Thursday, January 14, 2021

Retro Fun

Going back in time a bit for a different kind of blaster. 
With the current state of baseball cards, I've had to find some different ways of making purchases. Box breaks and "online dime boxes" can be great, but sometimes I just have the urge to open packs and can't go down to the local megastore to scratch that itch. Recently, I stumbled across a blaster box of 2003 Bowman Heritage on eBay for a reasonable price. It was actually priced at the suggested retail price, which for some of these boxes used to be more than the typical $19.99 we see today.

The packs look great, so I had to show off a wrapper as well. I usually try to keep at least one pack wrapper for every set that I collect.

Each box apparently comes with its own poster, which describes the history of this particular set. In this case, Keith Olbermann apparently purchased some prototypes for a Bowman set that was never released, which features three distinct designs.

The back of the poster has the full checklist on it.

Here is the primary design for the veterans in the set. It's plain but fits in with some of the other white bordered Bowman sets.

Each pack has one parallel card, as is the custom for Bowman Heritage. For this set, the cards are a thicker version of the base card with a facsimile autograph included. For this design, the border also becomes black.

There are a handful of retired legends in the set, and each of them comes in three variations, one for each design featured in the set. This basically means that there are three different Willie Mays cards with the same card number. A few other present day players get this dual-photo design as their lone version.

Prospects appear on this unique "knothole" design. The selection of rookies/prospects in the set is pretty dire. Brian McCann was the best known player that I pulled.

I'm surprised John Olerud isn't in a lot of newer set. He was a fairly popular player for awhile.

I didn't pull many Cardinals in the box, but I did get the best known Cardinal from 2003.

Here's another retired legend in his "knothole" variation.

I also ended up with a jersey card. Considering how old this set is, I think I did pretty well to get a Hall of Famer here. There doesn't seem to be any sort of guaranteed "hit" per blaster, but per the odds it seems like it should be pretty common.

If anyone has any extras from this set, feel free to hit up my want list. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The Beginning of a Good Thing

My collection of the NFL's best rookie is off to a nice start thanks to @bgmartin76 box breaks. 
I try not to let anyone know that I collect football cards of any kind, but Oregon Ducks cards are my weakness as is well documented here. When the chance arose to jump in on some cheap box breaks hosted by Ben's Cards and Collectibles that featured 2020 NFL product, I also couldn't resist. Guess who my new favorite NFL team is? No, it's not really the (Los Angeles?!) Chargers, but for collecting purposes it really is whichever team Justin Herbert is suiting up for. At the time these first breaks happened, I was just trying to snag my first card or two of his. Now that we're at the end of the season, Herbert is in the books with one of the best rookie campaigns of all-time for a quarterback.

There was more than football (and Herbert) cards for me, however. I had a rare opportunity to claim the Cardinals in a couple of baseball spots. Usually those spots are already spoken for. Having not gone to a card show in about a year, I haven't had the chance to dig through boxes to find shiny Chrome cards for my team needs, so I've had to increasingly rely on breaks like these.

Ben even broke some basketball boxes at one point. He must be some kind of wizard. I had never seen this Aficionado Meteor insert before, so it was a really cool addition. You can tell this set is old as Dame is still wearing the Adidas jersey.

Here's another Dame from that 2016-17 Panini Aficionado set. I believe this is also an insert.

It's back to baseball here with a die cut Big Mac insert from the 2020 Topps Chrome set. Honest question here: Bonds and Clemens aside, how many players on the current Hall of Fame ballot were demonstrably better than Mark McGwire's peak? (I'm not actually advocating for McGwire's inclusion. I just find it interesting. Besides, I'd rather celebrate Scott Rolen and complain about Jim Edmonds getting booted off the ballot.)

The Jerk Store!

I feel like I picked up a ton of prospect Cardinals cards in 2020. Hopefully they will be fun to look at a few years down the road.

I also snagged the Eagles in a couple of the football breaks. My Eagles fandom really runs hot and cold (you can certainly guess what temperature it's at right now), but once I saw Randall Cunningham on the checklist, I knew I needed it.

I wish Alshon Jeffery had managed to stay healthy. Every team needs a huge receiver to bail you out once in awhile. This card is numbered to 100.

As mentioned, however, my favorite additions were my new Justin Herbert cards. It doesn't hurt that he's still in the Oregon uniform on these particular cards, but I'm sure I'll end up with quite a few Herberts in Charger blue... whichever shade they're happening to wear in a given week.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Crackin' Wax for the Holidays

A #CrackinWaxMailDay (times two) from @CrackinWax closes out December. 
In anticipation of the new 2020 Topps Holiday release, Crackin' Wax loaded up a week's worth of Topps Holiday breaks. Unfortunately, the new stuff has proven most difficult to find (thanks 2020, thanks flippers). Still, I bought into a couple of breaks for some of the older product.

I ended up knocking off another two needs for my team collection, including the Luke Weaver base card and this snowy Michael Wacha white jersey card. This is also known as a "picnic napkin" in the breaker lexicon. 

I also bought into one more break the following week, which would be my last for December. There was an underpriced slot available for Bowman Draft thanks to regressive pricing, where the first slot is sold for a much higher than average price and the remaining slots decrease in price until the break is sold out. It's an interesting idea that causes F5 keys to wear out and servers to explode, but it's all in the name of baseball cards, I suppose. I ended up with one more key need in this refractor version of Matthew Liberatore's Chrome card.

I never ended up with an autograph from this year's Bowman Draft, but I'm pretty well stocked in this set and probably don't need to buy anymore.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

"First Trade Post of 2021"

A variety pack of @padrographs cards. 
It's back to the grind with catching up on some of the great stuff that's been sent my way recently. For this first non-contest related post of the year, we go all the way back to the beginning of the fall for some cards from Padrographs. (Go ahead and check out that contest if you're so inclined as I didn't feel great about promoting it yesterday for some crazy reason.)

Rod gets autographs from seemingly all corners of the baseball universe, so it's no surprise that he had a signed card of Mark Salas in his one and only appearance as a Cardinal on a baseball card.

It's always great to see a card with the old Civic Stadium in the background. Pittman is likely standing somewhere near where the corner of the pitch lies in the stadium's current configuration as Providence Park, home of the Portland Timbers. I really do miss those chilly summer nights of watching AAA baseball in Portland.

Here's Pete Ward, looking fly. This was during the team's Pirates affiliation. I have no idea where this photo was shot, but it doesn't look like Portland.

I definitely have at least one other copy of this card, which was probably already featured on the blog. Still, it's a nice reminder of when basketball cards could actually be found (and were affordable.)

Here's a couple of Heritage Then and Now cards from 2019 featuring the late Brock and Gibson. These cards sometimes make for some odd pairings, but I can see where Topps was going with these. Still, in today's game, it would probably two or three good Whit Merrifield seasons to equate what Brock was able to do on the basepaths. (Merrifield stole 20 and was caught 10 times in his last real season.)

Finally, here's a few Turkeys. I've made a lot of good progress on the 2020 version of this set (especially thanks to the latest contributor Jeremy) but still have quite a ways to go on Series 2, which makes sense because people have been hoarding those blasters. At this point, I guess I either need to root for Luis Robert to fail or start hitting those online shops for singles. The latter sounds like a better idea.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Contest Time! Pick the Pro Winners!

New year, new contest!

I got a number of responses to the cancellation of the annual Bowl Pick 'Em contest and decided to work out a replacement. This one is simple: you get to pick all of the winners of the NFL playoff games. No big deal, right?

Before I get into the details, the prize structure will be this: the winner, as usual, receives a blaster box of 2021 Topps Series One baseball, as well as some bonus cards of the team/players of your choice. Second, third and fourth place will receive some bonus cards of the team/players of your choice. (Note: I will try everything I can to actually find said blaster considering the recent availability of trading cards on the retail market. Please be patient.)

This will be done on a points basis. Each team is assigned points based on the games that they win: 
  • Wild Card round: 1 point
  • Divisional round: 5 points
  • AFC/NFC Championship: 10 points
  • Super Bowl: 25 points

To enter, all you have to do is copy/paste the following into the comments section and assign your points accordingly. A winner will be determined by point differential (e.g. if you assign Green Bay 16 points and they lose out in the NFC Championship game, you'll get a total of -11 points for that team as they only earned 5 points. Similarly, if you assign Chicago 1 point and they make it to the Super Bowl before losing, you'll get a total of -15 for that team.) The entry with the highest total (lowest differential) wins. If any real life game is forfeited for any reason, the team that advances will be credited with points. Teams with a bye in the Wild Card round (KC and Green Bay) do not get credit for a point for that round.

Kansas City: ?? points
Buffalo: ?? points
Indianapolis: ?? points
Pittsburgh: ?? points
Cleveland: ?? points
Tennessee: ?? points
Baltimore: ?? points
Green Bay: ?? points
New Orleans: ?? points
Chicago: ?? points
Seattle: ?? points
Los Angeles Rams: ?? points
Washington: ?? points
Tampa Bay: ?? points

I've had a couple of people in the past mention that they couldn't comment here for some reason, so I will also be accepting entries via email and Twitter. I'll add those to the comments section so everyone can see them.

So, you may be asking... why an NFL contest? I've never purported to be much of a fan of pro football in my time here, but it seems like a more acceptable alternative to making low stakes bets on amateur athletes that are risking their lives during this pandemic. It's not quite as fun, but hopefully it will provide a quick and easy diversion for a few of you out there.

Deadline for entry: 10:00 AM PST Saturday 1/9/2021

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Super Duper

Another Topps online product, but at least 20% cooler. 
Topps Super 70s (officially stylized Topps X Super 70s, but I'm not with that 'X' thing) is the latest offering in a year that can only be considered the year of being online. Everyone is online all the time. It makes sense, I guess, for Topps to keep cranking out online-only products. This one happens to be based off of the hilariously cool Super 70s Twitter account, which has of course taken on life of its own and has its own merch store. I was excited, in theory, about this product until I looked at the checklist, which was very short on cards for my collection.

There's only one base Cardinals card in the 100 card set (Bob Gibson), which is still in transit to me. Instead of jumping in on some box breaks, I took to eBay to buy what I really needed because I'm extremely online. The two cards that did arrive first to me are both insert cards, although they look very much like the base cards and don't seem to be all that much harder to pull than the base itself.

The cards are similar some of the older, thinner Topps Archives cards. I think there has been an online-exclusive Archives set or two in recent years that this fits right in with.

The team font on the front is very 1978 Topps, but also includes some design elements from 1975 (the dual-colored border) and 1979. All in all, it's not a bad looking mash-up. Was Ozzie's hairdo really "happening", though? The sideburns, sure, but... maybe we should have gotten a whole "Slick Sideburns" insert set?

It's no '79 Ozzie Smith, but it'll do.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Cards for Christmas Eve (A Tale of Two Breaks)


It's Holiday Time and time for another #CrackinWaxMailDay from @CrackinWax -- throw another log on the fire.

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope everyone is hanging in there currently. I had some free time tonight and thought I'd show off a few cards from my most recent mailday from Crackin' Wax. This time there were two new products on offer, one that's never been a favorite of mine but other seem to like, and another one that's a bit of a debut.

Bowman Draft is the one I'm never all that enthusiastic about. It's usually the third time we've seen the exact same design, and this year it's really the fifth if you could both of the "1st Edition" releases. We've also seen a bunch of Nolan Gorman cards in past Bowman sets. In any case, it all seems rather unnecessary.

The people are here for the "1st Bowman" cards, though. (Not to be confused with 1st Edition Bowman.) I did end up knocking out both the "paper" team set and the Chrome team set, which is nice because I've never purchased a pack of Bowman Draft in my life, nor am I planning to.

You could also call this set Bowman Photoshop and you wouldn't be wrong even in years where there was a lot of professional baseball happening. I guess I prefer Photoshopped MLB uniforms over college and high school ones (wait... do I?) I think the sweet spot would be college/high school/minor league with big league logos, but there probably aren't a lot of people out there that would agree with me.

This one is a refractor. It shines.

Speaking of shining, the inaugural Allen & Ginter Chrome set is here, and it looks... really nice somehow. Topps was able to turn my all-time least favorite A&G design into something good here.

I like the way that the border goes from silver metal to light, and I also like the gold accents on the logo.

There are minis, too. They only come in the basic version and super rare parallels. There are no card back variations, in other words.

I do like what they did with the background, as well. If it wasn't for the cost being a bit out of my price range, this would probably be one of my favorite releases of the year.

My lone numbered card of the breaks is this Tommy Edman green parallel. There are 99 copies of this out there... well, 98 now.