Monday, May 31, 2010

America's Next Cheap Blaster

I picked up a 2008 Spectrum blaster on eBay recently for just a shade under $7 including shipping. This isn't a product I would normally invest in, but the allure was the opportunity to at least get a guaranteed memorabilia card for a cheap price. With 7 packs at 4 cards per pack, this should be short and sweet.

Pack 1:

63 - Derek Jeter
46 - Vladimir Guerrero (Just as I had written off Vlad, he's put together a very nice season. He was only 6 RBI shy of his entire 2009 total heading into today's action.)

96 - Roy Halladay (The new Mr. Perfect. I wonder if Dallas Braden was bothered by someone stealing his thunder.)
18 - Carlos Zambrano

Pack 2:
7 - Mark Teixeira

RS-ME2 - Morgan Ensberg Retrospectrum Swatches (Morgan Ensberg? You're kidding me. This has to be some sort of joke.)
5 - Chipper Jones

YSL679 - Red Ruffing Yankee Stadium Legacy

Pack 3:
40 - Carlos Lee
1 - Chris Young

44 - Alex Gordon (I don't see how converting Gordon to an outfielder will make him hit better.)
70 - Eric Chavez

Pack 4:
14 - Manny Ramirez
92 - B.J. Upton

57 - Torii Hunter

DJ32 - Derek Jeter Retrospectrum (This product has Jeter all over it.)

Pack 5:
20 - Aramis Ramirez

87 - Albert Pujols (Nice.)
83 - Omar Vizquel

31 - Matt Holliday (I'm a fan of this pack.)

Pack 6:

79 - Jake Peavy
27 - Grady Sizemore
69 - Nick Swisher
43 - Hunter Pence

Pack 7:

53 - Ryan Braun
66 - Hideki Matsui
95 - Sammy Sosa

YSL704 - Babe Ruth Yankee Stadium Legacy

I Have This Card, Now

Don't ask me why. I'm trying to quit the repack stuff, I really am. Anyway, this is one of the three variations of Dice-K rookie cards from the Topps Series 2 set. If anyone is need of this, it's all yours.

Meanwhile, in completely unrelated yet much more important news, I've finally put up my 1993 Upper Deck wantlist. I'd like to get this set done and out of the way as soon as possible considering it's my first (and likely last) junk wax era set that I'm planning on building. It seems like I've traded off a number of key cards that I used to have (Griffey, Ripken, Ryan, etc.) for some crazy reason, but I do own the Jeter rookie (2 of them, actually) so I should be okay. Please help, if you've got the time to dig through your old cards.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Trading with Chris Redux

It's always fun to trade with Chris, who has the most expansive (and searchable!) trading list on the internet as far as I know. His site is a one-stop trading card shop, and I'm always left with a healthy stack of cards to add my collection. He is also the proprietor of Check out this recent article about a set that is relevant to today's collecting! Here are just a few of the cards I picked up from Chris on this go around.

I actually have no idea what this is. It's clearly a parallel from 2008 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes, but other than the Black retail parallels, I had thought that all of the color variations were serial numbered. This one clearly isn't. Does anyone have any ideas about this? Nevertheless, it's another nice addition to my Ozzie Smith collection, my very first player collection.

Topps... Laser? Are you kidding me? This card has etchings in it. The white parts in the image are actually holes in the card.

Metal Universe cards are always fun. My scanner seems a bit grumpy today, so you may not be able to tell that this is Brian Jordan and a fiery ring of... fire... created by his bat apparently.

I don't really understand this set. Sportflics, which later became Sportflix, apparently gave up on the whole "magic motion" thing and just came up with a card that makes you feel like you're really tired when you're looking at it.

I grabbed a few non-Cardinal cards for my budding player collections. Here's Matt Holliday and his patented leg kick. Holliday hasn't shown a lot of home run power yet this season, but he's starting to hit better as the Cardinal offense is starting to show signs of life again.

This 2001 Stadium Club Adam Wainwright card is just my second card of his from when he was in the Braves system. I need more.

Score made such consistently great looking cards with their Select line back in the '90s. I wish they could do that again.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Congratulations to Roy Halladay, a fantasy league staple of mine and one of my favorite non-Cardinal pitchers in the league on his perfect game today. Coincidentally, I picked up a discounted blaster of 2008 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes today and opened it shortly after the Phillies victory. This was the highlight of the box. It's doubtful that I'll post the rest of the box here unless I hear some heady objection from the readers here. The contents of the entire box is up for trade, though.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Airbrushed Fridays: 1987 Topps #221

While most collectors these days are going gaga for Stephen Strasburg, Series 2 Topps and spendy group breaks, I'm writing here today about a 23 year old card of a guy named Vern. The name Vern seems to have slipped in popularity these days. According to some website I just found about thirty seconds ago, Vern is the 659th most popular male name in the U.S.

Vern Ruhle was a right-handed swingman who spent most of his career with the Houston Astros. He logged 327 appearances in the big leagues, with a bit less than half of them coming out of the bullpen. Ruhle made three separate playoff appearances in three different seasons (1980, 1981 and 1986) before retiring during the 1987 season, which he spent in AAA.

Why did Topps airbrush Vern's photo? Ruhle was signed by the Angels as a free agent in June of 1986 while trying to make it back to the bigs after a short stint with an independent league team after a subpar 2-10 season the previous year with Cleveland. It just seems like Topps dropped the ball, as they had 16 game chances to capture Ruhle with his current team.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? The familiar 'A' logo on Vern's cap is too tall, too skinny and... well... fake. Someday... and I know this is impossible thinking... but I wish that Topps would release the actual photos they used for these cards so you could compare them to the "after" airbrushing photo used on the cards. That would be awesome.

(If you are interested in obtaining a card featured here, please send me an e-mail. If you have a card you would like to nominate for Airbrushed Fridays, please get in touch as well. I will require that I am able to see the card in person, either on loan or as a donation, so that I can examine the card and experience it in all its cruddiness.)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Topps Heritage's Cousin That No One Talks About

For as much as I have enjoyed Topps Heritage through the years, I've been drawn to the Bowman version for the same reasons. I like the thick, old-school cardboard stock, the lack of UV coating and the sometimes interesting player selection. That being said, some of the designs that Topps paid tribute to with the Bowman line were pretty lacking. The 2006 set is such an example. Based somewhat loosely on the 1949 Bowman baseball design, the wrapper is actually probably my favorite part. That being said, it's still a lot better than the base Bowman set.

Here are the results of a couple of packs I bought last month.

Pack 1:

29 - Kevin Millwood Mini (One nice thing about these packs: each one has a mini. Minis are always good, right? Blogger likes to make minis larger than regular sized cards on me for some reason. You'll just have to pretend that I made them bigger because I like them more.)

BHP1 - Justin Upton Prospects (Each pack also comes with two Prospects cards as is the usual M.O. of Bowman products. The design, however, is exactly the same as the regular base set as far as I can tell.)
BHP20 - Mark Holliman Prospects
269 - Lance Berkman Foil (Each pack contains one extra thick foil card. I would show you what they look like, but it's Lance Berkman and we can't have any of that around here.)
242 - Tony Pena

43 - Carl Crawford
156 - Kerry Wood (Wood finally got his first save of the season the other day.)

267 - Randy Johnson

Pack 2:

298 - Matt Cain Mini (It's miniature, I swear!)
BHP79 - Andrew Carpenter Prospects
BHP54 - Steve Kelly Prospects (No, I haven't heard of him, either.)

292 - Hong-Chih Kuo Foil (Here's the long-awaited foil scan. It's really not much to look at. The 2007 set decided to make these shinier and rainbowy.)

72 - John Smoltz (The Cardinals have hit their first pair of injuries with the rotation. I wonder if someone in the front office has Smoltz on their "friends and family" plan.)

149 - Francisco Rodriguez (I'm not wild about those shades. Batters need to see the crazy eyed look of the closer to feel truly intimidated.)
191 - Chad Tracy
243 - Josh Sharpless
- Checklist 1 of 3

I'm not collecting these, exactly, but I'm not getting rid of them. This set joins a number of others (2004 Bowman Heritage, 2000 Upper Deck, etc.) in limbo in my collection.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Box Full of Pictures of Men

I recently pulled off a key trade with Colt from Pictures of Men (yes, it's SFW unless your job has a strict anti-Tony Fernandez policy.) If you haven't heard of his blog, you should definitely check it out. He sent over a pretty sizeable chunk of 2007 Bowman Heritage needs and is currently helping me with the overpopulation of Blue Jays in my yard.

Just when it seemed like he was about to realize his potential, Homer Bailey sounds like the latest victim of the Dusty Baker arm killing machine.

Phil Hughes has made the successful transition from can't-miss-prospect starter to failed starter to unsung setup hero to actually successful starter. Joba Chamberlain must be a bit frustrated.

Colt was also kind enough to include some pictures of men wearing birds of another color. This Edmonds card is from 2003 Fleer Platinum, but if you ask me it looks straight out of the '80s. This looks strikingly similar to one of the little oddball sets you could buy in drug stores, where you'd get about 30-40 cards of the top players in the league. I miss Newberry's.

Any Edmonds card is a good one, but this is particularly good. It's a serial-numbered gold parallel from the 2005 Topps set. I'm not wild about the all-star banner cutting across the photo, though.

I received a handful of 2009 O-Pee-Chee cards. I thought this set was pretty awful at the time, but I could see myself buying some of it someday if it was cheap enough. I guess that's what the lack of new products does to a collector. Todd Wellemeyer's card has a rare action photo. There aren't many that I've seen in this set. Wellemeyer has not fared well in the Giants rotation.

Finally, here's a rarity for me... a bat card! Thanks a bunch to Colt, whose package was mailed out today along with 5 other padded manila envelopes sent out to various locales across North America.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mutant Heritage Pack

I picked up a couple of slightly discounted 2010 Topps Heritage packs from the retail guy at the card show a week ago. These ones have pre-priced wrappers, so I'm not sure what stores you might see these in. I know that the usual big box suspects (i.e. Target) do not tend to have pre-priced wrappers. One of the packs was a little... strange.

Mutant Pack:

405 - Lou Gehrig Baseball Thrills (I like that these cards are of legends this year instead of current players.)
215 - Derek Jeter
25 - Juan Francisco / Jay Bruce / Joey Votto Reds Heavy Artillery (Booooo Reds. My Ohio-leaning friends would likely assure me that the Reds challenge this year will be short-lived when they take their usual second half dive, but they do have a lot of young talent. The Cards re-took the division lead today. Let's hope it stays that way. In any case, at least it's the Reds and not the Cubs/Astros/Brewers...)
250 - Andrew McCutchen / Garrett Jones Young Bucs

306 - 2009 World Series Lee Dominates (Cliff Lee is in a tough spot, playing this season for one of the most offensively challenged "competitive" teams in ages.)

383 - Matt Cain / Tim Lincecum Frisco First Liners (Here's another team that scares me. At least, these two hurlers scare me and that's a start. What is "Frisco First Liners" supposed to mean, anyway?)
415 - Luke Hochevar
121 - John Lackey

But wait... there's more!
182 - Adam Jones

469 - Derek Jeter All-Star (Okay, so I got 10 cards instead of the usual 8. No big deal, I suppose. I also got a double Jeter pack. Somewhere some bratty kid is crying because he only got 6 or 7 cards in his Heritage pack, and his piece of gum is broken into shards and he got no Yankees cards to speak of anyway. That's the breaks, kid.)

Non-Mutant Pack:
90 - Gavin Floyd

45 - 2009 NL E.R.A. League Leaders (Lots of guys on this card. I won't list them all, but two of them are really, really good. One of them is Tim Lincecum. And then there's the guy that hurt my fantasy team...)
101 - Jhonny Peralta

41 - 2009 NL Batting Average League Leaders (Albert's power outage is starting to concern me a bit.)

231 - Johan Santana (Johan was the big winner in tonight's Sunday night game.)
330 - Jamie Moyer
166 - Ramon Hernandez (Yikes, it's another Redleg.)
87 - Juan Uribe (And sometimes you get Juan Uribe.)

My want list is updated. Check it out over at the sidebar.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Serial Numbered Card Show Loot

I made it out to the monthly card show last weekend, but with such a busy week last week I'm taking today to go through the stuff I purchased. Here are my top 5 purchases, all of the serial numbered variety.

I've never been one to go "chasing the rainbow", but it was hard to resist three Chris Carpenter parallels from the 2008 Baseball Heroes set that I found in a 10 cent box. I also picked up a few Ian Kinsler and Carlos Zambrano cards of a similar variety and plan to get rid of those as soon as possible.

Green contrasts strangely with Cardinal red. Maybe I should have hung onto this one until Christmas time or something.

My very last purchase was actually from a completely disorganized box marked "1/2 off all baseball cards".

I picked up both of these last two cards for a total of $6. I have no idea when Holliday played for Team USA, but I'm assuming it wasn't in 2004 when this card was issued.