Friday, November 30, 2012

Airbrushed Fridays: 2007 Topps Opening Day #37

As mentioned earlier this week, I am really trying to work on getting closer to completion on my 2012 Topps Heritage and Allen & Ginter sets. If anyone out there has anything they can help with, please let me know. I have tons of cards to get rid of that you may be interested in. Also, if you're one of those that is crazy enough to be working on that Heritage set, check the list as well. As always, many of my want lists double as a "haves" list as well for stuff that I have doubles of.

Who is this week's victim, and why do we care? Freddy Garcia is an innings-eating righty that's been around the block. He came to prominence with a couple of All-Star appearances earlier in his career for some pretty great Seattle Mariners teams, but has bounced around quite a bit since departing the Emerald City. He spent the last two seasons with the Yankees, following up a successful 2011 with a dreadful 2012.

Why does this card exist? Topps puts out an Opening Day set every year (except for 2009) at a budget price because they foolishly believe that they can rope children back in to what was once a children's hobby. Its early release date forces Topps' hand when it comes to dealing with players who recently changed teams, like when Garcia was traded by the White Sox to the Phillies in the offseason for Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez... yes, that Gio Gonzalez. The White Sox actually traded Gio away twice for some reason.

Airbrushed Fridays is a weekly feature as the name seems to imply. If you know of a card with an altered photograph that you'd like to see featured, please contact me. You probably won't win anything other than a hyperlink and some suspiciously stale Thanksgiving leftovers, but you never know!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Aftermath: It's Not Pretty

I took a good, long look at the 2012 Topps Heritage set over the past two nights and am not very pleased with my results. I was hoping to get things down to a manageable want list after buying a hobby box, but it seems like I have my work cut out for me. I'm still missing a ton of cards and I have a ton of doubles on my hands. Yikes!

I think I'll try to cheer myself up by looking at some cards from my latest package from Night Owl Cards. In all likelihood, Night Owl has now sent me more pieces of mail than my entire family combined. I think I made that joke once before, but I don't think I'm joking anymore.

Included were some Ginter and Cardinal needs, and this Carp mini counts as both. Now he just needs to learn how to clone himself.

I have Gold Lust. I am not shy about admitting this.

I can't bring myself to buy packs with 4 cards in them for $3, like some people. I don't even know what the Bowman Chrome people are thinking. I picked up some packs from a box of those at Target the other day and just about cracked up when I noticed that most of the contents of the box was just a giant styrofoam block because there literally aren't enough cards to fill the box. Not even close.

I also wonder what the Bowman Chrome people have to say to the people whose eyes bled with rage over the $100 factory sets of Topps Heritage High Series. You know, the one with the guaranteed cards and the guaranteed autograph at $1 per card. You $1-per-card Bowman Chrome pickers only guarantee is that you'll end up with someone you've never heard of in pretty much every pack.

Oh wait. What am I doing? These refractors look great. I am confusing the message. I am a sucker for this shiny stuff.

Nice! It's a real live Bob Gibson card from his playing days. It's just too bad that Fergie the Cub gets twice as much real estate as Gibby.

If you squint, you'll notice that this says REPRINT in the fine print. It's not your mom's 1993 Topps Ozzie Smith, that's for sure. She apparently threw that one out. Instead, it's the rare "original back" version of his Card Your Mom Discarded Because She's Mean And Will Never Let You Eat Sugar Cereal Or Stay Overnight At Your Buddy's House.

Oh my. Here we come full circle, back to Ginter and something... not pretty. Still, it's Ozzie, and even an Ozzie with a supermassive right arm is going into my Ozzie binder.

Heritage Hobby Highlights

I rarely buy hobby product, especially recently issued stuff, but I was facing an interesting budget dilemma this year. Prices of 2012 Topps Heritage hobby boxes dropped very quickly after release to around $50, so I knew that completely going the retail and trading route would prove to be very expensive and time consuming this time around. I finally got around to taking the plunge a couple of weeks ago and was rather pleased with the results. In the interest of not boring the crap out of everyone with a blow-by-blow account of 24 packs of current year product, I decided to just post about the most interesting 10% or so of the box.

Cardinals! I managed to pick off two Cardinals for my team needs. I'm down to just needing Yadier Molina's base card and one he shares with Brian McCann for the regular team set, plus all of the variations that they threw in the set and a single floating head Stick-On. Well, and then I need another copy of each for the big set.

Albert sticks out like a sore thumb on this card. Prince was kind enough to follow him to the wrong league.

Short prints! I received 8 out of the expected 8, all of which I needed.

If Bautista had been a star in the early '90s, I could see this photo being used on a poster somewhere. It'd probably have crazy colors and lasers all over it, though.

I don't know why anyone signs anyone to long term big dollar contracts. Bay had a few great seasons in his career, but there are far too many examples of bad contracts like his.

Is Cuddyer actually Jim Thome's cousin?

You know that if I scan a Greg Dobbs card, it's probably going to be for some other reason than his own notoriety.

I wish my name was Welly Wellington.

Gaby Sanchez got out before the fire sale truly got going, but he still had to wear those jarringly awful uniforms.

Kotchman's next team will likely be his sixth in five years.

Variation cards! I actually got two of these sort of things, which was rather shocking. When I pulled this, I thought it might be crazy rare because I hadn't seen one of the "photo swap" variety for myself. I also noticed that it was in the range of short print numbered cards. It turns out, according to Beckett at least, it's no more difficult to find than the regular Hamilton card.

This one is the doozy. Erin was helping me open packs and she happened to notice this variation, where "1962" is on the card in place of 2012, in a nod to the original set. This actually lists for $120 according to Beckett, and copies have sold from between $50 and $100 on eBay. Crazy!

New Age Performers! I got 2 and these are a 1:15 pull, so I slightly exceeded the average.

Technically, I should have received this Lincecum card with about 40% of the card sliced off, but I beat the law of averages!

Baseball Flashbacks! I asked for 2 and Topps gave me 2.

I didn't ask for one of my two to be a Juan Marichal, since I already had one. It's up for grabs.

News Flashbacks! I also got my expected 2 here, but I happened to have them both already.

I just watched the Mad Men episode that discusses Penn Station and Madison Square Garden a week or so ago, so it made me feel all the more stupid that I didn't know the history behind Penn Station's demise when I first posted about it.

Then & Now! These are a 1:15 pull. I did not receive any portion of a second card. Not even a speck of dust.

Floating Head Stick-Ons! I got 3, also hitting the mark. This is a very large set for a Heritage insert, so I have a feeling it's going to be a pain to get all of these.

Mariano Rivera is probably going to go out and save 40 games with a 2.20 ERA next year with his newly repaired knee because he's a bloodthirsty cyborg.

I usually get irrationally upset at the team that eliminates the Cardinals in the playoffs, but this year... I don't know. I just kind of shrugged. It just wasn't their year.

Chrome! These are hellaciously difficult to pull in retail packs this year for some reason at 1:22 packs (just barely better than one per box) but twice as easy in the hobby versions. Still, they're only 1:11 and I managed to beat the odds with 3. The Billy Butler is off-center a bit but not as bad as my scan would seem to indicate.

I use the Chrome cards as trade fodder unless they're Cardinals and/or players I collect, so these are all up for grabs.

This guy should be more of a superstar. Pittsburgh should be more of a team, though.

Here's the "hit". I have liked nearly all of the relic designs that Topps has created for Heritage, and this is no exception. Haren is in some sort of weird free agent/purgatory status right now. I would love to see him return to St. Louis if this was 2008 and the Cardinals still needed pitching. I bet he will bounce back for whoever picks him up, unless he's hiding an injury in which case he's a WITCH. WITCH! STAY FAR AWAY FROM DAN HAREN! (Dan Haren's card is available for trade.)

And last, but certainly not least, it's the box topper...

Not bad. Not bad at all. I opened this first, of course, but decided to show it last because I'm mean. The card is a bit off-center, but like the Billy Butler scan, it's not as bad as the internet would suggest. The corners aren't great and there are a few scratches but there are no creases. I tried to explain these cards to Erin and I'm not fully convinced she understands them. I'm actually not certain I understand why they exist, either. Her point was, if you happen to be a Vern Law collector, do you need this card for your collection? The answer, as any player collector would tell you, is that yes you do because you're a crazy player collector. I wouldn't put it in a 1963 Topps binder or, I don't know, any set really. But it's kind of a fun little standalone card to have that probably didn't cost Topps more than some pocket change.

Want list updates will be coming in the next day or so.

Monday, November 26, 2012

All Trade Posts, All the Time

Late last month I finished up a quick trade with All Trade Bait, All the Time. I sent over some stuff from my Up For Grabs series of posts (check the sidebar) and got some nice player and team needs in return.

Apparently this is the slightly more difficult sepia tone version of the base card. I prefer my serial numbers to be on the back in an inconspicuous place, but that's just me.

Yes! Mid '90s Ozzie Smith insert! More, please!

This one isn't an insert, but it's a card I needed for my Ozzie binder nonetheless. It's more fun to get cards of the dude from when he was still an active player.

Finally, there's a rookie Tulo card. I really need to get cracking on Zistle so Erin's player collections can get their proper due. Well, and mine, too. Someday. Maybe 2015.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Up For Grabs: Tom Terrific

I've got Tom Seaver cards and you want them! Well, at least the first part may be true. Tom Terrific is next up on my list of players that I'm clearing out of my old binders. As always, the full list of cards available follows at the end of this post.

I miss Stadium Club. Can Topps bring back a non-gimmicked Stadium Club soon? Please?

This one has a weird notchy thing in it which you can sort of see on the scan (near the upper left border.) Otherwise, it's in decent shape.

If this hadn't been such a maddeningly flimsy and easy to blemish set, I probably would have been interested in collecting it someday.

Members of a dying breed. 300 game winners are more or less extinct in today's game. I wonder if there will be a new adjusted benchmark for excellence or if people will finally realize that pitching wins are pretty arbitrary.

The list:

1979 Topps #100
1987 Donruss #375
1986 Fleer (Super Star Special w/ Phil Niekro) #630 [2 available]
2003 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites #135
1982 Topps #30
1982 Topps (1981 Victory Leaders w/ Denny Martinez, Steve McCatty, Jack Morris and Pete Vuckovich) #165
1986 Fleer Sluggers vs. Pitchers Baseball's Best #34
1982 Donruss #148 [2 available]
1982 Topps Stickers #36
1983 Fleer #601
1986 Topps #390
1985 Topps #670
2008 Topps Stadium Club #100 [5 available]
1987 Topps (Red Sox Leaders) [2 available]

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sampler Platter

Oregon has won the Civil War game, which means I have earned the right to live in this great state for another year. It also means I can relax and write about baseball cards again. I swapped cards (well, my end of the swap is still getting packaged up unfortunately) with Nomo's Sushi Platter. As you'll see, I got a little bit of everything sent my way.

When I first heard of and saw them, I thought that refractors were the most hilarious thing ever. Now that I've gotten my hand on a bunch for myself, though, I can see the attraction. They tend to make regular Chrome cards look pretty unremarkable.

Zack Cox has had a disappointing minor league career so far. The Cardinals dealt him to the Marlins midseason for Edward Mujica and Cox found himself going down a level of play, back to AA ball.

I'd love to see Topps bring back these cards. They have a simple design that I really enjoy, like you're looking at a picture frame or something.

In addition to a nice grouping of Cardinals cards, I also was able to fill some Allen & Ginter needs. This is my first Giants of the Deep mini card.

I never really knew that Tasmanian Devils were kind of... cute. Blame my Looney Tunes influenced childhood, I suppose.

My 2011 Heritage set is one card closer to completion thanks to the short printed Bob Geren card.

And last but certainly not least, a bunch of 2012 Heritage cards were to be had, including this short printed James Shields. I just bought a hobby box of this stuff, so I should have some major updates to my list soon.

Go Ducks! Hopefully UCLA can pull this game out so the Ducks will play again next week for the conference championship. If not, it's off to bowl season (and the annual Cards on Cards pick 'em contest!)