could actually read his signature.

Andy Pettitte's signature is a little more ridiculous, but we all know who he is. Besides, what would you do with all of those extra T's in your last name?


Smoltz still remembers what he was taught in his grade school calligraphy class. He can tell you a lot of things about the way things were in his day.

There were even more cards for my team collections, including a few from the 2003 Fleer Double Header set. It would be fun to open a box of this stuff someday.

On these smaller sized and closely cropped cards, Tino Martinez looks a bit weird here. Something is off.

Speaking of off, what's up with Shea Hillenbrand here? He's not even a Cardinal.

Surprise! It was actually Shea Hillenbrand's torso and Scott Rolen's legs. I'm not sure that this is a concept that works for me.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

That's Gold, Kerry!

A #CrackinWaxMailDay times two, featuring merch @CrackinWax and @LiteralQuirk merch. 
Another week, another round of box breaks from Crackin' Wax. Actually, make that two weeks worth of breaks. Where does the time go?

I bought in to no less than two quarter case breaks of the brand new 2020 Topps Gold Label. I always try to avoid anything that costs significantly more than a blaster and/or nets you fewer cards than your typical pack, but I've had a really hard time resisting Gold Label over the year. They're the stupid shiny thing I should be making fun of, and certainly would have made fun of a decade ago on this blog, but I can't help myself now. (Someone, please send help!)

There are two Cardinals in the set, but then you can multiply that by three (for each "Class" level). This isn't some weird blue parallel as far as I know. This is just my old scanner being weird, I guess.

There are black parallels as well. So you can take that two multiplied by three and multiply it by two again to get the number of unnumbered non-auto and non-memorabilia Cardinals cards in the set. I think this is a black parallel, anyway. They aren't super obvious, but the background has a darker look than the rest.

This is the face of a guy who didn't quite know what he kind of throws he was expecting to receive when he joined up with the Cardinals in 2019.

The drool-worthy thing about Gold Label is the autographs. As you probably know well, I'm not an autograph fiend or anything. I still think it's weird collecting signatures of other adults for no apparent reason. To be fair, collecting in and of itself is kind of weird. I'm getting weirded out just posting about this. Anyway, let's just say that these cards are really cool looking because they're thick and heavy and gold metal plated all around the border. I have several of these now from a few different sets they've released recently, and I kind of want them all.

I wanted them so much, in fact, that I entered yet another quarter case break and ended up with another autograph. There's a pretty solid amount of Cardinals in the autograph portion of the checklist (rare these days, oddly enough). I mentioned in the chat room of the first of these breaks that I was hoping a Goldschmidt auto would be pulled, but as always I'm happy to get a card of anyone in a Cardinals uniform.

Topps 206 Wave 4 was finally shipped, and I bought in to that break as well. I didn't end up with any of the parallels this time, but I snagged multiple copies of each of the two Cardinals in the bunch. RIP the great Lou Brock.

2020 Topps Heritage Minor League appears to have been an under the radar release, and Crackin' Wax seemed to have scored a big deal as these break slots were among the cheapest I've ever purchased on the site. I completed the whole team set (okay, it's just five cards) including this short printed Nolan Gorman card. The cards are printed on completely different stock than the normal MLB Heritage cards, unfortunately. I'm pretty sure they were printed in the Topps On Demand facility, as they feel almost exactly like the Topps 206 cards -- thinner and kind of slick. The short printed Gorman card is actually significantly larger than the rest of the non-SP base set, which is interesting I suppose.

Let's roll the clock back a week, and time travel to 2015. The previous week's worth of breaks included 2015 Gypsy Queen. I already had all of the common base cards in this set, but did well to score this short printed Lou Brock card.

The Ozzie Smith mini came out of the hobby box exclusive pack of mini photo variation cards. At least, I think that was what was happening? In any case, I needed this. Any Ozzie addition is a good addition.

Speaking of good additions, it was fun to snag a numbered (to 499) framed Carlos Martinez parallel.

I don't have a lot to say about this year's Topps Fire. It's... not great. Last year's set has been the only one I've liked, but I have absolutely no idea why I would even recommend it to anyone.

On the other hand... it's another KK auto! It's obviously a sticker auto, but it's numbered to just 75.

Finally, in the RNG RTG (random team generation) department, there wasn't a ton to post about aside from this Juan Soto jersey card. To be fair, it's a great looking card for a company with no MLB license. This is exactly what you want in a Panini card. This also means that I bought a slot in a Panini Chronicles break, which is pretty much like setting money on fire. It's a set that's mostly focused on rookies, but it's unlicensed and there's barely any cards in a box. Let's pretend this didn't happen. Still, it's nice trade bait?

And there was merch! Crackin' Wax likes to throw in some freebies randomly from time to time, and in successive weeks I ended up with an LQ pin and a Crackin' Wax logo pin. I'm kind of tempted to take these to a polling place and get people to vote LQ or CW just to confuse people. Of course, it's too bad that Oregon doesn't have polling places anymore.

Monday, October 19, 2020

You Win Some and You Trade Some


Many minis, prizes and more in a big lot from @markle05 received over the summer. 
The summer already seems so long ago -- or does it? I don't know how time works these days. I think I'm finally over the hump with the last of the large-ish packages I received so far this year, as I'm here to talk about some stuff I got from Alex of Chavez Ravining. Alex must be geeked that his Dodgers slammed their way back into the World Series once again. Will they finally pull it off this time? It's the team that hasn't won in forever versus the team that has never won it. I know who I'm rooting for (it's, er, not the team with the massive payroll.)

This was a multi-purpose trade package with many different things to look at. Alex had a blog contest at one point, and I ended up landing these two chunky commerorative patch cards from recent years. These are certainly up for grabs, and will likely end up in my next Brewers and White Sox focused trade packages if I don't work anything else out.

Alex sent me a ton of minis for my endless quest to collect all things Ginter. I just went for scanning five of the minis from each of the three years featured.

That Dave Winfield card is the standout here, at least for me. Of course, the Babe is no slouch.

Here's another row of really good (to great) players, this time from last year's set.

I also claimed a trade stack from Alex, which sort of touched off the need for this post in the first place. I've had an increasingly difficult time getting ahold of color parallels from recent sets, so this was a nice get for me. Ryan Helsley's role in the bullpen continued to increase in importance over the abbreviated 2020 season, so it's easy to imagine him contending for the closer position next season... whenever that is.

Here's more A&G minis. These are all for my Cardinals binders, as you can imagine. I'm still mad about the Photoshopped uniform numbers in last year's set.

Alex included a handful of the "hot box" gold foil parallels for my collection, including this Big Mac. He looks happy here, and chock full of supplements. There was also a larger "box loader" style Big Mac from last year's Stadium Club set, but I didn't scan it as it wouldn't look any different than if I had scanned his regular base card. You know how that goes.

Someone please tell me who is going to win the World Series this year, because I need to make a prediction and I am waffling like crazy. My gut tells me the Dodgers won't win because they never win, but the Rays literally haven't won. And at least one of the Dodgers guys could probably pay off the salaries of every single Rays player on the roster.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Wax, Cracked


A quick look at last week's #CrackinWaxMailDay from @CrackinWax with some trade bait. 
I just have a quick post today as I've been busy digging through a huge stack of junk wax era stuff in yet another effort to get better organized and get rid of stuff. I entered a few more breaks at Crackin' Wax a couple of weeks back, but it was pretty light on Cardinals stuff. I did manage to finally finish off a four year old base team set, so that's fun.

My random team in the 2016 Topps Chrome break was the Rockies, and I ended up with a nice pair of Trevor Story cards. Perhaps someone else might enjoy these?

Having struck out a few times on finding Cardinals in this year's Panini Select set, I went back to the well and took the Cubs spot this time. (What?!) I've built up a little bit of Cubs trading debt and wanted to add to their stack of trade bait. And, well, the Cardinals were only available as a random team in this break. (I didn't get assigned the Cardinals.) This is actually a Prizm parallel of Nico Hoerner's so-called rookie card, so it could be something desirable someday if he pans out.

The big hit was this Adbert Alzolay, which is numbered to 99. I know absolutely nothing about him, aside from that his name is a mouthful even though there really aren't that many letters or syllables in it, at least compared to some people. I just struggle with it. These two cards at least should probably make a Cubs fan happy... lest I get my legs broken, or something like that.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Cards of Many Colors

Another great batch of cards from @batcavelv includes some choice parallels. 
As mentioned in this space a number of times in the past, Tracy's Box Breaks regularly posts really cheap breaks every couple of months or so. In fact, there's a brand new one up right now. Let's check out some of the stuff I got from Tracy back in July.

Wouldn't you know that shortly after I confessed my love for these parallels on the 4th of July, a Cardinals one happened to show up in my mailbox? I've got a small collection of them going, although I don't know how aggressive I'll be about acquiring them. (I also have a small collection of Mike Trout cards, for example, but I'm not actively buying his stuff of course.)

One of my favorite things year after year about Topps Heritage is their inclusion of insert cards that further pay tribute to the year the original set was released. Can you actually play this scratch off game, though? Has anyone tried?

Next up is a couple of orange refractors from 2013 Topps Chrome, including this rookie year Trevor Rosenthal card. It's nice to see that Rosenthal rebuilt his career as the current Padres closer, although it was tough watching him close out the Wild Card series against his former team.

The other orange refractor was a rookie year card as well. Notice how I didn't say "rookie card", as people tend to have feelings about that sort of thing. Michael Wacha, unfortunately, didn't pitch nearly as well as Rosenthal for his new team.

From licensed to unlicensed here with an older Adam Wainwright Donruss Optic parallel.

Panini Prizm really could be something in baseball if circumstances were different. Check out how cool this one looks!

We end things with back-to-back Yadi cards. This one is a parallel from the 2014 Bowman set, showing off his native Puerto Rico flag. It's fantastic. I never thought I'd have to say this, but let's hope that the Cardinals and Yadi get a new deal done soon.