Friday, May 20, 2022

A Bounty of Birds

A whole lot of Cardinals from @beardedmahmood including a couple of personal faves. 
Back in March, I had some cards listed on Crackin' Wax and ended up working out a deal with a member of the community. I sent out my stash of Red Sox stuff and received a really nice bunch of Cardinals needs in return. These represent just a portion of what I ended up with.

Panini's silver Prizm parallels are a tough find and always look nice, even with the lack of logos. Will there be another, final (?) Prizm baseball set this season? Last season's basketball set still hasn't come out yet.

I wasn't as big on the Stadium Club design last year as in some years, but the Chrome (and refractor) versions still look nice. Let's hope DeJong figures something out in Memphis this season, although it's looking pretty bleak.

Here is the gem of the bunch. Anyone who has followed the blog over the years probably has seen me gushing over the old Topps Black bordered parallels. To get one of one of my favorite players is a huge plus.

Speaking of wishing that card things were the way they were, but now they're something else, I always love these framed Diamond Kings cards. Unfortunately, Panini's take on this set falls short, but they are operating with one hand tied behind their back without the MLB license.

Topps brought back the "1st Edition" concept a couple of years ago with their online-only exclusives. The 1st Edition cards from the mid-'00s seem to be fairly obscure. If you can't spot it, the logo is in the top left below the frame.

Another favorite card thing of mine, for reasons I can't quite explain, are the Panini Donruss Independence Day parallels. I have a very small collection of these from the past few years in a box, but this one is heading to the Cardinals binders.

I liked 1993 Topps (though not as much as 1993 Upper Deck.) I wasn't wild about those Black Gold inserts, though. I feel like I'm in the minority on this. That doesn't make this a bad design to bring back as a one-off, though. At least it's not another take on 1987.

Here's another example of old Donruss being better than new Donruss.

In case you couldn't figure out that these 2003 Bowman Heritage cards are in fact parallels, they made them thicker than the base, gave them a full black border and added a facsimile signature. I wish most parallels were this obvious.

Would Nolan Arenado make the list of Most Elegant Players in MLB? What would that list even look like? I guess Panini took its shot. This is kind of an interesting card that looks a bit like those expensive "color splash" inserts they've made recently for other sports.

To round out this excellent collection of Cards cards, here's a few Ginter minis. Two guys have bats, and two don't.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Big League, Finally

Some heavily delayed cards from @CrackinWax in the latest #CrackinWaxMailDay (thanks, Topps.) 
The story goes that manufacturing delays with action figures delayed the Topps budget priced Big League set for almost a year. I'm not really sure what these toys have to do with baseball cards, but apparently one of the new configurations this year (well, last year) included a special figurine along with packs. Because of this, we end up with brand new cards of players who have changed teams multiple times since they went to the printing press. Max Scherzer and Kyle Schwarber are still with the Nationals. Starling Marte is still with the Marlins.

Adam Wainwright gets two cards in the base set, which I can't complain about. Of course, one of the cards commemorates his winning of the Roberto Clemente Award back in 2020.

We also have some Photoshopped Arenado action. Each pack comes with an orange parallel in both hobby and retail configurations. The breaks from Crackin' Wax feature the hobby stuff, of course.

While I always like the concept of Topps Big League, and usually even the base design, the inserts are just never for me. Maybe these will look impressive twenty years from now, the way that Fleer Pro Visions are pretty wild to look at now.

The Cardinals had a ton of Gold Glovers last year, but Yadi wasn't among them for once. Of course, a set from 2021 wouldn't know this.

I also had the Yankees and Orioles as random teams in these breaks, which left me with a few cards for the trade box. Souvenirs just commemorates long distance home runs, I think?

Here's a crime-themed insert. I'm guessing it's just for crimes committed on the field?

Here's a couple of rookie Orange parallels.

And here's a couple more.

I also bought into a 2021 Panini Mosaic break and was able to add a couple more base cards to my team collection. Dylan Carlson probably has the greatest number of rookie cards in my collection at this point, and that number may never be surpassed with Panini losing the MLBPA license.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Sunday Night PWE Round-Up


Cards in small packages including a set filler from @cardboardjones tops off the weekend. 
Let's run through the contents of a few plain white envelopes before we welcome in the dreaded Monday.

First up is some stuff from reader Derek from Ottawa. The Topps Scratch Off set from 1981 seems to be one of those rare innovations that has never been repeated. I know they had some earlier scratchcards from the late '60s that were replicated in recent Topps Heritage sets, but this exact design probably won't see life again until 2030, assuming we're all still on this planet at that point.

Here's one from one of several attempts to get an MLB-themed TCG going. It didn't seem to have worked, but it produced a number of interesting and sometimes hard to find cards.

The best thing about exchanging cards with someone from another country is when you get hooked up with a regional exclusive. This seems to be some kind of educational bookmark. The back essentially looks the same, but all of the text is in French.

Steve from Cardboard Jones has been the best contributor to my 2003 Topps set endeavor over the years, and this latest crop of cards hits the Traded set portion of my want list. Future Cardinal legend Adam Wainwright and Dan Haren's rookie card highlight this group here. Kenny Lofton was also an unforgettable talent on the field.

This group isn't quite as impressive, but Jeromy Burnitz and Jerry Hairston Jr. certainly made an impact in their respective times in the league. Kirk Reuter was perhaps best known for being nicknamed "Woody" after the Toy Story character thanks to lazy Fox Sports broadcasters.

The one and only Elliptical Man sent along some (American) football cards. Brandon Graham has been one of the best Eagles of the past decade and I hope that he is able finish his career in Philly.

Lane Johnson is another mainstay over the past decade. Here's his Topps Chrome rookie card from 2013. You get a lot of weird attire with NFL rookie card photos.

I do really like this striking orange jersey swatch from Ducks star Royce Freeman, even though the photo is totally posed.

Carson Wentz isn't quite on my "do not collect" list (see Vick, Michael), but he's close. I do realize that the Eagles Super Bowl win in 2018 would almost certainly not have been possible without his stellar play during the season before he was injured, but the dude is pretty insufferable. This has a much nicer design that the 2018 Donruss Threads cards, however.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Bootleggin' with Panini: Baseball Edition


A look at the new Donruss baseball set from a @nightcapcards box break. 
The latest, and apparently last Donruss baseball set from Panini dropped recently, offering another somewhat affordable alternative to the usual churn from Topps. The cards are always a mix of cringe/tacky and fun, and this year is no exception.

This year's set features loose tributes to the original 1988 set. The blue bordered "holo" parallels (see Wainwright at the top) look a bit more like the original, but the font used and the always jarring lack of team logos makes these feel like they were produced in some dark alley.

The Diamond Kings subset design varies from year to year, and I feel like this is one of the better ones in recent sets.

Here's the actual base design for the set. It has a bit of a '90s science class feel to it.

And here's the Rated Rookie design. It's not exactly iconic, but it works within the framework of the base design.

The red bordered cards are serial numbered to 2022. Given that I picked up three of these in this break (and added a fourth in another break), I have to assume that these are much easier to come by than the Topps gold bordered base cards that are similarly numbered. If someone wanted to crunch the numbers, I think it would be fairly simple to discover that the print run for this set is much, much smaller than Topps Series 1 (with good reason.)

The red bordered "Retro 1988" cards don't look as good as their blue bordered counterparts.

Here's the third of those red numbered cards.

Hobby inserts are all numbered as far as I can tell. There's a lot happening on this card.

I was also able to snag a "Retro 1988" jersey card in this break. There's a whopping 97 cards on this checklist, so I feel very fortunate that the one pulled was a Cardinal.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Prize Inside


Another #CrackinWaxMailDay from @CrackinWax features some oldies and goodies. 
The 2000's (sometimes known as the noughties, but I've had a really hard time embracing that word) were a breeding ground for card companies reviving retro brands and releasing retro-inspired sets to the world. Upper Deck had some faux "Vintage" sets with mixed success. Fleer churned out numerous classy looking sets featuring retired players. But Topps likely made the biggest mark with their Heritage, Turkey Red and Allen & Ginter brands. And that's not to mention Topps Archives or some of their other pre-war tribute offerings like 2002 Topps 206. Topps also had a two year run with the retro-inspired Cracker Jack sets in 2004 and 2005. Along with some other older box breaks, Crackin' Wax had slots in a 2005 Cracker Jack break on offer, and I picked up a couple of them.

The Mariners are usually a solid choice in this decade thanks to the legendary Ichiro. I've never been an Ichiro collector myself, but I know there are a number of fans of his cards out there.

Of course, the Cardinals cards are going to be the big draw for me, and I did fairly well in that regard. Each pack has a mini card inside as well as a individually wrapped "special prize" which, as it turns out, is another mini. These three are the red background (most common variety) mini parallels, all of which I needed. The Edgar Renteria card actually comes in two flavors, so I was fortunate that the Red Sox version wasn't the one that was pulled.

These minis look the same, but they are actually stickers. There's a complete parallel run of both non-sticker and sticker minis, so there's a lot to collect in this set if you're a team collector. (And that's not to mention the rarer numbered parallels, of course.)

I have a hard to passing on a good Heritage break, even though my chances of landing the last coveted card I need from the High Numbers portion of the set (Tatis) were fairly slim. My consolation prize was this Trevor Story short print from the regular set.

Last up was a box of 2000 Bowman's Best, which I had definitely never opened or seen opened before. I didn't end up with any cards I needed for my collection, but I did get a pretty cool trade bait piece here in this on-card Vernon Wells autograph. As with any Bowman product, there are a lot of autographs of prospects who never panned out, so I was pretty happy with this.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Torsos and Such

Catching up on trade recaps with some @breakdowncards Cardinals. 
I haven't been keeping up with the card blogs all that well lately, and trade package exchanges have been a bit sparse. Still, I've found some time to send some stuff out and have seen some things trickle in. It hasn't just been all box breaks around here, folks. That can get expensive. Let's check out some Redbirds from fellow Portland resident Gavin of Baseball Card Breakdown.

Alex Reyes has one of those pitcher's curses that so many are afflicted with. He has tons of talent and physical ability, but he can't seem to stay healthy. After an All-Star season where he lost his grip on the closer's job by season's end due to lack of control, he is back on the shelf in '22. (Where is this so-called shelf, by the way, and where did it come from?)

Continuing with the Reyes theme, along with the low numbered 1990-ish Topps On-Demand card at the top of the post and a Bowman Platinum insert from 2016, this one might be my favorite. Reyes is wearing a throwback uniform, and one of my favorite recent Stadium Club designs gets the Chrome treatment.

There isn't an easy way to segue from three shiny modern cards to a beat up 1960 card. Here it is: beat up George Crowe! The scanner even gave up hope on this card before it finished.

I'm pretty sure I've expressed my disdain for disembodied torso cards, but that seems to be a pretty common feature of on-card autographs.

Rob Kaminsky was a Cardinals first round pick at one point, but spent most of his career in the Cleveland system before finally making it to the big leagues with the Cardinals in the 2020 pseudo-season. He hasn't been back since his 5 appearance stint. It looks like he's bounced around a bit and dealt with injuries.

Oscar Mercado is another former Cardinal pick (2nd round, 2013) that ended up with Cleveland, but he has stayed there as a regular outfielder since 2019. It's another torso auto!

Well, I don't even need to talk about who this guy is or what he has accomplished. It looks like Yadi's final season will consist of less playing time than he's used to, but the hope is that he'll be healthy for any pivotal games down the stretch as well as the playoffs. I've always loved the Allen & Ginter framed minis and am glad they are still making them, even though they've reduced in number over the years.