Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ten Interesting Cards: 1993-94 Upper Deck Series 1 Basketball Jumbo

In case you haven't heard, in mere minutes the NBA will have officially locked out its players, forcing fans of major American professional sports to watch baseball of all things if they want to get their fix. The NBA was worried I was unaware that there was a lockout going on, because they decided to email me to tell me about it. Can you imagine a bigger turn-off to its fans? Thanks, David Stern. Why don't you go on ahead and move some more teams to Oklahoma while you're at it? Aside from a "special" treat tomorrow, this will be the last NBA-related post I make until the stupid lockout is over. No more basketball cards, no more NBATV, no more Charles Barkley. I guess I can live with that last one. (I will still accept Blazers cards in trades and may or may not spend a few lonely nights weeping quietly on the couch while watching an old VHS tape of Andre Miller's 52 point performance a couple of seasons ago. That won't be discussed here anymore, though.)

I'm here tonight with a jumbo sized box of what still likely qualifies are junk wax era Upper Deck basketball cards. Everything here is up for trade/disposal... even Uncle Cliffy. I still love this card a lot. He looks like some sort of super spider dunking on a tiny hoop because of the odd camera angle. Either that, or the Memorial Coliseum was even smaller than I remember it.

The Blazers are despondent over the news of the lockout... or, more likely, Clyde Drexler's injuries and impending trade.

Out of 440 cards in the box, I received a grand total of 5 Blazers cards, 2 of which were doubles. That's totally unacceptable.

Shawn Kemp was a beast. I wonder how many of his plethora of children remember the Sonics franchise.

Sonics! Hall of Famer Gary Payton, current Blazers head coach Nate McMillan (do coaches get "locked out"?) and Kemp are among the green-clad here.

Each box contains one 3-D Triple Double Hologram card, and mine was Mr. Dikembe Mutombo, whose long career came to an excruciating end as he was carried off the Rose Garden floor during the playoffs a couple of years ago.

The crop of rookies in this box was pretty awful. Calbert Cheaney and his dorky Upper Deck cap represents here. I don't even want to talk about the tie.

These Nuggets unis, home and road, are some of the greatest of all-time. It's too bad that today's Nuggets are so incredibly unlikable.

Each pack contained an All-NBA Team insert, representing each of the 5 players of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Teams. Did anyone remember that Mark Price was once a 1st Teamer? As in... best point guard in the league? Wow.

As mentioned, all of these cards and the other 430 in the box are up for grabs. There was seriously a Michael Jordan card in every pack, and some had two or three.

The Only Chrome I'll Buy

I had a full post written and saved last night, but Blogger decided to eat it and all I was left with was the images and a half-written intro paragraph. Now that all of the cards are sorted and put away in their respective places, I can no longer give you the blow-by-blow account of this discounted 2010 Topps Chrome blaster. Instead, you can look at the cards I did scan, I suppose.

I should also mention, as I attempted to mention last night, that these cards suffered from the curving "Pringles" effect that everyone has complained so loudly about. My theory is that this all happened in the packing process, as it seems like the pack wrappers are about two sizes too small to contain the 4 cards they're packed with.

Xfractors, for some reason, are seeded at the same rate as regular refractors now. I thought that they were supposed to be special or something. Each xfractor had some weird sort of filmy residue that felt kind of powdery to me, except that nothing actually rubs off.

I had never seen a dinged Chrome corner until I opened this box. I wasn't sure if it was even possible. Sadly, a number of the cards had minor dings.

Joe Mauer's xfractor came complete with a bunch of printing line indentations on the back of the card. It's off-center as well, but not nearly as much as the scan would indicate.

Good pitcher. Great 2010. Lousy 2011.

Here's the big hit. Normally, pulling a Ryan Dempster card does not evoke much feeling from me other than a sophomoric joke and the general amusement/dislike I feel for all things Cubs. However, just hours before pulling this card I exchanging ideas for a trade with Dempster collector Jon from Community Gum. This worked out well.

Here's the lone Cardinal representative. I believe I have a couple of these already.

Poor Chone Figgins really needs a change of scenery. He's been putrid in Seattle.

And there you have it. As I recall, one pack had no inserts or parallels but included all four cards. The seventh pack had both the Figgins refractor and the Michael Young xfractor to make five cards, while the last pack had only three cards and nothing special.

As a footnote, I should mention that Cards on Cards has officially entered Year Four. (I guess I missed the date by a few days.) Perhaps by Year Ten I will have all of my want lists up to date! Three years and still no Jamie Moyer Cardinals cards in my possession... how tragic.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Collation Assistance

I'm not quite sure who initiated what, but I got a chance to exchange baseball cards with Hand Collated, which is always a worthy effort. I've been known to do some collation of my own. In fact, the set that really brought me back to the idea of collecting a set or two was probably the 2008 Allen & Ginter set. I love the 2008 Heritage set and its original design and still do, but let's face it: the set is very intimidating. I'm still collecting it for what it's worth, along with many other sets, but I think at this point it's probably best to focus on finishing something... anything... before the next Allen & Ginter set hits the streets in mere weeks.

Oh, hello, it's my old friend Ryan Rowland-Smith.

So here's the story. I'm down to needing just 6 cards (all SPs) from the base 2008 A&G set, 12 cards (not all SPs) from the base 2009 A&G set and 6 cards (only one SP) from the base 2010 A&G set. I would like to finish them all ASAP. If anyone can knock any of those 24 cards off of my want lists, please contact me. If I can get them in my grubby mitts before I have to look at the hoards of 2011 A&G posts, that will be worth a ton to me and I will make sure to figure out a way to reward you several times over for it. Any inserts sent my way will be a welcome bonus, of course, but my goal is to knock out the 1-through-350s first.

We now take you back to your regularly scheduled trade post - already in progress.

Here is personal fantasy hero Gaby Sanchez. After a very strong rookie season, Sanchez is among the NL batting leaders and is on pace to improve upon his HR and RBI totals from last season.

Sure, I collect other things besides Allen & Ginter, which is what got me into this mess in the first place. I've been picking up a pack or two of 2011 Heritage when I can, but like every year before it, it's such an unending mess. A lovable mess, mind you.

I can't believe some people don't like 1985 Fleer. I really can't. This is the ultimate color-coded set for me. I really need to buy a rack pack of this stuff one of these days just for kicks. I found some on eBay recently, but I let them slip through my fingers.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ten Interesting Cards: 2008 Topps Series 2 Retail

I thought I'd try something different here on the blog. I'm frequently falling victim to the whole impulse buy thing, and I often end up with something that doesn't quite deserve it's own full blown box break review. I don't want these things to totally skate by without a mention, so I thought I'd just highlight 10 cards I received, this time from a 2008 Topps Series 2 retail box. I believe I paid $12 for this at a card show, and my only justification is that I'm trying to collect the 50th Anniversary rookie cup insert cards that were found in both Series 1 and 2.

Ah, yes, 2008 was the year of politicians on baseball cards. What a great mix. If you're a history buff, I can see you being into this particular insert set, but I can't see why on anyone on earth would be interested in a card of actor Fred Dalton Thompson's pitiful run at the oval office.

I wasn't at all familiar with the story of Masumi Kuwata, who starred for the Yomiuri Giants for more than 20 seasons before signing a minor league deal with the Pirates of all teams. He was mostly roughed up in his 19 relief appearances in MLB as a 39-year-old rookie.

I know, this is just a simple base card. This is just a reminder of what you are missing by me not showing off the entire box. I like Matt Holliday. I think I received two of this particular card in the box.

I had never seen one of these Home Run Derby contest cards before, and it's strange to see a card that's serial numbered on the front and basically a contest entry form on the back. If you're into Beltran and/or the Mets, perhaps this is the card for you?

I think this is Photoshopped. I'm starting to feel that way about almost every Topps card from the past few years, though. I'd really love to see the "behind the scenes" process that goes on in turning a photo into a baseball card someday.

Here's a shiny bright Jeter that I'm sure most Jeter collectors have in triplicate by now. I've noticed that this series has become "Diamond Stars" for 2011 Topps Series 2. I'll be glad when the whole Diamond business is long gone.

Here's one of the two 50th Anniversary cards that I mentioned that were needed for the set. Unfortunately, I also received two doubles.

Adam LaRoche had some impressive eyebrows at his young age.

Finally, here's an Uncle Rico goldie. Rico broke with the 2008 Cardinals club out of spring training to make his first major league roster just a couple of months shy of his 30th birthday, but did not stick around long. He plays professionally in an independent league these days.

All of these cards are up for grabs, as usual, aside from the last three.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Airbrushed Fridays: 1988 Topps #68

Could it possibly be that I am actually running out of '80s subjects for Airbrushed Fridays? Unless I happen to find another one in the next couple of weeks, this may be it for awhile. If you know of any '80s duds that I haven't already featured here, please feel free to drop me a line.

Dave Dravecky was a hard-luck starting pitcher who spent most of his career with San Diego. He's a cancer survivor, having developed a tumor in his pitching arm. Gruesomely, he broke the arm that had the tumor in it while pitching, and a second time while celebrating the 1989 NL pennant after joining the Giants. His arm would eventually need to be amputated. It's a rough story to say the least, but he soldiered on and became a motivational speaker after his baseball career ended.

Why did Topps airbrush Dave's photo? Topps tells you all about it on the back of the card with their "This Way to the Clubhouse" box. Still, I would have thought that three months and 18 starts would have been plenty of time to catch Dravecky in Giants gear.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? Dave has a cartoon shirt and a giant cartoon hat. Even the background looks funky.

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.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Potch Swap

I just completed a quick swap of set needs for Cards cards with the intriguingly named Potch Wheeler and the Cardboard Heroes. Have you ever left the house to go somewhere and felt rather under-dressed? Sometimes I feel that way about my blog's title.

With the Cardinals making 14 moves involving the disabled list this season, it's somewhat surprising that prospect Adron Chambers has not been given a glance at the majors. He's one of just five players left on the 40-man roster who haven't gotten a taste of the big leagues.

Yes, kids, there are '80s cards that I still need. I really need to work on those want lists soon, though. There's a huge gap between 1987 and the last 5 years or so.

I'm quite certain I had never seen this Steve Carlton card until I opened up the package. I love it. 1965 Steve Carlton looks more like a newspaper clipping from the late 19th century for some reason.

Thanks again to Potch!

5 on the 5: 2011 Topps Series 2

Hey! There's this new thing called Topps Series 2 that is so... well... two or three weeks ago. Here's my first five packs as found in a Target store in the suburbs of Portland.

Pack 1:

411 - Josh Bell (Here's my first Series 2 card of the year, and I know zilch about him. Apparently Bell was plucked from the Dodgers system.)
659 - Clint Barmes (As seen here.)
510 - Jason Heyward (I'm not very impressed with Jason Heyward. I guess I've made no secret of that. He also has really stupid nicknames.)
458 - Javier Vazquez
552 - San Francisco Giants (Sort of a "team facts" card.)
511 - Philadelphia Phillies

RDT16 - Adrian Gonzalez Red Diamond (This is one of the Target exclusive parallels. I'm not much of a fan. Their past exclusive inserts have been much better.)

KC-52 - Sandy Koufax Kimball Champions (I haven't really decided if I am collecting the Kimball minis or not. I am not impressed with how thin the cards are, but the idea of minis coupled with some retired players is intriguing. My scanner ate the border.)

60YOT-64 - Mickey Mantle 60 Years of Topps Original Back (I thought this was one of those Mickey Mantle Story things they've been doing since like 2005, but it's something else... and... whatever... who cares? I'm totally desensitized to The Mick now.)
358 - Paul Janish
489 - Marc Rzepczynski (This guy is giving Grudzielanek a run for his money.)
495 - Shane Victorino

Pack 2:
355 - Justin Verlander
454 - Alberto Callaspo
613 - Dexter Fowler
522 - Asdrubal Cabrera (Highlight machine!)

385 - Ichiro Checklist (I don't think I've ever purchased 5 or more packs in my life without getting at least one Ichiro card, at least since he became an MLB player.)
563 - Josh Rodriguez
568 - Kansas City Royals
441 - Rafael Furcal

DD-9 - Adrian Beltre / Elvis Andrus Diamond Duos (Another holdover from Series 1.)
TT2-2 - Mark Reynolds ToppsTown (ToppsTown cards are now seeded at one in six packs all of a sudden. I'm not complaining.)
629 - Ivan Nova
498 - Scott Feldman

Pack 3:
593 - Francisco Cordero (So... many... Reds.)
367 - Hiroki Kuroda
351 - Jacoby Ellsbury

639 - Pedro Beato (I have no idea who this is, but I'm a fan of his name!)
617 - Joel Zumaya
644 - Joel Hanrahan

60YOT-112 - Alex Rodriguez / Derek Jeter (Yeah... these guys.)

T60-54 - Ryan Zimmerman Topps 60 (It seems like everyone wants Zimmerman to be a big star because people feel sorry for the Nats.)

515 - Carlos Beltran (Great looking shot.)
541 - John Jaso
353 - Cliff Pennington
382 - Travis Snider

Pack 4:
472 - Jason Kendall
393 - Jake Arrieta
586 - Carlos Lee
512 - Octavio Dotel
491 - Fernando Abad
350 - Francisco Liriano (Good to see Liriano rebound from injuries and other struggles.)

481 - Randy Wells Bedazzled Sparkly Useless Parallel (I'm really not a fan of these. This is something I would expect to come out of a vending machine at a grocery store for a couple of quarters.)

DS-12 - Alex Rodriguez Diamond Stars (Here's a new insert set for Series 2 and I don't really feel any better about it than Randy's card up there.)

452 - David Freese (On a positive note, Freese began his rehab stint tonight and hopes to reclaim his spot as the Cards starting third baseman soon. I am crossing my fingers right now, believe me.)
660 - Ryan Zimmerman
384 - Nick Hundley
565 - Mark Teahen
- Topps Attax ad

Pack 5:
428 - Brett Myers (Kind of a jerk.)
446 - Brandon Beachy (Headline writers probably have a field day with this guy.)
391 - Phil Coke
655 - Starlin Castro Rookie Cup (Rookie Cup cards are a subset now, but are otherwise indistinguishable from base cards. This means more cards of guys like Castro and Buster Posey, and fewer middle relievers.)
614 - Minnesota Twins

RDT21 - Evan Longoria Red Diamond

KC-68 - Reggie Jackson Kimball Champions (Again, the scanner ate my borders. I was a big Reggie fan when I was a little kid. I'm glad to see that some other retired legends are getting a shot in these Topps inserts instead of the same dozen or so players we keep seeing over and over again.)
60YOT-69 - Stan Musial 60 Years of Topps (Nice!)
571 - Jeremy Affeldt
642 - Jason Hammel
383 - Ryan Ludwick
357 - Mike Cameron

I'm only collecting the Cardinals so far (and maybe the minis?) so if anyone is still actually working on this set or just need cards for your player/team, please let me know.